There was once a time when getting a new bike was easy whether it was for men or women, there were even gender-specific designs although they were not that great. Sometimes the women’s bikes were also downgraded in terms of performance but thankfully those days are now over.
Women’s bikes are on the same par as men’s bikes, there are some aesthetic differences but other than that all of them seem good. As technology has improved so have these bikes, from design to actual performance, you will notice a lot of change here, especially when it comes to women’s bikes.
In this guide, we will be showing you what are the main differences between men’s and women’s bikes. As you might have guessed, the main differences are in fitting, tube angles, saddles, and some other unique aspects. You need to know about these differences as they will be the aspects important for making a purchase.
The details are important and before we get into the details, it is important to know about the history of both men’s and women’s bikes, and how they came to be.
Men and Women’s Bikes: A Tale Spanning Through Generations
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”?
Instead of just being known as bikes, they were meant as an accessory, men used them to show around their strength rather than traveling from one place to the other. In the 19th century, these bikes were made exclusively for men, because people thought that only men had the power to use them. There were no mountain bikes or road bikes back in the day, just bikes and soon after their advent they started becoming very famous.
As more time passed, even women started using these bikes. In the late 19th century, these bikes became so much popular that almost every young girl was riding or was planning on getting a bike. That is when bike manufacturers decided to make a different version of those bikes that women could ride easily, those bikes had an easy-going step-through frame with an inclined top tube.
In the 19th century women had a very different type of clothing as opposed to today, they wore long dresses, most of them were skirts, and showing off a lot of skin was not a thing back then. Specific bikes made for women that had these different frames and tubes allowed women with heavy and long dresses to wear them without any kind of problems.
Fast forward to today, women’s bikes are now available in different shapes and sizes. Women of all ages can ride bikes easily and getting them is easy too, although you need to know about some key differences between men’s and women’s bikes.
Why Is There Difference Between The Two Bike Types?
Just like men and women are not the same, their bikes are also different and that 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.
If we take a look, then on an average scale men are larger and taller, and women on the other hand are wider because of their long legs and hips. Even if you take a look at male and female bodies, you will notice that their hands are also built differently.
We talked about the physical differences and these are the reasons why men’s and women’s bikes are different. Apart from the physical differences, there are also aesthetic preferences, both men and women like different kinds of shapes and sizes.
Women want a lot of customization, shape, size, and colors matter a lot to them. They even want baskets installed on their bikes so that they could go grocery shopping on their bikes. Men on the other hand just want a strong type of bike that can withstand any kind of terrain. Most women want a more casual riding experience than men, that is why bike makers take it easy when designing bikes.
Understanding Men’s and Women’s Bikes
When you take a first look at these two different bike types, you can notice that there is not a lot of difference aesthetic-wise, there are even amazing unisex bikes out there. The main difference is in the frame of these bikes, the size and design of these frames are very different from each other, and for good reasons too.
If we want to understand these two different types of bikes then we need to understand men and women first. The frame of these bikes alters the whole riding experience, men’s bikes are going to be bigger as compared to women’s bikes. In most cases, men can also ride women’s bikes but women can’t ride men’s bikes, well not all of them.
You might have also noticed that women want a bike that requires less maintenance, they don’t like going to the bike shop that much. Men’s bikes are going to have a step-over frame while women’s bikes are going to have a step-through frame. Regardless of the frame differences, both men and women enjoy and have a lot of fun riding their bikes.
Now let’s move to the key differences between the two bike types.
Men’s Vs Women’s Bikes- Highlighting The Differences
Now that we know all about men’s and women’s bikes, it is time to highlight the main differences. These major differences actually make the two bikes unique. Let’s discuss them.
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, and the length and angle will vary a lot.
Top Tube Length
When it comes to men’s bikes, the top tube length is more as compared to women’s. Men have a bigger torso and they can stretch more, women’s bikes have a short top tube length. This means that the distance between the seat and handlebars is reduced, women can easily use those bikes and riding also becomes comfortable.
Top Tube Angle
Now, this is something that you would have noticed yourself, it is one of the main things that stands out visually when it comes to bike frames. 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.
Stack and Reach Height Difference
The next difference is about the stack and reach difference but we need to explain that to you first. The vertical difference between the bottom bracket and the top of the head tube is known as a stack. Reach is that same difference but horizontally. You can also refer to the stack and reach as height, women’s bikes have a short reach and stack so they can reach the handlebars comfortably and use the bike without any kind of problems. This way bike seats become very comfortable for women.
Men’s bikes on the other hand have a long stack and reach, this is because men have bigger bodies as compared to women.
The stem’s height and length are another major difference that you will notice in both the bikes. The bike stem is what connects the handlebar to the tube that steers the fork, if a bike has a taller stem then it is very easy to reach the handlebars and if the stem is longer then it takes a while to reach.
Women’s bikes have a stem that is taller in height and smaller in length, this makes it very easy to reach out to the handlebars. Men’s bikes have stems that are longer in length and shorter in height. As they have longer arms than women, this allows for more comfortable riding positions, and also results in different hand positions while riding.
A Bike’s suspension system is very important for the bike’s and rider’s safety. This system suspends the recoil and effects different terrains have on the bike. There is not that much of a difference, only that men’s bikes can withstand more pressure because of their heavier weights.
If you want a women’s bike to withstand more compression, you can always customize it.
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? In women’s bikes, you will notice shorter brake levers so that they can reach them easily. Men on the other hand have longer brake levers, this is because of their long arms and legs. Men can use women’s bikes this way but women are only limited to their own type of bikes.
Handlebars and Grips
Women have narrower shoulders as compared to men, you might have noticed that too. Due to this reason, women’s bikes have narrow handlebars. Narrow handlebar length means more comfort for women, especially on long rides. Men’s bikes have wide grips, this adds to their comfort level.
- Men’s Handlebars Width: 42-44cm
- Women’s Handlebars Width: 38-40cm
- Crank Arms (Very Rare)
This is something that you maybe were not expecting but 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. The difference is 170mm vs 165mm, not that much of a difference but it is there.
Bike seats are meant to accommodate bums and as we know it, 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 are also accommodated with extra surface area for more comfort, in order to provide extra relief, there is also a hole in the middle of the seat so that there is no pressure on the private areas.
This is the last difference when it comes to men’s and women’s bikes. The seat post is the tube behind the bike seat, it is shorter on women’s bikes and longer on men’s bikes. There is still plenty of room for adjustability as both men and women can adjust the height.
What About Unisex Bikes?
There are specific men’s and women’s bikes and then there are unisex bikes. These are the type of bikes that can be used by both men and women. These bikes also combine the best attributes of both bike types, you can always give them a go!
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Men and Women can enjoy cycling, they can try out the unisex bikes or they can go with bikes that are made specifically for them. These different bikes have different kinds of attributes which makes them unique. Apart from all the differences, you still have to go with the bike that you find comfortable to ride, go for the bike that would work best in the long term.
You don’t need to fall for the stereotypes and go for men’s or women’s bikes, you can always go for something unique and give unisex bikes a tryout!