Women's Specific ... What Da?

mtb101

Likes Bikes and Dirt
I'm putting this post up as a service to poor bastards like me who have new riders (women) come up and ask for advice on whether the women specific bike is the go for xc.

a few observations about women, these are man observations - so please to self no sexist generalizations (as we all like to see more female peeps on trails don't' we?) .

observations: They have legs like men, they have arms, they also have a variety of leg lengths and arm lengths, it seems like men they come in different sizes and shapes. yep even torso length varies (like men).

now what about color? are there men that like pink? maybe not so, do all women like pink and other pastel like colors?

what about components:, manufacture assumption here, women have no brand knowledge (yep they only go by color/looks) so manufactures put on low level components such as Deore Level when man bike gets XT for equivalent dollars?

why would that be the case? Are they assuming female riders will only ride up and down dirt roads? where us hard core men .... well we go anywhere.

weight:
again low end components with pink bits are heavy, so the women's specific bike is harder to push on xc.

and here's the dilemma I faced this week.

reasonably experienced XC rider gets convinced by staff in bike shop that Giant LUST Advanced 2 (2016) is the go for her.

LIV.jpg


Colors Matte Blue/Fuchsia
- rrrrrrrarrr

I hone in on components:
Lust Advanced 2
$3,499 RRP

Shifters Shimano Deore, 20sp
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore, direct mount = crapola
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX, Shadow+
Brakes Shimano M396, Hydraulic disc, 160mm = BIG crapola
Brake Levers Shimano M396, Hydraulic disc = BIG crapola
Cassette Shimano HG50 11-36T, 10sp
Chain KMC X10
Crankset Shimano Deore, 22-36T = crapola
Bottom Bracket Shimano, Press Fit

Fork Fox 32 Float w/ 15mm thru-axle, OverDrive steerer, 100mm travel
Shock Fox Float Performance





So this Colorful BARGE weighs in at 13KGS and those brakes well better wear runners to jam in rear wheel on descents.


-anthem

Anthem_.jpg
NOW let's compare to Anthem


Colors Red/Black YES

Amthem 27.5 1 $3,799 RRP

Alum Frame, but weight is 12.4KG
so no advantage in CF if its heavier package and of course if you break ALU frame you get fantastic Giant Life Time warranty so no issues there.

Shifters Shimano XT, 11sp = shit yeah
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT, Shadow+ = shit yeah
Brakes Shimano XT hydraulic, 160mm = shit yeah
Brake Levers Shimano XT hydraulic = shit yeah
Cassette Shimano HG81, 11-36T, 11sp = shit yeah
Chain KMC X11
Crankset Shimano XT, 32T = shit yeah
Bottom Bracket Shimano press fit


Higher End fork and shock - Kashima. = shit yeah
Fork Fox Float 32 RL Factory Remote, w/Kashima coat , 15QR, OverDrive steerer 4”/100mm travel
Shock Fox Float Factory, w/Kashima coat


NOW can she ride Anthem? NOT women specific, Oh NO.
 

Calvin27

Eats Squid
Based on my man experience:

- Geometry: My other half don't give squat, she doesn't ride hard enough to notice. Of the female riders I know, two of which are sponsored, they are split 50/50 between womens geometry and it being a fad. They all agree however it's not anything a basic fit couldn't fix (stem saddle etc).
- Colours, they all agree it's stupid.
- Value: I do notice that they are slightly lower spec'd or higher priced whichever way you look at it. So I agree in theory, but not reality. I've noticed that the sales of womens specific bikes are usually much more harsh than mens bikes. I've had two women buy absolute discount new bikes in the past year, I don't think I could ever match the prices they paid for it in the equivalent mens bikes. I noticed the same with womens cross bikes.

I've found a lot of women, who I talk to at least have no problem buying a 'mens' mountain bike if they are gonig to drop $3k+ on it. Granted they will ride it and buy the one that fits and feels better regardless of if it's mens or womens specific. The ones that want the female friendly stuff are usualyl begineers or recreational riders who won't drop that much money on it. Having said that though I have seen a lot of decent spec womens specific mtbs at lysterfield which contradicts my women friends. FYI I hang around a lot of gravel grinders who dip in mtb sometimes - they are a different breed, a good one at that.
 

The Dude

Likes Dirt
Yep, we all come in different shapes and sizes; no matter what your gender

At least Yeti and Santa Cruz offer the same build options, but with women's specific colours!

Then again, looking at some of the Santa Cruz colours, it seems like they are offering women's specific colours in the SC models!!
 

The Duckmeister

Has stumpy thumbs, Speciaized are so weird
....and of course if you break ALU frame you get fantastic Giant Life Time warranty so no issues there.
Depends VERY heavily on the circumstances in which you break it. If it breaks because you're a numpty then there's no warranty cover.
 

redbruce

Eats Squid
Based on my man experience:

- Geometry: My other half don't give squat, she doesn't ride hard enough to notice. Of the female riders I know, two of which are sponsored, they are split 50/50 between womens geometry and it being a fad. They all agree however it's not anything a basic fit couldn't fix (stem saddle etc).
- Colours, they all agree it's stupid.
- Value: I do notice that they are slightly lower spec'd or higher priced whichever way you look at it. So I agree in theory, but not reality. I've noticed that the sales of womens specific bikes are usually much more harsh than mens bikes. I've had two women buy absolute discount new bikes in the past year, I don't think I could ever match the prices they paid for it in the equivalent mens bikes. I noticed the same with womens cross bikes.

I've found a lot of women, who I talk to at least have no problem buying a 'mens' mountain bike if they are gonig to drop $3k+ on it. Granted they will ride it and buy the one that fits and feels better regardless of if it's mens or womens specific. The ones that want the female friendly stuff are usualyl begineers or recreational riders who won't drop that much money on it. Having said that though I have seen a lot of decent spec womens specific mtbs at lysterfield which contradicts my women friends. FYI I hang around a lot of gravel grinders who dip in mtb sometimes - they are a different breed, a good one at that.
Maybe. Statistically, women, on average have longer legs and shorter torso than middle bell curve men. But, that has fringes, as for men (and similar consequences for optimal sizing).

That does mean sizing by seat tube length is fraught.. Sizing by top tube (gender inspecific) another question (but salient).

So, is the female in question, an average female. That is the thing.

My ex wife was perfectly happy with outcome of top tube sizing (seat post easily extended) but her friend (different relative torso/height proportions and seat tube sizing less so).

35 years experience with road, touring, Audax and mtb in clubs, etc., indicates female "informed fit" (as opposed to put up with 'cause I don't know any different) seems to work for the majority actually.

Female bit geometry is well established and accepted in road circles, it seems, far less so in mtb.

As Julian Somner Miller says, "why is it so?"
 
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pharmaboy

Eats Squid
It's a crock.

I went the effort of researching forensic skeleton data for height prediction etc, and the upshot is that for a given height, femurs, humerus etc vary much less than what people would have you believe (in bike fitting). Same went for male versus female.

That's a terrible value proposition that Liv thing regardless .

The only thing I could think of for women, is wide Q factor cranks make some sense, or more to the point, most men should b on narrower q factor
 

mitchy_

Llama calmer
comparing carbon and alloy bikes is hardly like for like... of course a carbon bike priced the same as it's alloy brethren is going to have a lower spec.
the Lust 1 at $2,900 has a much better build kit.

gender specific models aren't required... but it does help get the right fit. not to mention something a small as the colour of the bike can be enough to get someone excited about getting into riding. (typically... my wife would only accept a black bike)
 

Calvin27

Eats Squid
So, is the female in question, an average female. That is the thing.
I have a high cyclist rate at work. 2 of the girls ride sponsored (albeit road) and another 4-6 are enthusiasts riding most weekends (mostly road too but they all have a decent squirt ar mtb every now and then). So a pretty representative sample.

You only have to look at the dimensions of WSD to understand that it's not too much of a difference between mens sizes - about 1cm - sounds like a lot but theoretically a half size in mens sizes. I guess my experience speaking to my workmates is that they just buy the bike that rides the best regadless of WSD or not, and then apply corrections like saddle setback, seat post and stem. Some of the things they do complain about are: Bars too wide, saddle is useless even as a temp one, and the shock settings are too hard. Basically only the shock is frame related and migh possibly warrant a frame redesign (or alternatively a different spec shock) but htis is hardly compelling.

Then there is the odd placement of frame element junctions. It doesn't look like it on the bikes linked, but other wsd bikes will have top tubes meeting slightly lower, sort of like a mini step through design. This is beyond stupid and when manufacturers go all out to optimise design only to dumb it down all for the sake of marketing. If a woman is buying a decent mountain bike she is not going to need a step through!

I think there is some justification for WSD but no more than everyone else who would like a custom fit. There are plenty of examples of where there is a lack of WSD and no one bat an eyelid. For example cervelo don't do WSD, track bikes are also universal and in the early days of cx, wsd doesn't exist.

Anyway, as much as I think i's a gimmick, each to their own, if a pink bike gets you going then good for you. If Giant can make more money selling lower spec'd pink bikes then fine by me. I suspect though that giant's lower volumes of these types of bikes means a higher premium.
 
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