How You Can Tell A Girls Bike: What’s The Difference Between A Men’s Bike And A Woman’s Bike?

So you’ve been nursing the idea of beginning to cycle because of the benefits you’ve been hearing about it. You’ve learned how to cycle and it’s now time for you to get a bike, but you are facing a big issue, which also brought you to this page and you have a question; ‘How can I tell a girls bike” or “what’s the difference between a man and a woman’s bike’.

At first glance, they may not look different at all. The first thing you should know before you dive in properly is that you can drive any bike you want, regardless of how gender-specific it may be. As long as you hop on it and you are very comfortable riding it, then you can take it home with you from the bike store. 

One thing some bike dealers may not tell you is that all bikes are unisex. The major difference between these bikes is just their sizes and fit, but they perform the same way. Most women are usually shorter than men; have proportionally shorter torsos and longer legs, smaller hands, and narrower shoulders, and their bikes are designed to address these differences.

That aside, understanding these differences and their impact on their rider will be very useful for you when you go to get your bike. So, here are a few differences between men’s bikes and women’s bikes to take note of.

Read more: How To Choose The Right Gravel Bike For Your Riding Style

1. Frame Size

7938A95F 14C8 4BAD 9A10 D350DFC43253

This is the most significant difference in the different gender bikes. This is because women are shorter than men on average, women’s bikes tend to have a shorter stack height. They also tend to have shorter torsos, so women’s bicycles often have a shorter reach length. Although a few components can be adjusted to make this better for you, some of them include the handlebar, brake levers, and bike stem. These will be discussed further in the article. 

2. Saddle


Women-specific bikes have a slightly different saddle to their male counterparts. The reason for this is that women typically have wider pelvic bones than men, so some women’s bikes have shorter and wider saddles, while men’s saddles tend to be narrower. Regardless of this difference, performance riders usually prefer a narrower saddle to give them extra space for pedaling. Narrower saddles also reduce the friction between your legs, which can become a problem if you’re riding in an aggressive position. Casual female riders, however, may prefer the added comfort of a wider saddle. Whatever your choice may be, note that bicycle saddles are an easy component to change. 

3. Suspension

56B3A389 1961 432B A120 07060C28DA53

This is another component that comes up in discussions about differences between men’s and women’s bicycles. The two-gender bikes usually have a similar suspension set-up, but you will have to adjust it to suit your weight which is something you can comfortably do at home and seek help from the closest bike shop to you. 

4. Style

E9009B35 2E83 4466 999A 665A6520A9F4

This is usually not a very big issue or difference, it just has to do with the range styles and colors. Women’s bikes tend to include brighter color options and features like wicker baskets, while men’s bikes usually stick to more neutral colors. 

5. Stem 

930CBD9C BD12 4E2D 8369 088AB65A573A

A shorter or longer stem offers a simple way to fine-tune a bike frame’s reach for you. A different stem style might also put the handlebar in a higher position that’s more comfortable for riding. This is a component that can be easily changed for you before you leave the bike shop if you desire.

6. Bike Handlebars

5283164D 9F23 49B5 A5E5 E4E10F4F0A6A

For the average women, their shoulders are usually narrower than that of men, so their bikes are usually built to have narrower bars to suit them. Using a handlebar that isn’t designed for your build can cause sore shoulders after every ride.

7. Brake Levers

brake lever

Shorter riders who in this case, are usually women often have smaller hands, making it hard to comfortably reach and operate brake levers in some men’s bikes. Some levers have adjustment screws that let you reduce lever reach, or better still, get a bike with short-reach levers.

8. Wheels

16D34A52 F9B0 44CB BF82 FBFBE695868E

Men’s bikes are usually designed to have bigger tires, while women’s bikes are designed to have smaller tires. For women or shorter riders, a smaller frame can make a big difference but so can smaller wheels. 

9. Reach

1DCA7D5E 26DD 453D 8B2E 185972FF8134

Unlike men’s bikes, women’s bikes are crafted to provide easier and better reach to the handlebars. This is because most women tend to have short torsos than their male counterparts.

10. Cranks

Bike Crank Arm

Women’s bicycles have an average crank length of 6.5 inches, but it’s 6.7 inches for the males counterparts. Women and short people can easily reach the bottom of their pedal stroke with the shorter crank length, and the longer length is designed to fit men’s longer legs.

The bottom line is that the best bike for you is the one that fits your body regardless of whether it is a women’s-specific bike or a men’s-specific bike. Ensure to spend some time testing out different bikes, and learning about bike sizing before you take anyone home with you.

Read also: Electric Bikes Vs. Traditional Bikes: Which Is Right For You?


  1. How do you know if a bike is unisex?

The easiest way to tell if a bike is unisex is to look at the crossbar. On women’s bikes, the crossbar sits tend to sit far lower than it does on men’s bikes. However, the crossbar on unisex bikes takes a neutral position. This will look like a ‘v-shape’ frame rather than a low or high frame.

2. What makes a bike female-specific?

Women tend to be shorter than men, and have proportionally shorter torsos and longer legs, smaller hands, and narrower shoulders. That means that women’s-specific bikes are designed to address these differences in body shapes.

3. Can a male ride a female bike?

Yes. A bike is a bike, and once you’ve learned to ride one, you can ride them all. 

Leave a comment