After much research our top picks for the best mountain bike for women under 500 dollars can be found below. We chose off-road bikes which were designed for females, had the highest ratings, were below our price point and after investigating real riders who rode these bikes.
1. Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1W
The Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 for women is our top pick as the best mountain bike at less than 500 dollars.
The women I researched who rode this bike were very happy with it. One rode it on trails in North Carolina, Arizona, and Utah. She found her rides very comfortable. For more traction she explained she was able to switch out the original tires for wider ones very easily.
The next female rider liked that the hydraulic disc brakes respond perfectly and they are very efficient. The bike shifts through the gears fast and smoothly. The suspension can be adjusted with not too much effort. She appreciates the quick release tires in case they need to be changed.
The last rider has been riding this bike for 2 years. She usually rides it on the dirt trails of Boston. It handles her downhill rides very well. She is very happy the bike fits her well and loves the affordable price.
The frame is made of 6061 aluminum. This aluminum is lightweight and sturdy giving the bike a total weight of 30 pounds. It has been designed to fit women, so the top tube is shorter along with the stem.
This bike is a hardtail so there is suspension at the front but not for the rear. The fork is a SR Suntour XCT front fork. It uses a coil-spring suspension fork which has 100mm of travel. This travel will absorb the rocks, roots, and small obstacles that you go over.
Both front and back tires are 27.5 inches in diameter. 27.5 inch tires are easy to handle and offer good leverage when riding over bumps. Each tire is a Kenda Kadre and they are 2.1 inches wide. They are fast tires because they are thinner, but they also offer good traction and grip.
For maximum speed for all inclines and declines you have 24 gears to choose from. The front derailleur is a Shimano Altus and the rear is a Shimano Acera. They ensure quick gear shifting and accurate chain movement up and down the chainring. The chain is a KMC 8-speed which is strong and grips the chainrings well.
When you are ready to slow down and stop you can rely on the Co-op Cycles responsive Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. These brakes allow you to modulate your braking power effectively. This will allow you to ride through corners and switchbacks fast and accurately.
2. Diamondback Bicycles Lux
The Diamondback Lux is a high performance mountain bike designed for women at less than 500 dollars. It is very responsive and accelerates up hills. It also remains grounded and stable when going through rough trails and downhill.
One guy bought this bike for his girlfriend. She wanted to put it all together and found it easy to do. Now 6 months later, she loves the bike, there have been no problems.
The next female rider thinks the bike is great. She rides it on dirt trails, rocks and roots. The suspension handles those trails well. The only thing she did not like was there is no kickstand. There isn’t even a hole for a kickstand. So just lean it up against something.
Another guy bought the Diamondback Lux for his girlfriend. Seems this bike is a popular gift. She rides it around dirt roads near where she lives, and the bike has been wonderful for her. The only thing is the seat is not so comfortable for her.
The frame is made of aluminum alloy. Because this is a women’s bike the stand over clearance is greater so it fits female riders better. This aluminum frame is hydroformed for better durability and balance. A larger range of female body types will be able to ride this mountain bike.
This bike is a hardtail so it is equipped with a SR Suntour XCT front fork. It uses a coil spring fork and gives you 80mm of travel. This travel will give you a smooth ride over roots and rocks. Plus it will cushion your wrists, elbows, and shoulders from bumps.
The front and the rear tires are 27.5 inches. They provide good traction and grip when going over various types of trails. At 27.5 inches you can also do wheelies and go over drop offs safely and securely.
This mountain bike has 24 gears from which to choose from. Through experimentation you can select the best speed for incline and decline you are riding. You will then be able to pedal powerfully and efficiently. Both front and rear derailleurs are Shimano ensuring accurate shifting.
When going around corners and zig zagging through switchbacks adjusting stopping power is very important. This bike is equipped with Tektro mechanical disc brakes. The front and the rear each have 160mm rotors. This provides good stopping power for all types of terrain on the trails.
The Diamondback Lux is hand-built and will arrive in ready-ride condition at your door. You just need to put on the front wheel, seat, and pedals. This bike only weighs 31.1 pounds so it is easy to push or carry.
3. Cannondale Tango 6 Women’s 2020
The Cannondale Tango 6 is designed for women at an affordable price. The frame is beautifully designed. The geometry is aerodynamic and the components are durable in order to withstand dirt, mud, water, sand, and salt.
The frame is made of SmartForm C3 alloy which is all new for 2020. This aluminum is lightweight and responsive. It is durable and will not crack easily. Plus it is flexible enough to absorb the bumps from the trails.
The Tango 6 has suspension for the front wheel because it is a hardtail. It is equipped with a SR Suntour M3030 fork. The coil it uses enhances support and cushion over rough terrain. The travel is 75mm for maximum compression and rebound from impact.
This mountain bike offers you two choices of tires. The 27.5 inch and the 29 inch size. 27.5 inch tires have better bike handling capability. You can maneuver them more easily through single-tracks, and corners.
29 inch tires are good for cross country riders who want to go fast over long distances. The larger tires offer better leverage when going over small obstacles.
27.5 inch tires will usually be wider and provide good grip and traction. 29 inch tires will usually be thinner and provide more speed and acceleration. If you are a taller rider then a 29er is a better choice.
For maximum pedaling power and efficiency you have 21 speeds to choose from. The front derailleur is a Shimano TY300 and has a 34.9 clamp. The rear derailleur is a Shimano TX800. These derailleurs ensure fast and accurate shifting up and down the chainrings.
You won’t need to worry about your chain getting stuck in between chainrings or your chain slipping off any of the cogs. The rear cog is a Sunrace and has 11-34 cogs.
See our guide on the best mountain bikes under 500 for all types of riders.
The braking system of the Cannondale Tango 6 is Tektro mechanical disc brakes. The front and rear brakes each have 160mm rotors.
This bike is 31 pounds. So if needed women should have no problem pushing the bike on flat ground or uphill.
The handlebars are designed to enhance bike handling on the trails. The handlebar is a Cannondale Riser which is made of 6061 alloy. It is 720mm wide, has a 25mm rise, 8-degree sweep, and another 6-degree rise. This configuration helps to position your body more aerodynamically.
The saddle is a women’s Cannondale Stage 2 seat designed for the comfort of females. The pedals are Cannondale Platform pedals designed to maximize each of your pedal strokes.
4. Raleigh Bikes Ziva
The Raleigh Ziva is a mountain bike designed for women who want to ride cross country trails. The geometry of the Ziva is for cross country so it has a slacker headtube angle.
The first female rider I researched thought this bike was the most rideable mtb right out of the box for the price you pay. She was impressed with the hydraulic brakes especially because of its affordable price which is under 500. She added that this bike is especially good for beginners.
The next rider was not happy from the start because her delivery did not include assembly instructions. Maybe that was a fluke, but she was able to find online instructions easily. After putting it together the Ziva rode very well and she was all smiles.
The third rider thought the Ziva was great for the price. She loved the brakes and thought the aluminum frame was pretty light. She was able to assemble the Raleigh simply and quickly. The shifters needed adjusting but that was not too difficult.
This bike comes in four different sizes in order to accommodate different size women. There is extra small 5 feet to 5’3″, small 5’3″ to 5’6″, medium 5’6″ to 5’9″, and large which fits females from 5’9″ to 6 feet tall.
The frame of the Ziva is an AL-6061 SL custom butted aluminum frame. This frame provides lightweight performance, and a low standover height. This allows women of all sizes to more easily get on and get off the bike.
There is no suspension for the rear of the bike. This will focus your pedaling power towards the front for improved acceleration and overall speed.
The front of the bike is equipped with a Suntour XCT suspension fork. The front suspension has 100mm of travel. This will keep your ride smooth as you ride over bumps, rocks, roots, and branches.
For ascending and descending there are 24 speeds to choose from. Twenty-four speeds enable you to really pinpoint the right gear for the particular incline you are riding. The gears are Shimano which ensure quick shifting and reliable chain movement.
Both front and rear tires are 27.5 inches. They are Kenda Slant Six tires. They provide good traction and grip for various types of terrain such as dirt, sand, gravel, and mud. Bumps and drop-offs will be absorbed by the tires.
For top notch stopping power Raleigh is equipped with Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are especially good at modulating braking power. This is because unlike mechanical brakes, hydraulic brakes push the brake pads to the disc. Fluid can be more easily controlled than cable brakes.
5. Cannondale Foray 1
The Cannondale Foray 1 is a women’s bike designed in 2019 for street and single track riding at a cost which is less than 500 dollars.
The frame is a Foray, SmartForm C3 aluminum alloy frame. This Cannondale aluminum design is engineered to deliver a lightweight responsive ride on the trails. The frame is durable yet flexible so it can adapt and remain versatile for all types of terrain.
The Foray 1 is a hardtail, therefore it has front suspension only. It is equipped with a Suntour XCM-RL fork. The travel is 100mm of flowing suspension. As you go downhill your wrists, elbows, and shoulders will be sufficiently cushioned from the impacts on the trails.
For extra speed and efficiency you can lockout the front suspension and turn your bike into a rigid ride. This is especially useful for very flat trails with no bumps and for riding on-road.
For additional absorption of bumps and vibrations on the trails the Foray 1 has proprietary flattened and shaped seatstays and chainstays. This design enhances the smoothness of your ride over small obstacles.
Both tires are 27.5 inches in diameter. They are called Freedom Transition Sport tires. They are designed to provide a winning combination of agility and control no matter how fast you are going.
These tires are 2.25 inches wide which gives you good traction and grip for rolling over rocks, roots, and small obstacles. Plus the tires have low-profile knobs to enhance traction even without neglecting speed and high performance.
For maximum pedaling power and cadence there are 21 speeds you can use depending on the incline or decline you are riding on. The rear derailleur is the Shimano Acera which guarantees fast shifting along with reliable chain movement up and down the chainring.
The gear shifters are EZ Fire 505 shifters for smooth shifting. Plus they are located at the most easily accessible area of the bike for superior convenience.
The brakes of the Cannondale Foray 1 are Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes. Both front and rear disc brakes have 160mm rotors. These hydraulic disc brakes allow you to control your braking power very accurately. You don’t need to worry about ever flying forward over your handlebars.
This bike only weighs 31 pounds or 14.4 oz. Females of all sizes will be able to handle this bike and perform well with it on the trails.
The handlebars are 720mm wide and enhance bike control. The wider the handlebars the wider the bike will be and the better control you will have. This handlebar is a Cannondale C4 Riser and is designed for high performance.
6. Huffy Trail Runner
The Huffy Trail Runner is a great mountain bike for larger size women because the bike does weigh 43.3 pounds. Women who are lighter may have some trouble handling the bike.
One female rider loves the colors of the bike and how smooth it rides. All the components operate the way they should. The only thing she did not like was the seat becomes uncomfortable after a while. But overall she likes the bike a lot.
The next rider found the Trail Runner to be solidly built. She was impressed with the setup, the colors, tires, and the kickstand. After putting it together all on her own, which was easy she even liked the saddle after riding it.
The 3rd woman I found who rode this mountain bike especially liked the dual suspension. She hardly felt much impact while going over bumps and small obstacles on the trails. The brakes worked well for her, but there was some squeaking at first.
Her only complaint was the seat which can be switched out, or a cushion cover can be added. The frame of this bike is steel which is one of the hardest materials used for bike frames. This frame will not crack or chip easily. It is sturdy, durable, and will enhance traction on the trails because it is heavier than other frames.
The Huffy Trail Runner has dual or full suspension for the front and rear wheels. The full suspension frame goes together with the suspension fork. This enhances the compression and rebounding of the shock absorbers in order to cushion your ride when going over rough terrain.
Both tires are 26 inch tires. 26 inch tires are easy to handle. You can do wheelies, manuals, and go off jumps more easily. These tires are fast because the tires are only 1.95 inches wide. They are tough so they can handle a variety of terrain.
For added durability for the tires the rims are alloy rims. Alloy is a sturdy material which does not bend easily from impacts.
The Trail Runner is geared more for rough trails therefore it has less gears than other mountain bikes with 18 speeds. When you are going over rough trails you don’t need as many speeds as you would if you were going on cross country rides.
The brakes are alloy linear brakes. The shifters have been integrated with the Shimano rear derailleur for smooth performance. Women will love the seat because it is a two-tone padded saddle which is designed for comfort. There is a quick release binder making the seat easy to adjust or remove.
7. Kent KZR
The Kent KZR is a popular mountain bike for women which many people gave as a gift for Christmas. Two of the people I researched gave this bike as a present.
The first person, a Mom, bought this bike for her teenage daughter for Christmas. The daughter loves how smooth the KZR rides and likes the look of the bicycle. The only thing she did not like was the seat. It was very hard and uncomfortable for her, so she got a new seat.
The next woman was happy when this bike arrived at her door because according to her it was pretty much all put together. She only had to install the handlebars, pedals, and seat.
She especially liked the low price of the Kent KZR at less than 500 dollars. Plus the look of the bike is to her liking, and it fits her well as she is 5’2″. She uses the bike to ride on dirt trails with her children.
The 3rd person bought this bike for his girlfriend as a Christmas gift. She thinks the bike is awesome, and his happy her boyfriend did not spend a fortune on the bike. They had an expert tune up done for the bike. All the screws and nuts were tightened, the crank casing and chain were lubricated, the wheels aligned, and the brakes were adjusted.
Having your bike professionally tuned and adjusted is a good idea and it does not have to cost much. Factories just put the bike together they don’t adjust anything or lubricate anything.
The frame of the Kent KZR is a customized oversized aluminum frame. Aluminum is lightweight and sturdy in order to handle bumps and drop offs.
This bike is a hardtail so it has a front suspension fork. It is equipped with a Vitesse suspension fork. As you ride over rocks, roots, and small branches it will absorb the impacts from the trail. This will keep you from flipping forward on your bike if you hit a sharp bump.
The KZR has a Vitesse wheelset and both front and rear tires are 26 inches. The treads on these tires have knobs which increase the grip and traction on all types of trails.
You have 21 speeds to select from for going uphill and downhill. The rear derailleur is a Shimano, which provides reliable quick shifting and chain accuracy.
When you are ready to slowdown and or stop the KZR uses front disc and rear linear hand brakes. These are not as good as Shimano but they get the job done. You can stop safely and securely.
8. Schwinn Sidewinder
The Schwinn Sidewinder is a good entry-level bike for female riders. Mainly because the components are not high-end, and there is not too much travel in the front suspension.
The first female rider I learned about has been riding the Sidewinder for a few years daily. She used it to lose weight. She was 300 pounds when she started and dropped down to 165 pounds. She likes that this bike is a hardtail because it focuses more power into the pedals.
The only thing she did not like were the hard handlebar grips and the hard saddle. She fixed this by replacing the seat and adding foam bar tape to the handlebars.
The next rider liked the easy assembly and setup. She thought the bike was constructed well and the components did their job. Because she is a beginner she was pleased that it was easy to ride and it operated smoothly.
As far as the price she thought she got more value than what she paid because she rides the bike a lot without any issues. Except for the saddle, she replaced the seat.
The third rider was happy with how adjustable the Schwinn Sidewinder is. She raised up the handlebars so she could sit more upright. Plus she adjusted the seat in order to fit her 5’2″ height. She goes on beginner dirt trails easily and gets compliments because the bike is very pretty.
The frame of the Sidewinder is an aluminum mountain-style frame. This type of frame can handle rough terrain by absorbing the bumps on the trails. Aluminum is fairly lightweight. This bike weighs 31.6 pounds after it has been fully put together.
This bike is a hardtail so it only has front suspension. The compression is not very much for compression and rebounding. Therefore this bike is better ridden on beginner trails so the impact is not very severe at all.
The wheels are 26 inches which is easier to handle than larger wheels. The tires are not labeled but they are 2.5 inches wide. This gives you good traction and grip. The treads of the tires do have good knobs on them which increases traction even more.
The rims are double walled aluminum alloy rims. The front and rear wheels do not have a quick release lever.
For riding up and down hills there are 21 speeds that you can use. The rear derailleur is a Shimano which stands for dependable shifting. Your chain will be able to move up and down the chainring. Gear shifting is easy and smooth with Shimano Revo twist shifters.
The Sidewinder is equipped with front and rear linear pull brakes for sharp stopping and stable speed modulation while going downhill.
9. Schwinn High Timber
The Schwinn High Timber is a women’s mountain bike which is designed to handle tough trails for below 500 dollars. Because it is for rougher trails the bike is a little heavy, so stronger heavier females will like this bicycle.
The first female rider I researched was a woman who is 5’3″ and around 153 pounds. She found the bike easy to assemble, and the brakes worked well. The frame of the bike made her feel safe and balanced when sitting on it. The High Timber was heavier than she thought it would be, but she can lift it without too much trouble.
The next rider bought this bike as a present to herself. Her teenage daughter was able to put the bike together pretty easily. She likes the look of the bike, the height because it fits her well, and the smooth ride. As with most riders she did not like the saddle the High Timber came with.
The last rider must have used a very hard seat. She thought the seat on this bike was padded more than the seat on her last bike. She was able to shift gears easily and quickly. She road over bumps on the road as well as on trails. The bike she thought was good for the price she paid. A bike service put the bicycle together for her.
The frame of this Schwinn is steel. Steel will not crack or chip easily. It is what makes this bike good for rough trails. A steel frame can withstand severe impacts on the trail. But this does make the bike heavier.
The front fork is a Schwinn mountain suspension fork. This will cushion your wrists, elbows, and shoulders on rough trails. The Schwinn front shock system is sufficient to handle bumps even though the travel is not listed in the description. Though I’d suggest using a fork with at least 100mm of travel.
The front and rear tires are 26 inches. I assume they are Schwinn tires. They are designed to handle dirt and gravel trails. The width of the tires is unknown but the steel frames added weight will increase traction and grip. Plus it will improve balance and stability.
The listed maximum weight capacity is 250 pounds, but the bike can probably handle more because of its steel frame. For maximum pedaling performance on inclines and declines there are 21 speeds. You have more than enough speeds with this because you don’t need so many gears when going on rough trails. The rear derailleur is Shimano and these gears can easily be changed with its SRAM twist shifters.
When it comes time to slow down and stop, you’ll be using its front and rear alloy linear pull brakes. They are not as high-end as Shimano but they will provide secure stopping power.