Bicycle Network: Women's Cycling
Bike Review - Sub Sublime
We test ride the Sublime.2 commuter bike
Women are made differently to blokes and the bicycle industry has begun to take notice. Fiona Negrin explores Women Specific bicycles and takes a Sublime out for a ride
Women are more likely to be shorter than men, with smaller hands, wider sit bones and narrower shoulders. This can lead to problems finding a bike that fits. Common complaints are that the top tube is too high or too long, the saddle is too narrow, handgrips too bulky and the bicycle too heavy. Poor fit can lead to sore hands, stiff neck and shoulders, pressure on the pubic area and naturally, a diminished riding experience and loss of confidence.
In recent years a market niche has grown for women specific models (WSM). These offer modifications for women’s fit such as a smaller frame, shorter top tube, wider saddle, narrower handlebars and compact gear and brake levers. Buyers ought to beware merely cosmetic WSM, where the specs and geometry are identical to the man’s model save ‘feminine’ styling and a wide saddle. When testing a WSM, check that you can step easily over the top tube, don’t have to struggle to reach the handlebars or pedals, and can balance comfortably while riding. Take the bike for a 20 minute test ride and pay particular attention to your bum, neck and hands; none of these should be under pressure. Try a few different models, seek advice from a reputable bike dealer and if necessary, pay for a professional fit.
The Sublime.2 is a commuter bike designed specifically for women by Olympic racer Sarah Ulmer with input from Avanti. It’s equally suited to a Sunday cruise, a daily commute or a long tour.
There’s a slight drop in the top tube, making it easy to swing your leg over. The handlebars are regular flat bars with a contoured grip pad that offers hand and wrist support. The saddle has a slight indent for the perineum and a wide, cushy seat; after initial acclimatisation, the seat felt so comfortable I didn’t even notice it. The bike has clipless pedals; I put a plastic insert on one side of both pedals making them suitable for regular shoes. The riding position is comfortable and gives a good vantage point in traffic. The bike is nimble, with skinny tyres and a light alloy frame allowing it to manoeuvre easily and respond quickly. My only criticism is that there is some toe-wheel overlap when turning tight corners. Also, let it be said a big woman’s symbol painted in hot pink across the top and down tubes is a little over-the-top even for me. These gripes aside, the Sublime.2 is a classy bike that’s comfortable and enjoyable to ride. I’d suggest that if you’re a woman of shorter than average height and get no love from your man’s bike, it’s worth taking a WSM for a spin.
This article first appeared in Ride On December 2007 – January 2008 issue