There’s no arguing that grown men and women have different bodily structures; this is why certain things have to be designed differently – clothing, sporting equipment and bicycles. Whilst men and women can use the same bikes, there are advantages to having a bike that is made specifically for your body type.
But what exactly are the differences between men’s bikes and women’s bikes? And do we really need separate boys’ bikes and girls’ bikes? Is there an age or size at which it makes a difference?
We have put together this guide to help you understand the differences between men’s and women’s bikes – as well as boy’s and girl’s bikes, and how to tell them apart.
You might decide that you would prefer to use the opposite gender bike based on your preferences, but the information we have gathered should help you to decide.
Why Are Male And Female Bikes Different?
Men and women both enjoy cycling and are equally proficient at it. However, the differences between the bodily structure of men and women can make it difficult for them to use the same style of bike.
The main differences in bodily structure are in the shoulders, arms, torso, and pelvis. These are important parts of the body when it comes to cycling, so you can understand how important it is to have a bike that is suited to your body.
At What Age Should You Get A Gender-Specific Bike?
It’s usually very easy to tell girl’s and boy’s bikes apart, but this is far less to do with the design of the bike and more about the decoration.
Girl’s bikes are often pink and purple or decorated with hearts and flowers and streamers from the handlebars.
Boy’s bikes are typically blue, green, or black with a sporty motif.
These colors and gender stereotypes have absolutely nothing to do with bodily structure and are all about marketing.
There aren’t many differences between the bodily structure of girls and boys before they begin puberty. This means that children can use unisex bikes, a girl’s bike or a boy’s bike. The most important consideration is that you choose a bike that is the right height for the child.
Once the child has reached puberty, the differences in bone structure and growth will become more apparent. So if your child is ready to upgrade from their kiddy bike to something more serious, it’s time to take note of the differences in bicycle design and what may suit their body best.
What Are The Main Differences Between Male And Female Bikes?
Due to the bodily differences mentioned above, men’s bikes and women’s bikes are designed slightly differently. The main differences are in the following areas:
- The Frame – the design of the top tube
- The Seat – The width of the seats
- The Handlebars – The width of the handlebars
These differences might not seem very drastic, but it makes a big difference when it comes to how comfortable the bike is to ride. This is especially important for longer bike rides or competitive cycling.
Girl Bike v Boy Bike: The Frame
One of the biggest differences between men’s bikes and women’s bikes is the frame structure, specifically the top tube. But what is the top tube?
The top tube is the section of metal that connects the seat and the handlebars. On men’s bikes, the top tube tends to be straight- a level horizontal line between the handlebars and the seat.
On women’s bikes, the top tube is often slanted downwards which makes the bike a lot easier to mount.
The other difference between the frame of a men’s bike and a female bike is not just the position of the top tube, but also the length of it.
Women, generally speaking, tend to have shorter torsos than men. This means that women will be more comfortable if the seat is closer to the handlebars, so the top tube is slightly shorter on women’s bikes than on men’s bikes.
Girl Bike v Boy Bike: The Seat
You can get unisex bike seats which would be fine for short distances, but if you plan on going on longer bike rides then your growing child might be better suited to a gendered bike seat.
Women tend to have a wider pelvis, so female bike seats are wider to accommodate this. Male bike seats are narrower and longer. This may not be a concern though for a pre-teen, but a very important consideration as your girl reaches puberty.
Regardless of which seat you choose, make sure that you invest in a high-quality seat. It should be nicely padded to provide support- gel seats are particularly comfortable.
A good quality seat will also have a gap in between the two sides of the seat. This is to ease the pressure on your perineum.
Girl Bike v Boy Bike: Handlebars
Another area in which men’s and women’s bikes differ is the handlebars. Women often have narrower shoulders than men, so the handlebars on female bikes are also narrower.
The handlebars on men’s bikes tend to be between 16 and 18 inches wide whereas on women’s bikes they are between 13 and 16 inches wide.
It is not just the width of the handlebars that are different – there is also the stem. The stem of the handlebar is the non-adjustable, horizontal part.
As women have shorter torsos and often have shorter arms too, the stem of the handlebars on a women’s bike is shorter. This allows them to reach the handlebars in a much safer, more comfortable way.
Are all females the same shape though? Absolutely not!
How To Choose The Right Bike For Your Tweens & Teens
When it comes to choosing your child’s bike, you need to make sure it is comfortable. Whilst the differences between men’s bikes and women’s bikes are based on general differences in body structure between the genders, every person has a unique shape – your growing tweens and teens especially.
The best way to ensure that they will be comfortable on their bike is to test it out in the shop if possible. There are certain things that you should look out for when you are choosing your bike.
When it comes to the length of the frame, you need to make sure that they can reach the handlebars. The handlebars need to be the right length as well so that their hands are the right distance apart and it suits their shoulder width.
The seat height is important, but this can easily be adjusted. More importantly, they need to choose a seat that will be comfortable and appropriate for the width of their pelvis.
So Girls Bike or Boys Bike – And Does it matter?
When it comes to children’s bikes, the only difference between boys’ and girls’ bikes is purely decorative, they are not functionally different.
However, as your child grows in their tweens and teens, the differences in bone structure between men and women mean that when it comes to helping them choose a more “grown-up bike” you will need to consider the differences in design, not just wheel size.
It’s not necessarily about choosing a men’s or women’s bike, it’s about choosing a bike that they are comfortable riding and will grow with their body.
© Kids Bike Scoot Skate