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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Saskatoon, Sask.
    Posts
    334

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    I'm inclined to the belief that the women-specific bikes are aimed as much at bike shop owners as at female riders. A lot of the things that women typically have to swap out when they buy a bike - handlebars, stem, saddle - come already swapped on a female-specific model. The brake levers are already shimmed for smaller hands. So it tends to save a little time and effort for shop owners, at least in the smaller sizes.
    In larger sizes, there isn't that much difference between most women's and unisex bikes, in my experience. My newer road bike was a unisex model. I had the stem swapped for a shorter one, but the handlebars were already shallow drop and narrow enough, and the brake levers felt fine as-is. The saddle didn't work, but then not many saddles do.
    Very small riders pretty much have to go with women's models, as unisex models just don't come small enough. I've never seen a 44cm frame in a unisex model.
    Queen of the sea beasts

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Jacksonville area of NC
    Posts
    821
    Quote Originally Posted by nuliajuk View Post
    I'm inclined to the belief that the women-specific bikes are aimed as much at bike shop owners as at female riders. A lot of the things that women typically have to swap out when they buy a bike - handlebars, stem, saddle - come already swapped on a female-specific model. The brake levers are already shimmed for smaller hands. So it tends to save a little time and effort for shop owners, at least in the smaller sizes.
    In larger sizes, there isn't that much difference between most women's and unisex bikes, in my experience. My newer road bike was a unisex model. I had the stem swapped for a shorter one, but the handlebars were already shallow drop and narrow enough, and the brake levers felt fine as-is. The saddle didn't work, but then not many saddles do.
    Very small riders pretty much have to go with women's models, as unisex models just don't come small enough. I've never seen a 44cm frame in a unisex model.
    I think you're correct about the stuff typically swapped out. For my unisex bike the only thing I swapped out was the saddle, but not to a women's saddle, but a different brand, make/model men's saddle. Obviously I would have swapped out the saddle reguardless of what bike I bought.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    23
    Ironically my saddle has been comfortable from day #1. While I like the increased length of the stem that I had installed the other week, my back is hurting about 4 inches below my neck. I have a bit of a dowager's hump and I think the forward position is causing pulling, which is now focused on that area. I probably need to be sitting more upright than what this hybrid bike currently allows. There's no slack available in the brake cables and if I opt for a riser or even a different handlebar altogether, it's likely that new longer cables will be required. The costs are increasing on this bike. I spent an additional $45 for the new stem as the LBS said they could not resell the one that came with the bike as it is not an aftermarket product. sigh....

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    23
    Okay my neck and back bother me on the Vita Comp Hybrid. The stem length is fine now. However, I need a less aggressive riding position. The issue is the brake cables are short, so any significant increase in handlebar height will require rewiring ($$$). But, I have to do something because I'm in pain and I'll not use the bike for more than a few miles if I can't get a good fit. Sigh.....

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    113
    replacing the road bike brake cables and housing shouldn't cost you more than 10-20$.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,162
    Seems that some of this fit challenge should fall on the bike shop who sold you the bike - this is coming from someone who owns a bike shop... So if your handlebars need to be higher the cost of the
    new cables seems like something they would cover - or at least the labor to install. I am not a fan of the "superman" position ever so perhaps I am jaded here but obviously you aren't racing but it sounds like they are fitting you in a racing position. IMO your handlebars should be pretty level with your saddle - wiggle room of course as in slightly below or slightly above. Certainly discuss your issues with the fitter and perhaps the owner/manager. Again, IMO, some shops treat women, especially non racing women, like we don't matter and it is our problem if the bike they sold us doesn't fit.
    Sky King
    ____________________
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    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
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  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    23
    I ordered a riser handlebar with some sweepback.

    This one (Amazon)

    Sunlite Mountain Bike 3" inch Rise Alloy Black Handlebar

    Click image for larger version. 

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    27-1/2" Wide (which I will have the ends cut down to match the existing handlebar length)
    3" rise
    Alloy
    1" diameter at center

    I will go to the specific shop location where I purchased the bike instead of the one close to my house. Maybe they'll take pity on me. I did need a longer top bar for a proper fit, so a longer stem was the only way to accomplish that. The current bar is even with the bike seat in terms of height, but I need a more upright position The bike height was good as it was the only one I could actually standover, but I ended up too crunched with the shorter top tube.

    I don't think my bike shop will do the swap of the cables (labor) for free, but I bet they'll give me a 10% discount. Believe me I agree with you -- they should do everything to get me a good fit with no pain. I didn't ride the bike enough during the test to realize I would have this neck/back issue.

    This is a process, isn't it? Getting old sucks but the alternative isn't any better!
    Last edited by estronat; 10-08-2014 at 04:04 PM.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,162
    fingers crossed for you!!!
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    113
    I, too, hope your bike shop will be willing to cooperate! This won't set them back by much, but they would help you heaps by doing this. It is great that you are still riding, I hope you will continue to do so for times to come

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    23
    Popped in to a different LBS right by my home. They actually carry Trek and I had visited them when I was looking to purchase a bike but then ended up buying my Specialized. They will work on just about any make bike. They tried a 3in taller stem tube on my bike and had me try it out in a trainer and it made a big difference. Turns out my original stem is the right length after raising up handlebars, and that new longer stem had me too far stretched out, when the issue is really one of needing more height to the bars. So the new stem the Specialized LBS put on is going back and the original stem is back on the bike.

    I'm having this local Trek shop replace all the cables as all of them are too short with the higher stem. They will add additional slack in the cables in case I need to increase the height of the stem more or in case I opt for a different handlebar with some additional height and sweep. The guy said he could see I was sitting much better on the bike with the higher stem, with appropriate bend in my arms and not the forward pulling on my back, and shoulders not hiked up. Since my neck & back problems predate the bike purchase (by about 15 yrs or more), I will always need to take my physical limitations into consideration. No aggressive position for me, even the standard hybrid riding position is too bent over and aggressive. I need a level that is far more towards the comfort position on a bike. Bike is in the shop and will be there for the next week. Fine with me as I couldn't ride it lately anyway with the pulling of those back muscles and the constant pain I was having even off the bike.
    Last edited by estronat; 10-11-2014 at 12:23 PM.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1
    My experience is different. I started out on a Trek 830 from 1995. I was so slow on it and had no strength to get up hills. I went to a bike shop and they tried to steer me to a Trek Lexa - was not at all comfortable on it. Reminded me of a broomstick (lol). I am very very stocky and have very short legs and a long torso - WS Bikes are not made for a woman built like me. What I needed was a Man's bike - just a small one. I did end up with the Specialized Vita (53 cm or Large) and used that for 6 months with some alterations (bar ends etc). I finally bought my Specialized Roubaix Expert 52cm in June - LOVE is all I can say. It was built specifically for my body. It's sturdy and it feels great on a long ride (50+miles). My advice is - if you have a long torso - go with a man's bike in a smaller size.

 

 

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