Do you need to specially buy a women’s mountain bike? NO! You do not need to buy a dedicated woman’s mountain bike if you are female. Seriously. It’s a myth that men and women need gender-separated bicycles. I have been riding my husband’s Turbo Levo 29 for over a year now and to be honest, I don’t think there is much difference. I have always preferred to ride the male models!
There is no anatomical reason why men and women should ride different types of mountain bikes. The only real difference when it comes to men and women choosing a mountain bike is that, on average, women do tend to weigh less and be shorter than men, and have some obvious anatomical differences in the seating department. Some truths about bikes are universal regardless of whether you are male or female. What you need is a bike that fits your body properly, feels comfortable to use, and is fit for purpose.
Men Vs Women Mountain Bikes- The Main Differences
So just what are the main differences between men and women-specific mountain bikes? Not very much as far as abilities, features, and usability are concerned.
1. Difference Of Comfort
The differences are mainly comfort-orientated. Some women’s mountain bikes are built with shorter distances between the top of the frame and the seat of the bike based on the short torso/longer leg generalization.
2. The Frame Is Lighter
Ladies’ mountain bikes also sometimes have thinner tubes and thus lighter frames. In some cases, the difference in weight is completely negligible, but it may still be something worth looking at.
Are you curious about the differences between men’s and women’s bikes? Check out our article on women vs men’s bikes to learn more. We’ll cover everything from frame geometry to saddle design
3. The Saddle Is Wider
Dedicated woman’s mountain bikes usually have a different saddle from their male counterparts. They tend to be wider to accommodate the difference between female and male anatomy. If you don’t know what the difference is then I strongly recommend getting your hands on some sort of medical textbook and researching it.
However, if this is the only reason you are considering buying a woman’s mountain bike, then you could just buy a female saddle. They are not that expensive.
4. The Handlebars Are Shorter
The only other difference is that the handlebars may be shorter in both length and diameter for a more comfortable grip.
Are you unsure about what size bike to get? Check out our women’s bike size chart to find the perfect fit for you.
How To Choose The Right Mountain Bike
So how do you choose the right mountain bike for you? That’s a very good question Before you even think about handing over your money, there are a few important things you should consider.
Where are you going with your bike and your life?
Before you rush off to the nearest bike shop you really should take a step back and have a realistic think about what type of biking you intend to be doing, and where you see yourself riding in 6 months. This advice is especially true if you’re just starting. If you’re thinking about buying a mountain bike to commute into and out of the city, you should at least consider a Hybrid or even a folding bike.
That doesn’t mean a mountain bike won’t do the job. I commuted on a mountain bike for a long time, and I can tell you it was effective as a mode of transport. I’m just saying it is worth thinking about.
Can I use a mountain bike for commuting?
Oh God, yes! That is the defining characteristic of a mountain bike. You can ride a mountain bike virtually anywhere and in any weather. You can cut across fields and parking lots with ease and go from road to dirt trail without losing a beat, which is perfect if you have the option to avoid rush hour traffic. Even if you can’t avoid the traffic those big fat tires are great for gripping and balance for weaving in and out of traffic. Mountain bikes are tough. They’re built for barreling down rough trails at speed so trust me, they can handle potholes and gravel along Main Street.
Whatever you do, don’t buy a bike for the skill level you have at the moment
Instead think about where you might realistically be in 6, 12, and 18 months. The last thing you want to do is buy a single-gear hardtail mountain bike and then find a few months later what you need is a full suspension disc brake behemoth championship-level mountain bike. Riding a more advanced bike never slows anyone’s improvement, and if anything helps you develop your mountain bike skills faster!
Getting the right fit for you
I can’t recommend going to an outdoor center or someplace similar and hiring a bike and an instructor, or bringing a friend/partner/lover/sibling/BFF/frenemy/colleague/parent who has mountain bike experience along with you. Use their knowledge, advice, and experience to your advantage so you have a better idea about the exact type, size, and setup that works best for you. Of course, you don’t have to do this. I didn’t when I bought my first mountain bike, but I ended up with a bike that was too small and weighed more than a small island.
You can just buy a bike straight from the shop, but make sure they let you test ride the bike before making a purchase. Sure, riding a mountain bike around a parking lot isn’t the same as being out on a trail, but you will at least get a feel for the bike.
You must choose a bike that fits properly. A bike that is too small is harder to pedal and breathe efficiently on and is more difficult to steer. A bike that is too large is harder to control in a safe manner, and easier to lose control of, which is never good.
If you’re looking for a mountain bike that’s perfect for women, check out our list of the top 10 mountain bikes for women. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, we’ve got you covered
Apart from this, here are some more points to keep in mind while you are making a decision:
|What To Keep In Mind
|Choose a frame that allows you to stand over it comfortably with feet flat on either side. Aluminum and carbon are common choices—both are light and durable. Steel frames are less common and often considered niche or low-budget.
|Hardtails have front suspension, typically 75mm to 100mm. Full suspension bikes have shock absorbers at both ends. Consider the type of terrain you’ll ride on; more travel provides better control on rough trails.
|Focus on the type of suspension (air shocks are preferable for adjustability) rather than specific linkage or pivot points. Correct suspension settings are crucial for ease of maintenance and long-term adjustability.
|Mountain bikes have closer-spaced gears than road bikes, aiding hill climbs and stop-and-go commuting. Consider your intended use; mountain biking on varied terrain benefits from this gearing setup.
Does gender matter in mountain bikes?
No, the only thing that matters is getting the right bike fit.
Can a man ride a women’s mountain bike?
Yes, a man can ride a women’s mountain bike if it is the right fit.
Should a woman ride a man’s bike?
Yes, a woman can ride a man’s bike if she wants to.
What gender rides bikes more?
In the United States, 72% of bicycle commuters are Men. According to a survey by the 2019 American Community Survey census. In European countries, this ratio is 50-50.
That said, most bike makers do create specific bikes for females. There has been a trend in recent years for bike designers to modify bikes and mold frames to try and fit the female body better. Some modify their bikes under the idea that females have longer legs, but shorter upper bodies. Other brands change how female cyclists attach to the bike, i.e. modified handlebars, seats, and pedals. No one approach is more right or better than another.
It’s like I said at the start: Choosing the right mountain bike for you comes down entirely to what feels comfortable for you. When I began my search for the perfect mountain bike, I was convinced I wanted a dedicated ladies’ mountain bike. It was only after testing several different models that I realized I didn’t need one. My only regret is that it didn’t come in pink!
- Best Mountain Bikes For Beginners – Complete Guide
- How To Choose The Best Hybrid Bike For Both Men And Women
- The 5 Types Of Mountain Bikes You Need To Know