The Maverick’s integrated flip chip lets you control the angles
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MTB

Women’s specific mountain bikes: 10 of the best rides, whatever your budget

Say goodbye to ill-fitting rigs and hello to trail slaying, form-perfect mountain bikes.
By Lucy Grewcock & Danielle Baker
6 min readPublished on
Women's mountain bikes used to mean smaller, pinker versions of men’s bikes. Times have, thankfully, changed. Today, ‘female-specific’ means geometrically adapted, unisex models that are designed with intention.
Right now, we’re seeing a shakeup. Brands continue to enter the women’s market for the first time, while those who’ve been in the women-specific game for eons (including the likes of Liv, Trek, and Cannondale), are improving consistently on existing products.
There’s an awesome array of female-specific options out there at the moment but, ultimately, the best bike for you depends on your budget, ability, physique, and riding style. To nail your selection, pick a price point and take your shortlist for a test ride – or at least sit on a few bikes in a shop. Here's a 10-bike snapshot of what’s hot in 2020.
Less than $1000
At this price, you’re looking at an alloy hardtail (front suspension only) with coil-sprung forks for leisurely on and off-road riding.

1. Trek WSD Marlin 5

Trek WSD Marlin 5 MTB 2020
The Marlin 5 is built to transition from pavement to trails.
Price: $659.99 CAD
Frame sizes: XS-ML
Wheel sizes: 27.5" (XS-S), 29" (M-ML)
Back in the '90s, Trek was a pioneer in Women Specific Design (WSD) bikes, and they’ve been going strong ever since. If you’re new to off-road but also need a bike to commute on, take a look at the Marlin 5. Built to transition from pavement to trails, its got 100mm in the Suntour fork, plus a kickstand and rack mounts for tearing around town. Planning to spend more time off-road than on? The WSD Marlin 6 or WSD Marlin 7 are both great (but more expensive) options.

2. Marin Wildcat Trail WFG 1

Marin Wildcat Trail WFG 1 MTB 2020
Updates for 2020 include a new frame, hydraulic discs and more fork travel
Price: $579.99 CAD
Frame sizes: XS-L
Wheel size: 27.5"
Wildcats are designed specifically for women, and the Trail 1 is ready to welcome you to the world of mountain biking. Upgraded for 2020, the all-new frame and updated geometry mean that head tube angles are a degree slacker, seat tubes are a degree steeper, hydraulic discs have been added, and fork travel is at 120mm (up from 100mm). Available in metallic grey or dark teal.

3. Cannondale Tango 5

Cannondale Tango 5 MTB 2020
The Tango 5 is ideal for entry-level off-roaders
Price: $700 CAD
Frame sizes: XS-L
Wheel sizes: 27.5" (XS-S), 29" (M-L)
Founded in a loft above a pickle factory in 1971, Cannondale has been in the bike business for almost 50 years. In the latest female-specific lines, entry-level off-roaders should take a peek at the latest Tango 5, which gives 100mm in a Suntour fork. Available in understated ‘meteor grey’, the Tango’s all-new, SmartForm C3 Alloy frame has been designed to be light, stiff and strong – all the good things.
$1000 - $3000
Expect a better quality alloy frame and higher quality coil-sprung or air forks that are ready to strut their stuff on the trails. And at the higher end of this price range, you can comfortably move into full-suspension and high-end hardtail territory.

4. Trek Women’s Roscoe 6

Wide, chunky tires make it ideal if bike packing is on the agenda
Wide, chunky tires make it ideal if bike packing is on the agenda
Price: $1229.99 CAD
Frame sizes: XS-M/L
Wheel size: 27.5"
Ready and raring for bigger days on the trails, this hardtail’s plus-size tires (27.5" x 2.80") set it apart, giving traction and momentum over roots and ruts. If bike packing’s on the agenda, these wider tires are ideal for carrying a heavy load. The female-friendly model has narrower handlebars, a women’s specific saddle and a choice in paint jobs between Matte Black/Gloss Miami Green Fade and Matte Mulberry/Gloss Rose Gold. It comes with an SR Suntour XCM 32 fork with 120mm of travel. Bigger budgets and serious trail addicts should also check-out the women’s Roscoe 8.

5. Cannondale Habit Women’s 3

Cannondale Habit Women’s 3 (2020) MTB
The 2020 Habit Women's 3 is worth checking out
Price: $2700 CAD
Frame sizes: XS-M
Wheel sizes: 27.5" (XS), 29" (S-M)
Optimized for female riders, this alloy full-suspension frame was redesigned in 2019 using Cannondale’s Proportional Response design philosophy – size-specific engineering that aims to give every size of rider a more confident ride. It’s better-equipped than ever for ripping up the trails – expect a short stem, wide handlebars, 130mm of travel, 29” wheels (or 27.5" on XS frames), a dropper seatpost, plus an ergonomic female-fit saddle.

6. Canyon Spectral WMN AL 6.0

An upgrade on the entry-level AL 4.0, the AL 6.0 offers 12-speed gearing
An upgrade on the entry-level AL 4.0, the AL 6.0 offers 12-speed gearing
Price: $3311 CAD approx.
Frame sizes: 2XS-M
Wheel size: 27.5"
Canyon launched its first female-specific mountain bikes in 2018 and has been upgrading its offering ever since. With 150mm of front fork travel, the Women’s Spectral was created by analyzing more than 60,000 data entries in its online sizing tool. New for 2020, the AL 6.0 is an upgrade on the entry-level AL 4.0, offering 12-speed gearing (up from 11). Frame paint jobs come in Polar.
$3000 - $5000
Expect top-end alloy frames with better suspension and an all-round upgrade on the components and build.

7. Liv Pique 29 2

Liv Pique 29 2 MTB 2020
A full-suspension cross-country machine from the only women-specific brand
Price: $3299 CAD
Frame sizes: XS-M
Wheel size: 29"
The sister company to Giant, Liv launched in 2008 as the first and only women-specific dedicated bike brand. Designed by women for women, all bikes are optimized for the female physique using a global body metrics database. If you’re a fan of 29ers, try the Pique 29 2. A brand new bike for 2020, this full-suspension, cross-country machine has been designed for speed. She’s got 100mm of front and rear travel, a lightweight aluminum frame and fast-rolling 29-inch wheels. Yum.

8. Norco Sight A2 Aluminium Women’s 27.5

Norco Sight A2 Aluminium Women’s 27.5 MTB 2020
The Sight A2 allows you to tune the bike to your metrics
Price: $4599 CAD
Frame sizes: S-XL
Wheel sizes: 27.5" or 29"
The 2020 full-suspension Sight series uses Norco’s Ride Aligned™ design system to tune each bike to the rider – it uses individual rider metrics, precise suspension kinematics and app-based assistant technology to optimize your personal setup. According to Norco, “it’s a completely new take on All-Mountain that’ll blow away your expectations and shatter the status quo.” Features on the Women’s A2 include a long-travel dropper post, 150mm of travel in the back and 160mm upfront.
$5000+
Top-notch alloy or carbon frames and some of the best suspension and components you can buy – here’s a peek at the top end.

9. Liv Intrigue Advanced 1

Liv Intrigue Advanced 1 MTB 2020
Award-winning and a thing of beauty, the Liv's packed with amazing features
Price: $5299 CAD
Frame size: XS-M
Wheel size: 27.5"
You’re seriously committed to the saddle now and when you’re not riding, you’re dreaming about the trails. The award-winning Intrigue Advanced 1 is a thing of beauty. Super light (approx 28lbs) with a carbon front and alloy rear, expect a 150mm-travel Fox 36 fork up front and 140mm in the rear. The latest tweaks include a sleek black paint job and new brakes – upgraded from SRAM Guide RS to SRAM G2 RSC.

10. Juliana Maverick

The Maverick’s integrated flip chip lets you control the angles
The Maverick’s integrated flip chip lets you control the angles
Price: $5695 CAD approx.
Frame size: XS-M
Wheel size: 27.5"
This all-mountain machine is designed to stand out. With 140mm of rear travel and 150mm up front, there’s little Maverick won’t go down - or up. Lower link VPP suspension and 29” wheels will give you efficiency and confidence in your pedalling, and the integrated flip chip lets you slacken your headtube and drop the bottom bracket on the fly. Available in a Hot Tomato and Purple paint job, this bike is ready to get after it.