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In this Article

Women's cycling: should you buy a bike specially designed for women?

In this Article

Published on Wednesday 22 March 2023

Good news! Women's cycling is becoming more and more democratic... and so are the bikes for women. The question is which bike to choose. Fortunately, The Cyclist House is here to help you make the right choice and guide you in thebuying a used bike. If you are a woman, choosing a bike specifically designed for women is a wise choice (but we will discuss this further below). Indeed, the bikes for women are generally designed to fit the female body type, they are often more comfortable, and will offer you an optimal ease for your rides.

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Women riding road bikes

Features to consider before buying a woman's bike

No matter what you do, there are a few things you'll need to consider before you buy choosing a woman's bike. Here are the different characteristics to study before you start. The following tips may vary depending on your practice, the number of rides you do and the length of your workouts.

  1. How to choose the right size of women's frame ?

The women's bike frame differs from a men's bike frame in that its geometry is more suited to the female body type (shorter top tube and lower frame height). First of all, it is important to understand that the size of the frame is determined by the length of the crotch. So measure the length from the ground to your crotch to get a first indication. Then, consult the size guide at women's bike model you want to find the frame size that fits you.

💡 If you are between two sizes, always choose the smaller one for better handling and comfort.

Here's an example of a frame with a shorter, lower top tube, specifically designed for women:

Liv Avail Advanced Pro bike

In addition to comfort, choosing the right frame size can also improve your safety. A frame that fits you perfectly will allow you to control the bike better, brake more easily and react more quickly to unexpected events.

💡The frame of the Liv Avail Advanced 1 frame, made from high quality carbon fiber, is an excellent choice for women who are looking for a road bike frame with a geometry specifically designed for their body type. Its frame is perfect for long rides and races, offering a fast yet comfortable ride.

2. How to choose the right women's saddle?

For a good practice, several elements must be taken into account:

  • The width of the women's saddle The width of the saddle should correspond to the distance between the pelvic bones. Women generally have wider pelvic bones than men, so it is important to choose a wider saddle for optimal comfort.
  • The shape of the women's saddle Women's saddles often have a wider and shorter shape to provide optimal support in the pelvic area. Flat saddles are generally better suited for riders who prefer a more upright riding position, while curved saddles are better suited for riders who have a more aggressive stance on the bike.
  • Padding and materials It's up to you to find the right compromise between comfort and support to avoid pain and friction.

💡 An example of a women's bike saddle is the Selle Royal Respiro Soft Athleticwhich is designed to provide maximum comfort and ventilation during long rides. It has a curved shape for optimal support and a central channel to reduce pressure on the pelvic area. The saddle also features ventilation technology to keep the seat area dry and cool.

3. How to choose the right Handlebar woman?

Here are the different criteria to take into consideration when choosing your Handlebar :

  • The width of the Handlebar woman The width of the Handlebar should match the width of the rider's shoulders. Women generally have narrower shoulders than men, so it is important to choose a Handlebar (from 380 mm for women against 400 mm for men) for an optimal comfort.

    Width Handlebar woman
  • The shape of the Handlebar Women's hangers are often designed with a smaller shape to fit the female body. Flat hangers are often better suited to women. mountain bikes or for riders who prefer a more upright riding position, while curved hangers offer a more aerodynamic position for riders looking to improve their speed.

    The shapes of Handlebar bike
  • The height of the Handlebar The height of the Handlebar affects the riding position and can be adjusted to suit each rider's preference. Higher hangers are often better suited for riders seeking maximum comfort, while lower hangers offer a more aerodynamic riding position for riders seeking to improve performance.

💡 The Handlebar Zipp Service Course SL-70 is designed to offer an aerodynamic riding position while maintaining optimal comfort. It is available in sizes ranging from 36 to 44 cm to fit every rider, and is made from high quality aluminum for optimal lightness and durability!

4. How to evaluate the components of a women's bike?

There are several key components that affect the quality and performance of your bike:

  • The wheels The wheels are a crucial element for the stability and the performance of the bicycle. It is important to choose wheels adapted to the practice envisaged (road, mountain bike, bicycle touring), by taking into account the size, the weight and the profile of the wheels.

  • The tires The tires are also very important for the stability and the comfort of the bicycle. Again, it depends on your practice. You have to think about the size, the pressure and the type of tire (smooth, notched, tubeless...). If you choose the buying a used mountain bike. If you choose to buy a used mountain bike, check the condition of the tires, which are often put to a severe test.
  • The transmission The transmission is composed of the CassetteThe transmission is composed of the gearbox, the derailleur and the chainrings. You will have to be careful about the number of gears, the gear ratio and the quality of the components. We have compared the different models of the main manufacturers in our article on SRAM vs Shimano.
  • The brakes Brakes are a crucial element for the safety of the cyclist. You will have to choose between a pad or disc system. We have compared the two options in a dedicated article. Depending on your riding style, you will have to take into account the braking power and the durability of the material.


Women's bikes: real advantage or just a marketing argument?

If cycling is still essentially a male sport, the lines are changing and more and more women are getting into it every year. A trend that has not escaped the attention of manufacturers, who are increasingly offering models designed for women - or at least sold as such.

The group Giant has even created a 100% female brand: Liv. With bikes for all types of cycling (road, MTB, triathlon, leisure), Liv is particularly present among women cyclists and sponsors many athletes.

Lapierre continues to offer some models for women, but the range seems to be shrinking. In particular, they have stopped the production of the Xelius Women in 2021. The brand still offers a specific Selsium model for women, with an adapted geometry as you can clearly see on the comparison below (we let you guess which one is the women's model!) :

Comparison of the Lapierre Sensium 2022 for women and men


Same observation at Cannondale, which still offers a Topstone and a CAAD13 for women. The difference between men and women models is less obvious, the geometry is really very close. Some specific components like the saddle or the size of the shifters are proposed but the main difference is in the colors and the sizes available.

Trek and Specialized have completely stopped their women's lines. Like Canyon, they offer their "mixed" models in a wider range of sizes, sometimes starting from XXS.

That said, and fortunately, it is not mandatory to buy a woman's bike when you are a woman! On the contrary, the goal is to buy a bike that fits you perfectly. So if a "man's" bike suits you, go for it!

For example, Marianne Vos, Olympic champion and multiple world champion, uses a bike model Giant TCR Advanced SL. This model is marketed as a high-end "men's" road bike, suitable for competitions. You can always add a more comfortable women's saddle on a mixed bike, or replace the Handlebar to personalize your bike.

Marianne Vos

The choice of bike is up to you!

The Cyclist House has given you some advice, but it all depends on you, your goals, your budget, your preferences... There is no perfect bike. If you're an occasional rider, you can opt for entry-level components, while if you ride regularly, it's recommended to invest in higher-end components to ensure better performance and durability. It's also important to consider your body type and riding style when choosing components that best suit your body and riding style.

One final question to ask yourself:

Buy a new bike or a used bike?

It is also important to ask yourself the question of whether to buy a new or used bike. If you want to buy a bike at a low price, the used bike can be very interesting, especially if you want to find high-end models at an affordable price. In addition, buying a used bike is often more environmentally friendly as it gives a bike a second life rather than buying a new one. However, it is important to check the condition of the bike before buying and to make sure that all the components are in good working order. Come and read our used road bike buying guide to help you in your choice.

Now it's your turn to play! The whole team The Cyclist House wishes you a good journey, and see you soon



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