Have bikes sizes started to slide downwards?

OP
Arrowfoot

Arrowfoot

Guru
It’s a few years since I looked at Giant women’s bikes but I was disappointed at the range of choice - components etc - compared to the mens.
Giant has a specific range for women under the Brand "Liv" started by their current Chairperson Bonnie Tu and sponsor a women's team as well. Same stores handle both brands.
 

T4tomo

Guru
Possibly but seeing as in current times I’d need to order without sitting on one I’m not taking the risk. Plus women generally have a shorter reach than a man of the same size so if I’m already and inch too small for the bike the reach could be too much of a stretch. I recently bought a Liv Avail xs even though I already had a Liv Avail S (I’m on the cusp between the sizes, I think on paper both should fit me) and it was worth the £1500.
You sound to be in a similar situation to my other half, but right to go for the size lower. you might find this tip helps too...
https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/good-bike-fit-tip-for-reach-issues.274848/
when she bought her's there wasn't much in the way of sizing advice from the shop, more yes that's your size lets get the C2W voucher processed!
In truth the XS would have been a better fit than the (women specific Emonda sized) S (assuming they did one back then, it was pre "me" so i don't know). At 5'4" she's not exactly small for a lady.

I picked her up a second hand CX bike, which fits better, it was an ex youths Dolan CX frame.

As pointed out above by Julia9054, the below average height women's market does seem to be harshly treated by the industry. On Ribble size guide virtual seat tube length (which used to be a common standard/ size reference) isn't stated on some frames and even on the XXS virtual top tube length is quite long 50/51cm. May women tend to have proportionally longer legs and hence sort bodies for a given height, yet standard frame dimensions seem to over reach them, even in smaller sizes.

You shouldn't really have to be delving around in the kids and youth's bike market to find suitable frames.
 

Julia9054

Guru
Location
Knaresborough
Giant has a specific range for women under the Brand "Liv" started by their current Chairperson Bonnie Tu and sponsor a women's team as well. Same stores handle both brands.
I was unimpressed with the choice in the Liv brand when I looked 5 years ago for a gravel bike. There was one option with the lowest grade components whereas the men’s Giant range had about 5 different options. I had money to spend and didn’t want an entry level bike.
@vickster says it’s better now.
 
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