Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bikes for women

With more women getting into cycling bike makers saw a hugh marketing opportunity and started designing cycles specially for women.

Nearly all major bike manufacturers now make bikes specifically for women. There are not just normal bike painted pink or powder blue with pretty flowers or butterfly decals. Women specific bikes have a geometry designed to better fit female anatomy. Generally women have longer legs and shorter torsos, in proportion to their body, than men. Their hands also are smaller and they are missing the dangly bits.

A handmade bike from Natalie Ramsland, owner of  Sweetpea, a Portland, Oregon based frame builder. One of the two female frame builders in the US who build bikes specifically for women

So designers redrew the spec for bikes. A longer seat tube (the tube that goes from the saddle to the bottom bracket - where the pedals are), shorter top tube (from the saddle to the handlebars), shorter reach brake levers for smaller hands and a shallower drop on racing handlebars... and made saddles a better shape.

They're still painted pink and light blue and made the pretty... girls will be girls just as boys will be boys.

And some brands appeared that only cater for women. The former Female World Cycling Champion, Kiwi, Sarah Ulmer has her own brand of bikes called, you guessed it... Sarah Ulmer Brand or SUB. SUB bikes are made by Aussie (or Kiwi, I can never remember) bike maker Avanti. Sarah had a major hand in the design, specification, and colours of the bikes that carry her name. SUB also produce a wide range of cycling apparel for women and as a designer I have to say they look pretty good.

Local cyclist very happy with her her SubZero bike designed World Champ, Sarah Ulmer.

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