It’s dangerous territory unless you’ve got time on your hands. And a head for large amounts of conflicting data from different brands keen to support their approach with numbers.
Canyon, however, have done it the right way round. They’re seeking out the data, and using it to work on designing what they believe will be the best bike for women on the market. The bike isn’t finished yet, you can’t buy it – but it is coming.
Women’s Brand and Product manager Katrin Neumann was charged with creating women’s bikes and product – if it was needed. The research showed women on average had similar leg lengths to their male equivalents in height, but their arms were shorter – often in the region of 2 centimetres. That 2cm makes a huge difference when you consider the jump from a 100mm to 120mm stem would transform a bike for any rider – male or female, for better or for worse.
Armed with her data, Neumann set about charging engineers with the task of building the perfect bike – but that doesn’t happen overnight – she expected delivery to take around two years. In the mean time, in 2015 Canyon started offering their unisex frames tweaked to fit women: shorter stems, smaller handlebars, women’s saddles, shorter cranks and lower gearing.
The ex-pro nods when I ask if women need lower gearing – she’s a mountain biker at heart, but on the road would ride with an 11-32 in hilly terrain. She admits that the women’s specific contact points, for her, aren’t enough to make a bike truly optimum for most women – but offering a compromise to fill the gap is something she’s willing do to ensure the finished product is as good as it can possibly be.
She talked to us at the Rapha Cycle Café about what’s just around the corner…