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Women's road bike sizes: understand frame, geometry and clothing


It is undeniable that in the last two decades in particular it was born on the market the need to create and propose bikes in the catalog (racing model / race but not only) more and more designed for a female audience; at the same time it is also correct to state how this need is and has been largely solved by the new construction types of the frames thanks to which many of the differences in morphology and biometrics have largely been filed away already present at the level of human being "tout court" and this has been enjoyed by both the male public but also and above all the female public who has special needs that were often neglected before due to the market law on large sales numbers.

This explains why they still exist today two currents of thought regarding the concept of women's bikes, despite the needs of an increasingly differentiated and diversified market in terms of needs and customizations, it escapes from homologations, primarily those of gender.

  • There are in fact on the one hand experts and racing bike manufacturers that study, design, invest and manufacture racing bikes aimed "specifically" at the female market in particular with regard to the geometry of the frame (top tube in primis) but also and above all in components more suited to the anatomy of women (saddle, handlebars, control panel).
  • On the other hand, there are others manufacturers that certainly care also these aspects (because it is a real need of the market but also perceived by the consumer) the declinations of frames and components dedicated to a female audience but which do not feel the need to "catalog" in the strict sense a means for one sex or the other from a commercial and marketing point of view. For the mid-range models to which most of the buyer market refers, the attention to geometry and components is treated and resolved in a "transparent" and "neutral" way because they are optimizations that are only partly beyond being a man or woman. This second category of manufacturers favors the concept (we are not talking about the top market segment) of "unisex" also in order not to cut out a slice of the market that might be attractive for certain models of bicycles in production.

An example above all to make you better understand the concept and think about the car market; also in this area there are some reference publics but no manufacturer limits the sale to the female / male public only even if it is known how certain models, by size, shape and how much else are more reference for one gender rather than another.

Obviously, it is perhaps not the best example because the biomechanics aspects on a bike impact more than on a car, but the concept can be extended to other objects or tools. Specificity and personalization are treated ad personam and no longer at the mere higher level for men / women. Think also about tennis rackets or skis.

Racing bike: differences and physical proportions that distinguish a woman

There are basic differences between the female and male body which can lead to the use of bicycles with different geometries and which are by no means negligible; many studies based on the sampling of a good portion of the population have shown that women of equal height with boys have:

  • femur and therefore longer legs some men
  • the widest pelvis of a man who determines a different angle of the femur tibia than a man
  • shorter arms
  • the shoulders narrower on average compared to those of a male figure
  • smaller hands and feet and shorts

However, it should be added that these characteristics must then be brought into reality which is often much more indented: a "Latin" man like myself has different characteristics from a "Nordic" just as an aspiring Russian amateur cyclist is different from many Italian rather than Asian cyclists.

The solution adopted by many manufacturers it is therefore similar to that proposed in the male field or the production of frames suitable for female conformation with standard sizes to which some component extensions of various sizes suitable for all body types.

Women's bike: the basic characteristics of the mechanical vehicle

As stated above racing bikes for the female audience they will have in general:

  • a more inclined and shorter seat tube (especially for small sizes) than men
  • shorter attacks
  • wider and perforated saddles that avoid pressure points in the perineal area
  • narrower and shorter handlebars to facilitate access to the brake levers
  • smaller brake levers

Until a few years ago it was used simply to equate a woman with a small man; the result was bicycles with small sizes but which nevertheless presented a distinctly masculine proportion. Obviously often and willingly it can go well but other times not because as we have seen before it would be necessary to take into account the respect of the angles of the arms, torso and legs to offer not only a correct bike but also good driveability and fluidity and therefore also an excellent experience.

How the main manufacturers are moving

I recently had the opportunity to compare some interviews with experts from the major houses in specialized magazines that show different ways of approaching the market:

  • Canyon (which has been present on the maximum circuit this year with an ad hoc cycling team) has put in the catalog the female variant of all the frames in the road range with different geometries and designed specifically for girls
  • Trek, which among the first had moved among the female specificities, has partially backtracked and trying to solve the need for components, chrome and graphics. The store will be the real tres d'uninon that will have to recommend the correct bike based on the woman's size.
  • Specialized proposes is placed in the middle of the ford with Unisex models; their research and market feedback showed that women often gave positive feedback and orientated themselves on the same bikes as men.

Out of respect for men or women who practice road cycling or at a competitive level (lower and elongated position) or cycle tourism (more vertical position), it is evident that marketing investments intersect a lot with product innovations that we can however say to be largely resolved than in the past. For consumers it is mainly a theme of communication and adaptation to specific needs.

Synthesizing in many cases also a compatible bike model for men it is an excellent choice. But especially the smaller ones under 1.60 to be clear (or at least anyone who knows they do not have canonical or standard measures), I recommend to evaluate better models of racing bikes with a better offer of frames in various sizes and to try putting them in the saddle . Then evaluate the equipment, an optimized seat with geometry and a better control panel with adequate contact points.

Not just bikes: what women who ride want

During Eurobike, one of the major trade fairs in the sector, the result of a survey on critical issues that women detect on the topic of “clothing"By cycling.
It has been highlighted that the fair sex detects too limited functionality but also that the items dedicated to them are too stereotyped in style as well as in design and color. you can also buy numerous women's bicycles that I have discussed in this article at excellent prices and with the usual "satisfied or refunded" guarantee.

By following the links you will find an abundant assortment of bikes from different brands as well as some women's cycling clothing so that you can evaluate the individual product sheets with all the features and prices.

Here are some models that can be purchased directly online that may interest you

  • Liv road bike for women
  • Haibike Unisex Road Bike
  • Unisex Whistle Road Bike
  • Haibike Affair Unisex Road Bike
  • MERIDA RIDE Unisex Road Bike
  • Women's cycling clothing
  • Woman cyslism body
  • Women's cycling jackets
  • Women's cycling gloves
  • Women's cycling underwear

Other related articles I wrote on IdeeGreen that might interest you are:

  • Child bike seat: legislation and advice
  • Slope and cycling: calculation of the average slope of a climb
  • Cycling shoes for racing or mtb bikes: how to choose them
  • Bike and Cycling Glasses: guide and models
  • Bike and Cycling Helmet: guide and models
  • Tires, tubeless and tubular: guide and bike tire sizes
  • How to clean and lubricate the bike and chain

Curated by Tullio Grilli




Video: Bike Setup Tips For Smaller Cyclists. Emmas Bike Fit Guide (May 2021).