You’re getting ready to buy a bike, and you’re not sure what the difference is between a woman’s bike, a man’s bike, and a unisex bike.
The truth is not that all bikes are unisex, however, there is a difference between those branded as women’s bikes and those promoted as men’s bikes.
When you’re looking for a new bike, it’s enough to get you cross-eyed. You’ll need to consider whether you want a white bike with rubber tires and a black cup holder or a small-town bike with semi-slick tires and a basket holder.
There are few bikes marketed as unisex, but most choices are divided into men’s and women’s bicycles. So what is the difference?
As it turns out, quite a bit. Both men and women can choose from a wide variety or range of bikes, ranging from simple single-speed cruisers to advanced mountain bikes, but the models are customized to suit individual needs. Let’s take a peek.
The main difference between women’s versus men’s bikes is the fit. Bike manufacturers use lots of information regarding frame design.
Women are, in comparison, shorter than men. Women often have shorter waist lengths compared to men, consequently, women’s bike styles usually have shorter stacked heights, and bike models have a shorter design.
The following differences between women’s bikes vs men’s bike are listed below:
Women’s bike trademark
The features of women’s bikes are primarily influenced by the fact that women are typically or generally shorter than men.
A woman’s average height in the US is 5’4″. Although tall women can find men’s bikes more comfortable, women’s versions are suitable for most women’s frames. Here are some of the ways women’s bikes can distinguish themselves:
Women’s saddles are usually shorter and broader. Women’s performance riders, however, frequently choose narrow saddles that unlock their pedaling movement. Besides, bike builders realize that the saddle is one of the first elements that riders can change to meet their tastes, so don’t get too focused on the pad.
It’s hard to see this distinction with the naked human eye, but the seating for men’s and women’s bikes is different. It’s because men and women have distinct bone structures in their joints, and women’s legs are typically longer than men’s legs.
The difference is that women’s bike saddles are broader and thinner relative to men’s bikes which are longer and thinner, so if you’re going to invest a lot of money on your bike, make sure you pick a seat that suits your body shape.
See Also: Why does my bike seat keep tilting
Many premium brands have unisex saddles built to suit both men’s and women’s bike styles. So while it would suit you for a short stroll down the highway, it might be inconvenient for longer trips.
Women’s intense bikes have wider seat that suits the lower spine and the bone’s relaxed spot. Men’s bikes are fitted with longer and narrower seats. Top-quality seats for both genders often have a space between the two sides to relieve pressure on the lower body.
Control is crucial when riding a bike on a busy road, so handlebars and grips are critical and must be built to fit both men’s and women’s hands.
In comparison, women have thinner shoulders than men, so having a narrower bar can accommodate you. Sore shoulders are a common issue when women use wide handlebars.
If this happens after you’ve ridden your bike, let your bike shop know before you get back in for detailed discussions or suggestions on how you can get a customized or more suitable handlebar for your build.
The handlebars on men’s bikes are typically broader and marginally lower. Likewise, the grips are shaped differently to suitably match the rider’s hands.
Women have smaller hands, whereas men are bigger on their shoulders, and these are aspects that need to be weighed when building a bike.
Reach distance is the number of centimeters between both the seat and the handlebar. Since women’s bodies appear to have short torsos, a moderate length of reach makes it easier to reach the handlebars.
In other terms, as a woman of medium height, you’re not going to have to lean over to the point of pain when you’re riding or walking with the bike.
The step-through frame has the top tube leaning down. This aspect goes back to when women rode in their dresses, but it still comes in handy, especially since female riders are no longer burdened by wearing ankle-length dresses and coats.
A downsloping tube creates step-by-step mounting, making it easy to get on and off the bike.
Frame Structure and Length
Considering that men are typically taller than women, they have larger arms and legs, and it’s only reasonable for the gap between the seat and the handlebar on the men’s bike to be larger.
Women, on the other hand, require a shorter top bike pipe, and less space between both the seat and the handlebar. It would allow female riders to feel relaxed when riding by preventing any pain.
To confirm whether the bike you want is the right one for your body type, make sure that you easily catch the handlebars when your back is almost flat, and you don’t have to move or scrunch in any way.
In comparison, men’s bikes use a horizontal bar in the frame, while women’s bikes are designed in a vertical position with a mid-tube so that they can easily cycle while wearing skirts or dresses.
Features of men’s bikes
Men’s bikes come in the same general models as women’s bikes with popular bikes including cruisers, prototypes, city bikes, and mountain bikes.
But there are distinct characteristics that set men’s bikes apart from women’s bikes. For one, they were designed to accommodate a larger body and more weight.
Men’s bike frames usually have a different design, and some of the components are mounted and modified with heavier bodies in mind. In addition to the big range and stack dimensions, the following characteristics are common for men’s bicycles:
Brake levers on men’s bikes can even be larger and more accommodating of big hands. Consequently, the suspension on the men’s bike would be tweaked to accommodate the wider frame.
Brake generates shock, and heavy bodies can have special needs within this department. Although men’s and women’s bikes have the same brake and suspension setup, bigger riders’ bikes are built to withstand more compression.
Shorter riders generally have smaller hands, making it difficult to reach the handle brake levers safely. Some of the levers have customizable screws that enable you to reduce the levers, while short-reach levers are another alternative.
If you want to pedal safely, the crankset on your bike is necessary as well. Lots of females tend to have longer legs and shorter arms compared to males. The length of the bike cranks varies based on the rider’s height and the different bike types.
The length of the crank is measured from the center of the pedal spindle to the center of the axle, and manufacturers usually create men’s bikes with 170-millimeter cranks, while those intended for women have 165-millimeter cranks to allow them to reach the bottom of their pedal stroke comfortably.
The bike strut is a comparatively small component, but it has a significant effect on rider fit. Men’s bikes also ask for a longer stem to raise the height of the handlebars of the bike and make it easier for riders. An increase in the length of the stem changes the reach for tall riders. A longer stem means not having to sit back at an awkward angle during a climb.
This is the most likely part to be switched before you leave the shop. A shorter or longer stem provides an easy way to fine-tune the reach of a bike frame for you. A new stem style could also place the handlebar in a higher position that is more convenient for cycling. Handlebar design also comes into play so bike shops can evaluate all stem and handlebar options together during fit evaluation.
Lightweight riders require suspension tuned to their lower weight. You can do this at the store, or do it yourself at home.
Related Article: Do mountain bikes need suspension
Men’s hands appear to be larger and their digits thicker. As a rule, the grips on the men’s bikes are also larger and farther apart.
It enables people to keep a better grip on their handlebars and, by extension, to have more leverage over the bike. Grips are quickly adjusted to the unique range and height of the rider.
See Also: Best mountain bike grips
The dimensions of the bike tubes are a distinguishing factor between male and female models. The men’s bike tubes are less twisted and force the front wheel to move forward. It allows a bigger range and increases the rear suspension to enhance stability. The tubing is often wider on a man’s bike, too.
That’s why many ladies will get a smoother ride on a man’s bike or a unisex bike. A good bike store will skip the advertising and focus on bikes that suit the body’s shape.
Ultimately, the only real way of knowing how comfortable or suitable a bike is for you is to ride it for a couple of weeks.
Thereafter, you can go back to the bike store to find out if certain features can be customized to make your riding experience more enjoyable. If possible, they will make changes, swap parts, or, if necessary, place you in a different size or type of bike altogether.
Steve Beck is a passionate cyclist and experienced writer covering the cycling industry for over a decade. He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in all bike-related things, from the latest products and technologies to the best routes and trails. His articles are well-researched, informative, and engaging, and he has a talent for explaining complex cycling concepts in a way that is easy to understand. Steve can be found on the road when he’s not writing about bikes, putting his knowledge and skills to the test.