Understanding Men’s and Women’s Bikes
The days when women’s bikes used to be prettier, smaller and badly specified as compared to men’s bikes are long gone. Today, women’s bike models offer the same components and performances as men’s models.
The primary difference between the two kinds of bikes is the fit. The stack height of women’s bikes is generally shorter as the average height of women is shorter than men. The reach length of a women’s bike also tends to be shorter to account for women’s shorter torso.
You can also view a woman’s bike as any bike that offers a great fit. Many women find a hybrid bike mens to be a better fit. Many stores ditch marketing and focus on bikes that fit the rider’s body proportions. Such stores allow you to ride and assess the bike for some time and then make adjustments to give you the best fit.
Earlier, when women riders mostly wore long skirts, the classic women’s bike frame featured a top tube sloping downwards. This design can be seen even today for aesthetic reasons. There are some other components too that affect the fit of a bike. These include:
- Stem – The stem defines the reach of the bike frame for you. The style of the stem also defines the height of the handlebar. To assess the fit, the handlebar and the stem are considered together as the geometry of the handlebar also plays a crucial role.
- Seat – The saddle n a women’s bike is generally wider and shorter. However, performance riders are inclined towards narrow saddles that allow them to pedal freely. Remember, that the saddle can be changed easily. So, do not skip a bike if you like its other features.
- Handlebar – The handlebars are generally narrower on a women’s bike since they have narrower shoulders as compared to men. However, if you feel your shoulders are sore after a ride, get it changed for a broader one.
- Suspension – The suspension is generally tuned to suit the lower weight of female riders. This can be done at home or at the shop.
- Brake Levers – Shorter riders with smaller hands generally find it hard to reach brake levers and operate them comfortably. Adjustment screws allow you to alter your lever reach.
The Future of Hybrids – Unisex Bikes
Many brands are slowly transitioning into gender-neutral bikes. For instance, the idea of having four sizes for each gender is being replaced by five neutral sizes. This will offer a better range and smaller changes will make them better fit for any individual rider.