How should we approach women’s custom cycle clothing? As the rate of growth in mens Road Cycling slows, there appears to be growing interest in the rapidly emerging women’s ‘sector’. We use the inverted commas because, for us, cycling has always included women.
Now, let’s be clear – we know that women generally need a specific jersey due to the obvious physical differences in the torso. Non-racing women have also tended to express more concern about tanning lines than men in our experience. We offer slightly shorter shorts with special laser cut suspenders and a vest-style top for these reasons, but beyond these ‘leisure’ preferences, things may not be quite so clear cut (excuse the pun). What may be categorised as women’s custom cycle clothing may not be the most suitable option.
In Italy, which must surely qualify as a more mature cycling nation, womens’ racing has its own slot on the weekly Radiocorsa weekly magazine programme. Watching this offers an interesting insight into the racing world. What’s noticeable is that almost all the teams seem to be riding standard ‘mens’ bikes. We say ‘mens’ but they are not sold as man specific; it just so happens that the majority of users are men and so men tend to be the ones featured in the brochures and ads.
In pro racing, there obviously is no such thing as standard. All bikes have been customised for individual physiques. However, what is relevant here is that in a large number of cases, the style of riding is of far more significance than the gender. Sure, an ‘average’ woman, may be different to an ‘average’ man, but there is a massive amount of overlap within the two. So, a womens racing bibshort is generally closer in construction to a mens racing bibshort than a womens recreational short.
our experiences with women’s custom cycle clothing
Working with our women’s team, Bonito Squadra Corse in 2015, we initially offered a women-specific short. Feedback revealed that these were felt to be too short for racing and after alternatives were tested, we settled on the 05118 bibshort which, like all our bibshorts, is available with either man or woman pad. Main reason? Women carry a touch more fat on their thighs than men and the integrated silicone grip on the raw lycra edging avoids the pinch associated with conventional elastic leaving a smoother profile. Although this was a ‘mens’ short, we swapped the pad for a womens version and season-long feedback has been excellent.
This is just one example of why the new ‘enlightened’ world of making a womans version of everything may not necessarily be the best option. What we can say with absolute confidence is that we pretty much have a product to suit every kind of female rider. The best way to start is contact us and tell us all about your group and their riding so that we can make some suitable recommendations and provide samples.