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Find out the kinds of suspension, design specs and gear shift models that give you the best performance.
The exciting features of a mountain bike make almost anyone want to try it out, and you should.
It’s a piece of crafted machinery designed to fit women. It makes you girls look good and lets you work on your muscles in your own style.
Comb through the points in this list of 7 Best women’s mountain bikes under $500. It helps clarify for you what you’re looking for – is it comfort, speed or style? Quite likely, it’s about having a feisty machine that supports the thrill of racing down a mountain.
Mull over each factor: a women’s bike is customized for the shorter reach and stem height that women need. Namely, the measurements, compactness, and comfort should make you feel the fit is just right. Even more importantly, you need to feel safe on your choice of mountain bikes.
Brambles and rushes in your path? The full-suspension (FS) can help you along. You get a balanced design that won’t convey the strain to your back, neck, and arms.
Need control with superior braking and shifting for your inclines? Yes! Excellent gear shift systems on both hardtail and softail bikes make it possible. It goes without saying – good suspension in the fork, a light frame, and finesse of design make a mountain bike what it should.
Over the given listings, check out how these factors match up against the best mountain bike on the list.
7 Best Women’s Mountain Bikes under 500 & where they stand for your budget
Admittedly the priciest one on this list is not even the costliest mountain bike you’ve heard of. But deliver on all the points of dual suspension, feather-weight portability, and sturdy build – oh yeah it does.
From the stable of the famous American bicycle maker Diamondback Bicycles, this is a standard hardtail mountain bike in three size variants. Of the three, this is the only one at this price point with 27.5-inch wheels. It offers decent ground clearance while still letting petite female riders place both feet on the ground for comfort.
Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes offer great stopping power without making the price climb up – it would have been far more expensive with hydraulic braking. Suntour offers the suspension fork at the front – and it is frankly all you need for those cruising speeds you hope to accelerate to on the slopes. Shimano’s stand 3 x 8 drivetrain keeps shifting accurate and simple. For steep climbs, drop to the smaller gears and shift as needed to keep conveying power as you pedal on.
This is the real deal – you will unbox this apparatus at 95% assembly and get it road-ready in no time. Diamondback includes the tools you need for this in the box. If you have never done the assembly before, it takes about 40 minutes to ride the bike after you unbox it. As you pick it up, you’ll notice how light this Diamondback is. Compare it with any other mountain bike at this price point and you’ll agree that a little over 29 pounds, it’s the lean mean machine on which you need to trace out hillsides.
- RockShox’s Recon Gold RL fork offers airy suspension without adding weight
- Low gears are as good as high gears
- Excellent fit for entry-level mountain biking
- Not for seasoned mountain bikers who need hydraulic braking
- Needs a more comfortable seat
Verdict: Delivers on all the promises of a hardtail mountain bike that’s priced moderately. It offers balance and solidity at a beginner’s price point.
If you’re ready to spend a little more on a Schwinn bike and avail the cushy benefits of full-suspension, Traxion is worth your consideration. At this price point, you sure get an aluminum frame bike that delivers both on technical specifications and drop-dead good looks. Traxion weighs under 50 pounds and sports the Schwinn suspension fork at the front. Enviable suspension from the word go keeps your ride comfortable and well-cushioned.
EZ-fire shifters from Shimano lie at the core of the machine. Shimano also supplies the derailleur and alloy cranks. To control the speeding possible on the lean, mean machine, Schwinn places mechanical disc brakes strategically. Users corroborate their swift action and the smooth shifting of the 24-speed drivetrain.
Nubby 29-inch tires are rather large but they fit nicely into the frame of this stately bike. You can pick a frame in matte green or neon green. Even a person in the range of 6’2” to 6’4” can plant her feet firmly on the ground while seated on this bike. For minor adjustments and better comfort, the adjustable seat is all you need. The saddle is nice and wide. It accommodates your swerves and shifts while riding at high speeds and leaves you a little more room. These touches from Schwinn make you feel indulged in.
- Excellent suspension – doesn’t convey shock to the rider at all
- Sharp shifters work precisely
- Great components and design at this price
- Not suited for speedy downhill rides
Verdict: It’s priced just right for the features it provides. Even better, it does not skimp on the quality of components. Assembly is simple – so simple in fact that it doesn’t require instructions. One can remedy minor niggles like the want of a cushier seat by adding a gel seat cover.
You arrive at Raleigh when you look for value on every dollar spent. Talus 1 from Raleigh has an enviable steel frame that is well-suited for mountain paths. Another 27.5-inch wheel size with just enough ground clearance and thick tires to keep the bumps away from your ride feel – this is a compact and sweet ride for beginners of mountain biking. Why sweet? Because it doesn’t compromise on comfort anywhere. The slightly-curved handlebars allow an upright grip and the custom-made tubes from Raleigh again emphasize the comfort criterion. This is the smaller size of the ones on offer – and best suited for female riders. A 29”-inch variant is also available.
Now for the actual machinery behind the nubby looks of the machine: Shimano’s famed EZ-fire trigger shifters offer you plenty of riding options – learn how to channel the power of this beast and try the tougher paths as you get more familiar. Be assured that V-brakes are there to regulate your speed – you can rely on them. Both front and rear derailleurs are from Shimano.
If you have never assembled or tuned your bike, you can take up a considerable amount of time fiddling with the fork and frame. You can sidestep this part by calling in expert assemblers. But learning the ropes is recommended by Raleigh and any other bikemaker worth their salt. You can truly appreciate the smoothness and the mechanism behind the Suntour suspension fork after you’ve fitted it into place.
Talus 1 also provides for fender mounts and a bike rack if you wish to use the same ride for commuting in the city and doing errands.
- Sturdy construction
- 2.25-inch tires for protection against bumpy rides
- Shimano powerhouse delivers on the features that matter
- Getting the sizing right is crucial
- Taller people need higher sizes
Verdict: There are some complaints with the back derailleur, but most of the troubles iron out during tuning. This mountain bike delivers well on the suspension, braking, and shifting. Sizing is where some users have issues. Be prepared to read up, measure first, and then make the purchase.
4. Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
Mountain bikes in unisex models are a good fit for women too. Petite women can still enjoy the Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike. Schwinn, the absolute expert of bike design from Germany, offers patrons a choice between an aluminum frame with disc brakes, and a lighter, more sophisticated version with a steel frame. This review is for the one with the steel frame and linear-alloy pull brakes.
Schwinn pays attention to the efficiency of each component – the parts are light but the impact is high. The color choices are seemingly endless – silver, Navy, blue, black, teal, and purple to name a few. High Timber makes you feel indulged, even spoilt for choice. The steel frame affords strength and durability to the frame without adding weight. Shimano offers a high-quality 21-speed derailleur. The shift twisters convey gear change seamlessly and make your ride comfortable across a variety of terrains.
The crossbar at an angle makes it easy for you to step over and mount the bike. This is why, perhaps, most women, even ones on the shorter side, are comfortable on the 29-inch wheels. The tires encase nubby alloy rims which are again light but strong. The tires themselves are the perfect choice for gliding over brambles.
Another aid for the easy mounting and stance is the adjustable seat. It sports a quick-release feature for your convenience. You do not need any tools to get it into a favorable position for your ride.
- Great stopping from linear-pull brakes
- Light for a steel mountain bike at 41 pounds
- High-end components used
- Less cushioning on the seat
Verdict: You’d expect nothing less from Schwinn, and Schwinn delivers. That said, this is a great bike for women in the height ranges below six feet. Once you have the height range and size you require squared off, it’s easy to make an economical choice in a preferred color. Assembly is quite straightforward.
FS are tiny magical letters that add gilding to the mountain bike. Gravity FSX does just that with the promise of strong braking and adjustable suspension at both ends!
There is nothing delicate about this FS mountain bike – not even in the wheel rims. They are double-walled at the rim and this makes them extra strong to support the knobby tires which are a little over 2 inches thick – perfectly suited for riding across capricious mountain slopes. The frame comprises Hydroformed aluminum. The fork has an adjustable preload option – a provision to control the amount of shock absorption the bike offers. You do this by letting the bike sit lower or higher – taking into account your weight too.
Despite these features, the disc brakes and alloy seat post, the Gravity FSX only weighs 35 pounds. Shimano shifters also are notable. Shock absorption is fairly neat – but not great. For this price point, it is only entry-level suspension that you get to experience when the matted paths start to surface. On the inclines, it is almost plain sailing thanks to the Shimano derailleurs.
Once you start to ride over twigs and reeds, though, you will see why the suspension is inadequate. For this reason, seasoned mountain bikers do not recommend this as a bike that will go all the way to the peak. Instead, this is a mountain bike that will get you started in the hobby. Casual riders admire the suspension.
The installation of this bike comes easy. You can check out videos and get started. But if you plan to keep it in the dirt road orbit for a long time, you will find yourself changing spares soon enough.
- Full-suspension at given price makes this bike interesting
- Disc brakes offer swift stopping power
- Solid frame is last-lasting
- The tires are not heavy-duty despite the thickness
- Seat and handle-grips need improvement
Verdict: There are no cheap accessories useds. Performance-wise, there are better FS bikes. However, this is the more modest alternative that introduces riders to the joys of thrilling sloped rides. This machine does not handle drops and foliage-laden paths that well.
Royce gives you a choice between a 15 inch and 17-inch frame. The only color choices are eggplant purple and matte black. But colors aside, it is the minimalist look of this “all-terrain-bike” that attracts eyeballs.
The frame is made of aluminum and less prone to rusting. The high-quality material also keeps the body light and makes for a good hardtail bike. The suspension at the front works well to absorb shock without conveying it to the rider.
Royce uses a 21-speed Shimano Revoshift and Shimano Tourney indexed derailleur which means shifting through the speeds is as easy as shooting the breeze with friends. You can scale the mountain path at a leisurely pace or opt for more pedaling efficiency. Pebbled paths are no big deal for this well-appointed piece of machinery. Shimano’s stable is proud to issue the utmost pedaling efficiency comfort through this machine which is fitted with 27.5-inch wheel rims. The size allows you to throw in your weight and get the most out of your pedaling.
The wheel rims are unique because of the machine-alloyed material they are made of – this allows the brake pad to clamp on instantly and bring the wheel to a halt. Comfort is a factor Royce has kept in mind – everything from the handle grips to the pedals give the rider the assurance of thoughtful design. The quick-release seat allows easy clean-up and maintenance. For this reason alone, many riders say it is a machine as suitable for the roads as it is for the mountain slopes. Quite notably, Royce has been making bikes since 1904 and certainly knows how to provide comfort through design and choice of componentry.
- Adjustable saddle and enough padding for comfort
- Rear derailleur is removable
- Exclusive women’s design with a 28.5-inch standover height
- Squeaks under heavier riders
Verdict: This is definitely a bargain for beginner riders who wish to try out a mountain bike within a reasonable price range. The front suspension is admirable and the brakes are responsive. The manual for installation is confusing because it’s not for this specific model. Yes, Royce cuts corners, but it delivers a lasting bike. Check for inseam height and reach before choosing a size.
This one listing is different from the other entries because it folds up. Other than that, the yellow body and thick black tires of this Outroad bike are also pretty special. It looks dashing, and it offers the extra convenience of portability and ease of storage.
It comes equipped with a 21-speed derailleur and suspension along with double disc brakes. It is not available pre-assembled. However, this is hardly a concern because the instructions for assembly are included and quite simple to follow. After assembly, expect the bike to weigh around 38 pounds. This about average for a mountain bike.
The frame is made from carbon steel and has suspension at both the front and back. It is designed to meets the demands of pebbled paths and uneven rides of the mountain slope. With simple, no-nonsense moves, you make your bike glide forward. That said, the suspension is not powerful enough. Some rugged paths, especially ones with sudden depressions, jerk your body instead of the bike. But this has more to do with the seat post arrangement than the suspension itself. The seat is too narrow for comfortable seating.
Coming to the most intriguing aspect of the frame, it truly does fold in half. For this reason, riders can find it convenient to carry aboard a bus or train. It can nestle in the trunk of your car quite comfortably. This only allows you to pursue your mountain-biking hobby in a range of places and appreciate the activity even more!
- Moderately priced bike with decent performance
- Solid set-up works well despite the folding mechanism
- Quick-release at the front and back allows pack-up in a jiffy
- The seat is too small
Verdict: This is a folding bike that adds no extra weight than the average mountain bike at 37 pounds. The shocks absorption is not as good as higher-end bikes. But it works for moderately grassy dirt paths.
Does buying a mountain bike require you to know more about bicycles than the average bicycle customer?
Well, yes. You definitely need to know more about the components used, their quality, their effectiveness on different kinds of terrain, their durability, and whether spares are easily available.
For example, a component maker like Shimano enjoys a lot of popularity because of their spectrum of shifters, derailleurs, drivetrains, and so many accessories and appendages that make a bike the well-oiled machine that it needs to be.
Considerations for a Mountain Bicycle
Right size up: One cannot emphasize the importance of size enough. Measuring the inseam length helps you choose a bike that fits your height and reach requirements. This enables you to mount and dismount easily. Even more crucial is your ability to keep control of the bike at different angles of the incline or plane on which you ride.
Learn the difference between FS and hardtail: You see, each has its own advantages. Hardtails are great for driving up speed. Soft-tails lets you ride roughshod over virtually any kind of terrain – loose mud, rocks, foliage, or tall shrubbery. Admit it, learning how to assess suspension against different surfaces helps you improve your ride quality.
Don’t be afraid to stoop: The elongated rhombus of your bike governs whether you sit up or stoop over the handlebar. The stoop lets you literally throw your weight towards the momentum you desire. Moreover, it adds more power to your pedaling.
Wheel size right in your wheelhouse: 29-inch wheels are great for ground clearance – say if you need to pass through a marsh. But 27.5-inch wheels are more your deal if you go slow but go hard at the trail paths.
Light as a feather or weigh down low? Sure, a lot of emphasis is on keeping the bike light. Yes, it helps if you need to walk up a path carrying your bike. But lighter bikes also deflect off loose rocks quicker. For the thinking biker, a heavier bike could be your style if you look for stability and comfort.
Keeping all these factors in mind, you know that the choicest pick of mountain bike for you is the one that answers on the points you require. Diamondback is true value for every cent you spend. Schwinn is slightly more expensive. But Schwinn has the range of models in its stable so you’re sure to find something for every need.
For a winning combination of looks, utility, and comfort, go for the Diamondback on this list.
If you are looking to further drop down on the budget, here’s our picks under 300.