A large portion of my business comes from female/petite cyclists. Not because I am “Macho”, but because I understand the differences/and misconceptions between Male and Female anatomy. More importantly, I recognize that most women’s product is designed and manufactured by men, thinking within the context of being a man.
I remember one of my first phone-calls to Speedplay, about making shorter spindles for petite cyclists:
“Hi. My name is Chris Balser, and I am a bike fitter located in Minneapolis, MN, looking for a pedal solution for petite cyclists.”
“Petite Cyclist!” “Have you ever seen the pedal to pedal distance (q-factor) for a person that weighs under 100 lbs?” “It looks like they are riding a horse!” “This position impacts the force trajectory from femur-head to foot, robbing power and creating tension at hip/knee/ankle joints.” “Why don’t you guys make a shorter spindle-option?”
“Because, if we did, your shoe would hit the crank-arm.”
If I have to explain why his response makes no sense, stop reading — this post is for women.
For the rest of you, I recently came across a sweet website — www.petitebikefit.com — that I strongly recommend reviewing for smaller cyclists.
Yes, the industry is slowly moving towards addressing the needs of smaller/thinner/petite cyclists, but quality 36cm handlebars, narrow cranks, short spindle pedals, shifter mods, and < 51 cm top-tubes are difficult to find. The petitebikefit website provides some great information regarding things to look for, product availability, and comparative specifications.