by Becky Wilson, Personal Trainer
It used to be that biking was a recreational activity reserved mostly for men. But with the introduction of modern mountain bikes for women, many females have now decided to give mountain biking a try.
Many women are hoping to start mountain biking and are busy enrolling in instructional programs as well as buying new mountain bikes for their latest hobby. As a result, many mountain bike manufacturers like Schwinn, Trek and Giant are now designing bikes that pay special attention to a woman’s anatomy.
If you are a woman, you understand that your biking requirements are different from those of your male counterparts. With a sport like biking, it can take a little more time to feel comfortable and really get the hang of it.
This is because men are physically stronger than women, and women need time to develop their body strength. The male body is naturally more prepared to excel at mountain biking as men naturally prefer challenging types of physical activities. But women can be good mountain bikers, too.
With top mountain bikes for women that are designed specifically for the female anatomy, you should have little trouble taking on any obstacle when it comes to biking. You are no longer forced to suffer the discomfort of using a mountain bike designed for a man, and are now able to purchase mountain bikes designed especially for women.
In a nutshell, how are these bikes different? To begin with, women have shorter legs which requires a bike with a short top tube that is easier to reach. Search for women’s mountain bikes online that have this feature, because it will make your ride much more comfortable.
It’s key that the bike you select fits your body correctly. A bike that’s too big will be difficult to move around on safely, thereby affecting your confidence while riding. On the other hand, a bike that’s too small will inhibit your ability to pedal and steer effectively.
As a rule of thumb, look for a mountain bike frame which gives you enough clearance to be able to stand easily astride the bike. While doing so, be sure you also have a comfortable amount of room to reach the handlebars, without having to overextend.
If you’re interested in a suspension-type bike, then you’ll need to confirm that the springs are adjusted correctly for your weight. Most female mountain bikes come with suspension tuned for lighter riders and an additional degree of adjustment is possible regardless of whether the fork is coil-type or air-type.
Another difference is that female hips are wider and women therefore need to look for a bicycle with a seat that matches the shape of their butt. Mountain bike saddle size is important because you need a bigger seat that your female shape can fit into properly.
Mountain bike seat padding is another important element to consider when buying mountain bikes for women. The higher quality the padding, the more comfortable your ride will be. Make sure to choose a saddle with a smooth texture and plenty of cushioning.
Since women normally have smaller hands and fingers, the handlebars for women’s mountain bikes are smaller, too. Trying to grip larger handlebars is hard for many women. But with a bike especially designed for the female body, your hands will have a much easier time gripping.
Also, the hand grips on lady’s mountain bikes are softer and the brakes more gentle. For safety’s sake, be sure to wear gloves to protect yourself in case of a fall. And always wear a helmet when you ride your mountain bike.
Test ride several bikes in your price range and riding style category. You will probably find that some bikes just feel better and are more suited to your body type.
You may want to read mountain bikes for women reviews in order to get more info before buying a new bike. And if you need to save money, consider looking at cheap mountain bikes.
Mountain bike reviews are a great way to learn more about a particular bike’s performance and reliability. Do research on your particular bike up before you buy it and make sure there aren’t people saying bad things about it.
Mountain bike forums are also a good way to get in touch with like-minded people and ask questions. You will most likely be able to meet women who are experienced mountain bikers and have a lot of advice to share.
With all the new features available on mountain bikes for women, it’s no longer necessary to compromise on quality and comfort. Instead of struggling with an over-sized man’s bike, ladies can now enjoy the outdoors on mountain bikes designed especially for them.
(published February 24, 2011)