How pick the right women’s bike for you.

The winter fat beneath your clothes is stacking up. It’s about time to start moving to get into that pricey evening dress you enthusiastically (maybe you were just a little bit too impulsive) bought last month to wear at new year’s eve. A girl can’t ever be prepared enough, right?

Cycling is the solution to get fit. You know a few women who ride a bike and the proved is there. It looks like fun too. For weeks you’ve been picturing yourself on a beautiful race bike, spinning around in the sun. Finally the day has come that you saved up enough money to buy your new best friend (read ass-saver). It’s Friday, the weather forecast for the weekend looks splendid. Tomorrow is shopping day, Sunday the start of a slim me. Exciting!!!

Sounds like a fairy tale to you? Wake up! Fairy tales sadly don’t exist. Your new bike will certainly mean the start of a whole new adventure. But picking the right one for you isn’t that simple and doesn’t go that fast. There are a few points to take in consideration. You’ve got some thinking to do.

Before you go to the bicycle shop think about how much money you are willing to spend. Do you already have cycling gear or does this also has to fit into the budget? How many times weekly/monthly are you planning to ride? What will you be using your bike for?

Try to bring somebody experienced with you when going to the shop. This way you can’t get fooled and you feel more confidence while trying out and looking at all the different bike models. This guideline might also help (also see ‘following guidelines: how-to-buy-a-womens-ridley-bike-chart) :

  1. Check out the website (https://www.ridley-bikes.com/be/nl/support/find-a-dealer ) to find out where you can find the nearest Ridley dealer.
  1. In a bike shop it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. To give you a bit more of an overview there’s made a distinction between 3 types of bikes. The ‘aero’ bike with a focus on aerodynamics, ‘stiffness to weight’ which is a bike with the advantage of being very light and the endurance bicycle which combines performance with comfort.

Ridley suggests following models for the type of riding you prefer:

  • Ridley Jane (aero) for sprinting, fast riding, flat courses. This Bike is made to be an ‘aero road bike’. Minimizing the rider’s effort of cutting through the wind. With a stiffness that makes the bike extremely responsive to the pedalling input.
  • Ridley Aura (stiffness to weight) for climbing and racing. The Aura range is a non-compromising solution for the female rider who demands the lightest weight from her bicycle to float over the highest mountain passes. And yet still wants the bike to stay stiff and resilient under her feet to take all the stomping you have to offer.
  • Ridley Liz (endurance) for commuting, comfortable endurance riding, all-round racing. This is a response race ready bike with a bit more shock absorption. Conquering the cobbles, taming chopped up farm roads and bashing across dirt fields will be fun. The proof is in the results of the Lotto Soudal Ladies who stepped up to the podium in many classics riding the Liz SL.

Check out the whole Ridley women’s range on the website: https://www.ridley-bikes.com/be/en/bikes/road/womens

Here you can also find out more about the exciting(!!!) available colours and all other technical info. Unique to Ridley is that it’s possible to customize frames. Definitely worth to check out! BUT Don’t let your eyes make your choice. It’s not that a bike has a beautiful colour, that it’s the right one for you.

  1. Aluminium or carbon? Say what? Yeah, this might not sound too interesting but it’s important to know about. Let’s put it as simple as possible in an overview.
  Aluminium Carbon
Lightness -* +
Comfort +
Strength +
Repair +
Price +
* Thin wall aluminium is a new innovation which could weigh even less than carbon.  Be aware of the fact that there is a difference in aluminium.

Will a carbon fibre bike make a difference for you? That’s the big question. It’s not a question of whether aluminium or carbon bikes are better, it’s a question of which is better for you? Because it’s you that will be riding it.

There’s little doubt that everyone wants a carbon bike regardless of whether or not there is any significant difference. However is there any real benefit to you in actually buying one?

There may well be if you’re a committed racer requiring the absolute lightest bike and can push it to its limits. But it is unlikely that the tiny amount of weight saved by buying carbon will make much difference to you on your weekly group ride.

Comfort is another matter. A carbon bike might be more comfortable for you. However don’t buy the bike purely because it’s carbon. Buy the bike because you can afford it and because you’ve already ridden it and have found it to be the most comfortable road bike for you.

That’s the bottom line. Your comfort on the bike is the most important consideration. And cost. Buy a bike because it’s comfortable, and you can afford it. Don’t buy a bike because it’s the latest, greatest, best looking carbon bike on the planet. You might be disappointed.

  1. Bike components are another not so interesting choice you will have to make. Look at it like this:
  • 1000-2000 €: aluminium frame + better components/ carbon frame + basic components
  • >2000 €: carbon frame + better components

Find more info about the components of each bike model on the website: www.ridley-bikes.com

  1. Every bike model has different sizes compatible with your height. The shop owner will help you with that. Normally this sizing chart is used for the Ridley women’s bikes:womens-sizing-chartBecause women have narrower shoulders then men, the Ridley women’s range offers bikes with handlebars size 36 – 38. The smaller your shoulders and frame, the narrower your handlebars should be.
  2. Try out a few models (adjust the seat height to your body) if that’s possible to
    compare reach. Reach is the distance between the seat and the handlebars and should be chosen based on your height and the length of your arms. Look for a reach distance that allows you to sit comfortably on the bike and reach the handlebars without slouching or stretching. Your elbows will be slightly bent when the reach measurement fits just right. Stick with the bike that feels most comfortable for you.
  3. Test the gears and brakes. A common complaint from women cyclists is that the gears are too large for their hands. Sit on the seat of the bike, and make sure you can comfortably activate the brakes and engage all gears without excess strain.

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  1. Ask for a women’s seat!!! They are wider than the men’s saddles and therefor much more comfortable (because our pelvis is wider). If you have the chance, try a few different models to find the best fitting. This is super important, certainly on longer rides you want to stay pain free. So really take your time to make your choice.
    Each bike of the Ridley woman’s range comes with a woman’s saddle.

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If you could finally make your choice, be aware that the chance that the shop owner has to order your bike in the correct size, is pretty big. It could take some time. If he has it in stock, lucky you!

Have your new addition in your hands? A good the bike seller adjusts the seat height to your body. The seat should be placed so your knee is slightly bent when the pedal is at the lowest point. This should get you started. To be sure that your bike has the correct fitting, make an appointment with a professional bike fitter. This will cost some additional money but it’s worth it. A proper bike fit will avoid pains, injuries and makes you ride in the most efficient way. And even then sometimes it takes some more adjustments to find the best position. Becoming stronger and more flexible means that some body angles change a bit during the season.

Enjoy your new (Ridley) ride!!

Photo by Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew
Photo by Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew

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