- Woman Specific MTB – Much different?
It depends on individual physiology. Generally women have shorter backs and longer legs relative to men, but there’s significant variation, so your daughter may or may not suit a tweaked men’s bike depending on where she falls along the continuum – a friend of mine has legs which are something like 4″ longer than the norm for her height and really does benefit from a women’s-specific frame, others are proportioned more like a bloke and can happily get on with a men’s bike. If that makes sense.
Edit: and it depends on the bike as well and whether it’s genuinely a frame that’s been proportioned to suit long-legged, short-backed women or simply a tweaked men’s frame with a shorter stem, wound-in levers and a WS saddle.Posted 4 years agoDelSubscriber
talking to a physio recently who investigated whether or not women specific designs were noticeably different, and/or whether or not they needed to be, she said it was all a load of old cobblers ( technical term ). maybe a shorter stem and some girlie colours in most cases apparently.Posted 4 years ago
according to her there’s enough variation across both sexes ergonomically to make it largely irrelevant.
find a bike that fits and a spec/price that suits seemed to be the message.starfanglednutterMember
I know Specialized had different springs in their forks for ladies. Whether it was simply the ‘soft’ spring, or indeed a ‘special’ spring (highly doubt it), I’ve no idea. But the Suntour XCM on the Spesh Myka Sport that my wife owned for a while was surprisingly plush for a very low end fork. Also, the top tube was slightly sorter, the standover greater, and the saddle was wider. It actually fitted me perfectly! Spec wasn’t good for its RRP, but was fine for the 20% discount price we bought it at. Frame was worthy of upgrades too.Posted 4 years agoandyvMember
My daughter is at a size ready for a 26″ mtb. I’ve been cruising the online bike shops, ebay etc for a woman specific mtb and finding that the ranges are pretty limited and the specs on the ladies models lag far behind that on the men/unisex models. I understand that the geometry, lever reach etc is slightly different but with the range of adjustment on higher spec bikes I’m unconvinced this would be an issue.
So is it worth it, with the range limitations for my price backet (upto £500) i could get a higher spec small mens bike for the price of a very base spec womans model.
Your collective thoughts please……Posted 4 years agobencooperMember
talking to a physio recently who investigated whether or not women specific designs were noticeably different, and/or whether or not they needed to be, she said it was all a load of old cobblers
Yes, this is my understanding too – the long legs / short torso thing was a statistical error.
Women are generally smaller. That’s it, basically.Posted 4 years agoebygommMember
The line pedalled is that women generally have longer legs proportionally to their torsos, they then make womens specific bikes with lower stand over which doesn’t follow logically at all.
I was looking at hybrids recently and compared the geometry between the crosstrail and the ariel and the small was virtually identical for both bikes and the componentry was pretty much the same as well. No shorter cranks, or narrower bars. Same width bars across the whole size range irrespective of whether male or female version (660mm).
Women are generally smaller. That’s it, basically.
Which is why I find it bizarre that a men’s small and a womens’s small are basically the same size.Posted 4 years agoBunnyhopSubscriber
having ridden both men’s bikes and women’s, i found that i was fine on either. the man’s frame was just tweaked for my short body and slightly longer legs.
the comment about the forks is interesting, mine are just set up on my 2 (now men’s frames) for a lighter, shorter person.
back in the day before women specific anything (this goes for shoes, saddles, frames etc) we all just rode something that felt o.k at the time. so its always best to try bikes out.Posted 4 years agoTiRedMember
Was looking at the differences in geometry for Giant road bikes yesterday. TCR medium has a TT of 55.5 and the Liv has a TT of 55 with a slightly longer head tube. I’m a better fit to the ladies bike.
Teen2 is a boy btw. Likes the black frame and pink detail. And the XT. He also ha an Avail (ladies Defy). TT is again 0.5cm shorter, although his is an XS so it’s a moot point.Posted 4 years agoDickyboyMember
so for a 5’8″ tall lady (assuming she is long of legs & short of body) should she be tending towards a smaller frame with a longer seat post perhaps? been thinking of getting a Soul, Genesis Altitude or Core for my good lady friend & I can’t decide if 16″ small or 17.5″ medium would be best for her.Posted 4 years agojamesoSubscriber
Generally women have shorter backs and longer legs relative to men,
A commonly quoted point that isn’t backed up by any anthropometric data. Shorter arms and narrower shoulders yes, different mass distribution perhaps, but leg / back lengths average out to be the same proportions. There’s as much variation between women (or men) at each end of the scale as between men and women.Posted 4 years ago
So a frame needs to be small enough and bar/stem/saddle often changed to suit, beyond that there’s nothing needed from the frame geometry that seat posts or similar adjustments can’t take care of.sadmadalanSubscriber
Just find a bike that fits. My better half is taller than me, but rides a smaller bike as it fits her better. In her case she has the saddle too high for me to ride and if I lower it the top tube is too short, but then I have short legs/long arms! What we did find was useful, was a women’s saddle and brakes that the reach could be adjusted for her hands.Posted 4 years agoDickyboyMember
why are you making that assumption
coz I ain’t asked or got the tape measure out yet 😳
Bunnyhop – knew a couple who had similar proportions, seems to me women do tend to have proportionally longer legs.
Just find a bike that fits.
This is what I am trying to do, not so easy when investigating 2nd hand frames though, hence why I ask on here.
She is currently riding a bitsa that I cobbled together, but although she likes it I think the handling is too twitchy (130mm fork in a Abysss frame) & I think she deserves better but I am undecided if a small or medium Soul, Altitude or Core with a 120mm fork would be best to opt for.Posted 4 years agoBadlyWiredDogSubscriberjamesoSubscriber
BWD, I just looked that up, interesting read but I’m not sure Terry’s sources are right in that example. ‘Ballast up top’ is the debatable part – men tend to have more muscle up top and women store more fat lower down plus muscle is denser than fat, but to say that’s a difference between men and women is a generalisation and even if it were consistent, imo the way to centralise that on a bike is from seat angle combined with reach, not simply top tube length (her post alludes to that, and it being an early error). The point about strength to support the bodyweight may be the most valid.Posted 4 years ago
She also mentions arms being longer but data I’ve read says women have shorter arms, but in terms of grip range vs height it’s not a notable difference from memory.
There’s differences in pelvis depth that can affect torso angle / reach, seems to be the biggest variable that justifies any reach difference. Basically, it seems we all have similar bone proportions apart from the pelvis but our muscle and fat distribution is different, or not that different at all between some (maybe less different the more ‘athletic’ people get?)matt_outandaboutSubscriber
Why buy new? Put a ‘wanted’ on here, deliberately budget under by a few £ and then buy second hand, expecting to need to put new tyres or pads or pink grips on… 8)Posted 4 years ago
Second hand from TrailScotland a couple of weeks back, £250. One happy 11 year old. Do not tell him it is a womens one…
2006 Specialized Hardrock Sport by matt_outandabout, on Flickr
Second hand here, a few years back, £225
Cannondale F900SL by matt_outandabout, on Flickr
Sold on here early this year by my old employer: £350
For Sale by matt_outandabout, on Flickr
Bits from here and retrobike, it will get new wheels and discs shortly as he gets bigger. Cost so far £170.
Comrie Croft by matt_outandabout, on Flickr
Trek 4300 by matt_outandabout, on FlickrchiefgrooveguruMember
BWD I don’t know who reviewed those papers but they just don’t stack up. Men have greater upper body muscle mass than women, whilst their lower body muscle mass is much more similar. Men predominantly store fat around the middle of the torso whilst women have a variety of different storage patterns with the average storing more fat around the hips and thighs. In short, regardless of limb length an average man has a proportionally higher centre of gravity than an average woman – you only have to look at shoulder:hip width ratios to see this is the case.
Wider saddles usually make sense. Narrower bars usually make sense. The rest is just marketing.Posted 4 years agochiefgrooveguruMember
Just found an excellent academic paper on this:
In short, on average, women have slightly shorter legs and arms for their height but the difference is small. However black people, on average, have longer limbs for their height, which is due to those of us who migrated to colder climates evolving longer torsos as that reduces the surface area to mass ratio.Posted 4 years ago
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