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’.
I’ve done a bit of research and here’s a list of women’s specific bikes I’ve found in this nice compact size. This list is not exhaustive but will give you an idea of the bike manufacturers who are committed to making bikes for shorter women.
Specialized – all Specialized women’s road bike ranges including the Dolce, Ruby & Amira all have a 44 cm in all models
Trek – Using a selector on Trek’s website I identified seven women’s specific road bikes that come in a 44 cm size from a possible 18 women’s road bikes in the range
Cannondale – Cannondale obviously values its short female customers. All its women’s road bikes including the Supersix Evo, Supersix and CAAD10 models come in a 44 cm size.
Avanti – all Avanti women’s road bikes in the Vitale and Questa ranges come in an XS size.
Giant – Giant is also committed to manufacturing bikes for shorter women. Its Avail Advanced SL, Avail Advanced and Avail Composite come in a 43 cm/XS size. The Avail 1 which is Giant’s entry level women’s road bike also comes in a 39.5 cm/XXS size.
Felt – Felt isn’t so committed to the women’s concept. Its ZW 5 women’s road bike comes in a size called Petite. Other models only come in larger sizes.
Bianchi – Bianchi also has a range of 44 cm framed bikes, although I found the Bianchi website very confusing so I was unable to discern which models were specifically designed for women.
Scott – Seven Contessa women’s road bikes come in XXS size or 47 cm. I’m not sure how that size lines up against the other manufacturers 44 cm frames but I would assume it’s similar.
Once you’ve drawn up your own shortlist the hardest part will be finding a bike shop with a 44 cm women’s bike in stock that you can take for a test ride. There are two women’s bike shops in Sydney – Giant Sydney and Clarence Street Cyclery, both in Clarence Street in the CBD and they’d be a good place to start if you live in Sydney. You could also keep a look out for ride test days that a number of manufacturers run like Specialized, Trek and Giant. They usually have a range of bikes and sizes for potential buyers to test. Specialized is actually running it’s Test the Best program in Sydney’s Centennial Park on Saturday, 2 March 2013 and they will have the S-Works Amira and the Specialized Pro Ruby in a 44 cm size available to test ride.
You could also try ringing around a few bike shops to see what they have available for a test ride. For example, the bike shop where I work – Ashfield Cycles currently has a 44 cm women’s Specialized Dolce on the shop floor. You never know your luck.
Thanks Angie for the idea for this post.