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Handlebars: women generally have narrower shoulders, and ideally your handlebars should measure a similar width to your shoulders.
So a well fitting women’s bike will have narrow handlebars fitted.
There are two clear approaches that brands take: Some brands build a frame to be completely women’s specific.
This is often represented in a shorter top tube, and taller head tube. Many women’s bikes also feature a slacker head angle and longer rake – which does tend to position the bike closer to that of a unisex endurance bike.
The reasons for this vary – some brands say their research suggests women have a shorter wingspan (arms), meaning a shorter reach is ideal, others suggest women’s lower upper body mass and centre of gravity make this a more suitable option, whilst some explain that women position their pelvis differently to avoid soft tissue compression.
Some say the reason is that their focus groups and studies suggest many women want to ride in a more upright position.
Many women choose to buy a standard unisex frame, and adjust the components above to suit.Brands creating a bike with female specific frame geometry will spec the bike with components that match the intended rider – the handlebars, stems, saddles, cranks and gearing will all be female friendly (more on that below).Other brands choose not to create a female specific frame, but instead to offer the same chassis as the unisex bikes, but with components adjusted to better suit the average woman’s requirements. We’ve said it a number of times over the last decade – but that’s because the upward trajectory is on a constant march – as is the sale of women’s road bikes.If evidence in numerical form is what you need, then you’ll be pleased to hear that this Spring, British Cycling announced a staggering 45 per cent increase in the number of women holding race licenses between 20.
This does the same job of decreasing the reach, but can affect the handling.