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Last updated: May 15, 2022
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As a woman, you can pick and ride any bike you want, including men’s MTBs. However, women’s bikes are designed with their comfort and generally smaller and lighter bodies in mind. As such, you may be wondering what’s the best women’s mountain bike under $500 if that’s your budget for the purchase.
Coincidentally, we were wondering the same thing and undertook a review of multiple options in which we looked at the suspension types, wheel sizes, frame materials, brake styles, speeds, and more. These are generally the features you look at to determine the longevity of the bikes and the riding performance. Ultimately, we compiled the list below of bikes in this budget range that impressed us the most.
The Hiland Aluminum Mountain Bike is one of the best hardtail women’s mountain bikes under $500. It comes almost fully pre-assembled, although you’ll need to make a few finishing touches. It also offers disc brakes for better stopping power while riding.
What differentiates this bike from most others is the ability to lock out the front suspension with the flick of a switch.
What stands out?
First, we noticed the lightweight frame design of the bike, making it easier for users to carry it out of storage and even through some terrain. Additionally, the frame is designed with a lower standover height, and if you’re short, you’ll find it much easier to straddle the device. Another pro is the disc brakes. These are impressive whether you’re going uphill, downhill, or over obstacles. Lastly, users can lock out the suspension with a switch depending on the terrain.
What cons did we manage to find?
The instruction manual may be unclear on the assembly process, and if you don’t have access to the YouTube videos of the same or are simply unaware they exist, you might struggle. Also, the customer service is unreliable, and if you come across any issues during assembly or use, they won’t be much help. Lastly, some of the components may arrive damaged, which points to a problem in shipping or quality control.
More features: different frame sizes available, aluminum suspension fork, all-condition stopping power
The Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike shares a similar design language to the Hiland Aluminum Mountain Bike, especially where the top-tube is concerned. It’s, therefore, just as easy to straddle the bike. Notably, this option also comes with pull brakes with all-condition stopping power.
This bike uses aluminum components in the frame, fork, and even the brakes to make the most of the durability and lightweight nature of the metal.
What makes it special?
With the curved top tube, users likely won’t have problems getting on and off the bike. Additionally, there are other top-tube designs and frame sizes, so if you want to get matching bikes for the family, it should be easy to do. Also, in our opinion, the rim brakes on this pick are quite impressive and perform just as well as disc brakes. The aluminum construction in almost all components also makes the bike lightweight.
What cons did we find?
Price-wise you might need to fork out some more money on this model compared to competing women’s mountain bikes under $500. Also, there are multiple problems with the pedals, including stripping out of the crank arm. As such, it’s best to plan to replace them early before they cause you problems while you’re on the trail. Lastly, the gears are sometimes problematic out of the box and may need repair or replacement.
More features: lightweight, easy to assemble, different frame sizes available, smooth and precise shifting
Another hardtail option to make it onto the list is the Huffy Hardtail Mountain Trail Bike with pull brakes. The frame on this option is lightweight, comes in different sizes to match your needs, and is backed by a 10-year warranty. Lastly, it features 21-speed gear capabilities and shifts seamlessly as you ride. With this pick, users can pick either 24” or 26” wheels depending on their height, preferences, and the trails they frequent.
What are its best features?
In our opinion, the all-Shimano drivetrain outdoes itself, especially when it comes to shifting gears. The transitions are smooth and seamless. Next, the different frame sizes combined with the varied wheel sizes mean finding a perfect size fit should be much easier. Also, with an aluminum frame, it should be a cakewalk to lift and carry the two-wheeler in situations that require it. Lastly, the front suspension is quite responsive and makes rides comfortable.
What could be improved?
Unfortunately, we found some of the bike’s components not to be durable. This is inclusive of the pedals, which might need to be replaced soon after purchase. Next, just like the Hiland Aluminum Mountain Bike, if you rely solely on the provided instructions, you will struggle with the assembly. The saddle on this bike is pretty uncomfortable, and for most users, it would be wise to replace it as well.
More features: lightweight, alloy wheels, three-piece cranks
As for the Mongoose Exlipse Mountain Bike for Kids, it’s a top contender for the best starter women’s mountain bike for under $500. This bike combines a steel frame and alloy wheels. Next, the 24” wheels make riding easier if you’re a kid and the curved top-tube is for easier straddling. This Mongoose Exlipse Mountain Bike is for Kids looking for their first mountain bike.
Why are we impressed?
While steel construction in a bike generally makes it heavy, we noticed that’s not the case with the Mongoose Exlipse Mountain Bike for Kids. It feels surprisingly lightweight and easy to carry without sacrificing durability. Next, the 24” wheels are just the right size for kids, not to mention they’re also made from durable materials. Finally, riding the bike feels comfortable even when tackling technical and bumpy terrain thanks to the dual suspension design.
What negatives must you be aware of?
While most of this bike’s construction is solid, there are still some flimsy components with the pedals as one example. That said, they won’t be hard to replace, and you can upgrade them as soon as you receive the bike. Also, the instructions provided are for two bikes with no way of differentiating which is which, and as such, you might struggle with assembly and use before you find your bearings.
More features: dual suspension, durable alloy rims
The Mongoose Status Mountain Bike shares some similarities with the Mongoose Exlipse Mountain Bike for Kids, including the dual suspension, the durable alloy rims, the number of speeds, and the pull brake design. However, the wheels are 2” larger, and the manufacturer uses a hydro-formed aluminum frame. This women’s bike under $500, is for users in the 5’3″ to 6’1″ height range.
Why is it special?
With the dual suspension, going over most bumps you find in technical trails should be a comfortable experience. Next, the frame feels sturdy and should stand the test of time. That said, the bike is pretty light, and you’re going to enjoy this more if you have to carry the two-wheeler when taking it back to storage. Additionally, assembly is straightforward and won’t be a problem for most buyers. The bike also has excellent aesthetics.
What are the flaws?
In our opinion, the brakes and brake assembly are the biggest problems with the Mongoose Status Mountain Bike. They may be misaligned out of the box, in which case a trip to the bike repair shop should be your first stop before you take the two-wheeler to a trail. Also, the spokes on some of these units aren’t tightened well enough, which can lead to bends in the rim if you don’t get that sorted early enough.
More features: perfect for 12 years old, lightweight, SRAM twist shifters, 3-piece crank provide
Next is the Mongoose Maxim Girls Mountain Bike, which is another dual-suspension option. Like the other Mongoose bikes listed, it offers 21 speeds and a curved top-tube. Additionally, buyers get pull-style brakes. It’s perfect for younger women and teens and has twist shifters for the gears. This Mongoose offering is for girls in their teens and has the wheel and frame size to match.
What are its best features?
If you’re a young girl who likes riding on technical terrains where you’ll encounter multiple small obstacles, then the dual suspension on this bike should make riding them a cinch. Also, the twist shifters are comfortable to use, not to mention they’re more durable than their thumb shifter counterparts. In our opinion, the wheels are just the right size for girls in their teens. Also, it’s one of the more affordable women’s mountain bikes on the list.
What could be improved?
Like the Mongoose Status Mountain Bike, there are some issues with quality control, and as such, it’s best to have the bike serviced before you take it riding. To ensure they're in tip-top shape, buyers should pay attention to components like the derailleur, brakes, spokes, and even the nuts and bolts holding the bike together. Also, we noticed there’s only one color available, and if it’s not to your fancy, you might want to look at other bikes.
More features: front shock fork, quick release seat post
The Dynacraft Magna Bike is an excellent option for those who want multiple colors to pick from, although you only get a front suspension. As for wheel size, you can choose between 24 and 26 inches. Also notable are the front and linear-pull brakes and the quick-release seat post.
This women’s bike differentiates itself by offering multiple wheel sizes, multiple color options, and a quick-release seat post for easy height adjustments.
Why did it make our list?
The Mongoose Maxim Girls Mountain Bike makes it easier to make seat height adjustments so you can find the most comfortable riding position. Another positive is the bike’s steel construction which we noticed feels durable and solid. Next is the wheel size options, where you can choose between 24 or 26 inches depending on your height and what you feel is comfortable. Lastly, you get red, purple, and pink color options to choose from.
What is not ideal about it?
Most users have complained that the saddle isn’t very comfortable, and you will likely have to replace it with a better one soon after purchase. There may also be some issues with the brakes, which can be problematic to fix unless you have the help of a professional. Let’s not forget the pull brakes are not the best quality, and if you want better-stopping power, you might need to upgrade them as well.
More features: two replaceable seats, 95% assembled, effective shock absorbers
The SIRDAR S-900 has the highest number of speeds on the list and can thus provide users more nuanced control over the gears. Additionally, it has both aluminum and carbon steel components in the frame to maximize durability while still being lightweight. Also, this is a dual suspension bike with disc brakes.
In terms of differentiating factors for this bike, there’s the aluminum + carbon steel construction and the replaceable seats provided with the purchase.
What do we love it for?
In our opinion, the interchangeable seats are a thoughtful inclusion for anyone who makes full use of their mountain bike. One of the seats is streamlined for cross country cycling, while the other is wider and more comfortable for everyday riding. The suspension provided with the bike is high quality as well, while the frame is rugged and can take a beating. Lastly, there’s very little to do during assembly.
What were we disappointed with?
While disc brakes are often praised for their excellent stopping power, you might have to upgrade them in the SIRDAR S-900 Mountain Bike. Also, the pedals and even some of the screws included with the initial purchase may not be the best quality either and may need to be replaced, which makes it necessary to have your bike serviced by a professional before you take it for the first ride.
The Redfire Mountain Bike is the second bike listed to have a lockable fork. It’s also a 21-speed bike with an aluminum alloy frame. Notably, it features invisible welding technology for a more streamlined look and even incorporates internal cable routing.
This hardtail bike has various distinguishing features, although one of the most impressive is the inclusion of multiple accessories.
Why is it special?
There are up to eight different accessories provided, including a bike lock and different bags, which in our opinion, add tremendous value to the purchase. Additionally, the design is aesthetically pleasing and functional with the invisible welding for streamlined joints and the internal cabling so that gear and brake wires are out of the way. Lastly, the frame seems to be pretty sturdy and can handle the weight of most riders.
What are the flaws?
While it does have aluminum construction, we noticed the bike is still relatively heavy, which is a problem if you have to carry it. Additionally, the internal cabling is advantageous in terms of aesthetics, but it can be an issue when fixing or changing the gears and brakes. Speaking of the gears and brakes, we noticed they might need to be tuned. Lastly, the stickers on the bike peel relatively easily.
More features: durable frame, free kickstand and pedals, Shimano drivetrain, American standard valves
Finally, we have the last dual suspension bike on the list, which is the Hiland 26 Inch Mountain Bike. As implied by the name, it features 26” wheels attached to a carbon steel frame. Other inclusions in the design are a Shimano drivetrain.
The Hiland 26 Inch Mountain Bike differentiates itself by having a carbon steel frame that is lighter than regular steel while being more durable.
Why is it special?
There are two gear options for this bike, i.e., the 18-gear and 21-gear, which cater to different buyers based on their preferences. Notably, the 18-gear option is slightly cheaper, so buyers can save some extra cash on that. Additionally, it comes with rim brakes, while users have the option of disc brakes in the 21-gear option. Lastly, we felt the carbon steel frame was durable and bound to last a long time.
What are the flaws?
You may need to tune both the brakes and derailleur right out of the box for better braking and smoother gear changes. If you use the bike before tuning it yourself or having a professional look at it, there’s a high chance the brakes might fail. Also, some units don’t come with American standard valves meaning if you already own a pump, you’ll either have to get another one or buy an adapter.
Things to Consider
Looking for the best women’s bike under $500 isn’t the same as looking for the best men’s bike in the same price range. There are some extra features and design choices to consider and to make sure you don’t get anything wrong, and we’ve included a buying guide for the same below.
What Can You Expect from Women’s Mountain Bikes under $500?
If $500 is your budget for the women’s mountain bike, there are a couple of things to expect. First is the lower standover height that may be achieved by using a slanting or curved top-tube. This is true for most women’s mountain bikes, no matter the price range.
Also, it’s not unreasonable to expect a durable frame and rims no matter the price range. These are the backbone of the bike, and you shouldn’t accept anything less. Wheels come in a variety of sizes, from small ones to large alternatives. The same is the case for the frame, and you can pick one based on your height.
Notably, some features may not be as good, and this is often seen in accessories such as brakes, derailleurs, mudguards, pedals e.t.c. Some feature flimsy construction, and it’s necessary to upgrade them as soon as possible.
Also, unlike higher-end bikes that cost thousands of dollars, there is a severe lack of quality control at this price range, meaning that a trip to a bike repair shop for service may be necessary. However, these are minor deficiencies that can be fixed without spending too much money. In some cases, you won’t even go past your $500 budget.
That said, paying a higher price for your bike often reduces the number of issues you have to deal with after purchase, although it’s not guaranteed.
Below is a summary of all the essential features you should pay attention to as you evaluate potential purchases.
Mountain bikes are generally used to traverse rough terrain, although you can also see them being used on tarmac or pavements. As such, manufacturers include the suspension to make the ride smoother and enhance control over the bike.
As shown in the list of women’s mountain bikes under $500 given above, there are different suspension types that you can get with your bike purchase. One common option is the front suspension, such as with the Redfire Mountain Bike. The suspension is placed on the front fork hence the name.
Consequently, while the ride will be smoother and easier to control on the front wheel, you’ll still get the jerking motion with the rear wheel. The lack of suspension in the rear wheel is also why these bikes are referred to as hardtails. Without suspension in the back, hardtails tend to be lighter and have the advantage of better efficiency on smoother roads or uphill climbs.
Also notable is that while there are many bikes without rear suspension, it’s hard to find any without front suspension since cyclists depend on their front wheels for control.
You can also find bikes with dual suspension, where in addition to the suspension on the front wheel, you also find it on the back wheel. The function of the front suspension remains the same while the back suspension reduces the jerking motion on the backside of the bike. This makes them the most comfortable bikes to ride, especially on rough terrain, especially if you’re going downhill.
Nonetheless, dual suspension bikes are heavier and typically cost more than their hardtail counterparts. They are also called full-suspension mountain bikes. One example of a full-suspension mountain bike named above is the Mongoose Status Mountain Bike.
You can then pick one depending on the biking trails you like to visit. If they’re smooth or you like to go uphill, the front suspension/hardtail bike may be better for you if their rough and bumpy dual or full-suspension mountain bikes will serve you best.
You’ll likely find 24” wheels on mountain bikes meant for kids. 26” is the most popular bike wheel size in the market and will be available in most of the options you encounter. 27.5” wheels are also becoming more popular due to several advantages over the 26” variation.
Another variable you’ll encounter while in the market for a mountain bike is the wheel size. That said, the most common wheel sizes are 24” like in the Mongoose Exlipse Mountain Bike for Kids, 26” 27.5”, and 29”. There are some other alternatives, including custom wheels and the 27” option that was phased out of the market, but for the most part, you’ll encounter the four sizes mentioned above.
For one, there’s usually more contact between the trail and the tires if you’re using 27.5” wheels. This means more traction and an easier time maintaining momentum. Additionally, larger wheels have an easier time rolling over obstacles, in which case bikes like the SIRDAR S-900 Mountain Bike are better suited for bumpy terrains.
Lastly, the 29” wheels are better than the 27.5” wheels in terms of traction, rollover, and maintaining cruising speeds. However, they don’t turn as easily and may be harder to maneuver, so most users prefer the smaller alternative. Nevertheless, the choice is yours on which wheel size to pick now that you know their benefits.
Number of speeds
The number of speeds also varies from mountain bike to mountain bike. You can identify the number of speeds by counting the gears next to the crank, the gears on the rear wheel, and multiplying the two. This gives you the total number of adjustments you can make to your bike to make it easier or harder to cycle.
Of course, if you have more speeds, you have more control over the gears, which some users might like. However, sometimes this can overcomplicate the process of making gear changes that other people want to avoid.
You have to decide where you belong between these two extremes before you pick your mountain bike purchase.
Carbon fiber frames are also a possibility, although the bikes with these frames are usually priced higher than this budget. However, they’re one of the most durable materials and may even be lighter than aluminum.
According to the Royal Society of Chemistry
- Element information, properties and uses | Periodic TableAluminium is used in a huge variety of products including cans, foils, kitchen utensils, window frames, beer kegs and aeroplane parts. This is because of its particular properties. It has low density, is non-toxic, has a high thermal conductivity, has excellent corrosion resistance and can be easily cast, machined and formed. It is also non-magnetic and non-sparking. It is the second most malleable metal and the sixth most ductile.
, aluminum is a lightweight metal that can be easily cast and machined, and when used as an alloy, it’s quite strong and durable. As such, it’s used to make lightweight but durable bike frames, and if you want a mountain bike that’s easy to carry, this is the frame material to pick.
Tensile strength, hardness, and toughness are three of the top qualities of steel, and these properties are transferred onto steel bike frames. On the flip side, steel can also be fairly heavy, and if you sometimes have to carry your bike, it can be a problem.
Another option is carbon steel. The main difference between this and regular steel is carbon content, with carbon steel having more carbon. The metal is lighter, more durable, but at the same time more brittle.
With regard to brakes, you’ll likely find either rim brakes or disc brakes. These may further be subdivided into other categories, such as cantilever brakes and caliper brakes under rim brakes. Hydraulic and mechanical brakes are under disc brakes.
The linear-pull brakes mentioned severally above are under the cantilever brake umbrella and are thus rim brakes. That said, disc brakes are considered the standard where modern bikes are concerned in terms of braking power and consistency. However, as noted above, some disc brakes may not be the best quality.
Rim brakes are generally cheaper and easier to maintain. Also, depending on their design, rim brakes can perform just as well as disc brakes, so it’s best not to rule them out. Nevertheless, it’ll be up to you to pick the brake style that best suits your needs.
Aside from the frame, there may be other materials used to make the bikes, and it’s essential to pick the best options as well. Combining a durable frame with flimsy rims or other components will do you more harm than good.
The type of fork and suspension system in the bike may also come into play. Some forks just come with regular suspension, while others are lockable to cater to different terrains.
While, for the most part, men’s and women’s bikes are quite similar, you’ll find some fundamental differences in their designs as well. One of the biggest differences is usually in the standover height. Generally speaking, most women are shorter than their male counterparts. As such, they may not have the reach in their legs to straddle men’s bikes.
Manufacturers know this and instead design women’s bikes with slanting or curved top tubes so they don’t have to struggle as much getting onto the bike. Also, most women will have a shorter torso, and therefore reaching the handlebar while seated on men’s bikes is a hassle. Consequently, manufacturers reduce the reach length in women’s bikes as well.
Although customizable, you’ll typically find women’s bikes with wider and shorter saddles as well. Lastly, they may have narrow handlebars to cater to the typically narrow shoulders of women. Nevertheless, if you have the height and reach to ride men’s bikes, there are no rules against getting one for yourself.
In addition to affordability, there are other things to look for in a bike when you’re a beginner. For one, a good frame and fork is a huge investment. You can upgrade most other components without using too much money, but you need to have a solid base.
Next, look for a suspension that fits the bike trails you intend to visit. If you’re riding your bikes on pavements or uphill, getting hardtails may not be a problem. However, the full-suspension might be more comfortable if there are multiple roots and other small obstacles in your route.
Do not compromise on the quality of the brakes and gears. These may be upgradable, but you still need to ensure they’re in top shape as they’re a heavy influence on your ride experience.
Size is also crucial. There are different bikes for different height ranges, and you don’t want to buy a bike that’s too small or too large for you. Great accessories such as a high-quality saddle or chain may also work in your favor.
The Schwinn Mesa comes fitted with excellent brakes, and if you need to carry the bike, the lightweight frame will prove an asset. Also, the different frame sizes make it usable for women in different height ranges.
Another contender for the best women’s mountain bike under $500 is the Huffy Hardtail. As implied by the name, it has front suspension in addition to a lightweight frame and two available wheel sizes. It also provides excellent value for money considering the price.
- Element information, properties and uses | Periodic Table
Aluminium is used in a huge variety of products including cans, foils, kitchen utensils, window frames, beer kegs and aeroplane parts. This is because of its particular properties. It has low density, is non-toxic, has a high thermal conductivity, has excellent corrosion resistance and can be easily cast, machined and formed. It is also non-magnetic and non-sparking. It is the second most malleable metal and the sixth most ductile.