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Monday, July 25, 2011

Orbea Onix Dama vs Onix -- more on the women's specific myth

Orbea Onix
Orbea Onix Dama
I know I've gone over this before, but more on the "Women's Specific"  myth. 

My primary gripe is that the geometry changes that are actually made to the frame are minimal, and usually very poorly thought out.  Also, yes, some women have longer legs and shorter torsos -- but a lot of them do not.  In fact many men have long legs and short torsos, rather than the shorter legs and longer torsos that the bike manufacturers would have you believe.

For instance, look at the Onix series of bikes from Orbea -- they have their standard version and the Dama, or women's specific version.

The Dama, size 53 is essentially just the size in between the standard Onix sizes 51 and 54 -- possibly a slightly taller scaled head tube.  The Dama size 49, has an effective top tube of 51 cm.  The standard Onix size 51 also has a 51 cm effective TT.  The women's version has a head tube length of 110 mm, the standard version has a 122 mm one. 

If women did have shorter torsos wouldn't they need to make the reach and overall cockpit of the bike more relaxed rather than more aggressive?  Especially since the women's bike has a seat angle that's a full degree steeper (while still maintaining a 51 cm eff. TT), making it's weight bias more forward, upsetting the handling and making it squirrely at high speeds.

Again, I'm not saying that women shouldn't have their geometry tailored to them -- in fact they should, and just as often as the men-folk.  These are not well-thought out changes, they're token, and gimmick and marketing.  These changes are made because they're easy, not because they work.

Don't be fooled; more thought goes into how to "accessorize" a bike in pink and purple bits to make it "Women's Specific" than goes into the fit and the geometry.


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  3. Some mfgs don't bother to actually make different frames. Others actually do. And many people like yourself claim it is just a big myth that some women need a specialized bike (men too). My wife is one: long legs short torso. I'm seven inches taller, but our legs are close to the same length. We compromised last time 12 year ago because the only carbon frame was in men's sizes. Got a too small frame for the shortened top tube AND a Terry steel stem for the height and to bring in the handle bars even more. She now has 56K miles on this bike that "fits", but is really too short and twitchy.