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Road bikes for short women becoming a scarce commodity

I’m sorry to say that last time I wrote a blog post on the topic of road bikes for short women only two years ago, there were many more models available in very small sizing. I’m a relatively short woman at 160 cm (5 foot 3 inches) but I’m lucky that there are many more choices for me. If you’re 5 foot or less and I can think of at least three friends who fit into this category then there are many fewer road bikes available.

road bikes for short women
The amazing Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9 available in size 3XS

I suspect that overall there are fewer models road bike models available as major brands like Specialized and Trek abandon the women’s specific road bike concept. I don’t necessarily disagree with that idea but it seems to have led to a much smaller number of models for short women.

Sadly my favourite bike brand Specialized seems to be offering fewer road bikes for short women than they did previously particularly in Australia.

In conducting a little research using the Specialized website I could only find eight road bikes and two framesets in size 44 cm. This included Tarmac, Allez and Roubaix models. These bikes were previously suggested as the right size for women who are 143 to 152 cm or 4”8’ to 5”0’. However, in the UK for example, there are 19 Specialized road bikes available in size 44 cm.

I’ve done a bit of research on other brands and here’s a list of road bikes I’ve found in this nice compact size that you can buy in Australia. This list is not exhaustive but will give you an idea of the bike manufacturers who are making bikes for shorter women.

Specialized – as mentioned Specialized has moved away from women’s specific road bikes and offers Tarmac, Allex and Roubaix models in 44 cm.

Trek – Like Specialized Trek has retreated from the women’s specific road bike concept. Using the Australian Trek website I identified that only the Domane model is available in size 44 cm.

Liv Giant – Liv Giant is the only brand that has stuck with the concept of women’s geometry road bikes and so unsurprisingly they offer most of their women’s road bikes in size XS. Although on the website they suggest size XS suits riders 153 cm to 162 cm so you’ll miss out if you’re under 5 foot.

Canyon – This is the first time I’ve included Canyon in my road bikes for short women research but they certainly seem to be serious about this segment. Canyon goes straight to the top of the class with its list of no less than 18 road bike models available in size 3XS.

Cannondale – Cannondale has four women’s road bikes listed on the Australian website but I suspect they are the same geometry as the unisex counterparts. They also offer several other models in size 44 cm but certainly fewer models than previously.

Scott – Scott offers its Contessa women’s road bikes in XXS size in some models but again there seems to be less than last time I did this research.

Once you’ve drawn up your own shortlist the hardest part will be finding a bike shop with small women’s bikes in stock that you can take for a test ride. In fact, at the moment, road bikes are in short supply because of the COVID pandemic. I suggest you start with your own local bike shop and see how they can help. Canyon sells direct so you buy online and have the bike shipped direct to you.

Share your experiences of road bikes for short women via comments or the Women Who Cycle Facebook page.

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