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Bikes for Women

Men and women are different..........believe it or not!
Womens Bike

This is a womans' mountain bike..... specifically built for a woman rider, even though it looks like an ordinary mountain bike (well, apart from the pink!).

General Description...

Most bikes manufactured are essentially designed for a man's physique, since historically it was mainly men that ride racing bikes. Recently though, there is an increasing number of women actively taking part in the sport, whether just on a leisure basis or more seriously.

Whilst "Ladies" bikes have been available for a good deal of time, the traditional "sit up and beg" style bike which would have been many women's only option, is now sadly unsuitable for the majority of female riders. Whilst perfect for a quick jaunt to the shops, they make riding out with the family on a weekend countryside ride almost impossible.

With the advent of the hybrid, many manufacturers extended their ranges of bikes for "Ladies" into this new design, but this is still restrictive for a good deal of female riders. The traditional "Ladies" frame with it's dropped top tube, is not what a large proportion of female riders want. The frame is not as strong as it's "Mans" equivalent. More recently, these bikes have been adapted to better suit the physique of a woman, but without needing to incorporate a dropped top-tube.

Women wishing to participate seriously in the sport found themselves needing to buy a mans bike and put up with the discomfort it would cause. To look further into it, you need to understand the differences in physique (apart from the obvious...)

If comparing 2 equal height people, one male and one female, of average build for that height, there are some noticeable differences between them;

Women tend to have longer legs and a shorter torso, than the equivalent height man. They would also tend to have shorter arms than their male counterpart. This in turn tends to mean that for a given bike, the reach is too great for a woman. The reach is the distance between the saddle and the handlebars. As you can imagine, shorter arms and a shorter torso mean that a woman would have to stretch further to reach the handlebars of a given bike, than the equal height male would. As most bikes were always built for a man's physique, this meant it most often uncomfortable for a woman to buy a mans bike.

Some manufacturers have recognised the demand for quality bikes for women, in the mountain bike and hybrid sector, and have started to build bikes which better suit the geometry required to fit the female physique. They have started to produce bikes which come with shorter stems, and shorter top-tube lengths, even in top flight competition ready bikes. Although many of these bikes appear to be identical to the "male" versions, close inspection of the 2 bikes side by side will reveal the differences.

If, as a woman, you want to get serious about cycling, you should specifically ask your retailer for a women's geometry bike, and don't just be fobbed off with the first bike you are offered. The choice isn't huge yet, but it is growing, and there are bikes available at many different price points that would conform to the requirements.

Most of all, shop around for a retailer who understands your needs as a cycling woman.

Pros...

Comfort of ride, because the design is tailored to the physique of a woman. Ideal if you don't wish to ride a "ladies" bike!

Cons...

Limited choice at present. Manufacturers are slowly catching on, but progress isn't immediate. Many retailers are unaware of the existence of these bikes, you should however be able to get good advice from a local independent bike shop. You may have to shop around to find someone who can give you good advice. If possible, find a shop which employs a woman cyclist.

Expect to Pay...

No advice, as the category covers so many different "styles" of bikes.
Image Copyrights
Images depict bikes manufactured by Scott.
Womens bikes are available from a number of other manufacturers and use of Scott bicycle images is in no way an endorsement of their product for this purpose.
Permission for use of the images has been sought from Scott UK and copyright over these images remains with the respective supplier.
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