When Felt launched its now-heralded line of women’s bicycles three years ago, it was for one simple reason: Traditional bicycle fit and women’s needs didn't match. Now Felt is pleased to present its expanded category of ZW bikes designed exclusively for women.
The goal of the ZW line is to honestly address the unique needs of women cyclists with a line of bikes that considers every anatomical issue. While some manufacturers make minor adjustments such as switching a saddle and changing the color, Felt starts from scratch.
The ZW frame is based on the popular Z-series bikes. Thanks to a longer wheelbase, the ZW enjoys the same assured handling of the Z. It also offers more handlebar positioning choices, a sloping top tube for superior stand-over clearance, and improved vertical compliance due to a more exposed seatpost.
With the main design criteria in place, Felt reverse-engineered the geometry by zeroing in on the desired fit. Because a woman’s body has distinctly different proportions than a man’s, simply making a smaller frame doesn’t cut it. Felt engineers pored over the measurements. We spoke in depth with our pro women athletes. The result is four precise women-specific sizes to fit any body type.
The ZW bikes are built with the same materials as Z-series bikes, but the lay-up is customized for women. The top-of-the-line ZW model uses Felt’s unparalleled Ultra-High Modulus Carbon Fiber, carefully optimized for women’s needs. And the entire ZW line uses smaller diameter tubes and thinner tube walls, as well as shorter tube intersections.
As with everything Felt, the ZW line is focused on performance. Felt triathlete and 2008 Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist Emma Snowsill—all 5-foot-3-inches of her—is living proof of what’s possible when riding a high-performance, perfectly sized bike. In winning the ITU World Championship three times, Snowsill has put the ZW through its paces. No matter what the course dishes out, she has a bike optimized for her fit. It’s stiff enough for maximum performance, light enough to keep her flying over hills and designed with just enough vertical compliance for her size. World Champion track racer Sarah Hammer also races the ZW whenever she takes to the road.
Beyond the frame, other ZW women-specific parts and components includes slightly shorter cranks and carefully selected compact gearing; shorter stems and a narrower, shallower handlebar; brake levers with adjustable reach for smaller hands; a comfortable women-specific seat, and more.
So what does it all mean? It means that finally there is a bike you can call your own. A bike that’s comfortable, invigorating, motivational and thoroughly enjoyable.