The women’s racing bike is now a category of road bicycles that can be found in the catalog of many brands. In fact, more and more women are approaching road cycling and brands such as LIV, Trek, Cinelli and many others have begun to offer specific racing bike models for women. Is it just marketing or is there some truth to it? There is certainly a true motivation, which is that the proportions of a female body are different than those of a male bodybut it doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman can’t feel comfortable riding a racing bike that isn’t specifically designed for women.
Women’s racing bike: how to choose it
To choose the right women’s racing bike we must start from an assumption: in general, if we compare a man and a woman of equal height, in the vast majority of cases we will notice that the woman has longer arms and legs, but above all femur, shorter bust and wider pelvis; all of this has repercussions on the position that this woman and this man will be able to assume and maintain in the saddle, with a major femur/tibia angle in women. All this has direct consequences both on the choice of the size of the racing bike and on the type of frame, in particular the geometry of a racing bike, and finally also on the position and type of saddle for a women’s bike.
To recap: when it comes to choose a racing bikesince the anthropometry between men and women is different, it is necessary to carefully evaluate:
- The fit and size of a women’s racing bike
- The frame geometry of a women’s racing bike
- The saddle to use on a women’s racing bike
- The handlebar for a women’s racing bike
Women’s racing bike size: how to choose it
There are several methods to measure the size of the road bike for women: from the measurement of the horizontal tube and the seat tube to that of the horse (i.e. the vertical distance between the lower part of the ischial bone of the pelvis and the ground) or even of the bust and arms, useful indications can be drawn for extricating oneself between the different sizes in which the brands sell their models: the speech on how to choose the size of the racing bike we covered it in depth here.
However, a female racing bike depends both on the anthropometric measurements and on other variables of the person who will use it (for example the flexibility of the back and pelvis, which is generally higher in women) as well as on the frame geometryor by the way in which the two triangles that compose it relate to each other.
Road bike frame: which geometry to prefer for a woman
Even more than the size, or the size of the women’s racing bike, it is the geometry of the frame that influences the driving sensations once in the saddle. The frame of a racing bicycle is made up of two triangles that share the side formed by the seat tube (it is the one on which the seat post and the saddle are attached) and the bottom bracket shell: the length of the other tubes and rear chainstays and their inclinations can concretely influence the sensations you get when riding on two bikes of the same size but with different frames, as we have explained in depth here.
And it is here that the question of the different proportions between the male and female body becomes important: again in the example mentioned at the beginning, for the same height a woman with longer femur and arms could be better on a women’s frame with shorter top tube and stem; or you could find yourself in the position of preferring a racing bike with a horizontal slope tube, therefore inclined towards the seat tube (a feature that has recently also arrived in men’s racing bikes); and finally he will undoubtedly have to think about a specific saddle for women.
Women’s saddle for racing bikes: the characteristics
If women generally have a wider pelvis than men, even the women’s road bike saddle will have different characteristics from that for a man: essentially for women, wider saddles are used to allow a better support of the bones on the sides of the coccyx, which must not be on the outside but rest on the flat part of the saddle. Even the adjustment of the saddle, in height (as explained here) but also in retraction and possible inclination, can determine the correct position in the saddle.
Road bike handlebar for women
Finally, it may also be worth thinking about the handlebars, in particular as regards width and length: all the in-depth information can be read here, and the argument applies to both men and women.
How to choose your racing bike
Once you understand the specifics of a women’s racing bike, there are other general aspects to take into consideration when choosing a racing bike: