(El Reno, OK)
I work in a bike shop, and I'm always amazed at what women shop for in a bike, versus men. Most women don't worry about a small bike looking too girly or sissy. Just like the 90/10 demographics of men/women riders, it seems like 90% of women ride low-cc bikes.
It seems that there is an assumption that, as a woman, we can't handle a heavy bike. I have men tell me every day what they are looking for in a bike for their wife or girlfriend-something smaller than what they ride. I have learned to always ask what a guy is riding before I suggest anything for his wife.
How often do we see a guy on an ultra classic, and his wife is on a sporty? ouch! I sometimes wonder if it's an ill-disguised effort to keep the little woman submissive. Are men's egos so fragile?
What I tell everyone, men and women alike, is that you need to buy a bike for the type riding you do. If you just want to buzz around town, a small, lightweight bike is great. If you intend to ride long distances, travel, vacation, sight-see, etc. then you need a touring bike.
The things to look at are leg length/seat height, riding style (town/touring), center of gravity (shorter people appreciate a bike with a low center of gravity) and price range.