Women's specific bikes... is there any point?

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Women's specific bikes... is there any point?
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Posted: Jul 17, 2018 at 8:38 Quote
Hi,

I'm just after a bit of help with finding a new bike for my wife. She's quite new to biking but sees how much I love it and has ridden a few trail centres. A mate dropped out of an enduro we'd entered recently so she stepped up and 'had a go' as she puts it - she kicked ass and loved it. She was riding my brother's Santa Cruz Heckler (a few years old, 26" wheels) which not only made it more impressive that she rode well but got me wondering if there is a point (other than marketing and sales) to women's specific bikes - can anyone advise either way?

The used market has very few women's specific bikes and so many are just pink or purple. She'd rather not have pink so that's a stumbling block straight away! Any help would be greatly appreciated - what you ride, have ridden, the difference etc. I'd hate for her to have the wrong bike and it dampen the enthusiasm.

Thanks in anticipation. For info she I see 5'4", 28" inseam. Peace out! Cool

Posted: Jul 17, 2018 at 8:59 Quote
A lot of companies are using the same frame for men's and women's bikes but use women's specific saddles, shorter reach stems, narrower bars and girlier paint schemes. Some companies have women specific frames that have different stack, reach and standover than a men's frame of the same size.
If you're looking at used I would go with whatever fits and is comfortable for her and not focus on whether it's women's specific or not.

Posted: Jul 22, 2018 at 10:20 Quote
My other half rides a ladies calibre Bossnut. I've converted it to 1x, fitted new Ergon grips, better pedals, a brand X ascend dropper and we just put a fox 34 140mm on it as it was on sale in CRC for £249. With the few upgrades the bike is running sweet and even with the upgrades the total cost is £1500. The ladies Bossnut can be had for £800 at the moment I think, we paid £1000 last year. Even without the upgrades it's a sweet bike at a fraction of the cost you will pay for en equivalently spec'd bike from the bigger brands.

Posted: Jul 22, 2018 at 20:56 Quote
There's no reason to get a womens specific bike. If there is a most important womens specific part of a bike (in my opinion) would be the saddle. Then handlebars/grips.
If you can-take her to a couple of bike shops that carry different brands. Bike size/frame depends on leg/torso/arm length and comfort. Sounds like she's into biking, but still new at it. Her skills and confidence will change over time and will want a bike that can match improving skills-at least that's what I've found.
I started out on a Yeti ASR5, then spent several years on a Santa Cruz Bronson, and just got a Transition Smuggler-all of them are great bikes-I do like my new 29'er tho.
Good Luck!

Posted: Jul 22, 2018 at 22:48 Quote
Ask your brother if he would sell his heckler...Big Grin

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 at 9:27 Quote
velo-suburbia wrote:
A lot of companies are using the same frame for men's and women's bikes but use women's specific saddles, shorter reach stems, narrower bars and girlier paint schemes. Some companies have women specific frames that have different stack, reach and standover than a men's frame of the same size.
If you're looking at used I would go with whatever fits and is comfortable for her and not focus on whether it's women's specific or not.

I just read that Trek have dropped their womens specific geometry this year. Interesting. Thanks!

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 at 9:28 Quote
Davec85 wrote:
My other half rides a ladies calibre Bossnut. I've converted it to 1x, fitted new Ergon grips, better pedals, a brand X ascend dropper and we just put a fox 34 140mm on it as it was on sale in CRC for £249. With the few upgrades the bike is running sweet and even with the upgrades the total cost is £1500. The ladies Bossnut can be had for £800 at the moment I think, we paid £1000 last year. Even without the upgrades it's a sweet bike at a fraction of the cost you will pay for en equivalently spec'd bike from the bigger brands.

This is something I considered even if only for a starting point. They now do a 1x version so would be an easy option. Thanks for your advice!

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 at 9:31 Quote
katdw wrote:
There's no reason to get a womens specific bike. If there is a most important womens specific part of a bike (in my opinion) would be the saddle. Then handlebars/grips.
If you can-take her to a couple of bike shops that carry different brands. Bike size/frame depends on leg/torso/arm length and comfort. Sounds like she's into biking, but still new at it. Her skills and confidence will change over time and will want a bike that can match improving skills-at least that's what I've found.
I started out on a Yeti ASR5, then spent several years on a Santa Cruz Bronson, and just got a Transition Smuggler-all of them are great bikes-I do like my new 29'er tho.
Good Luck!

Sounds like a decent fleet you've had! I'm conscious that she may want to change bike in a year or two, especially if she favours a particular riding style. I'm reading more and more that it's mostly about the contact points which, with smaller sizes fitting ladies as well as men, I tend to agree with. Thanks for your advice.

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 at 9:31 Quote
Hammer48 wrote:
Ask your brother if he would sell his heckler...Big Grin

It's his pride and joy, even if a few years old, but I'm tempted to try him!

Posted: Jan 7, 2019 at 15:31 Quote
Alrobinson wrote:
Hi,

I'm just after a bit of help with finding a new bike for my wife. She's quite new to biking but sees how much I love it and has ridden a few trail centres. A mate dropped out of an enduro we'd entered recently so she stepped up and 'had a go' as she puts it - she kicked ass and loved it. She was riding my brother's Santa Cruz Heckler (a few years old, 26" wheels) which not only made it more impressive that she rode well but got me wondering if there is a point (other than marketing and sales) to women's specific bikes - can anyone advise either way?

The used market has very few women's specific bikes and so many are just pink or purple. She'd rather not have pink so that's a stumbling block straight away! Any help would be greatly appreciated - what you ride, have ridden, the difference etc. I'd hate for her to have the wrong bike and it dampen the enthusiasm.

Thanks in anticipation. For info she I see 5'4", 28" inseam. Peace out! Cool

Some women's specific bikes have geometry made for women. Canton spectral for women has different standover height, reach etc. Definitely check them out.

Posted: Jan 23, 2019 at 18:34 Quote
Late to the party here, but it's worth noting that some women's bikes have different suspension tunes for lighter riders (e.g. Yeti Beti series) and/or different frame geometries (e.g. Giant Liv). I own two 'unisex' bikes and have been totally happy with them after investing in zero-rise 30mm stems and cutting the bars down, but I rented a Liv Pique on vacation last year and felt like the shorter reach made the bike feel a lot more nimble and responsive for me. I'd say seriously consider women's bikes if the woman in question is under 5'4"/130lbs or has a short torso for her height.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 at 11:41 Quote
ryetoast wrote:
Late to the party here, but it's worth noting that some women's bikes have different suspension tunes for lighter riders (e.g. Yeti Beti series) and/or different frame geometries (e.g. Giant Liv). I own two 'unisex' bikes and have been totally happy with them after investing in zero-rise 30mm stems and cutting the bars down, but I rented a Liv Pique on vacation last year and felt like the shorter reach made the bike feel a lot more nimble and responsive for me. I'd say seriously consider women's bikes if the woman in question is under 5'4"/130lbs or has a short torso for her height.

Just bought my wife a used 2019 Liv Intrigue advanced. After doing my research it sounded like it would work well for her.
She's 5'4" and 102. It sits a bit more upright than most bikes. She likes that since we mainly do single track trails here in SW Indiana

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 at 12:44 Quote
Womans bikes have very much sense in being "specific" to woman geometry and equipment. Its not so important if this little changes really works, more important is that your wife will be happier on woman specific bike because its designed for woman. Best advice is that she should try some and whichever she likes best will be the one - reason doesn't matter, can be color or how cool pedals look or maybe shape of saddle - for sure it won't be the same thing i.e. you will probably like more i.e. RC2 damper instead of RCT3 Big Grin

Remember - happy wife, happy life Big Grin

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 at 12:56 Quote
The geometry isn't always unique to a "women's" bike; you can often find similar and equally suitable geometry on another "unisex" bike.

Many bikes intended for women have a lighter tune on the shock's damper. This is an important difference for most women, as they tend to be lighter and have a lower strength to weight ratio than men. Shocks can be tuned, though, so this doesn't have to be a deciding factor. Roughly $100 - $200 is all it would cost to convert a "unisex" tune to a lighter tune.

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