What Are The Differences between Men and Women Mountain Bikes


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What exactly do you think when you hear the words “Women’s Bikes” for the very first time? Probably something like a cool and aesthetic bike with a front basket and all pinkish color, right?

But what if we talk about professional female riders who are into mountain biking? Could they rely on such bikes to drive rough and bumpy terrains?

The answer’s NO! This is where you may ask this question that “What is the difference between men’s and women’s mountain bikes?”

Answering it precisely, “There’s no universal difference when we talk in the perspective of MTN bikes only. Women might need some adjustments regarding the frame size, saddle type, the dimensions of handlebar, and stem length, etc.”

But then yet again, brands are now introducing mountain bikes with a “Women Specific” tag. That’s the main reason we are going to explore the major differences in a men’s vs women’s mountain bike.

Main Differences between Men and Women Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes are made to ensure comfort, relaxation, and a thrilling experience for a rider who tends to take on harsh and bumpy trails.

That said, many brands have focused on making Men specific mountain bikes only, but the trend has now slowly shifted.

These days you will find a range of mountain bikes tagged with “Women’s-Specific Bikes” or “Female Specific” bikes.

Whether this is only hype or is there really a difference between men and a women mountain bike is what we are going to discuss below:

The Difference of FIT

One of the major differences between a bike designed for women as compared to men is that of the fit. In general, brands that have made bikes for women claim that women are usually shorter than their opposite gender.

Henceforth, the stack height is kept a little bit lower than that of a standard mountain bike to make it easier for female bikers to ride on harsh terrains.

In addition to that, the women’s torsos length being shorter than men compels these brands to make Women MTN bike fits with shorter reach lengths.

But, another perspective is that any bike that fits perfectly is suitable for both genders, especially female riders.  That’s one of the reasons you could’ve seen many females going for standard or unisex mountain bikes as per their preferences.

Keeping this idea in mind, one could say that brands are selling standard unisex bikes in the name of “Women Mountain Bikes” as a part of their marketing tactics.

Anyways, moving on to some other differences, we see how different components in a women’s mountain bike could differ from a standard counterpart.

Key Components in a Women’s MTN Bike That Affects the Ride

The Stem of the Bike:

Compared to men’s bikes, the stem in a women’s bike is usually shorter to make sure that women can feel comfortable while riding it.

In the meanwhile, the primary focus is also on the geometry of the handlebar as many bike manufacturers try to make it according to the needs of professional women riders.

Difference in Seat

Seats or saddles installed in women’s bikes are wider and shorter at the same time. Such a design of the seat could help lighter riders cycle the mountain bike on uphill terrain easily.

These days, many professional women bikers do prefer narrow saddles as this way they can put all their force in pedaling to increase the bike’s speed as well.

That’s another key component that you’ll find different in a women’s bike.

Handlebar Length

Women usually have narrower shoulders compared to men and for them, the narrower handlebar, the better. This way, it becomes easier for them to keep the bike in their control.

Suspension Adjustment

Furthermore, suspension adjustment in a female mountain bike is done in a way that it can manage low weight. That’s probably because women weigh less than men usually.

Brake Lever Adjustment

Another necessary component since the hands of women are usually shorter than men and they cannot press the brake levers as perfectly as the opposite gender.

Talking of the opposite gender, let us now take a look at whether the women’s MTN bike industry is just hype or not:

Is the Industry Just Hyping Women Mountain Bikes?

Let us put it in some simple words for you, “If someone says that a specific bike is perfect for all women, does that mean that there’s a specific bike meant for all men?”

That just seems ridiculous, isn’t it?

We see two schools of thought here. One is of the view that it’s just a marketing tactic meanwhile others say that it’s done to make sure that more and more women could participate in different cycling-related activities.

Regardless of what these two schools of thought say, we will explore answers to one of the most asked questions to make all the doubts clear as under:

How do you tell if a mountain bike is men’s or women’s?

If we talk about a women-specific MTN bike only, it will have certain adjustments in its stack height, handlebar, brakes, and suspension adjustments. However, there’s no hard and fast rule to differentiate between MTN bikes based on genders.

It all comes down to the fit and that’s the only area women should keep in mind while choosing a mountain bike.

Can a man ride a women’s mountain bike?

Why not? If a woman with certain adjustments can ride a unisex bike, it’s quite the same for men to ride a women’s MTN bike with proper adjustments. So, there are no restrictions for men to ride a female bike as far as it’s not too stylish or pinkish. (Pun Intended)

How are women’s mountain bikes different?

The differences are little to none, especially when we talk about mountain bikes only. Women’s bikes usually feature a short frame with limited stack height and reach. In addition, the handlebar is narrow enough along with a narrow seat.

Suspension is adjusted according to the low weight ratio and brake levers are also made shorter for shorter riders. All these changes make a women’s mountain bike slightly different from a men’s MTN bike.

What size bike should I get for my height?

Although you should count many factors while getting a bike, height plays a major deciding factor among all. That said, if we compare the average height of a person with frame size, then the following chart should be followed: 

Height (ft./in)Height (cm)Bike Frame Size (Inches)
4’10”-5’1”147-155 cm14″
5’1″-5’5″155-165 cm15″
5’5″-5’9″165-175 cm16″
5’9″-6’0″175-183 cm17″

Why do women’s bikes have a lower crossbar?

Making a commuter bike with a lower crossbar dates back to the 1800s when women first started riding bicycles. As per the remarks of Bike City Recyclery, “Women were wearing heavy skirts when they first riding bikes.

The lower bar helped them mount the bikes without compromising their dignity and respect.” That’s the main reason standard women’s bikes usually had lower crossbars in ancient times.

Source: The Society Pages

Is it OK for a woman to ride men’s bikes?

It’s more than okay for a woman to ride a men’s road bike but with certain adjustments. Nowadays, many unisex mountain bikes are available for both males and females. However, shorter women who have short torsos and less weight will have to make certain adjustments to the bike to ride it with comfort and relaxation.

Why are women’s bikes designed differently?

Since women have a different body type compared to men, the bikes designed for them are slightly different. Do remember that the right FIT plays a major role in deciding whether a specific type of bike is perfect for a woman to drive or not.

What should I consider in a mountain bike as a woman?

First things first, make sure that the bike you are getting is from a reputable brand when you visit a bike shop. Other than that, make adjustments in the bike according to your body dimensions as well as your weight.

Next, focus on getting a tubeless bike as this way you will get away with any unusual punctures. Last but not the least, you simply cannot make assumptions based on the first ride only. Keep testing different adjustments with your bike and only then you’ll know whether to get it or not.

Final Takeaways

No matter how hard one tries, this debate of gender difference in mountain bikes will always remain a confusing one.

On one hand, women bikes are becoming the talk of the town, while on the other hand, some people are terming at just marketing hype and nothing much.

Regardless of what anyone says, as a female, you should prefer your comfort, fit, and relaxation while choosing a bike rather than going for a Women-Specific Bike blindly.

With that, we’ll be signing off till we meet again with another interesting discussion about mountain bikes.

Good Luck!

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Written By

From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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