Sure there are female specific bikes out there, but they’re just not for me. The colours are never quite right, and what the hell is with those weird brakes they insist on putting on?
Unless you’re extremely small, there’s no reason why you can’t buy a ‘mens’ bike. I’ve had four, and all have been mens, and all around a size medium (I’m 171cm tall). However, women’s bodies are obviously different. Longer legs and shorter torsos are just the beginning, and here are some tips I’ve found help make a bike more female friendly.
Switch the saddle
Out of my 4 bikes, only one has come with a half decent saddle, and that’s on my Giant Defy disc. Standard saddles that come with a bike are pretty crap anyway, and even men tend to swap them as they find them uncomfortable.
For women, we need saddles with a much wider area for our ‘sit’ bones. Regular saddles can just sit in-between these bones, with our bones almost cupping the saddle, and allowing a lot of pressure to build up where it shouldn’t (ouch).
Saddles with a cut out middle are also much better for women, as they stop pressure from building up in the most sensitive and painful spots. Saddles like this aren’t super expensive, and are the most fundamental way to make a difference to your ride. Making a bike more female friendly can sometimes be as simple as just changing your saddle.
Get a shorter stem
A man and woman of the same height have very different builds. For example, a lot of a woman’s height is through her legs, with her torso being much shorter than a males of the same height. As a result, a woman will have to reach a lot further to reach the handle bars.
This can cause discomfort in the neck, back, and saddle area. However, it can be solved very easily. Stems cost anything from £15-60+ depending what you’re looking for, and come in all sizes.
Simply get on a few mm’s shorter, put it on, and you’re done! One of the easiest and cheapest ways to make your bike more female friendly.
Wear the right gear
The amount of girls I’ve seen out riding in simply running leggings is enough to make me weep. There are cycling shorts for a reason! Riding shorts with padding is in my eyes absolutely essential.
They don’t even have to be an expensive pair. My first pair were £20 off of wiggle and I was sorted. Give them a try, and your arse might thank you for it.
Adjust your brakes
Girls hands are much smaller than boys (obviously), and that can make reaching the brakes a bit tricky. If like me you don’t know how to adjust them yourself, find a doting boyfriend, father, brother or mechanic to help. All you need is your brake levers brought closer.
Bringing them closer to the bars themselves means you don’t have to stretch your fingers as far, and also gives you much more control when braking. This makes your bike more female friendly, as well as safer when descending.
Making your bike more female friendly doesn’t have to be an expensive chore. Don’t look at female specific bikes, look at them all! They can all be made to suit you better.