Am I the only woman here? Seriously, my Anthem 2 seems to have paid its dues. Love the bike, but want something new, lighter, may be carbon frame, 27.5″ wheel… there is so much info and bikes to choose from, I need some help. I’d appreciate some input.
What type of riding are you doing? That drives a lot of the decision making for a new bike. Trek makes some nice women’s specific bikes (WSD) like the lush or top fuel but that’s just my personal bias (live in WI and my wife & I both ride Trek). You’ll know the bike fits you and meets your needs when you ride it…no substitute for a test ride. Check mfg web sites for demo days.
Thanks for the advice, appreciated. Since posting my question I’ve done extensive research comparing the nitty-gritty details of various frames (and brands) and their geometry. It turns out that the differences between WSD and mens are very small, 0.5 degree, 0.5 cm… In fact my Anthem2 is almost identical in geometry to the Lush. Taking Maddslacker’s point, I checked out the Anthem Advanced and it looks very promising. Great bike for the price, even carbon frame seems affordable. The Trek’s Lush at $6,599 CAD has a lot to offer, in fact I’m bringing one home tonight for a whole day of riding tomorrow! Barry, the Trek store owner in Toronto is letting me use one of his bikes, nice eh?
A true women’s-specific design has a shorter top tube in relation to the seat tube. This is to address the fact that most women have longer legs and a shorter torso as compared to men of the same height.
Notice I said most. If you are not built like this, then a small men’s bike will be just fine. My daughter happens to be in the latter category with short-ish legs and a reeeally long torso. She ended up fitting best on a men’s medium Ibis Ripley.
To further confuse the issue, companies like Santa Cruz build the Juliana women’s line on the exact same geometry as the men’s but with pretty colors and thinner bars/grips. So if you want pretty colors, but don’t fit on an actual women’s geometry, Juliana is a good choice.
Ride a bunch of different bikes, both men’s and women’s to get a feel for what you like. You can resolve a lot of fit issues with different length stems, bars, and saddle positions. This is true for both men and women.
Liv (Giant’s women-specific brand) does have different geometry than the rest of their line, but as Maddslacker mentioned, you may not benefit from it. You’ll have more choices as far as spec options with “men’s” bikes too. For instance, Giant offers the Trance in 3 different builds, but the female equivalent Intrigue is only available with 1 build kit.
And yes, do as many demo days as you can. Or even consider renting a bike you’re interested in from a local shop. That way you can spend an entire day riding it for $50-80 before you a make a decision.
If I may add my 2 cents. Women specific bikes are just a marketing tactic. As you have found, the Geo’s are almost identical. The best thing to do is ride the bikes. The reason that a women specific bike mentality is so unnecessary, IMO, is because everyone has a different shape, torso length, arms, legs, riding preference. To say, this one will work for women, when there are so many variables to consider is just Naive. Bikes can be adjusted easily. That is why we have different stem lengths, bar widths, crank arm lengths, to name a few. It is like going to buy a car and asking for the women specific model. Aside from the VW Jetta, they will laugh at you. 🙂