What are the TrainerRoad ladies riding?

Hi there,

I am curious to know what the ladies in the TR community are riding at the moment. My girlfriend is looking to upgrade her entry level aluminium road bike to something mid range, light weight carbon and without disc brakes.

I started looking in to bikes in the £2,000 or less range and quickly noticed that women don’t really have a whole load of choice. The bike industry kinda narrows the market to make you choose one of only a few options. She hated the gender stereotyped women’s bikes that look “awful.” So that was out the window.

I know that Specialized and Trek have more or less done away with their women’s specific bikes. Are unisex bikes such as the TCR the Canyon Ultimate genuine options for ladies.

If there is anyone who knows a female cyclist and what they chose, it would be very useful in helping decide.


Sure. Bikes don’t have gender, just geometry.

Liv bikes and the Canyon WMN bikes (I’m sure there are more, those are the two that come to mind) have geometries intended for people with proportionally shorter torsos and longer legs. If that describes your girlfriend’s body, she might fit better on those bikes. (They’re not shrinked-and-pinked, they’re actual high-end bikes that World Tour pros use.)

Trek and Specialized don’t vary the geometry, but they have started to build much smaller sizes than used to be available in “unisex” lines. (“Yeah they’re totally unisex as long as you’re taller than 5’7!”) They also vary the touchpoints, so women’s-specific saddles and handlebars.

CyclingWeekly did a good article on gendered geometries in 2018. Personally, I’m 5’11"/181cm and I ride a size 56 Trek Checkpoint ALR5 (so really the opposite of what your girlfriend wants, but it fits me fine!).


Little to add to the above.

Just size a bike according to her size, and pick from all the available ones. The rest is marketing.

Female rider here. I have a Ghost road bike and a Cervelo TT bike. They are the same bikes my husband has (but in different sizes) with different set-ups to allow for differences in our bodies. On Trek Travel trips I’ve ridden the Trek Madone (and LOVED it).

I am 5’7"+ though so don’t have the fit issues that more petite women might have.

For what it’s worth, the Trek Segafredo women’s team rides Madones and they are :fire: :heart_eyes:

(That’s Ruth Winder’s bike. She’s 5’3 and rides a 50cm.)


What the others have said, try out unisex bikes as well, the better brands make them in much smaller sizes and good shops will help with making tweaks like shorter stem to improve the fit. For what it’s worth, I’m 5’7 and have a 52 Specialized tarmac. I tried the Liv’s (can’t remember which one), Trek Domane and I used to ride a Colnago C59. Mixture of ‘unisex’ and women’s. Case of trying them out to see what is most comfortable.

Oh, fwiw I ride a couple of bikes that planet x don’t seem to have anymore, all in 56 I think. But I’m 5’11 too. None of them were sold as “women’s” bikes. I also use unisex saddles, but that again is something where differences between two people are much bigger than averaged differences between genders.

In agreement with what everyone else has been saying, I’m a female rider with a mix of women’s-specific and unisex bikes. My road bike happens to be a women’s-specific frame, but I tried both women’s-specific and unisex frames when I was buying a road bike and that one just happened to be the best fit and most comfortable of the options in my price range. My MTB, which really is my primary bike, is a unisex frame, and the MTB I rode before that was as well. As someone who is 5’6", the better coverage of smaller frame sizes with women’s-specific bikes has never been something I’ve needed, and I personally feel that, beyond that, women’s-specific bikes are largely marketing. So I agree with everyone else saying that she should try whatever is in her size range, regardless of the gender it is marketed to, and go with what fits best.

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Yeah I wouldn’t aim for a women’s bike specifically, just find something that fits! I’m pretty small at 5’3’’ and as long as I can find something appropriately sized I have no issues with getting a great fit on unisex bikes.

IMHO “women’s specific geometry” = pink.

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Agree with all the ladies above - don’t worry about ladies bikes specifically. I have super long legs/short torso and ride all unisex bikes, road and mtb. Never had a problem fitting a “men’s” bike, other than needing adjustments on the shifters for my tiny hands.

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Damn that’s hot.

I swear just the paint job on the seat post makes it 1 km/h faster.


I’m 5’7" and ride a 51-53 cm frame usually. I refuse to buy any women’s specific frames because I think the resale market has way less buyers available. Men don’t really want to ride a Women’s bike it seems.

I think it’s mostly just marketing anyway. Put on a saddle that fits your anatomy and a stem length that’s appropriate for your reach. I notice a lot of ladies out there with stems that are way too long because we generally don’t have as long of torsos as our male counterparts.

Edit: To answer the post, I ride a Cervelo R3 (54 cm) on the road, and it is super compact and a good fit for someone without a long reach. For dirt/gravel I’m riding a Cannondale SuperX (51 cm). I know Giant has a line of women’s bikes (Liv) if your GF is more inclined to go with something that’s supposedly just for women.

Why aren’t these smaller frames using 650b wheels?

My wife rides Canyon on the road and Liv for CX. Both bikes were sold by the manufacturer as women’s specific.

My wife is 5’6 and both of the bikes look tiny :laughing: The Canyon is a thing of beauty though. It has chameleon purple paint work and it really is eye catching. She purchased it almost two years ago and it has been faultless. So light, a sneeze in the wrong place and you’d be in a hedge.

Sounds familiar - I’m a 5’5” male but ride a Specialized Ruby targeted at women. I put a very short stem on it, and love feeling in control of the bike rather than spread out on a machine that’s a bit beyond my comfort zone. So agreed, focus on what fits and don’t worry about what gender the bike was assigned by the mfgr.

And, the white-on-white design is totally gender neutral :slight_smile:


Some of them do. Emma Pooley’s been on the “just put 650s on small bikes would you please” train for a while.


That is good news. I’m glad Emma is speaking up! Although I’m a little worried by the split of 650B vs 650C. I think it would be better if the industry just went with 650B because I doubt the tubeless tire makers are going to support that many options.

I already have a hard time finding tires and inner tubes for my wife’s Canyon Inflite which has 650B wheels.

There are a couple replies like this here. I’ll be the first to rage about artificially feminized marketing that takes a product designed for man-as-default and tries to sell it to not-men by slapping on a new paint job and changing nothing else, and there are a lot of “women’s” bikes that meet that description, but that’s really not what’s happening at manufacturers like Liv and Canyon. They base their designs on (old and not great, but the best they had at the time) data that seemed to show most women have proportionally shorter torsos and longer legs than most men, and they built bike frames with geometry explicitly intended to fit bodies shaped that way. It’s not just marketing; it’s a different product.

Current research shows there’s more proportional variation within genders than between, which is why e.g. Trek stopped making women’s frames in favor of a single “unisex” geo with a wider range of sizes. (Which really learned the wrong lesson, because now people on both ends of the body shape bell curve will be under-served. Argh.)

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My wife is only 4’11" and so she went for a canyon wmn endurace AL Disc 7.0 with 650b wheels and is really happy with the way it handles and finds it more comfortable than her previous Felt. She also found the move to disc helped with braking as her hands are very small and needs the levers close to the handlebars which gives her limited travel.

Just a hypothetical question, if you had the same bike but it was painted in one of the “women’s” colors like the pinks and turquoise would it have the same appeal?

Glad you found a bike that fits you.