Picking a mountain bike can be a little overwhelming with all the options available. You can keep viewing bikes without being able to pick one, and I’ve been there, done that.
That’s why I’ve put this guide together, using what I’ve learned through my shopping process to help you form a better idea regarding the bike you should get by comparing the best women’s mountain bikes under £1000.
All the women’s mountain bikes below have been tested by myself or a member of the Cyclodelic team. We try and test them on dedicated mountain bike trails to really push them and a feel for handling and overall quality.
Best Women’s Mountain Bikes Under £1000
The Vitus Nucleus is one of the best Hardtail bikes around. With its awesome WTB tires, powerful Tektro Hydraulic disc brakes, sorted cockpit and a smooth-shifting 1×10 Shimano Deore drivetrain all found hanging on this marvellously sculpted alloy frame, the Vitus Nucleus 27 VRS will not disappoint.
The Nucleus 27 VRS agile and light build is designed to make weaving and bobbing around tightly-spaced trees extremely effortless. And to increase your ability to handle it, it comes with an air-sprung, hydraulic damped fork, which is a ridiculous bargain for a bike in its price range.
The main advantage of its air-sprung fork is that you can adjust it accurately to match your weight needing only a shock pump.
In 2020, Nucleus 27 VRS added an SR Suntour forks with bolt-thru lowers which at the same time increase your steering precision and wheel security. Not to mention, it already had one of the best forks in the class. So absolutely no brand can match it in this area.
Its smallest frame size is 38.1 cm, fitting height of 160 – 170 cm, making it fit petite riders and an excellent choice for women.
Great ride quality
Great price tag
Absence of a clutch mechanism to aid keeping the chain on
The Nucleus 27 VRS sets the expectations really high, especially for a bike in its price range. You won’t need to upgrade or change anything when you get this bike out of the box. You might want to customize its appearance for your liking, but nothing about how it will perform will make you doubt that you made one of the greatest buys of your life.
With great speed, and a lightweight build that provides an extremely agile, fun ride. The CUBE Reaction Pro is one of the best choices for women looking to buy a hardtail mountain bike (no back suspension).
The CUBE Reaction Pro has a frame construction featuring Cube’s Aluminum Lite which provides a responsive, robust and lightweight bike. With Shimano XT 2×11 drivetrain, a cube finishing kit, and the RockShox fork upfront smoothing out the trail beneath you.
It also has a 680mm handlebar with CUBE performance grip to provide you with superb control over the bike on the sturdiest of roads.
The Aluminum frame of the CUBE Reaction Pro is there to make sure that the bike meets your expectations while you are hammering your favourite trails.
Furthermore, the CUBE Reaction Pro features a triple-butted hydroformed tube set to create the best combination of exceptional strength and low weight at the same time.
The carefully crafted main tube profiles, tapered head tube, and boost thru-axle at the ride’s rear create a firm build that will transmit all of your effort to the rear wheel, in the same time ensuring that your steering remains very accurate.
It adds comfort to the high speed, great manoeuvrability, and smart design with its gracefully slender seat of the CUBE Reaction Pro is 27.2 mm seat post that is very functional as it takes the edge of big hits along the way.
Available in two sizes -16” and 18”, this bike is a good fit for every rider and makes an excellent choice for female riders.
Very agile ride
Shifting is accurate
The RockShox fork is not as smooth compared to other bikes with similar price tags
The bike’s tyres are puncture prone
Smooth, elegant, agile and fun to ride, the CUBE Reaction Pro 27.5 Hardtail bike is among the popular choices for keen trail-riders. Although its tyres are more prone to puncture than the average, the CUBE Reaction Pro is still one of the best Hardtail bikes under £1000.
The GT Avalanche Comp is an accomplished entry-level hardtail mountain bike for women that is functional and budget-conscious at the same time.
Like the GT Aggressor, It’s a ‘hardtail mountain bike’ equipped with front suspension but no rear suspension. The biggest disadvantage being that you will feel the bumps more when going down fast trails. Saying that, people only really buy full suspension mountain bikes if they are serious about downhill.
On the other hand, however, you will get better feedback from the trail which can improve your overall riding ability, as you will get to learn how to control, point and position your bike on the route flawlessly.
The GT Avalanche Comp features an all-new 6061 T6 triple triangle aluminium frame, which means you’ll get a frame that is strong and can handle twists, impacts and turn without being susceptible to the risk of deforming.
I wouldn’t say the GT Avalanche Comp is particularly a lightweight bike, but that’s true of all MTB bikes. Still, it’s far from being the heaviest in its class. Its triple triangle unique frame design is distinctive in looks and carries benefits of stability and stiffness too.
With the SR Suntour XCM-HLO forks with a 100 mm of travel, the GT Avalanche Comp can accommodate bumpy terrains, and with the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes, you will be able to control your bike and manoeuvre through tightly spaced trees at high speed with ease.
It comes with a wide array of sizes to choose from, including an XXS with a 69.9 cm stand-over height, making it suitable for shorter riders.
>> If you you need a bike for commuting too, you might want to consider a hybrid bicycle with thinner tyres
Unique & great frame designs
Short head tube
Smooth and responsive handling
Bottom bracket is a bit too low
The GT Avalanche Comp is an impressive user-friendly bike, with sleek and very responsive handling. It has reliable suspension and brakes, which makes for a superb combination for a great hardtail bike that is worth a try.
If you have read the name of the bike first, then you might know exactly what to expect from the Ghost Lanao 3.9 Women’s Hardtail bike. This mountain bike was specifically designed to be the perfect fit for female bikers.
It doesn’t just come in some flashy colours, this bike is designed so professional women bikers can finally have a sturdy, dependable mountain bike that features women-friendly size adjustments.
The Ghost Lanao 3.9 comes with a unique top tube design that provides women with that much desired low stand-over height. This makes it safe for any situation. Moreover, the 27.5 inches wheels that come with the bike is designed to remain stable, especially when going at top speeds. The low-stand over and 27.5 inches wheels make this bike stand out among other bikes that women bikers might consider.
With an SR Suntour XCM RL DS forks and 100mm travel, Shimano BR-MT200 2/2 Piston disc brakes, you can rely on its solid performance. Despite the wheel size, the bike remains nimble and able to manoeuvre as well as take hairpin turns easily with impressively fast speeds.
Designed especially for women pro and beginners
Great price per value ratio
Lows stand-over combined with big wheels
Could use a stiffer frame
The Ghost Lanao 3.9 is focused on being a mountain bike for women, and you can see that in its design. With big wheels great for bumpy and rocky terrains, and lower stand-over to fit shorter women so they can get higher speeds and better safety. The bike also comes with a variety of colours available.
The DiamondBack Heist 2.0 is a tough trail bomber with proper geometry and specs that are usually found on the more expensive bikes.
It features a big rectangular frame tube that defines its tough, trail persona. The dip in the frame makes this mountain bike perfect for women with shorter legs, making it easy to mount.
Coming with an easily customised air spring, consistently controlled damping, and a handlebar level so you can lock them out on climbs.
The DiamondBack Heist’s RockShox fork does not offer a thru-axle like what might be offered from a Suntour fork, but the big handlebar and the proper quality fork structure means that this bike will provide you with a lot of precision that you can exploit the grip of its Schwalbe 27.5” tyres.
While they might be considered basic by the Shimano standards, the DiamondBack Heist’s AM396 hydraulic disc brakes have much better control than most of the bikes in its price category.
Great component spec for its price
The good technical trail Hardtail geometry
Controlled fork travel and handling
Stiff frame can be clattering on rougher trails for body and chain
Could use a thru-axle fork and shorter stem to better suit its agro character
The DiamondBack Heist 2.0 was built for the trail. Taking on challenging trail centre loops is what this hardcore hardtail mountain bike was designed for. With its 120mm suspension fork that will absorb all the bumps on the trail and give you a smooth ride. Front and rear hydraulic brakes to give you better control over your speed and increase agility.
How Far Will a £1000 Mountain Bike Go?
The short answer is: pretty far. £1000 is a good amount of money to put into a mountain bike and will guarantee you a solid build, reliable performance, and quality parts. This combination means that you’ll get something durable and that will last for a long time –especially with proper maintenance.
What’s the Difference between Women’s and Unisex/men’s Bikes?
The majority of bike companies produce women-friendly bikes, some of which have distinct frames with a female-friendly design. Here are the key things that make a bike female-friendly.
The saddle is probably the biggest difference on a female-friendly bike. They come with saddles that are extra comfortable and padded to be comfortable for female riders.
Small, X-Small and XX-Small frames are designed to suit shorter or more petite riders. Although some unisex bikes come in smaller sizes, female-oriented ones come with dedicated frames and unique geometry.
Lowered Top Tube
Top tubes on women bikes are usually lower or sloping down to shorten the stand-over height and make mounting/dismounting as easy and seamless as can be.
The reach is the distance from the handlebars to the saddle, and for women’s bikes, this distance is shortened to provide an upright riding position.
Shorter Crank Arms
The part that links the pedals to the spindle they move around is called the crank arms. The shorter the legs of the rider are, the shorter the crank arm should be to reduce the leg stretch required for a pedal stroke. This makes pedalling easier and reduces strain.
Narrow Handlebars, Shallow Drops
To fit narrower shoulders, handlebars are made narrower and with shallower drops to reduce the reach from the bars to the seat.
What to Look for When Buying a Women’s Mountain Bike?
Which should you choose? Aluminium, steel, or carbon fibre?
The three materials differ in weight and durability. For a mountain bike, I’d recommend a steel frame that isn’t easy to be dented or bent. But if you don’t want to compromise and get a heavy bike, you can go for an aluminium frame.
For frame sizing, check out our guide to women’s frame sizes.
Wheel and Tires
The best you can get is 29” wheels that are designed for XC and trail or 27.5” ones that suit aggressive trail and downhill rides.
Typically, bigger wheels fit more mileage while smaller ones are best for tackling trails.
You’ll be faced with choosing between disc brakes or rim ones.
The former operates by gripping onto the rotor using hydraulic brakes or mechanical ones. Hydraulic ones are more powerful and self-adjust to the wear of the brake pads.
There are two types of brakes on a hybrid bike: either disc brakes or rim ones.
The latter –rim ones- have pads that grip on the wheel rims rather than the rotor. However, these ones wear the wheel out, so you might end up needing to change it as well.
There’s no doubt that suspension is very important when it comes to mountain biking. The trick is to look for quality rather than quantity.
In essence, don’t rush to buy one with front and rear suspension, but rather go for a bike that offers more stability and comfort while riding on rugged terrain.
Make sure that the shock-absorption properties are top-notch. High-quality damping and proper air spring are always better than any amount of extra travel.
Hardtail vs Full-suspension?
Typically, people would go for full-suspension bikes over hardtail ones. However, you should know that by doing that, you’re getting extra weight and your bike would need more frequent maintenance.
Still not sure as to which bike you should get? That’s understandable as the five options I’ve listed are top-of-the-shelf ones. But if you’re looking for a very smooth ride and reliable performance, I’d recommend the CUBE Reaction PRO 27.5 HardTail Bike.
At lower speeds and a slightly lower price, the DiamondBack Heist 2.0 is also another great option that fits rough rides.
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