There have been bicycles designed specifically for women for more than a century now. The basic step-through bicycle—what’s often called a “girl’s bike”—was born in the 1880s and immediately made riding, and catching air in a hoop skirt, a whole lot easier. Yeah girl, get after it.
Fast forward a century or so and a new “women’s specific” bike geometry arose. It was based on the theory that women have (proportionally) shorter torsos and longer legs than men. And it led many bike companies down the path of creating women’s mountain bikes with a shorter reach and a taller front end.
This approach, which creates a more upright riding position, was also said to help inexperienced or timid riders feel more comfortable. Sure, it might feel good when you first sit on it and take a quick pedal around the bike shop, but when it comes to mountain biking and control on the trail at speed, an overly upright riding position is not optimal for good handling and stability. And last time we checked, there’s plenty of women out there who aren’t timid when it comes to mountain biking.
Still, some people (male or female) may prefer that kind of geometry, but there is nothing that proves it to be a good fit for women in particular.
Women want a bike that doesn’t let theory compromise real-world handling. They want a bike that’s been refined to have the most appropriate reach, height, and overall geometry for the terrain they’re riding. And that’s what Juliana has offered from the very beginning.
Yes. On average, women are shorter and weigh less than men - about 5 inches shorter and 30 pounds less, according to the CDC*. And this is corroborated by our own studies**, which suggest the average female rider demoing a Juliana is around 32lbs lighter than male riders of similar height.
So what does this mean for Juliana bicycle design? It simply means our bikes need to:
We know it sounds awfully simple, but the truth often is.
* CDC: Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2007-2010, tables 4, 6, 10, 12, 19, 20
** Sample area: California, USA. Sample period: 15 months 2/15 - 5/16. Sample size: 3074 riders (438 women, 2636 men)