What is a Crossbar on a Bike?

A crossbar is a horizontal bar positioned between the handlebars and the seat of a bike, where the majority of the cyclist’s weight usually sits. But some women’s bikes do not have a crossbar.

It is important for anyone who is a beginner in biking to know exactly what is a crossbar, why it is important, and what it does?

What is a crossbar on a bike?

Many women’s bikes have dropped crossbars because of some reasons, in this article, we are also going to explain why women’s bikes have dropped crossbars

The purpose of a crossbar is to offer additional support for the bike frame. Frames are actually designed to support a lot of weight because even a strong steel frame can start to buckle after several years of heavy-duty use.

Why do Men’s Bikes Have a Crossbar?

There’s a difference in construction between women’s and men’s bicycles when it comes to crossbars.

The reason for Men’s bicycles to have crossbars was because the slanted crossbar down ended up weakening the bicycle frames.

Dropped crossbars were good for women because it was highly impossible for women to use bicycles roughly, but not for men’s

Crossbar bicycles are known for their strong frame structure, which can improve the bicycle’s longevity.

But the question still stands, what was the reason for bicycle manufacturers to start making dropped crossbars for women? because nowadays some women’s bikes have crossbars just like men’s bikes

Why Women’s Bikes Don’t Have a Crossbar?

The crossbar usually poses an issue to women that mostly wore dresses.

Riding a bicycle need lifting the leg over the crossbar, and if you are wearing a dress, that’s where the problem starts, that is bound to expose almost the entire leg which was considered quite scandalous in the old day.

That’s where the bicycle makers begin to produce bicycle models with dropped crossbars to make the bicycle riding more ‘dignified’ for women.

However dropped crossbar would weaken the bike, but why would a fine lady need to use the bicycle roughly anyway? but men can do that.

Things have changed nowadays because women don’t necessarily have to wear dresses or skirts all the time anymore.

But still, the tradition of producing bicycles without crossbars has continued. Even some BMX bicycles for men nowadays are made with slanted crossbars to lower the chance of injury while performing tricks.

Nowadays bicycle frames are made with such strong materials that the bike still has strength without crossbars. You can even ride it on rough terrain.

Who Designs a Bike Without a Crossbar For Women?

William Elliot Smith noticed that his wife struggle to ride her bicycle safely while wearing a dress and he decided to design a bike that women could use even wearing a dress.

Women almost only wore dresses, very full skirts, and petticoats, which was highly impractical when faced with a horizontal bar between the handlebars and the saddle.

That’s where Smith’s invention of a crossbar-less bike was first brought to public attention in 1888 in the form of a big women’s bike parade.

A man named Herbert Sumber Owen also manufactured his own women’s bicycles without crossbars. 

Since the late nineteenth century, bikes without crossbars were built for women in order to accommodate women’s skirts. it was easy for them to get on and off the bike

Why Are Women’s Bikes Different From Men’s?

There’s a big difference between men’s and women’s bicycles this is because women typically have wider pelvic bones than men.

That’s why some women’s bicycles have wider and shorter saddles, on the other hand, men’s saddles are likely to be narrower.

However, performance bikers typically want a narrower saddle because it gives them an extra bit of room for pedaling they need.

#Bicycle Frame Size

The size of the bicycle frame is the huge difference between men’s and women’s bicycles. Certain components are different to better fit the average woman’s build.

  • Many women are shorter than many men, that’s the reason women’s bicycles are likely to have a shorter stack height (the vertical distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube).
  • They are also usually to have shorter torsos, women’s bikes tend to have a shorter reach length (the horizontal distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube).

Other components can be adjusted to simply suit your fit. Here is one of these components

  • Bicycle’s handlebars: on average, women have narrower shoulders, meaning narrower handlebars can sometimes fit a female rider better.

It is important to find the bike you’re comfortable with, If the bicycle’s reach does not feel good for you, you can swap out the bicycle’s stem for a shorter or longer one. Different stems will be able to change the position of the handlebars for you.

#Bicycle Frame structure

The bike frame structures of men and women are different, typical women’s bicycles tend to feature a low-step frame (also known as an open-frame or step-through).

Men’s bicycles tend to feature a crossbar or step-over frame. Both men and women can benefit from the comfort and ease of a low-step frame, just as both genders can benefit from the strength and versatility of a crossbar bike.

It all comes down to choosing the best bicycle frame that suits your best.

#Bicycle Saddle

Some female-specific bicycles also have a slightly different saddle from their male-focused counterparts. Because women likely have wider pelvic bones than men.

Some women’s bicycles have wider and shorter saddles, and on the other hand, men’s saddles are likely to be narrower.

Narrower saddles lower the friction between your legs, it can become an issue if you are biking in an aggressive position.

Bicycle saddles are a simple component to swap out. If the bicycle you truly like does not have quite a good saddle or your riding position changes, you can easily switch it out for something more suited to your needs.

#Bicycle Suspension

We can rise the suspension difference between men’s and women’s bikes but is not something you can stress about when you are shopping for a bicycle

Because men’s and women’s bicycles usually have a similar suspension set-up, however, it’s something you might have to adjust to fit your weight.

Adjusting your bicycle suspension is super simple, you can also do it at home. But if you have any issues, you can go down to your local bicycle shop to get some help with it.

#Bicycle Style

The difference between men’s and women’s bicycle styles and colors is important of course.

Women’s bicycles are likely to include brighter color options, along with extra features like wicker baskets, and on the other hand, men’s bicycles usually stick to more neutral colors.

However, these aesthetic differences are becoming increasingly less marked, because many bicycles nowadays are being considered unisex (both in style and structure).

What is the Middle Bar on a Bike Called?

It’s called a Riser bar which is a type of handlebar with a “U” shape in the middle. However, some riser bars have a very shallow “U” shape, like on most MTBs (mountain bikes) and hybrid bicycles.

However, some have a very deep “U” shape, like on most retro-style cruiser bicycles.

What is the Top Bar on a Bicycle Called?

The top tube is called a cross-bar and it’s the one you step over to ride the bicycle. Usually, it runs parallel to the floor, but it may be slightly angled.

However, some bicycles have very steeply angled or no top tubes to make it simpler to get on and off the bicycle


In conclusion, nowadays it does it matter whether you are men or a woman, you can ride a bicycle that has a crossbar or dropped crossbar design, the choice is yours.