Bikes – REAL SOLUTIONS or Clever Marketing?
you pick up a recent Bicycle Industry Trade magazine
you will read a LOT about WOMEN’S SPECIFIC BIKE
DESIGNS. There is a fair amount of debate on the
issue. Is it hype and clever marketing, or are these
products truly going to make cycling better for women?
Well, we believe that there are a LOT of hyped
products out there as well as a fair amount of
thoughtful women’s specific things happening. The
industry sees women as a large, untapped market. Bike
companies MUST sell new things to this segment of the
cycling public in order to survive. NO DOUBT. But how
does a consumer know what products are genuinely going
to make cycling better for women and what is clever
salesmanship…or what falls in between... and how
effective will these "womens specific"
changes be? It may be over-simplifying it,
but we believe that if you are a woman, and your bike
fits you properly, then it is a woman's bike....do you
understand? Some education will help you
things first…we are talking about BIKES and FRAMES
here…nothing else. Indeed, we are generally talking
about Italian style road bikes…but the specifics of
our presentation apply to all types of women's
bicycles . Having said this…we move forward.
isn’t our intention to get into great details
here…we’d like to talk to you face to face and
in greater detail about women’s designs and what is
best for you, but as food for thought, consider
WOMEN'S MULTI BIKE SHOE from Louis Garneau.
As fine as it gets for the female foot.
$89.99 - Always IN STOCK!
bike company scales down a "standard"
(men’s) frame geometry, paints the bike a pretty
color, names the model something like
"Venus" and says it is a women’s
bike…you can probably chalk it up to fluff and
marketing. Fluff and Marketing is effective. We had a
customer in our store recently, looking to buy his
wife a high end, premium bike. When it came to the
question of size, he announced that he was firmly set
on buying her the "women’s" model because
it was a "ladies specific design". To cut to
the chase, he bought her the wrong size. He was
plainly duped. The frame in particular was simply a
scaled down size of the men’s version. The small
men’s frame and the large ladies frame were the
exact same geometry…pretty name, purple paint,
clever copywriting…these things don’t make a
better woman’s bike. Labels, names, colors
aside…had the frame fit her properly, it would have
been the right purchase…but it didn’t and it
brand may take the next step and TRY to differentiate
the frame geometry a bit, but put more emphasis on
things like using smaller grips, smaller pedals, a
ladies saddle, narrower handlebars, and MAYBE shorter
than normal crankarms…here, you probably have a true
"female friendly" bike. All of those changes
in equipment are going to make favorable differences
for many female riders.
a TRUE women’s bike frame is much more noble and
effective in the end, but it isn’t easy, and it
certainly isn’t cost-friendly for the mass builders.
Plus, there is always the question of whether a woman
really needs a "womans" frame or bike.
Perfect fit is perfect fit...it is personal, not
gender specific in all cases. Many times, with
perfect fit as the primary objective, we will conduct
a fitting session with a female client and determine
that the best thing for her doesn't resemble anything
even close to a "women's specific" design as
the commercial bike industry defines and sells the
Womens Mondonico Futura
Exended Head Tube, Laidback Seat Angle and
Torelli Toccata -
A REAL women's
bike! Torelli Countach Donna - You can have
perfect fit, performance, comfort, stability and let's
not forget DROP DEAD LOOKS!
Torelli Countach that is made for women comes standard
with an extended headtube. The seat tube angle
is also relaxed by 1 to 1.5 degrees and all forks
matched to these frames have a specific rake in order
to complete the thoughtful design that makes this a
great bike for WOMEN!
BIKES FOR WOMEN!
2 years of planning and design, GIANT introduces over
20 bike models specifically and THOUGHTFULLY intended
to fit women properly and to deliver RIDE QUALITY that
has eluded certain ladies for years! We are
happy to say that we like what they've done.
True fit and performance conscious ideas bring out the
value of these bikes. These models offer us even
more options to make sure our female clients are
riding the right bikes!
Stability, Comfort, Function!
a woman to a bike properly can be a challenge. (We run
into the same issues when fitting women to frames of
all geometries, styles, and purposes.) To say the
least, it is not the same as fitting a male to a bike.
There are two reasons for this. 1. Women have a
proportionally longer femur (upper leg bone) than men.
2. The pelvic and hip rotation of a Woman is very
different than a man. The length of a woman’s femur
becomes an issue because it usually works against
using the proper crankarm length. It can also easily
fool the rider into using the wrong saddle height and
fore/aft position. Hip Rotation is a problem because
it works against a woman’s ability to properly fit
the length or REACH of the bike frame. The bend that
is necessary at the waist is difficult to achieve for
a woman when you use standard fitting ideals. Quite
simply, most women are set up to experience tightness
or even pain on their bike because of this. Once you
think you have solved one of these issues, it becomes
clear to you that you have to undo it to satisfy the
requirements of the other. It can become a vicious
circle even for an experienced fit technician.
about the challenges that the framebuilder faces when
building a women’s specific frame?
They face the same two issues. Dealing with femur
length and hip rotation while trying to retain the
PERFORMANCE and personality that a frame’s
reputation is built on is not easy. One
"solution" to the femur length riddle is to
relax the seat tube angle, effectively lengthening the
distance between the knee and the hip. This seriously
changes the performance of the frame and does nothing
for the other side of the equation…hip rotation.
Most builders will refuse to build a frame with a seat
tube angle so relaxed. They do not get much inquiry
into building women’s frames so little effort is
made to find a good solution.
one has been able to work miracles…but Torelli and
Mondonico, after 2 years of pre-production, have
introduced a women’s specific design unlike most
others. It works quite nicely. But don’t expect to
see it being pumped out in mass quantities by
commercial companies anytime soon. We’ll leave the
details for their design for in-store conversation,
but in a nutshell what they have done is slackened the
seat tube angle by no more than one degree (retaining
stability and other important riding features), and
they have extended the head tube by about 1.5
centimeters (this lets the rider sit a tad more
upright at the hips, and eliminates bending that
isn’t natural). These frames received excellent
reviews from field testers and our recent experience
while fitting women to these frames has been very
positive. We fully endorse these
innovations in women’s frames. Not every woman needs
to consider this geometry. Some plainly might be too
tall to consider it. In the end, what having these new
designs available does for us is they give us better
options to SIZE AND FIT A (FEMALE) RIDER to her frame
properly so that the bike’s performance isn’t
compromised and neither is the comfort of the biker!
We're happy to carry the GIANT BRAND of Women's
specific bikes as well. These new ladies models
blend true female-friendly designs with the dollar
value and technological advances that a big company
like Giant can offer!
Lisa - Mondonico Futura Women's Model. Custom
48cm frame with extended head tube and relaxed seat
tube angle. Metallic Sky Blue, fork painted to
match. Century Grey equipment. SMOOTH!
Melissa - Mondonico Futura Legerro. Custom 54cm frame.
Built with Campy Centaur Equipment. Fork painted to
Our new friend Joanna
with her Santa Cruz Blur XC. Our fitting
expertise helped us get Jo on a bike that fits great
and in her own words 'makes her a better rider'!
We carry women's clothing from great brands like
Louis Garneau, Primal Wear, Terry, and others!
Our friend Heather G.
Riding her BLUR XC with Kit #1 at Stewart AFB!
Fits her like a GLOVE...she loves it so much she came
back and bought a NOMAD!
Kris hucking on her new
GIRLS LOVE DIRT!
This one sure does anyway!
Kristen on her VP Free, getting ready to pound the
course, once the proper frame size and geometry is
determined and the FIT of the rider to the bike is
nailed-down, we can choose from a wide variety of
components and accessories specifically designed for
ladies to make a bike even more satisfying for a
Cycles offers a stock women's specific mountain bike
and can build any of their frames in a thoughtful
Heather and Kris are hooked on
mountain biking! These ladies drive 100 miles
EACH WAY to shop with us.
Here is what Heather said about her new SCB NOMAD
after one ride:
It was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
very much. It was a lot of fun. It
pedaled well up climbs, and went over EVERYTHING!
always luv my Blur too, but the Nomad is a great all
couple minutes to figure out the shifting, but I
think I'm beginning to like it, as I get used to it.
you so much.
doing business with you.