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  1. #1
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    Woman Seeks ~$1500 Bike; Questions Merits of WSD

    Hello,

    My female companion is looking to purchase a road bike for around $1,500. She does not race or intend to race. She currently "rides" an old mountain bike that is literally older than she is.

    For someone like her, who will use the bike as a means of transport and recreation, but does not need require technological superiority for race-time advantage...

    1. should we care if it's a "women's" bike when we can just adjust saddle and seatpost? The Cervelo women's team seems to think men's bikes are fine for women...
    2. what are the favored bikes in this price range
    3. is Tiagra perfectly acceptable?


    The bike must endure the rigors of Brooklyn's ill-paved roads. A road bike, not a hybrid, is desired--even though there will be no races involved. Strange, I know...

    Apologies for the generalized questions that I'm sure everyone but we know the answers to!

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    Brendan

  2. #2
    help us all
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    My girlfriend actually bought her first road bike today. I bought mine fall last year and since have been hounding her to buy one. She really didn't want to spend more than $1,000. I spent the entire summer researching which bicycle I wanted to buy, and did the same for her.

    I do not have an answer for whether or not WSD is necessary. As you've read from cervelo, they claim men and women are just proportionally smaller and only require a different saddle. I've also heard otherwise.

    Tiagra is plenty fine. I would steer clear of anything below that (2300 or sora) as their shifting is inferior. The STI, or shifters under the brakes, are recommended.

    Today, just for fun, we went to a LBS. I never thought in a million years she would end up with Carbon and Shimano 105, but she did! Our LBS had a Madone 3.1 on closeout for $1699. I've looked online and it appears other LBS around the US are offering the 2011 3.1 madone at $1599.

    While I know some people are against Trek because of the big name, or the "lance tax" as I've heard it before, I haven't found a better deal anywhere (Carbon with 105 considerably under 2 grand). Especially with the Trek credit 12 months same as cash, we where hooked. Additionally, got free pedals and water bottle holder.

    She also test road a Trek Lexa SL and liked it, but if she ever wanted to upgrade anything, she essentially would be near the madone 3.1 price and would have a far less bicycle.

    Anyway, I hope my ramblings are helpful in someway. Good luck with your purchase!
    2011 Cervelo r3

  3. #3
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    Thanks! And congrats on the new ride.

  4. #4
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    My road bike is a men's frame. I recently bought a Felt F-5. The F series only has men's frames, no WSD equivalent. My suggestion would be to test several bikes. I have shorter legs and longer torso and arms than what apparently women usually have so for me small men's frames fit me better, when I can find them small enough which is my bigger issue. I also have a men's saddle. IMO fit is the most important not rather it's a men's frame or a WSD frame. My older road bike (which I bought used) is also a men's frame.

  5. #5
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    I'm a 5'5" woman, and the few WSD bikes I tried out didn't fit me at all: too cramped. Men's frames fit me better. When I was doing my research, all the bikes I was looking at were WSD. I was quite surprised to learn when I was trying them out, that they weren't right at all for me. She is going to need to try out what works best for her.

  6. #6
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    The Felt Z4 and Z4W have identical geometry. The Trek WSD frames have the same geometry as the nonWSD H3 frames. Components may vary. You can generally find bike geometry for 2012 bikes at manufacturers sites. In my experience, WSD models always have different seats and shorter stems. They may or may not have narrower bars (bar widths are almost never stated). All of these components can be changed. The days of the 6" diamater drop bars is long gone; most bikes have compact drop bars (compared to 15-20 years ago). I visited the Trek store and they said they would swap out stem AND bars free of charge.

    I've been looking at carbon + Ultegra road bikes. Specialized seems to charge more for their bikes. Giant charges less. Cannondale and Trek prices are somewhere in the middle.

    I haven't test ridden many bikes yet. But I think the "plush" or endurance men's road bikes may end up fitting me better than the more aggressive frames. No pink or teal or flowery decals for me.

    At the $1500 price range, you can find Tiagra or 105/Tiagra bike. If you can find a 2011 bike, you might be able to find an all 105 bike.

    Your companion should just try all the bikes in her price range, in WSD or non-WSD. Narrow the choices down by which ones fit. Look at the specs online. Pick the one that offers the best value. Or color. Don't forget to budget for pedals, helmet or other accessories that may be required.

  7. #7
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    Thank you all! We are grateful. And it's good to hear we're not completely crazy in our willingness to forego women's frames...

  8. #8
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    It's all about fit. WSD/Women bikes generally have a geometry that is a bit more upright (longer head tube to raise the bars) and shorter top tube length (effective/virtual top tube) in proportion to the seat tube. Given the same height as a male, women tend (not always) to have proportionally longer legs and shorter torso. Also WSD may have components that cater to smaller hands - shorter reach brake levers, shorter stem, shorter reach handlebars.

    So you should not limit your search to just women's bikes. It's all about getting the right fit and ignore the labeling.

    As for riding in NYC, a good choice may be a cyclocross bike. It is a road bike that can accommodate wider tires, including knobbies. Many have eyelets to add racks and fenders too. Cross bikes also do well as light touring bikes. Trek has the Ion and Specialized has the Crux. They're on the expensive side but every manufacturer makes a cross bike (Giant, Bianchi, Jamis, Kona, etc).

    You might want to add cyclocross brake levers for the flat section, like in this pic (Cane Creek Cross Top Brake Levers | Flickr - Photo Sharing!). They make the transition from mtb to road bike a bit easier and are very effective, plus they're inexpensive and easy to add to any bike.
    My Bikes
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  9. #9
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    I have three road bikes. They are all men's bikes.

  10. #10
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    What size are you looking for? My wife is 5'0" and it's really hard to find a good fit. With that said, I just listed her Bianchi Giro with Shimano 105 components. She wants to upgrade to full carbon. It's a size 44cm.

  11. #11
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    yb1236, I'm also 5'0", so I totally know how hard it is for your wife to find a good fitting bike. I basically eliminated a bunch of brands based on size/geometry before even starting my search for a new bike.

  12. #12
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    She's 5'4". No words on what the inseam is...

  13. #13
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    I'm a 5'4" male. I have 5 Treks. They are all WSD's. Get what FITS.
    So long as it's not pink and doesn't have flowers in the paint, I'm OK.

    I can ride anything from 43 (with a head tube extension) to 50 (with sloping top bar).

    FWIW, there is no consistency of measurements among bicycle manufacturers. You have to get ON the bike to tell whether or not it will fit. Do this without the salesman near. My experience is that you WILL fit something they have in stock (whether or not it's true).

  14. #14
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    I, too, have been looking for a bike in the $1400 range. I have tried a lot of bikes and am finding that I have long legs and short torso. In general, the wsd is more comfortable for me. I am leaning toward steel but not finding a good bike in steel that fits. I am 65 and 5'7'', like cycling hills and up to 30-40 miles at a time. Want a more upright bike.

  15. #15
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    As others have said:get the bike that fits. I'm a girl with a height of almost 6'0" and got a WSD Trek Madone. The men's version was too big for me in the reach from the saddle and the width of the handle bars. The WSD version fit better for me. Try to find a LBS that will let you test several frames and their fits.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclesusie View Post
    I, too, have been looking for a bike in the $1400 range. I have tried a lot of bikes and am finding that I have long legs and short torso. In general, the wsd is more comfortable for me. I am leaning toward steel but not finding a good bike in steel that fits. I am 65 and 5'7'', like cycling hills and up to 30-40 miles at a time. Want a more upright bike.
    A wee bit more money, but check out a Jamis Quest Femme if you can.

  17. #17
    QED
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    I second trying out the Jamis Qwest. Fantastic bike if you can afford to go up to about $1600.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by yb1236 View Post
    What size are you looking for? My wife is 5'0" and it's really hard to find a good fit. With that said, I just listed her Bianchi Giro with Shimano 105 components. She wants to upgrade to full carbon. It's a size 44cm.
    Ended up getting her a Blue AC1 XXS (i think that's 47cm). It fits great, but the trick is finding some bars that aren't too wide. Her old bars were 36cm and new ones were 40cm. Made a big difference, but we split the difference and are going with 38cm (pretty much the smallest that are widely available. Only 1 or 2 companies make 36cm bars).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by yb1236 View Post
    Ended up getting her a Blue AC1 XXS (i think that's 47cm). It fits great, but the trick is finding some bars that aren't too wide. Her old bars were 36cm and new ones were 40cm. Made a big difference, but we split the difference and are going with 38cm (pretty much the smallest that are widely available. Only 1 or 2 companies make 36cm bars).
    Bontrager VR-S alloy bars come in 36cm width - 245 grams, 120mm drop, 70mm reach and $49.99. Any Trek dealer can order it for you.
    My Bikes
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloduffer View Post
    Bontrager VR-S alloy bars come in 36cm width - 245 grams, 120mm drop, 70mm reach and $49.99. Any Trek dealer can order it for you.
    Whoops, meant to say carbon bars are not plentiful in that size.

  21. #21
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    You can get a Trek 2.1 ('10,'11, or '12 depending on what's in stock) for $999 to $1400. It's a great bike in either the WSD or the regular. Don't sweat the name, get what fits YOU best.

  22. #22
    Mrsdamanii
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    I had a men's bike, which led to some fit issues. I now have a Cannondale women's specific bike and it fits me perfectly. I needed a shorter tt and it provides it. Go on lots of test rides and have fun finding the right bike.
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: Mud and Manolos blog

  23. #23
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    She needs to get on and try them. Don't discount either men's or WSD right off the bat. Try them.
    Also, if you do decide to go the cyclocross route, which is not a bad idea if the roads are in poor condition, try the Cannondale CAADX. It's $1500 (you can probably find it for a little less) and comes with 105.
    I have one and I put slick tires on for road season, then put my cross tires back on for cross season. Works out well!

  24. #24
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    She ended up going for a CAAD10 5 Women's in the brushed aluminum. She loves the color, the bike, and the fit. She relishes how connected it feels to the road over softer frames like the Synapse that everyone kept pushing on her...

    Thanks for your help!

  25. #25
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    I'm a woman with shorter legs and a longer torso and am happily leaning towards purchasing a "men's" bike. In addition to fit, the problem I have with WSD is that they tend to be too girly looking. The women's aesthetic is almost always a turnoff for me.

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