Bikes for women

I know there are lots of bikes for women but what about tall women? Should a tall woman go for a man's bike or find the biggest woman's bike available? i.e. which is more important, relative dimensions or absolute length? I'm 5'10" and I'm sure there are shorter men riding men's bikes but I don't know what to go for.
Does anyone have any suggestion, please?


  • I think you'd be OK with a mans bike. I think the ladies models tend to be for smaller ladies, who have a problem getting bikes small enough to fit.

    Best idea is to go to a decent local bike shop and ask them to fit you on a bike. You need to make sure all the dimensions fit you - so that the bike fits both lower and upper body.

  • I think the whole world is for smaller ladies, really, but never mind that..
    I just wondered if having a bike the right height meant that the handlebars would be too far away... that sort of thing. Part of me yearns to be just like normal women (i.e. ones shorter than men) but having a bike that fits is the thing. I'll take your advice about the shop. If I suspect they're trying to convince me I need one of what they have most of, I'll go somewhere else. Maybe I'll traipse to a tri-bike shop, but that means lots of money maybe.
  • Fian my Cannondale women's specific bikes come in three or different sizes so one of them might fit? They can't all be for short people like me!
  • It's very important to make sure that the dimensions of your bike are right for you. You need to check the length of the top tube and down tube. Whether it's designated as a man's or woman's bike is really irrelevant; what counts is the fit.
  • Most important thing is comfort. The two critical distances are reach (saddle to handle bars) and height (peddles to seat). I think the former is the most important to get right as you can more easily adjust the saddle height. Its strange that bikes are still measures in height alone and there is often no mention of the length of the top bar.

    As Cougie says go to a good bike shop, try a few bikes and get a proper fitting, even ask for a test ride.

    This site is meant to be pretty good (get your tape measure at the ready).

  • Thanks, all. A second question then, regarding actually breaking open the piggy bank. Is there an unofficial threshold minimum price below which you get a sort of pretend tri-suitable bike? For instance, I had a 'bargain' mountain bike which weighed as much as a mountain and wasn't very comfortable when leaving the horizontal for even a slight incline. (And I don't just mean because it had me on it.) I don't want to spend tons of cash - for all the usual reasons - but I don't want to make any false economies either.

    Also, on another subject, does anyone know the name of the sort of spanner that has the hole for the nut at the end of it rather than on the side? So you can shove it down a hole in the pedal to get the thing off, where you can't get an ordinary spanner because the cylindrical hole isn't roomy enough. And is there an idiots' guide to finding your way around a bike and the various basic tools it might require?
  • Fian - bikes seem to be getting cheaper and better all the time. Cycling Weekly this week has bike reviews - worth looking at.
    They review a schwinn bike for £450 which gets a decent write up, and its a girl testing it.

    Erm, the spanner you are thinking about is a Pedal spanner I believe ? Or you can usually use an allen key in the end of the pedal crank inside the chainset ?

    Left pedal comes off clockwise.
    Right pedal comes off anticlockwise.

  • Pedal spanner. Who'd have thought it. But I do have allen keys. Unfortunately, the pedal spindle ends in a blunt flat metal disc. It was hard enough gouging the plastic casing off the other end. Ta, tho'.

  • Doh. On your new bike - you'll be able to play with your allen keys to your hearts content ! ;-)
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