This guide will help breakdown the four key design components to keep in mind for women cyclists.
More and more women are biking for transportation, recreation and sport. Female cyclists are incredibly diverse. This is your guide to the different types of bikes for each type or riding preference, so you can find the safest and best option for you. If you need assistance in finding the perfect bike for you be sure to visit your beginner-friendly local bike shop.
BIKE DESIGN FOR WOMEN
Most major bike companies today are making unique models for women. Because women have different bodily proportions than men, these bicycles are designed to be as safe, comfortable and efficient as possible for the female anatomy whether you're a beginner or advanced rider. What's the difference between men's bikes and women's bikes? Four key components: bike saddle width, top tube length, handlebar width and brake lever reach.
SADDLE WIDTH: As a beginner, the right bike saddle can make or break your biking experience. A bike saddle can be swapped out on any bicycle, so even if you are not ready to get a women's bike a saddle built for your anatomy is a great first step. Women's specific bike saddles (the seat of the bike) are designed for their wider pelvic bones. Women's saddles are typically wider than men's saddles, and a cutout or depression in the center of the saddle relieves pressure on sensitive areas for a more comfortable ride.
TOP TUBE AND HANDLEBAR STEM LENGTH: Women's torso length (the trunk of the body from shoulders to hips) and arms are typically shorter than men's. To accommodate, the "top tube" and "handlebar stem" of women's bicycles are shorter. The top tube is the horizontal part connecting the seat parts with handlebar parts. The handlebar stem connects the handlebars to the steering tube. In other words, the distance between the seat and handlebars is shorter so that women can have the most comfortable riding position. For more on bicycle comfort click here.
HANDLEBAR WIDTH: When comfortably gripping the handlebars a rider's hands should be shoulder-width apart. Men have broader shoulders than women and standard handlebars usually measure between 42-44cm wide to match the average man's build. Since women's shoulders are narrower, women's handlebars average around 38-40cm wide.
BRAKE LEVER REACH: Since women tend to have smaller hands the grips on women's bikes are smaller for a better fit. For the same reason, a woman's bike will have a shorter reach on her brake levers ensuring a safe and comfortable ride while biking.
In addition to being aware of these design elements it's also imperative to know some basic bicycle maintenance. Whether you're a beginner or advanced rider, these four design elements will lead to a fun and safe biking experience.
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