20+ Years Of Marketing Bunk?
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  1. #1
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    20+ Years Of Marketing Bunk?

    Was it all just a bunch of marketer's polishing their wood?

    When the trend started, virtually every major bike maker in the US (at least) had "White Papers" espousing the need for gender specific frames. All whoohee???

  2. #2
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    Does this mean no more pink bikes?
    Too old to ride plastic

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    This is just specialized marketing people trying to put a positive spin on a cost saving measure.

    They really just need to sell the bike in a wide range of sizes, and without a seat, stem and bars. Or at least let the buyer swap these for appropriate sizes. Cranks (length) would be nice too.

    A 4' 11" friend once purchased a Focus Izalco Donna in XXS (44cm). It came with a110mm stem, 42cm bars and 170mm cranks.

    The fit wasn't good. She ended up spending a small fortune to get the fit where it should be.

  4. #4
    T K
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    This is just specialized marketing people trying to put a positive spin on a cost saving measure.
    This. When the market was good. "Hey ladies, you need a special bike designed just for you." Market bad. "Hey ladies, our accountants, um design team says gender neutral is the way to go."

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    Quote Originally Posted by T K View Post
    This. When the market was good. "Hey ladies, you need a special bike designed just for you." Market bad. "Hey ladies, our accountants, um design team says gender neutral is the way to go."
    Yep.

    5-10 years ago, women customers at the shop were mostly NOT interested in woman specific bikes. About 2/3rds ignored them and bought what the guys rode. A few got women specific saddles and narrower handlebars.

    I think they didn't want to be coddled as a secondary market, separate from the guys. They wanted to be treated as equals, and in so doing, aggressively made their own decisions, resisting being button holed by pretentious marketers, men of course.

  6. #6
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    It's hardly surprising that marketers will 'market'. When road cycle sales were greater, marketers developed extra niches; when things got slow, niches disappeared. GM did the same thing with automobiles back in the 1920's; they added 4 new brands (Pontiac, Marquette, Viking, and LaSalle). Depression hit, they had too many marques, so within 3 years, Essex, Viking, Marquette, and LaSalle were no more.

    What the marketers were doing originally was cashing-in on a small sector of the market that Georgina Terry found, which was more or less predicated on the need that many short-stature women had in finding a frame that would fit them. Once marketers saw the possibility to sell more bikes, the hype was created to sell them.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    This is just specialized marketing people trying to put a positive spin on a cost saving measure.

    They really just need to sell the bike in a wide range of sizes, and without a seat, stem and bars. Or at least let the buyer swap these for appropriate sizes. Cranks (length) would be nice too.

    A 4' 11" friend once purchased a Focus Izalco Donna in XXS (44cm). It came with a110mm stem, 42cm bars and 170mm cranks.

    The fit wasn't good. She ended up spending a small fortune to get the fit where it should be.
    My guess is that the women's specific bikes just weren't selling. Whether that is because of fit or because women didn't like the idea of being pandered to, I dont know. Maybe the problem is now that there are 63+ genders, Spez just couldn't keep up

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    I don't know but I can say I've ridden a custom bike made for a woman who is my exact height and it was all wrong for me (a guy) but she loves it and the opposite is also true when she rode mine.

    How much of the design difference between our bikes had to do with male/female vs just being two different people (both our bikes are custom) I have no idea.

  9. #9
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    A bike frame that is built to fit is different than a small frame that is painted pink or chartreuse and called a womans bicycle. A custom built frame or a Georgina Terry built frame built to fit a smaller statured woman is the real deal but a small frame with a womans saddle and a different color palette is just marketing.
    Too old to ride plastic

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    I don't know but I can say I've ridden a custom bike made for a woman who is my exact height and it was all wrong for me (a guy) but she loves it and the opposite is also true when she rode mine.

    How much of the design difference between our bikes had to do with male/female vs just being two different people (both our bikes are custom) I have no idea.
    Obviously you were both trapped in the wrong body for the other person's bike (a joke to any transgendered in the audience... just a joke)

    I seem to recall that when Giant introduced the "compact" road frame with slopping top tube, they had a marketing strategy of how 3 (if memory serves) sizes were gonna fit the majority of riders, male or female. Then, the sizing expanded.

    I'm the kind of person who likes being able to "dial in" a variety of factors for a "good" fit (off the peg) and did into account all manner of my own personal measurements but only knew that for a man, I had odd features (mostly long arms and inseam v shortish torso). Perhaps in another 20 years, those of you still living may see a resurgence?

  11. #11
    pmf
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    What ever happened to Terry bikes? I used to see them once in a while. The smaller front wheel always struck me as odd. Are women really much different than men in body proportions? My wife rides 'men's' bikes. Or maybe non-specific gender bikes? I dated a woman who used to ride literally the exact same size bike that I rode, down to the stem length and the saddle height.

    Bike marketing -- its always a search for something new to convince people that they need. I guess the upside is that in about 1 case out of 10, it really is an improvement.

  12. #12
    gazing from the shadows
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    What ever happened to Terry bikes? I used to see them once in a while. The smaller front wheel always struck me as odd.
    I never met a woman on a Terry bike who did not love it. Yes they are around, but they don't seem to make bikes anymore. Clothes, saddles, accessories.

    The wheel thing was to deal with toe overlap, only in the smaller sizes iirc.

    I looked into woman specific bikes last time we bought road bikes. My wife ended up with a men's version. For many models, the difference was color and saddle and maybe a shorter stem. Some had narrower bars. Almost none had a shorter TT. IOW, mostly they were the same as the men's version. And she would have swapped the saddle and stem on most any bike anyway.

    I do know that with MTBs, Santa Cruz and Juliana are pretty similar, but Juliana claims women are about 30lbs lighter for the same height. Which means they tune the shocks differently. Makes sense to me. They also do a few other tweaks, but the shock tuning based on weight and distribution of weight (more upper body weight on men) seems like it could be a big deal in performance for non-beginners.

    So I would say truly THOUGHTFUL wsd bikes were pretty rare, and mostly it was marketing.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    What ever happened to Terry bikes? I used to see them once in a while. The smaller front wheel always struck me as odd. Are women really much different than men in body proportions? .....
    Georgina lives near me (although I haven't seen her in about 5 years). She sold the brand several years ago, and I assume that whomever still owns the brand has milked it for all that it was worth. Terry bikes used to be made around here, and I even knew one man who used to work for Terry, and rides a custom Terry himself!

    As for the 'funny bike' odd wheel sizes, Georgina mentioned that shorter women found that 700c wheels front and rear caused 2 problems: One was toe overlap, as was mentioned before, and the second was bars being higher, due to the need for a minimal headtube length. Putting a 26" wheel in the front solved both issues.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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