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10 Best Womens Mountain Bikes 2018

Women’s mountain bikes come in all shapes and sizes, just like women. Traditionally, women’s mountain bikes are designed with smaller or more compact geometry since on average, women are shorter. Also, Liv, a popular women’s mountain bike brand, has found women have a shorter torso and longer legs than men, potentially affecting their positioning and comfort on a typical mountain bike.

Liv Woman Riding Mountain Bike

Frame geometry differences in women’s bikes is influenced by the torso to leg length ratio, according to Liv Cycling. Photo: Liv-cycling.com

If you are a petite woman (5’4″ or under) and enjoy mountain biking, there are plenty of higher-end full-featured mountain bikes for any kind of riding you want to do. Recently I asked our female community on social media which mountain bikes they ride. I also analyzed countless geometry charts and spec sheets of mountain bikes, searching for models with ideal compact geometry and women’s-specific touch points. While many of the well-known women’s bike brands like Juliana Bicycles and Liv Cycling were popular among the Singletracks female community, so were many of the bike brands that we see in our annual top 10 lists and editor’s choice articles, like Pivot, Niner, and more.

Women shouldn’t feel limited to buying a “women’s-specific” mountain bike; rather, these types of women’s bikes only add to our options! Here, I’ve compiled 10 of the best women’s mountain bikes to consider for your next ride, especially if you’re a smaller rider that may need a lower standover and shorter reach. The following 10 selections are arranged from the least amount of suspension travel to the most suspension travel.

See Also
By Leah Barber
 

Trek Women’s Procaliber 9.7

Trek Procaliber Womens Mountain Bike

When I think of some of the most successful professional women mountain bike riders, many of them are riding Trek bikes — Rachel Atherton and her Trek Session, Tracy Mosely’s Trek Remedy, Emily Batty’s Trek Procaliber and Top Fuel, and of course, Casey Brown’s Trek Slash 29.  Trek has been making women’s-specific mountain bikes since 2000. I was still a beginner mountain biker then but as soon as I tried a 13.5″ Trek WSD 8000 hardtail, it was a game changer. Suddenly, on a proper-fitting bike for a woman of my size (all of 5’0″ tall), I had better control and efficiency, quickly advancing my skills. That’s why I’m not surprised Trek continues to be a recognized brand for their women’s mountain bike line.

The Procaliber 9.7 women’s bike makes an excellent choice for cross-country rides and races. The IsoSpeed decoupler, unique to the Procaliber (and some of Trek’s road bikes), makes this hardtail ride more like a softtail, as it allows the seat tube to flex independently of the rest of the frame. Don’t worry, it’s still dropper post compatible. The smaller versions–13.5″ and 15.5″ frame sizes–of the Procailber 9.7 women’s bike are designed around a 27.5″ wheelset, while women choosing the 17.5″ or 18.5″ frames will get 29″ wheels.

Key Specs:

  • Category: XC
  • Travel: 100mm front (80mm for 13.5″)
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″ / 29″
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (4’10” – 5’5″)
  • Standover: 27.6″ (702mm)
  • Reach: 14.6″ (370mm)
  • Frame Material: Carbon fiber
  • Price: $3,499

Key Components:

  • Fork: RockShox Reba RL
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT/SLX 2×11
  • Brakes: Shimano MT5000
  • Seatpost: Bontrager Pro, OCLV Carbon
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss M1900
  • Saddle: Bontrager Ajna Comp Women’s

Pivot LES 27.5

Pivot LES 27.5 Womens Mountain Bike

The Pivot LES 27.5 is an ultra-light carbon hardtail. Pivot touts complete LES builds under 19.4lbs (8.79kg), which if you ask me, is a big bonus if you are a smaller rider since you’ll have to push LESs weight. To keep the LES light, it is fitted with the Fox 32 Stepcast fork, Fox’s lightest XC fork ever.  Pivot has always paid special attention to their extra-small and small frame designs so riders as short as 4’10” can ride a high-performance cross-country racing machine. While the Pivot LES is not a typical women’s mountain bike, a simple swap for a women’s saddle may be the only women’s-specific feature that needs to be added. But the Pivot LES isn’t just for women or small riders–29er and fat versions of the LES are also available.

Key Specs:

  • Category: XC
  • Travel: 100mm front
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (4’10” – 5’5″)
  • Standover: 25.50″ (647mm)
  • Reach: 15.13″ (384mm)
  • Frame Material: Carbon fiber
  • Price: $3,699

Key Components:

  • Fork: Fox 32 Performance Stepcast 27.5″
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT 1×11
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX M7000
  • Seatpost: Phoenix Race Aluminum
  • Wheelset: Sun Ringle Charger Comp
  • Saddle: Phoenix WTB Volt Race

 

Salsa Timberjack 27.5+

Salsa Timberjack Women's Mountain Bike

If you’re like most mountain bike riders who started riding a hardtail and are now looking to step up your travel game without committing to a full-suspension bike, a 27.5+ hardtail could be the right choice for you. A 27.5+ hardtail will generally cost less than a some of the women’s full suspension trail bikes, and you’ll likely gain confidence on more techy trail sections thanks to the better traction and stability of wider tires.

Enter the Salsa Timberjack 27.5+.

The Timberjack 27.5+ is a versatile trail bike offering clearance for either 27.5+ or 29″ wheels, front travel options of 120mm (standard), 130mm, or a rigid fork, geared or singlespeed drivetrain versatility, and the choice between a 1x or 2x setup. In Helena’s review of the Salsa Timberjack 27.5+, she says it’s “a lively, versatile bike at a great value, whether you want an all-mountain hardtail or a comfortable bikepacking rig.”

Since her review, the Timberjack 27.5+ (SLX 1×11 build) now includes a RockShox Judy Gold fork, 2.8″ Maxxis Recon tires, and unfortunately, still no dropper. Since it’s not a “women’s-specific” mountain bike, while you’re upgrading the seatpost you’ll probably also want to add a women’s saddle.

See Also
By Helena Kotala
 

Key Specs:

  • Category: Trail/Bikepacking
  • Travel: 120mm front (also 130mm or rigid)
  • Wheel Size: 27.5+
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (5’1″ – 5’6″)
  • Standover: 26.4″ (670mm)
  • Reach: 15.78″ (401mm)
  • Frame Material: Aluminum (or Ti frame-only option)
  • Price: $1,699 (NX build available at REI.com)

Key Components:

  • Fork: RockShox Judy Gold
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX 1×11
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore Hydraulic
  • Seatpost: Promax
  • Wheelset: Sun Ringle Duroc
  • Saddle: WTB Volt Sport

Salsa Timberjack Deore 27.5+ Bike
$1100.00    REI.com   AD 

Liv Pique 2

Liv Pique 2 Womens Mountain Bike

We’ve heard from numerous women in the Singletracks community that ride and love their Liv women’s mountain bikes. The Liv Pique 2 is a women’s XC/Trail bike with a nice, compact design and a good component package, making it a great value for any woman.

It’s common for some bike companies to equip the smallest frame sizes of their trail bikes with shorter travel options, down to 100mm. Not Liv. In the XS frame size of the Pique 2, Liv keeps the full 130mm of travel as the stock build so even the smallest shredders can take some big hits. Spec’d with the Fox 34 fork, a 1×11 drivetrain, Giant dropper post, and Liv women’s saddle for only $2,655 (2018 model), its no wonder the Liv Pique 2 is so popular with women mountain bikers.

Key Specs:

  • Category: XC/Trail
  • Travel: 130mm front /120mm rear
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (4’10” – 5’5″)
  • Standover: 26″ (661mm)
  • Reach: 14.7″ (374mm)
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Price: $2,655

Key Components:

  • Fork: Fox 34 Rhythm
  • Shock: Fox Float Performance
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX 1×11
  • Brakes: Shimano M6000
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact Switch Dropper
  • Wheelset: Giant XC-1
  • Saddle: Liv Contact Forward

Niner Jet 9 1-Star Build

Niner Jet9 1 Star NX1 Womens Mountain Bike

Yes, shorter riders can ride 29-inch wheels! With Niner’s Jet 9 1-Star Build, you can actually choose between 27.5+ and 29″ wheelsets. 130mm of front suspension and 120mm of rear travel make the Jet 9 1-Star suitable for a wide range of trails. Like other Niner trail bikes, their patented CVA suspension design offers riders superior pedaling efficiency with the 29″ wheelset. Think of it like you’re pedaling an efficient big-wheel XC bike but with the smooth feel of riding a full-suspension platform. Niner’s aluminum Jet 9 1-Star Build is $2,600 and for a lighter weight package, the Jet 9 RDO carbon bikes start at $3,750.

Key Specs:

  • Category: Trail
  • Travel: 130mm front /120mm rear
  • Wheel Size: 27.5+/29″
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (5’0″ – 5’5″)
  • Standover: 25.9″ (658mm)
  • Reach: 15.7″ (399mm)
  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Price: $2,600 (Niner Jet 9 NX Bike available at Moosejaw.com)

Key Components:

  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Rhythm EVOL
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance EVOL
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX 1×11
  • Brakes: SRAM Level
  • Seatpost: Niner Alloy
  • Wheelset: Niner Alloy 29 or 27.5+
  • Saddle: Niner Custom with Steel Rails

 

Juliana Furtado

Juliana Furtado Womens Mountain Bike

Juliana Bikes is the sister company of Santa Cruz. Given that, you won’t be surprised to find out that the Juliana Furtado is the woman’s version of the Santa Cruz 5010. You’ll find the same 130mm front and rear travel, same frame material and component build options, same pricing, and even the same geometry on both the Furtado and 5010–proof women can ride a “men’s” bike and men can ride a “woman’s” bike.

Why choose a Juliana Furtado over a 5010? First off, sizing — while the bike geometries are identical, the Juliana Furtado has the added bonus of coming in size XS for riders 4’8″ – 5’1″.  Also, you’ll find women’s-specific features at the touch points, with Juliana-branded grips and saddle. Plus, the suspension is tuned for lighter riders. The women’s-specific features are unique to the entire Juliana line, so if you like the Santa Cruz Tallboy, Bronson, or Nomad, be sure to check out the women’s counterparts: the Juliana Joplin, Roubion, and Strega, respectively.

Key Specs:

  • Category: Trail
  • Travel: 130mm front /130mm rear
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (4’8″ – 5’1″)
  • Standover: 27.09″ (688mm)
  • Reach: 15.35″ (390mm)
  • Frame Material: Carbon fiber
  • Price: from $3,899 (compare prices on Juliana Furtado bikes)

Key Components:

  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Rhythm EVOL
  • Shock: Fox Float Performance DPS
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX 1×11
  • Brakes: SRAM Level T
  • Seatpost: Race Face Aeffect Dropper
  • Wheelset: WTB ST i25 TCS
  • Saddle: Juliana Segundo Saddle

Juliana Furtado 2.1 CC X01 Eagle Mountain Bike - 2018 - Women's
$4079.40    Backcountry.com   AD 

Yeti SB5 Beti

Yeti SB5 Beti Womens Mountain Bike

The Yeti SB5 Beti is a great example of a high-performance mainstream bike (the standard Yeti SB5c) that has been consciously redesigned with women and smaller riders in mind. The extra-small and small versions of the SB5 Beti have a lower top tube for more standover clearance (among the lowest in the industry), whereas on larger frames you’ll find the same top tube design as the original SB5. The SB5 Beti provides 150mm of travel up front and is built to be ridden hard on the most epic adventures.

Key Specs:

  • Category: Trail/Enduro
  • Travel: 150mm front /127mm rear
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (4’11” – 5’3″)
  • Standover: 26.3″ (668mm)
  • Reach: 15.0″ (382mm)
  • Frame Material: Carbon fiber
  • Price: $4,799+ (frame available at Backcountry.com)

Key Components:

  • Fork: Fox 34 Performance
  • Shock: Fox Performance Beti DPS
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle 1×12
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX
  • Seatpost: Fox Transfer Dropper
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss M1900
  • Saddle: WTB Deva

Yeti Beti SB5 Womens Mountain Bike - 2018 Medium
$4559.99    The Pro's Closet   AD 

Specialized Rhyme Expert Carbon 27.5/6Fattie

Specialized Rhyme Expert Carbon 27.5 6 Fattie Womens Mountain Bike

The Specialized Stumpjumper is a classic, time-honored mountain bike that Specialized has produced since 1981. Currently, Specialized offers no less than 16 models of the Stumpjumper with various wheel sizes, frame types, and component builds. Through decades of evolution, the Stumpjumper continues to be a definitive choice in trail bikes, and the women’s version of the Stumpjumper, the Specialized Rhyme, is no exception. While the Rhyme women’s mountain bike line consists of just three models, the Specialized Rhyme Expert Carbon 27.5/6Fattie is Specialized’s top-of-the-line women’s trail bike. With 2.8″-wide tires and 150mm of front travel provided by a Fox 34 fork, it’s pretty much unstoppable on the trails. If you’re not in need of an XS frame, many women have also enjoyed the standard Specialized Stumpjumper.

Key Specs:

  • Category: Trail/Enduro
  • Travel: 150mm front /150mm rear
  • Wheel Size: 27.5+
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (4’10” – 5’2″)
  • Standover: 28.5″ (724mm)
  • Reach: 14.5″ (369mm)
  • Frame Material: Carbon fiber
  • Price: $4,400

Key Components:

  • Fork: Fox 34 Performance
  • Shock: RockShox Monarch RT3, Women’s Rx Tune
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle 1×12
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide R
  • Seatpost: Specialized Command Post IRcc
  • Wheelset: Roval Traverse Carbon 27.5
  • Saddle: Specialized Women’s Body Geometry Myth Expert

Liv Hail Advanced 1

Liv Hail Advanced 1 Womens Mountain Bike

The Liv Hail Advanced 1 is a long-travel women’s mountain bike that is easily capable of both trail and enduro mountain biking. The Hail Advanced 1’s 160mm of travel can take on those big, technical descents while the dual position 130mm/160mm front suspension is handy for saving energy on the climbs. Typical to Liv’s women’s-specific bike design, you’ll find touchpoints catered to women as well as an impressive component package that includes a Fox 36 fork, 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, and DT Swiss Enduro wheelset. For an extra $3,000 (almost), the Liv Hail Advanced 0 offers a drivetrain upgrade to SRAM X01 plus a RockShox Lyric RCT3 fork and RockShox Super Deluxe Coil RT Remote shock.

Key Specs:

  • Category: Enduro
  • Travel: 160mm front/160mm rear
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Smallest Frame Size: XS (4’10” – 5’5″)
  • Standover: 28″ (710mm)
  • Reach: 15.9″ (404mm)
  • Frame Material: Carbon fiber
  • Price: $5,510

Key Components:

  • Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite
  • Shock: Fox Float DP X2 Performance
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle 1×12
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RS
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact S Switch Dropper Post
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss E1700 Spline Two
  • Saddle: Liv Contact SL Upright

Ibis Mojo HD4

Ibis Mojo HD4 Womens Mountain Bike

The Ibis Mojo HD3 has been a longtime favorite among the Singletracks staff, so I’m not surprised that both women and men alike rave about this bike. The newer model, the Mojo HD4, has “a completely redesigned geometry with a focus on stability and speed,” according to Ibis. Greg goes into detail about the other changes and improvements in his review, including its plus-size tire compatibility, optimal pedaling capabilities, dream-like descending prowess, and overall quietness. The Mojo HD4 carbon enduro bike starts at $4,099 for the SRAM NX 1×11 build kit.

Key Specs:

  • Category: Enduro
  • Travel: 160mm (170mm approved) front/153mm rear
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Smallest Frame Size: S (5’0″ – 5’5″)
  • Standover: 27.2″ (693mm)
  • Reach: 16.3″ (415mm)
  • Frame Material: Carbon fiber
  • Price: $4,099+

Key Components:

  • Fork: Fox 36 Performance Elite
  • Shock: Fox Float DPX2
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX 1×11
  • Brakes: SRAM Level
  • Seatpost: KS LEV-Si Dropper
  • Wheelset: Ibis 738 Very Wide Aluminum Asymmetric Wheelset
  • Saddle: Ibis custom saddle

Ibis Mojo HD4 Carbon XT 1x Mountain Bike
$4959.99    Backcountry.com   AD 

Conclusion

Honestly, it was truly difficult to pick just 10 women’s mountain bikes across all the different categories. And as you can tell, even if you’re a short woman you don’t have to ride a women’s-specific bike! Women–and everyone else–may have to customize some parts of their bikes, especially the touch points. But the good news is, no matter what kind of riding you enjoy, there’s a bike for you.

Shout out to all the ladies on Facebook and Instagram who commented and posted pictures of your bikes! Here are some women’s mountain bikes from our awesome female community:

Liv Hail Advanced Womens Mountain Bike

Liv Hail Advanced women’s mountain bike, photo: Amy Rambacher via Facebook

Liv Pique womens mountain bike

Liv Pique women’s mountain bike, photo: Janet Parsons Green via Facebook

Juliana Joplin womens mountain bike

Juliana Joplin women’s mountain bike, photo: Jessica Tseng via Facebook

Juliana Roubion womens mountain bike

Juliana Roubion women’s mountain bike, photo: Jade Limpus via Facebook

Yeti Beti SB5 Womens Enduro Bike

Yeti Beti SB5 women’s mountain bike, photo: Sarah Mah Withers via Facebook

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# Comments

  • Leah Barber

    Hiya Rowdy_Burns, funny you should ask – I was actually concurrently working on a women’s budget mountain bike list when I was researching these bikes and I planned to include the Norco Charger – so defintely worth a test ride. If she doesn’t mind pushing a little extra weight, I’d try a 27.5+ hardtail like the Trek Roscoe 8 (1×11, 120mm Judy, dropper, and 2.8″ tires) or Diamondback Rely 2 27.5+ (similar build). Happy riding!

  • mongwolf

    Thanks Leah for the nice list. I’m taking notes for my daughters-in-law (or as we prefer to say daughters-in-love). My wife is also starting to make some comments of wanting to start riding. So that might mean three bike purchases in the coming year or so. As such, I may buy used to get them all started. It seems the older models of the Ibis Mojo (HD or otherwise) might be good for gals because of the shorter cockpit. Do you have any other favorites from over the years?

    • Leah Barber

      Hi mongwolf, im so happy to hear about all these women in your life getting into mountain biking! thats awesome! used bikes are a great (smart!) way to start, women’s specific bikes will probably be harder to find resale or on ebay though. ive always been a fan of santa cruz, though i did have to do some minor mods to get the reach right. while i have not ridden all the bikes on this list, ive never ridden a bike that has fit me “off the rack” better than my old trek wsd. hopefully you can help them get to some shops/demo days to try a few on for size, “just looking” at shops is part of the fun right? happy shopping!

  • mongwolf

    Thanks to tips Leah. I knew nothing about the Trek wsd. And I have always seemed to gravitate towards Santa Cruz bikes simply because they use a threaded BB. All the gals are fairly short 5’3 – 5’4″. Yes, hopefully, we can have some fun together shopping and test riding. I may try to make the purchases as gifts for birthdays and Christmas together.

  • Tuesday Desaulniers

    I’m 5′ 2″ and just straddled an XS Juliana Furtado…and the top tube was WAAAY more than personal…if you get my meaning…definitely not the bike for a small female. I am truly disheartened about the choices that I have right now…

    • Leah Barber

      Bummer! What is your inseam? You might consider a Pivot 5.5, I think most XS Pivot bikes go all the way down to 27-ish inch standover. And Liv frames incorporate some of the “traditional” womens bike design where the top tube eventually almost flattens out where you stand, although I’ve found their bikes to have very different geometry compared to a Juliana or Pivot, for me anyway. I’m 5’0 and on an XS Stumpjumper, it took me a loooooong time to find this bike. The right one is out there for you somewhere!

  • Tuesday Desaulniers

    Thanks Leah! I’m a 28″ inseam and 5’2″. I’ve been making the argument for an XS Stumpjumper and I think I’m going to use you to actually pull the trigger. I’ve always loved the Stumpjumper and when it was 13.5 and hardtail, it was a perfect fit…adding a rear shock changes the geometry just enough to make me nervous…but, if it works for you at your height…I think I can be happy with it, too!

    • Leah Barber

      Yay! My inseam is just under 28 so I dont have a lot of clearance but its never been an issue. Have you demo’d one yet? I hope it works out! please keep me posted 🙂

    • Laura Mitchler

      Hi Tuesday, did you find a bike you like? I’m also 5’2 and like you, I have been feeling disheartened about my choices. Currently I’m trying to find a Beti to demo, (did you ever try this bike?) but there are no bike shops within 100 miles that have an XS frame in stock. And the Yeti rep with the demo van won’t be back to the area until next year. It’s so frustrating!

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