Women's carbon road bike recommendations?

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  • Women's carbon road bike recommendations?
  • Sue_W
    Member

    Having accepted that I’m more of a road rider than a mountain biker now, I’m reviewing the current stable and considering investing in a carbon road bike.

    Looking for a bike that would be good for long fast sportives with lots of climbing (thinking of the Marmotte in the future), so comfort, lightweight, and a good range of gears essential. Plus will be using it for TT as well, but will be using clip on TT bars for that.

    Any advice or recommendations? I’m only 5′ and weigh 47kg so a lot of bikes seem “over built” for me, or relatively heavy. Would it be worth getting a frame and building it up – in which case any recommendations for wheels / components etc? And is Di2 worth investing in?

    Cheers!

    titusrider
    Member

    I would recommend one of the top Trek WSD madones

    http://www.trekbikes.com/ca/en/bikes/road/race_performance/madone_5_series/madone_5_2_wsd_h2_compact/#

    or whatever matches your price bracket

    I love my Trek – have had a 5000 and now got a 5.5 Madone with 50m deep sections wheels…lovely! Both in a 47 (wsd). Getting a proper fit also helped as its set up to my flexibility and measurements.

    boblo
    Member

    Go on a trip to Epic and get fitted. They have a vast range of good stuff from dear to very dear 🙂

    Failing that, there’s been an upturn in good, little used stuff being put up for sale recently as Olympic wannabes realise they’re not using the tackle they bought in the post summer haze of success…. Mucho bargains to be had.

    Sue_W
    Member

    Thanks folks

    DGOAB – how do you think the Madone compares to the Domane? Trek seems to have some very good high end bikes for women.

    Boblo – who / what / where is Epic?

    (And, yes I am keeping an eye out for second hand sales … )

    FuzzyWuzzy
    Member

    Does depend a lot on budget and as above get a bike fitting first so you know your starting point.
    If you’ve got a few k to spend then although building up a bike can work out more expensive it does mean you can make the compromises (for budget’s sake) where you choose rather than the manufacturer. The main thing on complete bikes that get compromised are the wheels but for someone as light as you that will be one of the most important things to spend money on.

    boblo
    Member

    Epic? Ultimate toy shop for cyclists:

    Here

    cupid stunt
    Member

    Scott Contessa

    Thrustyjust
    Member

    My aunt has just recently got a carbon Boardman and is very happy with it. Does about 200 miles a week on it. Although looking at Di2 may make hers a bit below your price range.

    fourbanger
    Member

    Cheap woman’s road bikes in smaller sizes in CRC private lappiere sale.

    Sue, not sure tbh. The madone 5.5 was a warranty replacement so I didn’t have any choice in the matter. Had I been buying new, it’d def be a Trek, not sure which one though – guess it would depend on my budget at the time. I don’t want to look at the Domane’s to give you an opinion incase i have a hankering for a new bike! 😀

    Before the warranty, I’d wondered about up-grading my frame but didn’t because a) i loved it b) i’m of the opinion that i can get a lot fitter/faster/stronger for a lot less £ than a new bike, and a bling frame would be the reward for my cat 1/elite license, or when i felt i was at the stage where every gram counts.

    Investment wise, I’d go for getting a proper full-on fit like I had. Good wheels/hubs are a must – i got Bontager Aura 5s which I love. I think I’ll prob go for Di2 at some point.

    Buying frame and building up will prob be more expensive, unless you already have your own bits to go on it, or want to invest in a light frame and up-grade components over time.

    moonwrasse
    Member

    You could always build a bike up from a custom built frame.
    Cyfac,Dimar or Enigma all make great frames.

    TheDoctor
    Member

    Parlee for custom or Time for off the shelf.

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    Mrs Sweaman2 has a Felt ZW3 and loves it.

    bol
    Member

    I’d be buying a Lapierre from CRC if it were me. 40% off a reasonable spec. Nice frames too.

    Dales_rider
    Member

    You need to try road bikes, some fit some dont. Womens specific is usually bollocks, scott contessas are the same geometry as one of the mens bikes [speedster] the difference being the in line seat post and a shorter stem.
    That said my wife’s current road bike is a Trek Madone 4.3 WSD which she loves. Reason behind buying it was she tried loads of bikes and that fitted.

    nasher
    Member

    DEFINATELY try before you buy.

    Also the shimano STI levers are very chunky, my GF complains that she cannot get her hands around the hoods and use the brakes from there (when cruisng etc..)

    Dales_rider
    Member

    I fitted some cross top brake levers to my missus’ bike, Crane Creek ones.

    zerocool
    Member

    Woman’s Treks. madone’s are the best. But I’m pretty sure the cheaper ranges still use the same geo throughout. At least they used to. The GF had a Trek 2.3 (alu with carbon stays) and that had the madone geo. Now she’s got a 2011 Madone and loves everything about it apart from the SRAM Force front mech which spends it’s entire life being shite!!

    johnellison
    Member

    I would have said Planet X Pro Carbon Rival (£999) but looking at their specs, I suspect that even their very smallest frame might be too big for you. Might be worth giving them a call though?

    FuzzyWuzzy
    Member

    DI2 shifters are less chunky aren’t they? so may be a good option for small hands, I’d say easier to change gear to but IME mechanical changing is light enough on modern Shimano stuff that anyone could cope (unless they’ve got nerve damage or something). The Domane does look good and thinking about swapping the frame on my Roubaix to one.

    Sue_W
    Member

    Thanks all for the recommendations and advice – will definitely be checking some of them out.

    Bike fit is a good idea – I’d only want to invest in a new bike if there was a noticeable improvement in performance compared to my current bikes. So am looking for a significant upgrade from my Specialized Dolce with 105 spec. I think that weighs in at around 9kg, so a 6-7kg bike would be a big difference, especially as at only 45kg I would struggle to lose 2kg without losing muscle power.

    Will check out Epic re bike fit, but are there any other recommendations for the best place for road bike fittings. Also, any recommendations for suitable bike makes aside from the mainstream Trek / Specialized etc ones (not that there is anything wrong with the main brands, but I’ve already heard of them so would be interested to know if there’s any smaller / less well known brands that I might have missed)

    Cheers

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    A friend of mine who’s 5’1″ and has been road riding for years has recently got a Focus carbon. She’s been very happy with it, coming from an old Pinarello too.

    My Scott CR1 is lovely but gathering dust. Incredibly comfy carbon compared to aluminium but it just needs a decent rider!

    Good luck. 🙂

    Sue, here’s my thoughts on the bike fit. That was one of the best investments i made last year (and wheels). When my madone is built up i’ll let you know the weight of it if it helps.

    http://pescetarianrevolutions.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/bike-fit-a-whole-lot-more-ooommph-with-no-extra-training

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Sorry, just another thought. My friend has a petite build so with a carbon frame it was important that components weren’t too light otherwise a gust of wind would have sent her sideways!

    Love Tubs
    Member

    I’ve not read any of the above, so apologies if my bit’s been done. Good friend of mine, she’s a very keen biker (road, mtb), has found the WSD bikes (if that’s what ur thinking) are not worth it. She simply can’t tell the difference between correctly sized ‘normal’ frames. To back this up, Cervelo don’t do WSD geometry; there’s a really good youtube interview with them on this…might a competive cyclist one actually.

    So any frame correctly fitted is the way forward; if it’s good enough for Cervelo then that’s proof enough for me.

    Kisses and hugs.

    LT

    The problem is, if you have a typical women’s build ie long legs, short torso, finding bikes that have the right length TT is the hard part. If you have a longer torso and shorter legs, WSD geometry isn’t so much of an issue/a must. I’ll always go WSD on the road – my winter bike (a giant) is a 43 to get the TT as near as possible to my fit.

    FuzzyWuzzy
    Member

    Specific bike recommendations depends on budget really. For bike fitting whereabouts in the country are you? Although I had good service from Epic myself there are lots of good bike fitters around the country so not worth travelling a long way to them (Epic are more likely than most to have the bling bike of your dreams available to drool over and sit on though rather than just look at pics in a catalogue)

    Sue_W
    Member

    DGOAB – good write up! And covers a lot of the niggles I currently have, from old injury pains to getting into the drops to feeling that I’m in a position to draw on more power. Shame Fife is so far away! (Although I’m up in Edinburgh for work soon …)

    c_g – yes wind is a problem! I struggle to feel stable when there’s a strong crosswind (which is unfortunately very common in north Wales!), but although a heavy bike can be more stable it doesn’t help when going up hill. As I’m planning on doing some hill climb TT’s next year I might sacrifice stability for less weight.

    Love Tubs – thanks for the hugs and kisses 🙂 Agree that geometry is not straightforward, but most “unisex” bikes are completely wrong for me – not just frame size, but crank length, bar width and drop reach etc. In the end a unisex bike is built for the average male, but I am very small even compared to the average female!

    Right, looks as if bike fit is the first option … (at least that’s cheaper than a top spec carbon bike!!!)

    FuzzyWuzzy – I’m based in North Wales, but often in London and Cardiff for work. Budget is flexible but not unlimited – around £3k would seem OK, but £6k would seem excessive!!!

    I’ve had no niggles since my fit, despite a huge amount of training and racing. I can ride on the drops for 100miles without any issues/pain. There must be a good fit near you, look for one that covers flexibility as well rather than just your measurements as I think this is the key thing. If your in edinburgh with a bike, Hardie Bikes is easy to get to if you have some free time (but he is booked up quite far in advance!). But please get it done before buying a new bike, just in case – a friend had a fit done and turns out both her bikes are too big for her, so she had to buy 2 new bikes!

    FuzzyWuzzy
    Member

    Cadence Sport might be doable for you in terms of getting there, especially if can make the detour when travelling back from Cardiff (they’re in Burton-on-Trent) http://www.cadencesport.co.uk/bike-fitting/

    Retul fits are worth considering to and there are a few around the country (they have a frame finder service now to so can pull up a list of bikes suitable given your measurements rather than just giving you a print-out and you having to work it out from manufacturer listed geometries). I can’t give you a specific recommendation for the areas you list though (Bristol would be the closest) but I’m sure others on here can.

    nicklloyd
    Member

    Hi Sue,

    If you are looking for small bikes an important point to check is the crank length. This is an expensive part to change afterwards so you should try and ensure you have around 160mm cranks.

    A few websites around with calculators such as this:-

    Crank Calculator

    If you wanted a bike fit near North Wales, check out Romero Performace, Retul bike fit by an Olympic Gold Medallist along with Pedalling technique analysis using spin scan and slow motion video capture.

    Cheers

    Nick

    hitman
    Member

    To the OP,
    I’ve thought about this a few times before. Given that you are so much lighter and shorter than the average male I’m sure that an equivalent “men’s size” frame must be overbuilt. If you’re not looking to race competitively, why not look into a custom built frame – you could have something built to your own dimensions which would be really light without sacrificing strength. If money was no object I would look at a custom built Colnago. If you did want to race you could just add some extra weight to the bike when competing.
    As far as triathlons are concerned, it’s probably better to go for a tri-specific bike, depending to a certain extent on the course.

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