Name: Cat Haines
Lives: Frenchs Forest
Club: Manly Warringah CC
Years Riding: 12
Your New Toy: Specialized S Works Amira
How did you end up with this bike: The week before the 3 Peaks in March
my Trek Madone 5.5 was on the roof of my car – unfortunately the carbon
frame was no match for a concrete ceiling. I’ve increased the amount of riding that I do over the last couple of years and tried my hand in a few races so I wanted to take the opportunity to buy a more aggressive, responsive bike that would give me an edge. I had a pre fitting with Mark to determine the best geometry and for the first time decided to look at women’s specific frames – I’m quite tall so always thought they were more suited to shorter women.
What were you looking for: A well fitting, fast, light bike that looks good.
How’s the ride: Fantastic! I’m riding faster than on the Madone, and have noticed a difference climbing. I’m a convert to the women’s specific fit, I hadn’t realised it was possible to sit so comfortably on a bike whilst going fast.
Have you ever had a bike fitting: Yep. Jet Cycles with Mark Newton
Where did you purchase this bike: Jet Cycles
What Jet Cycles said: Cat’s goal for visiting us was all about finding the correct size of bike and which models would work, regardless of brand so as to make a wise decision about the best bike for her. As Cat mentioned she is tall, 5”11 to be precise and had been riding a 56cm men’s bike.
After conducting a “Pre Fit” which takes the riders background into consideration, riding style, injury history and an assessment of dynamic flexibility. It’s a myth that women have longer legs and shorter torso’s than men. Where the true difference lies is in the arm length of female riders which is shorter and means they have a shorter reach potential on a bike. So it was no surprise that she needed a bike with a shorter top tube length and taller head tube.
Applying Cat’s specific attributes to men’s bikes, realising effective geometries on a men’s bike would have meant a compromise if working to a men’s bike as she required a top tube from a 52cm bike and a head tube height from a 54cm bike. The real solution was easily found with the women’s range of bikes from Specialized.
Knowing the geometry was going to fit considerably better than a men’s bike, Cat chose the S-Works Amira which is a great bike with a super light frameset, Dura Ace and Carbon wheels. We spent another 2 hours to fit the bike and dial in every aspect of her mechanics and she loves it.
Women typically think of women’s bikes as inferior to men’s in terms of quality and performance. Perhaps this is the case in some brands where the only difference is a change of colour, saddle and handle bars. The Specialized range of bikes are completely built up and raced and developed by women in conjunction with the same engineers that design the Tour de France winning Tarmacs.
The result is that Specialized women’s bikes offer tubing scaled to that of the riders weight and force applications. This is important for ride quality and handling. When women ride men’s bikes, even if they manage to fit the geometry, the challenge they face is that the bike is engineered for men who are typically stronger and heavier. As a result the bike is over engineered and doesn’t handle well or ride comfortably – a bit like using a race car for the family holiday where it is not practical and uncomfortable.