Best Women’s Mountain Bike | Top 6 Great Picks! (2023)

(Last updated on April 3rd, 2023)

When I started looking for my first bike, I was hesitant to buy into the idea of a women’s specific bike. Too often, I’ve gotten caught up in the whole ‘shrink it and pink it’ women’s market where retailers charge extra to make something of a women’s color. But when I got away from the stigma surrounding women’s marketing and started looking at women’s bikes, I realized there are some advantages to women’s bikes – especially if you are looking for the best women’s mountain bike.

The best women’s mountain bike for you will fit your geometry and type of riding. But it also has to fit your budget, so we create this list of the best women’s mountain bikes.

In this article, we’ll look at the six best mountain bikes for women. We’ll talk about the features, pros, and cons. We’ll also give you a buying guide and discuss what to look for in a good women’s mountain bike. Then, of course, keep reading to the end to find our favorite one! But before we jump into the bikes, let’s look at what makes a women’s specific mountain bike and whether or not you need one.

What is a Women’s Mountain Bike, and Do You Need One? 

After comparing countless women’s bikes, I concluded that some really good characteristics make women’s bikes a little different from their unisex counterparts. They aren’t simply smaller bikes – a good women’s bike, especially a mountain bike – is created with a women’s size, shape, and skill in mind. So let’s look at some of the characteristics of women’s mountain bikes.

Frame Size

Since women generally tend to be slightly shorter than men, women’s mountain bike manufacturers make women’s bike frames in smaller sizes. So if you’re relatively short, like I am, you may need a women’s specific bike just because of your height.

Some women’s bikes also have a lower top tube, so it’s easier to swing your leg over, too. Standover height is essential, especially on a mountain bike, because it has a higher bottom bracket, which means the entire bike sits a bit higher.

Frame Shape or Geometry

Geometry, or frame shape, measures just how the bike fits you. For example, a larger person will need a larger frame, while a shorter person will need a smaller frame. However, there are more ways to adjust the bike’s frame to fit you better. Some bikes sit taller, while others have you leaning forward more aggressively.

In my case, I have a short torso and long legs for my height. This means the bike’s geometry is adjusted to have a shorter reach and a higher stack so you don’t feel stretched out.

Other bikes have a longer reach – so if you have a longer torso, you won’t feel cramped up on the bike.

Keep in mind that although a majority of women may have shorter torsos, not all do! So, you may not need a women’s specific bike in this case. For example, a taller woman with a longer torso and shorter legs might feel more comfortable on a unisex bike – it will have a longer reach from the seat to the handlebars, which could be more comfortable for them.

Saddle Design

The saddle is one of the most critical aspects of a bike – mountain or otherwise. Women tend to have wider sit bones and need a differently shaped saddle than male riders. Also, because of the way many women’s anatomy is shaped, a cutout saddle may be necessary to remove the pressure on delicate tissues.

This Fizik Argo saddle has a comfortable cutout and stable platform for your sit bones 3
This Fizik Argo saddle has a comfortable cutout and stable platform for your sit bones. Fizik

For me, a cutout saddle is necessary for a comfortable ride, and typically women’s specific bikes keep those delicate tissues in mind. But, of course, if you prefer a unisex bike, you can always change out the saddle.


There isn’t ‘women’s specific’ shocks out there. However, two women’s bike brands, Liv and Juliana, tune their shocks specifically for women to account for their lighter weight (typically speaking) and make the ride smoother. Most full-suspension bikes can be tuned however you want, though.

As a small rider, I need my suspension tuned slightly differently than my heavier companions.

Color Schemes

Although the bike industry doesn’t seem to equate being female with loving pink, there are lots of beautiful color choices available for women that men may not have. So if color is important to you, this might be a reason to get a women’s bike!

I get the most compliments on my purple bikes – far more than my basic black or grey ones.

Wheel Size

If the geometry is significantly changed to accommodate a smaller rider, you may need to have smaller wheels to prevent too much twitchiness or toe overlap, as I’ve found on some of my bikes.

So you may need to look for a women’s bike with smaller wheels – say 27.5-inch wheels rather than 29 inches. On the other hand, 29-inch wheels will tackle bigger obstacles a little better than smaller ones, so if you like to ride rough, you might want the larger wheels anyway!

Women’s Mountain Bike Wheel Sizes

LIV Intrigue27.5 inch
LIV Pique29 inch
Cannondale Trail27.5 or 29 inch, depending on size
Scott Contessa29 inch
Juliana Furtado29 inch front and 27.5 inch rear
Juliana Roubion92 inch front and 27.5 inch rear

So how do you know if you need a women’s mountain bike?

Consider these factors:

  • You’re short or very light and need a very small bike
  • You love women’s bike colors
  • You have a short torso but long legs
  • You love promoting women’s biking

Now that you know what makes a women’s mountain bike let’s take a look at the six best women’s mountain bikes!

Best Women’s Mountain Bikes

Bike NameWho it’s forPriceWhere to buy?Rating
LIV Intrigue AdvancedBest women’s mountain bike for smaller riders.$3,900Check price10/10
LIV PiqueThe LIV Pique is an affordable cross-country bike that’s great for beginners.$2,600Check price9.5/10
Cannondale Trail 8Best women’s mountain bike for beginner racers.$3,199Check price10/10
Scott Contessa Scale 930Best entry-level women’s mountain bike.$1,499.99Check price 9/10
Juliana Furtado 5Best women’s full-suspension mountain bike for the tiniest riders.$5,299Check price9.5/10
Juliana RoubionBest for someone who wants to ride all the terrain.$4849Check price9.5/10

Best Women’s Mountain Bike for Smaller Riders

1. Liv Intrigue Advanced

The LIV Intrigue Advanced is a mountain bike that can do it all 3
The LIV Intrigue Advanced is a mountain bike that can do it all. Mike’s Bikes.

Our Rating




SuspensionFull-suspension, mid-travel with 140mm rear and 150mm front
WheelsOptional 27.5 or 29” wheels
Best forGreat for trails and moderate descents
FrameFull carbon frame
BrakesHydraulic Brakes
Gearing30t chainring with 10×51 cassette
Rider TypeBest for beginners and non-rowdy riders


  • This is a well-rounded, full-suspension mountain bike
  • Plenty of stopping power
  • Will cover moderate but not overly technical terrain


  • Don’t try very technical trails with this bike
  • It doesn’t maintain speed as well as other similar bikes

The LIV Intrigue Advanced is a moderate all-rounder. I sincerely love that it can do a little of everything, from moderate climbing to not-too-crazy descents and most trails. Its carbon frame is relatively lightweight, and the suspension is tuned for lighter riders.

The Intrigue Advanced has plenty of stopping power, enough travel on the suspension for moderately technical terrain, and a comfortable position on the bike. So if you’re looking to do some light trail rides, this bike will work perfectly. It isn’t too much bike for a beginner but it works great for more advanced riders, too.

You’ll find a nice range of gearing on the Intrigue, as well. The 30T chainring is quite small to begin with, but you get a wide range cassette in the back, from 10 to 51. You’ll be able to easily spin this bike up those steep climbs.

Hydraulic brakes are a must for gravel and mountain biking, in my book, and the Intrigue doesn’t disappoint here. You get plenty of stopping power here. Another benefit is the choice of 27.5 or 29 inch tires, depending on how tall you are and what kind of terrain you are interested in riding.

I love LIV bikes for their attention to detail regarding women-specific frames. They don’t end up being twitchy like other brands but have smooth, capable handling, even in structures for short people, like me. I gave them a 10 out of 10 for making a reasonably priced bike for small riders that is incredibly capable.


The LIV Intrigue is the perfect all-rounder for anyone woman who wants to try everything without getting too crazy and technical.

Affordable Cross-Country Bike for Beginners

2. LIV Pique

The LIV Pique is an affordable cross country bike thats great for beginners 2
The LIV Pique is an affordable cross-country bike that’s great for beginners. LIV

Our Rating




SuspensionFull suspension with 100 MM of travel in front and rear.
WheelsOptional Wheel sizes: 27.5” or 29”
Best forGreat for cross country.
FrameAluminum frame keeps costs lower
BrakesHydraulic disc brakes
Gearing30t chainring with 10x51t cassette
Rider TypeNew mountain bikers and cross-country riders


  • Great for cross-country riders or those who are new to mountain biking.
  • Very affordable.
  • Excellent stopping power with a wide range of gears.


  • Aluminum frames won’t absorb as much chatter as carbon frames.
  • Don’t try anything too hard or technical on this bike as it doesn’t have enough travel.

If cross-country is your jam, the LIV Pique definitely gets the job done well. This short-travel bike has only 100MM of travel in both the front and rear suspension systems, which gives you lots of comfort for all-day rides. You don’t want to hit too technical trails, but you can enjoy all-day, off-road adventures with this very affordable bike.

An aluminum frame won’t absorb the vibration like a carbon frame would, but it does help to keep the price down. This might be really important to you if you’re just getting your feet wet in mountain biking and make sure you love the sport before investing in a carbon frame.

The Pique has the LIV brand characteristics that I love, too. It’s got women specific sizing, so it handles well and doesn’t get too twitchy at the smaller sizes. And you can choose between tire sizes. Smaller tires may  help you if you are riding on a smaller frame and find you’ve got too much toe overlap.

The Pique has similar gearing to the Intrigue Advanced, so you can easily get up those steep hills. But keep in mind that it isn’t a ‘downhill’ bike. So while it is very capable, you don’t want to take it on those uber-fast, very technical descents. You’ll want a downhill bike for that, instead.

This bike only gets 9.5/10 because it’s aluminum. And although that keeps the price down, it also makes the ride a little less comfortable (keep in mind that the plushy tires and 100mm travel will help with that!).


The LIV Pique is a fun bike for hitting cross-country trails. It has a balanced full suspension with great stopping power.

Best Women’s Mountain Bike for Beginner Racers

3. Cannondale Trail 8

image 10
The Cannondale Trail gives you a lot of bike for your buck. REI

Our Rating




SuspensionHard tail, 100mm front suspension
Wheels27.5 (small)  29 inch (medium)
Best forSpeed and agility
Gearing36/22t chainring with a 11-34t cassette
Rider TypeRacers


  • A lightweight and stiff hardtail is a great race bike.
  • Built for speed and agility
  • Reasonably-priced bike for the components.
  • Durable and lightweight frame.


  • Only available in 7 speed
  • Only has mechanical disc brakes

I love how Cannondale uses smaller wheels on the smaller framed bikes. This helps to avoid toe-overlap when making tight turns. It’s a hard tail bike, so while it’s great for trail racing, it isn’t meant for very technical situations.

The bike has a nice front suspension, which will take away some of the shock and vibration and give you a little extra grip.

What it does well is race! This lightweight bike is snappy and responsive, making it a terrific race bike. On the other hand, the aluminum frame, which is both lightweight and inexpensive, isn’t quite as comfortable for all day rides as a carbon frame.

This bike is dropper post compatible, although it doesn’t come with one. What’s really interesting on this mountain bike? It comes with a double chainring rather than a 1x setup. So you get plenty of gears for climbing, speed, and power.

This is a very reasonably priced bike. In part, its due to the aluminum frame. But it’s also due to the mechanical disc brakes. They’re less expensive then their hydraulic counterpart, but they do give you plenty of stopping power.

However, in my opinion, mechanical disc brakes are a little bit lacking when it comes to speedy descents and rough terrain. But plenty of speedy cyclists are completely comfortable with their level of stopping power.

The Cannondale gets a 10/10 because it’s a great well-rounded bike for the price of $645. And you get the incredible customer service and bike building and adjustments that come with every REI bike.


This bike is as fast as it is eye-catching! We just love how it flies over the trails with ease and looks good doing it.

Best Entry-Level Women’s Mountain Bike

4.  Scott Contessa Scale 930

Scott Contessa Scale 930 is an excellent entry level bike at a great price point 2
Scott Contessa Scale 930 is an excellent entry-level bike at a great price point. Contender

Our Rating




SuspensionHardtail with 100mm Front travel
Wheels29 inch
Best forBalanced handling with good stability
FrameLightweight aluminum frame
BrakesShimano Disc Brakes
Gearing30t chainring with 10-51t chainring
Rider typeEntry level


  • A great bike for the price
  • 29” wheels get you over plenty of obstacles


  • Not for technical terrain
  • Only available in small, medium
  • Best for beginners looking to race without spending a lot of cash.

Scott bikes weren’t really on my radar until I discovered the Scott Contessa. The Scott Contessa is a great way to get into mountain biking without breaking the bank, with a not-too terrible price tag of $1499.99.

The lightweight aluminum frame keeps the cost down. Aluminum frames are strong and sturdy, but they may feel a little bit harsh, too. If there’s too much vibration on the ride for you, this may be why.

It’s a fast but stable, bike and while it isn’t great for super technical terrain, it’s great for beginners looking to race. Or if you’re new to mountain biking and just want to dabble a little bit, this is a great bike to get started.

This is a hardtail bike, which means its better for cross-country and light trails, but it does have a nice front suspension for a little extra grip and some extra comfort, too.

It comes with 29 inch wheels, which are pretty large and will make the bike feel taller- but they’ll give you plenty of comfort and grip, too.

It’s a pretty bike that doesn’t look too girly on the trail – you won’t be afraid to get this bike dirty on those muddy trails!

I actually love this bike a lot, but it only gets a 9 out of 10 because it doesn’t come big enough for some riders.


It’s hard to beat this entry-level bike. We love how this bike makes mountain biking accessible for smaller, newer riders.

Best Women’s Full-Suspension Mountain Bike for the Tiniest Riders

5. Juliana Furtado 5

The Juliana Furtado is designed for the tiniest of riders 2
The Juliana Furtado is designed for the tiniest of riders.

Our Rating




SuspensionShort-travel bike with full suspension: 130MM rear and 140MM front
Wheels27.5” rear and 29” in the front.
Best formilder trails
FrameCarbon, with in-frame storage
BrakesHydraulic Disc
Gearing32t chainring with 11-50t cassette
Rider TypePetite


  • Stable and responsive
  • Great for both climbing and descending
  • Accommodates very short riders.


  • Expensive – other bikes are available at lower price points for the same quality.
  • same quality.

The Furtado 5 gives you stability in the front and liveliness in the back! It’s an excellent bike for shorter women with its mullet wheel setup and can accommodate ladies as short as four foot eight inches tall, which is great news to a short lady like myself!

I am a big fan of the carbon frame for its sturdiness, lightweight, and vibration-absorbing capabilities. The Furtado also comes with an in-frame storage compartment, so you can stash your snacks or tools and know they won’t get bounced away.

I also love the hydraulic disc brakes which give you that extra stopping power. The full-suspension gives you extra comfort and lots of grip for more technical terrain. The suspension is well-tuned for smaller riders, although you can have it adjusted, if you want.

In spite of the full-suspension, this isn’t going to be a bike for fast downhill races – you’ll want something longer and slacker for that. But this bike will give you plenty of grip and support for lots of trail rides, rock gardens, and some mild descents. It’s an all-around very capable bike.

These bikes run $5,299, which is a pretty hefty price tag. However, keep in mind you get lots of benefits – full-suspension, mullet wheels, and a carbon frame. So although it’s a little pricey, it’s still a great value with all of its high-end components.

This bike gets 9.5/10 because it’s great for tiny riders, although it doesn’t come in the largest sizes.


The Furtado is an ideal full-suspension mountain bike for small riders. It climbs and descends well, and the full-carbon frame keeps the weight down in spite of the full-suspension system so smaller riders won’t get bogged down with heavy equipment.

Best for Someone Who Wants to Ride All the Terrain

6. Juliana Roubion

The Juliana Roubion is great for pretty much any terrain 2
The Juliana Roubion is great for pretty much any terrain. Competitive Cyclist

Our Rating




SuspensionFull Suspension with 150MM rear travel and 160MM front travel.
WheelsWheel size is mixed with a 29” wheel in front and 27.5” in the rear.
Best forAll types of terrain
BrakesHydraulic disc
Gearing32t chainring with 11-50t cassette
Rider typePetite riders


  • Stable and nimble
  • Great for smaller riders


  • Kind of a blah color scheme.
  • Not available for tall riders.

The Roubion brings it all together with mixed wheel sizes and flip-chip geometry. It gives you plenty of travel to hit those spicy descents with confidence, something I absolutely need when the going gets a bit rocky. The mixed wheels give you lots of stability in the front but nimble turning in the back, so you really get the best of both worlds here.

A really cool feature of this bike is the chainstay. The chainstay length varies depending on the size of the bike, which means smooth handling no matter what size rider you are.

Another great feature is the mullet wheel setup. In some cases, this type of setup messes with the handling of the bike. But for the Roubion, the bike was designed around this concept, which means the geometry and handling fit like a glove to the multi-sized wheels.

One drawback, here, is that this bike doesn’t have a model for exceptionally tall riders. But taller riders likely won’t need a women’s specific bike, anyway.

The other drawback, is that although this is a really lean, mean capable bike, its color schemes are sort of blah. It needs some brighter, prettier colors to make its frame match its awesome capabilities.

This isn’t a cheap bike – you’ll have to go deep into your wallet on this one. BUt it’s well worth it for the feel, the fun, and the rough riding.

This bike gets a 9.5 out of 10 for its great handling but it needs some prettier colors to spice it up.


This bike is for you if you want to try a little bit of everything – it can handle it all but the most technical of terrain.

Guide to Choosing the Best Mountain Bikes

Suspension: Full-Suspension or Hardtail?

The suspension on your mountain bike helps make the ride experience more comfortable and gives your tires better traction on rough terrain.

A hardtail bike has suspension in the front fork. On the other hand, a full-suspension bike has suspension in the front fork and a suspension shock on the rear.

Full-suspension bikes are heavier and more expensive but are better for steep, rough terrain. Hardtails are easier to maintain and are better for climbing, and seem to be more popular with cross-country riders.

Youll feel more confident on the trails with a mountain bike that fits your size and shape 1
You’ll feel more confident on the trails with a mountain bike that fits your size and shape. Paul Jerry

Bike Type

Did you know there are a lot of different types of mountain bikes?

  • Cross-country or XC. These bikes are made for off-road speed and long distances. They typically have 29-inch wheels and 80 to 100mm of travel in the suspension fork.
  • Trail bikes. These are popular because they are the most versatile. They feature a more relaxed geometry for stability and comfort, do relatively well climbing, and have about 130 to 150mm of travel on full suspension or hardtail. These are sort of the all-rounders.
  • Downhill bikes. These are made for going downhill fast and feature a massive 200mm of travel in their suspension. They don’t climb well, though, so expect to take a chair lift up steep mountains.
  • Enduro bikes. These are great for long rides and a variety of terrain. They’re great for exploring and usually have 160 to 170mm of travel in their full-suspension setup.

Wheel Size

Typical wheel sizes on modern mountain bikes are 27.5 and 29 inches, depending on how large of a rider you are and what types of obstacles you’ll be tackling on your rides.


Brakes are a critical component of mountain bikes since you may be flying downhills in dirty muddy conditions. Hydraulic disc brakes are a popular choice for mountain bikes because of their extra stopping power.

Group Set

The quality of your group set – your chainrings, cassette, chain, and rear derailleur – will affect the quality of your shifting. Also, most mountain bikes feature a single chain ring with a large cassette in the back to give you a wide range of gear.

Dropper Post

Many mountain bikes feature a dropper post which gets the seat out of your way for technical terrain. This may not be critical, depending on the type of riding you do.

Womens mountain bikes are available with full suspension and without 1
Women’s mountain bikes are available with full suspension and without. Public domain

Frame Material

Mountain bikes are available in a wide range of frame materials. Steel gives a smoother ride but is heavier, while carbon is lighter but more expensive. Many mountain bikes are aluminum, which is a cost-effective choice. However, mountain bikes are generally heavier than road bikes, so choosing the lightest frame material may not give you much advantage anyway.


Of course, mountain bikes aren’t cheap. The lower the price tag, the lower quality of the components. The higher the price tag, the better quality of the components. You’ll have to find the bike that you love that also fits your budget.

However, you need to remember that you get what you pay for, so a low-priced bike probably won’t shift very well or last very long. While there is nothing wrong with an entry-level bike for beginner mountain bikers, you’ll probably want to avoid bikes that are under $1000.

Get ready to hit the cross country trails with a fast snappy mountain bike 1
Get ready to hit the cross-country trails with a fast snappy mountain bike. Public domain

Final Thoughts on the Best Mountain Bikes for Women

I generally hate to play favorites because, ideally, only you can know what bike fits you best. You can’t know how they feel or fit unless you go and give them each a great test drive. That might not be possible, though, so I’ll just tell you my favorite.

If I had to go and buy a mountain bike today without the chance to try a few, it would be hands-down the LIV Intrigue Advanced. First of all, I am completely partial to LIV and its commitment to encouraging female riders. LIV is at the forefront of helping women professional athletes be fairly welcomed into the sport, and I am thrilled to get behind that.

But it’s also about the bike. LIV does a terrific job of sizing its bikes to fit women’s figures. And although we thankfully and gloriously aren’t all the same size and shape, LIV bikes are definitely more proportioned for the female shape. In addition, LIV geometry is able to accommodate full-size wheels without making their small bikes twitchy, which is a huge gift to a short rider like me.

Considering that I’m more of a timid rider, I won’t be smashing any downhills any time soon, although I do love adventure and exploring off-road. So a solid all-rounder with great components at a great price makes perfect sense to me. The LIV Intrigue is absolutely my favorite bike on this list.

But you have to love the bike you ride, and all of these bikes are specially designed to fit women’s bodies and make women feel good while riding them. And that makes the best bikes!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best women’s mountain bike under $2000?

The Scott Contessa is a women’s mountain bike that costs less than $2000. Although it is an entry-level bike, it is a great bike for women just starting out. The cost of this bike makes mountain biking very accessible, even to people on a tight budget.

What is the best women’s hardtail mountain bike? 

The Canyon Exceed is a great women’s hardtail mountain bike at a very accessible price point. Their direct-to-consumer model helps to save money on the price of the bike, although you will need to find someone to put it together for you if you don’t feel confident doing it yourself. 

Do I need a full-suspension mountain bike?

Full-suspension bikes are usually heavier and more expensive than their hardtail counterparts. However, they make for a much smoother and more comfortable ride. They also give you more traction on loose surfaces, making them a little bit safer.

Can women ride men’s bikes? 

Yes, women can certainly ride men’s or unisex mountain bikes, and men can ride women’s mountain bikes. The idea behind women’s mountain bikes is that they are designed to fit a woman’s body. However, as long as the fit feels good to you, it doesn’t matter if you ride a women’s or men’s specific bike.

Do I need a women’s mountain bike? 

You might want a women’s mountain bike if you are short or light. You may also want a women’s mountain bike if you have long legs with a short torso. However, women’s saddles can be put onto unisex bikes, so saddle comfort isn’t necessarily a good reason to get a women’s bike if you don’t want one. 

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