There has always been a huge debate about the differences between men’s vs women’s bikes in the cycling world. Some say a woman can’t ride a man’s bike, while others swear that they can. It has gotten to the point that bike manufacturers themselves started taking advantage of this debate with their marketing.
In this blog post, I will dispel all the common myths and tell you the real facts about the difference between men vs. women bikes.
The difference between these two types of bikes is not just how they look; it also has to do with the geometry, frame size, weight distribution, seat, and handlebars.
Difference Between Men and Women Bikes
To start the comparison, I’ll give you a quick overview of both:
What are women-specific bikes?
Women-specific bikes are designed specifically for women, and they come in a variety of styles. You have women bikes in almost every single bicycle category from road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, fixies; you name it. A bike for women is usually smaller than a comparable men’s bike so as to fit the female form, i.e., smaller shoulders and shorter arms and torso.
What are men-specific bikes?
There aren’t any, to be blunt. Most bikes are designed for men, and they come in a variety of styles. The only difference that I can see is that men’s bikes are larger than a woman’s bike models, and some manufacturers make the handlebars on men’s bikes taller.
So bikes were made for men?
You’re joking, right? I know this, though, might’ve crossed your mind.
Well, this is what most people think, but when you really get down to it, there are subtle but crucial differences between bicycles made specifically for men and those made for women.
Let’s look at the main differences:
Frame geometry (the shape)
Women-specific frames have shorter top tubes than their traditional counterparts, resulting in a greater reach or distance from the saddle to the bars. This allows for easier leverage regardless of being seated or standing up, which is great, especially if you have to use commuting.
The materials used in most general women’s bikes are usually lighter and more flexible compared to men-specific frames, which are stronger, stiffer, and heavier. However, in my opinion, it doesn’t really matter if the bike is lightweight or not because everything will be relative based on the bike’s weight limit and your bodyweight alone, of course depending on your riding style.
The saddles on women’s bikes are typically designed to provide support for a woman’s wider hips. As such, they are typically shorter and have a wider sit area. This allows them to be more comfortable on long rides. Men’s bikes, on the other hand, usually have a slightly narrower seat. Men also have requirements for the crotch area, so most men’s bikes will be designed with features that accommodate groin comfort.
At the same time, most bike manufacturers know that a bike seat isn’t that big an issue for men and women. So they’ll often make a one size fits all saddle, knowing that people will quickly swap them out if they don’t find them comfortable. With that in mind, if you’ve found a bicycle you like with a saddle that is designed for the opposite gender, then you can still consider it.
The stem is also shorter on a women’s bike because it accommodates the shorter reach, making riding easier. Some manufacturers may also add adjustable stems and handlebar positioning, allowing riders to ride with variations based on their mood.
Just like the saddles, the handlebars on women’s bikes will also be slightly different. This is one of the first things you’ll notice when looking at men vs. women’s bikes. The handlebar grips are usually shorter and thinner because women have smaller hands and shoulders than a man’s shoulder.
Again the difference in size shows up for the brake levers on bikes for women. Since women tend to have smaller hands, the brake levers tend to be smaller and closer to the handlebars. But bike makers also make provisions for this on bikes for both men’s bikes and women’s bikes since shorter men may also have smaller hands. As such, brake levers usually feature adjustment screws that will allow you to adjust them based on your reach.
Another difference between men and women bikes that is easy to spot is on their suspension. Since women, on average, don’t weigh as much as men, women’s specific bikes are likely to have suspensions that are tailored for lighter bodyweights and smaller shocks. On the other hand, men’s bikes feature heavier frames that require stronger suspensions so they can withstand greater impact loads from their larger bodies without flexing too much or feeling too flexible.
Is there a difference in bike price between men’s bikes vs. women’s bikes?
Not surprisingly, when you buy an exclusively women’s bike from a bike maker, they will be more expensive than those for men. Why? This is because the bike makers take into account the different requirements and needs for women’s bikes. But if you’re not sure of your needs, it would probably be best to go for a “one size fits all” type of bike since these are usually priced lower than either of the exclusively designed bikes.
Women’s bikes will be more difficult to find in comparison to men’s bikes. For example, you might be able to find hundreds of mountain bikes for men under, let’s say, 300 dollars, but finding hundreds of good quality women’s specific bikes under 300 will be a challenge!
What are the main differences between men’s and women’s bikes?
The most obvious difference between bikes for women and men is that one is smaller than the other. Women’s bikes are generally smaller (from handlebars to saddle) to accommodate the average female body type, which is shorter than that of a man.
Can a Man Ride a Womans Bike?
Of course! But there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, women’s bikes will be smaller in comparison. This means they’ll usually have shorter saddles and stems and smaller handlebars. If you are taller or larger than the average size male, these features may not be what you’re looking for. So while you can ride a women’s bike, you shouldn’t be looking to do so long term.
Can Women Ride Men’s Bikes?
Women can ride men’s bikes as long as they want, and the bike fits. However, most women will find that the bike will be more difficult to control in comparison to a women’s specific bike with features better suited for their body.
The Bottom Line: How to choose the right bike for you as a man or woman?
You will want to choose the right size bike for your height. For men, bikes are bigger than women’s bikes. Men’s and women’s bikes also have different features like handlebars and brake pedals. If you’re a woman, you can ride a man’s bike, but it might be a lot more challenging if you don’t get components tailored to your size.
Even if they’re exclusively for men or women, Bike manufacturers will include some of the other gender’s features on their bikes. There are also unisex bikes that offer a great balance for both genders.