Best Women’s Mountain Bike Under $500 ?

While it’s possible to get a comfort or hybrid bike for under $500, it’s more complicated to find the best women’s mountain bike under $500.

Note, however, that the words’ more complicated’ don’t mean impossibility. So, yes, there’s a decent women’s MTB out there for your budget.

Don’t expect to get an electric mountain bike for such a budget, a Downhiller, or an enduro MTB. No! Such mountain bikes cost much more.

You are more likely to get a trail mountain bike in hardtail or dual suspension. That means there aren’t MTBs for competitive riding under $500.

But since I know it’s not easy finding these budget bikes, I’ll share with you a definitive buyers guide that you can use. I’ll also make relevant recommendations pointing you to some of these MTBs, just if you want to buy.

But first, let’s start with a women’s MTB sizing guide. In a rush, see my most recommended women’s MTBs on the hotlist below.

best women's mountain bikes under 500

6 Best Women’s Mountain Bikes for Under $500

  1. Huffy Hardtail Trail Bike: Most Lightweight Women’s Hardtail Under $500
  2. Mongoose Flatrock Adult Hardtail: Best Trail Riding Women’s Hardtail MTB Under $500
  3. Huffy Stone Hardtail Mountain Bike: Best Women’s All-Around Hardtail Under $500
  4. Northwood Aluminum Full Suspension: Best Women’s Recreational Full Suspension MTB Under $500
  5. Dynacraft 26″ Slick Rock Trails Bike: Best Women’s Trail Riding Full Suspension MTB Under 500
  6. Gravity Fsx1.0 Mountain Bike: Most Lightweight Women’s Full Suspension MTB Under $500

Sizing Guide for The Best Women’s Mountain Bike Under $500

If there is one area you cannot afford to get it wrong, it’s the bike size. Since women are innately lower stature than men, they have a lower standover height, and so their MTBs are slightly smaller than men’s. 

So, a men’s MTB may be too big to fit. For that reason, you have to pay attention to the frame size, as shown in the table below:

Frame SizeFrame Size NameRiders Height
13 – 14”X-Small (XS)4´10” – 5´2”
15 – 16”Small (S)5´2” – 5´6”
17 – 18”Medium (M)5´7” – 5´9”
19”+Large (L)5´10” – 6´11”

As you might have noticed, we don’t have X-large or XX-large frame sizes for women MTBs. That’s why I mentioned earlier (women are innately lower status than men).

So, for a woman above 6’11”, the best recommendation would be a unisex MTB that is likely to have an X-large(XL) or XX-large (XXL) frame size.

Buying Guide for The Best Women’s Mountain Bike Under $500

So much goes into picking a women’s mountain bike, regardless of the budget. While the bike size is often the priority, it’s hard to overlook these factors:

  • Suspension type
  • Travel range
  • Frame type
  • Wheel size
  • Tire quality
  • Groupsets
  • Comfort features (saddle, handlebar, and pedals)

Let’s dive into each of the factors:

1. Suspension Type

Mountain bikes may come with suspension only on the front (what we call a hardtail), on both wheels (what we call full or dual suspension), or without suspension (what we call rigid).

Let’s look at the three options and what they offer:

a) Hardtail Mountain Bikes

A hardtail (MTB with front suspension) has a fixed rear end. So, the bike only absorbs shock on the front. Mechanically, these bikes are simpler as they lack rear shocks, pivots, and extra mounts.

As a result, they are lighter and cheaper to maintain. Pricewise, these bikes are more affordable. However, they are not the best for the roughest or steepest terrains as they only have one suspension.

Three of the best women’s hardtail mountain bike under 500 are:

  1. Huffy Hardtail Trail Bike: Most Lightweight Women’s Hardtail Under $500
  2. Mongoose Flatrock Adult Hardtail: Best Trail Riding Women’s Hardtail MTB Under $500
  3. Huffy Stone Hardtail Mountain Bike: Best Women’s All-Around Hardtail Under $500
best women's hardtail mountain bike under 500

Overall, hardtails suit entry-level trail riders more. And owing to their lighter weight, they are suitable for cross country racing and fast riding on various trails.

b) Dual /Full Suspension Mountain Bikes

Dual suspension MTBs have suspension shocks on the front and rear wheels. Thus, they are more comfortable riding on technical terrains than hardtails.

These bikes suit experienced riders more because they require skillful handling. Compared to hardtails, they cost much more and are costlier to maintain. They are also heavier due to their double shocks.

But overall, they are matched in performance and are especially expensive. Here are the three best mountain bikes under $500 with full suspension:

  1. Northwood Aluminum Full Suspension: Best Women’s Recreational Full Suspension MTB Under $500
  2. Dynacraft 26″ Slick Rock Trails Bike: Best Women’s Trail Riding Full Suspension MTB Under 500
  3. Gravity FSx1.0 Mountain Bike: Most Lightweight Women’s Full Suspension MTB Under $500

c) Rigid Mountain Bikes

Not all women’s mountain bikes come with suspension. Some lack the shocks and thus have a rigid frame.

Overall rigid MTBs are not the best for climbs or technical slopes. They are, however, ideal for riding off-pavement and on hard-packed dirt. Since they have no suspension shocks, these MTBs are often lighter.

They are also more user-friendly on paved roads where you don’t have to navigate the bumps. Sadly, I couldn’t find a women-specific rigid MTB for under $500.

2. Suspension Travel

Once you decide to go for a suspension bike, you have to decide if you should go for a short or long travel option.

Overall, short travels (80-120mm), often associated with trail and cross country bikes, are best for less challenging terrains and all-around riding.

In contrast, longer travels (150mm+) are best for most technical terrains and are associated with enduro and downhill MTBs.

3. Frame Type

While carbon is the overall best frame material, it’s costly. So, carbon fiber frames are out of the equation when our budget is under $500.

That leaves you with steel and aluminum. Aluminum is more high-end than steel because it’s lighter and often doesn’t rust. So, aluminum bike frames are likely to cost more than steel options.

The advantage of steel is that it’s stronger, thus ideal for plus-size women.

best female mountain bike under 500

4. Wheel Size

MTBs come in several wheel sizes, such as 24-inch, 26-inch, 27.5-inch, 27.5+inch, 28-inch, and 29-inch. 24-inch MTBs are kid’s and youth’s options. 

So, unless you are shorter than average, a 24-inch MTB should be out of the picture.

27.5 inch, 29-inch, and 29ers are pretty rare in women’s categories as they are associated with taller riders, often men.

So, that leaves us with 26-inch. It’s generally easy finding the best women’s 26 inch mountain bike online and most bikes I recommended earlier fall in that category. The advantage is that the wheel size is not too big or too heavy and is generally cheaper to replace.

5. Tire Quality

Tire quality is essential if you want the MTB to serve you longer. Consider options that are thick enough without necessarily being too heavy.

Another element to consider is treading. Since you don’t expect MTB tires to be slicker, go for semi-click if you want to go faster and deep treads if you intend to take on slippery surfaces.

6. Groupset 

There are two components to consider here; gears and brakes.

(a) Gears 

Are you planning to tackle hillier terrains and long stretches? If so, then you should opt for an MTB with more gears. But if you only plan to ride off-pavement and on less hilly terrains, you can settle for a low gear count.

(b) Brakes 

Generally, MTBs come with either rim brakes or disc brakes. Rim brakes are overall the cheapest option to buy and maintain.

They, however, wear out the wheel much faster and are less reliable in muddy/wet conditions or when riding aggressively.

Disc brakes, in contrast, are rugged-built and reliable in all conditions. They are, however, more expensive to service and hard to examine for wear.

So, this is an area where you’ve to make compromises depending on what you want.

7. Comfort Features

Buying a budget doesn’t mean you should sacrifice comfort. No! you should get the most comfortable budget MTB, and that brings us to the following considerations:

(a) Bike Saddle

Consider a saddle with shock suspension to absorb the extra shock when you hit the bumps. It should be moderately padded, not too soft, nor too hard to prevent saddle soreness, and more importantly, its shape should match your anatomy.

If you cannot find an MTB with a good saddle, then consider replacing the saddle.

Women's Cross Country Mountain Bike

(b) Handlebars 

MTBs either come with a flat bar or riser bar, and both options promise different comfort levels. Flat handlebars sit much lower and are generally lighter, making them best for long trail rides and cross country.

In contrast, riser handlebars sit slightly higher than flat bars and are a little broader with a slight swept-back design for easy reach. These bars let you sit more upright and are best for riding downhill and taking on technical terrains.

(c) Pedals 

Budget MTBs are likely to feature plastic pedals, which may come flat or equipped with straps or toe clips. Very few options are clipless as they are often associated with high-end MTBs.

Overall, the pedals should be lightweight and offer you a larger platform to place your feet.

Types of Women’s Mountain Bikes Under 500

Generally, mountain bikes come in the following types:

1. Women’s Downhill Mountain Bike

Downhill (DH) Mountain Bikes are full-suspension MTBs with a travel range of +200mm on the front and rear sides. These MTBs are heavy and very stable and are best for riding downhill.  Sadly, they are costly. You cannot get a downhill MTB under $500.

2. Women’s Enduro Mountain Bike (All-Mountain)

These are also full-suspension MTBs with a front and rear travel range of about 150mm. They are best for going uphill, especially for enduro racing. But like downhill MTBs, they cost more than $500.

3. Women’s Trail Mountain Bike

These are the most budget-friendly MTBs and are best for all-around trail riding. They are lighter than enduro and downhill MTBs and have a more comfortable geometry.

You’ll get them in hardtail and full suspension options, and they generally have a travel range of 120 – 150mm. 

women's mountain bikes under 500

Two of the best women’s mountain bikes under 500 in this category are:

  • Mongoose Flatrock Adult Hardtail: Best Trail Hardtail Under $500
  • Dynacraft 26″ Slick Rock Trails Bike: Best Trail Full Suspension MTB Under 500

4. Women’s Cross Country Mountain Bike

Cross country (XC) MTBs are the most lightweight MTBs, known for their incredible speed and pedaling efficiency. Like trail MTBs, they come in hardtail and full suspension options.

Sadly, they are pricey, so you will unlikely find them for under $500.

Other MTBs

Other MTBs include fat tire mountain bikes, dirt bikes, and electric mountain bikes. Overall, these MTBs are highly-priced, making them unaffordable for riders with a $500 budget.

Also Read:

Closing Thought On the Best Women’s Mountain Bike Under $500:

Above is an expert guide where you can find your ideal budget women’s MTB. Consider the buying factors to handpick one option that suits your budget and mountain biking needs.