Cycling has long been a man’s world where women have had to adapt themselves to riding men’s bikes and only being able to adjust the saddle height. While this suits some women, it’s not ideal for the majority who find they suffer neck, shoulder or back strain as a result.
Most manufacturers now produce women-specific models in addition to the standard models, often using D4W (Designed for Women), WSD (Women Specific Design) or (L) in the name. All categories therefore tend to offer a choice of women’s bikes. You can easily find these by using the Gender filter for ‘Women’s Specific‘ bikes.
The main differences compared to men are that women’s upper bodies and arms are generally shorter while their legs tend to be longer. Basically if a woman sits on a man’s bike and could just reach the floor with their feet, they would have to stretch too far forward to reach the handlebars.
The ‘women specific’ bikes therefore have a shorter reach and a slightly raised handlebar position to help take the strain away from the arms, shoulders and neck.
Being sat more upright places more weight on the seat so a women specific saddle is been designed to accommodate the different shaped pelvis and wider sit bones. Even women who have chosen to ride a man’s bike will often buy a women specific saddle.
Other features you can look out for are:
- Thinner handgrips (smaller in diameter);
- Narrower bar width;
- Shorter reach brake levers.
To compliment the bikes, there is also a wide range of women’s specific clothing available.
April 13, 2012 Bike Guides