Women's handlebar for a man?

Hi all,

I’m looking to get a 36cm wide handlebar for my road bike, I tried it out on a loaner and it feels much better than my 42cm handlebars. The only issue is that it’s a women’s handlebar, does that matter at all? I don’t care about the moniker, I’m just wondering if there’re any differences in construction with men’s handlebars.

One issue that comes to mind is weight. I’m 98kg and about 65% of that weight is above my waist, is there a safety issue when it comes to using a women’s handlebar?


It might help people if you mentioned the specific handlebar. But I imagine that the differences could be the width, maybe a narrower diameter, if they are carbon they could be laid up to provide the desired flex at a lower weight, and like you mentioned they could have a lower weight limit.

220lbs could be close to the weight limit for some handlebars especially if you foresee standing or sprinting and really ripping on them.

You could probably reach out to the manufacturer and ask though. Most are pretty happy to answer questions like weight limits.

Agh, sorry about that. I’m looking at the Specialized Expert Alloy Shallow Bend Handlebar. It’s an aluminum build.

Well, it looks like this bar is also short reach and drop (123mm drop, 75mm reach). The thing is, the given drop and reach figures are on the low side for unisex bars but they aren’t an outlier. I am not aware of any differences in the handlebar shape (discounting width and maybe drop/reach) that might have to do with sex. There is a presumably unisex version of these that has the same drop and reach figures, but lists widths of 40, 42, and 44cm. The ramps on the unisex version look longer, but I don’t see why that would necessarily be a gender preference or correspond to morphology.

No issues or actual gender specificity regardless of branding and marketing. If there is a weight limit, it will be listed specifically, so just look for that.

As mentioned, the only real differences here are the reach and drop coupled with the width. As long as the bars suit your needs, run it.


If you want 36cm short reach you could also just go with these


Madness that they attach a gender to a component. Why not just the dimensions?


Give it 5 years. Maybe 10.
All gone!

Keep calling it out when you see it.

I find it pretty sexist. “You are a woman, you have to use small handlebars and short reach leavers. And a wide saddle. And it must be painted pink or purple. You can’t buy the wider bars, they are men’s bars. Otherwise you are cross-dressing with a man’s bike, you f##### #####”.

What is wrong with just selling bikes and their components by actual measurements so everybody can choose what fits them?


This frustrates my partner no end. She is actively turned off by anything pink and has constant battles where she would like to buy a product but not when it is ONLY available in pink.

My handlebars are just the ones that came with the bike and I have never thought about changing them but after reading this I am sure that my hands and comfort would appreciate everything being just a little bit smaller.

I think if youre comfortable go for it!

I run 38cm bars and i’d happily go narrower on the hoods. But not sure about the drops - I prefer a bit wider drops.

I saw a bike fit video that the width of your (road) bars should be similar to the width of your shoulder bones.

Most bikes come with 42cm bars (very small or very large frames might have different stock bars). The bike fitter in the video explained how most riders he sees have actually smaller shoulders, so should ride smaller bars.

I also just have the stock 42cm bars on my bike, so seeing that, I measured my shoulder bones…42cm. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

…but of course, being female, someone will want to sell me 36cm bars because completely unrelated parts of my anatomy are different to men’s :roll_eyes:

“What’s that? You’re a man? No you’re not, real men are bigger than you.”

Toxic all around :face_vomiting:


And hot pink is one of my favorite colors… and it frustrates me that I can’t find stuff for me that IS pink :man_facepalming:

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Agree that it doesnt make sense having male handlebars and female handlebars - should just be sizes surely.

The one component I suppose could/should be gender specific would be the saddle - but even then there should be no barriers to just using whatever works for you.

Saddles have changed a lot over the years and fortunately more have become unisex because it is individual preference and there is huge variation in anatomy (even just between women) and what feels comfortable for any individual

There is plenty of hot pink mens gear…

Most things market to woman tend to be the same thing as market to men, but different color and maybe smaller in some cases…

if it fits, just do it…it really doesnt matter…
unless the handle bar comes in a color you dont like or a shape that doesnt work, then is will be the same thing…

I know a guy who uses a saddle market for women… I can see where the saddle might be different for women than men, but in his case it just fits better…