One of the fondest memories that everyone has while growing up is from their childhood of learning to ride a bike. But, as you grow up, you move on to other modes of transportation and forget about the cycle. However, this humble means of transportation has had a rebirth of sorts in the last decade. People have finally started to realise all the health benefits of cycling.
Cycling is more than just a vehicle for commuting. It is a good way to get some exercise, explore new places, and leave zero carbon footprint. Cycling can be especially beneficial for women who find it difficult to squeeze in some fitness time in their busy schedule.
Also, taking the cycle to office will serve the dual purpose of getting you from home to office and being a form of exercise as well.
However, selecting the best cycle for women can be a little difficult. In this article, we will tell you what to look for while buying women's bicycles and the different types of ladies bicycles available in India.
What is the Difference Between Cycles for Men and Women?
Let us start by answering the most obvious question that pops in your head when you hear about cycles for ladies.
Do you really need separate cycles for women? Why not use the same ones as men?
Well, for starters, there are physiological differences between males and females and to make a cycle comfortable for women, the frame or the contact points such as the handle, saddle, etc. need to be different from the cycles for men.
Here are a few such differences:
Women's bikes come in smaller sizes as compared to men's cycles. The frame may be the same as that of a men's cycle, but it usually is of a smaller size.
Since women tend to have narrower shoulders as compared to men, it only makes sense that their bikes should also have narrower handlebars. The distance between the saddle and the handlebars is also lesser in bikes designed for women when compared to those designed for men to countervail the differences in size.
3. Top Tube
The top tube for most men's bikes runs horizontally. This also makes it a little harder to get on and off the bike. Women's bicycles typically have a lower top tube or one that is sloping downward from the handle.
4. Shock Tune
Since most female riders are lighter than male riders in terms of weight, the bikes designed for them also tend to have lighter shock tunes. This may not be a really important aspect of women's road bikes, but it is a crucial factor of consideration for mountain bikes.
Saddles are very personal to riders. What works for one person may not work for another. Usually, women tend to have wider sit bones, and therefore, they need wider saddles. Also, many women find saddles with cut out channels more comfortable.
Although there are differences between the bikes designed for men and women, can women still use men's bicycles?
Of course, you can!
Ultimately, cycling is a very personal experience. If you are comfortable riding a men's or unisex bike, then you should continue to do so. But, if the men's or unisex cycles make you uncomfortable and are putting you off cycling, then keep in mind that there is a wide range of women's cycles that can meet your needs and turn you into an avid rider.
If you are unsure about which women's cycle to get, you can try out a few different models.
Once you have had a test ride, you can know for sure what kind of bike to get.
Another option is to consult a bike fitter. A fitter will take your measurements and suggest models that would be ideal for you. Based on these measurements, you can even choose to customize your bike and certain components to suit you better and make your ride more comfortable.
What to Look for in Bicycles for Women?
Every bicycle is made up of many different components, and each of them is essential to ensure the rider's comfort. Here are some of the basics that you need to look for in a cycle for women.
Bike sizes are represented as frame size in inches. Smaller sizes such as 15” and 15.5” are usually better suited for women and are only available in women's bikes. Keep in mind that just like clothes, the sizes also vary from brand to brand. It is always best to take your measurements and refer to the company's size chart. The size of the bike depends on your height and your leg inseam.
The distance between the saddle and the handlebar along with the shape of the handlebar is very important for the rider's comfort. The distance between the saddle and the handlebar shouldn't be too much; otherwise, you will have to overexert yourself to reach the handlebar. If it is too less, then you will be in a hunched position that may not be too comfortable.
Similarly, if the height of the handlebar from the ground is more than the height of the seat, then the ride position will be more comfortable, but you will also need to apply more pressure to the pedals. Typically, women's hybrid bikes or road bikes have lower handlebars. You will have to hunch lower, but this will allow you to go faster. On the other hand, women's mountain bikes will have a raised handlebar that lets you sit in a more upright position, thus ensuring a comfortable ride.
Looking for the best gear cycle for ladies in India? How do you determine the ideal number of gears for your cycle?
This rests solely on the terrain you will be traversing through and your fitness level. If you are planning to ply hilly terrains, then you need more gears that will let you ride on such challenging landscapes easily. A higher number of gears also make riding easier if you are a beginner. If you are more experienced and are a strong rider or if you are primarily going to be riding on flat surfaces, then a cycle with fewer gears will be enough for you.
Just like in cars and motorcycles, there are different types of brakes for cycles as well.
- Rim brakes consist of pads that grip the rims of the wheels. But, these may not be very effective if the rims are wet. As a result, they are not suitable for all weather conditions. They also tend to wear out easily and damage the rims in the long run.
- Disc brakes grip onto the wheel hub to stop the cycle. These are suitable for all weather conditions. But, they are also difficult to check and replace.
- Drum brakes are part of the wheel hub. They are easier to maintain and work in all weather conditions. But, you will have to change the hub and wheel along with the drum when it wears out.
The bike's suspension is crucial in ensuring your comfort. The level of suspension you need is dependent on the type of terrain that you will be riding on. Roads and flat surfaces do not need superlative degrees of suspension whereas, mountains and uneven terrains require very good suspension. Not having enough suspension while riding on uneven terrains not only makes the ride uncomfortable, but it also affects your joints and can lead to joint and back pain.
Types of Bikes for Women
When you go shopping for a bike, you will be blown away by the sheer variety available out there. There are a few simple questions you need to answer to find out which type of bike is best suited for you.
- Why are you buying the bike?
- Where will you be riding the bike?
- Who will you be riding the bike with and what kind of bike do they ride?
- Do you already have a bike? If so, what kind?
- Are you looking to change your existing bike type or do you just want to revamp the one you have?
Once you have the answer to these, it will be very easy to find the perfect bike for yourself. Here are the different types of bikes that you can get in India.
1. Road Bikes
Road bikes, as the name suggests, are best suited for roads. They are usually lightweight, have drop handlebars, and have slimmer tyres. But, some people find that wider tyres help them manoeuvre corners and turns better. Finding the right-sized tyre is very important to get maximum speed. Road bikes should not be used on unpaved terrains and should not be made to carry heavy loads.
2. Mountain Bikes
Mountain bikes are best suited for riding on muddy and uneven terrains. Women's mountain bikes need to have good suspension. The suspension for women and men is slightly different as most women are lighter than men in terms of weight. You can get bikes with only front suspension, full suspension, or no suspension. Mountain bikes also have large wheels that help them traverse through difficult terrains. These bikes have upright handlebars and have more gears in the lower range.
The Firefox Aztec is a really good ladies mountain bike. It has a hardtail frame, hydraulic lockout suspension, disc brakes, and 27.5" alloy wheels.
3. Hybrid Bikes
Do both the above types sound too extreme to you? Are you looking for something not as extravagant?
Then the women's hybrid bikes are just what you need. They are not as lightweight as road bikes, but they can be ridden on unpaved paths and uneven terrain. They are, however, not suitable for extremely rough terrains such as forests. These bikes also give you a more upright riding position. If you are new to cycling and want to experiment with a few different terrains to find out what you like, then hybrid bikes are perfect for you.
4. Adventure Road Bikes
Adventure road bikes is a subcategory of road bikes. Think road bikes, but with wider tyres and more load-bearing capability. You can use these for touring and commuting long distances. They also have a longer frame and drop handlebars.
5. Fitness Bikes
Want a road bike but do not like the low riding position? It's time to check out the fitness bike. These are lightweight and have narrow tyres like the road bike, making them ideal for paved paths. But, their handlebars are higher than those of a road bike, offering a more comfortable and upright riding position. You can also replace the tyres in these bikes with wider ones and use them on unpaved trails. They offer the same level of performance as the road bike, but leave the choice of right tyre size up to you.
The Firefox Breeze 26 is a good example of a fitness cycle for women. The women-specific frame and the upright handlebars are ideal for women to ride on the road.
6. BMX or Stunt bikes
Do you like performing stunts on bikes? Then, the BMX bikes are what you are looking for. Also called stunt bikes, these have a small frame and wheels and may look like a kids bike, but they are extremely strong and can support adults very well. They have a 360-degree rotational axis, no gears, flat handlebars, and extension tubes from rear and front hubs flanges. All of these features make them ideal for performing stunts.
The Firefox Skull with a steel body, reinforced wheels, and a one-piece crank is a BMX bike designed to help you perform all possible stunts.
7. Foldable Bikes
Bicycles may be smaller than most other modes of transport, but they still do take up some space. This can be an issue if you live in a really small apartment and do not have a safe space to park your cycle. Foldable cycles are light, have smaller wheels, and can be folded into a suitcase. These are ideal for commuting to work, especially if you have to take a bus or train and the station is far from your home. You can take the cycle till the station, fold it, and carry it along on the train!
Get Your Bike Today
Are you looking to buy cycle for women? Have you considered ladies cycle online shopping?
Even though online shopping is not the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of buying a bike, do not dismiss that option.
If you use the size chart provided by the seller, you can easily buy a bike that fits you perfectly. Moreover, you also get access to a wider variety of cycles and more discounts online. When you visit a store, you are left at the mercy of the salesperson.
If you get a good one, then the shopping experience can be very pleasant. But, often, salespersons with inadequate knowledge really deter you from buying the bike. These are just a few reasons as to why you should buy women's bicycles online.
The women's bicycle of your choice should be sturdy and reliable enough to assure optimal levels of comfort while riding it. Scrutinize and inspect each aspect of women's bikes thoroughly and compare each bike's characteristics and level of performance against others to make a well-informed decision.
We, at Firefox, are renowned throughout the market for our wide range of women's bicycles. If you require suggestions and counselling to determine which Firefox bike is best for you, get in touch with our team.