Where Have All the Women's Bikes Gone? A Look Inside an Ever-Changing Market

Oct 11, 2019 at 12:41
by Sarah Lukas  



This story originally appeared on CyclingTips.com. View the original here.

I had my first experience with the women's specific movement in 2002. “I ride a Trek 6700 WSD,” my 12-year old self would say, smugly, to my friends. They didn’t know what on earth I was talking about, and neither did I. But I was hooked on clarifying to all who would listen that my bike was WSD (Women’s Specific Design), the label Trek applied to bikes designed with women in mind. The designation made me feel quite special. I had just gotten my first “race” bike, and I felt official.

I do remember asking myself what made my bike, of all bikes, a women’s bike. It wasn’t pink, it looked like other bikes. I knew next to nothing about geometries, fit, or what a saddle should (and shouldn’t) feel like. Was a women’s specific design exactly what I needed to launch my “racing” career, or was this all just some sort of marketing gimmick to sell more bikes? I didn’t really know.

Women’s specific bikes began surfacing in the late 90s, which included the release of “The Juliana” under the Santa Cruz brand in 1999. It was generalized that women had significantly different proportions than men; that a majority of women would have longer legs and a shorter torso (I am quite the opposite with shorter legs and a longer torso). There would also be other anatomical differences taken into consideration such as shoulder width, pelvic angles, etc., but all of these changes were made without a wealth of data.

Regardless, the demand was there. Women, myself included, wanted a bike designed specifically for them, whether that meant a full geometry redesign to include shortened top tubes and taller head tubes, or just saddles, handlebars, and grips specifically for women.

Here we are in 2019 and some of the original front runners of the women’s specific movement, companies like Trek and Specialized and Yeti, are reverting back to a unisex platform, leaving behind their women’s specific bike lines. Specialized just killed the Ruby, the world’s most popular women’s endurance road bike, and Trek has culled most of its WSD line. Is this where the industry is headed? Where are all the women's bikes going?


My first pony

Circa 2002, aboard my Trek 6700 WSD. I clearly had never heard of a bike fit before – why didn’t anyone tell me to raise my seat? Photo: Mom

The slow disappearance of women’s-specific bikes made me curious to learn a little more about the WSD that first started it all for me. I did a quick Google search, looking for any archived information on the 2002 Trek. I didn’t find much. I did, however, come across a few online customer reviews which felt like opening a time capsule.

bigquotesIt's nice to see bikes designed specifically for women.
bigquotesThis bike fits so much better than my old (mens frame) bike.
bigquotesWSD Geometry is a perfect fit for me. (being 5'3")
bigquotesThe fit is MUCH better than my previous bike and other "men’s" frames I have tried.
bigquotesI think part of the reason I fell in love with mountain biking is because I started on this great bike.

There are lots of reviews like that, from women who firmly believed that this WSD model fit them better than anything had before.

Did they?


It's not about tearing down the whole concept

My burning question: Why are these companies switching away from women’s specific models, back to unisex, and will they lose loyal customers?

With all of this in mind I asked Stephanie Kaplan, Road Product Manager for Specialized, about the company’s transition away from women’s specific frames. Kaplan has been a huge driver in Specialized's Beyond Gender movement, which is how the company has branded its pullback from women’s-specific engineering.

“We created the women's specific movement,” Kaplan said. “It's not about uncreating it, but it's about changing the perception on it.”

When Kaplan began working with Specialized in the spring of 2014 as the Women’s Product Manager, she and a colleague initiated a research project with Retül, a fit company now owned by Specialized, to confirm that women’s bikes were necessary. Their goal was to bring more funding and support to larger development projects, because, as we all know, that money follows the biggest driver of sales which tends to skew towards the male demographic.

The study that Kaplan helped to conduct analyzed measurements of anatomical body parts and segments, cycling-specific proportions, and bicycle fit coordinates; data that Retül had been collecting for years. The data were used to understand the differences between men and women and their correlation to bike geometry, bike specifications, and equipment.

“We started looking at this digital database and what they were able to do,” Kaplan told me. Based on the data collected in their study, the results weren’t what they had been expecting. Body proportion ratios between men and women were far closer than common wisdom would suggest.

The old truism that women’s legs are longer and torsos shorter came from a poorly executed study by the US Military, and looks like it might not be true at all.

Based on the Retul data, a short top tube and tall head tube wouldn't be the best design for all women. “When we presented the first studies, we thought, ‘wait a minute, there really isn't a massive difference.’ Not only is gender not a signifier of a fit, but we were able to look at our own bike fits against the fit database and saw some deficiencies on how we were designing our bikes, from a stack and reach perspective. We presented in December 2014 and I think [Specialized] was already thinking about how we were going to balance and move forward.”

The fit differences between men and women, according to Retul’s data, are no greater than the differences found within a group of men or a group of women.

Specialized figured this out with its Retul data, but they weren't alone. Much of the industry drew similar conclusions around the same time. What once was a market that companies couldn’t enter quick enough, is now seeing companies like Specialized, Trek, Scott, and Yeti revisiting their product lines and reverting back to a more unisex platform, with some fine-tuning, of course.

“I think that's just kind of natural evolution for the industry,” Anders Ahlberg, Road Product Manager at Trek said. “It's not a bad thing that women's specific bikes were brought to the market. Trek wanted to try and cater to women, and wanted to get women more comfortable with getting into the sport. As Trek moves towards a more unisex platform, everyone gets more choice regardless of their color preference, regardless of their size, regardless of their riding style. It's better for women, better for everyone.”

Yeti launched their Yeti Beti line in 2015, and will be discontinuing it beginning with their 2020 models. Photo: Dave Trumpore

Colorado-based mountain bike brand Yeti expressed similar sentiments as they announced the discontinuation of their women's specific Yeti Beti bike line in July. Yeti released the Yeti Beti bike line, launching with the Yeti Beti ASRc and Yeti Beti SB5c, in June of 2015. The frames weren’t different, but offered different colors, component options, and suspension tunes.

Kristi Jackson, Director of Marketing at Yeti, explained their decision to discontinue the women's bike line. “The Yeti Beti line leveraged our existing frame platform. Our fundamental design remained, and instead, we focused on adjusting touchpoint components - crank length varied by frame size, handlebar width, smaller diameter grips, women’s specific saddle and tuning the rear suspension to achieve better performance for lighter riders.”

Having only launched the Yeti Beti bike line 4 years ago, the brand had already been researching if it was necessary anymore.

“We discussed it for quite some time and included rounds of internal testing on female and lightweight male riders to ensure the suspensions could be tuned appropriately,” Jackson said. “We tested the waters with the launch of the SB130, which did not launch with a Beti model. This bike continues to be a best seller for men and women. The final decision was made about a year ago as we finalized the 2020 line.

“What I’m gathering is that the more competitive, higher-level riders want to “ride the bikes that the guys ride,” she said. Yeti has found that variables such as body positioning and experience level have a greater impact on bike selection than gender.

Juliana released their first frame in 1999 under the Santa Cruz brand. 20 years later, Juliana is a standalone brand using the Santa Cruz frames for their builds. Photo: Robin O’Neill

I wanted to get the point of view of most of the major hitters in the industry. To be transparent, when I first learned about Juliana years ago, I didn’t understand - it’s a women’s bike, but it actually is the same frames being used in the Santa Cruz lines. How does this make sense? This must just be marketing ploy taking advantage of these poor women.

Katie Zaffke, Brand Manager for Juliana Bicycles, explained Juliana's concept: “We don’t believe in women’s specific geometry,” she said. “We believe that women want a bike that doesn’t let theory compromise real-world handling. They want a bike that’s been refined to have the most appropriate reach, height, and overall geometry for the terrain they’re riding. And that’s what Juliana has offered from the very beginning.”


Women’s specific geometries - who is still using them and why?

There are still brands holding true to the women’s specific geometries, and insist that it’s what women are asking for.

Canyon is the new kid on the block and began their women’s line by giving a unisex frame the appearance a gender-specific finish. After collecting data entries of body measurements via their ordering system, Canyon determined that higher stacks and a shortened reach would better suit female riders. They concluded that women were generally shorter, their arm lengths were generally 2cm shorter than their given toros, and through other resources that they have greater pelvic flexibility. Canyon worked to release their women’s specific geometry road line in 2017, and their mountain bike line in 2018.

Bonnie Tu, Founder of Liv Cycling – Photo: Liv

Liv and Juliana were both started with guidance from their parent companies, Giant and Santa Cruz. Juliana shares frames with Santa Cruz, albeit finished with their own colors and spec, spec-ed for women. Liv, on the other hand, launched their first women’s specific mountain bike, the Alies, in 2008. It has its own women’s specific geometry.

bigquotes“I believe if women want to feel comfortable and perform well on a bike, she should try a bike that has been designed specifically for women’s geometry and anatomy. We don’t tweak another bike to adjust for a woman, instead we look at how women’s bodies are built and work while riding, and build the frame around that.” - Bonnie Tu, founder of Liv Cycling

Zaffke, from Juliana, countered this concept. “Some people (male or female) may prefer that kind of geometry, but there is nothing that proves it to be a good fit for women in particular.”

That seems to be the key point for those brands using unisex geometry, even if they apply women’s specific componentry and branding. There are exceptions to “rules” everywhere, including that the industry must standardize what constitutes as women’s bikes.


Just because it feels correct, doesn’t always mean it is.

My Trek WSD bike was replaced about 15 years ago, and I haven’t owned another women’s specific bike. This is not because I felt they didn’t have a place in the industry, or that the marketing was trying to take advantage of the female demographic. I felt my own build didn’t find its best fit on a lot of the WSD geometries due to my long reach, and I did not understand the marketing of unisex frames with women’s branding.

The scatter plot shown above is taken from "When to Share Product Platforms: An Anthropometric Review. It shows the average total leg lengths and saddle heights of men and women showing that for the same leg length a female rider will be position with a lower saddle height (on average)

It turns out that I’m not much of an anomaly. In Specialized’s research review, "When to Share Product Platforms: An Anthropometric Review," the company analyzed data collected by Retül over the last 11 years with over 7,750 fits. Authors Rita Jett, Samir Chabra, and Todd Carver concluded that it is not necessary to change frame geometries for men and women, but matching components to sizes is key.

Liv disagrees, to a point.

“We knew we saw specific differences between men and women yet needed a way to get there,” Tu from Liv said. She explained how they capture their data to determine their frame designs: “Our designers began using the global body dimension database that reveals female anthropometrics. This database is by PeopleSize. PeopleSize includes nine nationalities such as American, Australian, Belgian, British, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Swedish. We also now consult NASA’s published research and other sources to round out our understanding of women’s dynamic physiology, including anatomy, sizing variations, muscle energy and output.”

Trek collects their data similar to Specialized, through their Trek Precision Fit program at certified retailers around the world. By getting the right fit for their customer base, Trek was also able to determine that their unisex bikes were fitting both men and women with the appropriate adjustments of stem, handle bar width, saddle, etc. “A different sized bar is something that's almost more impactful than the frame size,” Ahlberg said. Plus, a unisex frame design means an increase in options. “Everyone gets more choice regardless of their color preference, regardless of their size, regardless of their riding style. It's better for women, better for everyone.”

In a previous interview with CyclingTips, CEO of Trek, John Burke, said, "I think [women’s products] are really good to have. There are certain parts of the bike that need to be gender specific. And then there are certain parts of the bike that don’t need to be gender specific all the time. It’s really hard to put customers in a box and say you’re this or you’re that. I kind of like for the customers to make their own choices and so I think we’re going to continue to have women specific products and then we’ll continue to have more choices for women to make. I think there are different types of consumers and they want different things. And I think making sure that you satisfy those riders is a good thing."



Retailers and marketing conspiracies

Former professional XC and enduro racer, Kelli Emmett, who is now Juliana’s Sports Marketin Coordinator . Photo: Brian Vernor

Juliana has not hidden the fact that their women's bikes are the same as Santa Cruz's frames, with different color ways and specs geared towards women. I've talked to fellow riders of both genders about this strategy. Some shake their heads, thinking that it's an unnecessary marketing technique, where others welcome the customizations geared towards women.

Juliana's General Manager, Elayna Caldwell, spoke with us earlier this year about the brand's differences between Santa Cruz. "They are the same frame, so let's not make any mistakes about that...I would say that it gives women a chance to have their own brand, their own look, their own feel. I want women to be able to have something that they can grab onto that is their own thing, that's not just the guy thing."

Kaplan and I discussed my first experience of buying my Trek WSD. Could I have been swayed in the buying process, if at all, or did the WSD label make the sale? “You might've felt better that it said women's on it. If they just walked up to you and said, "Oh, you want to get into mountain biking, this is the bike for you," you probably would have been just as happy with that answer as someone saying, ‘this is women's specific.’”

That’s not to say you should just sell for the sake of profits. “Don't tell somebody they need it when they don't need it,” Kaplan told me thoughtfully.

Culturally, the world has changed quite a bit since I picked out my old Trek WSD. In addition to having more data now, the move from women’s-specific bikes to unisex bikes may be a reflection of those changes.

bigquotes“I think that women's products served a really incredible purpose at the time of making cycling more welcoming for women. It's like, look, there's a lot of women that feel really comfortable within the brand that's for them. Right? And there's nothing wrong with that either.” - Stephanie Kaplan, Road Product Manager, Specialized

“One of the comments that I hear in general [for the industry], is that brands are making these decisions strictly around the social trends and not with the consumers’ interest in mind; that it's not authentic,” she said. “If you love it, then ride it and enjoy it. For [Specialized] this was the path we felt most authentic to take for our brand, with no slight to anybody else and how they're approaching it at all.”

Trek is following a similar trend. “The market was calling and saying, ‘It's an easy conversation to say that this is made for you,’” Ahlberg told me.

This suggests there could still be a place for that women’s specific branding, especially if it helps with the barrier to entry into cycling for some women.



Yeti – Photo: Ben Duke

Women and men just want to ride great bikes

Each brand I spoke with had the same end goal in mind - to not only create a great bike for women to ride, but a community that they can be a part of, and thrive in. “Our commitment to the women’s mountain bike community remains steadfast. Women and men just want to ride great bikes, creating gender specific models is no longer necessary to achieve this,” Jackson at Yeti said.

As we approach 2020, the industry is saturated with options, but companies still teeter on the fence, deciding how to market to women.

I teeter, too. What’s the point of a completely neutral frame platform when that’s only going to deprive the market of its demands? Some women do want pink. Some women prefer black. There's no right or wrong here.

The good news is that there are plenty of companies trying to make bikes a more welcoming environment for women. Embracing the brands that give us options will help bring the community together. Women’s-specific geometries are not necessary for my personal fit and riding style, but there is a place for them in the industry for women who are not me. There are women out there right now with their own preferences and riding styles just waiting to get their next bike.

What’s it going to be?


274 Comments

  • 133 3
 If the primary differences beyond basic body dimensions (reach, span etc) between men and women - or men and men or whatever - are things like shoulder width, sit bone width, crank length and so forth... then wouldn't it make sense for manufacturers to allow customers to select different sizes of these particular parts when they buy a bike? I know that some dealers and bike shops will do so - but it's not a given, and they're not supported by manufacturers. If (say) trek or giant or specialised provided their dealers with a range of sizes for saddles, bars and cranks then any rider could get a suitable fit at no extra cost, regardless of gender or proportion. Perhaps the savings from replicating product lines in different colours would offset this.

I for one am often put off buying an off-the-peg bike because I know half the contact points won't fit and will be costly to replace. I doubt I'm alone here!
  • 37 6
 100% this.

Guys and girls come in all shapes and sizes, there's no way to generalise such specific requirements and measurements by gender alone.

I've always been against women specific bikes and joke that they were initially the brainchild of a man who wanted to hold women back by forcing them to ride shorter, steeper, more upright bikes.
  • 69 1
 Having an inventory of bars, stems, saddles, and cranks to be swapped at no cost should be the norm.
  • 17 1
 Nice idea, yes. But unfortunately this makes the whole inventory situation far more volatile and complex, which in turn leads to more stock outs. The supply chain in the cycling industry is already very tough with typical lead times of 6 months.
  • 1 0
 @terribleone1982: I always thought they were the brainchild of bike bike companies looking for the NBT. CHA CHING!
  • 5 0
 Some brands such as Ibis allow the dealers to make these selections when ordering a bike. It only works for brands that don’t build and ship “complete” bikes. Brands like Ibis send a box full of parts, so it’s easier to pick those individual parts when packing. This obviously comes with ups and downs. Many brands have bikes assembled in Asia and shipped to them, which is then passed onto the dealer and consumer. So they’re not going to pull bikes out of a box to change parts.
As for the “women’s specific” bikes. I can’t imagine too many women would want to go back to riding a bike that cost more than a men’s but was the exact same thing? That was an issue in the past. You’d see women’s bikes that were essentially just “shrink’d and pink’d” with the same or lower build spec and they’d be a couple hundred dollars more.
With most new brands jumping on the newer geometry including short seat tubes and low standovers on all models, there’s no reason for a women’s specific bike other than color and marketing.
  • 12 0
 Yes I want this, I want 165 mm cranks on my enduro bike.
  • 2 0
 There are definitely shops out there that provide this service. My local shop has been doing this for years. If your bike comes with a 70mm stem and you fit better with a 50mm, they will swap it out at no cost if you're buying a new bike from them. Same goes for seats. Not sure which other parts they offer this swap program for, but those two are probably the most important ones. Grips are too much of a personal preference thing, but they will also cut down your bars to fit you better (probably won't swap for longer ones though).
  • 3 0
 Sign me up for being able to spec a 155mm width saddle on my new bike. Instead, it usually the first thing I end up selling.
  • 9 4
 @drpheta: that’s a good one. You’re expecting shops to stock three sizes of next SL cranks, XTR and XX1 cranks with bottom brackets, rings, small parts to accommodate a sale would never happen. Not to mention if the bikes didn’t come with any of those components, factories in Asia would leave components dangling in boxes that could cause who knows what other issues.

That’s like asking a shoe store to sew your converse to your color/materials preference. Ain’t gonna happen
  • 2 1
 @drpheta: agree, but also an inventory or shocks with lighter tunes for kids and women, as well as frame and fork decals in the color ways that some women may prefer.
  • 3 0
 @terribleone1982:

You guys know Specialized and Trek did that for a long time...

Yes there are definitely ways to generalize measurements based off of the mean and modes of a data set when it comes to people! 'The Measure of Man and Woman: Human Factors in Design' is an important book for all designers and has enabled products to better suit the widest range of people from architecture to kid proof toys.

Every single one of the products you interact with on a day to day basis use these data sets to make products that the majority of people can use and enjoy. And there are very easily definable generalities between men's and women's proportions that do make for better products. Even just the concept of clothing ranges that fit most people in some fashion between xs-xxl is based off this design principle.
  • 4 1
 @knightmarerider: I’d run 165mm on all bikes. Zero downsides.
  • 3 0
 From my experience, merely 10-15% of MTB buyers would need to change anything from the stock build and only if were said so. That, of course, assuming the R&D department of one company did their job right and the bike is well balanced. I had clients for very expensive bikes and they felt perfect on the original parts and even when asked, if we should change anything, they didn't want to. Customization comes with experience and yes, most of the experienced riders will change their bars, stems, tires, front chainring size, rotor size, etc.

What I do the most, I usually change saddles or cut too wide bars and that's it.
  • 10 0
 This is where companies like Competitive Cyclist can really capitalize - custom builds with OEM products to keep costs down (compared to purchasing new/packaged products off the shelf). I did a Yeti build with them, and was able to find tune everything from my cranks, grips, seat, and even my weight/tuning. Shipped it completely built, with proper tune. Too easy.
  • 1 0
 @usedbikestuff: No, but the bike MFRs can custom taylor the order. Unless the average Joe/Jane wants to walk out with something off the showroom floor, they can order the bike with the specs they want. It might take more time, but the option should be there.
  • 1 0
 @sarahlukas: good for you; they are a good company to work with. I think most LBSs can do the same but will need more support from manufacturers to do the same for customers...
  • 7 0
 This!

Saddles, Stems, Bars, Grips, Seatposts, Pedals, Suspension tunes ... all contact points on a "complete" bike are basically placeholders.

Has nothing to do with sex, has to do with the incredible range of human body types.

Nothing wrong with short reach/high stack bikes...except "WSD" logos "preventing" a man with short torso and t-rex arms from purchasing it.
And vice-versa for the 6'+ lanky ape-index-outlier amazon woman "but i want a women's specific bike"

Offer long and short bikes and let people customize.
  • 4 0
 Everyone at Norco (who's been doing this for years with their custom build program) is high fiving right now.
  • 6 0
 @usedbikestuff:
"That’s like asking a shoe store to sew your converse to your color/materials preference. Ain’t gonna happen"

www.converse.com/c/custom
  • 2 1
 Many years ago when my wife was getting her SC Superlight, the shop went out of the way to spec the parts that made sense for her size, cutting down the bars and getting her a seat that was comfy for her, along with some 165mm Cranks. I wonder how many bike shops do this for their customers?
  • 1 1
 There are some companies out there that sell direct to consumer (like Fezzari Bicycles) that will customize your bike before shipping it out to you so you don't have to change out the parts that don't fit you. The manufacturer can do that for you.
  • 3 1
 @vondur: any bike shop trying to communicate the value of expert service will offer some level of discount/free labor to get that right. one of the few things a *good* shop can do to differentiate from the internet.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: and you are well under 6 feet i assume.
  • 3 0
 @jamesbrant: Yep 5’8”. Not that theres any data on longer cranks being more efficient for taller guys.
  • 2 0
 @JustinVP: but the store isn’t doing that. Trek has project one, the dealer does not
  • 2 0
 @drpheta: it could exist if you wanted to pay $100 at retail more for the same thing. Volume discounts for manufacturers drive more savings that having that option for retailers is worth. Trek doesn’t want to sit on a ton of stems, that’s why they don’t do Project One for inexpensive bikes. Yes, companies can tailor the order between sizes, but build of materials and timelines exist at the assemblers too and they don’t have the luxury of just waiting on a company to decide what they want. No company in Asia would want to work with a bike brand that ordered the same frame with multiple stem lengths. That’s a qc nightmare
  • 3 0
 I just have a hard time believing that manufacturers are making geometry choices based on either fit or anatomical data. It just seems like ex-post sense-making to justify marketing and product decisions based on sales data.

There has been too much volatility in component and geometry fit in the last decade to believe that this is based on anatomical/fit data. In the last decade, reach has grown on every bike, cranks have gotten shorter, stock bar widths on trail bikes have ranged from 680 to 800, etc. These must be following trends rather than data.

So they either weren't basing these decisions in data a decade ago and they are now, or they aren't now and were a decade ago. I guess the other logical explanation is we as a species have been evolving rapidly in the last decade.
  • 2 0
 @drpheta: it would be a smart add-on feature for a shop in the age of Direct to Customer bike companies.
  • 1 0
 I'm with you, at least, from online retailers.
Saddle model/width and stem length should be a minimum, if a coil shock is offered, variable spring rate should be offered too. I ride a large, but a 450-500lb spring is too much. Crank length would be nice too, fed up of bashing 175mm cranks.

I'd love an option of a bodyweight specific suspension tunes, but I understand why it's be very complicated to offer.

Bars can be cut down or raised, grips are personal preference, maybe dropper post lengths could be given though?

I don't think I or many others are asking for that much - it's not a custom bike, but a few options would be wonderful.
  • 1 0
 That's why I like the id3a of a "frame kit". I love doing my own builds but they always turn out expensive. A company offering frame, fork, headset, shock, dropper at prices in line with OEM completes would get good business I reckon. Just a Fox 36 and Transfer dropper at retail prices in the UK is something like £1500. It's ridiculous considering you can literally buy a complete bike with those parts on for a little over £2500.
  • 4 1
 @jclnv: 165 zero downsides? Why not 160 then? Well there are obvious downsides for short cranks like standing pedalling that doesn’t allow you to use high cadence to compensate. For real tech climbing, I mean stuff like Jeff K Weed is doing in his vids, sorry long cranks please. If you don’t have such climbs and spin with your ass on the saddle then yeah, why not. I could around town on my DJ on 175 cranks on 34-16, I changed to 32t on 165 cranks and still want 30. If you cannot understand 6% shorter force leverage then don’t tell people “zero downsides”. Crank length enlightened legion strikes again hahaha
  • 2 2
 Also I happen to have 165 cranks on myDJ, 170 on roadie, 175 on Enduro and 180 on race BMX. If someone answers the question: which crank arm length is the best for me? With something different than “it depends” thenhe’s full of crap
  • 1 0
 True that. I always build frame up, but if I didn't have expendable income for all this nonsense it would drive me nuts to be pigeon holed into wonky fit.
  • 2 0
 @jclnv: bullshit, I notice a big difference between 170 and 175.
  • 2 0
 @Raivkka: Notice what? Have you measured maximal or, sustained power output, fatigue etc?

“For example, Inbar et al. (1983) measured the mean and peak power output for 13 subjects during a seated 30s effort using crank lengths 125-225mm. While the authors identified an optimal crank length of ~165mm for this kind of effort, there was no significant change in power when cranks were as long as 200mm or as short as 150mm. Beyond that, there was evidence of a small decline in power for 125mm and 225mm cranks, however the losses were relatively small (2-5%).”
  • 1 1
 Everyone seemed to miss wheel sizes and tire width. Bike shop should do a better job overall in allowing small customer-zation. Brands like Santa Cruz, Specialized and Trek should allow buyers choose suspension, wheels, tires, bars, stem, pads (metallic please) and other small things. Ship bike from Asia, but let shop provide customer what they want for their riding male or female. No up charge except suspension and possibly wheel sets upgrades.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: This is a fantastic idea
  • 2 1
 @Raivkka: I also notice difference between 170 and 175. For what purpose though? What bike, what terrain? This is mountain biking, broad term. It's quite mistaken to chose crank length for an Enduro bike to be ridden in proper mountains, based on some roadie science OR Dh racing results.
  • 5 0
 @mtb-sf: Commencal were doing it for a while but I think they have stopped. It's easy to understand why the big companies don't do more customisation. We switched to air shocks in part because retailers didn't want the added cost associated with stocking a range of springs. I doubt those same retailers will now accept having to stock a range of saddles, bars, stems, grips, cranks, tyres, to change at no extra cost onto customers' $2000 bikes.

If you're enthusiastic enough to be so specific in what you want, you're going to have to build our own bike.

Another point of view is that humans are so adaptable. Your body will quickly accommodate a 5mm difference in crank length, and extra 10mm of stem extension. It may be suboptimal, but again, if you're good enough to notice then you're probably going to be enthusiastic enough to build your own bike.

Buying all the parts and building a bike exactly the same as a stock bike would cost you about double. That's the thing I would like to see changed. Big retailers should be ordering stock directly from the manufacturers just like OEMs do. The savings could pass on to the consumer.

Only mildly related. I remember an article in Motor Cycle News maybe ten years ago. You could buy a brand new Kawasaki ZX6R for about £8000. They went through the parts catalogue and priced up the same bike from genuine Kawasaki parts, and it came to something ridiculous like £36,000. We're lucky we don't have that big of a difference in pushbikes!
  • 3 0
 @drpheta: That idea is completely insane. The end result would be that bike shop employees spend all day swapping stems and bars for some chump who MAYBE will buy a bike or maybe just waste a mechanic's day window shopping. Meanwhile, everyone else who's waiting on tune ups and service gets to wait a little longer while some wannabe racer obsesses over whether they want a 45mm stem or a 60mm on that bike they can't afford to buy anyway.
  • 1 0
 @drpheta:
Agree, could be a key differentiator for bricks and mortar bike shops to add value in the competition with direct to consumer model
  • 2 0
 @matt721: Try owning and operating a bricks and mortar shop where you give away your time for free fitting bikes to customers and see how long you stay in business...
  • 1 0
 It's at some extra cost, but Trek has Project One already. If you pick from standard colors, the upcharge is minimal. There's usually a short lead time, but all those things you mentioned ARE options. I think if shops approached the sale holistically, they may realize that many people need at least 1 part changed to accommodate fit. Instead of zero cost, I'd like to see vouchers offered on bikes above a certain price point. That way you get something free, or defer some cost of a part swap.
  • 1 0
 @sarahlukas: So many questions about this. I went to their site to investigate a build because I roll fairly custom as well. There were a ton of options and a pretty wide amount of products to chose from. It seemed as though you could not get everything needed like a Specialized saddle, 150mm Fox 36 or a Shimano SLX 12 speed build in many cases. I also didn't see an option for shock tune, did you have to call in? If you have to go that far for those options wouldn't it be just as good to go to a LBS and have a face to face with someone about a build? And then there's that service/warranty aspect...

After piling many things into the build, things added up quite significantly vs. a stock build. Did you get industry or special pricing? Or if given any break on pricing wouldn't it be easier to order direct from the factory?

That 02 pic is priceless with those others you're mashing up against. Cheers
  • 33 1
 I definitely think women's specific branding has served more purpose than just incorporating shorter/smaller touch points. It's allowed women to break into a sport that is otherwise massively dominated my men. My girlfriend was super intimidated by the mere concept of mountain biking, but was comforted that there were specific fits for her. It's acknowledgement that there are women who mountain bike. That being said, once someone is comfortable with the sport and is confident in their ability, women's fits may be marketing- but up to a point, women's specific bikes are a major confidence boost to new riders.

Also, women's bikes come in WAY cooler colors than men's bikes. The Mixtape Stumpy is pure eye-candy.
  • 1 0
 Agree with this. I see lots of women on Livs and Julianas here which is awesome.
  • 4 0
 they get all the best clothes too, right?
  • 6 0
 Great reference/example - these are the types of small stories that people miss.
  • 1 0
 @tobiusmaximum: Yeah, dude. I'm wearing brown khakis and a gray pullover. I'd love if I could wear some colorful stuff to work.
  • 5 18
flag truehipster (Oct 14, 2019 at 14:26) (Below Threshold)
 “super intimidated” . . . . It’s just a bicycle!
  • 27 1
 Long story short: anufacturers found out that they are not making money on it...you can always find/create a study that proves your point. Especially when it's about a few mm of geometry here and there.
Reason why they werent selling well: Bad resale value. A man is not likely to buy a second hand womens bike. But not vice versa. Women are used to riding unisex or mens bikes.
  • 6 5
 Reason 2: not that many women ride bikes, therefore not many women buy women's bikes. Unfortunately for the bike companies, the cost of painting, graphics, distribution etc don't get cheaper if you only sell a few.

It's driven by the bottom line like everything else.

Remember giant's 275 spiel?
  • 4 1
 @jaame: I can’t speak for other areas of the world but regionally, there are evenings where Liv bikes are among the top 3 most popular bikes on the trail. On women’s group ride nights, there are times that they may be #1. Women in my area LOVE Liv bikes, and there are a ton of them seeing regular use. I also get the impression though that there are a lot more women riders in my area than in most other areas. As an aside, and as a general statement, Liv bikes seem to be able to float through rocky rooty flat sections like few other suspension designs. I love watching how their riders can sit and spin effortlessly through stuff that other bikes have a tough time managing.
  • 24 1
 @mtnbkrmike: they'd sell even more if they were called Liv Lov Laff bikes.
  • 6 8
 @mtnbkrmike: my wife has a Liv bike too, which she had ridden about 40 miles on in 9 years.
A friend who used to own a giant franchise in Taiwan always rides last year's Livs that he was forced into buying bit never sold. He's a small guy so it works out ok for him.
All I mean is, not many girls ride expert level mountain bikes in the grand scheme of things. Much like I'm sure not many men buy expert level lipstick or nail polish. Some do, no doubt. Just not enough to justify Mac or No7 doing a whole line of said products aimed at men. They're in it to make money.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Ichiban?
  • 2 0
 @mtnbkrmike: that could be because a good shop too. I know that if you go to a place that only has a couple chops, and one is considerably better, you see everyone riding bikes from that shop. Then all it takes is one or two good sales people to put a lot of butts on a particular brand.
  • 2 0
 You are dead right... Women's version of anything, apparel/components/bikes/shoes/etc are not only MSRP'd lower, but they're usually the first things that go on sale/clearance in retailers. And the women's second hand used market is incredibly cheap! My GF and I have bought so much women's stuff at bargain basement prices (new and second hand); it's incredible how much pricing discrepancy there is between the men's market and women's on similar items. The "womens" Contessa version Spark my GF rides was instantly $500 cheaper than the identical spec'd male version...same frame geometry and same components, just different paint and different sized finishing kit (cranks, bars, seat, etc). Best bargain I've run across was $350 for a Liv Envie Advanced frameset on eBay, barely ridden and was warranty replacement. The frame sold for $2k at Giant dealers! I have to believe the decline of female bikes is directly tied to poor sales/profits.
  • 2 0
 @mtnbkrmike: I noticed Trailforks metrics shows gender usage by trail. My local trail says near 97% male.
  • 1 0
 It's quite typical of the English-speaking world at this point in time. We are debating the obvious.
  • 28 1
 The Juliana colours are always dope too!!
  • 1 14
flag Larkey1 (Oct 14, 2019 at 6:51) (Below Threshold)
 Its a shame their geo doesn't change between the mens SC and the Juliana bikes.
  • 7 1
 @Larkey1: According to the article above, it shouldn't change as women and men, other than on average being slightly different in height, are proportioned similarly.
  • 8 0
 Yeah that new matte green is SOO nice. They need to let whomever is picking the ladies colors to pick the mens. The men's have sucked for a while, I dont get it. Santa Cruz is such a cool, hip place...yet the colors are like Hyundia Sedan colors. Nice for a mini-van sure.
  • 2 0
 “Where have all the women’s bike gone ,
Long time passing .
Where have all the women’s bikes gone ,
Long time agoooo !
There’s a song in there somewhere !
  • 1 2
 As someone who has worked doing bike fits for several years I know that if take an average 6foot mans and put him next to a 6foot woman their torso/leg/arm lengths are very different.

Sounds like companies are just trying to spin us that girls should just ride guys frames and make do with part changes.
  • 25 8
 Ruby Sparkle Fuel and lust. The industry always talks about equal treatment and not being sexist. The industry goes and names all their women specific bikes after strippers.
  • 5 3
 Liv Tyler was also a stripper in that music video. Just sayin'
  • 20 1
 Where are you going that has strippers named "Fuel?"

Thunder Down Under?
  • 4 2
 You know there is this mineral called ruby? Also it was a play off Roubaix...
  • 5 2
 @PrincessBigWhip: I can't like this enough. ^^
  • 2 0
 @sarahlukas: I can't like this article enough. Great job.
  • 14 2
 obviously going to get slammed for this, but i found a love for bikes despite the fact no bike fitted properly, there were no bike parks, brakes didn't work in the wet, we had no suspension and your grips came loose halfway through a winter ride. i do wonder why the constant modern rhetoric is to adjust everything under the sun to 'entice' women into the sport and make them feel comfortable. whats wrong with buying a bike that isn't waaay too big and just riding it? the obsession with making every detail perfect for women and 'my daughters' just sounds like a roundabout way of calling them all primadonnas and divas. which i doubt is what people are really saying.
  • 2 1
 You should see the 1990 Apollo Blizzard 15 that got me hooked on mountain biking!
  • 2 1
 @jaame: i bet it was bloody awful lol. just like my Peugeot Raider (in pink!) yet.. here we still are.
  • 11 1
 I, also, clearly found a love for bikes despite the fact that I had no idea what the hell I was doing; on a bike that did not fit me properly. That was definitely step 1, but for some women, the barrier to entry can feel a bit more daunting. Women's specific products serve a purpose, and for some, that means having a more comfortable entry into the sport. My first bike was a WSD, but honestly, that is not what got me into the sport.
  • 2 0
 Better would have been for LBS to offer a "Ladies Choice" setup where they get to pick from some nice saddles, cranks, bars and whatever else at a discount or same price. They'd sell some bikes and gain new customers, new maintenance etc. They could even sell them a maintenance package for gals getting into it who dont feel like dropping cash on tools and YouTube wrenching.
  • 26 2
 Pinkbike article: Women don't nee...

Male Pinkbike commenters: I RODE A BIKE THAT WASNT IDEAL FOR ME ONCE, WHERE'S MY f*ckING PARADE?
  • 3 0
 @sarahlukas: yeah also a good point - all the bike nerds on here are maybe overthinking it - when it comes to starting out, probably best just grab any bike that sort of fits and go ride Smile
  • 6 3
 @dkidd: you can be at the front, on your white horse.
  • 1 1
 @jaame: My Townsend shooting star would have smoked it
  • 2 1
 @Davec85: yes, it probably would have. What I really wanted was a Diamond Back Sorrento. Or dare I say it, Topanga. Those were the bikes dress were made of.
  • 1 0
 Dreams. Not dress.
  • 1 6
flag chasejj (Oct 14, 2019 at 11:51) (Below Threshold)
 @sarahlukas: You're the exception. Not the rule.
  • 6 4
 @chasejj: In which regard am I the exception? I don't think comparatively that I would be an outlier for the women's market, but you know me and my body better than I do. Enlighten me.

Maybe tell me what the rules are, too. No one told me when I started riding.
  • 6 11
flag chasejj (Oct 14, 2019 at 18:19) (Below Threshold)
 @sarahlukas: Get over yourself for crying out loud. If you are making an argument that all women are like you ,youre delusional. Women for the most part are not attracted to this sport.Same as my moto riding experience. There are a few scattered here and there. Mainly to have something to do with their male significant others . Otherwise they would not seek out either as recreation.
  • 7 0
 @chasejj: Where do you live?? Its mobbed with ladies on the mountains up here. A bunch of them race some serious stuff. The young girls teams (multiple) are stacked. Hell even my 60yro mother-in-law motos a bit too. You need to get out more man.
  • 3 4
 @Svinyard:But I see what I see. Been doing these sports longer than you I guarantee(50 years). Show me numbers.You can't.
If you are correct why is there almost zero women's moto market and mfg's pulling out of WSD despite the cultural demand they be accommodated with specific hardware? You can't.
I smattering of regional activity does not prove a world market.
  • 3 0
 @chasejj: It's pretty obvious there isn't a world market, hence this article.
  • 4 1
 @chasejj: How many male moto/mtb riders 'only seek out this sport' because they were introduced to it by their dads? I don't think inherent gender differences are keeping women out of the sport, so much as cultural inertia: parents have been encouraging their sons to ride bikes much longer than they've encouraged their daughters. Then when you're an older kid, you want to hang out with your friends; if you're a girl and none of your girlfriends ride, well, I guess you'll play lacrosse or something instead. And then finally your boyfriend puts you on a bike, and some grumpy old man on pinkbike talks about that like it's a bad thing! Razz But I think it's changing, slowly, the mini class in my local moto series has a ton of girls in it even though there are still damn few of us in B Vet... That's a good sign.
  • 1 3
 @ryetoast: You clearly are conflating observations of facts in the time I've been observing and my opinion about women participating. Pretty typical. Don't assume what my opinion is as I never stated it. Women riding is fine, I have no issue with it. My wife rides , occasionally but doesn't enjoy it like I do, she'd rather run 6 mi on a treadmill. My top athlete sons who also have $6K FS MTB's rarely use them. Their sports take up their time now. In fact here in the bay area very few kids actually ride in any serious capacity at all. The sport is dominated by the 30-60 yo well to do guy who fancies himself needing a mild form of adventure and exercise. Maybe some hotbeds of activity have the demographics skewed differently, but I rarely see female or younger demo males for that matter riding real trails in the east bay area where I ride. I ride B Super Senior in D36 and its down to me and 3-4 other guys.
  • 3 0
 @chasejj: What it all of that just boil down too...the Bay Area sucking?
  • 2 0
 @chasejj: um, I think you missed the 'I was joking' emoji there, regarding what you *assumed* was my opinion of your opinion of women on bikes! I don't actually think you (or anyone, in this day and age) believe women SHOULDNT ride... Merely that your reasoning for why more of them don't, seems to be a bit limited.
  • 2 1
 I always take those emojis to mean "I meant what I said but you can't be angry because I'm going to pretend it was a joke"
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Must you? That sounds like you're just reaching for an excuse to be angry, regardless of the OP's intent.
  • 2 0
 @ryetoast: not really. No one ever explained to me what those emojis actually meant, or an SOP on how to use them. I just kind of woke up one day and found a load of yellow cartoon faces on my phone. I would reason that on account of this ambiguity, they mean different things to different people.
That's the problem with text isn't it? Facial expressions, tone of voice, body language etc are not transmitted across to the other party.
That's why on the internet more than in face to face conversation we must be careful about how our words could be construed. And by that I mean everyone, not just you.
  • 3 0
 Is this a good time to remember that without this faceless forum we’d probably all enjoy riding bikes together and having a beer afterwards? Or is that a bit slushy lol..
  • 1 0
 @jaame: oh, oops, yeah, you basically said that!
  • 4 1
 @chasejj: so lemme get this straight...
What you're saying is that despite the alarming amount of evidence present on this very site (all of which indicates that the paradigms which you surmise your community adheres to run contrary to the norms of the rest of the cycling community) you're more than happy to extrapolate from those perceived values to the cycling community worldwide, and use that fiction to discredit the opinions of someone who is fundamentally better suited to the argument?
  • 2 0
 @tobiusmaximum: You're quite right. I think the fact that the internet, Facebooks etc have replaced a large amount of face to face conversation is a big contributor to the phenomenon we are seeing where everyone gets so upset about anything and everything. It's easy to misinterpret written words than spoken ones. F2F trumps message boards every time.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: yeah I used to argue a lot on here and one day I was like ‘damn, these are all people I actually have a lot in common with’. It’s not that I can’t be arsed to argue anymore, I love a good verbal thrash. I just know it doesn’t do any of us any good.
  • 2 0
 @tobiusmaximum: We can all make more effort to keep it civil. I am as guilty as the next man of typing inflammatory remarks just for my own amusement. One should try to cut down!
  • 2 0
 @jaame: exactly. See above, I told a guy I don’t even know that he was being a white knight.. and whilst I would do that to a mate in real life, I wouldn’t say it to someone I’d only just met unless I was prepared to really piss them off lol.
  • 2 0
 @tobiusmaximum: I guess, take it with a pinch of salt is the best advice.
  • 1 3
 @Svinyard: It does suck. But that's a whole other convo. :-).
Other places I ride, Tahoe, Mammoth, even Idaho. The numbers on actual MTB trails remain fairly consistent. I even asked my wife if I was missing some women in my numbers statement and she said , I'm probably OVERSTATING the numbers!
If anything, I'd be more concerned about cost of entry and developing the younger male demo in this sport to keep it going. Chasing women riders with marketing budget is probably a loser and always will be for a variety of real preferences women have for recreation.
  • 10 0
 Whatever it takes to entice women to join (or go it alone) there male counter parts... I'm all in!!! As a long time male Mtn biker (who also raised two daughters as a single Dad) I believe women's specific steeds play an important part for many female riders who may otherwise stay sidelined. Hey you guys out there...... make it fun, welcoming, and adventurous for the ladies!! Mtn biking is for both genders. I enjoy encountering female riders out on the trails who are ripping it up!! So awesome to see - good stuff !!
  • 6 0
 While I personally do not feel that I need a WSD geometry, I do think there is a place for them in the market, and what you mentioned above is a huge part of it (I agree). If it makes a specific woman more comfortable entering the sport... who... gives... a ..... f.......k... Ride the bike, sister.
  • 10 1
 Hey companies, want to sell more bikes to women? Then get your marketing correct. From observation at a local mtb festival, Liv seems to do a better job since they had their own both staffed by women and where women feel that it is their own space, as supposed trying to get a demo bike from the numerous dudebro-staffed tents visited by dudebros.
  • 3 0
 Not to mention Liv Cycling Vancouver is also the only women specific shop in Canada.

When you take you girl there for a shopping date, do her a favour and drop her off and go check out Giant next door. She’ll be well taken care of.
  • 3 0
 Exactly. What I've seen Liv do is looks to me to be the right way to attract women. When Sam or Gwin switch brand men follow.
  • 6 0
 @iamamodel: Not only that, but it doesn't matter if a bike company comes up with the best fitting bike even made specifically for women if the marketing doesn't reflect what women actually want. How do you find out what women want? It's certainly not done by a conference room full of men brainstorming ideas on what women want.
  • 1 0
 @matadorCE: I don't even know what I want.... Smile
  • 6 2
 “Men, be more inclusive in this sport!”

“Also, no men allowed at our ride/shop/demo tent/whatever. You make us uncomfortable”


This is the type of thinking that makes mountain biking less inclusive.
  • 4 3
 @TypicalCanadian: LOL surely it can be the toxic masculinity and cliquish behavior that makes mountain biking less inclusive!
  • 4 2
 @matadorCE: and there you go. Thinking there is only one cause of this issue. Of course douchy guys make it harder for women to get into the sport. But there are also tons of super supportive guys that just want to ride with people. Just like there are cool women and douchy women. Purposely segregating yourself based off gender and then preaching inclusivity doesn’t do anything to help, it just reinforces that we should all just stick to our small groups.
  • 3 2
 @TypicalCanadian: You're missing the point. Representation matters so if you're new or thinking about getting into a sport and see practically no one that looks like you or even talks to you, how willing are you going to be to push through that barrier? There is diversity and there is inclusivity; having one does not mean you automatically have the other one. I've been a part of a few mtb group where women show up to ride and no one talks to them or even acknowledges their presence--same for other kinds of minorities. It's no surprise most if not all don't come back to ride.
  • 3 1
 @matadorCE: segregating yourself is not the way to expand your network in a sport that you’re new to. It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or girl or what sport you’re trying. I won’t say anything more than a “hey how’s it going” to most females I see on the trail (and there are many of them shredding out there). If I try to talk to a female rider and ask her to ride with us, I could be labeled a creep or accused of mansplaining or something. If I don’t say anything, then I’m exhibiting toxic masculinity and being “cliquish”. The gender-segregated rides/camps/shops only reinforce this to many of us who just want cool people of all skill levels to ride with.
  • 3 2
 Do adults really need others who "look like them" in order to get into something?
  • 2 2
 @lej: yes, you're being way too naive if you think this doesn't play a major role in hobbies
  • 1 1
 @matadorCE: I'm being naïve because *I* don't need people to look like me when I take up a hobby? Are you serious?
  • 3 0
 @matadorCE: And aren't you a male? Can you please stop telling me what you *think* women face and need?
  • 2 1
 @lej: I'm telling what I've seen actually work; empirical evidence. Not saying it is the only way, but it's one way I've seen it work. This notion of "we're open to everyone who wants to ride, they just have to show up!" is naive at a minimum and gaslighting at most.
  • 11 0
 Women's bikes always have the best paint jobs.
  • 1 0
 Blergh. You're welcome to them! There's only so many of us interested in pink and teal.
  • 5 0
 Glad this article showed body geo statistical data to help prove something I’ve seen in the real world over the years. But I was disappointed there was no discussion of body weight and shock / fork tunes. Many women riders I know are on the light side for their height compared to ‘average’ men. And there are men who are outliers too of course.
  • 2 0
 I did put mention in the article that a lot of companies are switching to lighter tunes for riders when using unisex models. Not a ton of discussion around it, though, but something that can be adjusted so easily for riders.
  • 2 0
 "Many women riders I know are on the light side for their height compared to...." You obviously never been to Houston!
  • 3 0
 There's as much weight difference between women as there are between men. You tune your shock to your weight, not your gender.
  • 5 0
 Businesses in the bike industry have a major dilemma... Simplifying of course, but there are (generally) two factions of female customers. The ones who WANT female specific things, like 'female colors' and appreciate what some call 'shrink it and pink it'. Then there is another faction who says women don't need to be treated differently and they like the same colors as men do and ride just as hard and want the same bikes. I've talked to many people in the industry and they're always stressing/debating on which 'direction' to take their companies for fear of negative feedback. And not matter which direction though go, they get hate from the other side. Rock and a hard place.

And then there's the bottom line, which is the third factor and has to always be considered. The market is much smaller. That's just fact. And as a result, companies can't really afford to make completely different bikes (often times carbon molds) and such for a segment that represents 15% of their sales. They're already on bike industry margins to begin with. So this always plays a role in it. And I don't blame them for it. That's just what any business who wants to stay in business has to do.
  • 1 0
 I think the WSD is easily solved by supporting a cockpit swap at the LBS (with appropriate delay for the service) and to stop this nonsense where cranks are all the same BS length. If they did that and then actually made some decent colors that entice both sexes...it'd suit everyone and also bolster the LBS brands.

Its like TV...everyone cuts the cable for the cheaper A La Cart Netflix, Hulu, YouTube. A big part of that is the stupid cable company just never evolved to give the customer what they want...one size fits all is a dated model, we see it in the bike industry. It's an opportunity, and just a matter of who figures it out first at the LBS level. Guessing Norco might be there with their online/lbs setup. They even have separate chainstay lengths for most sizes (again...not one size fits all).

Still, there are a mountain of bikes with horrid colors that my wife (a graphic designer) would NEVER buy, simply because of the color. That is on them, not the consumer model. Color does matter, but it doesnt have to be "girly colors" to quote her. No one wants a pink Ferrari. (Or crappy mustard color for that matter)
  • 3 0
 Underrated comment.
  • 6 0
 Meanwhile almost all bike manufactures are still putting big ass seats, too long droppers, incorrect shock valving and stupid 170 / 175 cranks on XS bikes :/
  • 2 0
 Not to mention some of them are still building XS bikes with 32 inch standovers. Looking at you, Intense.
  • 4 0
 My wife (5' 5", wide shoulders, shorter legs, long torso) fits her Bronson, and her Stumpy before that, perfect. But, she had to swap out the saddles (too narrow for her sit bones). And grips are a huge issue, standard grips meant she always has a whack of grip sticking out with her finger on the brake levers. Finally found some grip shift grips and that did the trick. I'd agree 100% that stems, bars, seats, etc. make more difference than the frames, but I'd argue that will be true of many men too.

And she loathes all chick marketing, ie pink and flowers.
  • 1 0
 My wife likes the brighter and wilder color schemes, but hates pink. She thinks the teal Yeti's are so pretty just the way they are, and would never ride a red bike (which are surprisingly popular among men.)

Likewise, she prefers 760mm wide bars, despite them being wider than her shoulders, and like many men, wants as much dropper post as possible.
  • 2 1
 Don't you just cut the bars down a bit if her hands are always super inboard/adjust brake position? Grip shift is...well, grip shift.
  • 7 0
 We have always been a fan of bikes designed for humans, of all sizes.
As seen here: www.pinkbike.com/video/494963
  • 2 0
 Love Transition but when are we going to start specing the Ripcord to fit kids sizing and weight tho? Appropriate cranks (155mm is wrong, we've done the side by side testing) and a kid tuned suspension rather than adult (it's pretty bad)? That bike needs an update with the new Manitou kids tuned shock and fork (insanely nice)...and some 140mm cranks. The reach is a bit too long, so slack it out a bit with a touch more travel too (kids dont suffer a pedal bob penalty) and Bob's your uncle. We've done some side by side testing with newer kids bikes and the difference is stark when the bike is done right. (Grom Kids seem to shred anything but better is def better when it matters). The Shimano brakes and tire choice were nice updates!
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: Probably when they quit selling out of them as quick as they can produce them.

I have a Ripcord for my 7 year old and it needed some love but it's a great 24" bike.

Shorter cranks should be standard on all builds. And an optional build kit with decent wheels and forks would be cool.
  • 1 0
 @SunsPSD: Yeah just hoping they modernize the build to be a bit closer to your super custom build at the very least (which iirc I dont think a single thing is stock on your bike aside from shock right?)

Crank fit issues shouldn't be standard out of the box. Expensive to fix and not all parents are wrenches. Shock tune is 125$...the stock fork cant even be tuned aside from swapping the oil as the damper is just a simple plate etc. Big difference from what Norco just dropped for similar price. Transition is awesome people/company tho and just hoping to see them continue to do well in the kids space. I'm guessing they have something up their sleeve but even Norco is still specing heavy, wrong SX 155mm cranks. Someone has to finally get it right aside from Trailcraft, Prevelo, Spawn etc.
  • 4 0
 My wife was chasing me for three years with both of us riding a Giant Reign, same model. Last year she picked up a Liv Hail and now I have to chase her on my Reign, same build except the frame. I honestly have trouble keeping up sometimes. She says its because it fits. I believe it.
  • 3 0
 From a marketing perspective I do understand having both. Even if it's just the illusion of having both. Sometimes believing something is marketed towards your specific needs is important enough to pique your interest.

However, buying a woman-specific bike just ruins the resale ability of the bike. Simply by cutting your target buyers in, err 5? more? The gender numbers aren't equal, sadly.
Woman specific saddles: yes.Bits are bits. They're different.
Sizing: you get small and large women and men. Our proportions aren't to dissimilar. That what bike setup is for.
Suspension tune: Same as above, you get light and heavy men and woman. Again, bike setup.
Colours? More the better. I want a pink and purple frame option.
  • 2 0
 Resale really is such a huge part of this that I didn't write about...Maybe that will change in the future, but who knows.
  • 7 3
 Women Specific is nothing but marketing --- don't fall for it. Chicks can ride just as hard as men. resale of chick bikes is horrible....next we'll have women specific pint glasses
  • 7 0
 We already have. They're a bit smaller and they only hold half a pint. That was a joke by the way.
  • 5 4
 I really don't think it's as black and white as this. While my body proportions don't call for different geometries, and a women's specific bike wouldn't be the best fit, I do believe there are women out there (I have spoken to them) that have had the geometries compared and it suits them better.
  • 5 2
 @sarahlukas: Guess what? There are men who’re outside the typical sizing ranges too.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: it's a 10oz glass...works great
  • 1 0
 @enger: sheet, size does matter?
  • 5 0
 @jclnv: I would imagine there is. Which is why the range of options maybe isn't a bad thing if there is such a diversity in the market.
  • 3 2
 @sarahlukas: Yeah it really has zero to do with women. It’s just marketing, like 90% of the industry.
  • 8 2
 What’s it called when you assert separation between two groups of people that isn’t actually backed by any facts?
  • 7 0
 Politics......?
  • 3 1
 Marketing
  • 3 0
 I agree with those who say this is a marketing ploy however if it helped bring women who weren’t riding into the sport it was a bonus. Most of my female riding friends have owned women’s specific bikes at some point along their journeys however they end up back on whatever fits the best. In my experience I seem to fit certain brands better than others out of the box but anyone can change seats, bars and stems to make things better. I appreciate the author addressing this issue.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the read!
  • 3 0
 Glad to see they are going away from the WS-model. This is actual progress. There are men and there are women, but bikes are bikes. Get the size you need, change up grips, seat, stem, cut the bars down if you need and go shred!
  • 3 0
 Secondly, I'll say that bar width, stems length, saddles width and crank length should all be determined at the time of purchase. Along with the size of the bike. For every customer, male of female. This is where the bike industry fails. The issue however is the OEM's get deals to buy X thousand of whatever component. So the end customer has a generalized bike fit. This is where people do need to take more ownership in their fit. Cut those 800 bars, experiment with different stems lengths and saddle widths. The big issue is the crank length thing as that's an expensive one to change.
  • 1 0
 For sure on crank length. No easy fix. Its 10x worse for children. Everything is the cheapest, super long 155mm for freaking 7yro. Bad for their joints if they riding a bunch.
  • 3 0
 I like Transition's approach of "we make bikes for all sizes of humans" (I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea).

Optimally, a company would have a size range of XS all the way up to XXL, even if that means fewer different models available. Accommodate all humans from, say, 4'-10"ish to 6'-6"ish. That would probably cover 95% of the bell curve of adult heights who ride MTB. Offer a take-off/exchange program for stem length, bar width, saddle width, and dropper length. This would dial in the fit to each rider.
  • 1 0
 Oh and as others mentioned, crank arm length. But considering most good cranks only come in 170 or 175mm it would only be a split between XS/S/M on 170 and L/XL/XXL on 175mm. Or something like that.
  • 3 0
 I think Juliana bikes with a lighter suspension tune for women makes a lot of sense. My girlfriend rides medium sized men's frames that fit her perfectly but has to run low air pressure to avoid harshness.

Hooked up a shockwiz and it confirmed that there was way too much high-speed damping on the fork and shock once we got the pressure and ramp to a place it was happy. She hated the feel and we went back to running lower preasure. :/
  • 3 0
 I think if there is one thing women really need is the lightest bike possible. You can try a specific geometry, specific colors... But in the end what will be the most useful is a light bike with powerful brakes that don't require too much strength in the forearms. The strength gap (boys you can thank testosterone) is quite big, to help women riding bike, make the bikes light, especially for beginners.

You'll not see many women charging hard on e-bikes for this exact reason.
  • 3 0
 This is a very interesting article. As a designer myself, it is neat to read about gender-specific anthropometric data and whether or not it really matters in bicycle design, however, I really just wanted to say that this has got to be the most well-written article I have ever read on Pinkbike. Kudos.
  • 3 1
 My daughter and I have matching pink bikes. My son has a bright orange bike and my wife has a white bike and pretty much would only want a black bike in the future. In general, the bike industry doesn't offer a lot of color choice. You have a Hobson's choice (do you want it or not) when it comes to color. To get a different color, you often have to get a different level.

If I were running a bike company, I would offer multiple colors at all levels and allow selection of different length/width: stem, handle bars (inc. flat or rise), grips and seat. Perhaps the thought of bike companies is that people will replace those on there own (like cheap-o pedals).
  • 1 0
 Back in the day, BMX bikes came in like 3-5 different colors per model. It's too bad bike companies have gotten away from that. But, it probably all comes down to price. Why make blue, green, yellow, red, white and pink bikes when everyone is just going with the blue and no yellow? Then you and your distributors just have a bunch of yellow bikes that won't move.
  • 2 0
 For us (my wife and me) it was a matter of resale. The resale market for a women’s specific bike is much smaller than unisex. It just did not make sense for us to buy a that was the same geometrically the same, spec-ed slightly less aggressively/durably, and had a much lower resale value than a unisex.
  • 9 0
 And like you say, unisex. They were never "Men's bikes". They were just bikes.
  • 3 0
 I don't feel this is true. I feel small frames are super easy to sell to avid mtbikers that want to pick up a good bike for their significant other without breaking the bank...
  • 2 0
 @SleepingAwake: agreed on your last bit, but let’s say you have a Beti sb5 and a Yeti sb5. The group that would buy the Yeti is 3-5x larger than those who would buy the Beti. Which is great from a buyers stand point, but all things equal, the Beti would likely have to price significantly lower to stand out in a smaller and comparatively less active market.
  • 2 0
 @samdeatley: i feel like all small frames go to girls anyway. I have a couple of female friends and coworkers who wanted a second hand bike and just couldn't find anything so ended up buying new.
  • 2 0
 Ski companies make women's specific skis - think about that. Several years ago I noticed that on several models K2 was reusing its forms from late model men's skis to make their new models of women's skis.

Women specific bikes and skis have always been 99% a marketing gimmick.

Good riddance!
  • 3 1
 Back when various brands started selling “Women Specific Geometry” I was very sceptical of the false claim that women have longer legs for their height (as I’m male and I’m like that!) It didn’t take much hunting to find a scientific paper at the Smithsonian which showed that the average proportions for men and women of a given race were the same - but races from hot counties had longer limbs for their height (because that’s better in most way) whilst races from cold countries had longer torsos (because that’s better for keeping warm).

No-one took me up on my satirical suggestion of fair or dark-skinned specific bikes...

There is a strong argument for bikes to be designed more around rider weight, so offering shock and fork tubes with less damping for lighter riders and vice versa, and reducing the stiffness of smaller frames etc.

I’m glad the WSD thing is mostly over, it was faux science misapplied in the name of marketing.
  • 2 0
 gender specific mountain bikes are a bad joke. they are the same bike with different seats and paint job pretty much. furthermore almost any decent bike shop will cut handlebars and seat post to length, and substitute stems grips tires and seats for minimal or no cost. It is detrimental and causes unnecessary confusion it adds a whole nother marketing effort and paint schemes adds to the cost of all bikes, and re-enforces gender biases. For example step-thru's aren't exclusively for the likes of southern bells who only wear dresses, they are in function for people with limited mobility or desire to swing a leg over the bike. An old man with bad hips doesn't want to only be able to get a step through in barbie colors, just as a lady who shreds is also unlikely to desire a barbie bike. it would be much more forward thinking and pragmatic to just offer a wide range of sizes and a variety of mellow base colored frames without goofy stickers and model names forced on you beneath the clear coat that you cant even remove without voiding your warranty on your ______ brand frame that cracks in the same place as all the rest of them because of systemic low manufacturing or design quality.
  • 1 0
 This is where we can see the evolution of bikes. That step-through was initially designed for the dress factor, but has certainly evolved into what you are saying - limited mobility, preference for that step-through versus swinging, etc. I see this as natural progression which it seems companies are slowly realizing, too.
  • 2 0
 I bought some women’s FiveTen Pro’s recently. I preferred the colour and they fitted well (they go up to a UK 10 as well!) If the last is different it’ll be narrower heels, which suits me because my male heels are narrow although my feet are fairly wide.
  • 2 0
 After 10 years working in bike bussines, mostly as a advanced bike fitter, I could say, that most important thing for most (women) is right saddle - W sit bones are at least 1cm wider in avarage as M, what is like more then 1cm wider saddle, around 150mm wide at least. As I said - for most, not for all.
And also this days is really a lot bad saddles on market... most of them are badly shapped and too narrow.

Next thing is handlebar... in combination with stem, you could make almost all M bikes with "normal" front end height work for most ladies.

Dont see special need for WSD, but I think all brands should be more interested in good saddles at least...
  • 1 0
 Canyon's position is weird in this. If you are below 1,75 m you can't get a 29er, except an XC race bike. Men and women's models.That's way too high as someone who is 1,70 could easily handle a 29er trailbike... especially someone who just rides a bit of singletrack here and then. Their smaller 650b roadbikes for women around 1,50 are great though, but they don't offer entry models for that size which doesn't help getting women into cycling.
  • 1 0
 Canyon's entire sizing is a joke... I have a size L Neuron that's a perfect fit for a 1m67 female friend, while my size L Inflite is too big for a 1m84 me... I ride an XL spectral, which feels a little small...
  • 1 0
 @LaurensVR: that neuron fit is weird... it's not a small bike in L. The weirdest Canyon is the Strive and its top tube length.

Their road/cross bikes are roomy though. I ride a medium Endurace and I'm 1,82. That's why they often go down to 2XS...
  • 1 0
 My wife has 2 Trek WSD bikes, a 2009 Top Fuel that she now uses as a commuter bike and a 2018 9.8 Remedy.
There is no difference in the frames other than color. She just likes the more colorful women's bikes and not the (to her) boring colors that the men's bikes have. I also have a male friend who likes the colorway of the same Remedy women's
bike that my wife has and purchased it.
My wife will buy a bike based just on the color alone, if that means not buying from one brand compared to another based on the color than one company just lost a sale. Simple as that for her.
As long as unisex frames will have colorways that work for different tastes than that will work for most people. Just my wife does not like bland colors.
  • 1 0
 Entry level bikes should have womens specific builds, not frames. But colors, saddles, bars, stems, cranks. The entry level customer doesnt necessarily understand or want to have to swap components on their brand new $500-$1200 bike. Also, as stated, they are more easily sold having it marketed for their particular gender. Bikes over $1200 are where most customers already usually want to or understand they sometimes need to swap components to personalize the bike to best suit their needs or personality. That would my strategy as a large brand....
  • 1 0
 It would be easy to paint the frames white and apply different coloured stickers.
  • 2 1
 In our house we ride Trek..........until they stopped making women specific bikes. She loved her lush and was looking to upgrade but the new fuel didn't fit right. We now have at LIV intrigue 1 sitting in the living room. I think LIV is a wonderful bike and made for her. We now hit more bike parks and travel more with our bikes. Now it's my turn to get a new session 29
  • 1 0
 If you want to buy a mountainbike, you're gonna spend a sh*t ton of money, so you better be informed. And if you're informed, you find out pretty quickly that you don't need a women's specific bike – you just need a bike that fits. Women are (just like e bikes) a new market with fast growing buying power and if the industry wants to keep their new customer, they need to match their needs. And it makes me really happy to see that they take no shit, just want proper bikes and get them.
  • 3 0
 I don't get it then people say that options on the market will bring new people to the sport. It's like our sport is to buy and not to ride.
  • 1 0
 The issues I’ve seen with women and mountain bikes is suspension not being soft enough or able to set up properly for 100lb +- body weight, cockpit lay-out, ie bars too wide or brake levers too big, grips too big, stems too long. I’ve dated a few riders that weigh around 105lbs and they shared these issues in common. Also, heavy tires and wheels don’t suit lighter women and it’s difficult to find DH and enduro components that are light enough for women but still falling into the gravity category/standards,
  • 1 0
 When speaking with the companies in the article (Trek, Yeti, Specialized, Juliana) they all seem to be skewing back towards lighter tunes for riders, and a lot of these smaller touch points, versus an entire frame redesign.
  • 3 0
 @sarahlukas: what about the lighter tunes for bigger ladies/ women who send? I see a lot of new female riders on the trails that would most likely NOT benefit from light tunes.

Conversely, plenty of sub-140lb teenagers who probably would benefit from light tunes.
  • 1 0
 @sarahlukas:

Except for the one brand that is a complete women specific company that flies in the face of the article and it appears you didn't talk to.

I’m curious if Liv is the reason other companies are giving up.
  • 2 0
 @heckler73: Which brand is that?
  • 1 0
 @dontcoast: the ladies that aren’t small usually fit into the more typical weight window for suspension, and don’t have the same fitment issues as really small ladies. They fit a guys bike, so they don’t really need women’s specific bikes. I see the need for women’s specific sizing and suspension valving for riders around 5ft tall in the 90-130lb range. I know little guys that weigh less than 140lb & they also have trouble with suspension being hard to set up.
  • 1 0
 @p-dub-4: absolutely spot on. people just need bikes that fit. problems arise when:
• some of those women may be sold on the idea that they "need a women's bike" because that's what marketed
• as you say, small/light guys/kids can benefit from many design aspect of certain "women's" bikes - but probably won't buy them because of marketing
  • 1 0
 @sarahlukas: Liv. Although you have a short bit with Bonnie in the piece, you state you spoke with only the three other brands for the article.
  • 1 0
 Sorry, four other brands.
  • 1 0
 @sarahlukas: my experience is that my larger friends have no problems on men's bikes and one did decide to get the guys bike for resale reasons.
My last bike was a Specialized Rhyme XS. I was pretty impressed - it came with 165 cranks and I think I only swapped out the bars and stem. The shock tune was fantastic and it rode well straight out of the box. Credit to Spec for putting proper thought into what a small women rider needs.
My current bike is a Pivot Mach 5.5 XS. I had to change the bars, stem, dropper (to get more low clearance) and the 40mm wide wheels for something lighter. Cranks are 170. I mucked around with a shock wiz and tokens to get the shock how I wanted. It's a fantastic bike now and I've had a couple Pivots because they have a decently XS frame but all the gear it came with was waaay too big. It feels like they randomly stuck the same bits on all the frame sizes.
When your a small rider everything has to fit...
  • 1 0
 It seems for my partner, all of the woman fit geo bikes were far too short in length considering the seat tube height. She found, at a similar height to me (5'9", I'm 5'10"), that she fit the bikes I was riding far better. We now own several bikes which we share with each other and switch up depending on the ride we are doing and will never even consider a womans specific bike as not only is it a niche that works for only a handful of women the resale market is so much smaller than if you just buy a unisex bike. A woman or a man would be happy to own a Santa Cruz, but how many men would purchase a used Juliana? Even if it is exactly the same, it's not seen as socially acceptable for a man to ride on a womans specific bike.
  • 2 0
 "Some women do want pink. Some women prefer black." hey now.

I HAVE A PENIS AND I LIKE MY BICYCLES PINK AND BLACK AT THE SAME TIME!!!

With a hint of teal thank you very much.
  • 2 0
 Some men want pink. Some men want black. Some want a hint of teal. I don't judge. If you like glitter, rock it.
  • 3 0
 @sarahlukas: I know, I rock it Wink Accessory manufacturers are guilty too - I wear a teal dirt series Giro "women's" helmet often - also sold a lot of those teal helmets to teenage boys (!)

Just bringing up the point that offering the same frame with the same branding in 4 colors (as opposed to 2 "mens colors" and 2 "womens colors" whatever that means) will probably sell more units for this very reason. (not even factoring in the resale aspect)

In the past 5 years or so I can't tell you how many "Women's" bikes looked SO much better than "men's" paintjobs. Specific bikes from Trek, Spesh, Juliana come to mind.
  • 3 0
 @sarahlukas: Thanks for the article btw - this subject is near and dear to me - in large part from how many times as a bike salesperson I've struggled to get a rider on the bike that fits them best because of extreme examples such as:

(1) tall/lanky woman with riding experience that has no business on anything short-reach (or they're a bigger lady or sendy rider and the light shock tunes will ride like garbage) but they are sure they "want a women's bike" (thanks, marketing!)

(2) shorter torso/arm/overall height men who would be SO much more comfortable on a short-reach/hi-stack bike BUT the only thing available has flowers on it and says "women's". Problem compounded since in my experience a lot of those cases were hispanic or east-asian men where they culturally were extra resistant to any women's branded product.
  • 1 0
 Man, the responses from Pinkbike is a lot more cynical than CylingTips, I wonder why? That scattered plot does not make much sense for the purpose of this article; it's the relationship between inseam and saddle height. Shouldn't inseam to saddle height ratio be fairly gender-neutral in the sense that assume all cyclists follow the 150­°-bend angle at the knee, then math would dictate that saddle height can only vary so much based on preference. A more convincing plot for the main argument of this article and against the "flawed" military study would be torso length vs inseam. Furthermore, I wonder what makes the US military study "flawed"? Is it because of the available demographic at the time of the study? if so, wouldn't that placed the responsibility of exercising due-diligence when citing a study as the justification of business operation on the bike manufactures?
  • 5 0
 More Shebikes, Less Ebikes!
  • 1 0
 Holds hands up in the air. There are differences. They do vary. Most of the time bars and seat should be different. A stem change can be argued. Crank length is just generally wrong in the industry anyway (well, they keep bouncing between right/wrong depending on what size you are).

At the end of the day, we know a rider can adapt to most changes and few would ever know the difference (I too run what I brung the wrong way).
  • 1 0
 My partner started riding mountain bikes a couple of years ago. She used to ride an old Giant Yukon as a commuter for years but after having back surgery found it was a bit too big and stretched out.

Test road a friends small anthem and a small Liv pique, she thought the pique felt more comfortable so that’s what she bought and loves the thing!

It might have been possible to get the set up similar with component swaps, but the pique was an end of season run out so the price was good regardless.
  • 2 1
 @sarahlukas I see a lot of these people ripping on here because of resale..... You don't buy a new Yukon Denali because it's only worth half of what you paid for it in 3 yrs. Resale of bike is important yes. But it shouldnt be just that as a factor. I was a employee at a giant/live store for a while here in colorado springs. I sold more live bikes than giant. Either hybrid road mountain didn't matter. I even warned them about the resale. And most said "I will enjoy this bike no matter what is worth later miles and smiles are what it's all about." So if you can delete all the grumpy peoples posts on here. Your article was very happy and well written just to be ruined by baboons on pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the read - and luckily they don't bother me - it's a great discussion to open up, and I love the banter Wink
  • 1 0
 Anecdotal but all the girls I know mtb'ing currently use "men bikes" because, and I quote:

- men bikes had cooler names on stickers (think liv vs giant, juliana vs santacruz, etc.)
- frames are exactly the same anyway
- going to swap saddle, grips, cut the bar, etc. anyway
- going to tune the rear shock for lighterweight in general, or swap it (i suspect this is the only actual benefit for a women specific bike, because its an expensive part to swap - but lighter men while more rare also need to do this anyway - and many "tuned shocks" are just "less nitrogen" anyway, which can be serviced)

I suspect the rest is just marketing departments trying to make it a thing that there is "women mtbs" vs "men mtbs" "community", and many women, at least the ones I know, can't care less, they just want to ride their bikes.

I suspect It's just like pink razors (expensive, special for women!) vs blue razors (cheaper! its for men!) while they're nearly the same product.
  • 1 0
 @sarahlukas I agree the banter is good for entertainment. The most important thing is go out and ride your bike no matter what it is. I still have a old 06 v10 might not be new or in style but I get alot of smiles out of it. Get what fits you and what you like. Now lets all go ride...
  • 1 0
 In as much as the article is interesting, when I read a title like this all I can think is: $. If WSD bikes made enough $ to justify the cost of their creation, then companies would keep making them. My feeling is that the results of the "science" here probably depend a lot on what the "scientists" on the company payroll want to find.
  • 2 0
 The main I took from this was the part about women just liking the option and riding it because they like it. That makes a huge difference, if you are stoked on your bike you'll ride it more!
  • 1 0
 I'm looking at buying a new bike but I'm so p!$$ed off that after dropping a few thousand on a new bike I have to swap out the cranks and get the shock re-tuned because it's over-dampened for my weight. I'd go "on-coil" but then I need to buy a new coil as well! Online brands especially have no excuse for not offering custom options.

Just bought a bike for my son and got exactly the same scenario there too. Who TF thought a 1.3m tall kid should be running 155 cranks!
  • 1 0
 Why not just have a 'W' build option for each bike, where you get a few things swapped out like women's saddle, thinner grips, narrower bars and shorter cranks, but it remains the same otherwise? Many bike shops would likely offer this service at no or little extra charge though.

I bought a Trek Marlin 7 (2020) for my wife recently. She wanted the women's specific model, but they didn't have a women's small in stock. I pointed out that the geometry of the men's small (which they did have in stock) was exactly the same, so she could try that out to get an idea of the size before ordering the women's. She found the top tube position was fine (lower on the women's) and she liked it, so we went for the men's. I do however have to get a women's saddle for her, and cut the bars down a little. She also preferred the green/purple flip colour of the men's model over the women's colour.
  • 1 0
 We have just been going through this looking for a new bike for my wife, the womens specific bikes all seem to be expensive to buy in the first place, have very little difference between the 'mens' versions and have a terrible resale value. We ended up picking up an Intense Carbine for her in the outlet sale for an absolute bargain price, swapped the saddle and the grips and she's off shredding!
  • 1 0
 I'm 40, and have been mountain biking for 30 years - my first bike was a 'mens' Saracen Sahara, basically because womens bikes at the time were those stupid drop tube things. I've never owned a womens specific bike, never seen the point as I have always fitted my own bars/stem/saddle etc.

I would never buy a Liv or Juliana, mostly because if you end up selling it on you're selling to a smaller market. Funny that it's OK for a women to ride a Liv or Giant, but you won't see a man on a Liv!
  • 1 0
 I would like to see small meadium and large frames all with long and short reach options. DJ bikes used to have long and short top tubes options.
Why not long and short wheelbase option based on chain stay length. ?
There is no optimal reach or wheelbase that works for everyone's anatomy.
What I got from this article: men and woman come in all shapes and sizes.
  • 2 0
 You won't, because it's too expensive
  • 1 0
 "The old truism that women’s legs are longer and torsos shorter came from a poorly executed study by the US Military, and looks like it might not be true at all."
I read that study, it said no such thing. If anything it basically said that women and men have the same length proportions, but different widths instead. It's available online. apps.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA074807
Anyway, that's beside the point. As a female cyclist, I am firmly in the unisex-bikes camp rather than the gender-specific camp. However, that's not to say bike companies are doing everything right. A lot of bike companies are terrible at making bikes for especially short people (and especially tall people too I suppose, though that's come a long way). The problem is that women are more often than not in that category of overlooked riders.
The only part of the bike that I feel gender-specificity is relevant is in the saddle design. I do prefer a wider saddle (not softer, just wider) and run a Specialized Power 150 saddle.
  • 10 10
 First off there's no such thing as a woman specific bike. They are small bikes for small stature people. Maybe a manufacturer puts a tractor seat on it and puts pink sprinkles and calls it women's-specific. Usually these are overpriced offerings with under spec components.
  • 38 4
 You’re wrong. Everyone knows that a girl’s bike has a low, curved top tube, and a boy’s bike has a top tube that goes straight across. It’s so girls can get on and off easier in their hoop skirts. Duh.
  • 5 0
 Thats why Julianna's are nice. The prices dont change from SC to Julianna, and either do the specs!
  • 14 1
 @TheR: the only mistake I've ever made in life is signing up for pinkbike
  • 1 4
 @TheR: I understand your opinion. One day you will wise up and shop for Quality bikes at a bike shop. Maybe then you will understand my statement. Until then enjoy your tour of the Walmart Cycling Department
  • 2 0
 Just got a liv hail for my woman because it fit her well and had a better spec than a reign
  • 3 0
 @TheR: It's like sitting side saddle.
  • 4 0
 @pinnityafairy: If that's the only mistake you've ever made, you're way ahead of me.
  • 2 0
 @makripper: my significant other shreds and destroys Trail on a Liv lust advanced. It's a old 2014 model and she refuses any new offerings. Still loves this bike to this day. Of course all the factory spec components have been replaced and updated.
  • 2 0
 It does not surprise me that color alone would would not be specific enough to call it a women’s bike , only on pink bike! Lmfao
  • 1 0
 The leg length is the big issue and always has been for my wife when finding an all around trail bike. She either needs a reach thats to short, OR cant get her saddle above the bars. Wish manufacturers addressed this...
  • 2 0
 Impossible. If you’re too short for minimum stack heights, you’ll never have a bike that fits properly.

See Emily Batty etc.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: it's even worse with e-bikes - short women are pretty much left out in the cold, even though there is significant demand from that demographic. standovers are awful and bigger/integrated batteries are making it worse even as motors shrink. stack issue is just like regular mtb, aka not good for short riders.
  • 1 2
 @dontcoast: Sort of like until very recently tall guys were shit outta luck with even XL sizes. Slack seat angles , short reach and stacks. If there is a demand someone will fill it. GG/Pole/Nicolai and now many others figured out you could sell some big bikes that fit big guys and they are doing it. I see 1 woman on trails for every 20 men. Just a fact. The market is simply not there for this niche.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: Yea thats pretty much what she is resigned too sadly
  • 2 0
 I bought my mom a trek 6700 in 2002, she still has it and still rides it. The fork seals are a bit rotten but it still holds air.
  • 1 0
 Bike brands, and bike shops, should let each customer spec handlebar and stem length at no cost. Cranks, grips and saddles would be nice too. It's not just women who need their bikes to fit their bodies... it's all of us!
  • 1 0
 Retailers and shop employees play such a huge part in this. If you can't sell the proper bike to a woman, you probably aren't selling the proper bike to a man, a kid, whoever. An educated employee hopefully can make sure these touch points are addressed as needed.
  • 4 0
 a proper bike fitting is much more important, both for men or women
  • 1 0
 Buy the bike you like based in large part on reach & stack then swap the cranks/ stem/ bars/ and seat as needed. Men have to swap these things as well so I don't see what the big deal is.
  • 2 0
 None of the girls I ride with care about having a women's specific bike. Some of them care to get their bikes in pink. But I know a guy who bought a bright pink Specialized.
  • 1 1
 Wow, what a bunch of B.S. All that needed to be said is we can’t move female specific bikes, so we’re not going to make them anymore. My lbs and online retailers always have a crap load of female bikes on clearance.
  • 2 3
 Bla bla bla bla, go ride and quit worrying so much about what is or isn't between your legs. At the end of the day its about market share and making a small percentage of a demographic shut the heck up and just enjoy a sport that has limitless fun for everyone that wants to be apart of it.
  • 1 0
 Translation: Molds for frames are expensive so are tuned shocks and better saddles and grips so we will just have an extra color ordered and you figure it out fit yourself.
  • 2 0
 I always thought the M meant Male, who would guess it meant medium no wonder it never fit me
  • 2 0
 Cube makes a good affordable women’s specific bike,
  • 1 0
 Resale is a small market so most women riders I know just ride a men’s model.
  • 3 2
 Just get the uni sex mens version and dont muck about, saying that I just brought my Mrs a woman car xxx
  • 1 0
 Roadies male love woman specific saddle .. and it is being marketed as unisex.
  • 1 1
 Who knows? Maybe after fatbikes,plus,enduro and e-bikes,the next niche-market-pushed-to-mainstream-by-marketing will be womens bikes.
Got to pump that numbers up!
  • 8 10
 There are 5 main reasons for the death of WSD.
1) Didn't make any money on them
2) It was all a marketing scam anyway
3) Women don't ride in the seriousness and volume of men
4) Didn't make any money on them.
5) We're gonna shift that market cat to E-bikes, they seem to like them more anyway.

BTW- My GG Pistola self identifies as a XXXL WSD. In flat black.
  • 7 6
 I'd say there are a lot of women who ride much more "seriously" than a lot of men. I know I put in a lot more volume than a lot of my male counterparts have. I looked at some photos from Red Bull Formation, and I don't know many men that can send it like those women do.
  • 3 1
 I like that you include "didn't make money on them" twice, but it's really reason 1-5, and on up to 20.
  • 4 3
 @sarahlukas: Maybe in some pockets. But it is a fact I see maybe one woman rider for every 20 men on the trail. The numbers are better on road riders for sure. MTB is a mans world. It just is.
  • 5 8
 @sarahlukas: Another comment: Ran into a rider I talk with frequently at the trailhead. I had never seen his wife before with him on the trails. Why was she there that day? He bought her an E-bike. She said she hated climbing and loved the E-bike because should could beat her husband up the hills! Haven't seen her since though. I wonder if that $10K E-bike will now just sit like the other bike he bought for her did? She got her "win" and that will be the end of it.
MTB riding(climbing) is more work than most people lacking in testosterone want to take on. Its a guy thing for that reason and the mechanical and dirty elements that go along with it.
  • 1 1
 @sarahlukas: I guess it depends on how we define "serious" and if you measure "seriousness" vs "leisure" in per capita of men vs women. If so, you are probably right the average female in general takes riding more seriously than the average male. I'd wager in cycling as a whole, women are generally more attracted and drawn into the sport from the physical fitness/well-being side of it (either the physical exercise or mental health escapism aspect), while men are likely more drawn in for the adrenaline/thrill/leisure aspect, with health being a secondary benefit.
  • 2 0
 Whoa, Bonnie Tu looks all business.
  • 3 0
 She is a boss!
  • 2 0
 and some men want pink color options
  • 1 0
 I think it's all about cutting the cost of tools and molds, and increasing revenue...
  • 2 1
 Word on the street is Bonnie Tu will be racing the EWS next year.
  • 1 1
 They're all going through "mental struggles" as a result of traveling 7 weekends out of the year LMAO!
  • 5 4
 Does anyone believe Bonnie Tu actually rides, much less shreds?
  • 8 8
 I don't identify as either a man or woman, I am now a frying pan
  • 6 4
 8 trillion genders.
  • 7 2
 I have always been an attack helicopter.
  • 4 1
 I hope you’re a fairtrade, sustainable, vegan frying pan.
  • 2 1
 The girls love my long barrel, low slung chain gun. It's a WSD.
  • 1 0
 Bars are too wide.
  • 2 0
 its called a hacksaw. you're welcome.
  • 1 1
 No female purpose built ebike yet.
  • 5 0
 Liv has women's specific e-bikes.
www.liv-cycling.com/ca/bikes/e-bike
  • 1 1
 The sizes are all too small ATM so the standard bikes are "women size"....

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