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Hello,

I am looking for a bike to get for my wife. She seems to be interested only in models that are claimed to be designed for women. I was wondering what is so special about those bikes and if it is something that could be approached by customizing bike with different stem bar, seat and such.

Is there a real ground behind women mtbike cathegory or is it a marketing gimik?

Best Regards,
Jenya
 

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Yummy
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There are some differences. Women tend to need smaller sized bikes and the market is still oriented toward men's sizes. Not a lot of higher end models to choose from for smaller women. Also, women's specific designs are supposed to have shorter top tube lengths as women have longer legs/shorter torsos than men.

Vive la difference, I say.

Kn.
 

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my wife loves her woman specific 04 Specialized Stumpjumper elite disc....its an awesome bike...with propedal and hyd discs, etc. She is 5' 2". She upgraded from a hardtail because she wasn't realy enjoying herself too much...as a beginner..being beat up, etc....now she has fun and can actually sit down on occasion.
 

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the bomb
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it really depends

Jenya said:
Hello,

I am looking for a bike to get for my wife. She seems to be interested only in models that are claimed to be designed for women. I was wondering what is so special about those bikes and if it is something that could be approached by customizing bike with different stem bar, seat and such.

Is there a real ground behind women mtbike cathegory or is it a marketing gimik?

Best Regards,
Jenya
The answer to your questions is yes and no. Big help right? The need to consider a wsd will depend on her body type. It tends to be more of an issue for shorter women (because of standover) ie: under 5 ft 4 inches.

If her body type is fairly long in the torso, she might fit a mens bike too. might ask this question over in the women's lounge along with some more info (height, inseam, riding style, etc.)

Titus has a great article on this issue at:
http://www.titusti.com/womenfit.html

When I was dealing with this issue, I found this article so informative, I bought one of their bikes!
 

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I recently helped my girlfriend shop for a bike and it was very hard to try to find a bike for her. She's 4'11" and does not fit the "girl proportions" conventions (longer legs, shorter torso, etc.). Every WSD bike we had her try did not fit her well at all. Not only that, the WSD bikes are usually built with inferior components for their price point. The $600 bikes we were looking at were built like the $400 bikes. Crap components.

The biggest thing some of the WSD designs had going for them is when they used women-sized components like smaller diameter handlebars and shorter reach brake handles. But when the bike is heavy and those components are not very good that makes little difference.

We ended up buying a last year's model Giant Ranier 13" frame -- a $900 bike for $600 and it's light and fits her pretty good. The absolute hardest thing to find a good fit for her has been brake handles -- even the smaller ones on the WSD bikes didn't hit the mark. This Giant came with Avid Mechs and I've cranked the adjustable handles in as far as they can possibly go and they're *still* a bit too far for her small hands to reach them comfortably, though she has gotten used to them.

We didn't look at more expensive bikes than the $600-$700 range, so the nicer WSD bikes might be a different animal altogether. For that price range, though, WSD is not very cool at all.
 

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A Real Winner.
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My fiance has a Trek 6700 WSD, when we went to buy it, it was the same price as the mens Trek 6700 (So, I did not notice a premium for the WSD frames like the previous caller!). Basically, the only thing different about it from the mens bike it a shorter top tube. Looking back on it, I would definitly recommend the Treks WSD bikes for a great bike to get into XC riding, although there is not much in higher end bikes. You would be just as good if you bought a smaller mens bike with a really long seatpost to make up for it. Despite what I say though, the best bet for fitting a bike is to go to your LBS and just size her up. If you are looking for a smaller frame, I know Jenson USA has IRD 853 frames for $299, which is a steal for a steel frame, but they only have 15" frames (which may be perfect for someone looking for a bike with a shorter top tube).

http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product.aspx?i=FR609A00

Damn that is a sweet frame!
 

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sonyisdope said:
...So, I did not notice a premium for the WSD frames like the previous caller!...
Maybe I was imagining things. I just did a compare online for the 6700 bikes you're talking about, as well as the GF Tassajara (which we looked at) and the parts listed online are identical.

Maybe it was perspective because I'd just bought a new bike ($3000+) and thought everything I looked at had crappy stuffs.
 

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WSD seems like a reasonable idea given that women tend to have longer legs compared to torso....but....I'm 5'2" with long legs for my height, and my 14 " Litespeed fits me perfectly. So I definitely think your wife should not rule out a bike just because it's not WSD.

And although I can't speak to complete bikes as I've never shopped for a WSD bike, most things in the mtb world that are marketed specifically toward women appear to be overpriced for what you get compared to the men's versions.
 

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litespeedchick said:
. . . most things in the mtb world that are marketed specifically toward women appear to be overpriced for what you get compared to the men's versions.
On Treks website, the 6700 and the 6700 WSD are both spec'd identically, and they are both $769. I don't think there is a premium for the WSD bikes from Trek at least.
 
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