Choosing a ladies’ bike

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    • #135169

      I ride a (men’s style) bike to get around town with the occasional ride in the country – never off road or longer than six or seven miles each way. I’m looking to change to a ladies’ style step-through bike and I need advice from trans women about this. How did you choose your bike? Did you go to a bike shop and ask the hairy male staff for advice? The dimensions of ladies’ bikes are designed for cis women, although I have short legs which make me closer to women’s measurements anyway. I’m looking at bikes such as this one:

      • This topic was modified 1 year ago by Rebecca.
    • #135171
      Lauren Mugnaia

      Hi Rebecca,
      All the leading brands make bikes just like that, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding one. For what you say your needs are, I don’t think you need to spend a lot. Most women’s bikes come in more attractive colours as well, so get the one that has the prettiest colour. Have fun 🙂


      Ms. Lauren M

    • #135172

      Just a few thoughts…

      Women’s bikes aren’t smaller than men’s bikes, the proportions are different, as women tend to have longer legs relative to height, so the distance from seat to handlebars is shorter for a given size of bike. As for bike size, that’s usually determined by your inseam, so just get the bike that fits that and adjust from there.

      When shopping, I wouldn’t worry about the “hairy male staff”. Serious road bikers might not be too hairy. 🙂 And on a serious note, there seem to be a fair number of knowledgeable women working in the industry (at least here in the Twin Cities). And enough clueless men that you really have to find staff you feel you can trust and work with. And beyond the sales floor, a couple of the best mechanics I know are women.

      Best wishes on getting a new bike and enjoying the rides.

    • #135175
      Michelle Lawson

      OMG, I haven’t ridden a bike in centuries. I’d probably fall over and hurt myself. But I do see women’s and men’s bikes in the stores all the time. I agree that all of the major brands would carry them. Just find one that suits your style and pocket book, and off you go.

    • #135218

      Hi Rebecca,  I’m with Evelyn on this reply.  I used to build frames and work in the shops.  We never talked down to women customers or coworkers and many of them were serious riders and racers and worked along with us.  If anyone disses you, then you are in the wrong shop.  While I don’t ride anymore this is what I’ve observed.  The women that I see riding to work in my area (not many) all wear leggings, shorts or pants and then add a skirt if necessary later. I see that you are in the UK so there are more riders there.   Women riders are all realistic and know that certain clothing gets in the way so they dress and bike accordingly.  The bike that you selected will work with longer skirts and definitely will fit in across the pond for daily use.  I hope that helps you.  Safe Journey,  Marg

    • #135287

      [quote quote=135169]hairy male staff[/quote]

      HA HA!! Yeah, bike dudes tend to scrape their knuckles on the ground. Way more women are needed in shops!

      I see the bike you’re considering is 38 lbs. Not exactly a hill climber. Perhaps your area is flatish?

      I’ve ridden in England a few times when visiting my brother-in-law in Yorkshire. We rode up to Holme Moss from Holmfirth along the same road the Tour de France followed in 2014. That climb was as brutal as Caesars Head from Pumpkintown in South Carolina!!

      As long as the bike fit you, that’s all that really matters!



      • #135292
        DeeAnn Hopings

        Before I comment, I’ll post the following disclaimer. I am a roadie, and before I had a mild stroke 6 years ago, I was good for 55-60 miles. I’m also a retired mechanical engineer.

        So, definitely agree about the weight of the bike. Other than going up hills, that would also come into play if a lot of stop-start is needed for urban riding.

        This bike uses the 7-speed Shimano Nexus internally geared hub. The knock on geared hubs is that they are heavy and less efficient than derailleur drive trains. However, for this type of bike, the weight of it and the anticipated riding, I doubt that this would be a problem. The Nexus is the 2nd tier to Shimano’s Alfine line of geared hubs. 3, 7 and 8 speeds for the Nexus versus 8 and 11 speeds for the Alpine. The gear range of the 7 speed is quite a bit shorter than what you would find with derailleur systems, but going back to the anticipated riding, this probably isn’t a problem. One thing to note is that even though the mechanism is enclosed, it is not perfectly sealed. Water and dirt can get in. Whatever Shimano believes is an appropriate maintenance schedule should be followed.

        Not quite sure why a suspension fork is needed, given how these bikes are used, but all of the Winona bikes at this price point have them. That is a significant contributor to that 38 pounds.

        Bike fit is always very important, even for a bike of this type. An ill-fitting and uncomfortable bike is clearly not good and can discourage one from riding. Working with someone who has some experience in fitting is helpful. One thing I noticed about this bike is that it has the old style quill stem. This will accommodate a bit of adjustment, but the problem is that if you need a longer one, they can be difficult to find.

        This kind of bike encourages wearing dresses and skirts. Personally, I would always worry about catching them somewhere on something. I always wear appropriate riding clothes, bibs and jerseys, so there is no concern on my road bike.

        All in all, this seems to be a serviceable bike at this price point.

    • #135181

      To an extent. If the frame is too big, it can be a problem just stopping and standing over the frame. If it is too small, there are limits to how far the seat can be raised.

    • #135184

      🙂 Thanks! That truly brought a smile to my face. I had totally forgot the initial point of the topic.

      On a serious note, most of the other women cyclists I know ride traditional diamond frames. They might be Women Specific Designs, which affects the geometry of the frame in terms of top tube, seat tube, down tube lengths and angles, but still a top tube all the way up to the top of the seat tube.

      In checking, it seems that design has been shifting a bit of late. I saw more WSD bikes that did have a bit of a drop in top tube height at the seat tube.

      Sorry, letting my bike nerd show. 🙂

    • #135198

      The reason for step-through designs is to allow riders to wear dresses or skirts, which is extremely awkward with the men’s design.

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