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Best Women’s Mountain Bikes of 2022

Women's mountain bikes

Women’s mountain bikes have been around since 1999 when Juli Furtado designed the first-ever women’s specific mountain bike under the umbrella of the Santa Cruz brand.

Female mountain bikers had been riding long before that, however, with Furtado herself being the most successful XC racer in history until her early retirement. Since the launch of the Juliana brand, other manufacturers have taken note and have slowly come around to the idea of producing women’s mountain bikes.

In this article, we’ll talk through what the differences are in women’s mountain bike frames compared to men’s, and some of the best ones you can get started on in the different disciplines and categories. That way you can decide whether you need a female-specific mountain bike or not.

If there’s a bike you’d like to see that you think we’ve missed, drop us a comment below!

Best Women’s Hardtail Mountain Bikes


Hardtails are a great way to get into mountain biking without the maintenance requirements of a full-suspension setup.

They have front suspension forks usually up to around 120mm of travel, and rigid rear triangles. They are fantastic for learning tricks and getting the basics of your riding down before you progress to a heavier and more hardcore full-suspension bike.

Have a look at some of the best women’s hardtail mountain bikes we’ve listed below.

Cannondale Trail 5 Women’s

cannondale trail womens mountain bike

MSRP: $950
REI.com

Look no further when you are looking for one of the best value women’s mountain bikes.

The Cannondale Trail 5 Women’s is an ideal choice for mixed-terrain commuting, and as a fitness tool. It is ready to hit the trails with its newly upgraded parts from the drivetrain department. We usually don’t get too much into details when it comes to the look of the bike, but we can’t overlook its pure beauty. The light silver & pink just go so well with the matte black drivetrain & wheels.

If you are new to mountain biking, or Cannondale, we’d recommend taking a closer look at the whole Trail Series. There’s literally nothing to add or remove about the bike at this price range.

  • Aluminum frame
  • Frame Size Dependent Geometry – XS, S – 27.5″ / M – 29″
  • 1×10 speed microSHIFT Advent X derailleur
  • Tektro M275 Hydro disc brakes
  • 100mm SR Suntour XCM fork
  • Weight: 31.2lbs

The GOOD – 1x front chainring, hydro brakes, dropper seat post compatible.

The BAD – Relatively heavy and basic coil fork.

The SUM – Cannondale provides awesome value MTBs and this is a great MTB for beginners and intermediate riders alike.

Frame Size Recommendations
XS
– 4’6″ / S 5’1″ – 5’4″ / M 5’4″ – 5’8″

Buy on REI.com Read Our Full Review


Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0

Customer rating: 4.5 / 5 out of 36+ reviews

co-op cycles drt 1.0 mtb

MSRP: $599
REI.com

The Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0 is a hardtail women’s trail bike.

This bike comes with grippy 2.1″ tires, nimble 26″ wheels, and powerful hydraulic disc brakes. All of these components combine for confident off-road riding for an entry-level hardtail.

With 100mm of travel, this bike is ideal for zipping around the bike park or a leisurely trail ride with family and friends.

  • Frame – 6061 Aluminum
  • Fork – 100mm, SR Suntour
  • Tires – Kenda Kadre, 26 x 2.1
  • Drivetrain – 21-speed Shimano Tourney
  • Weight – 31 lbs
  • Co-op Cycles DRT series review

Frame Size Available
XXS
– 4’9″ – 5’0″

Buy on REI.com


Marin Palisades Trail 2

marin palisades trail 2

MSRP: $713
Jenson USA

The Riff Deore 10 is an ideal women’s first mountain bike. 2x front chainring drivetrain, 2.25″ wide tires, and 27.5-inch wheels coupled with Tektro hydraulic disc brakes are a truly great bang for the buck. More known for their high-end mountain, Marin is a well-known brand that specializes in mountain biking and has managed to successfully produce different kinds of mountain bikes for demanding riders.

Is there’s anything to add or remove from the bike? Probably not.

We are surprised to see mountain bikes at this price range which offer a nice set of components that were unseen just five years ago. For $1,019 (full price), you’ll get a bike that’s got everything to get on the trails without the worry of swapping something out after the first 500 miles. Some bikes at this price range offer a fork lockout on the handlebars, but we wouldn’t consider this as a turn-off. After all, it’s got a RockShox Judy Silver fork, and a Shimano Altus 2×9 drivetrain which is reasonable at this price range, and hey – the nice look of this bike is something we can’t underestimate as well.

  • Series 2 6061 Aluminum
  • RockShox Judy Silver TK, 100mm Travel
  • Shimano Altus 2×9 drivetrain
  • Tektro M275 Hydraulic Disc
  • 27.5×2.25″ tires

The Good — RockShox fork, nice design, 27.5″ wheels, hydraulic brakes.

The Bad — Couldn’t think of any at this price range, except maybe the drivetrain.

The SUM — Great looks, trusted MTB brand, nice set-up. Ideal bike for intermediate riders.

Frame sizes from S to L

Buy on JensonUSA.com


Cannondale Trail SE 4

A trail-ready hardtail with progressive geometry

cannondale trail se 4 mtb

MSRP: $1,150
REI.com

The Trail SE 4 is one of Cannondale’s women’s bikes adapted for comfort and performance.

The American brand is a sponsor of a world-class XC team and thus knows exactly how to produce a bike suitable for females whether they are racers or leisure riders. Although built for mountain biking, it’s perfectly capable as a bikepacking rig or commuter bike as it has plenty of mounting points for luggage and bottles.

With a 120mm fork and a lightweight aluminum frame, this is a versatile female-oriented bike that is a perfect introduction to the world of mountain biking.

  • Frame – SmartForm C2 aluminum
  • Fork – 120mm, SR Suntour XCR
  • 29″ wheels
  • WTB Breakout 2.3″ / WTB Trail Boss 2.25″
  • Shimano Deore M4100 10-speed
  • Saddle – Cannondale Women’s Trail
  • Weight: 31lbs

Frames from XS to S fit riders
4’6″ to 5’4″

Buy on REI.com


Marin Wildcat Trail 1

A hardtail designed for the female trail enthusiast

Marin - Wildcat Trail 1 WFG Complete Mountain Bike - Women's 2022

MSRP: $599
Jenson USA

Another fantastic example of a women’s hardtail mountain bike is the Marin Wildcat Trail 1.

This is a great entry-level trail bike for beginner riders who have high aspirations or simply want to explore all kinds of trails and unpaved roads. Mechanical brakes and 100mm of travel make this an extremely capable bike on the rough stuff while keeping it comfortable and accessible.

With 27.5″ wheels, this bike is agile, handles well, and makes a perfect bike to ride on the trails or with family.

  • Frame – 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Fork – 100mm, SR Suntour
  • 3×7-speed Shimano Tourney
  • Power CX7 mechanical disc brakes

Frame sizes – XS to L
4’8″ to 5’9″

Buy from Jenson USA Buy on evo.com


Diamondback Hatch 3

A modern hardtail bike with 27.5 or 29″ wheels

diamondback hatch 3 mtb

MSRP: $775
REI.com

Not the best model by Diamondback, but the Hatch 3 has plenty to offer new mountain bikers.

This women’s mountain bike has progressive wheel sizing and hydraulic disc brakes despite its low price.

As we said before, progressive wheels allow for better handling across the size range. This bike is extremely capable on XC trails but it just won’t be best suited to a black diamond trail.

The Hatch 3 has an aluminum frame and a 100mm suspension fork to smooth out any bumps and lumps you might come across whether you’re on the trail or out riding with family and friends.

  • Frame – Aluminum
  • 100mm Front fork suspension
  • 21-speeds Shimano Tourney

Buy on REI.com


Liv Tempt 1 29″

liv tempt 1 29" mtb

MSRP: $960
Mike’s Bikes

Liv is another women-specific bike brand, and the Tempt is their solution to hardtail mountain biking. The Tempt 1 sits second from the top of the selection and offers awesome value for recreational cyclists. Check out the specs, as this is one of the best builds at its price range.

  • RockShox Judy TK 100mm travel (80mm on 27.5 XS)
  • Wheel Sizes 27.5 or 29
  • Tektro TKD149, hydraulic discs
    XS, S – 27.5″
    M, L – 29″
  • Shimano Deore 10-speed

Frames XS to L fits riders
from 4’8″ to 5’9″

Buy on MikesBikes.com


Best Women’s Full-Suspension Bikes


Full-suspension bikes are extremely versatile and can range from XC bikes to hard-wearing downhill bikes.

There’s definitely something for everyone with a full-suspension bike and thanks to brands such as Juliana there are more and more women’s bikes available in these categories. They may not all have obvious differences in their geometry, but with a women’s specific bike you’ll get a finishing kit like a saddle or handlebars that are more tailored to the female body.

Have a look at some of the best full-suspension women’s mountain bikes we’ve picked out.

Juliana Roubion C S

An enduro and all-mountain carbon-framed beast

Juliana Roubion Mountain Bike

MSRP: $5,949
Evo.com

First on the list of our best full-suspension MTBs is the Juliana Roubion C S.

With 160mm of front and 150mm of rear travel, this carbon bike is an all-mountain and enduro beast. The mixed wheels eat up obstacles and technical trails by balancing agility and rollover. Using Santa Cruz‘s patented VPP suspension system it’s easy to tune the bike to your needs.

The geometry is adaptable and can be changed using the flip-switch to make the headtube slacker and drop the bottom bracket height for extra stability. Overall, it’s a fantastic women’s specific full-suspension bike that will take you from the bike park to winning races.

  • Frame – Carbon C
  • Fork – Fox 36 Float Performance
  • Rear Shock – RockShox Super Deluxe Select+
  • Brakes – SRAM Code R
  • Dropper Seat Post – RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • 29 x 2.5″ Maxxis Minion DHF / 27.5″ x 2.4″ DHR II
  • 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle

Frame sizes from XS to M

Buy from Backcountry Buy on Evo.com


Cannondale Habit 4 Women’s

One of the best Cannondale women’s mountain bikes by the value

cannondale habit 4 mountain bike

MSRP: $3,000
REI.com

Featuring the long, slack geometry we’ve all come to love over recent years, the Cannondale Habit 4 is a great example of a women-specific trail bike.

With plenty of travel for trail riding, Cannondale uses its clever Proportional Response technology to set up the suspension on each bike specifically to the weight of the rider. This optimizes performance on the bike by allowing you to tailor your experience and soak up the bumps yet keep it responsive.

At home on the trails or off-piste, this is one gnarly yet stable trail bike for women.

  • Frame – Smartform C1 Aluminum
  • Fork – RockShox 35 Gold RL, 140 mm
  • Rear Shock – RockShox Deluxe Select+ 130mm
  • Wheels – XS 27.5″ / S 29″
  • 12-speed SRAM SX
  • Weight: 35lbs
  • Related: Cannondale Habit series

Frame sizes from XS to S

Buy on REI.com


Liv Pique 2

A blisteringly fast trail bike designed for women who want to go fast

liv pique 2 full suspension

MSRP: $2,484
Mikes Bikes

Liv is a well-known women’s specific bike brand and has been producing bikes for over ten years under the umbrella of their male/unisex brand Giant.

The Liv Pique 2 is a fast and agile XC bike designed around suspension that has been tuned for female riders over a wide data set provided by female athletes so you can get the most out of your trail bike. The 100mm travel and 29″ wheels provide a fantastic platform for you to blast through the trail center or whip the bike around the natural landscape.

This aluminum-framed full-suspension bike is a great all-rounder for women who want to get more out of their mountain biking.

  • Frame – ALUXX SL-grade aluminum
  • Fork – RockShox Recon RL Silver, 100mm
  • Rear Shock – RockShox Deluxe Select+ 100mm
  • 12-speed Shimano Deore
  • Brakes – Shimano BR-MT410 hydraulic disc brakes

Frames M

Buy on Mikesbikes.com


Juliana Furtado C S

Women’s carbon enduro mountain bike

juliana furtado c s full suspension mtb

MSRP: $5,799
Mikes Bikes

The Juliana Furtado C S is a fine example of a women’s enduro bike.

The carbon-framed beauty features 140mm of front and 130mm rear suspension making a perfectly balanced bike that’s not only superbly quick downhill but is lightweight enough to climb on too – no longer will you need to use the uplift after doing the black run.

A lightweight yet powerful bike built for performance and racing, the Juliana Furtado C S is a great enduro bike for those looking to get into racing, or for those who want to get the most out of their riding.

  • Frame – Carbon
  • Fork – 140mm, RockShox Pike Select+
  • Rear Shock – RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ 130mm
  • Groupset – 12-speed SRAM GX/NX Eagle

Buy from Backcountry Buy on Mikesbikes.com


Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Bikes

womens vs mens mtbs

Women’s MTB Geometry (vs Men’s and Unisex)

Although the introduction of women’s specific bikes and geometry somewhat ballooned in the early 2000s, many brands are now moving away from that viewpoint and suggesting that a bike should be chosen based on the rider, not the gender.

The typical women’s MTB geometry was designed around the idea that women have shorter torsos but longer legs than male riders. This led to several brands building bikes with a shorter reach but taller front end, or a shallower fork angle.

Although this more upright riding position can help get people comfortable on a mountain bike, the more technical and fast the trails, the more of a racing position you want to adapt to be able to handle the bike well and keep it stable.

In recent years, men’s bike geometry, in particular, has embraced progressive frame layouts and in many cases lengthened the wheelbases and slackened the headtubes for more stability (of course, this depends on the bike and the desired riding purpose). But have women’s bikes kept up? The Juliana brand no longer believes there should be a discrepancy between men’s and women’s frames, and instead, designs the frame based on smaller differences such as weight. The finishing kit is also tailored to the smaller rider with narrower bars and suspension setups for lighter riders.

Is the term “Women’s Bike” Still Relevant?

What you may find is that the higher-end female-specific bikes look remarkably like their male or unisex counterparts. Many brands are abandoning the idea of female-specific geometries altogether, and have increased their frame size range to suit a wider breadth of rider heights. Of course, at the lower end of the scale, there still are noticeable differences including sloping top tubes and a shorter reach.

Whether or not you think you need a female-specific bike is down to your individual geometry, but we’d always recommend trying a test ride if possible before purchasing, or at the very least, accurately measuring yourself to find the correct sized bike – unisex or female-specific.

Bike Wheel Sizes

Just like men’s or unisex bikes, there are several wheel sizes you might find on a women’s specific mountain bike.

These are:

  • 26″ – Uncommon on adult bikes now, but popular until the late 2000s
  • 27.5″ – Great size for agile riding, usually found on bikes up to downhill specs
  • 29″ – Common size on men’s bikes but not as much on women’s. Faster rolling speed and helps get over obstacles without as much maneuvering as 27.5″ wheels
  • Mullet bike – 27.5″ up front and 29″ rear

Travel Range & Disciplines

As with men’s bikes, women’s mountain bikes come in several categories, and within each category is a typical amount of suspension travel you can expect to find on the bike.

We’ve listed them below and explained the differences:

  • XC – Travel usually between 120-130mm. Cross Country racing prioritizes fitness and skill over descending. Races are usually over an hour, and racers often choose hardtail bikes, although full-suspension bikes are becoming more popular as components become lighter.
  • Trail – Travel usually up to 140mm. Trail bikes are usually full-suspension and somewhat blur the lines between enduro and XC. They can handle the rough stuff and are great for natural trails on mountains as well as playing at the bike park.
  • All-Mountain – Generally between 130-160mm travel. Full-suspension bikes that sit between trail and enduro bikes. They can handle a lot of the same stuff as an enduro or downhill bike but without the added weight.
  • Enduro – Usually between 140-180mm travel. These full-suspension bikes can tackle some of the gnarliest tracks but are still usually light enough to pedal back up the hill.
  • Downhill – Usually around 200mm travel. Full-suspension bikes with the most travel and the heaviest duty of all the disciplines. These are built to descend and fast. Climbing is not the most comfortable on these, this is why uplifts are available at some bike parks.

3 thoughts on “Best Women’s Mountain Bikes of 2022

  1. Jim says:

    I know nothing of Mtb or trail. This would be a gift for a 5′ 6″ woman 125 lbs. In monster great shape. She runs / she swims / she road bike races and she wins. She does not just enter races. A bike For trail, around $1700.00 is my goal. Her rd bike is a Specialized at $4000.00 what should I buy?

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Jim, that is an awesome idea that you are thinking of doing! A $1,700 budget is where to expect a great hardtail mountain bike for an intermediate trail rider. What kind of riding is she thinking of doing – exploring the trails, or competing?
      If she already has a carbon road bike, I’m sure she appreciates a good ride quality, therefore choosing an MTB can be a difficult one as there are quite a few types of mountain bikes to choose between.

      If you’d want to max out on the $1,700 budget, I’d prefer to look for a hardtail trail MTB (100-130mm travel on the front).

  2. Eliz Staeheli says:

    I want a bike around $500 that does not require a lot of maintenance but that’s good for riding in the dirt on dirt roads through a few fields and can still be used on country roads if necessary.

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