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Choosing The Right Bike Differences Between Men And Women

Choosing the right bike: Differences between men and women

When it comes to choosing the right bike, few cyclists (and female cyclists) focus on the anatomical differences between men and women, assuming that a bike designed for a man is good for a woman. In this article, we go to see the anatomical differences between men and women to take into account when choosing the right bike.

Choosing the right bike: Anatomy matters

When we have to choose the right bicycle for us, the most important procedure is the collection of anthropometric measurements. The calculation of the correct frame size for us will then follow. In addition to this, however, it is equally essential to evaluate two aspects: general flexibility and muscle strength. For better workout, try Mongoose mountainbike.

The first aspect will determine the ability to maintain a more aggressive position on the bike. A cyclist with a high degree of flexibility will be able to opt for frames with greater reach and stacks and therefore adopt a more “recumbent” riding position compared to the more contracted cyclist.

Similarly, the ability to generate muscle power on the pedals will affect the performance of the bike and its driveability, so cyclists with very powerful limbs will need bikes with stiffer frames to avoid excessive dispersion. Let’s now look at the anatomical differences between men and women when it comes to choosing the right bike.

Let’s evaluate the differences between men and women in the three aspects that we have previously analyzed: anthropometric dimensions, flexibility and muscle strength.

Anthropometric dimensions

We take a cue from the Global Body Dimension Database, a list of anthropometric parameters created over decades of studies on various world populations.

If we are going to compare a male cyclist and a female cyclist of the same stature (for example, 170cm):

The woman has about 1.2% shorter bust than the man;

The lower limbs of the man will be about 1.4% shorter than those of the woman;

The upper limbs will be similar, even if, on average, the woman has a length greater than 0.2%;

In terms of body fat, for the same height and weight, women have a higher percentage of fat mass than men. This is determined by various factors. We think of a slower metabolism (which favors the accumulation of fat) and the need to have a greater reserve of man. This depends on the fact that, in some periods of life, she will have to cope with the greater energy demands of pregnancy;

The pelvis of the woman will be wider than that of the man (at the level of the femoral truncates but not of the ischial tuberosities). The legs will tend more to varus (the woman will have the knees more “X-shaped” than the man);

They seem like minor differences, but they make a difference when it comes to choosing the right bike.

Muscle flexibility

Let’s imagine having to have our 170cm tall man cyclists carry out a simple test that we analyzed in the previous paragraph. The test is called “Sit and Reach.” It is a test that evaluates the general flexibility of the posterior muscle chain and that allows us to understand the ability to remain in stretched positions.

The test is simple: the cyclist is seated on a bed with his legs stretched out. Then he is asked to reach his toes with his hands, keeping his legs straight. Who could do it best? Definitely, the female cyclist, since women have greater muscle flexibility and greater joint mobility than men. This is largely due to the phenomenon of ligamentous hyperlaxity. Women’s joints tend to be less stiff and more extensible than men’s. Keep reading, How to select the electric scooter for yourself?

Muscle strength

For centuries it was believed that women were “the weaker sex,” but this is not quite the case. Let’s take a study carried out by LIV, the Giant group company that produces specific frames for women cyclists. In a study, LIV evaluated the muscle activation and power generated by a group of female cyclists and cyclists. Power is the result of force for speed, i.e., the force generated by the muscles and pedaling cadence. In the study, men and women pedaled at the same power and cadence. The activation of the four muscles that make up the quadriceps was evaluated: rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and vastus mediasis.

It has been seen that women tend to activate their quadriceps more than men. This has an influence on the pedaling gesture and on the forces that are discharged on the frame.

Still talking about muscle strength, women have a greater relationship between the strength of the lower and upper limbs than that of men. The ability to generate muscle power generated by the legs of a woman cyclist is technically greater than that of a man of equal weight and height. And if this does not happen in reality, it is because power does not only concern muscle strength but also other more neurological aspects. Let’s think, for example, of the recruitment of motor units, the cadence of sending impulses and intra and intermuscular coordination.

Why a woman is different?

We have tried to explain, scientific evidence in hand, why a female cyclist is actually different from a male cyclist. Apart from the aspects concerning reproduction, we have seen how women have a physique that is on average more slender and flexible than that of a man and that they tend to pedal using different muscle strategies.

What does this crack into?

We can read it in this key: a woman needs a bike with a frame that is thought of on these characteristics and that is not simply a man’s frame painted with more captivating colors. Among the characteristics that a women’s bike frame must have, we find a relationship between the length of the horizontal tubes and different columns, a greater rigidity at the level of the bottom bracket, to withstand the greater stresses caused by a different thrust and a ratio between the crank arm and the optimal saddle, in order to favor the activation of the rectus femoris, which is a main feature in the female cyclist.

Bottom line

When it comes to choosing the right bike, we need to take these differences into account and manufacturers should too. Among the proposals on the market, we can certainly remember the aforementioned LIV, which with its frames made on the basis of the characteristics and needs of women.