Women are constantly being told that they shouldn’t ride bikes that are too big for them.
But is it really bad for women to ride a bike with 24-inch wheels? Or is this just another myth perpetuated by the patriarchy to keep women down? Well, it turns out there’s more than one way to answer this question!
Can a Woman Ride a 24 Inch Bike?
Across the board, most shorter women with an inseam between 23-29 inches can comfortably ride a bike with 24-inch wheels as long as they’re within that particular model’s size and weight specifications.
The problem with many bikes is that they are not made for women. They are made for men who weigh around 200 pounds. So as a woman, you might not be able to ride most bikes.
This long-standing tradition is changing in recent years, though, as more and more women are demanding bikes built just for them. However, it’s still challenging to find a bike for women on the shorter side or women with shorter legs. In such cases, opting for a 24-inch bike is an option that you might be able to explore.
But before you go ahead and order a 24-inch bike, there are a few things you’ll need to know first.
Understanding Bike Sizes
First, it’s important to understand how bike sizes are determined. Different types of bikes measure things in different ways. There is a type for riding on the street (road bikes), one for mountain biking (mountain bikes), and one for kids bikes (made for children).
Furthermore, most of the best bike brands in the world further complicate sizes by having unique sizing differences for their bikes. Thankfully, we are still able to generalize the sizes across each type of bike.
How are Road Bikes Measured?
Road bikes are measured in centimeters (cm) from the center of the crank to the top of the seat tube. The most common frame sizing for a road bike is 54 cm, but there can also be 53 or 55 cm frames depending on your height and needs.
How are Mountain Bikes Measured?
In the world of mountain biking, there are many size options available. One way manufacturers size MTBs is with an XS/S/M/L system. The other popular sizing method is measuring the length of the seat tube, which usually ranges between 13(X Small) and 19 inches(Large) depending on frame design and manufacturer. But this measurement can vary slightly across brands, so it’s best not to rely too much on one single dimension when shopping around.
How are Kids Bikes Measured?
Children’s bikes are sized by wheel size. The wheel size tells you how big the bike is and gives you guidance about the height your child should be. That is only one way to measure their size.
Generally, children’s bikes are meant to be the ideal size for a child to ride safely. As such, most kids’ bike sizes will range from 12″ wheels to 24″ per their average height for a given age. For example, a 2-3-year-old would ride a 14″ bike since they would typically be 2’10” to 3’4″. While 7-11-year-olds would ride a 24″ bike since their height would be between 4’5″ and 4 feet 9 inches.
Putting it all together, you can see that it’s not easy to determine what bike size is generally suited for women. In fact, most other bikes, even ones designed specifically for women, will have a standard wheel size of 26″ rather than a 24.” Manufacturers mostly go by the frame sizes for adults instead of wheel size, which is used for kids’ bikes. Moreover, the shortest height manufacturers across the board consider would be 4 feet 10 inches, whereas, in the case of the kids’ bike, it goes up to 4 feet 9 inches.
How does the wheel size affect if a woman can ride a 24-inch bike?
If you are still going to ride a 24-inch bike, you’ll need to understand how the wheel size affects your ride.
Bicycle wheels come in different sizes and thicknesses—some are as large as 29″ while most are between 26″ or 27″ with varying thickness. The key thing to note here is that larger rims and tires typically allow the bike to handle more load than smaller ones.
A bigger wheel can hold a heavier person because it is stronger and can take the pressure. In contrast, smaller size wheels will not be able to hold a heavy rider. If you are too heavy for the bike, then the tires will wear out quickly, or the rim will bend. Either of those situations can get worst quickly, depending on the terrain you ride on.
Will it happen immediately? No! But it’s still a possibility when you ride a bike that wasn’t meant to be ridden by an adult. As such, before getting on a 24-inch bike or even buying one for yourself, you have to ensure that you are within the requirements necessary.
How tall should a woman be to ride a 24-inch bike?
How tall you should be as a woman to ride a 24-inch bike is dependent on the type of bike you want to ride.
Remember in the sections above; I explained that each type of bike is sized differently? The same applies here.
Kids’ bikes come in many different frame sizes, with the only metric remaining constant being the bike wheel. So it’s hard to determine a specific height that you should be to ride a 24-inch kids bike comfortably. However, I’ve seen a few shorter women between 4 feet 10 inches up to 5 feet 3 inches riding some 24-inch bikes.
Is it safe for a woman to ride a 24-inch bike?
The safety of riding a bike comes down to whether you meet requirements (weight limit, height) for the specific bike and whether you’re wearing a helmet.
Many women safely enjoy riding small bike frames because they find them more comfortable for everyday journeys. However, that might not be the case for you, so before getting on a 24 inch bike, make sure you check the weight limit.
Pros And Cons of Using a 24 Inch Bike For Adult
Here are a few pros and cons to consider if you planned to get a 24 inch bicycle as an adult.
- 24-inch bikes are more affordable on average than standard adult bikes.
- They are easier to find than women-specific bikes.
- Twenty-four-inch bikes are lighter than larger bikes.
- They are easier to handle.
- If you are on a budget, you’ll be able to buy one bike to share for you and your kids.
- Since 24-inch bikes are designed for kids(Aged 7-11), they don’t always match the size of an adult.
- 24 inch bikes have components specifically designed for kids which means it has a lower weight limit.
- Your knees will rise higher and affect your cycling posture than on a standard bike.
- 24 inch bikes are less safe to ride structurally for some adults.
- If you ride a 24 inch bike as an adult, you might be voiding the bike’s warranty.
- They are a bad idea to take mountain biking as an adult.
How much weight can a 24-inch bike hold?
The average weight limit a 24 inch bike can hold will max out at around 250 pounds. However, you still have to keep in mind that different brands utilize varying components that either add to the weight-bearing capacity or take away from it. As such, most 24″ bikes have a weight limit of just between 150 -180 lbs.
To be sure, I always recommend looking over the bike specifications or reaching out to manufacturers before buying.
What is the difference between a 24-inch bike and a 26-inch bike?
The most obvious difference between a 24-inch bike and a 26-inch bike is that they have different wheel sizes. For the 24 inch bike, its wheel size is 24″ as the name suggests and the same for the 26″ bike.
What’s the Bottom Line – Is a 24 wheel bike for adults?
When considering a 24-inch bike, it’s important to understand your weight and height restrictions. If you meet the requirements for both of these specifications, then riding a 24 inch bicycle as an adult could be an option for you. However, you must always keep in mind that if you’re taller than 5’4″ or weigh more than the bike’s weight limit, it won’t work as well.