Being a female cyclist is hard enough sometimes (except all of those times it’s awesome). But for short female cyclists, there are even more complications.
The cycling world caters little for women full stop, and when it does, it tends to focus on the ‘average’. We’ve had the conversation with brands many a time, and their response is usually that women make up around 5 to 15 per cent of their sales, so: ‘if you’re going to cater for a niche (women), you have to cater for the largest group within that niche (average women)’.
We get it, we really do. We’ll just take our money elsewhere and head over to the brands who DO make an effort to cater for women of all shapes and sizes. FYI, their male to female sales split is probably more equal.
In the mean time, here are some of the struggles smaller riders face on a ride-to-ride basis…
Riding 650c wheels on the road, tyres and tubes are like gold dust
You’re a slight, petite, and probably quite light rider – so why should you pay the weight penalty of wheels designed for much larger cyclists? Bike builders tell us that smaller riders are generally better off riding road bikes with 650c wheels – less rotating mass plus shorter wheelbase means they accelerate much faster and adjusted geometry eliminates toe overlap.
So you find a brand that makes proper road bikes (for adults – none of this buying a kids bike with low spec stuff) with 650c wheels. Great. Except when you get a puncture and can’t just walk into a bike shop and buy a tube like everyone else. And your choice of tyres? lol.