Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Women Specific Geometry: C.G.'s Truth

Jez has a new forum on his blog and I was reading it this evening and ended up posting the following in response. I had been planning to do a post on Women Specific Geometry for awhile so I figured I'd share my little rant here too. 

"Women Specific Geometry" imho is a bunch of bull sh*t. The actual difference in the length of the top tube generally between the mens bike and the womens bike of the same model is usually within a .5-1 cm of each other. The look of the frame itself really isn't much different anymore, since a road bike doesn't have a step-through. WSG is totally a marketing scheme designed to get the ladies to go out and buy bikes, and think oh wow, this was made special for women. Big whoop. Most times when something is made in a female version, it isn't even made as well. The biggest truth is that all humans are built differently, and have different riding needs. There are a lot of dudes with short torsos out there, and women with short legs. What WSG should really be called is non-aggressive-geometry, because truly those bikes are made so that the rider sits more upright. These bike manufacturers know what they are doing though, and I am sure that they are making big bucks selling these bikes to women who think they are getting what is best for them. In some cases, maybe they are, but can you honestly see ME on an upright bike...sitting up like a gosh darned wind sail?? No! I ride like a bat outa hell! Not only do I ride a "mens bike" but my stem is flipped downward, and my bars are dropped down. So what about other women like me? They may have typical female builds, but they want to go fast. And what about the men who don't care much for the speed, or just want to commute, or they have bad backs and want to be upright? By putting the WSG label on bikes that could be perfect for them, it may turn many men away, or they may not even know those bike could be the perfect option for them. Oh damn... I'm all fired up now... lol

PS. The thing I said about the measurement of the top tube, I meant to say .5 - 1 INCH (not cm). My bad. After I wrote that on his forum, I actually checked the Specialized website (because they are just drunk on that WSG crap) and I was pretty damn spot on! (had I not typo-ed. lol) I compared a 54 Ruby Compact with a 54 Roubaix Compact, and the difference in toptube length was 2.4 cm (.94 inches). The headtubes were actually the same length and at the same angle. So you do realize that technically, all people could ride the same geometry of bike, and just switch out the stems and adjust the handlebars?.. Now that part is just a theory. 1.0, I'd love to hear your take on this...

PPS. I have nothing against WSG bikes, I just have something against calling them that. :)

PPPS. You can visit Jez's new forum by clicking HERE

Specialized Ruby Compact
Seat-Tube Length, B-B Center to Top385mm415mm445mm480mm510mm
Top-Tube Length, Horizontal493mm501mm508mm524mm547mm
B-B Drop73mm73mm73mm73mm71.5mm
Chain-Stay Length412mm415mm415mm415mm417mm
Seat-Tube Angle75.75°75.75°75.5°74°73.5°
Head-Tube Angle70.25°71.25°71.5°72°72°
Fork Rake51mm51mm51mm49mm49mm
Stand-Over Height692mm714mm740mm765mm792mm
Head-Tube Length120mm130mm140mm165mm190mm
Handle-Bar Width36mm38mm40mm40mm42mm
Stem Length75mm75mm90mm100mm100mm
Crank Length165mm165mm170mm170mm175mm
Seat-Post Length300mm300mm300mm300mm350mm

Specialized Roubaix Compact
Seat-Tube Length, B-B Center to Top445mm475mm495mm515mm540mm565mm
Top-Tube Length, Horizontal518mm537mm548mm565mm582mm600mm
B-B Drop73mm73mm71.5mm71.5mm70mm70mm
Chain-Stay Length412mm412mm415mm415mm418mm420mm
Seat-Tube Angle75.5°74°73.5°73.25°73°72.5°
Head-Tube Angle72°72°72°72.5°72.5°73°
Fork Rake49mm49mm49mm49mm49mm49mm
Stand-Over Height730mm756mm776mm798mm829mm851mm
Head-Tube Length125mm145mm165mm190mm225mm245mm
Handle-Bar Width40mm42mm42mm42mm44mm44mm
Stem Length75mm90mm100mm100mm110mm110mm
Crank Length170mm170mm170mm175mm175mm175mm
Seat-Post Length300mm300mm350mm350mm350mm350mm


  1. I answered this on my forum so I thought I'd post it here too!

    WSD on bikes is not so much a myth but that all women follow the need for it is! There is a general and poorly researched facts about women having longer legs and shorter torsos. But this is probably just as general as mens leg length and body portions being the same. The only link between both sexes is that as each gets taller (upto 6ft) then leg length gets longer in preportion to torso length.

    WSD on bikes is only based on shorter bodies at the same height as mens. At smaller sized bikes compared to mens, there is often very little difference in the top tube lengths. (some companies there is no difference!) On larger sizes there is more difference.

    Now you claim to have only found a diffence of near 1 inch difference in sizes but that is actually quite a lot. It may not seem it but if I told you to ride with a 20-30mm longer stem you'd really notice it. On mens and womens bikes the difference between a small sized frame to large sized frame is made different by just less than 1inch in length.

    Stems usually have more rise on them too but this is only based on the sensitivity of womens parts in relation to saddle contact. More rise means a more upright position and so less pressure on the saddle near the nose.

    oh and thanks for the advertising :)

    1. Now Jez, there you have to go saying stuff and backing it up with knowledge and whatever! Pulling BS out of my ass and posting it in my blog in the middle of the night is so much fun! :D lol

      Yes, and inch is a lot. I guess my point is wait...I'm going to be honest here... The real truth of it is that calling it "Women Specific" irritates the sh*t out of me. Perhaps it is because I once was duped into buying a Ruby Elite, and I could not have been more unhappy with that bike. All the guys at the bike shop and who I rode with asked me what I was doing on an upright bike, when I belonged on a "fast bike." I was like.. WTF?! There is much more to this, as you can imagine.

      With those personal things aside, I still stand behind my beliefs that if the MENS and WOMENS labels were removed, people could be more free to be fitted to bikes that are better suited to their body, their needs, AND their riding style.

      Now I am not claiming to be any sort of fit expert, but I know someone who is *cough* (1.0) He hears me b***h about this all the time, by the way. I have seen him make a million + one adjustments to my bikes, for my endless little concerns. (I am a total pain in the butt. We almost had to take a friendship break after I bought a bike from him once when he was working at the shop. lol) Anyway, the variables seem endless: stems can be flipped, longer, shorter, spacers can be added or removed, bars can be changed out, dropped downward or roll upward, brake levers can be placed in different positions and angles, and adjustments can be made to them making them more suitable for the larger or smaller hand. And then there is the saddle, saddle positioning, and the seat post!

      Side note: This reminds me... 1.0, I need some changes made. Fi and I are having issues. :P

      Sorry if there are typos... I'm writing this at work during my lunch break. :/

  2. Perhaps WSG should be scrapped and replaced with STG (Short Torso Geometry) aimed at men and women? Probably not going to win any marketing awards!

    1. Nope, because it is all about the money, and sadly, a lot of women fall for it. They hear the salesman say, "this technology was created especially for the WOMAN and the unique needs of the female body," and they eat that crap up. "Oh! It's for WOMEN?? It must be better!" It is a strange phenomenon...a phenomenon that also seems to have been responsible for Sarah Palin's brief popularity. ;) *Cervelo Girl seizes the can of worms and tears it open* Heh. It's my blog. (Actually, I'm not all that political. That's probably one of the only things you'll ever catch me saying here.)

      I am not trying to make women out to be idiots, because I don't think they are. I think the consumer as a whole is! lol And with every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there trying to sell you a cheap piece of crap bike, and do anything to get you to walk out of the store with it, it is no wonder!

      Our economy is awful. People don't have a lot of money right now. They think they are getting a deal when they buy a $150 bike at the Walmart. They think, "Wow! I just bought a brand new bike! The guy wearing a blue vest says it is my size and everything! Now I can get to work everyday!" Wrong. That bike is garbage and will need to be in the bike shop getting $150 worth of repairs/upgrades within a few months. God I hate those superstores! Did I just change my rant topic?....

      Man, I have been really feisty lately. I need a good ride...or something...

    2. Ride has a double translation.....that I won't go into on here lol! But I get where you are coming from. Loving your passionate rants!

  3. Oh and don't even get me started on saddle height and position, I have enough boring knowledge to making even a laughing hyena consider its life........seriously!

    1. I'm pretty sure you couldn't bore me when it comes to this stuff. lol