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women's road bike..any suggestions?(19 posts)

women's road bike..any suggestions?lap1966
Dec 23, 2003 6:43 PM
any information will be useful. i am 5'4" and about 110 lbs. what i would like is a steel bike with campagnolo components. at the moment i am getting all sorts of conflicting information from dealers etc about what i should get. everybody seems to think i should buy a trek wsd or lemond women's zurich, but that really is not what i want. i like classic style, tradition and stability. do any of you women, or men who know women, use a cinelli super corsa?

as i said, any input would be helpful. thanks very much.

too lite for steel-if you care about performanceandy02
Dec 23, 2003 7:03 PM
not a good bike for you. I agree with the people who said trek wsd. You are so lite that you will take a beating on steal. I am 20 pounds heavier and don't ride steal anymore. Carbon is the way to go. I just got my wife a 47 cm 5200wsd and she loves it (she is close to your size and fast)
Got to disagree about the "penalties" of steelCory
Dec 24, 2003 9:13 AM
Depending on what you want to do--you don't really say--a steel frame could be a good choice. If it weighs a whole pound more than whatever the alternative is (which it won't), that's still far less than 1 percent of the total bike/rider package. A full water bottle or a big breakfast adds more than that. Buy a bike that fits and feels good and will last, not one that weighs 11 ounces less.
Suggestions, rather lengthy...Andy M-S
Dec 23, 2003 7:40 PM
I think Andy02 is wrong...there's nothing wrong with steel, and if that's what you want, then that's what you should get.

Frankly, it depends in part on how much money you want to spend. You might want to talk to Waterford or Rivendell...or...better still (if you're cheap like me) it yourself.

My son is about 5'0" right now, and this summer I picked up a very nice used Basso Gap frame for him (48cm). Lugged steel, nice finish. I built it up and he's been quite happy with it. at 5'4" you don't need an extremely small frame (so you don't need to worry about 650c wheels). A 48-50cm Basso might be a good choice. Lickton's ( has Basso frames.

You might also want to consider these guys: They make a lugged frame and fork in three sizes, one of which might fit--50cm. The frame combines classical styling with a 1-1/8" threadless fork, which gives you some latitude in setting things up. The best thing is that these frames go for about $300. Probably not superlight, but they look comfortable (I have a 58cm coming in January).

Get a good quality frame, then build it up yourself (with a little help from your LBS if necessary for headset and BB work). If you aren't comfortable building your own wheels, get a set from Colorado Cyclist or Excel--both very good.

Another good alternative is to deal with Gary Hobbs--someone here will have the web address. He has a great reputation for setting people up on very nice bikes.

But I've said all this without asking what you want out of the bike--speed? Distance comfort? What sort of riding do you do? If it's racing, then the Kogswell won't do, but the Gap probably will...and of course, there are many other options!
A woman I ride with is about your size ...HouseMoney
Dec 23, 2003 8:10 PM
She's coming off a Waterford, and just ordered an Orbea to be built up. She liked her Waterford, served her well for a few years, she just wanted something lighter.
go steel, young lady!supercorsa
Dec 23, 2003 10:32 PM

for what it's worth i've got a 1985 supercorsa (gee, who woulda guessed??) and i absolutely love it. but... that's not what i'm gonna suggest. i just built up a new bike for my wife (as a beater commuter, of all things) that she absolutely loves.

cambria cycles was advertising several "famous maker" frames in their latest printed catalog at smokin' prices, given that they were all odd sizes several years old. they had airbrushed out the names to keep the makers happy, but they left (on purpose, i'm sure) enough detail visible that a discerning cyclist could figure out what they all were.

the frameset in question here was a nib '98 lemond reno, reynolds 525 butted chrom-moly steel, 49cm center to top. i built it up w/ full shimano 105 (well, ultegra standard levers & dura-ace downtube shifters) and handbuilt wheels for a cool $1200. cambria is asking $350 for the frameset, which went for about a grand new. although it's a 4-5 year old frameset it arrived in immaculate condition.

my wife also has a gios 50th anniversary, dedaccia aluminum frame w/ mizuno carbon fork, and she actually likes the ride of the lemond better. she describes it (the following are her words) as neutral, stable, tough feeling (silly girl's been jumping it off curbs), confidence inspiring, fast.

i'd suggest giving cambria a call and seeing if they still have any available. being a fringe-o-the-bell-curve size there's a good chance they still do.


ps: the color was nothing like the catalog described it, actually kind of a metallic blue, in the sun it almost looks like a translucent metal flake blue shot over a chrome base. really pretty.

pps: then again, if you've got your heart set on a cinelli supercorsa by all means get one!!! they are lovely bicycles, classic workmanship, sweet ride. i'll never part with mine, i just keep buying more. in fact, my latest road bike is another cinelli, a starlight. what a rocket!
re: women's road bike..any suggestions?margoC
Dec 23, 2003 10:43 PM
I am 5'4'' and just got a raliegh heritage international that I just love! You should check them out, they are having a sale now. I got the 50cm frame and it fits great. They have 3 heritage models, one aluminum, one zona steel, and the other one zona steel with primo gruppo, a pound lighter than mine I think.

I had an alumunum road bike and found it too rough riding. I prefer steel. The raliegh was the best deal going in my town and I don't regret my purchase. I was afraid I would find the frame too large as I barely clear that top tube but it's actually a better fit than the smaller bike I had before it.
Ditto recommendation for Raleigh InternationalDale Brigham
Dec 24, 2003 6:53 AM
I got one for my wife (what a trade! Yuk, yuk, yuk), and she and I (her mechanic) both love it. It's as nice of a factory steel frame (Columbus Zona Nivachrom tubing) as I've seen, and the Campagnolo Centaur gruppo is spot on. The wheels are low spoke-count proprietary hubs and rims (i.e., not the big brand names), but they have stayed true and provided no problems for the year and a half my wife has had the bike. The bar, stem, and seatpost are all ITM, which is a nice touch on a bike at this price point. Best of all, my wife loves the way it rides, and it's a very pretty bike, to boot.

re: women's road bike..any suggestions?rdbike
Dec 24, 2003 5:43 AM
Go steel all day long. for the money the lemond is a great bike at a resonable price. Personally, I would look for a the best deal on a 2003 bike. dont overthink it....95% is the rider with the fit coming in second. Good luck.
re: women's road bike..any suggestions?Crankist
Dec 24, 2003 6:17 AM
If you're relatively leggy, then Gios would be a great choice. See
re: Cinelli Super Corsa or Landshark from GVHBikes.comcdhbrad
Dec 24, 2003 6:48 AM
Check out Gary Hobbs site, he has some small Super Corsas, but I would also give serious consideration to either his Gary V(most believe they are really landsharks) or the Landsharks he has in stock or he will special order. I ride a Landshark, full filet brazed with a steel fork, and its a great ride. The great thing about the Landshark, besides the ride, is that John Slawta will paint it any way you want. Custom Landshark orders through GVH don't cost extra either.
Right now, Hobbs has a "year end" sale going on and is offering great discounts on frames and build kits.
From my experience,msmootsiemartin
Dec 24, 2003 6:51 AM
I love steel. I have an older Merlin ti and several newer steel bikes and am really enjoying the ride of steel. I am 5'3" (no need to discuss weight, hee hee) with a proportionally short standover height. The first thing I would do is get a good fitting and determine if a smaller bike or "wsd" is appropriate for you. Or, if custom is a better way to go. Here is a link to a fairly comprehensive list of bikes, noting the manufacturers with small and wsd models,
If the cinelli super corsa fits you, I would go for it.

Good luck,
re: women's road bike..any suggestions?lap1966
Dec 24, 2003 7:40 AM
thank you all so much for your advice, suggestions and links. i will consider everything and, hopefully, make a decisiion very soon!! merry christmas!

re: women's road bike..any suggestions?Barton
Dec 24, 2003 8:09 AM
You might try the Bianchi "Per Donna", or look into Terry bicycles, both women specific designs.
Not all women need women specific bikes.dzrider
Dec 24, 2003 8:29 AM
The differences in women's geometries are pretty great. If you are long-legged, the women's specific design may be just the thing. If not, a shorter stem may be all that you need to make a "men's" bike fit fine. There are a whole lot more of them to choose from and it doesn't appear to be an identity issue for you.

My wife rides a 1984, Columbus SL Pinarello and loves it. After test riding lots of light, modern bikes she decided to have it repainted and the stays spread to take nine speeds. None of the new bikes felt as good as "her bike". IMHO your objective should be to find a bike that makes you feel like that and a Cinelli would be a very tasty one.
I agree with dzrider...msmootsiemartin
Dec 24, 2003 10:16 AM
I am soooo tired of people telling women that they need a "wsd" bike until they have a fitting. It may or may not work. I have owned and still own many bikes and a "wsd" bike has never fit me. :)

2nd that_rt_
Dec 24, 2003 10:41 AM
in theory, i am the ideal candidate for a wsd frame: i'm short (5'1", 100 lbs) with a short torso and long legs. yet only one of the 4 bikes i own is a wsd model & neither of my road bikes are wsd's (50 cm Trek 5200 & 49 cm Bianchi Giro).

sorry, i don't have any advice or opinion about steel frames. all i've ever ridden/owned are alu, carbon, & ti.

Not all women need women specific bikes.margoC
Dec 25, 2003 9:02 PM
If you are a normal proportioned person you may not need a women specific design. I used to think I needed a really small frame (28 inch inseam) but my last one was too small. I kept switching out stems and bars tring to get it to fit but it never worked out. The raliegh fits great. I got the smallest one, a 50cm frame. The only thing I may replace may be the handlebars. But only if I see something I know will be better.
re: women's road bike..any suggestions?mapei boy
Dec 24, 2003 11:02 AM
My wife, about 5'4", is an intrepid road rider. She's hated every woman's specific bike, either mountain or road, she's ever tried. For the past three years, she's ridden an all-aluminum Colnago Dream, 49 cm with sloping top tube. She's been absolutely thrilled with it from day one. During the 15 or so years previous to the Colnago, she rode a steel Columbus SL tubed hand-built Pogliaghi. She'll tell you in an instant that the Colnago is far and away the better bike. In every parameter.

In other words, don't get caught up in specifics. Don't, for example, get caught up in the hype that steel is real, or that women are better suited for a specific geometry. Insist on the bike shops letting you take a spin on their wares. Trust your fanny. Find your own path.