Many bicycles are unisex, but what if you have one that is not? This leaves you wondering if you can convert a women’s bike to a men’s bike.
There are a number of bikes on the market that were specifically designed to accommodate the female anatomy. To make riding more comfortable for them.
There are several parts on a women’s bike that you can convert to a men’s bike that are easy to switch including the seat, the handlebars, and the stem. There are parts that can’t be converted unless you take the bike apart completely which include the frame and the stack. At this point, it would be easier to purchase a new bike.
You may find yourself in need of a more unisex or men’s bicycle and are considering buying a new one. This may not be necessary.
There are certain parts of a bicycle that are interchangeable. This means you can convert a women’s bike into a men’s bike.
You are likely looking to convert a bicycle as an alternative to buying a new one. I have put together this guide to help you identify the easiest ways to convert a women’s bike to a men’s bike.
There are more elaborate changes you can make, but this can take time and money. With a few simple changes and the right tools, you can convert your bike and hit the road.
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Differences Between Women’s and Men’s Bicycles
There are noticeable differences between women’s and men’s bicycles. Besides the color, these are the identifiable differences between them.
- Frame: Women’s bikes typically have smaller frames with shorter top tubes. This is because in general, women have shorter torsos and inseams. The frame of women’s bikes is also a step-through frame with a downward leading top tube. This makes it easier to get on and off the bike. A men’s bike has a top tube that goes straight across.
- Stack: The stack is the distance from the center of the frame’s bottom bracket to the middle of the head tube. Women’s bikes have a shorter stack than men’s bikes so they can pedal more comfortably.
- Saddles: The gender differences in anatomy make sitting comfortable an important issue. Women’s bikes will have female-specific saddles to better fit the female anatomy and give a more comfortable seat. Saddles on women’s bikes are wider and lower.
- Crank Arms: Many women’s bikes have shorter crank arms to accommodate shorter heights. This is not seen on all women’s bikes because it would not benefit taller women. A crank arm that is too long can cause knee pain.
- Handlebars: Women’s bikes have more narrow handlebars to accommodate having narrow shoulders.
- Brake Levers: As women generally have smaller hands, bikes are designed with brake levers that have a shorter reach.
Which Parts Can You Convert
There are several parts of a bicycle that you can convert if needed. It takes time and effort but provides another option compared to buying a new bike.
One reason people convert their bikes from being a women’s bike to a men’s bike is to accommodate changes in size. Whatever the reason is for converting a bicycle, it is important to know which parts you can actually change.
- Saddle/Seat: The saddles for bikes are designed differently to accommodate the male and female anatomy. This is one of the first parts of a bike that you will want to convert. A women’s saddle or seat will be wider since women have wider hip bones. You will want to convert to a narrow seat to make the bike suited for a man.
- Handlebars: The handlebars for women’s bikes are usually narrower but these can be removed and converted to wider handlebars. The only time you may see wider handlebars on a women’s bicycle is with mountain bikes, and this is because they need to be wider for better control on uneven terrain.
- Stem: The stem on women’s bicycles are shorter typically to easily accommodate the fact that women have shorter wingspans. To convert the bike to be for men or more unisex, you would want to change the stem out for a longer one.
Which Parts Can’t You Convert
There are parts of the bike that cannot be converted. It may be possible to convert them, but it would involve taking the bike apart completely.
In this instance it would be easier to buy a new bike. By converting the components mentioned above, you can change a women’s bike to a men’s bike.
- Frame: The frame of a woman’s bike is noticeably different to a man’s bike because of the cross bar. The cross bar for a women’s bike will slope downwards at an angle. This style is known as a step-through frame to allow for easier mounting and dismounting. On a men’s bike, the top tube or bar extends straight across to provide extra support for more weight. This bar is welded as part of the frame so cannot be converted without changing out the entire frame.
- Stack: The stack is a distance and so cannot be converted or changed without altering the frame. This also goes for the reach. Both the stack and reach are often smaller for women’s bikes, as women typically have shorter torsos. As you can see from the image below, the stack cannot be changed without changing the frame. This applies to both the stack and reach for the handlebars and frame.
How To Convert A Women’s Bike Into A Men’s Bike
If you have decided to convert a women’s bike into a men’s bike, you need to know the proper ways to do this. Understanding the parts you need to convert is important as is having the right tools.
When it comes to converting a women’s bike to a men’s bike, there are specific parts and tools that you will need. The easiest conversions to make are for the seat, handlebars, and stem.
Further modifications will require the frame to be cut or altered. Get the new seat or saddle that you want as well as a new longer stem and wider handlebars.
The best tools to have on hand will include:
- Allen wrench
10 Steps To Convert Bike
1) To convert the saddle, you first need to identify the bolts that are keeping your seat in place. Most bicycle seats are held with 4 or 5mm nuts so make sure you have the right wrench for the job. Loosen the bolts and remove the old seat.
2) Next, you will be attaching the new seat. Align the rails of the seat on the frame before you insert the bolts into the holes. As you fasten the nut in place, make any adjustments to the seat. The angle needs to be set for your comfort. You can tighten the bolts, once the seat is at the desired position. Make sure the bolts are secure as the seat should not move at all. Any movement means it cannot hold your weight properly which can be dangerous.
3) Next you will remove the handlebars and stem to convert them to the new longer and wider options you have picked out. Since you have to remove the handlebars to convert the stem, you might as well change both to give you the full shape and style of a men’s bike.
4) Remove all the faceplate bolts to remove the handlebars.
5) Remove the dust cap so that the bolt on the top is exposed. Use your finger to slide underneath the cap to get it off. Use an Allen wrench to loosen the top cap bolt until the cap and bolt both slide out.
6) It is now time to remove the stem. Loosen the bolts that attach the stem to the steering tube first. Your Allen wrench will work for this and then you can lift it right off.
7) Grab the new longer stem you have for a men’s bike and slide it over the sterling tube. The top cap and bolt can both be put back in place and tightened. Leave the bolt a little loose so you can put the new handlebars in place first. Center your new wider handlebars in the stem clamp.
8) Make sure you position them the way you would like and then re-attach the face plate. Only tighten the bolts a little so there is no unnecessary pressure placed on the bars.
9) Once you have all the bolts in place, you can tighten them down fully.
10) Lastly, you can go back and fully tighten the top cap bolt.
These are the simplest steps to change out bicycle components so the bike will be more suited for men. If you have the resources and time and wish to further convert the bicycle, you will need to cut the frame.
Helpful Tips To Know When Converting Women’s Bike To Men’s Bike
Converting a women’s bike to a men’s bike is relatively simple when you just change out a few of the components. To keep the process simple, I recommend a few tips for the process.
- Keep track of all the pieces, making sure new and old ones are not mixed
- Use bins or containers to keep all bolts and other small pieces to prevent losing them
- Make sure you have all the components and tools ahead of time
- Enlist the help of another person to help hold pieces in place. This can make sure items like handlebars are positioned correctly and not at awkward angles.
Many bicycles today are designed to be unisex. But what happens if you have an older bike? Do you have to buy a new one? You can, but it is often easier to just convert a women’s bike to men’s.
The typical men’s bike style is also considered to be unisex, so you will end up with a bicycle to suit anyone.
With this guide you can quickly and easily transform the bike you have and save your money for a cool getaway to explore with your newly converted bicycle.