Bikes are a key ingredient in epic childhood adventures. So, choosing a new bike for your kid is a big decision! There are a lot of different bikes on the market, and it can be challenging for parents to know where to start. Quality, size, functionality, and wheel type are all important considerations for children’s bikes. Bike gender may also be a consideration, but it’s becoming less relevant for modern kids’ bikes.
Adult bikes are usually labeled as either men’s or women’s bikes, so it’s natural to question whether the same logic applies to kids bikes. As consumers increasingly question whether gender-neutral toys and clothes actually serve our kids like we think they are, it’s becoming more common to ask if gender really matters when it comes to children’s bikes.
The differences between boys’ and girls’ bikes can vary from one bike manufacturer to another. Some say that boys’ bikes are bigger and stronger than girls’ bikes. Others say that the only difference is color—which may be targeted towards either girls or boys: with traditional blue for boys and pink for girls.
This post will explain how girls’ and boys’ bikes may differ and whether the modifications between bikes really matter.
Are Kids Bikes Unisex?
There are many important factors to think about when choosing the best bike for your child, but should gender be a consideration?
The answer to that question is complicated.
Sometimes, there are virtually no differences between most boys and girls bikes. Increasingly more childrens bikes are sold as gender-neutral or unisex. Unisex childrens bikes are made of the same materials, use the same design, and have the same core features.
While most modern kids bikes are unisex, some manufacturers still make bikes designed slightly differently for boys than for girls. But, at the end of the day, all children’s bikes serve the same primary purpose: to get your kid from one place to another while enjoying the ride!
The Major Differences Between a Girls And Boys Road Bikes
Mens and womens bikes often come with significant differences, but this is often not the case for childrens bikes. There is usually no distinction in the design for boys bikes vs. girls bikes for younger children. Some manufacturers may change the colors of different bikes, but this is a superficial difference.
Although colors may vary, there are no substantial differences in bikes for 2 to 4-year-olds and no need or reason to distinguish between girls and boys bikes. Even bikes for older children—like 5 to 8-year-olds and 9 to 12-year-olds—have no real need for gender differentiation.
However, as children get older, the differences in bikes for men and women may become more apparent and relevant. The significant differences between older children, teens, or adult bikes can include the type of frame, the size accommodations, and the saddle design. Let’s explore these distinctions below.
One of the main differences between mens and womens bikes is the size of the bike frame. Mens bikes tend to be larger, as adult men are typically taller than adult women. The same logic has been applied on some childrens bikes, and the frame size for a boys bike could be 20 inches long and 18 inches wide, whereas a girls frame ranges from 12 to 20 inches long and 13 to 18 inches wide.
Girl bikes sometimes have a step-through frame intended to be easier for a female rider to straddle. This design feature is mainly outdated and was designed at a time when women rode cycles in long skirts and dresses. By comparison, some boys bikes have an additional top bar connecting the handlebars to the saddle. This extra bar is created for the rider to straddle over. Boys bike frames may also have a higher handlebar to suit their height.
The low standover height of girls bike designs can be advantageous for all young riders, especially beginner bike riders. A low standover height can make it easier for young riders to get on and off their bikes, which can be challenging for some riders when they are just learning to ride!
There’s no scientific reason both boys and girls can’t ride a bike with a lower standover height. Once your child is riding, the design difference has no impact on the bike’s functionality. The most important consideration for parents is to provide their children with a bike that they can comfortably learn to ride on.
Many of these frame design differences are based on the assumption that men are always bigger and taller than women, which is generally true with adults. But every parent knows that random growth spurts can happen suddenly and unexpectedly. No two seven-year-olds grow at the exact same height—regardless of gender.
So although generalizations can be made saying men are taller than women, that’s not always the case for boys and girls. Children typically don’t reach their full height until their late teens, and every child can grow at different rates. Girls can be taller or grow faster than boys during childhood or as adults! Therefore, the right size frame will differ for each individual child.
Girl bike designs typically have a lighter frame than boys bikes because girls bikes don’t include the extra higher bar like a boy’s bike.
Because they have less mass, girls bicycles are not as stable, which means they may not handle as much weight. This is why the saddles of gender-specific girls bikes tend to be much broader and shorter than those of boys bikes. This saddle design can provide more stability for girls when riding a bike with a lighter bike frame.
Girls may also prefer a saddle with a broader cutout in the middle because adult women have a wider pelvis than men, making this design more comfortable. This gender-based design feature is logical for adult bikes but largely irrelevant for little children who have not yet reached puberty.
While many bike gender modifications are old-fashioned and unnecessary, others are more practical. For example, some bike manufacturers shorten the width between the handlebars on girls and womens bicycles. This can make the bike more comfortable because women’s shoulders are generally not as broad as men’s.
Although practical for adult women, this is another example of a modification that’s not necessary for children who aren’t yet fully physically developed.
Finally, some girls and boys bikes will have different gear ranges. There is no reason for children to have varying gear ranges based solely on gender. You should choose a bike with gears appropriate for the child’s age, ability, and riding style. Too many gears can be overwhelming for younger or beginner riders, but a range of gears can also make riding more fun if your child is adventurous.
Can A Girl Ride A Boys Bike?
Yes! Girls and boys can ride all unisex Cleary bikes. Children can also ride boys or girls bikes from other manufacturers, even if they are labeled as the opposite gender. The caveat here is that children should always ride bikes that are an appropriate size for them. So, if your daughter wants to ride her brother’s bike or vice versa, they certainly can – as long as it’s not too big or too small for them. Gender matters much less than height and ability when it comes to finding the perfect bike for your child.
Finding The Perfect Bike For Your Child
Cleary children’s bikes are all unisex and can be ridden by all genders. Every child should enjoy the thrill and sense of independence that comes with riding a bike, and all Cleary bikes are high quality, safe, and comfortable for children to ride.
Every bike model is available in a range of fun colors and stylish designs. Your child can choose to personalize their bike by picking a color or their preference or adding fun stickers.
Our inclusive kids bikes come in punk rock pink, desert green, Patagonia red, or blue Hawaii. Stickers, bells, bottle cages, and other accessories allow your child to express themselves and customize their ride! Bike riding is an exciting mode of transport that should be fun for all children.
Choosing the right bike for your child is extremely important. A bike that is too large or too small for your child can make riding difficult or even dangerous. Getting the right size bike is the most important consideration when choosing a bike for your child, regardless of gender.
You can use our kid’s bike size chart to determine which of our kids bikes will fit your child best based on their height and inseam. Age can influence bike choice, but children can grow at entirely different rates, so we use inseam measurements as our guiding star. Read our kid’s bike size guide to learn how to measure and choose bikes based on your child’s size and abilities if you need some more direction.
Bike riding is all about the adventure and sense of freedom that’s only gained by riding on two wheels, so at Cleary, there’s no pressure for boys and girls to conform to dated stereotypes or specific bike colors!