If you are just getting started with mountain biking, an entry level bike is a good place to start. Don’t go out and spend $2K on an MTB if you are not sure whether you like the activity or how often you will get to use it.
We will examine the best women’s mountain bikes under US$500 currently available online. Buying a Mountain bike online is where the best deals will be had, local bike shops will add a huge markup to cover all their over heads.
What’s the difference between Men’s and Women’s Mountain Bikes?
Mountain bike manufacturers generally assume that women are smaller, lighter and have longer legs than men, so women specific bikes are built accordingly. Typically a women’s mountain bike will have the following:
-Step-through frame. Top part of the frame tends to point down and is not horizontal like a men’s frame. Making it easier for women to mount.
-Women’s mountain bikes are generally lighter so they can be easily carried if necessary.
-The saddles on women’s mountain bikes are wider and offer more comfort.
-Shorter distance from seat to handlebars to provide more control.
As a women, do I need a gender specific mountain bike?
No, mountain bike selection depends on your size and weight. Saying that, if you are 5ft and 110 lb, a female specific mountain bike might be slightly easier to manage and ride.
Can you get a good women’s mountain bike for under $500 from a good brand?
Yes! The trick is to get an older model of a bike or one that is discontinued. E.g The Cannondale Foray (review below) is only available via Rei.com.
What is the best mountain bike brand catering for women?
Trek with their WSD (womend specific design) range.
Top 3 Women’s MTBs Under US$500
We have already reviewed the male version of the 820, at under $400 it’s excellent value for money. This bike has won multiple awards with rave reviews.
Trek calls their female range WSD, meaning ‘women specific design’. The bike has a women’s style frame with the step-through shape making it very easy to mount/dismount. They have also added a a WSD front suspension, which they don’t fully elaborate on, but is designed to give female riders more control.
Like all Trek bikes, the Women’s 820 has a solid spec: SR Suntour M-3030, Bontrager LT3, 26×2.00˝, Shimano Tourney EF41, 7 speed, Bontrager Sport seat, Tektro alloy linear-pull.
Main cons of the female 820 are the standard pull breaks, but you can add disc brakes at a later date. Also Trek only seem to be showing one color available (blue) which is a bit strange for a popular bike. Maybe they have more being delivered soon.
Some of the reviews have complained that the seat is uncomfortable, we think it’s just because reviewers are first time riders and not used to it yet. The seat can easily be switched out and should not be a decision breaker.
Cannondale Foray 4 27.5 Women’s Bike – (2018 Model)
Like Trek, Cannondale are a very good mountain bike brand that offer top spec bikes.
The Cannondale Foray 4 has 27.5” wheels which is the standard mountain bike size, along with a step through women’s frame made of C3 alloy. The bike is 21-speed (21 gears) and uses full spec Shimano components. The bike has mechanical disc brakes and Cannondale’s stage 3 women’s seat.
Total bike weight is 31lb. Unfortunately, the bike only comes in one color – BBQ?!
Mongoose Excursion (Under $200!!)
This is probably the cheapest women’s mountain bike you will find that is a decent brand. Mongoose have been around for years and pioneered the BMX era.
For under $200 you will not get a bike with a good spec like the Trek 820 above. But if you are looking for the cheapest women’s mountain bike possible – this is for you.
The Mongoose Excusion as 21 gears controlled by a twist grip system which is great for mountain bike beginners.
If you are using the bike every weekend and really loving mountain bike riding, you can save up and upgrade later or look at financing options available on big bike websites like Jenson USA.