The Ride — women


Bicycles For Women at Suburbanbikes

I was reading an article over at The Atlantic Cities that discussed the gender gap in bicycle riding this morning. The topic is something I've reflected on quite a bit, particularly given the fact that in bicycling the gender gap is much smaller than it is currently in motorcycling. Five or so years ago, our moto business at Motostrano probably counted 20 or 30% women in our customer base. In the last 2 years, I've noticed that the percentage of women customers has dropped basically to near zero, both for accessories and clothing. Women are just not riding motorcycles any longer it seems. 

But over in our bicycle department women seem to increasingly be looking at bicycles as a smart and healthy way to get around and to stay fit. I think it's wonderful and we greet the women coming to our store for a new bike, or bike service warmly. Women want to stay fit, they want to exercise and they want to get out of their cars and live. Cars are nice and comfy and safe, but they often leave us stuck in traffic, or caught hunting for parking, adding to stress levels and reducing our overall health. 

Because Suburbanbikes started life primarily as a lifestyle company, not performance, we have a strong leaning towards comfort bikes and the Felt range appeals to women looking for a high quality bike for either commuting or leisure riding. But Felt is also super strong in the women's performance category and we see women looking for entry to mid-level road bikes, as well as entry to mid-level Triathlon bikes. Felt has poured on the R&D in their women's line and it shows by proper ergonomics and features that appeal to women. 

Felt's ZW Bicycles for Women


The goal of Felt’s ZW Series is to honestly address the unique needs of women cyclists from both an engineering standpoint and an athlete’s perspective. Many manufacturers introduce women’s bikes by simply switching some parts, such as saddles and handlebars, and changing the frame graphics to set them apart from men’s models. But Felt started the entire design and engineering process from scratch.

Redesigned for 2013, the ZW is faster than ever before. Engineers meticulously analyzed the frame looking for ways to improve performance and ride quality. The result is a frame that is 25% stiffer and 50g lighter than the previous generation ZW all without compromising its distinct ride characteristics.

The ZW takes many of its design cues from the Z Series. Both feature a longer wheelbase for an extremely confident, assured ride quality. Both offer more handlebar positioning choices, a sloping top tube for superior stand-over clearance and improved vertical compliance that results from a more exposed seatpost.

Those design features contribute to the ZW’s overall ride quality, but to really optimize the bike for women, and to address every anatomical detail, every angle and dimension of the frame was scrutinized. Because a woman’s body has distinctly different proportions than a man’s, simply making a smaller frame is not an effective solution. Essentially, Felt reverse-engineered the geometry to achieve the desired fit.

Constructed from the same materials as the Z Series bikes, the ZW lay-up is customized to improve performance for women. The top-of-the-line ZW model uses Felt’s unparalleled UHC Ultimate+Nano carbon fiber, and in all ZW bikes the materials are carefully optimized for women’s needs. For example, they all feature smaller diameter tubes, thinner tube walls and shorter tube intersections.

As with everything that Felt designs, the ZW is focused on performance. The ZW has been ridden to a Olympic Gold medal by Emma Snowsill and the Felt Pro women’s team Exergy TWENTY12 have ridden the ZW to multiple victories  in some of the most prestigious races
in the world. The ZW is stiff enough for unmatched efficiency, light enough to keep the pros flying over hills, and designed with size-appropriate vertical compliance.

So what does it all mean? It means that finally there is a bike you can call your own.

  • joe witherspoon
  • Tags: felt women