How to Choose a Women's Bike

How to Choose a Women's Bike
Cycling is a good sport for those who like to get some exercise but are bored with the gym. Get out and pedal through your neighborhood or across town. You may even decide to pursue the sport enough to enter some bike races or join a cycling group. For the beginner, very little equipment is needed; the most important is the bicycle.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Decide where you want to ride. If mountain trails sound interesting, you will want to look at mountain bikes. For neighborhood riding, you may want a cruiser bike or standard commuter bike without many gears. If you want to ride long distances along roads, a road bike with many gears will be best. All of these styles will come in women's proportions and offer many ranges of gears.
Step 2
Visit a reputable bike shop. You can also purchase bikes at department stores such as Target or Walmart. If you are looking for a very inexpensive bicycle and are only planning on occasional riding, a department store may be a good option. If you want a better-quality bike and are willing to spend a little more, your local bike shop will have bikes in many price ranges and sizes. Most bike shops will not repair bikes purchased at department stores.
Step 3
Find the right frame. The fit of the bike is the most important factor and bikes come in many sizes. The bike shop will have a chart based on height to give you a general idea of where to start. Then it will depend on the individual bike. Swing one leg over the top of the bike and straddle the top tube. You should be able to stand over the bike with your feet on the floor and still have one to two inches of clearance between your body and the top tube. Make sure you wear the shoes you plan to cycle in for the most accurate fit. Women's frames are smaller, with a shorter distance between the seat and handlebars. Top tubes are sometimes placed lower than on men's bikes.
Step 4
Find the right seat height. Seats are adjustable. Women's bikes are designed to accommodate the typical proportion of longer leg length compared to torso length. Have someone hold onto the front of the bike while you climb up onto the seat. Place your feet on the pedals. When your pedal is at the lowest position you should still have a slight bend in your knee.
Step 5
Find the right reach. Sit on the adjusted seat (again, have someone hold the front of the bike for you). Reach forward and place your hands on the handlebars as if you were ready to ride. Your arms should not be fully extended but still have a slight bend. You should feel comfortable; not too close, not too far away, and be able to use the hand brakes easily.
Step 6
Take a test ride. Bike shops encourage prospective customers to take a spin around the parking lot. The bike should feel comfortable and you should feel in control.

Tips & Warnings

Most women will have shorter arms, shorter torsos and longer legs than men, but this is not always the case. If you are the exception, a man's bike may be more comfortable.

Article Written By Cate Rushton

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

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