Do Womens Mountain Bikes
Really Fit You Better?




Womens mountain bikes are growing in production as more and more women become interested in the sport of mountain biking. Many women wonder if a mountain bike with a women specific design is really a better fit than a unisex bike.

Women specific mountain bikes are not just scaled-down versions of men's mountain bikes. They are designed to fit the average body type of a female, which has the following characteristics:


  • Smaller body size
  • Lighter weight
  • Shorter torso
  • Longer legs in proportion to torso
  • Shorter arms
  • Wider hips
  • Smaller hands


If you are a woman who has a body type with the above characteristics, a woman specific design is likely to be a good option.


If your body type varies a lot from the average female body type and/or you are larger in size, you may wish to go with a bike that does not have a women specific design.



How Womens Bikes are Different

Mountain bikes made specifically for women have frames and components that are designed to fit the average female body type. Characteristics of womens mountain bikes often include the following:


  • Shorter top tube

  • Smaller and lighter frames

  • More standover height

  • Shorter and steeper seat tube

  • Shorter stem

  • Thinner and shorter handlebars

  • Wider and flatter saddle

  • Shorter cranks

  • Shorter reach to brake levers to accommodate smaller hands



Where to Find Womens Mountain Bikes

Many companies offer a selection of womens mountain bikes in their line-up. Some reputable companies that offer mountain bikes with women specific design include the following:


Cannondale
Feminine- Full suspension and hardtail options

Gary Fisher
GS (Genesisters) Geometry- Full suspension and hardtail options

Giant
Giant for Women- Full suspension and hardtail options.
Entry level hardtail 29er with women specific geometry. Only company that makes a 29er for women, but it is unfortunately very entry-level.

GT
GTw design- Full suspension and hardtail options

Marin
This company has some women specific design hardtail options, but nothing in a full suspension.

Specialized
D4W (Designs for Women)- Nice selection of full-suspension and hardtails

Trek
WSD: Women's Specific Design- Full suspension and hardtail options





Not all bicycle companies offer a line-up of mountain bikes made for women because the sport is still dominated by men. As a result, many of the mountain bikes on the market are designed with male riders in mind even though there are many women who mountain bike and take the sport seriously.


Although many bicycle companies do offer a line-up of womens mountain bikes, the selection is more limited than the mountain bikes made with male riders in mind. Because of this, women often look at purchasing mountain bikes that are not made to consider female body proportions.


If you are a woman and are planning on buying a mountain bike that is not made specifically for a woman rider, it is important to make sure that the bike is set up to fit you correctly and that the seller is willing to work with you on ensuring a good fit.


For example, make sure that the seat is comfortable. Men's and womens mountain bike seats are shaped differently to accommodate their different anatomies. The seller of the bike should be willing to switch out the existing seat for a comparably priced women's mountain bike seat.



Because women in general have shorter torsos in proportion to their overall height than men, the top tube on men's bikes can often be too long even though the standover height is adequate. Make sure that the reach from the seat to the handlebars is a comfortable distance and not too far.


Often, the handlebars on men's bikes are too wide for women. They should only be 4-6 inches wider than the width of your shoulders. A little wider is good for downhill because it gives you more leverage, but can be uncomfortable for climbing.


For more information on how to buy a mountain bike that fits you properly and how to make adjustments on a bike you already own, please visit our page on Mountain Bike Fit



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