Due to their inherent differences in nature and stature, men and women may need different dimensions and features on a mountain bike. Pointing out a few specifics could help guide your buying decision.Â
My daughter had joined her schoolâ€™s cycling team and she loved it so much that I wanted to support and encourage her by surprising her with a cool mountain bike.
Problem was, I was never a cyclist and I didnâ€™t know anyone in my circle who had ever taken a liking to the sport. A quick search online only confused me more because there seemed to be a womenâ€™s version for almost every bike I liked.
This got me wondering about why exactly characterized the bikes to be qualified as a womanâ€™s bike. As this was my daughterâ€™s first bike, I had to get it right. So, I did a little digging and came up with this review.
What is the difference between menâ€™s and womenâ€™s bikes?
Reign 2 Menâ€™s MTB
Liv Intrigue Womenâ€™s MTB
ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum
RockShox Deluxe Select
DVO custom-tuned Topaz 2 T3
RockShoxYari RC DebonAir
DVO Custom-tuned Diamond
Maxxis Minion DHF 27.5
Maxxis High Roller 27.5
SRAM SX DUB 30t
SRAM X01 Eagle Dub, 30
SRAM Guide RSC â€“ 180 rotors
Liv Contact Forward SL
Menâ€™s vs Womenâ€™s Mountain Bike â€“ How do they compare?
Geometry and FramesÂ
In terms of the frame, the womenâ€™s mountain bikes will generally have smaller frame sizes as compared to the menâ€™s alternative. This is great for speed and storage but not ideal for harsh riding.
A bikeâ€™s geometry requires application of the right fit and size failure to which may lead to injury if these factors are not matched.
Given that mountain biking calls for more time up or out of the saddle compared to the continuous and repetitive motion that road biking calls for, the geometry in designing the female-specific mountain bike is similar to the menâ€™s bikes.
In the past, a low standover height- which is the distance between the top tube and the ground- was a huge factor in designing mountain bikes for women and was considered a unique selling point.
Presently, most mountain bikes are designed with a lower standover height which has eliminated the need for a women-specific design.
The idea frame should give you about 2 inches of clearance from your body to the top tube. This can be done by standing over it and measuring the distance of the tires to the ground to establish clearance.
Male and female bikes should all be required to create a seat comfortable for gender specific seat design.
The fact that while on a mountain bike the riderrarely stays on the saddle for long, this then unifies the kind of saddle made for all types of mountain bikes.
These saddles are designed with adequate cushioning to support the rider’s bum as they ride in a mostly upright position. Arguments have been made based on the womenâ€™s pelvic bones being wider and thus requiring a wider saddle.
However, the many competitive women cyclists who have continued to excel in the riding have dispelled this rumor and some women have come out to say that wider saddles make pedaling even harder.
The brakes on a womanâ€™s mountain bike will mostly feature a lever positioned closer to the handlebar as one is prone to doing before.
Women generally have smaller hands than men. Due to this, most women would appreciate having a brake lever that is conveniently positioned close to the handlebars. This is for ease and comfort of reach when applying the brakes.
You can get anywhere between a 26â€ and 29â€ wheeled womenâ€™s mountain bike whereas in menâ€™s case, the most common is 27.5â€.
Minimum shoe size for Womenâ€™s bikes should she be lost while the men simply sit down silently.While this is still a contest among brands and with innovations coming through, the most common wheel size available on women’s mountain bikes is a 29-inch wheel.
Though another reason for this could be that it is hard to find big wheels in a small framed bike, it could also be predicated upon the idea that women are smaller than men. This means that they will not appreciate the benefit of larger tires.
Large wheels are heavier and require more energy to turn so a lighter variation would be more efficient for the smaller women.
Womenâ€™s narrow shoulders call for shorter handlebars but with enough room to maintain a slight bend in your arms while Menâ€™s alternative has wider set handlebars.
However, if you expect to be riding downhill on some harsh terrain, wider handlebars will give you more handling control.
Small hands should choose mountain bikes with a smaller diameter of handlebars and since this might compromise their strength, it is best to go for carbon fiber materials.
If this is not an option, riding gloves with minimal padding will do and if that is not an option either, a mountain bike with front suspension minimizes vibration so much you wot need the gloves.
Menâ€™s vs Womenâ€™s Mountain Bike â€“ A Comparison Overview
Menâ€™s Mountain Bike ReviewÂ[amazon box=”B06XWL1B1K” template=”horizontal” ]
Using Advanced-grade composite, the frame is both lightweight and stiff built into endure-style geometry for aggressive descents and sharp turns.
Reignâ€™s Bottom bracket drops to 10mm and the head angle rests at 65-degrees. The seat tube measures 430mm and angles at 73-degrees.
This bike features Maestro rear suspension with a trunnion-mount shock giving you a longer stroke and a smoother ride. It offers 160mm of travel and has greater stiffness provided by the Advanced Forged Composite upper rocker arm.
Reign 2 MTB by Giant features 27.5-inch wheels for balance and agility over rugged terrain. These wheels give the bike speed and allow you to change lines and blast through corners.
- Maximum control and stability
- Lighter and stiffer fork
- Comfortable ride
- Bike may be considered too stiff by most
Womenâ€™s Mountain Bike ReviewÂ[amazon box=”B01MF7P8MS” template=”horizontal” ]
Liv Intrigue Advanced is Livâ€™s womenâ€™s bike version of the Reign model by Giant for all-mountain purposes. They both features 160mm of travel with a DVO Topaz 2 T3 suspension and a diamond fork.
The geometry between the two is what differs with Liv boasting of a bespoke design advised by data from a global database taking into consideration the values in leg length, arm length, and height to cater specifically to women riders.
Intrigue boasts of a 66.5-degree head angle and is matched with a 74.5-degree seat angle which is effective in achieving and maintain confident riding.
Gear range on this bike is large given the 10-50t SRAM cassette which provides quality and reliable shifting for better control in tough climbs and sharp descents.
- Composed suspension
- Shorter head tubes
- Arm reach too short
Verdict: So, which is better – Menâ€™s or Womenâ€™s Mountain Bike?
To cap it all, the best mountain bike is a sturdy one, has dual suspension, hydraulic brakes, with trail-riding geometry, and is comfortable for long trail rides.
Do I need to buy a womenâ€™s specific Mountain bike?
No, you donâ€™t.Â you can get a unisex MTB as a female provided you test it for the right fit and size that is proportionate to your height and weight.
Can I ride my mountain bike on the road?
Yes. Mountain bikes are designed for riding on all terrains so you should be good to go on both rugged and smooth roads.