Womens Bike Size Guide

More and more women today engage in biking either as a hobby or as a sport or as an alternative means of transport. Choosing the right bike size may seem like an easy task, since manufacturers make straightforward attempts to “feminize” products, making them all sparkly, tiny and pink, to appeal to the women market. Their marketing materials definitely reflect these design decisions.

In reality, if you want to get a bike that you can be comfortable on and which you can keep if you go on to be a cycling buff, choosing the perfect-size bike for you will be very important.

Men are known to be more meticulous in picking their bikes, but women today must be just as selective. Why? Here are some of the reasons:

Men Versus Women

  • Height

Historically, most men are taller than women. If you use a male bike size chart, you may have trouble finding one that fits you perfectly and you will end up wondering why. Being as tall as a certain man does not necessarily translate to enjoying the same bike size.

  • Vertical Balance

Women also have a different vertical balance compared to men, given that they normally have a shorter torso and longer legs. Therefore, a man and a woman may be the exact same height but may not find the same bike equally snug.

  • Hand Size

Since men are mostly built bigger than women, it makes sense that their hands are also much larger. Since women have smaller hands, the brake lever must be closer to the handlebars to ensure that they have an easy reach when they most need to.

  • Shoulder Length

Women also have narrower shoulders compared to men. This will influence how wide apart the handlebars can be before it causes too much air resistance and impede your biking speed.

  • Privates

Though both genders need to protect their intimate parts when sitting on the bike saddle, women need more protection because of their much more exposed anatomy. Choosing the right-size bike will spell the difference between a relaxing ride and a painful one.
Most women do not go on to be cycling fanatics just because their first few rides did not go well for them.

So how do you choose the right bike size for a woman? The best way is to use a bike size chart that is made particularly for women and to know what factors influence the differences in sizing.

Choosing the Right Bike Size

For whatever purpose you are planning to buy your bike for, the most significant factor will have to be the comfort and ease of use. Otherwise, you will be returning your bike before you know it. The important components to consider are the following:

  • Back Length

To check this, sit on the saddle and check if you can reach the handlebars with ease. You shouldn’t be straining to reach them. On the other hand, the bars shouldn’t come too close to your chest either or your balance will still be off.
Women bikes are made to consider a shorter torso so using the correct size chart will be a huge help.

  • Shoulder Width

As mentioned earlier, the handlebars need to be proportional to the shoulder size of the rider. Otherwise, if they are too far apart, it affects the air drag and it will require you to expend more energy to achieve your desired speed and you will tire quite easily.

  • Hand Size

The need to be able to reach your brakes is of utmost importance when it comes to your safety in biking. Most men’s bikes have a longer gap between the handlebars and the brake lever, considering that they have larger hands. Bikes made for women consider a smaller hand size.

  • Saddle Shape

Today, manufacturers are considering the extra protection needed for women in their intimate area when they bike. They make double padded saddles, special groove to relieve pressure when sitting up on your bike and protection for the pelvic bones when you lean toward the handlebars.

  • Frame Size

The term frame size can be used interchangeably with bike size. This vary from XXS to Large depending on the height of the women biker and the bike type.

Womens Bike Types and Size Chart

Before you buy your bike, consider where you want to go, how fast you want to ride, and how sturdy and safe your bike needs to be depending on the roads you will be trekking. Here are some bike types and their corresponding size chart for women:

  • Cruiser Bike Size Chart

The cruiser size is determined by the frame size, wheel size and your height. Typically, 26” cruisers are intended for women between 5’1” and 6’2”, and 24” beach cruisers are intended for women under 4’3” and 5’3”. If you are taller than 6′, you might need an extended frame.

Wheel Size Frame Size
Height (ft.) Age
16″ 8″ – 10″ 2’10” – 3’8″ 2 – 5
20″ 12″ 3’2″ – 4’4″ 5 – 10
24″ 15″ 4’3″ – 5’3″ 8 – Adult
26″ 15.5″ – 21″ 5′ – 6’4″ 11 – Adult
26″ Extended Frame 6′ And Over Adult
  • Road Bike Size Chart

This bike is meant for short rides on city streets. They have thin tires and flat handlebars, very sleek and made for a comfortable ride around the block.

Rider Height
(Feet & inches
)
Rider Height
(cm)
Suggested
Frame Size
Suggested
Frame Size (cm)
4′  10″ – 5′  1″ 147 – 155 XXS 44 – 46 cm
5′  1″ – 5′  3″ 155 – 160 XS 47 – 49 cm
5′  3″ – 5′  5″ 160 – 165 S 50 – 52 cm
5′  5″ – 5′  8″ 165 – 172 M 53 – 55 cm
5′  8″ – 5′  10″ 172 – 180 L 55 – 57 cm
  • Mountain Bike Size Chart

This type is made for off-road riding and rough terrains. They are slightly bigger in size, with larger tire diameter, and an excellent gear switching and brake system.

Rider Height
(Feet & inches)
Rider Height
(cm)
Suggested
Frame Size
Suggested
Frame Size (cm)
4′ 10″ – 5′ 2″ 148 – 158 XS 33 – 35 cm
5′ 2″ – 5′ 6″ 158 – 168 S 38 – 40 cm
5′ 6″ – 5′ 10″ 168 – 178 M 43 – 45 cm
5′ 10″ – 6′ 1″ 178 – 185+ L 48 – 50 cm

The corresponding size chart as shown above for the road bike is adjusted to be larger for the mountain bike and quite in the mid-range for the next bike type.

  • Hybrid Bike Size Chart

If you want the best of both types, then the hybrid bike is for you. It can be used on pavement and off-road, though not as rough as those you may need a mountain bike for.

Rider Height
(Feet & inches)
Rider Height
(cm)
Suggested
Frame Size
Suggested
Frame Size (cm)
4′ 10″ – 5′ 2″ 148 – 158 XS 33 – 35 cm
5′ 2″ – 5′ 6″ 158 – 168 S 38 – 40 cm
5′ 6″ – 5′ 10″ 168 – 178 M 43 – 45 cm
5′ 10″ – 6′ 1″ 178 – 185+ L 48 – 50 cm

In summary, most bikes will probably look the same to a new biker. And for a woman, riding on men bikes may do the trick at the beginning. But if you are after a significantly comfortable riding experience, it pays to choose the perfect bike size for you that considers your very specific women needs.

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