A Guide to Women’s Bikes; What Differentiates Women Bikes from Men Bikes?


Many manufacturers offer different bikes for men and women with some subtle variances to accommodate physiological differences between them. Although many women find unisex/men bikes perfectly suitable for their needs, many are looking for bikes with a more specialized design and female- specific features.

Some key differentiating factors between unisex/men and women’s bikes include:

  • Smaller sizes with a subtle difference in geometry
  • Shorter reach (usually measuring the distance between saddle and handlebars), resulting in a more comfortable and upright position
  • Lowered top-tube in commuter and hybrid bikes, making it easier for female riders to get on/off the bike
  • Narrower handle bars to accommodate narrower shoulders and shallower drops on road bikes to shorten the reach
  • Shorter crank arms to accommodate riders with short legs and reduce leg stretch
  • Lighter shock tune in mountain bikes is meant to accommodate the usually lighter weight of female riders
  • The saddles are also usually designed keeping physique of female riders in mind, but that’s a personal preference in most cases

Which Type of Bike Should You Buy?

The most important thing to consider is perhaps the type of bike you should buy. Bikes are designed for different purposes and terrains, making it very important to choose the right one in the first place.

The four main bike categories include Road, mountain, gravel and time trial/triathlon bikes. Road and mountain bikes are generally the most popular bikes types so here we’ll try to focus on these and we cover gravel bikes in a separate post.

Road Bikes

As the name suggests, these bikes are designed for paved roads and focus on speed and paddling efficiency. Road bikes are the right choice if you want to go far and fast on tarmac roads. Road bikes are not just for big events as they also allow you to improve fitness and participate in different activities such as weekend races, group rides and evening criteriums.

Some key attributes of road bikes include:

  • High pressure, narrower and smooth tires for reducing rolling resistance
  • Dropped/bent handle bars make it easier for cyclists to lean forward/downward and decrease drag
  • Lightweight
  • Geared higher and usually have fewer climbing gears as they are meant for flat surfaces
  • Don’t usually come with front/rear suspension
  • Wheel clearance is tighter

Road bikes are available in different variants, including race, aero, endurance and hybrid road bikes. Choosing the right one mainly depends on what you want to accomplish and where you plan on riding them the most.

Mountain Bikes

These bikes are the perfect option if you want to go off-road and plan on conquering challenging terrains. Mountain bikes are also available in difference variants, but their main purpose is the same; allowing riders to move through challenging terrains with comfort.

These versatile off-road machines are made for mountain trains, single trails, fire roads and other unpaved roads. Although you can also use them on paved roads, they are not as efficient and fast as road bikes so it comes down to your intended use when deciding between these two types.

Key characteristics of mountain bikes include:

  • Usually come with front and/or rear suspension for absorbing shocks and vibrations
  • Straight handlebar for better control and maneuverability
  • Large and knobby tires
  • Powerful brake
  • Durable wheels
  • Lower gear ratios (up to 27-speed) than road bikes, allowing riders to climb steep grades
  • Heavy-duty construction, designed to take the beating
  • Suspension travel up to 200mm (the higher the travel distance, the more shocks it can absorb, but also wastes some pedaling energy)

Mountain bikes are designed for off-road adventures and suitable for riders who want to explore their local surroundings. If you want something in the middle of road bikes and mountain bikes, you should probably check out our guide to gravel bikes that are multi-terrain bikes. Different types of mountain bikes include cross-country, trail, all-mountain/enduro, downhill and fat bikes.

Our Top 5 Bikes for Women

Trek Domane SL 6 Disc Road Bike

Domane SL 6 is a performance road bike that’s both fast and comfortable. It has all the road-smoothing advantages of a lightweight OCLV Carbon frame with Front and Rear IsoSpeed, a full Shimano Ultegra drive train, high-quality wheels and hydraulic disc brakes for confidence and braking power in any conditions. Plus, it has an easy-access storage compartment for stowing ride essentials.

Domane Trek SL6 _20_
Domane Trek SL6 _20_

Key features and specifications:

  • Lightweight proprietary Carbon frame (500 Series OCLV)
  • Full Shimano Ultegra DT
  • Hydraulic disc brakes (flat mount)
  • Tubeless-ready Paradigm Disc wheels
  • 700x32c tires
  • Internal cable routing for a cleaner look
  • Endurance geometry
  • Smoother riding on rougher roads (IsoSpeed decoupler comfort technology)
  • Additional tire clearance
  • IsoSpeed fork
  • Ride tuned seatmast
  • Bontranger Blendr stem tech for cleaner looks
  • Fender compatibility
  • Tapered head-tube
  • Disk brakes (flat mount)
  • 3S chain keeper
  • Shimano Ultegra shifters, front/rear derailleur, crank, cassette and chain
  • 8.65 kg weight

Canyon Spectral WMN CF 9.0SL Mountain Bike

With progressive geometry, refined suspension kinematics and an array of sophisticated design details, the Spectral WMN CF 9.0 is the bike to help you conquer any terrain and take your riding to the next level.

spectral cf-9 wmn
spectral cf-9 wmn

Key features and specifications:

  • Full suspension bike
  • Carbon frame
  • Kinetics tuned for women and lighter riders
  • 12-speed drivetrain
  • Four-piston brakes
  • Bombproof wheels
  • SRAM derailleur, shift lever, cassette, crank, bottom bracket, disc brakes and brake rotors
  • Carbon rims and MAXXIS 2.4” tires

Giant Fastroad Comax 2 Unisex Hybrid Bike

Fitness riding made fun, this sporty, smooth riding flat bar road bike is pure exhilaration.

FastRoad CM 2_Black
FastRoad CM 2_Black

Key features and specifications:

  • CoMax Composite frame
  • Giant Connect Flat handlebar
  • Shimano shifters, front/rear derailleur, cassette and brakes
  • 700×28 tubeless tires (Giant Gavia Ac 2)
  • Available in Charcoal, Orange and Satin colors

Cannondale SuperX Womens Force 1 Cross Racing Bike

Pure race machines proven between the tape from Belgium to Portland.

superx_force_etap
superx_force_etap

Key features and specifications:

  • Designed for better handling, traction and speed
  • Large mud and tire clearance
  • Ai offset drivetrain for confident handling and climbs
  • Up to 40mm tires
  • OutFront Steering Geometry
  • Micro-suspension features
  • BallisTec Carbon frameset
  • Carbon seatpost
  • SRAM rear derailleur and shifters
  • 700C wheel and 33 tire size
  • SRAM Force brakes and brake levers
  • Weight 8.2 KG

2020 Cannondale Quick Womens 6 Remixte

Go further: A road bike that’s light, stiff, fast and surprisingly comfortable. Your rides will go longer. You’ll barely notice.

Synapse
Synapse

Key features and specifications:

  • A versatile multi-purpose bike
  • Lightweight and easy to pedal/lift
  • Internal cable routing
  • Integrated wheel sensor for activity tracking
  • Bump-absorbing micro suspension
  • Pressure relieving saddles
  • Aluminum frame
  • Shimano drive train (7-speed)
  • Rim brakes
  • Reflective accents
  • Rack mounts
  • 700c wheels, tire size 35
  • Weight 11.9 KG

Conclusion

The main reason to consider a women-specific bike is to have a better fit, which matters a lot when buying a travel companion you plan on riding for years to come. Many women are fine with unisex bikes, while others need something that offers a better fit.

It’s good idea to test out different bikes and get a professional to take size measurements to ensure a better fit. You’ll probably end up riding your bike more than you anticipate. That’s why the buying decision should not be impulsive and made without considering the type of bike you should buy, and whether or not a
women-specific bike is a better fit according to your requirements.

All great reasons to get into your local bike shop and get some professional advise. Find your local here.

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