You have probably seen companies and retailers referring to a bike as a girls’ bike or a boys’ bike as though bikes are created with different sexes in mind.
Yes, they are.
Bike manufactures have made significant design differences in bikes meant for female riders and the reasons will surprise you. So why are girls bikes different?
Bikes for girls and women in the 1800s and early 1900s had a slanted top tube. This is the tube connecting the seat to the handlebar.
This allowed for easier mounting and riding for women who mostly wore long dresses. The chain was also covered up to prevent their dresses from getting caught up and ruined.
Structurally, women’s bike had a basic and pretty frame as most women were riding for pleasure. The bikes were also much weaker compared to male bikes. Girls were not expected to exert much weight on a bike then.
The difference in a girl’s bike and a boy’s bike are mostly irrelevant for younger riders. They may come in different colours for girls and boys but that is about it.
Later on, though, bikes meant for adult and adolescent riders look slightly different because of the obvious biological differences.
Here are the main differences.
1. The top tube is lower or shorter
The slanting top tube is still present in many girls’ bikes today. The slanting tube, however, has nothing to do with long dresses. It makes it easier for shorter girls to mount the bike and reach the handlebars.
Some modern bikes have done away with the slanting. The top tube is designed parallel to the ground. However, it is still shorter on girls’ bikes. This improves riding position for girls.
2. The handlebars are narrower
Older Boys and men have wider shoulders and can comfortably ride a bike with wide handlebars. Bikes built for girls will have a shorter handlebar to accommodate their narrower frame.
The stem (the part connecting the handlebars to the steering tube) is also shorter on girls’ bike. Girls typically have shorter arms.
3. Saddles are wide and comfy
Looking at a girl’s bike, it would be hard not to notice how much wider the saddle is. Boys’ bikes have a tall and thin saddle.
Girls bike come with a saddle built with extra width and padding to help the rider sit more comfortably. More advanced saddles will have a large groove down the middle to help ease the pressure to the perineum.
4. Girl’s bike are more colourful
The difference in styling and colour between girls’ and boys’ bikes is more of a cultural thing than a practical factor in bike design.
But you don’t have to get a pink bike for your daughter if you don’t want or it’s not her favourite colour. There is a wide variety of styles today with all sorts of colours available.
If she prefers a red and black bike or finds orange bikes to be prettier, it’s easy to find the exact style you want at a store or online.