What makes a women's specific bike, and do you need one?
More and more companies are starting to offer bikes specifically for women. But what does this mean? Read on for the answers.
Female cyclists need their bikes to perform, just like anyone else. That means high quality components and reliable designs. However, the way that women sit on the bike is different to the way men do, and that's why sometimes, a women's-specific bike might be the answer. We're going to explain how and why these bikes are different.
Getting the right size
Statistically, women are smaller than men. What this means is that they need smaller bikes. Still with us? Normally, for two bikes in the same brand, either the women's 'M' will be smaller than the men's 'M', or the women's model will be available in smaller sizes, like an 'XXS'.
But that's not all – the contact points should also be changed to fit to account for things like smaller hands and narrower shoulders. Shorter stems and narrower bars are normally fitted and, if possible, the reach to the brake levers should be less. Smaller riders also tend to prefer shorter crank arms.
In the past, people have thought that women have a shorter torso and longer legs than men. However, more recent studies show that this isn't true. Both men and women come in all kinds of proportions. The way that men and women sit on the saddle is different, and this has an effect on the geometry of the bikes.
Women have wider pelvises, so sitting more upright is more comfortable. To let you do this, the distance to the handlebars needs to be shortened, and the bars need to be raised.
Having the right saddle is one of the most important steps to cycling comfortably. Lots of women prefer a women's-specific saddle. In general, these are wider than men's saddles and include cut-outs to relieve pressure.
Remember, bikes are very adjustable. If you can get just as comfortable on a men’s or unisex bike by switching out your contact points or just moving them, then why wouldn’t you? This is the preferred option for some women. However, it’s great to know that there’s a great choice of bikes that cater for people of different shapes.
Getting comfortable on your bike means that nothing needs to get in the way of your rides. If you’re not sure, or you’d like some help finding a bike that fits, come to one of our stores and ask us to help you out.