mjagr
I recently bought a Raleigh Amelia 1 as my first gravel bike, and love it! My other bike is a Trek Madone 4.2 wsd, with a 105 groupset, as opposed to the Claris on my Ameila, but I find it works really well, and will be easier/cheaper to replace given that I'll probably be a lot rougher on the Ameila than the Madone!
Just wondering what other ladies out there are riding, women's specific geometry or not, would love to hear from other female riders! 20190312_160842.jpg 
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shirjohn
I would like to hear from other female riders also.  I am in the market for a gravel bike and considering a carbon frame, either the Specialized Diverge or Norco Search XR.  I'm concerned about fit since I'm on the short side at 5'3".  Specialized claims to have women specific sizing while Norco does not advertise as such.  These are brands I can get through my local bike shop but am wondering if there is something else out there that is specifically great for women.
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Volsung
Don't worry too much about women's specific frames.  Just get something that fits and maybe swap out the stem and saddle.

My wife has a women's specific road bike (Specialized Dolce) and a gender neutral Twin Six Rando and she prefers the T6.
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mjagr
Before the Madone WSD I rode a unisex bike, and was quite happy with it, and my mountain bike (Gary Fisher X-Caliber) is unisex, but I do like the narrower bars that come with the women specific bikes, rather than having to change them after purchase. I also really like the fit of the Raleigh Amelia, though obviously very different purpose (commuting, touring) with very different geometry from the Madone. I agree though, comfort/fit is most important, regardless of  women's specific or not, but for me personally I have found both the Madone WSD and the Amelia (women's version of the Willard) to be extremely comfortable for me. Maybe check out the Trek Checkpoint, which comes in a women's version too?
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drwelby
shirjohn wrote:
I am in the market for a gravel bike and considering a carbon frame, either the Specialized Diverge or Norco Search XR.  I'm concerned about fit since I'm on the short side at 5'3".  Specialized claims to have women specific sizing while Norco does not advertise as such. 
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drwelby
shirjohn wrote:
I am in the market for a gravel bike and considering a carbon frame, either the Specialized Diverge or Norco Search XR.  I'm concerned about fit since I'm on the short side at 5'3".  Specialized claims to have women specific sizing while Norco does not advertise as such. 


The smallest size frame in the women's Diverge is a 48cm. The search XR also comes in a 48 so we can do a pretty close comparison between the two.

If we look at the reach measurements on the geometry charts, the Norco is 362mm and the Specialized is 360mm, so they are almost identical. Reach tells some information about how long the reach to the handlebars will be so based on this number alone the fit will be very similar.

Next we'll look at stack, which tells you information about how high (or low) you can get the handlebars. The Norco if 524mm and the Specialized is 569mm. So if you like higher bars for comfort, or if you have tall hips, you might like the Specialized more. If you're flexible and are looking for a low aero position, the Norco could be your thing.

There's some interplay between the numbers, so if you added enough spacers to the Norco to match the Specialized it will actually come out slightly shorter. But it would end up with a lot of spacers, which you might not like the look of. 

The Norco comes with 650b wheels which some people might say is in better proportion to the bike. It would also put the front tire farther away from you foot and result in less toe overlap. I can't say it's a problem on the Diverge though without actually putting you on the bike in your cycling shoes.

Norco also makes an even smaller 45cm frame, which could possibly fit you better than either brand's 48. So while Norco doesn't market their frames as "Womens Specific", they are close enough in the 48 that you should test ride both if that's your size.
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ljsmith
shirjohn wrote:
I would like to hear from other female riders also.  I am in the market for a gravel bike and considering a carbon frame, either the Specialized Diverge or Norco Search XR.  I'm concerned about fit since I'm on the short side at 5'3".  Specialized claims to have women specific sizing while Norco does not advertise as such.  These are brands I can get through my local bike shop but am wondering if there is something else out there that is specifically great for women.


My wife is a runner and as long as we have known each other I have been trying to get her into biking.  The one thing that has held her back is that she has never felt comfortable or confident on the bikes shes ridden.  Mainly because she is 5' 1" and the bikes she was riding never quite fit right because almost all small bikes are still built around 700c wheels and a lot of strange compromises are made to the geometry.  I just built her a Norco Search XR carbon and it was a total game changer for her.  Since its built around 650b wheels the bike fits her so much better with a shorter wheelbase, better geometry and no toe overlap.  She loves riding now because she is so much more confident on this bike than on the ill fitting bikes she has previously been on.  I can't recommend it enough for shorter riders. 

Norco.jpg 
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Mark_Landsaat
While I'm not a woman, I would like to make a contribution. I agree with Volsung that getting something that is the correct size is more important than the bike having women specific geometry.

If you find a bike that is the right size for you regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, you can always tailor the bike to your personal needs if necessary. No two people are alike and a saddle that works great for one person may be terrible for the next person.

I have been fortunate enough in my career to have worked with female athletes at the highest level of the sport. Many of these athletes are professionally fitted to their bikes and I can assure you that you can get a great fit with both woman specific geometry and regular geometry. Upon getting a professional fit changes may need to be made to make the bike perfect for you, but this can be true for both women specific geometry and regular geometry.

What is really encouraging to see is that many brands these days offer their high end bikes in smaller sizes, so there are lots of great bikes to choose from.

Guy that does a little of everything at Noble Bikes
 

https://www.noble-bikes.com/


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