Are men's bikes a good fit for women?

chris_bass Posts: 4,913
edited January 2011 in Road buying advice

my girlfriend is in the market for a road bike, i dont have much experience with either a) road bikes (i ride a mountain bike,m but dont hold that against me!!) or b) being a girl!!!

are there many differences between womens bikes and mens bikes? there seems to be a lot less womens bikes than mens which makes me think a lot of women ride mens bikes?

any help on this would be great!

Thanks - a site for sore eyes


  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    Womens bike tend to have a shorter top tube as most, not all, women are more legs than body but some women will find a male specific geometry fits then better. Swings & roundabouts.
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  • jonmack
    jonmack Posts: 522
    Cervélo only have one line of bikes, no womens specific range, and from what I've seen and read their riders seem to get on pretty well at all the major competitions they go to.

    Check out Gerard Vroomens take on it -

    I think what aids Cervélo is the fact their frames go from very small to very big and they calculate their frame sizes based on the stack and reach measurements, rather than the standard seat tube/top tube length. I'm not saying you should go out and buy a Cervélo for your girlfriend as they're bloody expensive, but it might be worth taking stack and reach measurements into account when trying a bike rather than seat/top tube lengths.
  • crankycrank
    crankycrank Posts: 1,830
    From what I have seen, such as mentioned by redvee, womens bikes tend to have shorter top tubes but many women fit a (I'll call it a non-women specific) frame just fine. Also they sometimes include special brake/shifters with a shorter reach for smaller hands. Short answer is go test ride any that catch your interest and determine what fits best. Don't forget that different sized stems, handlebars, saddles, etc., can be exchanged to obtain proper fit.
  • CarleyB
    CarleyB Posts: 475
    I have a womens specific, but only cos it was a great deal for what I wanted at the time. I was originally going to buy a non womens specific.. but i size XS so they are all much of a muchness at that size anyway.
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  • yeah guessing one way or the other would be about the same as me saying a 61 frame would be what you want. It's totally dependant on the riders body I would imaagine.
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    thanks for the replies, they help a lot.

    it looks like its a trip to the bike shop and sit on a few and get all the measurements off one that fits and go from there.

    what should i look out for on a good road bike? i'm not really familiar with them.

    i think they pricer she'd be looking at is between £600 to £800, give or take. - a site for sore eyes
  • hardy26
    hardy26 Posts: 24
    I'm 5' 9" with long legs and a long reach. I'm generally a 56 in Womens or 54 in Mens.

    I currently ride a women's specific Specialized but have ordered a men's Cannondale. The first thing I'll do is get a shorter stem.

    Depends on how tall your girlfriend is and her personal taste. The best bet is to go try some out. I went to quite a few bike shops, tried a lot out. One place I went to changed the stem and set up, a perfect fit, I was then sold on getting a men's bike.

    I have found most cycle shops don't have an awful lot of women's specific road bikes in store so ring ahead to check what sizes they have in before going, may save you some time.

    Price you are looking at it probably entry level for a 2011 women's specific, you may get a good deal on a 2010. Most likly Shimano Sora/Tiarga mix but try for 105. Looking at older bikes remember 105 have been updated (not to teach you to suck eggs)

    Hope this helps
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    Thanks again for the replies!

    I think once we have tried a few I might post a couple up here and see what people think and maybe suggest similar ones :-) - a site for sore eyes
  • Fit wise, some women will fit mens frames better. Mrs squill has hada orbea in mens, and now the Felt F4 ina 54 mens.
  • thinbo
    thinbo Posts: 93
    I got Mrs Thinbo a Boardman Women's Comp for xmas. I'm very impressed with it, it falls within the lower end of your price range.

    I got it mainly because i liked the bike and spec and she liked the colour. It fits her well, but i think she has a relatively short torso, so she may benefit from a WS frame more than others.
    The one thing I did notice when looking around is that there seem to be far less discounts/reductions on WS bikes, so you may not get as good deals when compared to men's equivalents.
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  • 1_reaper
    1_reaper Posts: 322
    I have a WSD Trek for winter and a men's for summer both 50.. The only difference with the WSD frame is that at very low speeds when turning my feet tend to catch the front wheel. Have a short stem and a seat post with no lay back which helps
  • here's the FACTS

    The reason for "ladies'" designed bikes is that women are on average shorter than men Av Man is 5'10 and av women is 5'2"

    The reason for not making really small "men's" bikes is to do with foot size and Toe Overlap.

    If a man and a women have the same physical dimensions the will ride THE SAME frame size
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