As a girl or a boy, one may wonder why the design of the bicycles for girls is different from that of boys. As a boy the crossbars on a boy’s bicycle, would indicate that it is meant for him while a step through frame design would indicate that it is for a girl. The main reason for this is fashion not anything technical! When bicycles gained popularity in the 1800’s, women across the western world predominantly wore skirts and dresses. It is to accommodate this type of dressing that the step through frame was designed. This type of design would allow the girl or lady to mount on the saddle of the bicycle with ease was the idea.
This worked very well for the women and soon the ladies bicycle gained popularity among women and became a fashion statement by itself. In India too, this model caught on with the girls and women folk. Long skirts or half saris were worn by girls and saris by women, so the low step through frame design brought in the comfort and ease that encouraged women to commute on their own on a cycle without having to depend on their fathers, brothers or spouses. The bicycles for women also come with skirt guard or sari guard as it is popularly called in India. This prevents their attire from entangling with the wheel of the bicycle and allows girls to enjoy a safe ride. Over time, manufacturers produced models that were unisex and could be used by both boys and girls. These models had a step through frame but they were however not a low step through frame like a typical girl’s bicycle. Such models gained popularity as both the girls and boys in the family could use these bicycles. Another significant difference between bicycles for girls and boys is the colors. While bicycles for girls like the BSA Ladybird models come in various colors like pink, purple, blue, green with variants in these hues; the boys’ cycles come in black, red, orange and other colors that are perceived to be boyish or masculine. But, again over time, bold colors have become hot favorites among girls and boys are sporting pink shirts!
Here are some more differences that may be spotted in the bicycles made for the two genders:
The crossbar or stem may be shorter to account for a shorter torso in girls. Girls’ bicycles may come with wider saddles as girls have broader pelvic bones than the boys; such saddles also have shorted post tubes. More recent models even have a cut out in the middle of the saddle. The reach levers and handle bar may be slightly thinner to accommodate smaller, delicate hands. The frames could be smaller, and in keeping with the frame size the cranks may be shorter in girls’ bicycles. Sometimes, bicycles made for girls may have smaller wheels and lighter frames. Most girls’ bicycles like the BSA Ladybird are made for road commute rather than stunting as in the boys’ bicycles like Hercules Roadeo.
No matter which model of bicycle you choose for your girls, make sure to let them test ride for comfort before buying it for them.