- This topic has 13 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 3 months ago by DeeAnn Hopings.
- January 23, 2023 at 5:27 am #135169RebeccaParticipant
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: https://www.bikester.co.uk/winora-hollywood-n7-wave-M1151456.html?vgid=G1703006&eqrecqid=08c96e51-9667-11ed-b2d8-000094fb7d5e
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- January 28, 2023 at 5:19 am #135287BarbFREE
hairy male staff
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!
- January 28, 2023 at 11:11 am #135292
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.
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- January 29, 2023 at 12:00 am #135328RebeccaFREE
Thank you for your informed and informative reply DeeAnn, which is what I was hoping for when I made my post. My current bike is probably nearly as heavy as this one and similar ladies’ bikes I’m thinking of, and it has a front suspension which seems to work well in providing a smoother ride on British pothole-riddled road. Despite decades of trying really hard to maintain my bikes, I am just not very competent at maintenance, so I am investigating lower-maintenance options such as hub gears and disc brakes. This really expensive model has something I’d never even heard of: belt drive instead of a chain, along with disc brakes. Have you any knowledge of this strange innovation?
As for gears, I find that my bike’s 21 speeds are most unused, and I stick with the middle chainring 99% of my riding time. Given that I grew up riding bikes with either no gears at all or a 3-speed, I’d be entirely content with seven.
- January 30, 2023 at 2:20 am #135343
Thanks! Not a problem!
I wondered about the road quality. What I’ve noticed is that urban bikes available here in the US have models with and without suspension forks. Anyway, I guess the idea is to have all bases covered.
Back in the 70’s when I got into riding, I bought a book on bicycle maintenance as I had no experience with derailleurs and how to adjust them properly. While I understood how they worked, I had no sense of what made a good adjustment. I didn’t ride through the 80’s and 90’s and started again in the early 2000’s. I bought another book at that time as things had changed in 20+ years. Although I haven’t done much work on my bikes in more recent times, it is good to have background. It helps to describe things better to service people and to understand what they do/did.
This is a cutaway of a geared hub:
There are lots of moving parts that all must function correctly in order for it to shift as it should.
Disc brakes are quite popular these days. The advantages for bikes are essentially the same as it is for cars. They flush water away and dissipate heat quickly. Replacing rotors on bikes is also probably cheaper than replacing quality wheels. I haven’t ridden a bike with disc brakes, but I assume their stopping power is at least comparable to rim brakes.
Flexible belts have some clear advantages over chains. They are quiet, they do not rust and they don’t need any lubrication. They are a good match for geared hubs. However, they require that the chair stay and the seat stay on the drive side is separable. In the photo the 2 hex socket screws are removed and the chain stay separated from the seat stay in order to install or remove the belt.
- February 18, 2023 at 7:04 pm #135839Emily AltUNITY
FWIW DeeAnn, the disk brakes on my e-bike are superior to any rim brakes I ever used. That includes my older $5000 road bike. If I ever upgrade any components on that bike, it’ll be disk brakes. The increased stopping power and reduced muscle fatigue easily justifies the small weight increase.
- February 18, 2023 at 8:39 pm #135846
My road bike, if my balance ever returns enough to resume riding, is a carbon Ritchey BreakAway, with a full 2016 Campagnolo Chorus drivetrain and Zonda wheels. Bike is in the 17 pound range and maybe something less. It has been a while since I weighed it. Increased stopping power is only useful up until the wheels lock and I can do that with my rim brakes. At that point you are dependent on what the tires can do. Where I live now, some of the advantages fall away. It is essentially flat here in the desert, so overheating isn’t an issue. It doesn’t rain much here and I never liked riding in the rain anyway. When I ride I always tried to anticipate as clipless pedals were always a bit of a worry for me. Consequently, hard braking was fairly rare.
Functionally, I think a couple of other things come into play. Mechanical ones would seem to require quite a bit of mechanical advantage to work. To me, the hydraulic ones are a bit scary in terms of cutting a hose or breaking a fitting. Not saying that will happen, but it is a risk factor. Now, unless someone has the mother of all crashes, you would still have brakes at one end of the bike, so there’s that.
Anyway, it is an equation that everyone has to figure out for themselves. For me, the way that I ride and my machinery preferences, there isn’t enough of an upside.
- January 25, 2023 at 7:47 am #135218Marg ProdueFREE
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
- January 23, 2023 at 11:40 am #135175Michelle LawsonMANAGING AMBASSADOR
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.
- January 23, 2023 at 8:08 am #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.
- January 23, 2023 at 7:46 am #135171Lauren MugnaiaSILVER
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
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- January 23, 2023 at 11:34 pm #135198RebeccaFREE
The reason for step-through designs is to allow riders to wear dresses or skirts, which is extremely awkward with the men’s design.
- January 23, 2023 at 7:56 pm #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. 🙂
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- January 23, 2023 at 7:05 pm #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.
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