Is there a need?
In this issue we discuss this special topic about women specific bikes. We also bring you test report of some women’s bikes tested by lady riders under criteria set by the CRANK test team
But first let’s try and figure out whether there is really a need for women’s specific frames or bikes. Or is just about smart marketing
Our take is that cycling is all about body geometry and bike geometry. A woman’s body is physically different from a man’s. There is nature endowed difference in various aspects like anatomy, weight distribution, muscle mass, skeletal structure, body proportionality etc. This results in a woman mounting, riding and maneuvering a bike differently
A woman prefers a more upright riding position hence a longer head tube may be required. Similarly better handlebar and pedal reach require a shorter top tube and seat tube. She prefers more weight distribution on glutes and less pressure on the perineum when seated hence saddle shape, saddle position and seat tube angle become important. A wider hip and shoulder structure necessitates wider handlebars to afford tighter and safer turns. A lower gearing ratio will also help her with the pedal push. And finally, for carrying and stowing, a lightweight and sleeker tube geometry will afford better lift and hold convenience
So it’s not just about pinks and pastels and birds and flowers on the paintjob. And neither is it all about bagel basket functionality. Women riders deserve as much scientific bike geometry as anyone else and therefore there is merit in a woman’s specific frame
Sure, women specific frames are a tad expensive and the range itself is a bit limited. But then that’s a function of demand. More ladies on wheels, wider the range and better the prices. But nothing to worry if you are constrained. You could always pick up a regular bike and ask your bike shop to make intelligent adjustments with spacers, extenders and saddle shape and saddle position to make your ride comfortable. Of course there are some limitations. For example, little can be done with tube angles. But then the right bike shop will be able to sort you out either ways. However if you are headed for competitive or even regular riding then it is advisable to invest in a women’s specific bike. Remember, you don’t buy a bike you get into riding. So the right equipment helps.
In this issue we bring to you test reports and review four women specific bikes to help you understand how global brands pit some serious thought behind them. Our lady test riders have ridden and tested them to experience the design comfort
The Rove 2 Liv Giant
Liv is Giants cycling brand designed for women by women. The fit, form and function crafted is based on global body dimension studies
The Rove 2 ladies XC bike was sent to CRANK for the test. We put the bike to test through soft off road, dirt and some basic shredding. The riders appreciated the subtle difference
Though being a cross-country mountain bike it is lightweight compared to a traditional MTB and can comfortably climb and descend moderately technical terrain. The 29ers make it easier to negotiate and accelerate. The suspension has 63 mm of front travel, which is less than the typical range of 80-120 mm but doesn’t really matter since the frame is lightweight. The suspension lock option will help those who prefer the stability of an MTB even while in city by cutting the suspension travel
This 27-speed cross-country bike has a max gear ratio of 48/11 allowing you you to reach high top speeds on flat terrain for those with strong leg muscles. Conversely the minimum gear ratio of 26/34 (22 gear inches) is about average for a mountain bike but doable for soft descents. We loved the hydraulic disc brakes. The bike in pastel colors and unique graphics is a neat looker
So, to sum it up it is a cross-country bike with basic components and suspension that has lock in and out feature with lesser travel and the aluminum Alux frame comes with elegant graphics and colors.
Price: INR 54,500/-
RIDLEY LIZ A30
Liz A 30 comes with oversized sharp edge tubes ensures high strength and stiffness with flex areas in the seat stay absorbing vibrations. Tapered head tube with angular contact and full internal cable routing for desired performance, clean look, and low on maintenance . Thoughtfully comes in XXS sizing keeping in mind female height requirement in an international market.
Its lightweight, hydroformed 7005 triple butted aluminum frameset & the Shimano Sora Tripple goupset makes it a perfect choice for the beginner who is looking for a ride varied terrains.
The Ridley Liz A30 is a traditional alloy road bike. So speed requirements overpowering comfort. The bike is stiff and light with an aggressive geometry in order to maximize the bike’s efficiency. The lighter and stiffer a bike is, the better the power transfer to the drive-train. The handlebars are usually positioned lower than the seat for a more aerodynamic posture, and the wheels are close together to allow for quick handling.
This Liz carries SORA group set and triple chain rings and 9 gears on the cassette. This 27-speed drivetrain has a max gear ratio of 50/12. This gear ratio, combined with the 700c wheels, give the Liz A30 a max gearing of 121 gear inches & has a minimum gear ratio of 30/27 or 32 gear inches.
Bike is famous for its clean look and can be used for recreational riding and also for comfortable medium distance long rides.
Price: To be launched next month
SCOTT Contessa Speedster 45
This beautiful roadie comes with women’s specific handlebar, handlebar stem and saddle making it a comfortable fit. The SCOTT Contessa Speedster 45 features shape optimized double-butted Alloy tubing and a race proven geometry that provides an aerodynamic advantage. Bike has a chic paint job and includes a Shimano Claris drivetrain. Shimano Claris FC-2403 Black / 30x39x50 T offers various levels of acceleration and with a weight of approximately 10 KG’s the feel is solid and light at the same time
This 24-speed bike has a max gear ratio of 50/11. This teamed up with the 700c wheels, give the Contessa Speedster 45 a max gearing of 132 gear inches. This is considered medium in terms of max gearing and gives a racy-pacey ride with an elevated cadence on flats.
The minimum gear ratio of 30/30 (29 gear inches) is fairly low and will make longer climbs and steeper ascents easy on rider.
The Contessa Speedster 45 is an old school road bike, keeping speed in mind without sacrificing comfort. Cool lilac model with aggressive geometry in order to maximize the bike’s efficiency. The lower handlebarsfor a more aerodynamic posture, and the wheels are close together to allow for quick handling. Bike is available in sensible sizing of 46, 48, 51, 53, and 55 cm.
Price: INR 51,300/-
Skye WSD from Trek
Skye’s the limit for how far this mountain bike will take you. Every detail, from women’s-specific touch points to optimized wheel size, is designed to ensure a fun, wild adventure on the trail. However far you like to roam, Skye’s confidence-inspiring ride will keep you smiling. Mountain biking is about adventure, staying fit, and having fun on the trail
There is a clever wheel size combination with frames. 27.5” on 13.5” and 15.5” frames and 29er on 17” and 18.5″. Bike feels little heavy at first, but it feels really solid on the down hills. Disc brakes work at slowing and stopping the bike to its best. The low cost Suntour fork with preload, 75mm travel is a tad heavy compared to other forks, but then the pricing has to be attractive considering it is entry level. Still quite nice for recreational mountain biking and noncompetitive riding
Bike is loaded with Full Shimano drivetrains, including cranks, plus reliable Tektro brakes gives these bikes the performance edge over the competition.