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Points for petite women to consider when choosing a road bike
The risks of riding a regular size road bike for a petite woman
Since road bikes are designed for men, most of them have an expected height of 170cm, or even 160cm for the smaller sizes.
If a small woman under 155cm rides such a road bike, she may suffer from the following problems. 1.
- not being able to straddle the top tube
- the handlebars are too far away, causing body pain
Most petite women have a short inseam, so they may not be able to straddle the high top tube of a road bike, or even ride it in the first place. They can’t wait on the top tube at traffic lights, so they have to get off the bike every time they ride on a narrow roadway.
In addition, the distance to the handlebars (top tube length) as well as the inseam of the frame of a road bike has a great deal to do with riding, so if you ride a regular road bike with a long top tube, you will have to bend forward, which will hurt your shoulders, back, and hips.
Because of these negative effects, you may not be able to ride the bike properly, or you may get stuck at a traffic light, making the road bike you bought a painful experience.
The safest choice is a road bike designed specifically for women
If you are a woman who is under 155cm tall, the safest way to start road biking is with a road bike designed specifically for women.
There are women’s road bikes with a frame size of 390mm and a minimum height of 145cm. The M size of a normal road bike is about 500mm (for a height of around 170-175cm), so it is 110mm lower.
Women’s road bikes often have saddles, stems, etc. that are also designed for women, and the total cost can be better than customizing a general-purpose road bike.
One of the disadvantages is that there are not many color choices. If you don’t like the colors of the women’s road bikes in the lineup, your choices will become even narrower.
Frame size is not everything.
When choosing a road bike, it is said that the most important thing is to find a bike that fits your body size. The frame size and geometry (the length of each part of the frame) are the indicators for this, but petite women are often frustrated by the lack of choices here.
However, it is important to remember that even if the frame size is a bit large, it does not mean that you cannot ride at all.
This is because in the case of road bikes, the distance from the ground to the BB is basically the same because the frame is designed based on the wheel. And whether the frame size is large or small, the “optimal distance from the BB to the saddle” is constant because the length of a person’s legs is the same.
In other words, just because the frame size is large and the saddle position is up or down, it does not mean that the rider cannot pedal. The “optimum BB to saddle distance” is generally determined by fitting as follows: 1.
- Put your feet on the pedals with the pedals at the bottom.
- saddle height with a loose knee bend
If the “distance from the BB to the saddle” when the saddle is lowered to the limit fits you, you will have a hard time straddling, but you will not be unable to ride the bike.
If the frame you really want is just a little bit too big for you, before you give up judging it by the frame size alone, go to a sport bike specialty store and let them let you test ride it to see if it’s a size you can just barely ride with adjustments or if it’s okay if you customize it and optimize the position.
Seat tube length alone is not enough to determine size
The size of a road bike is basically described by the seat post length, the length from the BB to the top of the seat post. However, the seat tube length is not the entirety of a road bike’s sizing and fitting.
For petite women, the most important question is “Can I straddle the top tube? However, the shape of the frame varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, with some frames having a gradual drop from the head tube to the seat tube, while others are parallel. Some frames have a thick top tube, while others have a thin one.
It depends on the frame how much it interferes with your inseam, whether it hurts or feels uncomfortable when you straddle it, so it’s best to try it out and not give up just because of the frame size.
A manufacturer with a line of road bikes for petite women.
Giant, the No. 1 bicycle manufacturer in Taiwan, has a separate brand of sports bicycles for women called Liv. The frame is designed specifically for women, which is different from the men’s model, making the road bike easy to ride even for petite women.
The smallest size available from Liv is the XXS size, which has a seat post length of 395mm and a compatible height of 145-160cm, making it suitable for small women.
Liv also offers women’s saddles and cycle jerseys, so you can get all your women’s road bike needs from Liv alone.
The fact that Liv is manufactured by Giant, the world’s number one bicycle manufacturer, is also a good sign.
Anchor, a sports bike brand of Bridgestone Cycle, a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, a major tire manufacturer in Japan, has a line of road bikes for women.
For example, the model number is the same as that of the men’s model, but the frame is designed specifically for women, different from the men’s model, so it is “not just small.
Anchor’s women’s road bikes are available in three sizes, 390mm, 420mm and 450mm, and are designed for women of a solid height range of 145cm to 169cm.
khodaa bloom, the sports bike brand of the Japanese bicycle manufacturer Hodaka, has a lineup of road bikes in the size of 350mm (suitable height: 135-150cm).
The wheel size is 24 inches, which is smaller than the 700C size for road bikes, so it’s more like a junior bike than a women’s bike, but it’s the perfect size for mini girls who are under 150cm tall.
Other road bikes from khodaa-bloom are also available in sizes starting from 430mm (155-170cm), so women under 155cm can just barely ride them.
NESTO is another sub-brand of the Japanese bicycle manufacturer Hodaka, and is a high quality, highly cosmetic brand.
NESTO does not have a separate line of women’s road bikes (dedicated to women), but the frame size is 430mm and the lineup starts from 150cm in height, so even petite women under 155cm can ride, although the inseam is a little tight.
What’s great is that the FALAD, which is an entry-level model and can be purchased for less than $800, is also available in a frame size of 430mm (150-165cm), which makes it affordable for even small women to start riding a road bike.