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Category Archive: women specific bike
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I’m a relatively short woman at 160 cm (5 foot 3 inches) but I’ve met quite a few female road cyclists who are shorter than me and one of them mentioned to me that she and other short stature women have trouble finding bikes to ‘fit’.
A lot of people are dubious about the whole women’s specific bike concept and question whether it’s just marketing hype but I’m a real believer in the philosophy. Read my past posts on this subject and make up your own mind. From my perspective the women’s specific bike becomes more important the shorter you are, so women who measure in at 5 foot or below should really consider a women’s specific bike. Thankfully plenty of bike manufacturers have responded to the short end of the market and many produce 44 cm bikes.
To give you an idea of the sizing Specialized produces a sizing chart which suggests that a 44 cm Dolce, Ruby or Amira (the women’s specific road bike models) will suit a women who is 143-152 cm or 4”8’ to 5”0’.
Tonight I’m attending a ‘Performance women’s night’ at Jet Cycles in the Sydney CBD and next week I’m helping to organise an event at Ashfield Cycles. I actually started working at Ashfield Cycles a couple of weeks ago as a casual shop assistant and I’m loving it.
Here’s the details of the event next week.
Last Friday I headed to Melbourne to visit the Ausbike Expo which is the annual bike industry trade show which this year featured hundreds of new products and services for the Australian bike industry.
I spent all day working my way from stand to stand asking the eager participants if they had any products specifically designed for female cyclists or products they believed would appeal to women. Quite a few people steered me towards anything pink but I quickly explained that while pink is popular with some women cyclists it doesn’t appeal to me and I know many of my readers agree.
So here’s a few highlights of the show:
As a keen blogger one thing I do on a regular basis, usually daily, is check my web stats and look at things like how many people are visiting my site, where they are located, and what search terms they use to find me. One of the most popular search strings that appears at least once on most days is – ‘do I need a women specific road bike?’.
The searchers find me because I wrote a blog post on this topic about a year ago so I thought it would be good to revisit it.
I’m sorry to say to all those people who are looking for a definitive answer, we’ll probably never find one. It’s just not straightforward enough to obtain one. Instead I thought it might be useful if I give my view on the topic.
Straight up I need to declare that I ride a women’s specific bike – a 2011 Specialized Amira Expert, so my view is influenced by my own experience.
On Tuesday, 20 March from 6.30 pm John and the team at Ashfield Cycles will host a ‘Women’s Clinic Night’ where women can come along to learn tips on how to maintain your bike, change a tyre and skills for the road or trail.
You’ll also have the opportunity to meet other women who are interested in cycling.
You can also enter a great competition being run by Specialized to win a women’s road or mountain bike and some great gear to the value of $3,600.
The night is free but it would be great if you could register by calling Ashfield Cycles on 02 9797 9913. Ashfield Cycles is located at 353 Liverpool Road, Ashfield, NSW, 2131 and there is free on street parking nearby.
Ashfield Cycles will also be running a women’s only ride on Sunday, 25 March. Details of that will follow.
I was thrilled when David Cook of Clarence Street Cyclery asked me if I’d like to ride the new Eddy Merckx women’s specific road bike and write a review for my blog. It’s my very first bike review so don’t be expecting any technical talk or voice of experience.
For benchmarking purposes my own current road bike is a 2011 Specialized Amira Expert which has a full carbon frame and the gearing is full Ultegra. I really love my bike but I also jumped at the opportunity to ride a different bike for a week and certainly didn’t regret this decision.
The Eddy Merckx name is synonymous with cycling and racing and they claim that this bike is designed with racing in mind. So they have incorporated ‘Female Race Geometry’ where the angle of the seat tube is kept as close to proper racing angle as possible, the top tube is made shorter and the front head tube is made larger.
The bike which I’ve just returned to Clarence Street Cyclery was an Eddy Merckx EFX-3 women’s specific road bike. It has a full carbon frame and the gearing is Ultegra. If you want all the technical specifications then go to the Eddy Merckx website . It retails for $3,999 which seems to be fairly comparable price in the marketplace.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know by now that I’m a fan of the US bike company Specialized. It’s partly because I really love their products which so far for me includes my bike, shoes, socks and gloves but also because they are great supporters of women’s cycling teams.
Many of you would have probably heard of the European based Specialized Lululemon team which is a spin-off from the ill-fated HTC Highroad team that disbanded last year (a blog post coming on that one soon) but Specialized is also working with women’s cycling in Australia at a lower level of the sport.
This includes a South Australian team called ‘Specialized Women SA’ which is led by one of its team members Liz Phillipou. They are racing a selected schedule over the next year which will include some National Road Series (NRS) races. I saw them race at the Women’s Cup run by Cycling South Australia during the recent Tour Down Under. The team won the opening race with team member Bec Werner and I was lucky enough to meet Bec the next day at the Specialized stand at the Tour Down Under village. If you want to know more about the team you can read a longer article on Cycling Central.
I know a lot of men leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute. I’ve had first hand experience of this for the last 20 years so to help you guys out here’s a few tips for last minute Christmas gift ideas for the female riders in your life.
All road girls like proper road cycling gloves that are made for women’s smaller hands. My favourites are Specialized BG Gel women’s gloves (size small for me in case any of my family or friends are reading this). You can buy them at Specialized dealers like Ashfield Cycles or Northside Cyclery.
I also have a pair of Bontrager (made by Trek) that are also nice. I bought these at Clarence Street Cyclery women’s store.
Socks are a great stocking filler and the only socks a women would be happy to find in her stocking are special road bike riding socks like my favourites from Specialized.
I don’t recommend you buy just any socks and pop them in the stocking. Socks are definitely not regarded as a great gift by women under normal circumstances.
I plan to review relevant products from time-to-time so please feel free to send them through. Here’s my first attempt…..
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been testing the Fizik Vesta Women’s Saddle which is going pretty well. It looks and feels good so far and is definitely one I would consider if you’re looking for a women-specific saddle for your road bike. I’m not an expert on saddles but from what I know women’s saddles are made differently to men’s to accommodate our anatomy. They often have more padding than men’s and are usually wider at the back because women’s sit bones are wider.
So you’ve made the big decision that you want to take up road cycling. You can read about my own personal journey under the My Story tab. I’ll try not to repeat too much of it here.
The first and most important thing to remember is that it’s called a ROAD bike, that means you should ride it on the road (or perhaps a bitumen or concrete bike path) but pretty much nowhere else. You can of course ride for short distances on firm gravel surfaces, paved surfaces and even firm grass but never forget the golden rule – it’s not called a ROAD bike for nothing. It has very skinny tyres with very little grip. Just ask any novice rider about their experiences of off-road riding on a road bike and you’ll hear the same sad ‘bruising’ stories.
Before we get started, I’m assuming that you can already ride a bike and that you’ve decided you want to ride a road bike not a weekend cruiser.
So here are a few things to consider:
Assess your fitness level
The first step is to assess your own fitness level. If you’re already exercising regularly you’ll have no trouble completing a 30 km ride on your first attempt. If you don’t exercise very often then you might have to take it a bit slower.
See my previous post for a long explanation of women’s specific road bikes. You could also consider starting on something more affordable like a flat bar road bike (so called because it has flat handle bars rather than drop bars). A few of my bike riding buddies started on these types of bikes but now they’ve all switched to road bikes. If you’re lucky enough to be able to borrow someone else’s bike just to get going and it’s about the right size then go with that.