MTB

10 women-specific mountain bikes

© Cannondale
Written by Lucy Grewcock
Your ride is about to get better with these form-fitting mountain bikes.
For years, 'women's mountain bikes' meant smaller frames and pretty colour variations of men’s – or you had to go for ‘unisex’ bikes. Times have changed and, today, more brands are catering for female physiques by adapting their best-selling men’s bikes or designing female-only frames from scratch.
This year, the range of women-specific bikes on the market has never been better. From entry-level hardtails for your first off-road adventures, to full-sus, plus bikes and carbon-frames, here's a 10-bike snapshot of the full spectrum.
  1. Trek Skye SL – £475
  2. Specialized Pitch Sport 650b – £475
  3. Cannondale Tango 1 – £749
  4. Saracen Mantra Trail Women's – £899.99
  5. Giant Liv Embolden 2 – £1,349
  6. Cannondale Habit Women's 3 – £1,699.99
  7. Canyon Spectral WMN – £1,799
  8. Cube Sting WLS 140 Race – £2,299
  9. Giant Liv Hail 2 – £2,799
  10. Specialized Women’s Rhyme Comp Carbon 6Fattie – £3,500
Read on for more detail on each of the bikes.

Less than £500

At this price, you can get an alloy rigid bike (no suspension) or a basic hardtail (front suspension) for leisurely on and off-road riding.

1. Trek Skye SL

Skye SL WSD in mint
Skye SL WSD in mint
Back in the '90s, Trek was the first brand to start offering women’s-specific bikes. Their Skye SL bikes are tuned for female comfort, and this year’s model includes upgraded wheel rims and WSD (women specific design) suspension. The saddle, bar and grips are female-specific in terms of shape and reach, and the RST Gila forks have 100m of travel. The XS frame (15.5") comes with 27.5" wheels, while larger frames get 29" wheels, and it's available in black or spearmint as pictured above. It's a great entry level bike for riders of any age.
Sizes: 15.5" / 17.5" / 18.5" / 19.5" / 21.5"
Full spec: trekbikes.com/gb
Price guide: £475

2. Specialized Pitch Sport 650b

Specialized Pitch Sport 650b 2018
Specialized Pitch Sport 650b 2018
This spritely hardtail is ideal for beginners because of the shorter 80/100mm suspension travel (size dependent), which allows newer riders get used to the feel of a mountain bike and gain confidence on the trails. The durable alloy frame can take the hits that come with thrashing around singletrack, as well as the wear and tear from climbing, so don't be fooled by the cheap price tag.
Sizes: XS / S / M / L
Full spec: specialized.com
Price guide: £475

£500 – £1,000

Expect a better quality alloy frame, with higher quality suspension forks that you can take to the trails.

3. Cannondale Tango 1

Cannondale Tango 1
Cannondale Tango 1
A lightweight hardtail, Tango 1 has a stiff and durable frame that’s made for trail riding and cross-country. Sized and shaped using women-specific geometry, female-friendly components include narrower handlebars and shorter-reach brake levers. It comes with 27.5" wheels, RockShox XC30 forks with 100mm of travel, and is finished in gender-neutral 'nearly black'. For a slightly lower spec (and price tag), see the Tango 2.
Sizes: XS / S / M
Full spec: cannondale.com/en
Price guide: £749

4. Saracen Mantra Trail Women’s

Saracen Mantra Trail
Saracen Mantra Trail
Saracen released their first female-specific Mantra Trail in 2017 – a hardtail with 27.5" wheels, and air-sprung Suntour Raidon forks with 120mm of travel. Already a favourite alloy model in their men’s range, the women’s version has the same spec with a female-tuned frame – this means a shorter stem and narrower handlebars, a female-specific saddle and grips, and a blue/hot-pink finish.
Sizes: 13" / 15" / 17" / 19"
Full spec: saracen.co.uk
Price guide: £899.99

£1,000 – £2,000

Past the £1K mark, you can move into full-suspension and high-quality hardtail territory.

5. Liv Embolden 2

Giant Liv Embolden
Giant Liv Embolden
Rather than simply tweaking their men’s frames, Giant’s Liv bikes are designed for women from scratch, with female-specific geometry that’s based on rider feedback and data from the Global Body Dimension Database. This entry-level, full-suspension bike features a lightweight ALUXX-Grade Aluminium frame, 27.5" tyres, Suntour Axon RL-R fork and Suntour Epixon R rear shock with 120mm of travel, and a single-pivot rear suspension system.
Sizes: XS / S / M
Full spec: liv-cycling.com
Price guide: £1,349.00

6. Cannondale Habit Women’s 3

Cannondale Habit Women’s 3
Cannondale Habit Women’s 3
Adapted from Cannondale's unisex model, the women's full-suspension Habit 3 is designed to be light enough for long cross-country rides, nimble enough for technical trails, and has enough travel (120mm) for fun descents. The alloy frame has been optimised for female riders, with narrower handlebars, shorter crankarms and a female-fit saddle. In Habit’s own words, it’s a "do-it-all, and do-it-well MTB fun machine." For an extra £1,300 you could upgrade to the carbon-frame Habit 2. If you want to save a few pennies then take a look at the 2017 model.
Sizes: XS / S / M
Full spec: cannondale.com
Price guide: £1,699.99

7. Canyon Spectral WMN

Canyon Spectral AL 5.0 WMN is the lowest price in the range
Canyon Spectral AL 5.0 WMN is the lowest price in the range
The Spectral from Canyon delivers the perfect all-rounder trail bike, and it's proved so popular that in 2018 Canyon expanded the range to include women-specific models. Canyon used their online sizing tool to gather anatomical data from 68,000 women, and used it to nail a frame geometry that will give women a better riding position for a stronger performance on the trails. Prices start at £1,799 for an alloy frame, with prices getting higher as you move towards the carbon frames with more competitive components packages. This bike probably isn't for beginners, but if you have the budget then you can't go wrong the Canyon.
Sizes: 2XS, XS, S, M
Full spec: www.canyon.com
Price guide: £1,799 – £4,499

More than £2,000

A higher-grade alloy frame with better suspension and more travel. At this price, you could also go for a 'Plus bike.'

8. Cube Sting WLS 140 Race

Cube Sting WLS 140 Race
Cube Sting WLS 140 Race
This mean machine has been built specifically for adventurous females. Its Fox 34 Rhythm forks have 150mm of travel and with a lightweight frame, it’s nimble enough to climb and race. Cube say they’ve created "the stiffest, lightest, best handling and most comfortable frame that we possibly could.” Features include a lower top tube for manoeuvrability, a triple butted tubeset, tapered head tube, and Shimano 2x11 SLX and XT gear components. For less travel (120mm) check out the Sting WLS 120 Pro.
Sizes: 13.5” / 16” / 18”
Full spec: cube.eu/uk
Price guide: £2,299

9. Liv Hail 2

The 2018 model has an impressive blue colourway
The 2018 model has an impressive blue colourway
According to Liv, the Hail is the "first truly women's-specific mountain bike with 160mm of front and rear travel." Made for aggressive riding, this is a serious bit of kit with top spec components. Designed from the ground up, the Hail 2's female-specific design includes a raised bottom bracket that gives more clearance and accommodates the lower centre of gravity that female riders have, according to the companies extensive research. This one is for the enduro enthusiasts, and it'll really prove it's worth on the those big days out on the bike.
Sizes: XS / S / M
Full spec: liv-cycling.com
Price guide: £2,799

£3K and up

Higher quality alloy or carbon frames, with some of the best suspension you can buy – here’s a peek at what you could get towards the top of the women-specific range.

10. Specialized Women’s Rhyme Comp Carbon 6Fattie

Specialized WMNs Rhyme FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie
Specialized WMNs Rhyme FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie
This carbon fibre, full-sus has been kitted out for Plus bike fans. With 29" wheels and 3'' tyres, its female-specific design includes FSR suspension (150mm RockShox Revelation RC/RockShox Monarch RT at the back) that’s tuned for lighter loads and Sram's much praised GX components. It also comes with a secret storage compartment for spares. "The increase in traction, control, and floatation that our 6Fattie Wheel System provides is nothing short of revolutionary," say Specialized. "You're looking at the future of trail bikes." The sleek, cool grey paint with Specialized's classic mint green gives it a classy finish.
Sizes: XS / S / M
Full spec: specialized.com
Price guide: £3,500
Buying tip: Comfort and fit are crucial. Before you buy online, get yourself to a bike shop or, even better, a demo day, and try as many female-specific and unisex bikes as possible, to see which fit your body and riding style best.