Mountain Bikes for Women: Is there a need for women specific bikes?

mountain bikes for women

Image courtesy of @wolf.girl.mtb

The term ‘Mountain bikes for women’ is a bit of a strange one. You may be thinking that there is a definitive way that bikes are made for women that is different to men’s mountain bikes. Unfortunately, this is not the case and there are many approaches manufacturers design mountain bikes for women.

Different approaches of design to mountain bikes for women

The demand for mountain bikes for women is growing, and manufacturers have had to come up with ways to sell bikes to women of all abilities.

Shrink it and Pink it

In the past no matter what you are buying, manufacturers had a habit of taking a product designed for men and making it smaller and pink, to make it “feminine”. This lazy approach, just took the notion that women are smaller than men, and like pink. This resulted in mountain bikes for women, to have a lower specification and poor quality components However, this didn’t necessarily bring down the price of them.

Short and High

This approach is still used to some extent today, where manufacturers assume that women have short bodies and long legs. This give the bike a short reach with a more upright riding position. This isn’t all bad, but after riding a bike like this for a while, your progress may plateau. Also, the geometry of a bike like this means that when descending steeper terrain, the bike can feel unstable, as your weight will be further forward.

Unisex Frame with a women’s finishing kit

Manufacturers that use this approach, don’t see that the difference between men and women are sufficient to design gender specific frames. Instead, they use a unisex frame, but use a finishing kit to ensure the best fit. A great example of this is Juliana. These bikes use Santa Cruz frames that are re branded for women. To make them the best fit for women, they fit them with women’s specific components and women’s specific suspension tuning.

These women’s specific components are mainly your contact points. They will come with saddles, and grips designed for women. They will generally come with narrower handlebars too.

mountain bikes for women

The Juliana Furtado is available from Leisure Lakes Bikes for £4,499.99

Mountain Bikes Specifically Built for Women

Some companies design and build mountain bikes for women from scratch. Manufacturers that use this approach, believe that the difference in ergonomics between the genders is sufficient to build frames specifically for women. These differences include arm length, torso length and leg measurements. These manufacturers also take in to account a woman’s flexibility and body position.

Great examples of these bikes are:

mountain bikes for women

The Scaracen Mantra – From £899.99

mountain bikes for women

The Cube Sting – From £1,099.99

mountain bikes for womenGhost Lanao – From £447.99

This obviously isn’t the definitive list, but a short simplified overview of how manufacturers design mountain bikes for women. It is a much more complicated subject than this, because of the human element involved. Bikes (as with all products) are designed around average statistics from a huge database of measurements, and trends. We are all different so a woman’s specific mountain bike may suit your riding buddy, but not you.

=>Click here to see some great mountain bikes for women<=

mountain bikes for women

Image courtesy of @Bromblegram

=>Click here to see the best discounted mountain bikes online<=

What is wrong with riding a mountain bike designed for men?

In short…absolutely nothing. It is not essential for a woman to ride a women’s specific mountain bike. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned shredder, the decision process for buying a new bike is the same. But, main things to ensure you get the correct bike for you to consider are:

Type of riding – You need a bike that is capable of taking on the terrain you ride. Additionally, if you are ambitious, your bike needs to be able to cope with what you plan to ride in the future. It is best to buy a bike that you can progress with, rather than halt your progress, because it isn’t suitable for what you want to do.

 

Fit– It needs to fit you properly. If it doesn’t, it will have a negative effect on your riding and enjoyment. It can also be dangerous. This is not because you are a woman, it is because you are a mountain biker and it is the same for everyone. Ideally you will try out lots of bikes before you commit to buying. However, some of these bikes (or even the one you choose) may not be designed exclusively for women.

 

=>Click here to learn how to choose the perfect mountain bike for you<=

 

Conclusion

There has never been such a huge choice for mountain bikes for women. This means that there are many more opportunities to get a bike that is as close to a custom fit as possible.

As more women enter the sport and as technology evolves, manufacturers of mountain bikes will need to keep up with demand. These technological advances are happening all the time, making the mountain biking an even better experience. It is actually a really exiting time for female mountain bikers (even if they don’t buy a women’s specific bike).

What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comments section below. Also, don’t forget to sign up for the MTB-Threads newsletter!

 

 

 

14 Comments

  1. Sujandar Mahesan

    This is awesome. This has awesome mountain bikes for women. I actually went through all the bikes and they all look really fancy. The one thing I like in these mountain bikes are that they don’t look really girly. They look really classy enough for women. Thank you for sharing this with us. Saved a lot of time.

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Sujandar,

      There are some really great bikes for women now. As I said in the article, it is a really exiting time for women who mountain bike. The choice is only going to get bigger!

      Reply
  2. Matt’s Mom

    What a great selection of bikes!  I have left my bike behind when I recently moved, and now that it is cooler here in Florida, I am ready to ride!  I am so glad I found all your wonderful information.  I was decided on the Trek bike, but now I am considering the Trek Skye, but I really like the Juliana Furtado.  Now I am not sure which one I like better.  I will be looking at them again and deciding.  

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Matt’s Mom,

      The Furtado is a lot more hardcore than the Trek Skye. It al depends on the type of riding you want to do. This guide on how to choose a mountain bike should help.

      Reply
  3. Dale

    What a great article and on something my wife and I have been talking about for a while now.  You see we both have pretty good bikes but they are both mens bikes.

    We were talking about whether there were well designed bikes for women and not just the everyday ones we buy at the local sports store.

    We do a lot of biking and need something thats going to last.  I cant wait to get home tonight and show this article to my wife.  She is going to be so excited.

    Dale

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Dale,

      I’m glad you liked it and hope your wife finds it useful. The main thing to consider before choosing a bike, is what terrain you are gong to ride. A bike specifically designed for a women isn’t necessarily the right choice for all women.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  4. Dianne

    You are spot on here! Pink and smaller bikes for woman why! why! why!

    From a child i have always owned boys mountain bikes i could never see why not, a female can find what is comfortable and fit for their purpose for them to ride.

    Good to see the industry is designing better bikes with woman in mind though, i like the look of the Scaracen Mantra!

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Dianne,

      Manufacturers of anything have always gone for the “Shrink it and Pink it” method (remember those old mobile phones in the 90’s?!).

      The Scaracen Mantra is a nice lightweight hardtail bike. It is good for long rides that are not too rugged. However, Scaracen has put narrower handlebars on it to “suit women”. This is fine, but wider bars give you more control. This is something you may consider changing as your riding progresses. Here is the low down on mountain bike handlebars.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  5. Chris

    this is a great article, it is interesting the hear that bikes are now properly developing womens models. My wife has an XS mens Giant anthem rather than a specific womens bike, i think there are more differences than just being smaller so it will be inteesting to see how things develop in this area

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Chris,

      Yes I agree. There are going to be lots of choice foe women in the very near future. There are more women coming in to the sport all the time, and there is more media presence for women’s competitive mountain biking all the time. This can only help.

      Reply
  6. Daniel

    I found this article very helpful. I have a friend who enjoy in mountain biking and this can be a great present for Christmas. I will for sure bookmark this article and will come back to order one. It is definitely worth the price. My choice is for sure Ghost Lanao, I like its design and color.

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Daniel,

      The Ghost Lanao is a great first mountain bike for a woman. I like that it comes in hardtail and full suspension versions, depending on the terrain you want to ride.

      Have a look at my post that gives you lots of ideas for gifts for mountain bikers too, it might help this Christmas.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  7. Nate Stone

    Hi, 

    Interesting article, I must admit I assumed that womens mountain bikes were designed for women; but now if I think about it the “shrink & pink” approach is pretty common place. Me and my girlfriend are planning to start mountain biking together and she needs a new bike realistically. I’m thinking it will make a nice Christmas present, I can see you recommend a few bikes here, I’ll check them out in  a bit more detail.

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Nate,

      Yeah, manufacturers of anything use the shrink it and pink it method. A bike is a great present, have a look at these discounted trek bikes, you may find a good one at a good price.

      Additionally, you can check out this gifts for mountain bikers.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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