Women’s Bike

Preview : 2011 Trek Bikes Lexa Road Line

If you are here to view the 2012 Trek Lexa line up,  please click here.

July through September is an exciting time of the year for the bike industry.  July is one of the busiest months across the US for retailers, and right around the corner the next seasons product is budding to be released.

One of the first releases out on the wire are the new Trek Bikes line of women’s road bikes called Lexa.

Trek Lexa $689.99

Compared to the Trek 1.1 unisex bike, this bike is all aluminum (including the fork) with 8 speed drivetrain and compact cranks.

Trek Lexa S $899.99


Compared to the Trek 1.2, carbon fork and 9 speed drivetrain.

Trek Lexa SL $1099.99


Compared to the Trek 1.5 with 9 speed Tiagra and carbon fork.  Available in compact or triple.

Trek Lexa SLX $1319.99

10 speed shifting, hydro-formed frame and a higher end aluminum bike.

fi’zi:k Vesta Review: Initial Thoughts

A beautiful fi’zi:k Vesta showed up at my doorstep a couple of weeks back.  Quickly, I snapped some photos and then installed the saddle on my cyclocross bike. Since then it has been on my goto bike for long road rides, and my daily commute.

Initial Feel

The very first feeling of the saddle is the firm, yet padded support.  This is a good feeling as I don’t like a saddle that I sink into. If you sink too much into a saddle your sit bones are no longer holding you up and the soft tissues are left holding you up.  This saddle hasn’t seen more than an hour and a half of consistent ride time so we can only tell how the padded feeling holds up.

The “pressure relief channel” seems to work so far.  It isn’t a cut out so if I rock into the drops I can feel pressure on my soft tissue areas but to this point there has been no numbness or pain when this pressure happens for an extended amount of time.

Look & Design

The saddle is an eye catcher.  Subtle enough, but if someone walks close enough to see the top of your saddle they will stop and ask, “WHAT?!“  This exact story has happened to me with everyone that has seen the saddle.  My only worry about the eye catching colors are they will bleed over time into my white bib shorts.

Closing Thoughts

Sitting initially on this saddle I didn’t think “this is the one,” but that never has happened before with any of my favorite saddles. There are always fine tuning with the bike fit and trying different angles and fore/aft of the saddle.  BUT I didn’t sit on this saddle and feel horrible pain, nor did I feel pain after 25 miles.  The jury is still out on this saddle but I will check back with you as the fit is modified and more miles are logged.

Q & A : What Makes a Bike a Women’s Bike?

Question : What Makes a Bicycle a Women’s Bicycle?

This is a broad question with  long answer so maybe take a seat.

In the old days…

Masi Soulville Mixte 7Many women rode their bikes with skirts (much like they rode horses side saddle.)  When bicyles were designed for women they came out with a dropped top tube design.  The most popular of these were the “mixte” or step through.  The design is still carried in many lines.  Personally I think it is much easier to get on and off a step through frame, though some people don’t like the look.  Another advantage of the step through is for tight clothing, or tight hips.  I have successfully sold step through bikes in black or grey to gentleman with bad hip joints.

For a very long time this step through design is all women rode and men had a diamond frame with taller top tube.  Even now many people visit bike shops and shop for bikes based on this very traditional thought process.

Modern time and modern designs…

These days bikes are designed differently.  Most mid to high end womens bicycles have many other features that make them womens, and almost none of them are a step through design.

Some key thoughts going into the designs of modern womens bicycles :

  • Most women have longer legs over longer upper body.  This makes so when they ride a traditional “squared” geometry, their seat is too high and length or top tube of the bike is too long . Making for a very stretched out, painful, ride.
  • Women come in all sizes, but often smaller sizes than men.
  • Most women have narrower shoulder width than men, which means narrower handlebars.
  • Most women have breast or chest to worry about when getting into a more aggressive fitting.  This also means more weight on the upper body.

Details by Bike…

Road bikes have a couple key differences :

  • Shorter top tube of the bicycle. I touched on this above but many women have longer upper body and shorter legs.  A shorter top tube allows them the length of the bike they need without needing to raise the seat on a smaller sized bike.
  • Taller head tube.  A taller head tube allows the bikes front end to sit up higher. This allows for a more upright fit, if you decide, and less weight on your hands and more on your rear.  It also makes it so you don’t have to rock your pelvic bone and hips so far forward to get the proper fit alignment on your back.
  • Womens seat. These seats tend to be shorter, wider in the back and a medically designed cut out to relieve pressure.
  • Narrower & shorter handlebars. Women tend to have narrower shoulders, so they need a narrower handlebar.  Another thing a womens handlebar addresses is the “reach” down to the drops.  Womens tend to be shorter, so easier to get into an aggressive position.
  • Different steering angles.  When you shorten or lengthen a bike, it changes the handling.  Many manufactures have fixed this by changing the angle that the fork and seat tube sit at.

Mountain bikes carry many of the above differences plus some extra :

  • L2010 Trek Fuel EX 5 WSDighter weighted suspension.  Suspension works two ways, coil or air activated.  With air you can easily change the feel of suspension with a shock pump.  With coil if you are below or above the recommended weight for that coil, you need to replace it.  Many womens mountain bikes if they come with coil suspension are set up with the lighter suspension coil.
  • Lower stand over.  Allowing women to feel more confident on the bike.

There are many other things I can talk about in this topic, which in the future I plan to, but for now try to read through everything above and let me know your questions.  Many things have to do with brand specific designs and thoughts.  One thing that happened when womens bikes first hit the market was an overwhelming feeling of “fru-fru” and that the product managers just didn’t get it.  The bikes were mostly pink or baby blue and hit some of the above design thoughts but not all.  They wanted to put a band aid over the issue.  Granted, I partially feel that the band aid is still there for many but hopefully it is slowly being pealed off.

Next in this series will be  “Do I Need a Womens Bike?” question.  If you have questions or comments about that topic please let me know.

Burley Trailer Recall

Burley D-Lite RecallBurley Design, in conjunction with the CPSC, has announced a voluntary product recall of all 2009 d’Lite ST and Solo ST trailers.
In order to determine if you have an affected trailer, please read the documents below.

Consumer Handout for Burley 2009 ST Recall.pdf
Consumer FAQs for Burley 2009 ST Recall.pdf

Consumer Rework Instructions for Burley 2009 ST Recall.pdf

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Gary Fisher
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2009 Gary Fisher Simple City 3W : Quick Review

Recently going out on a limb I pulled in a Gary Fisher Simple City 3W into our Trek Concept store in Charlotte, NC. We have been selling a lot of life style hybrids, cruisers and comfort bikes. I thought the Simple City really fit that niche and added character that the other bikes could have, but had to be purchased and added on.

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