Spanish Inquisition, part II

That's me, that is

Well, all credit to Trek, they responded to my email very promptly:

It’s good to see you’re looking at our EX range, they really are a fantastic bike.

You are correct, the EX8 & EX8 WSD have the same geometry.  The WSD isn’t just about the geometry. it also considers things like the brakes, grips and saddles (all of which are more suitable for a women on the EX8). As for the geometry, I would always strongly recommend going into a store and getting properly sized for the bike you want.  

I hope you get the bike you’re looking for.”

So there you have it.  The Trek Fuel WSD is exactly the same as the regular one, but with smaller rotors, slimmer grips and a women’s saddle.  Which, as I’ve ranted on the Bike Radar forum, is a bit cheeky given that the marketing blurb says:

“WSD Bikes are engineered specifically for women. Each bike puts you in a more natural riding position by redistributing weight more evenly between hips and hands. That means more comfort, better control and optimal power.”

Well, maybe I just misunderstood them.  Maybe I though that ‘redistributing weight more evenly between hips and hands’ was a bit of a tall order for the grips, saddle and rotors.  Maybe I somehow confused this with claims of differing geometry, possibly because my head is full of kittens and unicorns.

Or maybe  it’s because of stuff like this:

WSD Fit: A Geometry Lesson

A look at how Trek designs WSD bikes to optimally fit women.

  1. WSD STEERING PACKAGE
    A WSD steering package with Bontrager FIT components provides improved control and confidence-inspiring handling for safer rides.
  2. SHORTER TOP TUBE
    A shorter top tube evenly redistributes weight between hips and hands to eliminate lower back pain and reduce neck and shoulder stress.
  3. SEAT TUBE ANGLE
    A steeper seat tube balances weight over pedals to maximize efficiency and create exceptionally powerful pedal strokes.

It’s a shame, because their lower end WSD bikes do have differing geometry from their male counterparts.  Even the Fuel 5.5 has different geometry between the regular and WSD versions.  But their higher end full-sussers?  Forget about it.

I’m still going to try one out, as there’s nothing to say that I wouldn’t get on with the bloke’s geometry, assuming I can fit on the  smallest frame.  But it’s a shame that the illusion of choice put forward by the marketing department doesn’t quite match the reality.

1 thought on “Spanish Inquisition, part II

  1. Hello!

    I’m glad I came across this post. I’d like to address your concerns about the geometry differences/similarity between the WSD and standard Fuel EX bikes, and point out some additional information:

    Your post does not mention the fact that in the WSD EX line (and the Top Fuel line), there are 2 sizes that are not included in the standard size run. These sizes will fit women who are seeking a shorter top tube length. For example, if a woman typically rides a 17.5″ standard geometry frame, but feels stretched out on that bike even with a short stem, then riding the 16.5″ WSD bike will decrease the reach and put her in a more anatomical postion, while keeping her in the range of sizes that she needs. On the standard frame side, the only option would be to go from a 17.5″ frame, down to a 15.5″ frame. So, there really is no ‘illusion of choice’, as you say, since women will be able to choose from two frame sizes in order to find the desired reach, before needing to do additional dialing in such as swapping stems.

    The ride of a WSD bike feels very different to that of a standard bike, despite the effective top tube length being the same. When I am setting women up at demos, I let them know that the fit is going to feel very unlike what they are used to riding. If you were to ride a 15.5″ standard frame, and then a WSD frame of the same size, you would notice the difference in fit between the two bikes. Hence, we are not simply mimicking the fit of a standard frame, and simply calling it a WSD bike.

    Hopefully, you will get to ride one of the WSD EX8s yourself, and you will then notice the fit difference. Even moreso, I hope that you will be able to tell the overwhelming good ride quality that the EX line brings to the trail.

    You can find the UK demo schedule by visiting http://www.demodaze.co.uk.

    Please feel free to contact a member of the US WSD demo staff by choosing the “Contact Us” button on the http://www.fitforwomentour.com page. We’d be happy to answer any additional questions, or to provide more information.

    Regards,

    Chris Garrison
    Trek WSD
    Fit For Women Demo Tour

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