Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a 5ft 10in, 150lbs young lady looking for a first road bike! As you can see, I'm a tall lady. I also have a ridiculous amount of legs. I've been measured for a 56, which isn't a size in any women's specific bikes I've seen. So, I'm looking at the men's bikes...but I don't have the torso/arm length/mass of a man. I have a rough idea of what geometry I need, but I'm still not sure. I'm the most worried about finding the bike with the right reach (aka, not too long). I was thinking of just buying a shorter stem. Would that sufffice? Are there any other ladies out there with this sort of predicament? Does anyone ride a men's bike? What made you chose this bike?

In terms of bike (without fit) I'm looking for an aluminum frame with carbon fork and carbon seat/chain stays, full 105 (better or equivalent) and nothing too heavy (no more than 20 pounds).

The bikes I've been thinking of:
-Masi Gran criterium
-Fiji Roubaix
-Felt F75

Thank you! Ride on!:D
-Emily
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,388 Posts
I beleive Cannondale makes their synapse in a womens up to a 56cm. I think you will do fine with a standard[men's] bike if you look for one with a top tube a little on the short side, or at least avoid models with a longish top tube. Look at the geometry tables for various models. Most 56's will have top tubes approx 56 long. Some will be around 55, some, like Lemonds, will have longer top tubes. Avoid these. Women have longer legs and shorter torsos then a man of the same height, so a shorter top tube, along with a shorter stem, is what you need.
 

·
Fly on a windshield
Joined
·
1,272 Posts
My wife bought a Cervelo Team Soloist. (cervelo doesn't carry women's models and they abide by the no. 2 philosophy decribed below.

There two competing philosophies when it comes to women's bikes.
1) Women have a different body type so they need different geometry frames.
2) Women are humans, just like men, and as diverse . Being fitted correctly is the most important factor. Mind you we're not talking about saddles here.

IMO fitting is the most important factor. Women's frames is just marketing with fancy paint schemes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,253 Posts
All of my bikes are "men's" bikes. IMO, the fit is more important than the bike's supposed gender. I am able to attain a good fit on a men's bike without too much trouble. If I were in your postion, I would go ride a bunch of bikes in different models and sizes. See what feels good, and ask the dealer for the bike's geometry charts in order to compare. There's a bunch of threads here on correctly comparing geometries and effective top tube lengths.

Be cautious of dramatically changing stem length. My experience is that a stem much shorter that 90mm or so makes for some wonky handling. I would change the bar out first for two reasons- first, you can get shallow reach bars that shorten the reach without affecting steering as much, and second, most "men's" bars are too wide for many women. I ride a 38cm shallow reach bar instead of the 42cm that is stock on most men's bikes, but I have narrow shoulders even for a woman.

Oh, and whatever you do, don't let someone tell you to jam the saddle all the way forward to adjust reach. That just messes up your leg position.

Have fun shopping!
 

·
What the Hell is going on
Joined
·
5,193 Posts
Which Masi?

Are you thinking of the new Masi or the older steel ones? If you don't mind getting a used steel bike I'd suggest finding a late model European steel bike. They were notorious for a shorter TT (as compared to their ST). I think it's because Europeans are built that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was thinking a new Masi. I have a steel centurion frame that I ride as a fixie. I am cautious in buying a steel frame because of it's weight. With my size in bike designed for someone typically heavier than me I feel I would have trouble on hills. I have a female co-worker who bought a steel masi (new) and she has that problem. She is also petite and about 4 inches shorter than me, so maybe I could manage with a steely...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
381 Posts
How flexible are you? If you're flexible and don't mind a more aggressive drop between the seat and handlebars you can probably get away with a slightly smaller frame. You'll be showing more seat post therefore the bigger drop. This would avoid going too short with the stem.

At your height you shouldn't have any probs getting fitted on any frame. I'm guessing somewhere between and 54 and 56, depending on top-tube length.

How about a Cannondale CAAD 5:
http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/08/cusa/model-8RA95D.html

Can't go wrong with Cannondale aluminium.
 

·
You're Not the Boss of Me
Joined
·
7,746 Posts
It definitely is hard when you are very leggy, and my strong suspicion is that you will struggle to find one where the reach is right for you. You'd need both a short top tube and a slack seat tube angle to at least try to limit a frame's overall reach.

I'd go to a GOOD bike shop for a full set of measurements and proper fitting. If you are too stretched out you'll be miserable in the neck and shoulders, and then some bonehead will try to put a 4cm riser stem on your bike, etc. etc. Better to get it right the first time.

Two of my tallest cycling buddy friends (other women) never could go off-the-rack, but the women's-specific market has dramatically improved in recent years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
Perhaps I'm missing something, but as long as you may get a frame with a correct top tube size and its head tube allows you to ride with not too many spacers with a reasonable stem, everything else should not matter.

What are your ideal top tube size and a drop?
 

·
monkey with flamethrower
Joined
·
821 Posts
As much as all the women in this thread are going to crucify me for saying this. Womens specific bikes are nothing more than marketing (besides the seat and color and perhaps handlebar width). People come in all shapes and sizes and a 'womens specific' bike may or may not fit you any better than the unisex bike, and with some manufactures the womens bike is identical to the mens bike sans a few components.
An experienced bike fitter can measure you , discuss how you ride, and choose an appropriate bicycle and stem combination and handlebar.
Most smaller women tend to fit 'womens specific' bikes as well, but also remember about any small bike as a de facto womens geometry to it because women are the primary customer for that size of bike. There are around 100 production bike manufacturers all with slightly different geometries, be assured that there is the right bike for you out there.
Fit is critical with being comfortable on any bike, a womens specific bike wont fit every women perfectly, remember that ladies.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
19,522 Posts
Rubber Lizard said:
As much as all the women in this thread are going to crucify me for saying this. Womens specific bikes are nothing more than marketing (besides the seat and color and perhaps handlebar width). People come in all shapes and sizes and a 'womens specific' bike may or may not fit you any better than the unisex bike, and with some manufactures the womens bike is identical to the mens bike sans a few components.
An experienced bike fitter can measure you , discuss how you ride, and choose an appropriate bicycle and stem combination and handlebar.
Most smaller women tend to fit 'womens specific' bikes as well, but also remember about any small bike as a de facto womens geometry to it because women are the primary customer for that size of bike. There are around 100 production bike manufacturers all with slightly different geometries, be assured that there is the right bike for you out there.
Fit is critical with being comfortable on any bike, a womens specific bike wont fit every women perfectly, remember that ladies.
Not gonna crucify you but I just want to say that the best fitting bikes I have tried have been women specific designs. For me the most comfortable geometry was the Specialized women's bike.

Also the one bike that I rode that really felt like "the wheels were under me where they should be" was another women's design (the Orbea Diva).

:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
WSD bikes have a shorter top tube, by 0.5-1 cm. Which is reasonable considering that women tend to have (dis-)proportionally shorter torso comparing to men.

Handlebars are narrower, seats are slightly different. But handlebars should be adjusted for any bike whether it is WSD or not, and seats are in a realm of a personal preferences.

What else? Some frames are available in smaller sizes. Some bikes come with 650c wheels which is not a blessing.

Here are geometries for Trek Madone 5.1 WSD and Trek Madone 5.2 bikes.

Frame Size Head Angle Seat Angle EFF Top Tube Chain Stay Bottom Bracket Offset Wheel Base
MADONE 5.1 WSD GEOMETRY
S 50cm 71.7° 75.0° 51.1 cm/20.1 in 40.8 cm/16.1 in 26.4 cm/10.4 in 5.0 cm/2.0 in 97.6 cm/38.4 in
S 52cm 72.1° 74.7° 52.1 cm/20.5 in 40.8 cm/16.1 in 26.6 cm/10.5 in 4.5 cm/1.8 in 97.4 cm/38.3 in
MADONE 5.2 GEOMETRY (non-WSD)
XS 50 cm 72.1° 75.1° 51.6 cm/20.3 in 40.8 cm/16.1 in 26.4 cm/10.4 in 4.5 cm/1.8 in 97.2 cm
S 52 cm 72.8° 74.7° 52.9 cm/20.8 in 40.9 cm/16.1 in 26.4 cm/10.4 in 4.5 cm/1.8 in 97.6 cm

(* geometry table continued *)
MADONE 5.1 WSD GEOMETRY
Frame Size Trail Stand Over Seat Tube Head Tube Frame Reach Frame Stack
S 50cm 5.9 cm/2.3 in 71.2 cm/28.0 in 45.6 cm/17.9 in 13.5 cm/5.3 in 36.8 cm/14.5 in 53.6 cm/21.1 in
S 52cm 6.1 cm/2.4 in 73.1 cm/28.8 in 47.2 cm/18.6 in 14.5 cm/5.7 in 37.1 cm/14.6 in 54.8 cm
MADONE 5.2 GEOMETRY (non-WSD)
XS 50 cm 6.1 cm 2.4 in 70.7 cm/27.8 in 47.6 cm/18.7 in 13.0 cm/5.1 in 37.4 cm/14.7 in 53.4 cm/21.0 in
S 52 cm 5.7 cm/2.2 in 72.9 cm/28.7 in 49.3 cm/19.4 in 14.0 cm/5.5 in 37.9 cm/14.9 in 54.6 cm

EFF top tube is shorter and reach is smaller. No suprise here.
WSD has slightly bigger standover. Longer legs for women.
But Trek Madone WSD has a longer head tube, by 0.5cm or more. I wonder why is it.
Angles seem to follow from the tube sizes.

So, it seems, that for the right fit it is sufficient to look for the right top tube and head tube sizes, and it does not really matter whether the bike is called WSD, traditional italian geometry, custom or nothing at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
no need for womens specific

In my opinion, any shop trying to sell you a womens specific bike just because you are a woman is not very well versed in bike fit. I am a 5' 8.5" female rider, and have never been able to find a womens specific bike to fit - for either road or mountain. I have long legs, but my upper body always feels crunched up on a "womens" bike. It seems as though the womens specific fits are made for people 5'6" or less. (One of the male bike shop owners in my town fits a womens bike perfectly due to his height.)

As others have said, it all depends on the bikes geometry and the fit you want. I have recently been in the market for a new road bike, and my final two came down to a BMC SL 01 and a Pinarello F3:13. Neither are womens bikes, and in fact some sites say they don't fit women. Both bikes fit well. I went with the Pinarello, and it fits like a glove.

Competitive cyclist has a great fit calculator to help give you an idea of the size bike you may fit depending on your riding style. There are also several other online fit calculators out there. Grab a friend to help measure you, and go out and test ride a variety of bikes. Have fun finding your perfect fit, and don't let anyone tell you you can't ride a certain brand just because you're female.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Sorry to bring this up from the dead -

I actually have had a couple bike shops tell me I'm big enough for a men's bike (which I figured, anyways). I'm 5'10", 180lbs, with a 33" inseam. But I'm not very flexible, so I'm looking at something that's got a little more relaxed geometry. I'm in love with the Felt Z35 :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
I am fairly tall, also... 5'8". When I went to get a bike, I was discouraged at first because most of them were really small and I thought I'd be stuck getting a men's bike, which I didn't like because of the longer reach they tend to have. None of the men's bikes I tried were comfortable at all. A store person finally fitted me and gave me a printed out list of all the bikes the program thought I would fit best on and what sizes to get in each of them. I ended up getting a women's Giant OCR A0 in a size small. :eek: I never would have guessed I could have fit on a small... I thought I needed at least a medium. But the store guy adjusted the seat and handlebars and everything to fit me and so far, I really like the bike. It doesn't feel too small and I like that it's not as much of a reach to the handlebars. Plus, the shifters/brakes don't stick out as far as they do on men's bikes, so they are easier for me to grab onto. So it might just be a matter of having the seat height and the handlebars adjusted for you. Of course, your body might be built in such a way that a men's bike is going to be more comfortable for you, but you'll probably have to try out several to find out. I would just recommended getting professionally fitted and then asking the store people to adjust the seat and handlebars on whichever bikes you want to take for a test ride. Sizewise, you should be able to find a few women's bikes that can be adjusted to fit you. Whether or not you will like how they feel is another story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
*A-Train* said:
Do womens bikes generally have a shorter reach compared to mens?
I think so. I'm sure there are exceptions, like some that are designed to be racier, but I never tried any racy bikes. Most of the women's bikes I test rode before buying the one I have now had noticeably shorter reaches than the men's bikes I tried.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top