Video: 'Pink It & Shrink It' - Why Don't More Brands Make Women's Specific Bikes?

Mar 7, 2023 at 15:33
by Christina Chappetta  

Words: Christina Chappetta

Much to my delight, female participation in mountain biking has been steadily growing and I'm thankful to say I have a rad crew of women to ride and adventure with. There weren't always that many options for women in terms of clothing or gear that worked (and fit) properly, but finally there are kits and shoes that do the job well and look good on the trails. Brands have really stepped up their game, but what about the bikes?

I got the opportunity to talk to a few brands, one that makes exclusively women's specific bikes and others that don't, to see what perspective is on making bikes that fit everyone. Thanks so much for their time and I hope you're interested to know what they have to say.




Cheers to Ross at the snowboard shop for playing along and poking fun at the intro. Don't be fooled, he's actually a sweetheart❤️



Author Info:
christinachappetta avatar

Member since Jul 6, 2012
34 articles

196 Comments
  • 279 27
 Here's my opinion on women specific bikes: Get rid of the video autoplayer.
  • 77 41
 *clicks on video specific article...knowing its just a video*
*shocked and angry when video auto plays*
  • 85 2
 @SATN-XC: We don't care about the video. We're just here for the comments section.
  • 5 0
 And that damn cable routing, wherever it goes!!!111
  • 19 0
 @SATN-XC: 1: I prefer to read the intro first and then start playing
2: When I start watching the video, I want the sound on
  • 2 0
 @ak-77: Yeah, this vid makes no sense without the sound on. This may be ok for YT cause most of the content is crap anyway. But here, on mobile the vid is so tiny you cannot read subtitles, the vid goes on an you need to turn the sound and rewind it, it's totally pointless.
  • 2 1
 @lkubica: It's not a radio station or a podcast..
  • 2 1
 @davemays: and that's why aoutoplay makes no sense here.
  • 2 2
 @lkubica: those extra two mouse clicks are really killer for you aren't they
  • 4 1
 i too wish to complain about shit that does not matter
  • 6 0
 @themouse77: and thus a true pinker is born
  • 1 0
 Lol…nice one CC
  • 163 1
 Mens riding clothes should come in better colours like the women's ones.
  • 73 1
 Yeah but please not in pit viper or TLD designs
  • 44 2
 @fatduke: troy lee designs designs
  • 17 1
 @RyanShreds:

ATM Machine, brah
  • 3 0
 @RyanShreds: yeah yeah you got me on that one
  • 15 0
 100%...i love purple but nearly every clothing company seems to have decided that purple stuff should only be available in womens specific stuff....and barely ever in mens.....i might have to start a campaign
  • 4 0
 @Royston: check out the NF DP4 pant in 'fireweed', as another fan of purple I'm getting close to pulling the trigger.
  • 1 0
 YESSS
  • 8 0
 @Royston: I started a tiny brand called SlothWorks Designs because I too love purple. I do the designs and Primal does the printing. I sell it for 0 extra money because it’s just a hobby.
  • 2 0
 @Royston: Cough cough we made a purple jersey...
  • 4 1
 @Royston: Dharco makes some riding gear in purples and pinks for men.
  • 4 0
 @fatduke: and don't forget your PIN number
  • 2 0
 @Royston: +1 on this
  • 7 0
 @Royston: my first ever cycling jersey was purple. I remember a van driver opening his window just so he could shout 'purple f*g' at me as he was overtaking.
  • 3 0
 Take a look at the DHaRCO range of kit, great colour choices for men and women, top quality kit, too.
  • 2 0
 @Tanglefist: second this, the DHaRCO stuff is mint.
  • 3 0
 @Tanglefist: @E9G: @slothworks: @BarryWalstead:
thanks for the suggestions guys, i will have a look
  • 1 0
 @Tanglefist: Love my DHaRCO kit.

Makes me look like I should be much faster than I actually am.
  • 106 19
 This asinine argument again? What makes a "women's specific" bike? I'm two inches taller than my husband. I ride a large and he's on a medium. He prefers a small diameter grip while I'm fine with stock. We both swap saddles to something that fits our respective sit bones. Neither of us cares about the colour. TBH most of the "women's specific" stuff out there is like children's toys, "Oh you can't have that one, that's for boys, here have the frilly pink one we made just for you girls..." Getting more women riding has nothing do with having a "women's specific" bike and everything to do with attitude and inclusivity. Division based on sex is the same as if we tried to get more POC riding bikes by pandering to stereotypes of what colours and graphics some marketing group thinks "represents" their culture.
  • 26 5
 Did you watch the video?
  • 22 6
 I give her asinine and her bike a 29.
  • 16 19
 Or maybe you don’t represent all women and you being condescending towards women that like women’s specific stuff doesn’t do as much to encourage their participation as you think..
  • 10 0
 You are spot on. It's all about division and marketing to increase it.
  • 18 6
 @Judith22 I'm genuinely curious, did you actually watch the video? I'm quite surprised that this piece, which I think does a decent job of debunking and expanding upon some of the attitudes around women's bikes, as well as why some brands still feel they're valid, was interpreted the way you have. I think, maybe for people who don't live and breathe mountain biking, this would be really useful irrespective of gender, and hopefully even interesting to the people that are already very much embedded within the sport.
  • 7 1
 So what are manufacturers supposed to do? I just read in MBA magazine this month in the letters to the editor section, a female reading wrote a letter complaining about how there’s not enough women’s specific bikes and how the industry has a lot of catching up to do. Basically just as passionate as you are about the exact opposites of everything you just said. Honestly, as a man, your view makes more sense to me, but the bigger problem is, you women talk like all of you want the same things but you actually don’t.
  • 7 2
 @Jordansemailaddress:
It may be worth rewording your reply to say that “you humans talk like all of you want the same things but you actually don’t”. Because that’s not a female specific problem. Men are equally finicky from my experience.

Also from my experience, some women care about women’s specific bikes but most honestly don’t. Working in a shop that sells both I think Specialized have things pretty dead on and when they say they’ve done the research I believe them. It’s not like they don’t have the money. I think it honestly comes down to offering the appropriate sizing, because women are not proportioned much if at all differently than men when it comes to fit, and simply supporting women’s riding culture, which is all Juliana seem to do.
  • 3 2
 What's interesting is that some pros who are sponsored by frame sponsors who have a female marketing line still chose to ride the mens frame (with juliana stickers). When I looked into women specific bikes they just had comically tiny reach.
  • 1 0
 @notthatfast: I think we agree on the need for variety and that everyone can and should be finicky or picky with their bike selection. I was pointing to the fact that women generalize themselves into a singular group with statements like @Judith22 did or the MBA reader who wrote a letter to the editor. That’s a good thing for issues like voting rights and education equality, but it doesn’t work for things like what kind of mountain bike you need.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: I did and it sounded like it was written and edited by the brands marketing departments
  • 2 0
 100% agreed. WSD bikes has gone out the window because it should. It didn't work, mainly because the women that the demographics targeted where all the same portions (lower sprung shocks and lighter tunes), and usually charged more with crappier components. Pinkbike must be hurting for readership since Outside bought them to bring this BS back, but in video form.
  • 1 0
 @tigerstripes:
I think the conversation is still valid. Yes it's been done before, but so has almost everything else. There are newcomers to this sport every day and it's good to keep the conversation going in my opinion. Nothing is ever 100% cut and dried in that way.
  • 2 0
 @chrismac70: Ok, but they pretty much touched on all the points the OP was trying to make.
  • 3 3
 love the pink bikers. A story about women for women receives a comment by a woman talking about the exact topic the video is about just to receives nothing but judgment on her view. Good work people
  • 2 0
 @themouse77: I don’t know, man. She made a comment, and people replied as they would for any other comment they agreed or disagreed with. Maybe even with more respect or restraint than we would have for pinheads like yourself.
  • 1 2
 @TheR: yeah mate. you're right .I am clearly the problem here.
  • 2 0
 @themouse77: Cheer up, my guy! No problem with you. Just trying to illustrate how respectfully we’ve engaged the lady compared to the way we usually treat each other here in the comments.
  • 89 6
 Asking the hard questions today! Hope yall enjoy these genuine interviews and Happy Women's Day to all the bada$$ females out there slaying it
  • 8 1
 genuine is what its all about, not just marketing, congrats
  • 4 9
flag mick06 (Mar 8, 2023 at 14:02) (Below Threshold)
 Could have asked the specialized dude why according to their specs 25% of adult women are too short to ride their hard chargers (enduro/demo) despite all his talk. Trek’s session cuts out almost 40% of women despite her saying that cutting women’s bikes lets them include them in more. I guess trek/spec figure women can’t shred hard?
  • 5 1
 Assuming these interviews occurred over a number of days, did you have to make sure you wore the same clothes each day of filming?
  • 12 35
flag OldFatBassTerd (Mar 8, 2023 at 15:44) (Below Threshold)
 I actually nodded off watching this, woke up to hear "inclusivity" BARF!!!
  • 3 2
 @mick06: easy on the hyperbole. Session and Demos are a niche bikes in a niche genre. XC/Trail are a MUCH broader market and capture much of more demographic and marketing numbers that us pesants on a gravity site. Smalls in DH are about all that is really needed or even worth developing. Pro level female or shorter athletes will get custom as needed, just like the Caroline Buchanan example.
  • 4 1
 @bman33: just calling them out on their bs pretending that it’s anything other than profit related.
  • 2 0
 The sizing trek & speslized offers are false as you don’t find the range in a certain model but across the models.
If you up to a new bike you look for specific model to fit your riding style and needs on normally in the narrowing point of one model you are limited in size and have to improvise to fit it to a shorter rider.
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta just came here to say, great video title. love it
  • 5 0
 Really. Sounded more like a conversation with the marketing department reading out their advertising copy. It was incredibly shallow
  • 5 0
 My GF bough a bike 2 years ago during the shortage at a giant shop. The guy was dead set on recommanding a Liv that they didnt have in stock. I looked it up and geo wise, the only difference the Liv had was a 5mm shorter head tube. I think the handle bar were shorter stock and the saddle was probably also different. A bike is a bike, do your reasearch and be an informed buyer instead of buying into marketing. I think what the woman specific brand are doing to widen the sport is awesome. But selling a bike as something wildly different adapated to a demographic is not the way yo go IMO.
  • 39 1
 Having worked at a LBS over the years I did see some commonalities. 1. The embracing of women's specific bikes was very much based on rider type. If they were quite new to the sport they seemed more keen to hop on a women's specific ride. However, if they were more experienced there was a largely wholesale rejection of women's specific because they just wanted a bad ass bike, that had a higher chance of resale when they were done with it. 2. Rider size was huge. Petite women were quite willing to adopt the women's specific bike especially when they understood the sizing and suspension tune were more favorable to their size and weight. Conversely, taller women tended to find the men's bikes more in step with their proportions and weight, whereas they found the women's bikes awkward. I get that initially the women's specific initiative brought more women riders into the fold, and I'm thankful for that as I've had a blast riding with the ladies, but over the years more and more women communicated that they don't really give a shit about a gender specific bike, they just want the right one. Which I think is a good evolution.
  • 10 0
 I tend to agree that it's more like a beginner thing-you walk into some strange place and there the bikes and the women's bikes so not knowing better, you fall in line. Don't know if it's indicative of a trend or just my daughter, but she was insulted by the concept of a woman's bike. She just wanted one that was, as you say, a bad-ass one. She would say "I don't want some Julianna, I want a real Santa Cruz!" (no offense Julianna bikes, you are great).
  • 9 0
 Underrated comment. Former industry employee here as well; well into 14 years in he bike business with quite a few of those years at retail.

In the early days of women's specific bikes, those brands that did more than just spec shorter stems and anatomical saddles just adjusted their unisex bikes for shorter top-tubes, and pretty much left everything else along. The assumption being that women typically have shorter torsos.

Right around 5'4"-5'8" is where it could be a tossup between whether a shorter top tube was beneficial or not. Beyond that height, most women preferred standard bike sizing. On the other end of the scale, anyone shorter than 5'-2" men or women, simply didn't have much of a choice. I believe it was an engineer from Cervelo that stated that it doesn't matter much wether the top tube ratio to height was correct with smaller bikes because there were simply not enough small bikes made to begin with. I think he further sated that unless you are outside of the 95% of proportionality for height, +/- 10mm of stem length can account for any variance assuming bike sizes didn't have such large steps.
  • 3 2
 Got to give the brands credit, it's great marketing. Like taking a razor and making it pink then selling it for 50% more. Apparently it's easy to fool some people lol.
  • 1 0
 @DylanH93: to be fair, the women's specific bikes we sold were Specialized and Scott. The former actually made different bikes. But the pricing for both was right in line with the men's stuff.
  • 2 0
 @XC-Only: I looked into this recently in the context of another comment section debate on women specific sizing. The weird think is, though the differences are small, women actually have longer torsos for their height than men. So they would need longer top tubes. Their arms are shorter though, that compensates a bit, but higher stack would make more sense than shorter reach.
My guess is since there is a minority of women in our sport, women specific bikes are more likely to be bought by beginners, who prefer a more upright riding position. Hence the shorter toptubes.
It's that, or designers aren't working off real data but just off some beauty ideal of long-legged swimsuit models.
  • 31 2
 I think grip strength in mountain biking is massively under researched. Stronger women specific brakes and softer grips perhaps even bar diameter could help. In my opinion the major difference between men and women in our sport is grip strength.
It is stated that even strong female athletes barley come close to the average male in terms of grip strength so this makes me wonder when guys talk about modulation in brakes if it even applies to women. My wife loves saints above all other brakes she has tried because for her she doesn’t have to squeeze for dear life to get them to work, a guy might say oh they are too grabby but perhaps we need to be making brakes that are just that?

pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17186303 -some reading to back my claims if anyone cares.
  • 4 0
 My wife is 5 foot (1.52m) tall with small hands. For similar reasons above, I set her bike up with the Hope Tech3 levers. They can be close to the bar, but have good stopping power power for her and not just be "on/off" or too difficult to pull to get power
  • 18 2
 Women specific brakes? Just spec some downhill brakes with big rotors.
Grips: use a renthal push-on. Thin diameter and still some damping.
  • 5 0
 This is a very interesting point. It would be quite interesting to see more on this topic.
  • 3 0
 Same goes with dropper post levers. Had to get the wolftooth light touch model for my wife's thumb to not feel overly strained.
  • 9 0
 This is an intersting one. Years of sitting at computers and a few broken wrists have rendered my hands and arms a total mess and I am always massively, massively overspeccing brakes for my size. I currently run hayes dominion (light lever throw on a nice bearing) with 200mm front rotor and I am at present about 60kg. I run coil front and back just to ease the battering my wrists takes as well.

For a sport so reliant on our bodies, there's very little in the MTB media in reviews or component discussions for anyone who's not 'average' and while I realise this is to do with the bell curve distribution of people in general, the need to appeal to a bigger audience in general, the smaller auidience making that financially difficult and a lot of other things I do think there's worth in a few articles exploring component choice for people who aren't in the middle of that bell curve. There's plenty of discussion around heavier folk (if you're an OK rider run what pro downhillers do) but not a great deal for people who are much lighter, have mobility or strength issues in certain areas etc etc

As an inidvidual sport MTB is great, because it means you can have really bad asthma or a joint thing that means you have to stop really frequently, or chronic fatigue that means you need an EMTB to an 'easy' ridew but still enjoy it (rather than your traditional ball sports). but we don't really talk about stuff that might help those people/
  • 4 0
 Thanks for sharing this thought!

My wife has wrist pains and sometimes her grip isn’t great. She is relatively new to mtbing and has made some comments on preferences on brakes. We’re inspired to go shopping now for some powerful and more adjustable levers for her - like someone else mentioned maybe Hopes are the way to go.
  • 2 0
 @ironhorse-rider: Code RSC has a lot of adjustment for the lever position if you wanted another option to check out. They often go on sale too even during the parts shortages.
  • 1 0
 @mick06: they are on sale because the new Codes are coming within the next few weeks (some say it'll be 21st of march)
  • 1 2
 Great points, but maybe not a logical interpretation of the facts. You mean that some people need more powerful brakes, absolutely true! But that those are women is the incorrect assumptions as a lot of those women with less grip strength are likely smaller framed people. For instance my wife rides a size small, 27.5 with 180mm rotors. I do check in with her regularly about how her brakes feel and so far at her current level of riding she's super happy with those. Tecktro Orion 4-2 piston brakes with stock pads for reference. Whereas I've upgraded mine to ceramic pads on 203mm rotors for my 29er. Maybe the issue is too many brands skimp on brakes too often. I think 'women's specific bikes are a bad idea. Maybe we need more shops willing to swap seats, cut bars, swap stems etc. to actually makes bikes fit... Anyone.
  • 2 0
 @ironhorse-rider: at Sea Otter last spring my wife really liked the feel of the Hayes brakes at their stand. If she ever wants to change her setup I think that's the direction we'll go.
  • 2 0
 @BarryWalstead: why ceramic? Are you dragging brakes and overheating! Ceramics are good for dissipating heat, but at low speeds aren't as effective as other options out there
  • 1 0
 @bman33: I wanted them for the silent aspect and they've been great so far.
The power is better than organic that I've experienced, and they aren't loud like sintered can be here in the PNW in the winter time.
  • 2 0
 @BarryWalstead: Great points, but maybe not a logical interpretation of the facts. You mean that "not all women" need powerful brakes, absolutely true! But that those women don't represent a significant minority is the incorrect assumptions as the study cited by the person you're replying to specifically delineates women from men in hand strength independent of hand size. For instance:

"Mean maximal hand-grip strength showed the expected clear difference between men (541 N) and women (329 N). Less expected was the gender related distribution of hand-grip strength: 90% of females produced less force than 95% of males. Though female athletes were significantly stronger (444 N) than their untrained female counterparts, this value corresponded to only the 25th percentile of the male subjects. Hand-grip strength was linearly correlated with LBM. Furthermore, both relative hand-grip strength parameters (F (max)/body weight and F (max)/LBM) did not show any correlation to hand dimensions. The present findings show that the differences in hand-grip strength of men and women are larger than previously reported."
  • 1 0
 @cmrn: fair enough.
I do wish brakes were more powerful across the board though. And it wasn't a common place to skimp on cost. Imagine if you could take whatever the seat costs and add that to your brakes on a factor build? So many people immediately replace the seat to whatever their preferred model is.
  • 5 1
 First, as it is often hard to tell by usernames: I identify as a woman :-)

I am very happy to see any company analysing gender specific data and designing products around the findings. And i'm not talking colours (please just give us the same colours!). As more and more research like the one mentioned by @oldfaith shows, women's and men's bodies are quite different. In the sports industry this is merely a matter of "how well does my equipment perform for me. In other areas like car safety, it can me a matter of life and death. For example, Women are almost twice as likely as men to become trapped in a motor vehicle after a crash and they also sustain different patterns of injury. Until recently car safety for women has been tested with a scaled down male cash-test dummy but it turns out, we're not just mini-males.(www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/17/women-almost-twice-likely-trapped-crashed-vehicle-study).

Back to more fun stuff, like bikes: Of course we are talking averages here. The further away a male or a female is from the average, the harder it is to find a product that fits. The problem is: If all the equipment is designed around a male average (size, weight, center of gravity, grip strength, muscle distribution, etc)., then most women fall straight out of that category. For example, while only some smaller men have problems with the height of the top tube, most of my female friends know this all to well. This limits their choice of bikes substantially.

I must confess, while I am super interested in research on differences between the male and female physiology and how it affects our life in and out of sports, I myself don't use a lot of women specific equipment. I think the main reason is that there is such a limited choice. And - here are the averages again - it is hard to find something that fits and works for me. However, almost all my equipment is customized for me. For example I cut out my skiboots at the calf (womens calfs start lower than mens) and of course my bike setup is made to serve me.

It is telling/interesting that the female comments on this video are far and few between. Judging from this comments section and the anecdotal evidence in my circle of friends, the women that set up their own bikes are also rare (they exist, no doubt, but they are rare in comparison).

I think this a major problem. I see it all to often that partners, with the best intentions, build up their wife's/girlfriends bike with what works well for themselves - on a smaller frame. Which is completely normal and understandable - especially if the female is new to the sport and consequently doesn't even know what see wants/needs. The brake argument here is a classic: Some find Saints to grabby, but maybe your spouse needs all the gabbiness she can get, because her gip strength is just not comparable to yours.

So to all the dedicated bike shop workers and loving partners out there: Please listen to the women in our life. They are not just small men, so they might need a different product than you do. However they also come in all shapes and sizes. They can tell you how their equipment works for them and they often know exactly what they want. If you're the mechanic in the family: trust her and set it up how she wants it!

To sum up my ramblings: Yeah, i'm more on the "make it fully customizable to serve everyone" side of the argument. But please also look at the science on the differences of male and female physiology and don't just design every component around the average male! Thanks :-)
  • 25 0
 Some good stuff in that video.

Hypothetically I think there's some validity to what Liv are saying - there could be some benefit for female riders in women's specific bikes where the sizing is based on female ergonomic data rather than unisex data and the shocks are tuned for typical female weight rather than typical unisex weight etc

However, in reality, MTB sizing isn't very exact any way. If a brand makes 4 sizes S-XL for everybody between 5 feet and 6'6 there's some massive size bands there - somebody 5'6 and somebody 5'10 are both recommended a medium. That 4" height difference is a massive factor that isn't accounted for at all - and people could be 60kg or 115kg and get sold the exact same bike with the same shock tune, tires etc.

Instead of making 3 women's sizes and 4 mens it's way better to make 6-7 sizes of a unisex bike which will narrow those size bands right down so everybody is on something closer to their ideal size. You could do a different shock tune for the XS and S sizes as I think it's a fair assumption that those riders will generally be lighter.

There is also a benefit here that a lot of kids age 10-13 or whatever can also buy those size XS and S bikes and that doubles the market for them and means shops are more likely to carry the smaller sizes.
  • 13 0
 @tom666 +1 for a very fair critique of a questionable claim.

What "female specific" frame design ignores is that, in terms of height and proportions, there's more variation within the sexes than between the sexes. Sizing is dictated by physiology, geometry is driven by riding style, and valving is a function of rider size and speed. In other words, two people of identical size riding the same discipline at similar speeds will need essentially the same things in terms of size, geometry, and suspension, even if one of them is a woman.

Other than saddles, "female-optimized" products are equally useful for small men and kids. Light rider tunes, small OD grips, and short reach brake levers are all fantastic options for getting smaller humans dialed on their bikes, and we'd all be better off if we could separate those factors from sex/gender when discussing setup.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I mostly agree with you. I think where there needs to be more clarity is on proportional differences. In terms of a man and women of equal height will have different proportions in terms of leg v trunk ratio wingspan etc. Basically something like norco ride align add a few measurements and get a correct fit on a bike.
  • 4 0
 @DirtCrab: Great comment bud. You articulated something I was struggling with "there's more variation within the sexes than between the sexes"

There is a difference between men and women - but men and women who are similar enough in height to need the same size bike frame are not that different at all in terms of their needs.

The typical differences between men and women (size of hands and feet, length of limbs relative to torso etc) can be tackled by adjusting the saddle position (they go up and down and forwards and backwards) and dialling in your cockpit (stem spacers, stem length, handlebar and grip choice, adjusting brake lever reach etc) - which are all adjustments most informed customers would make anyway
  • 2 0
 @tom666: I know some brands like trek did away with women's sizing because they found the data did not support the "women have shorter torsos" hypothesis. As @DirtCrab stated, there are people in both genders with a range of torso to leg length ratios - there's no strict gendered difference in anatomy when it comes to who has a long or short torso.

It's more likely that women might say, have narrower shoulders, but that's accommodated more easily by chopping bar length than geometry changes.

Even the hypothesis that women have "small hands" makes little sense. Hands and feet are relative to height for most people. I have similar length fingers to most men my height, just a narrower palm.
  • 2 0
 @aerob: Yeah the variation in those factors is not outside of the normal range of adjustments you should be able to make on a bike anyway. If you lined up 10 women who are 5'6 and 10 men who are 5'6 the men would on average have bigger hands - but all 20 people should be able to be to get relatively comfortable on a normal set of grips and a Shimano/SRAM brake lever and so it isn't really a problem. If you were speccing an XS or S bike it might make sense to spec a thinner grip and a closer reach lever - and if you're speccing an XL or XXL bike it might make sense to spec a thicker grip. So there are some small differences on average, but nothing that is too problematic for Unisex bikes and designing a whole different set of bikes that come specced with thinner grips and different proportions would actually be worse for some women.
  • 2 0
 Very good points. Taking it one stage further what about shock tune. There could easily be a 30kg weight difference between people who are all recommended the same size and therefore the same shock tune. As more brands offer a direct to consumer surely it’s not difficult to sell any frame size with a range of different shock tunes based on rider weight
  • 11 0
 Was kind of surprised I didn't hear anything about suspension tune (sorry if I missed it). My wife and her friends run such low psi that rebound/compression has to be fully open and sometimes that's not even enough. Making it easier to select light tunes is more important than women specific sizing IMO.
  • 2 0
 Came here to say the exact same thing, 100% a huge factor for women riders. It’s so difficult to get the right suspension set up as a lighter rider. Losing travel has always been an issue for me with the pressures I run, so I almost always require a special tune, which may not be easily accessible for many folks.
  • 2 0
 @xxaw89xx: yeah, I'm on the other end of the scale literally over 110kg but shock tunes are incredibly difficult for a company to get right. You could have someone short but fat(that's were I fall) or someone who's very tall and light. I think specifying the weight range for a suspension tune might be a more honest way to let people know if the bike is for them. I don't see this happening in bike shop brands but direct sales it could be the next customisation level
  • 11 0
 Most women that I ride with tell me it’s cockpit set up and the saddle that is the biggest thing. Not the frame per say. I thought I remember a company making women specific saddles.
  • 3 0
 Always open to new saddle suggestions! Send them my way!
  • 1 0
 WTB used to do 'womens' saddles such as the Deva. But then found that men were stoked on the Deva saddle too, so stopped marketing it as a 'womens' saddle.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Didn't the same thing happen a long time ago with Terry saddles? That would have been for the lycra set on road bikes though...
  • 3 1
 @ratedgg13: same with specialized power saddles
  • 2 0
 I often change my bars, grips, saddle and pedals on any bike I get anyway.
  • 4 0
 Women don't need nor want some stupid girly bikes with pink or turquoise colors and a more open frame but regular bikes with indeed: an adapted cockpit (if needed) and a specific saddle. The rest is pure marketing bullshit AND disrespect.
  • 3 0
 @christinachappetta: Ergon makes women specific saddles. I picked up a Ergon SM Sport Gel Women's saddle for my wife. They also make it in different sizes. She ended up with the M/L and it was night and day difference for her. I rode her bike and noticed a big increase in comfort as well. So I've switched all of the mountain bikes in my garage to that saddle.
  • 1 0
 Most saddle brands still make women's specific saddles. Specialized, Bontrager, Ergon.. The ones that don't do at least make designs that roughly mimic women's specific designs (larger cut outs, shorter noses, wider width options).
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: I would be curious about how you like an SqLab 60X saddle after you've done the measurements.
My wife loves it, and hated the Specialized Mimic women's saddle.
  • 2 0
 Ergon for "women's" saddles... though after about 15years trying saddles for myself, a 5'11" heavy set bloke, the ergon SM women's specific saddle has been hands down the most comfortable saddle I have ever tried and is now installed on all my bikes. Something about the shorter, wider shape takes a lot pressure of my junk and eases discomfort from the minor varicosele I've been suffering with for many years. Heard the same from many other male riders...
  • 1 0
 @CamRivers: for me its the width that i really like. The WTB Volt that i had been riding was 142mm. the m/l Ergon is 155mm. plus the gel and it felt like sitting on a couch in comparison.
  • 10 1
 Having worked with the ladies at liv for a while now and the bikes are great but it’s the woman in that company who are world class at supporting other woman and making them feel welcome in this industry. Argue about the needs for a specific bike all you like but it’s the ladies in that company who are making the difference that matters
  • 8 0
 I really appreciate LIV for promotion of women in our sport. However, I'm not convinced my daughter/wife needs a special frame that's specifically sized for women. As always, grips/saddle/stem/bar sizing is a personal thing. Head angle, reach, BB drop, chain stay, and suspension progressiveness is more telling for sizing and feel; unisex frames offer all the options I feel we need. I wouldn't count out women's specific geo, I'd just compare the geo numbers and components as if it were any other bike.

That, and my daughter hates pink, light blue, or anything frilly.
  • 5 3
 What about the fact that Liv bikes often have specific shock and fork tunes? A lot of suspension is tuned for the large frame size (not all brands do frame size specific suspension tuning), and assumes a large male's mass for the tune. Having Liv do the work to consider different rider weights when choosing their suspension tuning is great.
  • 6 0
 @ratedgg13: Suspension has to be tuned/adjusted for whomever you are. My son is a stick of a person that weighs nothing, but he likes to jump everything. My daughter is the same weight, smaller, but a lot less aggressive. Air shocks are the easiest to accommodate them both (volume spacers, air pressure and in unusual cases, lighter shock oil are needed). So long as the shock and fork are air, there's a lot to work with.
  • 4 0
 @ratedgg13: my only concern with specific shock tunes for different size bikes is the shorter person that weighs more or the taller person that weighs less. How can a company try to say that all women are a certain shape when they fit the size medium, or that all riders on the size small or XS are going to weigh less?
  • 2 1
 @Spencermon: yeah, I’m all for size specific tunes, as larger frame usually means heavier. But for a given height, women are slightly heavier than men (average over the population) so women specific tune is marketing bs I think.
  • 1 1
 @Spencermon: yeah, that's definitely still a problem. But there's definitely a likely range of weighrs for XL frames vs XS frames, and pretty unlikely that there's a lot of overlap between XL and XS. So shock tunes make sense in this case. There will always be outliers, where the shock tunes don't work - which is where having a range of adjustment (or even custom tunes) come into play.
  • 4 0
 @ratedgg13: @AyJayDoubleyou I guess that's just more reason I see that companies should offer more shock options for riders instead of women's specific bikes.
  • 1 0
 Agreed.
Also, I think the last time I wore pink was in primary school, and it was in communist Poland, which meant that there was not much choice of clothes, or colours. Pink is maybe ok for little girls (although it still hurts my eyes), but not for a grown-up woman FFS, well at least not for me. I mean, to each their own, I guess, but I would really like to have more options of items for women, than the usual pink and black, or purple and black. It's annoying.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: yeah, but those tunes were never sized anyway. they were just a lighter tune across all women sizes, which makes no sense. yeti's beti series bikes were tuned for "up to 135lb" rider. up to a size medium bike, that weight just made no sense and assumes women are all dainty and small.
  • 1 0
 @aerob: damn, really? I had ASSUMED they had different tunes across sizes and models. I know rocky mountain at least used to have size and model specific tunes.
  • 1 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: A mans also considerably stronger than a woman for a given height/weight so he's going to be able to handle both small and large bumps differently.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: could be possible some brands did, but it isn't something i've ever seen. i know some models have done it with men's bikes, at least with the larger sizes, which makes some sense, but there's still a huge range of rider weights across the sizes like some riders pointed out earlier. like, I don't ride women's models because i fit a large in most brands, but a tune set for a "size large" rider, i'm probably in the very bottom of the range at 68 kg.
  • 10 3
 I think its obvious that the Liv marketing person didn't really believe entirely what she was laying out. Christine was being nice by not saying what a few of us were probably thinking..... women specific clothing and saddles are the only real need areas. You tune your bike with stems, bars and saddles etc. What we've always done.
  • 4 1
 Remember that there is a market for nicely painted bikes and that's what Liv is really doing. Lot's of women like how they look. As someone else said here, it is probably more targeted on a novice riders spectrum. If they sell it, then they are doing it right, their job is to earn money nothing more. The most important things are the sizes and size specific suspension tunes, not only for women, but for everyone.
  • 7 0
 Wait... I thought we all had to ride pink bikes.
  • 6 0
 it's actually company policy
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: I am glad I am in compliance.
  • 8 1
 Listening to marketing people is a total waste of time.
  • 2 0
 sometimes, not all the time. I prefer south park for answering these type of questions.
  • 3 0
 Woman specific bikes dont make sense, Women come in all shapes and sizes. What we need are more sizes on both ends of the spectrum. Smaller wheel sizes for XS and XXS because 29 doesnt make sense for someone who is 5 feet tall, and XL bikes that are truly XL (pointed out in ben cathro's article). The only un-deniable difference are in touch points of the bike, Most people change their seat, saddle and grips anyway
  • 1 0
 A bike made for the average woman or average man is still going to fit better than the average human.
  • 3 0
 It's great to see more women riding. But what the lady at Trek says is true it use to be intimidating for girls to ride, the whole industry was very Metal Bro attitude. A Liv is the first bike I manage to convince my wife to get on. And women only mtb groups and camps have help her progress. She now rides a Rocky mountain But I made sure she demoed it first since the geo is much different that was she's use to. We still have the Liv and my Son rides it now. I don't think he cares. Hell if you had given me a full suspension bike when I was 14 even if it was barbie pink I would have taken it.
  • 6 0
 More snowboard content from Christina. Combine my seasons!
  • 2 0
 This was years ago, but I went into a bike shop and the salesman tried to sell me on "woman specfice TIRES" (for my wife's mtb bike. HA HA HA.. OMG, like the tires could tell the sex of the rider. PUHlease... Same goes for "women's specfic" bikes. There is no need for such a thing. Now bikes for 'shorter', or 'lighter' riders? Yes, massive market. My wife's 120lbs soaking wet, and we've always had trouble getting her suspension set up 'light enough' to actually work correctly. Otherwise, 'small' mtbs' can easily be 'fitted' with stem length, crank length, etc. - to fit any shape or sized person.
  • 2 0
 I think, that womens specific bikes are probably a good segway for women to get into the sport, but the marketing does not all need to be women specific. The reason for this is, that bodytypes vary alot from person to person, no matter the sex.
I know some men that are small and have really long legs and therefor might benefit from a different base geometry. While i am quite the opposite - 2m tall, long upper body, EU 46/47 size feet and >100 kg. So i finally don't struggle to find bikes that fit, but still struggle to find normal t-shirts or hoodies that fit. Just this winter i needed new skiing gear and ended up trying 8 pair of pants before i found one that fit...
Or snowboards are the classic in my case: when i started snowboarding, the only board that fit (apart from freeride tanks and race boards) was the Nitro Magnum. But then they started to shift it towards a non-fun rental-fleet board that just wasn't made anymore for someone that spent 25 days per season on the slopes. Now there is the Magnum and the Lib Tech Skunk Ape - that's it.
This was also the reason i switched back to skis, because i wanted to focus more on touring and there are just no split boards that fit the needs of someone of my size...

So all in all i think that all those brands in the outdoor industry should specify more clearly what body porportions fit to a certain product rather than market it to sexes.
E.g. on jackets, it would be useful to know how long for each size the torso and the arms are instead of just XL or XXL and the XXL is 5mm longer but 5km wider than the XL.
  • 1 0
 Small correction: Jones Snowboards also has some boards in big sizes now.
So snowboards is getting better, clothes still not ^^
  • 2 1
 that intro brings memories of when I was in Andorra selling snowboards for a couple seasons... most of 2006 Burton Uninc 156cm (Romain De Marchi's pro model) my shop had were sold to women because of the graphics. Good luck trying to show them a more appropiate board for a begginer to intermediate 50kg rider

Also that Danger Pony one is rad and I'd love it on my board!
  • 2 1
 I just don't get the hate for a women's brand or bike. It is just simply another choice or option. If you don't like it, or if it does not fit well then don't buy it, simple.

Imagine a group of elitist cycling women hating on LIV!? A company by women for women that has women employed from CEO, CFO, Engineering, Product development, Color and Graphics, Marketing, and even Field Tech Demo team.

Why would another woman tear these women down for doing what they love and for hiring women for almost all positions?
  • 2 0
 Christina was so interested in hearing about Liv that she spent half the interview on her phone.

Specialized office must be cold.

My takeaway is that "womens" bikes are a marketing tool.
  • 1 0
 Why is it that brands will only admit that their bikes are optimized to fit a certain set of body proportions when they are women specific? Really, the differences in weight, or arm, leg and torso length for a given height are WAY bigger within the genders than between genders.
Instead of a size range chart with just height, they should also include other measures. I understand that Trek doesn't want to put a sign on their website saying "if you have long legs for your height, we advise you to look elsewhere", but for some of their models this was definitely true.
  • 2 1
 Yeah size proportionate cockpit, and suspension valving. 10k for a bike that needs the suspension valved, and another 200 bucks for appropriate size bars " let's spec 800mm wide bars on a size small".
  • 4 4
 This bike is "A woman specific", custom tailored for my wife.

The geometry is absolutely cutting edge, it's designed for how she rides, the tubes chosen for the forces she puts into the frame, and she got to pick the color from hundreds of choices.

Few men have ridden a bike this progressive or custom.

www.peterverdone.com/vega
  • 2 0
 All I want is to have a women's saddle option when im buying a $4000 bike. The pile of useless (to me) saddles in my bike room is growing.
  • 1 1
 Is this still an actual topic people talk about or just clickbait? It has been well researched that when it comes to body proportions (upper/lower/span), there is more variation between individuals within the sexes than between the averages for each sex. An average woman might need a smaller sized bike than an average man but not any special frame geometry, proportions between reach/stack etc. The only part that benefits from being sex-specific is the saddle (different average sit bone/pelvis build). Things like grip size and bar width are size-dependent, not sex-dependent.
  • 2 1
 Believe it or not men's and women's balance points are different. Balance on mountain bikes is one important factor.

Just try the "chair challenge"

www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7OQaSm6AgY
  • 1 0
 Women also need women specific grips and women specific pedals,,,,,,,,,just stop!

There's a big variety of sizes and designs, use what fits you.

What is the "size" or "needs" of a woman? They all different. SMH
  • 1 1
 the *average* woman and the *average* male is still different... while i agree there's variation its still helpful to essentially cut down half the bikes you need to look through
  • 2 2
 Why don't they make women's specific motorcycles, cars, airplane seats, couches, lawn chairs, whateverrrrr....?

Because nobody is that special to warrant fighting the natural currents of the market. Why don't they make XXXL sized bikes for Reggie Millers? Because there are only a couple hundred Reggie Millers that are even close to being potential customers.

If there was a giant untapped market for women's specific bicycles, rest assured; somebody would fill it.

To be clear: I wish it were the case that there was so much female participation in the sport that it made sense. But it's not.

Follow the $$
  • 3 1
 I mean, The article makes sense, but those Danger Pony board graphics are actually pretty damn sweet! Big Grin
  • 2 0
 It's actually a sick board when it's adult size haha
  • 3 0
 Grim Doughnut 3....stretched out XC bike?? interesting Smile
  • 1 0
 Glad someone else noticed! Much excite!
  • 3 2
 Sizing seems to be the issue for many women especially in the bigger travel categories. 29ers are just too big for people 5'2" and under
  • 3 0
 Ibis and Trek have both done significant research on this, and found that its not necessarily true. They both have pro riders who are the size you suggest, and still ride (at their own request) 29er bikes.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Is any of that research available online? I'd be pretty keen to read that.
  • 1 0
 @WheelNut: I don't know that they published much data on it publicly, but there's some reference to some of it here:
www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-gear/bikes-and-biking/short-cyclists-you-can-ride-29ers
  • 3 0
 Isabeau Courdurier might disagree with you.
  • 1 0
 @briain: From the article referenced:

“I can’t get the right fit on a lot of other 29ers that are in a small size and are said to fit riders of my stature,” says Chloe Woodruff, a professional racer. Sometimes variations in riders’ torso and inseam lengths are to blame"

Are there exceptions sure...but wonky stuff starts to happen and its largely a product of the stack on bikes with 29" wheels. Getting the saddle high enough and at minimum even with the grips/bars is a challenge at that stature for bikes with longer travel forks. My wife is 5'2"...we've tried every damn bike out there...very few longer travel trail/enduro bikes actually will fit her without HUGE compromises to pedaling performance.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Pro riders who need to go as fast as possible...not be comfortable on an after work ride. I mis-spoke, there are exceptions. But they are few and far between...look at TREK...in the XS they dont even offer 29...Small they offer both options which is rad. But you and I can pick any brand we want and find a bike that fits...shorter people (most of whom are women) don't have the luxury was my point.
  • 1 1
 Ibis bikes are designed by a short woman, they come with 29" wheels and are available in small sizes (with zero "female-specific" models)..
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: the sizing works for XC bikes with 100mm-120mm of travel, but even then the pros run negative rise stems. That stack heigh is too tall for medium and long travel bikes. The only reason they “fit” is because it’s cheaper and easier for manufacturers to produce a single size wheel and fork.
  • 1 0
 @wolftwenty1: I think from experience, I have short legs and a long torso is shorter cranks. I've just put 160mm on my gravel and it's great. It's another fit thing that bikes all sizes come with 170mm cranks it's silly. But if you fall outside the median size range shorter cranks really help particularly if standover, seat tubes are a problem
  • 1 0
 @briain: How is a free vasectomy a problem? Smile
  • 2 0
 the fact that disclaimer about Ross needed to be included says a lot about PB commenters Big Grin
  • 2 1
 Appreciate the video, glad women have something to call our own and the option to pick from a wide range of bikes in the field. Happy International wooooohmans day!
  • 1 1
 The only female rider i know that wants a stereo typical girl colored bike is my 7 year old. Color, Seats, grips, bar widths, suspension tunes. All those are personal no matter the gender.
  • 2 0
 Like the way they ref XS with lady sizes, my lady is around 6.2, rides L or XL in 27.5 wheel, her bikes are to big for me
  • 2 1
 A bikes a bike, why the f*ck are we trying to assign them genders… small bike = small person / big bike = big person. Fuuuuuck
  • 2 1
 Not true, women who ride in dress need a woman’s bike.
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: women in dresses ride side saddle, so they only need one pedal.
  • 1 0
 @thevoiceofchaos: 2 pedals, on one side
  • 2 0
 that lib / mayhem retro ripper IS pretty sweet, i must say
  • 1 0
 Since I filmed that bit, I have seen that board everywhere!!! it's subliminally telling me I do actually need it
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: idk, that particular lib tech board is pretty stiff …
  • 2 0
 How do I get one of those sweet LIV hats that Jen was wearing.
  • 2 0
 Agreed, very cute hat. They'll be at Crankworx so might have to get one in person
  • 2 1
 Didn’t Transition coin the phrase “pink it and shrink it” In a funny video making fun of the bike industry?
  • 5 0
 I first heard that phrase wayyyy back in the early 2000's (related to snow sports, IIRC)
  • 2 0
 the spesh dude looks exactly how I imagined Spesh dude Big Grin
  • 3 1
 Womens specific bikes are the biggest marketing smokescreen ever.
  • 2 0
 Women specific ebikes are in great demand.
  • 12 0
 ShEbikes?
  • 1 0
 Hah! Checking your emails while making an interested face on a video-call... I know it too well.
  • 2 0
 A a dude with a 24.5 Ski boot fit I feel your pain.
  • 1 0
 This should be titled Christina provides the marketing departments with some free advertising
  • 1 0
 I would say a good % of men are on the wrong sized bike due to "trends" in Geo and top tube length.
  • 1 0
 The shop tools do the same thing to men also, probably not as much but...
  • 2 2
 You dress like a dude, do you really want a girly-colored bike or a dude-colored bike?
  • 3 0
 I've forgotten which colors are girly colors and which are dude colors. Can you please include a chart so that I can make sure I've got my descriptions right?
  • 1 0
 @Spencermon: Just keep buying Barbie Pink clothes, you look great princess....
  • 1 0
 @trashpander275: Thanks. It'll match my coral pink bike.
  • 1 0
 @Spencermon: If you want me to believe that, maybe don't post photos of your sand yellow bike....
  • 1 0
 @trashpander275: sorry, I have like 1 or 2 photos for you to judge me by. my previous bike was pink and purple. you'll just have to take my word for it.
  • 1 0
 Those glasses
  • 2 2
 The answer is simple, it's just not worth the cost.
  • 2 4
 Not sure about your countries, but in Japan, there are about 3 women in the country who ride are aggressive riders.
  • 3 1
 I’m sure there are more, but they have better things to do than hang around folks like you.
  • 1 1
 @trashpander275: That is exactly the problem. We know it's not because women are not capable of aggressive riding. It's a cultural thing. Let's change that culture.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: I have been working in the bike industry in Japan for 22 years, as a race organizer. What experience do you have?
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: www.pinkbike.com/photo/24415082
Here you go four ladies competing in the DH, no 5th lady because there simply is no one else. This is the women's open class expert to beginners. the Winner is Mio she used to race for Trek
Also, a World Cup trails rider. You are looking at all the aggressive women riders in Japan. Also all the beginner and junior and DH riders. This was the most riders I have seen on a women's podium in Japan for a decade. I have attended many over 22 years.
  • 1 0
 @trashpander275: I don’t really care about participation in racing and I don’t think it’s a reliable indicator of the broader participation in the sport itself.







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