Men and women need bicycles designed specifically for their individual anatomies. What’s good for one gender may not be so good for the other. Embarrassingly, the bicycle industry has done a poor job addressing gender differences—usually at the expense of the female rider. Happily, during the last decade or so, a couple of leading manufacturers hired designers to develop bicycles specifically for female riders. These new teams work independently of their counterparts who design for male riders. The results have been amazing.
Other than the fun parts, the key differences between the anatomies of a female rider as compared to an equal height male rider include:
• Slightly longer ankle to hip length
• Considerably shorter hip to shoulder length
• Considerably longer shoulder to top of head length (longer neck)
• 35% to 40% less weight
• Considerably narrower shoulder width
• Smaller grip and shorter fingers
• Smaller volume foot structure (although length is about the same)
• Similar cranium size (same helmet sizes) although somehow somewhat smarter
• Somewhat shorter and wider pelvic structure
• Smell better
For these reasons, a female rider should not accept a “shrink and pink” male model bicycle. Be sure you’re working with a bicycle brand that has dedicated designers who are developing women-specific models. Such designs will address more than just the obvious geometry differences. Grips will be revised to better match women’s hands. Saddles will be altered to fit the pelvic structure (length, width and cut out). The tubing will be shaped and hardened (metal) or laid up (carbon) to reflect the rider's reduced weight and position. The handlebar width and position will reflect the rider’s shoulder width and vision habits. Even the pedal width must be considered.
As you can see, there’s a lot to be considered. Your best chance at getting it all right is to visit a bike shop that carries bikes uniquely designed for women, and has staff that know how to help you identify the best model/size for your specific needs and desired experience. No one does that better than The Bike Pedaler in Shreveport. Please come in and let us prove it to you.