Do Women Need Specific Girl Bikes?
The demand for bike customization is increasing, and the gender of the rider is a determining factor. The morphology of women and men is different, which influences pedalling.
Some brands offer their range of bikes specifically for women. They are models that stand out from the unisex label with their characteristics.
But here’s the big question: are these women’s bikes the best choice for female riders? The debate has begun.
In reality, in the professional peloton, women cyclists use the same bikes as men, with some adaptations in size and contact elements, such as the saddle, handlebars, and pedals.
In the world of amateurs, there is a bit of everything. Some girls cycle on unisex bikes and others buy specific bikes for women, on which they ride more comfortably.
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Women’s or unisex bike frames: what’s the difference?
The differences are primarily in frame size and geometry, specifically how steep or steep the top tube is.
One option is to approach brands (Canyon, Scott, Giant/Liv, etc.) that offer a differentiated catalogue of specific bikes for women, with the corresponding proposal of sizes focused on the female public (S, M, L, and XL). These bikes are more present in the entry and mid-range. The other possibility is to buy unisex bikes, with more variety and bikes already in the maximum range. In this case, we should consider their small size (XXS, S, M).
Size is a factor that determines the design and geometry of the bike. For starters, women’s bikes have more pronounced sloping than unisex models. The result is a more compact and manoeuvrable front triangle than a bike with a straighter and more elongated tube. This characteristic is even more pronounced on mountain bikes.
Women’s bikes tend to have a steeper top tube and a more compact front triangle.
Accordingly, the dimensions of the frame are changed. The reach and stack are smaller, and the distance between the tubes and the angles are a little more balanced: less steep at the level of the head tube and less vertical at the level of the seat tube. These adaptations are visible in models such as the Scott Contessa scale or the Canyon Grand Canyon WMN.
Differences in components: handlebars, saddles, and pedals
Regarding assembly, the main differences are in the contact elements between the cyclist and the bike: the handlebars, the saddle, and the pedals.
A women’s specific handlebar will always be smaller, both in width and curvature (in the case of road bikes). The width of the shoulders and the size of the hands are smaller, so the measurements must be different.
As for saddles, almost all women’s bikes have a specific saddle adapted to the female physiognomy. They are more comprehensive and have a thicker tip to fit the pelvis better, which is more extensive in women than in men.
The saddle is the component that changes the most. Women’s saddles are wider.
In contrast, the pressure on the perianal area is more pronounced in women. It is why many women choose to move the saddle forward toward the handlebars to reduce it. Also, there are specific models with softer padding for this area.
Finally, we will pay attention to the pedals and, more specifically, the length of the cranks, which will also tend to be a little shorter.
As with the rest of the edit, there are no significant gender differences.
Conclusions: Unisex bike or specific to women?
You can easily use both if you’re a girl looking for a new bike. However, if you want an exceptionally comfortable bike and are torn between sizes S and M, we recommend a specific bike for women. But it all depends on your tastes and expectations since the range of bikes in this segment is not very extensive.
If you want a sportier, more capable bike, you’ll need to look to the unisex options, where there’s a broader choice of models with higher quality, competition-oriented components. These bikes are a little less comfortable, but this can be mitigated by adapting the saddle, handlebars, or cranks.
Specific road bikes for women: favourite models
- Scott Contessa Addict: Scott’s high-performance road bike with size, saddle, and handlebar adaptations for women’s builds.
- Canyon Ultimate WMN: carbon model, light and with specific sizing, for quality outings or training. Good value for money.
- Liv Avail: Women’s specific frame, geometry, and components. A great value bike with carbon and aluminium options.
- Lapierre Pulsium women: a good quality/price ratio model developed and tested in competition. Its triple triangle design provides strength and comfort in the saddle.
Women’s mountain bikes: favorite models
- Scott Contessa Spark: Women’s version of the brand’s double-star suspension, specific sizing (small sizes), and a Syncros Celista saddle for girls. There are four different configurations but at a steep price.
- Scott Contessa Scale: rigid model, with specific geometry and sizes, with more sloped and adapted components such as the saddle.
- Canyon Grand Canyon WMN: a quality mountain bike for beginners with an adapted geometry, a wider saddle, and a narrower handlebar. There are even versions with a dropper post.
- Juliana Maverick: If you are already an expert on your mountain bike and like thrills, Juliana, the women’s bike brand from Santa Cruz, offers this Enduro/All Mountain Maverick with 29″ wheels, a carbon frame, and 145/150mm travel suspension.
Gravel bikes for women: favourite models
- Canyon Grizl WMN: a revolutionary new model for all types of gravel rides. It has the hardtails as well as those with the suspension front fork.
- Cannondale Topstone Women: Aluminum frame, specific sizes, and wide saddle for this mid-range gravel bike.
- Liv Devote: The gravel option, with carbon and aluminium versions, steep, manoeuvrable, and lightweight frame.