Boardman female-specific bikes get 2012 facelift

Still only a hint of pink to try and keep the opposing camps happy

by nick_rearden   August 23, 2011  

The outward appearance won't change very much from the white-with-a-hint-of-pink that's sold well for them, it seems - our most recent reviewer of the Hybrid Comp Fi certainly liked it - but the Boardman women's models will be getting a 2012 revamp this month, particularly on the top carbon model to bring it into line with the recent improvements to the frames in the men's line.

What Boardman calls its 'Female informed' - Fi - models include the carbon-fibre framed road bike at £1,299.99 and then aluminium frames on another road bike at £799.99, a hard-tail mountain machine at £649.99 and a street hybrid for £599.99.


Boardman Road Fi £799.99

According to Director of R&D Chris Boardman, "The all-new 2012 Fi range builds upon the successful and ever-popular initial offering and includes input from our world-class female athletes, combined with my own cycling heritage to deliver a series of bikes specifically designed for women who enjoy cycling at every level."

The top Boardman racer, the Team Carbon Fi features all the upgrades recently made to the standard unisex Team Carbon for the same price including higher-grade carbon fibre to improve the strength-to-weight ratio of the frame, a BB30 bottom bracket and tapered headtube and steerer for improved control and responsiveness. There are also fully concealed cables. For the £1,299.99, you also get Shimano 105 2x10-speed gears and brakes as well as an FSA Gossamer Pro 50/34 chainset and Mavic Aksium wheels.


Boardman Hybrid Comp Fi £599.99

 

What's so special about women's fit on the latest women's bikes?

In case you're wondering what's so female-specific about these bikes apart from pink in the colour scheme, it's to do with how the designer shapes the frame and chooses ancillaries like handlebars and saddles to suit female body sizes and shapes. The big issue is that women are usually just smaller and most 'men's' bikes only have one shortest-but-not-quite-short-enough size upon which the great majority of average-height women have to be forced, whether they fit very well or not.

It's one of the reasons why a 5'4" (1.63m) woman almost invariably looks uncomfortable on a 'racing' style bike and the situation isn't helped by the same average-height woman having longer legs and a shorter torso than the man of equivalent height.

The good news is that as more women have taken up cycling lately - and complained with justification - the makers including Boardman have responded with ranges that include a better selection of smaller sizes for a start and then usually shorter top tubes for each size to correspond to the assumed shorter torso. 'Assumed' because, of course, it doesn't necessarily follow that you conform to the standard but at least the better bike shops and even Halfords these days have staff with the experience to sit you on a bike and check out the vital criteria. If in doubt, just remember it's just like trying on clothes and you can follow your instincts and preferences for what feels just right.

Of course, for women there are also a fair number of pastel colour schemes which will either have you cooing or gnashing your teeth. Boardman on its Fi range has gone down the fairly uncontentious route with lighter schemes than those found on the equivalent men's options but with just the slightest touch of pink that our Leonie didn't find too objectionable at all when she reviewed last year's Boardman Hybrid Comp Fi.

Mr Boardman's designers have played it very safe indeed on the top carbon model by making the high-performance Team Carbon Fi almost as bang-on-trend stealthy as its male stablemate. The important thing, though, is that it comes in sizes Small, Medium and Large or 46, 50 and 52.5cm if you prefer your sizing continental.

Details: www.halfords.com/boardmanbikes.


Boardman Mountain Comp Fi £649.99
 

8 user comments

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"Female informed" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Born on tour." But then I haven't heard the former phrase repeated on TV about ten billion times.

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
23rd August 2011 - 7:52

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handlebarcam wrote:
"Female informed" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Born on tour." But then I haven't heard the former phrase repeated on TV about ten billion times.

Try saying "female informed" in a gravelly movie trailer voice and see if it helps. Wink

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posted by TLP GIMP RIDER [7 posts]
23rd August 2011 - 8:39

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Yet another bike manufacturer who seems to think that female equals pink. At least they haven't gone for pastel and added some flowers which is something. Use your imaginations bike designers and let us chicks have some NON pink bikes for a change.

posted by Skipinder [7 posts]
23rd August 2011 - 9:04

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The Garmin Cervélo womens team seem to do okay without riding bikes with "female specific" geometry, in fact Gerard Vroomen has said that the "women have longer legs than men of the equivalent height" isn't true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNxikH1u9lM

All the gear and no idea!

posted by JonMack [171 posts]
23rd August 2011 - 9:27

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JonMack wrote:
The Garmin Cervélo womens team seem to do okay without riding bikes with "female specific" geometry, in fact Gerard Vroomen has said that the "women have longer legs than men of the equivalent height" isn't true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNxikH1u9lM

I have a lot of time for Gerard Vroomen but any bike shop will tell him that *most* women have an 'inside-leg' two inches longer than men of equivalent height. Meanwhile, I'm 6'1" with a 32" inseam while my missus is 5'4" with a 31" inseam. Go figure. Can't count how many women I've fitted on bikes (and in pre-Women's Specific Fit days as well) but then Gerard is hardly in the 'fitting normal people on bikes' business. When you've got the World Champion riding your bike, you don't mind lavishing a lot of time and attention on the perfect fit. That's not a luxury most women get in the real world therefore 'women's specific fit' helps a lot of retailers and customers get it right better and quicker.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
23rd August 2011 - 9:34

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"the better bike shops and even Halfords" lol

posted by horizontal dropout [148 posts]
23rd August 2011 - 11:26

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Put the kettle on, luv...

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [412 posts]
24th August 2011 - 9:01

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Why pink? Why flowers? Why f*cking pastels? Not just on this bike but on all 'female specific' bike kit? (well, not all but I am overemphasising for dramatic effect). I want bold colours. Bright reds, blues, greens, or perhaps a cool silver or black. I left the pastels behind with my stabilisers!

posted by Myriadgreen [89 posts]
24th August 2011 - 19:32

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