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Women's Road Bike
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I am just getting into triathlons and am looking at purchasing a road bike. I was wondering if anyone can give me any suggestions on a good bike to get me started, doesn't need to be fancy and I don't want to spend a whole bunch but would like to get into something I can ride for a few years and keep the price under $1500 or so. Suggestions would be so helpful! Thanks.
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Re: Women's Road Bike [kinzzer] [ In reply to ]
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I ride a Specialized Allez Comp which meets those requirements and is under 1500. It's not women's specific, but i haven't found that i've needed womens specific...
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Re: Women's Road Bike [kinzzer] [ In reply to ]
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My advice is to go and get a good fit and figure out what kind of bike is going to work for you before you even ask for opinions on brands. A $1,000 bike that fits will get you better results than a $2,000 bike that doesn't, IMO. (And an ill-fitting bike will cause discomfort, pain, injury - which will decrease enjoyment and less return on investment). Find a bike shop in your area that does bike fittings - ask triathletes that you've met where they got fit, see if it's all the same place, and check them out. One size does not fit all - I bought a women's specific bike at a local bike shop for "a steal" at the end of the season. A year or two later I got started in triathlon, went to get fit (my boyfriend at the time, now husband encouraged it) and found that I shouldn't have gotten a women's specific design, because of my own unique anatomy. I ended up shelling out quite a bit to retrofit a WSD to more resemble a "regular" fit. (Fitting studio is well respected and I don't doubt their work.) Moral of the story? Get fit first - many shops will give you a discount on any bike you buy from them if you get fit there. And even if you don't get the bike there, you can still walk out with the knowledge of what bikes COULD work for you.

My two cents.
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Re: Women's Road Bike [kinzzer] [ In reply to ]
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Go used. Find out what size you are and keep an eye on craigslist/classifieds, get a good fit, ride that for a couple years and save up for something cool and zippy.

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Re: Women's Road Bike [Bellytri] [ In reply to ]
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Should have mentioned that at least in my case, my bike shop figured out my fit on their equipment. They have a type of stationary bike set up that they adjust on the fly - so it's not like you have to actually buy a bike to get fit. Instead, you can get a fit, then surf craiglist, etc. for a bike that's the right height and general dimensions that you need. Again, just my two cents.
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Re: Women's Road Bike [Bellytri] [ In reply to ]
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Are there any brands that you would reccommend I stay away from? Also, I have heard a few different things regarding carbon vs. aluminum frames. Would I be better to spend the money on an aluminum frame with better components than a carbon frame?
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Re: Women's Road Bike [kinzzer] [ In reply to ]
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If you're buying used, I'd stay away from carbon unless you have it tested before you buy. If someone's crashed with a carbon frame, the frame can actually suffer a "catastrophic fail" later on even if it looks fine to the naked eye. A friend of mine recently had to buy a new bike because she had a crash and her carbon seat-post was compromised. Even though the frame looked perfectly fine, it was unsafe. I'm sure if you googled that you'd find something to that effect.

As for brands, all the major folks have great bikes - I don't really know if there's a brand to stay away from necessarily, but the main forum folks would jump on this question, I think. If you look on the main forum you'll see lots and lots of threads on different bikes (and bike frames, and components), and there are plenty of article reviews on Slowtwitch's main page. For what it's worth, I have a Trek, the hubster has a Scott. (His is lighter and faster than mine, but he's also got a tri-bike).

I'm also less than expert on carbon vs. aluminum for the cost, but maybe someone else can help you in that regard. (Main forum also may have some old threads on that topic.)
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Re: Women's Road Bike [kinzzer] [ In reply to ]
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Hey Kinnzer!

What do you want to know? I have worked in a number of bike shops and currently work for a tri-shop so I can answer just about any bike question you have.

Based on what you have asked so far on here, here is what you can do...

Go to Wrench Science www.wrenchscience.com and go to their "fit system" page, register (it's free) and then follow the instructions on each step of the fit measurement section (you will need a few things including another person to help you with these) at the end the site will e-mail you your measurements so you can keep them on file and then it will make suggestions for four different types of fit measurements.... if you take the top 3 and average out the frame size suggestions the site is usually right on the nose.

Check on some of the Manf websites... Felt makes a really good entry level women's road bike called the Women's ZW5 that retails around $1399 (alloy frame, carbon front fork, SRAM Apex groupo) their ZW5 full carbon retails for about $2299 (Shimano 105). Specialized has the Allez (non specific fit, all alloy) which is comparable as well as the Ruby (in different levels of affordability, alloy up to a full carbon). Giant makes a really nice bike called the Avail which is an alloy (Avail 5 $800 - Avail 1 $1300) the price is dictated by the groupo you choose. Giant also makes the Avail in a full carbon but it starts at $3K so probably not the best choice for an entry level bike. Trek, Orbea and all the other manf's are going to have something in your price range you will just need to shop around and make sure to get the best bang for your buck that you can... and this is the PERFECT time to be doing it too because its the end of the model year and they are going to be wanting to unload their old stock to make room for new.

Don't be afraid to shop around and definately don't be afraid to ask questions especially when it comes to chosing a frame size (fit is everything). Insist that the person selling you a bike look at your Wrench Science measurements and make the best choice for a test ride from those measurements, why trial and error if you don't have to right? When you finally figure out what it is you want... If they don't have the right frame size in stock ask them if they will be getting one in because you want to ride it. Don't commit to a mid-priced bike if they don't have one in stock to ride... a mid priced bike is an easy sell for any bike shop, so if they want to sell you a bike they will get one in for you.

Never, never, never skimp on your groupo.... buy the maximum you can for your money and if it is a matter of a couple hundred bucks to upgrade to the next level groupo... do it, you will never regret that you did. I always tell customers never buy less than Shimano 105 because it is a 10 speed and not a 9 like Tiagra which means more flexability for switching out components in the future (cassettes, chains and even cranks wear out sooner or later) 105, Ultegra and Durace are all 10 speed groupo's, so if you need a new cassette but they don't have an Ultegra in stock you can buy the 105 they do have in stock and it will match up just fine (as long as you know your ratio but they should know this). Yes, you can always upgrade your groupo later, but it is going to cost you more than if you buy it from the Manf. this is why you often see a lot of bikes with multi generational groupo's (Ultegra shifters with a 104 front D and a ultegra rear D)... Buying a "full" groupo bike in my opionon is always best but you do what you can with what $ you have to spend (full meaning everything Ultegra, shifters, breaks, crank, chain, derailluers)

Consider a used bike only if it is an alloy frame. Full carbons are wonderful but if they have been crashed you are taking a risk in riding it, not all problems with a carbon fiber bike are visable to the naked eye and just about the only way to make sure if it is 100% okay is to have the frame x-rayed, so NOT worth the hassle.
If you can get a used bike in the proper size for you and you feel good about it then go for it. I would suggest meeting the seller at a local bike shop and have the mechanic check the bike out to make sure there are no big issues (this may cost a little but well worth it). Also don't discount the idea of buying used from a local bike seller... we sell used bikes all the time and it has its benefits... the mechanics have looked them over, fixed whatever was wrong and made sure the bike is in the best riding condition it can be for resale.

Anyhoooo enough for now, if you have anymore questions... just drop me a note and I will be glad to answer them :)


I ride a Pinarello FP3 women's specific full carbon with Ultegra and I love that little pink b*tch *lol*

I am an avid cyclist who is also the co-owner and buyer for Low Country Multisport a performance specific F.I.S.T. certified fit studio and repair shop in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina. And, I just happen to be married to a retired Marine who is completely addicted to the iron distance. "lord help my wallet!!"
Last edited by: lilbluebirds: Sep 15, 11 20:52
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Re: Women's Road Bike [lilbluebirds] [ In reply to ]
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For me a women's geometry bike (Cannondale in my case) fits great and never any issues on long rides...also totally agre-upgrade the goupo depending---I got mine from under 1500 --years ago---and rather than take the discount as was on sale I upgrade to Ultegra components...still ahead of the game moneywise...
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Re: Women's Road Bike [triLA] [ In reply to ]
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When it comes to road bikes-the fit is everything.
There are several good women's specific model bike however that doesn't mean that is best for you.
For around 1500-depending on how long you plan on riding puts you in a difficult situation.
For 2000-2200, if you find a bike that works perfectly for you-carbon fiber composite bicycles with a good groupo is possible.

Don't forget to factor in the price of road shoes and pedals into your overall cost.
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Re: Women's Road Bike [kinzzer] [ In reply to ]
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Hmmm, I don't know which exact bike I would recommend. I will say that I was able to get a used carbon bike for around your price range, by buying from a reputable person (wife of the owner of the bike shop) who had only ridden it 300 miles. Several hundred dollars off, for practically brand-new.

I would also suggest, unless you are really competitive, go for a bike that has great long-distance riding comfort (over one that is more "aero" or for racing). Mine is a Specialized Ruby and it is absurdly comfortable even for a 100-mile ride. This has served me well over the long term, because nowadays I am more into doing long rides than I am into triathlon per se.

But if $1500 is your ideal budget, you might consider setting your max for the actual bike to $1000 or $1200, because the bike accessories are going to add a lot of cost!

1. Pedals
2. Shoes
3. Other modifications (alternate handlebars, for instance)
4. Bike fit
5. Possible gruppo update
6. Extra labor (to install your modifications)
7. A saddle you actually like
8. Bike shorts
9. Lighting (front, back) and reflective stuff (neon vest or jacket; neon ankle holders; etc.). Do not skimp on quality lighting; it keeps you safe.
10. Helmet you actually like. (And old helmets are probably too degraded to be safe.)
11. Padded bike gloves
12. Warm stuff for winter riding - neoprene toewarmers or booties; overgloves; neckwarmer; beanie
13. Bike locks
14. Under-seat bag, plus maybe a Bento Box in front
15. Bottle cages
16. Bike computer (the $15 wired ones from Planet Bike are cheap and foolproof)
17. Extra handlebar tape/gel
18. Cleat covers
19. Annual tune-ups
20. Multitool
22. Degreaser; lube for your chain; lube (usually a different kind) for the other moving parts
23. Tire-changing accessories (frame pump or c02, patch kit, spare tubes, tire irons)
24. A bike maintenance book
25. Standing tire pump for home
26. If you start going on longer or more remote rides, you may want some additional tools such as spare cables, a kevlar spoke, pedal wrench, etc.
27. If you end up getting serious about triathlon but can't afford a tri bike, you can buy clip-on aerobars for the road bike. Works great for me.
28. Road ID
29. Local bike maps

Dizzying, isn't it? Here are some ways to save on the accessories:
1. Buy used at a local bike flea market/festival, a local bike shop that carries used stuff, or on Ebay.
2. Don't buy bike-specific jerseys with pockets - they're PRICY. If you need more storage space, buy the biggest possible under-seat bag, plus a vest or jacket with very roomy side pockets, plus some bungee-type cord to attach a piece of clothing to the back of your under-seat bag. Alternately, buy ONE durable wool jersey with pockets (you can wear wool for 4-5 rides before washing, because it doesn't accumulate stink).
3. Padded full-length bike tights are also pricy. Just buy a couple of short padded bike shorts, and in winter, wear some regular tights over them.
4. Armwarmers & legwarmers are unnecessary. Just carry a longsleeve shirt or jacket to pull over your shortsleeve setup.
5. Take free local classes to learn how to do your own tune-ups and the easier mechanical fixes.
6. Don't buy books about local bike routes. Just follow the advice of local recreational riding clubs (ride with them a few times; consult the routes section of their website).
7. Don't just buy the cheapest of everything. Buy things with good reviews for durability. I am on at least my third floor pump, and finally I have one that's great. I would have saved a lot of money by just shelling out for this model right when I started. There are other things I've had to replace because I cheapskated too much at the first purchase: Multitool (first one was missing several key items); cheap bike shorts; crappy gloves; crappy frame pump; too-small underseat bag; and many lights that were not bright or durable enough. RESEARCH.

Hope that helps!
- Oleander
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