women's bikes

4 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

"Any advice whether to buy a women's or a mens road bike? I'm a 5'5"" woman. Currently, I've been riding a woman's hybrid. I'm getting mixed advice from the bike stores. Thanks"

Anonymous's picture
Carol (not verified)
Men's or women's doesn't matter

What matters is that the bike fit you properly. If you have longish legs and a shortish torso, you may find that a woman's specific frame will fit you better. But if you're long-waisted, you may find a standard frame fits you fine. Find a shop willing to work with you on fit and willing to let you test ride a few bikes.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
New bike


If you use the ""search"" function of this message board, there's a lot on the archive. (Look under ""650,"" as in 650 cm wheel.)

Check this thread, for instance (especially Christian's comments):

At 5'5"", you're probably OK for the 700 cm wheel. (Which is what most bikes for men are built with.) At 5'4"", just on the cusp, I was condemned to years of too-big bikes until I discovered the 650 wheel. At any rate, the thread may have some useful information for you.

Do check out Terry Bikes. They say their bikes fit women, and they do--road and hybrid. Their salespeople are very helpful--and they have a money-back guarantee. And they're a NY State business.

Thanks to the experience riding Terry's off-the-rack model, I had the confidence to order a custom Havnoonian fixed gear model. Note that almost every bike shop I visited discouraged me from getting the 650 frame. There seems to be a bias against ""women specific"" models.

A good local shop to check out is Bicycle Habitat in SoHo. Owner Charlie McCorkell is a mensch. They built my Terry.

With any bike shop, it helps to be informed in asking for what you want. Bicycle Habitat's Web site has a helpful page about fitting, so does Colorado Cyclist (a bit more technical). If you're going to spend a lot, do get a professional fitting first!

Look around and talk to people--that's the best bet. And try to do it before April, when everyone in the world will suddenly decide they want a new bike.

Anonymous's picture
Colleen (not verified)
women's bike

"I got my Trek women's specific bike at Metro on 96th. They had several in stock to test ride at the time and did recommend a WSD for me. I don't know what they have now. I'm very happy with my frame and 650 wheels, but I'm 5'2"". As others have said, at 5'5"" you could probably be comfortable on a standard frame. Call around to see who has bikes that you can test ride to see what feels better."

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
Run, don't walk

"...away from shop that said you NEED women's bike!

On the other hand, there're men who find the WSD (women specfic design) geometry more to their liking.

Bottom line, at 5'5, you're well within the range of men's bikes, which means all could be adjusted to fit whatever proportion your body is. The key is finding a shop that is willing (and happy) to offer to fit you.

You may end up finding the ""women specific"" designs fit you great right off the rack. Or you may even find men's bike fit you better off the rack. But if a shop is trying to talk you into a women's bike without helping you to fine tune the fit, you're most likely ended up with a poorly fit bike, whether it's call women's or men's to begin with."

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