Well, all credit to Trek, they responded to my email very promptly:
“Its good to see youre looking at our EX range, they really are a fantastic bike.
You are correct, the EX8 & EX8 WSD have the same geometry. The WSD isnt 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 youre 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.
- WSD STEERING PACKAGE
A WSD steering package with Bontrager FIT components provides improved control and confidence-inspiring handling for safer rides.
- 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.
- 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.