New to cycling - Women's vs. Men's road bikes

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by burgerad, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. burgerad

    burgerad New Member

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    I wanted to get some insight into whether or not the majority of cycling women actually buy the "made for women" bikes or if they just go with the standard sizes. A little while ago I bought a specialized allez 54cm road bike. I looked at the women's bikes, but the selection at the store at that time was pretty small and not quite in the price range I was looking at. The specialized bike I bought felt good at the store, but I have found since then that it really is quite uncomfortable. I switched out the men's specialized seat with a terry seat ( which helped a little) and have spent countless hours moving the seat and handlebars around to find something more comfortable. Still, the bike is just uncomfortable.

    I have been told by people that road bikes are just uncomfortable in general, but I feel a lot of strain in my arms, shoulders, back, and hips when riding (joint pressure). I'm trying to determine if a women's bike would really make the difference in comfort, or if a men's bike in a difference size would help? Or is it just always going to be uncomfortable? Does anyone have any thoughts/insight into this?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    at the beggining road bikes might feel challenging, after some time it feels like second nature and great, but yes female road bikes are different, different geometry and designed for women, for the set up, either male or female, the stem is critical, it can be longer or shorter, put higher or lower, with or without angle, so there are many considerations there, however the most important fit matter is the size of the frame, how tall are you ?
     
  3. aliciapaul

    aliciapaul New Member

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    The cycles that are made for women are made according to their comfort. So it is better to see some differences in it. They have also height issues which make their bikes different than men's.

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  4. jcaroline

    jcaroline New Member

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    If you are able to you should take both "women's specific" and "men's specific" bikes for a long test ride...as in more than 10 minutes. If the shop you're looking to purchase from has shop rides ask if you can ride a ladies' bike for one ride then ride a guy's bike for a ride on a different group ride. We do this at the shop I work and I feel that a lot of times it's a little easier to make a choice once you've ridden the bike for a longer period of time.

    I ride a men's bike (specialized tarmac 56 cm). I felt more comfortable on it than on an Amira. The 56 Amira has a shorter seat tube length, seat tube length, bottom bracket height, etc. It differs by a matter of mm...but it made a difference. I put a women's specific saddle on it and it eventually became comfortable (my first "roadie" road bike...a lot to get used to)...i'm 6' tall so it's difficult to find a bike that fits. My touring bike is a 59cm...

    The belief that women have longer legs/shorter torsos is a little bit of a myth. Everyone is built differently. Though a lot of times women will roll their hips back and that is a reason a lot of women's road bikes have a short top tube...women's road bike also sometimes have narrower handlebars...

    Like I said, everyone is built differently. I have a guy friend who is quite short (about 5'5") and he owns 2 women specific bike because he likes their geometry. He ended up switching some parts (saddle/handlebar) and he's really quite happy with both of them...


    ANYWHO, take the bikes for long test rides, WITH the apparel you plan on wearing while riding...It's a good thing to take a little time to ride the bikes. You're going to, hopefully, spend a lot of time on the bikes...You want to be comfortable...
     
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  5. Gadjetty

    Gadjetty New Member

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    I'm looking for some advice too:
    Purchased a men's road bike (Hybrid with straight handlebars) a few days ago and I really like it. Frame size should be ok for me.
    However, I have 2 problems:
    When leaning forward, the saddle puts a lot of pressure on my female bits at the front which makes it quite sore after a few miles. Sitting slightly more upright eases the pressure, but my handlebars are too low to sit slightly more upright.
    Question: Should I get a bar to raise my handlebars, so I can sit slightly more upright, or should I purchase a female saddle which may make for a more comfortable ride?
    I don't have a lot of money, so I'd like to make the right decision on this.
    Don't think I could give either part back if it doesn't help with my problem.
     
  6. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    if this is your first bike then give it a week or two before making any changes, saddle area will allways produce a certain degree of pain or discomfort,
     
  7. Gadjetty

    Gadjetty New Member

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    Thanks for that.
    Well, I've had many bicycles before but this is my first road bike.
    Before I read your post, I decided to get a women's saddle (not an expensive one) to see if that makes a difference. Will post here to let you know if it makes a difference.
     
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  8. RidingSeed

    RidingSeed New Member

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    My first bike was a women's and I didn't know it until my first proper road bike (yes, I know [​IMG]). Didn't have any noticeable pain or discomfort. Guess it doesn't hurt that much if you don't know it, right?
     
  9. Mr645

    Mr645 New Member

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    Did you get a proper fitment at the bike shop? Sometimes moving and adjusting things even a few millimeters can really make a difference.

    Gadjetty, based on your description, you may considering a shorter bar stem or moving the seat forward slightly. These adjustments will cause your hips to roll back and reduce pressure on the horn of the saddle. It's important to watch your leg angle down to the pedals before moving the seat around, as the relationship between the seat and pedals can cause knee pain if not right for some people. You can also adjust the seat angle and look for a women's specific seat.

    I think a good bike fitter would be worth an hour or two to get your bike fitted properly. In the end you should be able to ride at least 30-40 miles with no specific areas of discomfort

    I prefer a tech that is at least as concerned with comfort as "proper angles and measurements out of the book".

    Example on my bike, the "book" says I need a shorter stem as my arm are too far out and by back angle is too much. Also I have the front of the saddle down 2°, too much. But I can ride 65 miles with no specific issues of discomfort so the bike works great for me just the way it is
     
  10. Cairns

    Cairns New Member

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    I know this is an older thread, but wanted to touch on this, based on my own experience.

    I had a similar issue with my saddle (both of my bikes are women's specific models so the saddles are women's specific also). I found I was really getting irritated in the soft tissue (female bits). By mile 20 or so I'd find myself having no choice but to either continue to shift my weight around on the saddle or stand occasionally to help alleviate the discomfort; made it hard to stay inspired enough to finish a ride.

    I thought for sure I'd have to buy a new saddle. So, as a last ditch effort, I moved my seat forward a little and it has completely eliminated the problem. Perhaps you can try that if you haven't already. It sort of forces you to use your sit bones more, as you should.

    Wishing you a comfortable ride :)
     
  11. Chloe31

    Chloe31 New Member

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    I've had a few bikes myself (not hard-core road ones but some good ones) and what I've found is that men's bikes are a lot less comfortable than those designed for women. The frame, the seat..everything feels a bit strange. The one thing to make sure is that the seat is comfortable, try it out before buying if you can ;) I once borrowed a bike from a friend, a girl in fact, but ouuuchhh...once I got off it, my lower body was hurting like mad, just because of the seat position! So, good luck :)
     
  12. Nitefeatherz

    Nitefeatherz New Member

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    As a woman who was recently new to road bikes myself- I got a men's bike (bc I'm pretty tall, 5'10") and then played with it. I always wind up switching the seat out for a women's seat that has a cut out after playing with the seat awhile. I will see if the current seat can be made "comfortable" and then wind up swapping it out- it's just the most comfortable thing for me.

    That said- I would ride if awhile, take it back for an adjustment- it was really uncomfortable at first and it took a few weeks to get everything perfect (changed the saddle, brought the handlebars up a bit...it took adjustments but now it's perfect.

    Main thing though was riding it for awhile for more than just a quick trip to see what was uncomfortable and what wasn't...and having a shop guy that was more than willing to spend time with all my questions. :)
     
  13. BeccaRose1

    BeccaRose1 New Member

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    I lived in the Netherlands for 18 months so I got used to a woman's bike that has a low front. It makes it a lot easier, for me, to get on my bike. I figure as I get older, it will only get harder to get on the bike so I want to make sure I'll still be able to bike when my body doesn't work quite as good as it used to. In my opinion, if you can get used to the low front of a woman's bike, it is a very good investment!
     
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