Best Women’s Mountain Bikes Under $500 in 2022

Mountain bikes are becoming more and more popular on the street, because they can handle the terrain just as well as if you were off-roading. If you are a woman who wants to find the best women’s mountain bikes under $500 but cannot decide which one to choose, you have come to the right place.

We have done thorough research to find out which women’s mountain bikes are budget friendly and provide an excellent mountain biking experience, specifically for women.

Here are five of the best women’s mountain bikes for you to review along with our personal favorite and a detailed buying guide to help you make the right decision.

If you’re looking for a new mountain bike then read on!

Our Favorite Women’s Mountain Bike

Even though we want to give you a broad range of options, in the end it’s up to your own personal preference. We are going with the Schwinn High Timber as our favorite for the best women’s mountain bike from this list.

We’ll provide an extended review below for the High Timber.

Best Women’s Mountain Bikes Under $500

PriceBrandModelFrame MaterialWheel SizeBrakesBest For
CheckSchwinnHigh TimberAluminum26”DiscTrails
CheckRoyce UnionRMAAluminum27.5”RimTrails
CheckSchwinnMesa 3Aluminum27.5”RimTrails, Gravel
CheckRoyce UnionRMTAluminum27.5”RimTrails

Schwinn High Timber 26″ – Best Overall

Schwinn High Timber women's mountain bike
With disc brakes and an affordable price tag, the High Timber is one of the best women’s mountain bikes under $500

Key Features

  • Easily adjustable seat with quick release post
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Alloy crank
  • Perfect gear ratio
  • 7 to 21 speed options are available
  • Wide mountain tires for extra grip and added stability on treacherous trails
  • Easy to assemble
Sturdy steel frameEasily ruined with the wrong parts or when misassembled
Rides great on light trailsWe wish this model came with larger tires
Gear ratio and shifting are smooth
No rattling of any kind
Lightweight but heavier than it looks
Wide tires with good grip

About Schwinn

Schwinn isn’t known for being the best mountain bike brand in the world but at one point in its history it was an industry giant. It is, however, a very solid brand that consistently produces a decent mountain bike for trail riding, a hybrid bike or commuter bike that will get you from point a to point b with a smooth ride. They are commonly known for their entry-level trail bikes.

They have consistently delivered excellent mountain bikes for women and field tests have helped them to nail it when it comes to sizes and adjustments for all kinds of people.

Schwinn bikes have strong steel or aluminum frames with wear-resistant gears and pedals.

Another key trait for Schwinn is that all their bikes are very easy to assemble. It is recommended to always use parts sent by Schwinn for their bikes otherwise the aftermarket parts may not line up correctly.


High Timber has an attractive design, and it always provides a thrilling ride for female riders.

Despite this, the wider the wheelbase for mountain biking, the more comfortable it will be. The Schwinn High Timber has a fairly wide wheelbase which allows you to have better traction between the tires and the ground when rolling over obstacles. Hence, little to no energy is wasted when pedaling.

The High Timber is also heavy-duty and you can pick between different frames. The steel version is a bit heavier, while the aluminum frame is slightly lighter but just as durable and rust-resistant.

Gear systems are easy to setup and use. The derailleurs work great even without the chain being adjusted, which is not a common issue in many cases. And you don’t need to be worried about the chain coming off before making any type of adjustment.

The seat is very comfortable, easily adjustable, and presents a more snug surface which enhances rider control.

For High Timber, the handle design is a bit low but it doesn’t seem to affect the ride. This, coupled with its angled design ensures a comfortable riding posture that delivers enjoyable bike handling and a better ride experience overall for female riders.

The suspension fork is also good enough which won’t be felt on your hands when riding on trails. Since this is a hardtail mountain bike, it will only include the front suspension but for this price this is a great bike. Full suspension bikes have more components and typically need a higher price tag to get decent bike features.

The wide tires provide maximum surface traction and can be useful when balancing on narrow trails.

Let’s talk about the brakes now!

The 26″ version of the High Timber has a few options for brakes. Most will come with the standard cable brakes.

However, some also have disc brakes, which provide great stopping power and are more reliable than rim brakes in all conditions. They’re also lighter weight than rim brakes so they won’t weigh you down.

The only down side is that mechanical disc brakes (and even hydraulic brakes) need a bit of extra care when compared to rim brakes. You might find them requiring slightly more oil for example, but the perks of disc brakes far outweigh the negatives.

With or without high end disc brakes, this is a great mountain bike that can be used for off road riding, steep hills or can be used as an entry level bike.

All that while it falls just around the $500 price tag, which is an absolute steal!

Now that you know why we chose the High Timber as the best women’s mountain bike, it’s time that we listed some of its greatest pros and cons.

Huffy Escalate – Most Affordable

Huffy Escalate mountain bike for women
The Huffy Escalate is a good bike with a low barrier to entry due to low cost.

Key Features

  • Lightweight, hardtail aluminum frame for added durability (comes with 10-year warranty)
  • Front suspension allows you to feel the track
  • All-Shimano drivetrain
  • Comfortable, ATB stitched, padded seat
  • Alloy pull brakes to ensure smooth braking operation
  • Handle adjustment with minimum strain to arms and shoulders
  • Knobby tires for better road grip even on gravel and dirt
Fairly lightweightThe rims are not reliable and they bend easily
Elegant design with low cross barThe derailleurs fail frequently if not manually adjusted
Ergonomic handlesGear ratio is not perfect
Strong brakes
Arrives with all tools needed for assembly


One of the earliest names in the industry, Huffy, has been making mountain bikes for both men and women for more than a century. With that kind of experience and history, it can be easily said that they know what they are doing when it comes to designing some of the best women’s mountain bikes available.

That said, their mountain bikes are fairly lightweight with the Huffy Escalate weighing only 42 lbs.

The Shimano EZ Fire gear system appears to be a fine design and allows for smooth gear shifting but there are better gear systems on the market.

The bike moves with a little less speed than most other bikes because of its gear ratio. The chain provides little to no give, so if there is a shift failure, then you might be left stranded. 

FYI: Never shift/change the gear of a mountain bike when you are on a turbulent path.

With no rear suspension, the bumps from off road adventures might be felt a bit more than one would like but this is a reliable hardtail bike when on trails or pavement.

The Huffy Escalate is a cheap bike but one of the best women’s mountain bikes for women who regularly bike off road or on wet gravel paths and roads.

Royce Union RMA 27.5″ – Easy Assembly

Royce Union RMA women's mountain bike
The RMA only takes about 30 mins to assemble.

Key Features

  • 27.5″ wheels
  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame to keep it from rusting
  • Shimano EZ Plus and Shimano Altus gear shifters
  • Adjustable padded saddle
  • Alloy pull brakes for secure and immediate braking
Easy to assemble (30 mins on average)The brakes stop the bike in its tracks, if you are not careful, the bike might flip
Rides extremely wellChains are little flimsy
Excellent gear ratio
Perfect ergonomics
Sturdy and ready for rough trails


Royce Union—yet another great line of bikes to try. The Royce Union RMA is one of the three mountain bike types they offer. This trail bike is tough and can stand up to whatever you throw at it!

Unlike the problems with most gear systems for mountain bikes, the Royce Union RMA aces it in this department. The gears are reliable and the gear ratio is spot on.

Both of these things ensure a smooth and steady riding experience where your physical strength is perfectly utilized and none of your energy goes to waste.

The adjustable padded seat is also a key feature to have as it has direct implications on your overall posture, reach, and pedaling.

The handle is also a pleasure to use, it has good grip, and even better ergonomics specifically designed for a woman.

The 27.5″ wheels and the 17″ frame can also accommodate taller riders to ensure they also have a smooth ride.

Schwinn Mesa 3 – Most Reliable

Schwinn Mesa 3 women's mountain bike
The Schwinn Mesa 3 is a very reliable women’s mountain bike.

Key Features

  • Tough 6061 heat-treated aircraft-grade aluminum frame
  • 21 speed mountain bike
  • Hardtail with suspension fork
  • Weighs 43.6 lbs
  • Linear pull brakes
  • Quick release seat
Good brakesRequires frequent tuning
High-quality frameSuspension issues are prevalent over time
Easy to assemble
Requires low maintenance
Spot-on gear ratio
Rides smooth


Like the High Timber, the Mesa 3 is another one of the women specific bikes we have reviewed. This mountain bike was designed by Schwinn. The Mesa 3 has a unique design that complements every single one of its features.

For example, looking at the frame you’ll notice the crossbar is raising towards the handle. This is to allow a female rider to easily step through the frame and get on the bike.

The bike is very easy to assemble but requires its gears to be fine-tuned. It comes with all the tools needed for assembly but it might be best to take it to a bike shop for professional tuning.

Oftentimes, the front suspension fork is left unchecked and may get loose if not properly secured. It is also a low quality Zoom HL565 fork so riders should be cautious not to ride areas that are too technical and instead try to ride smooth trails or pavement.

The brakes work like a charm, they are both effective and reliable.

If tuned properly, the rear derailleur will stay secure and flush without leaving a lot of play in the chain. This will reduce the amount of slapping the chain does. Make sure to adjust the chain guard because the chain often touches it on rough terrain.

The tires of this mountain bike are excellent in gripping dirt and gravel. Hence, you should not be worried about mountain biking with this bike in a forest, or even a field.

The handle is highly ergonomic and relieves a lot of strain from the back and shoulders of your body. All in all, this is one of the better women’s mountain bikes available.

Royce Union RMT 27.5″ – Best for Streets

Royce Union RMT for women
The RMT is great for paved streets

Key Features

  • 21-speed
  • Heavy duty aluminum frame
  • Zoom suspension fork
  • Twist shifting is smooth and precise
  • Padded seat is very comfortable
  • Handle positioning relieves pressure from your shoulders
Good gear ratio with 21-speedsSqueaks under heavy loads
Premium seat provides comfortChain rattling
Brakes are strong enough to stop after a reasonable distance
Lightweight frame and components


RMT series from Royce Union can be considered their second-best series for women’s mountain bikes. Like the RMA series, the RMT series holds up the promise of reliability and delivers it in the form of the Royce Union RMT 27.5.

The bike has front suspension with alloy rim brakes and a heavy-duty, durable alloy frame. Even though the bike can perform under load, it still comes with a lightweight body overall and weighs just over 42 lbs.

The RMT is really good for a variety of terrain, whether it’s on the road or gravel or dirt. The tires are also tough and grippy.

The gear ratio, like the RMA series, is spot on and all the 21-speed gears can be reached without much effort.

While it does lack hydraulic disc brakes, which would be great at this price range (but not likely), the rim brakes are smooth and provide enough stopping power.

Like most of these mountain bikes, the RMT comes partially assembled. Nonetheless, the package includes all the tools needed for a complete assembly.

RMT is a good entry level bike that, after it is assembled, will allow the rider to bike immediately on their new bike.

Like all mountain bikes that are shipped to you, you will need to assemble the bike yourself or pay extra for a fully assembled bike.

How to Choose a Women’s Mountain Bike

If you’re still not sure of all the features of a good mountain bike, it may be time for you to learn what to look for. It’s always a good idea to spend some time researching before making your decision.

When it comes to buying a women’s mountain bike, it’s often the small details that matter most and this website is perfect for helping you understand all the different options.

We have prepared a buying guide for female riders such as yourself to get familiar with women’s mountain bikes and how to select the right one as your regular travel companion.

Difference Between Women’s Mountain Bikes & Men’s Mountain Bikes

It’s important to be aware of some of the key differences between women’s mountain bikes and men’s mountain bikes. Keep in mind that these characteristics might not be true for everyone, but can often make a huge difference when it comes to fitting them properly.


The main goal is to ensure you’ve found a bike that fits you the best based on your height (inseam), weight, reach (arm length) and overall comfort.


On average, women tend to be shorter than men and weigh less so that affects the frame size that will fit you properly. So this really boils down to the geometry of the bike.

Some traditional women’s bikes usually have angled or dipped crossbars on the frame. This is typically called the stand over height and accommodates shorter riders.

sloped crossbar on women's mountain bike
Sloped crossbars are common to allow easier step through for shorter riders

That doesn’t mean a woman can’t ride a bike with a horizontal bar so long as it’s a good fit for her size. Either way, the angle of the crossbar is usually just for looks and doesn’t affect performance.

Additionally, the distance from the seat to the handlebar, or reach length, tends to be shorter on ladies’ bikes.

There’s a few other minor things that differentiate women’s bikes from men’s:

  1. Smaller wheels are usually more appropriate for shorter riders
  2. Thinner tubes can produce lighter frames
  3. Wider seats and saddles to provide more comfort

What To Look For In A Women’s Mountain Bike

The first thing you should know is that the best women’s mountain bikes come in all kinds of specifications like heavy, light, multi-geared, single-geared, with disc brakes, with rim brakes, etc. It can get confusing quick.

Look for these items when choosing a mountain bike for women to ensure you get the proper fit.

Frame Size

First of all, you need to find the right size. Check if the bike will fit both you and your body type. When you purchase a new bike, most cycling companies have size charts for frame height and weight which will help you find the perfect fit.

Many brands now produce a wide range of frame sizes to allow for a more precise fit for every rider; not just women.


If you have longer or shorter arms, you may want to consider finding a bike that allows for the replacement of the stem. This will make for a more comfortable reach and overall, a better riding experience.

Handlebar Width

One should also consider the width of the handlebar. If you tend to have wider shoulders, try to find a bike with wider handlebars. The opposite is true if you need a narrow set of handlebars.

Brake Levers

If you have smaller hands, or have a hard time reaching the brake levers on your bike, local bike shops can adjust the brake levers themselves to make it easier. They can also bring them in so they are closer to where your thumbs would reach.


Ensuring your suspension is properly set can make a huge difference in the feel of your mountain bike.

For lighter female riders, you might want to look for mountain bikes with adjustable suspensions. This will help your bike become much more responsive to your personal needs.

Have your suspension tuned properly for a better ride

Wider Saddles

Depending on your riding style, you may opt for a wider saddle when touring around the neighborhood with the family. These seats are designed to be more comfortable and easier to sit on for longer periods of time.

If you’re really into mountain biking and want to tackle some more advanced terrain, you may want a women’s mountain bike that includes a narrower seat so it doesn’t interfere with your riding.

Crank Length

When customizing your bike or looking for specific features, crank length might be something worth exploring.

But let’s be clear, crank length won’t improve your power output or make you faster. It will, however, make your ride more comfortable and sustainable over longer rides as your knees won’t need to travel as high (or low) while pedaling.


Bike accessories like built-in water bottle holders, GPS mounts, wide tires, mudguards, stands, etc. are things that add more utility to a mountain bike. So, any option that includes all the necessities along with some extra stuff is usually the best option.


Purchasing a bike for a woman can be tricky when there are so many choices and you’re trying to stay within budget. So it’s important to think about what type of riding or activity you want to use it for, such as general use or trail riding, and other features about the bike before buying one.

We hope that we’ve made the decision process easier for you. Many of the choices on this page could qualify as the some of the best women’s mountain bikes available but instead we narrowed it down to one bike.

That’s why we highlighted the features in detail for the Schwinn High Timber 26″ and made it our pick for the best women’s mountain bike under $500.


Is there a women’s specific bike brand?

Liv Cycling and Canyon Bicycles exclusively make bikes for women. These companies have engineers who study and report the geometrical traits of women to help develop women-friendly bikes.

Can you get a good women’s mountain bike under $500?

Yes, you can easily find a good women’s mountain bike for under $500. The selections on this page are some of the best mountain bikes in that price range. Other entry level options even start at $200 if you go to a big retail store.

What frame size is best for a women’s mountain bike?

To find the best mountain bike fit for women, you should first consider the rider’s height. Most women would fall into the range of 4 ft 10 in to 5 ft – 10 in. Riders in this range would be looking for a frame size of 13 -14 inches (XS) on the petite side, 15 – 16 inches (S) for midrange, and 17 – 18 inch (M) for taller riders.

However, it’s always best to refer to the sizing guide for each brand to ensure you’ve chosen a mountain bike suitable for your height.

Do I need a women’s mountain bike or will a unisex bike work for me?

Generally speaking, any bike that fits you properly will work.

Women’s mountain bikes are sometimes designed specifically for women and have shorter frames and smaller handlebars. They also have lighter weight frames and components than men’s bikes which make them easier to maneuver on rough terrain.

A unisex bike is best for someone who doesn’t care about how their bike looks or feels when they ride it.