There are many types of bikes but are they all suitable for the streets of a big city? In fact, any type of two-wheeler will do, and really it's down to us to decide what we’re going to feel best with.
However, several types will prevail in this domain. When we think of a ladies' city bike, many people immediately think of the stereotypical old, heavy machine, that isn’t a pleasure to ride at all.
Let's drop that image for a moment and think about what we should be looking for in a lightweight ladies’ bike that’ll be perfect for you.
The most important features of a ladies' city bike
There are many parameters and features we can use to help us make up our minds. The type of bike is certainly the first thing we'll think about, and that'll determine many attributes. One bike will be, for example, quite light by definition, but with another, we'll need to invest quite a lot to bring it down to the same weight.
Is a lightweight ladies' city bike a good bike?
If we go into details, we can generally assume that if we have a road bike weighing 13 kg and another weighing 9 kg, the latter will be better. On the whole, good quality parts are usually lighter, so let’s look at this parameter in this way. As far as weight is concerned, small differences are negligible, but by going down by, e.g., 3 kg, we'll feel the difference right away, especially on an uphill stretch and, of course, when we have to carry the bike!
Therefore, we can conclude that it's worth investing in a rather lightweight construction, but up to a point it's profitable. But let's not spend any extra cash on a part that's, let’s say, 20 g lighter. Marginal differences like these are only going to count in competitions.
You can read more about the impact of weight, and how to slim your city bike down in our other article.
Geometry of a lightweight ladies' bicycle
One of the key features that determine comfort and rideability is geometry.
So what do we look for in a lightweight ladies' bike, then? The perfect ride for the city has to achieve a compromise between stability and maneuverability to be able to cope well both in narrow streets or around pedestrians, and occasionally the quick ride outside the city.
A medium-length steerer tube and distance between the wheels, quite a low bottom bracket and fairly relaxed angles - these are the qualities we should be aiming for. We certainly can't go to the extremes because we don't want a racing bike or something with the maneuverability of a truck.
If you want to know more about this, read this short guide, it’s based on fixed gear bikes, but it describes the basics of bike geometry.
The parts on a lightweight ladies' bike - what to look for?
The basis for our city bike will be reliability and simple operation. Practicality often outperforms performance, so planetary hubs, despite being quite heavy, will work better than derailleur gears. They'll require less adjustment, and a single sprocket is easier to clean than a cassette.
Some other things worth paying attention to are a saddle that’ll be suitable for the position we’ll be riding in, quite wide tires (but without mountain bike tread!), and accessories such as fenders, a rack, or good lights. You can find many interesting accessories for your bike on our website.
All of these make riding a bike much more pleasurable and it means we’ll enjoy riding ours on more occasions.
The typical city bike...
... doesn't have to be rusty at all, weighs 18 kilos and coasts more than it rides. It's definitely worth going for modern productions, especially for those who tend to skip the sporting aspect and are just looking for a tool (maybe with a touch of style?) which, firstly, will take us wherever we want to go, and secondly, will bring us a lot of enjoyment, making our lives easier and more enjoyable.
A lightweight ladies' bike that meets such criteria will have slightly different geometry to a typical ladies’ bike. A sloping top tube on the frame, we say, yes to that! It'll allow you to get off and on the bike comfortably, even in a dress.
The rest of the geometry, however, is another matter. A typical city bike is very long with relaxed angles. A specification like this will have the reverse effect, meaning the bike won't be as comfortable and versatile, and it certainly won't be fast.
A shorter (within the norm) wheelbase or a slightly shorter headtube like on Loca Bikes bikes will give us a machine that handles much better (while maintaining good stability). Triple butted aluminum tubes will keep it down to a sensible weight.
Fixed gear and single speed
he minimalist option. The fixed gear is the simplest form of bicycle drivetrain. Professionally, we use such bikes on the track, but, nowadays, they're becoming more and more visible in big cities around the world.
One sprocket at the front, and one sprocket at the back. With the exception that the latter is fixed in place. Meaning when you crank backward, the wheel will revolve too, so we can't stop pedaling while riding.
Sounds terrible? In theory, yes, but you can get used to such a system very quickly, and it gives us a completely different riding experience.
A single speed, on the other hand, is a variation on the fixed gear, different in the fact that it has a freewheel at the back, so it's a bit friendlier on the novice cyclist.
You can read more about the differences between these drivetrains here.
Fixies, and other types of bicycles
How does a bike like this compare to a lightweight ladies' bike? As far as weight is concerned, single-speed bikes are free of a lot of additional equipment. There aren’t any derailleurs, shifters, cassette, or extra chainrings at the front. The tires are usually road tires.
So we can achieve a weight of less than 10 kg with relatively little effort compared to other two-wheeled constructions. If weight is the deciding factor for you, a fixed gear or single speed will probably be the best choice.
What about the comfort of the ride? Typically fixed gears are much more compact than city bikes and have more aggressive angles. This means we’ll lose a bit of stability but gain much more maneuverability.
However, it all depends on the manufacturer. Models designed for the city can have much friendlier geometry, and they'll be ideal for those looking for a more chilled ride.
Single speed commuter
Are we looking for functionality, low weight, and simplicity in our bike, and not too fond of riding a fixed gear? Would we also prefer slightly thicker tires? Well, if these are the features we're looking for, a single speed commuter will be a fantastic choice as a lightweight ladies' bike.
It has all the advantages from the previous category, combined with the practical features that many people look for in a city bike. Smoother geometry, more tire clearance, full-length fenders, rack, and a simple drivetrain.
With zero equipment, the weight will still be low even after adding accessories. A workhorse like this will perform well in winter without any problems, and in summer, it'll perform even better.
Recently a popular choice for the city. No other option will get us to work that fast. It'll be one of the lightest bikes, just behind fixed gears. Derailleur gears will give us more versatility and it’ll come in particularly useful if we live in a hilly place.
Road bikes are less compact than track bikes, but still very agile and fast. Unfortunately, narrow tires won't give us much comfort on bumpy roads, so you either have to get used to it or buy a road bike that can take tires that are a little thicker.
As with a lightweight women's bicycle, like a fixed gear, a road bike will be great for those looking for speed, more aerodynamic position, and simply a sporty ride.
We can say this is a subcategory of the road bike. It'll have room for thicker tires, it'll be very compact, and the inclined position will give us less air resistance.
The CX bike will go through any kind of mud. So, it's a great option as a city bike if you are looking for something fast, but don't want to limit yourself to just tarmac.
It's another variation of the road bike. Gravel bikes appeared on the market relatively recently and are winning the hearts of consumers all over the world.
It combines the features of an endurance road bike, cyclocross bike, and MTB giving us a very stable machine that has plenty of room for thicker tires, suitable for off-road riding, and allows us to take on a less aggressive, more comfortable position, perfect for longer distances. Additionally, it usually has disc brakes which will work well if you need more braking power.
Do you like gears and riding both in and out of town, but would you like a bike that can do just as well on the open road? Then a gravel bike will be the best choice for these three categories.
A mountain bike as a lightweight ladies' bike? It's not gonna be the cheapest thing. Assembling an MTB that can compete with road bikes and single speeds in terms of weight will, unfortunately, demand a lot of cash.
Due to very thick tires and suspension, a bike like this will initially weigh more than others. Additionally, the large tread is great for riding in the forest, but it won't perform so well on tarmac. In the city, these tires are unnecessary weight and have high rolling resistance.
A mountain bike is a good choice for tough conditions
In terms of suspension and riding stability, MTBs will outperform all other types of bike. We can ride them up the highest curbs without any issues, and dug up streets will be a walk in the park for it.
But is it really a candidate for the perfect light ladies' bike? Not really. Carrying an MTB isn't going to be the most pleasant activity, and a set of suspension + big tread in most cases is artillery too heavy for european cities.
However, if you need a bike for winter snow and mud, or you just want something universal that will go everywhere, this is a good option to consider.
The perfect lightweight women's bike
What's the verdict then? As in most situations like this. It all depends on your preferences, and it’s impossible to clearly determine which type of bike will be the best. However, there are certainly several directions we can go.
- A typical city bike or ladies' bike will be perfect if you don't need a sporty bike but want maximum comfort, the ability to ride in any outfit and carry luggage easily. Modern designs can be at quite a good weight but beware of the old heavy ones.
- A fixed gear is a good idea for people who like to sneak between cars quickly, want to try something different, value simplicity, or don't need gears.
- If for some reason, you don't like the idea of this drivetrain but you’d still prefer to have just one gear, then a single speed will be a good choice. The versions adapted for the city will give us the comfort of a typical city bike, and we can easily use it both for work and trips outside the city.
- A road bike as a lightweight ladies' bike? If you want to have gears, feel speed, and narrow tires won’t be an issue for you, then this is definitely a good choice! The weight will be quite good, too, and you can easily carry it to your top-floor apartment.
- Gears, maneuverability, and speed as well as thicker tires? These are the features of a cyclocross bike. It'll maintain its sporty, aggressive character on the road, and it'll give you access to many more places.
- A gravel bike is your answer if you're looking for a road bike that's more comfortable and stable, with thicker tires and more relaxed geometry. It'll get you anywhere, make riding around the city a pleasure, and you won't have any issues on those long-distance trips.
Are you interested in the idea of owning a very nice fixed gear, or are you looking for a fast, versatile city or gravel bike? Check out our latest range here.