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Do I want a male bike or a female bike? Does it even matter?

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Do I want a male bike or a female bike? Does it even matter?

Old 05-26-14, 04:51 AM
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Gothic Sunshine
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Do I want a male bike or a female bike? Does it even matter?

First off, fair warning. This is an issue of sexual anatomy and being transgendered, so this topic has to "go there" in order to get the information I need.

I currently need a new bike. I've been riding a 45 pound Dutch lately, and it takes way too much exertion to peddle it. I don't know whether it is an issue of weight or it's external gears, but I doesn't work for me at all. It's also falling apart. I'd like to get a beach cruiser, but I'm not sure whether to go for a male or female model. I'm trans (male to female), and pretty soon I'll start tucking. To be quite frank, I've no idea how having my penis tucked between my legs and fastened down is going to effect riding. I suspect it won't be too bad, but I don't know why male and female bikes are shaped differently, and whether that has to do with the shape of the anatomy down there. So, I have no idea whether a female bike would actually provide a more comfortable ride in this instance. The same goes for later on, when I pursue sexual reassignment surgery. On the other hand, I see a lot of guys at my college who have female bikes rather than male bikes, so I'm not sure if the gender of a bicycle actually matters at much when it comes to comfort. Can anyone give me any guidance on this subject?
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Old 05-26-14, 05:09 AM
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Bicycles do not have a gender.
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Old 05-26-14, 05:10 AM
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I mean the gender they are designed for.
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Old 05-26-14, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Gothic Sunshine View Post
I mean the gender they are designed for.
Bicycles are not designed for a particular gender.


If you mean step-through bicycles, anyone can ride them, but they were designed with women's skirts in mind way back when.

If you mean Women-Specific brands (which you would not likely be able to identify as they went past), anyone can ride them, but they are usually designed with a shorter top tube because women tend to have longer legs and shorter torsos than men.

If you mean pink bicycles, anyone can ride them too. After all the coveted jersey on the Giro d'Italia is pink.
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Old 05-26-14, 05:18 AM
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Really? I always see step through bicycles specifically referred to as Women's Bikes, and non-step throughs specifically referred to as Men's Bikes. At least with cruisers. I assumed that meant that they were designed differently do to anatomical differences.
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Old 05-26-14, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Gothic Sunshine View Post
Really? I always see step through bicycles specifically referred to as Women's Bikes, and non-step throughs specifically referred to as Men's Bikes. At least with cruisers. I assumed that meant that they were designed differently do to anatomical differences.
Calling a step-through a "women's bike" and non-step-through is a North American thing ... an old-fashioned North American thing. It has absolutely nothing to do with anatomical differences ... more to do with a puritanical idea that women weren't lady-like if they changed into pants and rode a bicycle with a bar.

In Europe, you'll see lots of men and women riding step-through bicycles ... they are comfortable and convenient for short-distance riding. And of course all over the place women have thrown off the puritanical ideas and are donning lycra and riding racing-style bicycles.
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Old 05-26-14, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Gothic Sunshine View Post
Really? I always see step through bicycles specifically referred to as Women's Bikes, and non-step throughs specifically referred to as Men's Bikes. At least with cruisers. I assumed that meant that they were designed differently do to anatomical differences.
I suspect, other than marketing lies, the old step-through was for women wearing skirts. Really, bicycles do not care about gender, seriously. Saddle choice, maybe, but you don't have that issue, either. Now having your...tucked between your legs may cause all kinds of needless trouble, so...well, you will have to figure out if that's a problem. At this point, if you want to ride a bicycle, get over the gender thing, get a bike that fits your riding style, and ride.
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Old 05-26-14, 05:27 AM
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Thanks. If that's the case, I'll probably go with a step through rather than a non-step through for ease of mounting.
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Old 05-26-14, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Gothic Sunshine View Post
Thanks. If that's the case, I'll probably go with a step through rather than a non-step through for ease of mounting.
Just know that cruisers (step through or not) are not well designed for speed or long distance riding. Not saying you can't ride a decent speed or distance, they just aren't as well suited to it as other bicycles. If that doesn't matter to you ... go for whichever cruiser you want.

Oh also ... make sure the bicycle fits you. Not too big, not too small.

Last edited by Machka; 05-26-14 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 05-26-14, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Bicycles do not have a gender.
That's a good answer, as far as it goes. For a bike like you are looking at right now it's probably true. On the other hand if you get into cycling and start looking at road bikes or all but the loses tier of mountain bikes there IS definitely a difference in how the bikes are designed and set up. And it's all about things you are not likely to change as you go forward in your personal journey, like width of the hip bones, ratios of body parts to each other and stuff like that. So, you would probably want to stick with a "men's" bike in that case.

Also, don't let any one argue you off cruiser bikes. I used to live on this uber-hill that would leave the roadies walking up. Every morning though some old fat dude rode his red cruiser bike straight up it, rain or shine. Well, not every morning. After a year or so of going this he became an old skinny dude.
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Old 05-26-14, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
That's a good answer, as far as it goes. For a bike like you are looking at right now it's probably true. On the other hand if you get into cycling and start looking at road bikes or all but the loses tier of mountain bikes there IS definitely a difference in how the bikes are designed and set up. And it's all about things you are not likely to change as you go forward in your personal journey, like width of the hip bones, ratios of body parts to each other and stuff like that. So, you would probably want to stick with a "men's" bike in that case.
The differences in size and geometry are not specifically gender-related differences. Most brands of bicycles have several different sizes because humans come in several different sizes ... height and top tube length. Relaxed geometry bicycles are often used for touring, while a less relaxed geometry are usually used for racing. Women can ride so-called "men's bicycles" quite comfortably and men can ride so-called "women's bicycles" quite comfortably, depending on their size and body shape.

The key is to decide on a type of bicycle that suits the type of cycling you want to do ... and then to find a bicycle that fits you, your own personal body shape ... and then make adjustments as necessary to get the fit just right.
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Old 05-26-14, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
The differences in size and geometry are not specifically gender-related differences. Most brands of bicycles have several different sizes because humans come in several different sizes ... height and top tube length. Relaxed geometry bicycles are often used for touring, while a less relaxed geometry are usually used for racing. Women can ride so-called "men's bicycles" quite comfortably and men can ride so-called "women's bicycles" quite comfortably, depending on their size and body shape.

The key is to decide on a type of bicycle that suits the type of cycling you want to do ... and then to find a bicycle that fits you, your own personal body shape ... and then make adjustments as necessary to get the fit just right.
Wow, you have an axe to grind with top-tube geometries. As I mentioned (almost but edited it out) many women DO find the "regular" version of a model of bike o be comfortable for them. Most do not. I have never heard of a man finding the WSD version comfortable. The design differences are not simply slacker tube angles and scooped top=tubes. In fact, many "woman specific" designs are not distinguishable form the mens designs, except by color. But, the way the frame is laid out is designed to fit what an "average" woman's body lay out is. True story.
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Old 05-26-14, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
Wow, you have an axe to grind with top-tube geometries.
Strange comment.

Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
As I mentioned (almost but edited it out) many women DO find the "regular" version of a model of bike o be comfortable for them. Most do not. I have never heard of a man finding the WSD version comfortable. The design differences are not simply slacker tube angles and scooped top=tubes. In fact, many "woman specific" designs are not distinguishable form the mens designs, except by color. But, the way the frame is laid out is designed to fit what an "average" woman's body lay out is. True story.
WSD road and mtn bikes generally have shorter top tubes than "men's bikes" ... designed that way because generally speaking women have longer legs and shorter torsos than men (hmmm ... I feel like I just wrote that a moment ago). Other than that they look and feel very much like "men's bikes" and would be hard to distinguish from "men's bikes" if it weren't for a label. And yes, both men and women have felt comfortable on either type of bicycle. Why? Because not all women have shorter torsos and longer legs and not all men have longer torsos and shorter legs. But that's the beautiful thing about modern-day bicycle design. You can get the bicycle that fits you.

However, in this instance, the OP is talking about step-through bicycles, and with step through bicycles, much like any other bicycle, the trick is to find the one that fits ... the right height, the right reach.
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Old 05-26-14, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Bicycles do not have a gender.
Machka is right. Bikes do not have gender. There are saddles designed to better fit the male or female anatomy. There are also frames specifically designed to account for anatomical differences between males and females but that's about it.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:03 AM
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Which comedian said that bike design makes no sense because, "the one with the balls gets the one with the bar!"?
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Old 05-26-14, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Bicycles do not have a gender.
I'm not so sure.

Once you have two bikes, if you keep them overnight in the same room, more bikes tend to "happen". I think that might be how hybrid bikes were engendered.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I'm not so sure.

Once you have two bikes, if you keep them overnight in the same room, more bikes tend to "happen". I think that might be how hybrid bikes were engendered.


That might explain why Rowan and I have something like 17 bicycles ... of all different sorts!
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Old 05-26-14, 07:07 AM
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Yes. Other than the reach to the bars, the rise of the bars, the angle of the seat to bottom bracket, length of the cranks, design of the seat rise of the bars and width of the handle bars and how that all relates at any given stand-over height there is no difference between a BICYCLE (not just a frame) designed for women and men.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
there is no difference between a BICYCLE (not just a frame) designed for women and men.
Absolutely right.

All the rest of the stuff you mentioned depends on the size and preference of the person ... whatever gender that person happens to be ... and can be adjusted accordingly.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:11 AM
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There are definitely Men's and Women's frame designs, and it's not just a N.American thing. Take a look at classic bike manufacturers from England, to Holland, to China, and they're all categorizing bikes as such. However, it doesn't matter. Males and females and transgendered folk can all ride any type of bike frame.

What is going to be important for you, Goth, is the seat, and your posture on it.

It's impossible for me to say what will work, so my suggestion is for you to try out different types of seats (irrespective of frame type; any seat can be fitted to any frame) and see what works. Pay attention to things like width and shaping, and note that some have features like abbreviated noses and cutouts that may be of particular benefit.

As for posture, pay attention to how your hips sit on the saddle, meaning whether you're more square on the saddle and upright, or your pelvis is more tipped forward. It's a complex interplay of bike component setup and frame design decisions that largely guide posture (or position), but know that there's a lot of leeway in setup, from bars that sweep up or drop down, seatposts with seatback or without, to stems that raise or lower the bars.

If I had to guess, I'd think an upright posture, such as typical on a beach cruiser, would work fine provided you're sitting back on the seat (presuming standard saddle design). There are seat types, such as the crecent shaped MoonSaddle that would certainly preclude any 'twix the legs' issues.

Good luck.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:18 AM
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I have seen a number of old men grabbing "so-called" women's bicycles.... because arthritis can make mounting a bicycle with a top bar seem difficult. I know the more recent "relaxed geometry" is a great help as well.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:20 AM
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That whole tucking and riding thing sounds like it is going to hurt depending on how far you ride.
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Old 05-26-14, 08:22 AM
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2 young men, From Sweden were in the middle of a long ride from Anchorage Alaska , to Miami Florida ,

were riding steel step thru Commuter bikes with Shimano 8 speed Internal gear hubs , when they passed thru town , last November ...

load carried over the wheels on front and reap panniers and atop those racks.


I really like My Bike Friday and My Brompton , for its low top tube which is also, in effect, a step thru frame ..


Those in the Breeding ages, in Many European cities share the same Oma bike with the Child seat on the back ,
because its easier to use with the kid in the seat .
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Old 05-26-14, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by WVU_Engineer View Post
That whole tucking and riding thing sounds like it is going to hurt depending on how far you ride.
i also think tucking will be uncomfortable no matter the bike
because standard saddles
both mens and womens
are designed to be held between the legs
and this will put the saddle in direct competition for real estate
with your tucked luggage

in my mind
i see the problem getting less and less
the more upright the position of the bike
as upright cruiser saddles tend to be under the butt
more than between the legs

the best answer though
is probably a recumbent
where the seat is not between the legs at all

best of luck!
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Old 05-26-14, 09:08 AM
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Two points that I think have been missed. A "mans" style bike is easier to carry on a vehicle bike rack and provides easier access to water bottles and such. Also a "mans" style bike seems to retain better resale value and has a wider market.
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