What is the difference between boys and girls bikes?

Girls Can't WHAT? BMXWe have had a jolly good time over on Facebook and Twitter talking about why there are differences between boys bikes and girls bikes.  The history behind the girls bike frame is that women used to wear dresses all the time so it was more lady like to have a lower bar that kept the dress down for modesty.  Also, mens bike frames purportedly needed to hold more weight, thus the higher bar for better reinforcement of the weight on the seat.

Curiosity has the best of me right now because aside from some religious groups, women do not wear dresses when riding a bicycle.  That being said, why then do we still have two different bicycle frames?  Wouldn’t it make more sense from a manufacturing standpoint to make a universal frame?  What do you think?

Need an Empowering Gift for a Girl?
Order Girls Can’t WHAT? Inspirational Gifts today!

[zstore contributorhandle=”girlscantwhat” productlineid=”196410330799416535″ showhowmany=”8″]


  1. Meghna on January 30, 2009 at 4:31 am

    :-? True

  2. cheyenne on January 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I don’t know, Very interesting though:)

  3. kel1 on February 5, 2009 at 11:45 am

    For me, it’s difficult to get on a man’s bike, due to the bar and the height of the bicycle. I feel more comfortable riding a woman’s bike with no bar, because if I fall off, I at least know that I’m not going to have that bar as another possible point of injury.

    I figure, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” :D

  4. gretchen on February 5, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I’m not suggesting we choose a mens or womens bike as the standard – I am just wondering if there could be a “universal” model for both? Surely that would save a lot on manufacturing costs. :-?

  5. kel1 on February 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    It seems likely that if the bar is required for weight considerations of the male, that it would become the “universal” model for both.

  6. Some Dude on February 9, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I am a bicycle mechanic. The only manufacturers that are still producing a ‘female’ bike are department store specials, and those are typically for young girls. If you go into a specialty shop, like where I work, you’d be hard-pressed to find a ‘traditional’ ladies bike. They’re still around for ignorant people to purchase, but structurally, there is no difference at all. In fact, the newer designs are more of a hybrid of the classic men’s and women’s designs.

  7. gretchen on February 10, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Thanks – I guess I should look some place other than Walmart and Target for my research, eh? :D

  8. Geri on May 26, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Just another sexist idea, I’m sure. I was always told not to ride a boys bike because if I fell I’d end up hurting my ” private ” area. What was that supposed to mean? Don’t boys have private areas, too?! Anyway,I agree with a more unisex style. By the way, I ride a boys bike.

  9. Jeff on July 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    OK, I know it may seem strange to some that I am posting on this site again, but please, take it as a compliment; there are a lot of intelligent postings here relating (to generalise) to the perceptions of women by women themselves, and as a man with fascination for the female of the species, I find this site to be quite interesting. But I digress….

    Here in Toronto, in the warm summer we are enjoying, I notice that the majority of women riding bicycles are, in fact, wearing dresses! (I know because I have to wait for ages while I yield to them to make a right turn with my motor vehicle). And interestingly enough, and believe me I’ve tried to disprove this(!), the way a dress falls over the bicycle frame is amazingly modest. My theory is that the air pressure induced by the forward motion keeps the dress in place without the slightest possibility of any undue immodesty.

    And these women appear quite comfortable and cool; there are no facial grimaces caused by sore private parts – just as is the case with men, the bicycle seat is designed to provide support primarily to the base of the spine, so please, ladies, if you like wearing dresses, feel free to cycle in them in the sure knowledge that your modesty will remain intact.

    Thank you.

  10. gretchen on July 15, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks Jeff – that’s an interesting observation. Feel free to post here anytime. ;)

  11. Felicity on September 10, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Girls have a shorter reach as generally women have longer legs and shorter bodies whilst men are the opposite, so a girls bike has a more compact frame so you do not have to over stretch when reaching for the handlebars. Obviously not everyone is the same so it is best to go to a local bike shop and try out different models to find out what is best for you. Continental Europe class the drop bar bike as unisex not girls.

  12. Wadhamite on September 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I cycle a lot and purchase a lot of used bikes to combine or use for parts. The girls’ models tend to be in better condition! I suppose, in theory, girls weigh less and are less “macho” in trying to destroy things.

    The seats differ sometimes, however; a long nose supports a girl’s underside anatomy better, but gets in the way of the parts boys need to protect.

    I favor a “mixte” unisex frame myself; as long as all major parts are adjustable, fitting a particular torso shouldn’t be a problem.

  13. Jenn on November 9, 2009 at 4:48 am


    I am 5’4″ and I find it uncomfortable to push off with the male frame on a standard adult bike. So if I want a bike, I either have to look for a female’s adult bike or a large children’s bike.

    Also, if you think about it, why would we, as consumers, want cookie-cutter bikes? Most of us want bikes that are suited to our own individual needs and gender/dress wearing is a part of that.

  14. dan on September 5, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    girl bikes have one bare because so you ride will wering a skirt

  15. sami madison on May 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I’m OLD and I prefer a womans bike frame because I don’t have to swing my leg OVER the center bar.

  16. sami madison on May 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    of course, I almost for got that it is nice to have the girls frame when I am wearing a skirt. ALTHOUGH– my skirts are so short that I think it hardly matters these days

  17. Melissa on April 30, 2017 at 11:25 am

    I ride a department store women’s cruiser to and from work. Have done so for 7 years – rain cold, heat, whatever. I like the lines of the cruiser. And statistically speaking, women’s bikes are less likely to be stolen.

  18. david brainerd on November 29, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Sexism. Women added that bar yo men’s bikes so we’d smash our balls on it when we fall. Really the models should be swapped.

Leave a Comment