Women vs Men Bikes: 8 Main Differences Explained!

Is this your first time getting a bike for yourself but want to get into the specifics? Are Women's and Men's bikes different? Is there something unique about either one of them? In this guide, we will show you what is the difference between a women's bike and a bike made for men.

When cycling started to make its way as a means of transport in society, the designs were quite simple. With time, this design was involved. Creators started to add a more “Feminine” touch if I might say. This was because of the ongoing research on the female anatomy. This research proved that women, on average, have longer legs and shorter torso when compared to men. So the bicycle makers thought well, women should have bicycles with shorter reach, a more upright position, and a lower standover. 

This led to the main difference between Women’s and Men bicycles. With all this, you might be thinking: Are Women’s bikes different from Men bikes? Yes! Women’s bicycles are different when it comes to fitting, tube angles, saddles, and some other aspects as well. What are they? I was hoping you’d ask! Before buying a new bicycle,  give this a read to know if you should really worry about these differences while making a choice. 

Men’s Vs Women’s Bikes- 8 Main Differences

Here are the main differences:

Bike Component Men’s Bikes Women’s Bikes
Frame Step-Over Step-Through
Stem Longer and Shorter Smaller and Taller
Top Tube Longer Shorter
Tube Angle Horizontal Downward-Sloping
Stack and Reach Longer Shorter
Saddle Long and Narrow Short and Wide
Seatpost Shorter Taller
Suspension Stronger Lighter
Handlebar and Grips Wide Narrow
Brake Levers Longer Reach Shorter Reach

1. The Top Tube Length And Angle Is Different 

The top tube is the first thing that you will notice in the frame when it comes to a bike difference. The top tube is what connects the head tube and seat tube. In simpler terms, when you ride and the tube you see that stretches out, it is that one. Men’s and women’s bikes have different types of top tubes. 

Top Tube Length

Men’s top tube length is more as compared to women’s. This is because men have bigger torsoes. They can stretch more. In women’s bicycles, the distance between the seat and handlebars is reduced. So women can ride comfortably. 

Top Tube Angle

Now, this is something that I have noticed a lot.  The top tube angle on a woman’s bike is downward-sloping and it is also sometimes inclined. In men’s bikes, the top tube angle is horizontal and is not that inclined.

Interesting in cycling? Read this blog to discover the benefits of cycling and why you should start riding today.

Difference Between Mens And Womens Bikes
Difference Between Mens And Womens Bikes

2. Stack and Reach Height Difference

The vertical difference between the bottom bracket and the top of the head tube is what you call a stack. Reach is that same difference but horizontally. Experts also refer to stack and reach as height. Women’s bikes have a short reach and stack so they can easily reach the handlebars. This also makes the bike seats comfortable for women. Men’s bikes, on the other hand, have a long stack and reach because of their bigger torsos.  

Do you want to get the perfect fit for your women’s bike? Read our guide on women’s bike size chart to find the perfect fit!

3. Women’s Bicycles Have Taller Stems

The stem’s height and length are another major difference I have found in both bikes. The bike stem is what connects the handlebar to the tube that steers the fork. When a bike has a taller stem, it is easy to reach the handlebars and if the stem is longer then it increases the reach.

Women’s bikes have a stem that is taller in height and smaller in length. This makes it easier to reach out to the handlebars. Men’s bikes have stems that are longer in length and shorter in height. This is because they have longer arms than women.  

Confused about the different bike parts? This guide explains different bike parts for beginners! Read now to understand bike anatomy.

4. Men Bike’s Can Withstand More Pressure 

A Bike’s suspension system is very important for the bike’s and rider’s safety. This system suspends the recoil and the effects different terrains have on the bike. The difference in the suspension system is that men’s bikes can withstand more pressure because of their heavier weights. When I bought my wife her first women’s bike, I customized it so that it could withstand more compression. 

5. Difference In The Braking System and Brake Levers

Who might have guessed that a brake lever can also be different in men’s and women’s bikes and also sometimes braking systems? Me! I measured the brake levers on both bikes. What I noticed was that the brake lever was shorter in women’s bikes.

On the other hand, my bike had longer brake levers. To cross-check, I  looked at various models of bicycles of both genders. It is true. Men’s bicycles have longer brake levers. 

Explore this guide on the best road bike brands and find your perfect ride!

6. Women’s Bicycles Have Narrow Handlebars While Men have Wider Grips 

Women have narrower shoulders as compared to men. Because of this, women’s bikes have narrow handlebars. Narrow handlebar length means more comfort for women, especially on long rides. Men’s bikes have wide grips, which adds to their comfort level.

  • Men’s Handlebars Width: 42-44cm
  • Women’s Handlebars Width: 38-40cm
  • Crank Arms: 170mm (Men) vs 165mm (Women)

Couple On A Bike Ride

There is also a difference in crank arms in these two bike types. Men’s bikes have longer crank arms but in women’s bikes, they are short. 

Explore this guide to discover the best endurance bikes for long-distance rides.

7. Women’s Bike Seats Are Wider

On average, Women have wider bums. Thus their bikes have wider seats. Women’s seats are lower and wider, men’s seats on the other hand are long and narrow. Women’s seats also have extra surface area. There is also a hole in the middle of the seat so that there is no pressure on the pelvic bone.

Get the right fit for your road bike with our road bike sizing guide.

8. Women’s Bike Seatpost Is Shorter

The seat post is the tube behind the bike seat. It is shorter on women’s bikes and longer on men’s bikes. The good news is that there is still enough room for adjustability. You can adjust the height according to your preference.

Find the perfect bike size for you with our comprehensive bike size chart.

Why Is There a Difference Between The Two Bike Types?

That’s a good question. The difference has to do with their physical attributes. You have to be fully comfortable while riding your bike because if you aren’t then there is no need to ride a bike.  Male and female bodies are built differently. Take a quick look at this table to understand the difference: 

Body Measurements Average US MaleAverage US Female
Height (Inches)69.063.5
Weight (Pounds)199.8170.8
Waist Circumference (Inches)40.538.7

Source: CDC.GOV

Apart from the physical differences, there are also aesthetic preferences. Most men and women like different kinds of shapes and sizes. Most women prefer customization, shape, size, and colors. Men on the other hand just want a strong type of bike that can withstand any kind of terrain. 

Read our guide to discover the best commuter bikes for your daily ride.

What Experts Have To Say On Men Vs Women Bikes

Speaking from experience, the kind of frame, height, reach, and comfort does matter when it comes to bicycling. Many studies have proven this too. But it does not mean that you are limited to only buying your gender-specific bicycle. The perfect bicycle is the one that fits you. Many other experts agree with me on this point. It might be a men’s or a women’s bike. There is a difference in the build of both types of bikes. 

Read our guide on how to fit your bicycle to understand what I mean by bike fit.

What matters is what kind of bicycle you feel comfortable riding and what kind of riding you will be doing. You might be a woman who is interested in a more aggressive style of riding. Now, a women’s mountain bike might not do the job as satisfactorily as a men’s bike would. This is because men’s mountain bicycles are somewhat stronger, and better with suspension and can handle these tracks. So it will be better to choose a men’s bicycle because it will last you longer. 

Explore this guide to find out why women’s mountain bikes are a scam!

The Evolution Of Women’s Bike Design

Just like other great inventions, bikes also have a strong and powerful beginning. Do you know that in the beginning, men’s bikes were known as “Macho Machines”? 

Man And Woman Riding Bikes

 In the 19th century, these bikes were made exclusively for men. They were meant as an accessory. Men used them to show their strength instead of using them as a transport means. There was no classification of bicycles such as mountain bikes or road bikes.

By the late 19th century, these bikes became so popular that almost every young girl was riding one or planning to get one. It was then that the bike manufacturers decided to make different versions for women. Women wore very different types of clothing such as long dresses, and skirts. Showing off a lot of skin was against societal norms.

So, specific bikes were designed that had different frames and tubes. This allowed women with heavy and long dresses to ride bicycles. Fast forward to today, women’s bikes are now available in different shapes and sizes. 

Give this blog a read to learn more about the most important milestones in bicycle history

Female Bike Rider

FAQs

Are unisex bikes a better option?

There are specific men’s and women’s bikes and then there are unisex bikes. These are the types of bikes that can be used by both men and women. These bikes also combine the attributes of both bike types, so you can always give them a go!

Can you swap bike components to create a better fit?

Yes, you can easily swap out some of the components to create a better fit for yourself. This is one of the best ways to create a unisex bike with lots of capabilities.

Can men ride women’s bikes?

Yes, there is no single component in a woman’s bike that prevents a man from riding it. The saddle might be a bit difficult to adjust to but nothing else than that. There are even some brands that take pride in making amazing unisex bikes, a good example is the brand PIVOT.

Are all bikes unisex now?

No, all bikes are not unisex. 

Can a woman ride a 29-inch bike?

Yes, a woman can ride a 29-inch bike if it is the right fit. 

Recap

Cycling is for everyone to enjoy regardless of sex. You can try out the unisex bikes or you can go with bikes that are made specifically designed for your gender. The differences are not significant. My advice would be to choose a bike that you find comfortable to ride. This works best in the long term.

You don’t need to fall for the stereotypes and go for men’s or women’s bikes. Don’t forget to test-ride the bike and see what works for you. Anyway, what do you think about the differences between women’s and men’s bicycles? Are they a deal breaker for you? Comment down and let me know!

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This article was crafted by Luke Ameen, Associate Editor, a seasoned expert, bringing 8 years of experience and knowledge about all types of bikes. Our goal is to provide you with accurate, reliable, and valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and enhance your biking experience.

Should you have any questions or require further clarification on the topic, please feel free to connect with our expert author Luke Ameen by leaving a comment below. We value your engagement and are here to assist you.

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Luke Ameen

Luke Ameen

For many years, I've journeyed the world as an ardent cyclist, feeling the pulse of the road beneath two wheels. Even though competitive mountain trails might not be my battleground now, my zeal for cycling remains undiminished, pushing me to chase new escapades every chance I get.

My heart beats for everything related to cycling. Over the years, I've immersed myself in extensive research and hands-on tests of cycling equipment and enhancements, aiming to guide fellow cyclists in amplifying their riding experience. My mission is clear: deliver trustworthy insights and reliable guidance that readers can lean on. My vision is to kindle the same fervor for cycling in others, whether they're seasoned veterans or just embarking on this journey. Rest assured, I'm here to equip you with the freshest updates, advice, and perspectives to enrich every ride.

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