Womans Road Bikes

robz400 Posts: 160
edited November 2010 in Road buying advice
Been looking at road bikes for girlies and I'm not sure but they seem to be a bit expensive compared to male ones?

My girlfriend is keen to get cycling with me and very keen for a jaunt to Paris in the spring. I'm looking at around £600ish and the bikes seem to be not as well equipped.

eg a Specialized Dolce (gorgeous looking thing) is £650, alloy frame and equipped with Shimano 2300.....

However a standard allez or trek 1.5 etc normally come with sora/tiagra..

Am I missing something? And are woman specific bikes really necessary or could she go for a normal bike but change the saddle.

Any help much appreciated.....


  • carrock
    carrock Posts: 1,103
    womens bikes tend to have shorter top tubes as women have shorter reach than men- she might get away with a mans bike with a shorter stem.........dolce is same geometry as a ruby which my wife has and she loves it.....

    Best bet is to try a few
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,551
    it's the geometry of the frame, and width of bars that are the main differences

    there's no reason a 'mans' frame won't be ok, people come in all sizes, but typically i think a woman's arms are shorter vs. body length, and men have proportionately longer thigh bones, so a frame designed for the typical male may give the wrong riding position for the typical female

    what's important is does the bike fit

    aside from accomodating height/length, the bars ought to be about the same width as shoulders, a bit wider is ok, but too narrow/wide isn't good in the long run

    certainly would try to get sora/tiagra rather than 2300

    this might help...


    and this page has some guidelines and pictures showing typical riding position, might help to do some measuring then go visit a shop and try some bikes

    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • robz400
    robz400 Posts: 160
    Thanks for the info, makes sense about the shoulder width etc..

    Just found her the Bianchi Dama Sora in white and Pink! Think shes in love so assuming it fits I guess I'm buying one of those!!!!
  • jibberjim
    jibberjim Posts: 2,810
    carrock wrote:
    womens bikes tend to have shorter top tubes as women have shorter reach than men-

    Women don't have shorter reach than men of the same height on average. There's more variation amoung populations than there is between sexes (ie it would make more sense to have a Dutch racing bike or an Italian racing bike than it does to have mens and womens)

    As said, narrower saddles are bars are common things that can be preferred by women - and also small men, although women do tend to have narrower shoulders. But you should not get lower quality components on a womens bike, that's just a scam.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • I think women's fit bikes are a bit of a scam...just splash a bit of pink paint on it and it's a womens bike. I have 4 drop bar roadies and have had no trouble getting them to fit me. ( and 3 of them were bought sight unseen over the net) Most important measurement is C to C of seat tube and C to C of top tube. Then comfortable width handlebars. Lots of test rides and don't be afraid to ask for a shorter stem or to change the saddle to a Selle Italia womans one
    Hope she gets into cycling it's fantastic when your other half also shares the passion!
    Do try and steer her away from purchasing a girly paisley pink flowery helmet or jersey though...
  • proto
    proto Posts: 1,483
    My daughter's Cinelli Experience 'Lady' or whatever it's called is exactly the same geometry as the the men's version. But it's got a bit of pink on it. :roll:

    Her best bike is standard BMC Pro Machine SLC01. Nothing 'girly' about it.

    Select the right bar width, seat design, stem length and she'll be fine on a man's bike, but make sure it's the right size!
  • My first road bike was a Giant SCR3. I bought the small frame as I'm 5'4 and at the time Giant did not do the XS frame. I ended up changing the seat, handlebars and stem in order to feel comfy on it.

    At the beginning of this year I bought a Trek Madone 4.7 WSD in a 50cm frame. The ride is so much better. I feel more confident and have more control. I also find it more far more comfortable (yes, this may also be due to the carbon).

    The geometry on the Woman's Specific bikes is different and takes into account the longer legs and shorter upper body. The top tube of my Trek is a whole 15mm shorter than my Giant, and even with the same handlebars and stem it makes a huge difference. I like the compact feel when I ride.

    My taller girlfriends seem to be able to get away the men's bikes. I'm short so in future I'll be going for the XS frame in men's or a Woman's Specific bike.

    For me it's all about the reach. That's something that can't easily be changed. Saddles can be placed up or down with the help of and allen key, but when you start playing with the length of your stem, it affects the steering. Most ladies are not as confident as guys when descending at speed, so every little bit of control/stability helps.

    I went into a store where they had different sizes on turbo trainers and hopping from bike to bike really helped me make a decision.

    Good luck!