10 Best Womens Bikes for All Styles of Riding

Bikes vary greatly in performance and price, and finding the best women’s bike can certainly get overwhelming pretty quickly. After personally testing over 20 different women’s bikes, we compiled our favorite bikes for various types of riding and at various price points.

So whether you need a bike to ride around the neighborhood and local trails with the family, cruise the strand in style, or tackle light dirt trails with friends, we’ve tested bikes for all of these situations. From women’s hybrid bikes to cruiser bikes and recreational mountain bikes, we’ve done the research and pedaled the miles to make your decision process easy. What about ebikes for women? Yep, we tested those as well!

Four different women riding womens bikes - hybrid, cruiser, mountain, and e-bike

For this article, our main goal was to find quality bikes suitable for casual to intermediate, non-technical women riders. We dug deep into the world of casual, cruiser, hybrid, commuter, and fitness bikes to find the bikes that offered top notch durability and performance for their price. Due to continual supply chain issues, bike availability also played a major factor in our recommendations.

Technical bikes – like full-suspension mountain bikes and road bikes – were intentionally left off this list as they are simply too much bike for the average everyday woman rider.

Not sure what type of bike you need? Jump down to our women’s bikes buying guide to learn which bike style is best for your needs.

Best Womens Bikes

Bike Why We Love It MSRP
WOMENS HYBRID BIKES
Btwin Riverside Best on a Budget $299
Priority Classic Plus Gotham Belt drive and easy 3-speed shifting $599
REI Co-op Cycles CTY 1.1 Wide range of gears $649
Cannondale Quick CX 4 High quality, suspension $725
CRUSIER & COMFORT BIKES
Six Three Zero Single speed on a budget $269
Priority Classic Plus Belt drive and easy 3-speed shifting $599
Electra Townie 7D Flat foot tech helps balance $630
Electra Loft 7D Best cruiser for long distances $630
RECREATIONAL MOUNTAIN BIKES
Rockrider ST100 Best on a Budget $349
Cannondale Trail 8 Quality build at a great price $625
Trek Marlin 5 High quality and versatile $719
EBIKES
Aventon Pace 350 Fun, fast and light $1,399
RadPower RadRunner Best for hauling cargo or kids $1,499

What style of womens bike is best for me?

Narrowing down the type of bike you need is the first step to finding the best women’s bike for you. While every type of bike is flexible in its use, picking the style of bike that matches the type of riding you do the most is usually your best bet.

Step-through frame or regular frame? Many women’s bikes have a slanted top tube known as a step-through frame. Step-through bikes are easier to get on and off as they don’t require the rider to lift their leg as high to mount, but otherwise, the frame styles are functionally the same.

If you plan on riding with a child-bike seat, step-through bikes are preferred as they are easier to get on and off when the bike is weighed down with a child in a bike seat. Bikes with step-through frames are typically only compatible with rear rack-mounted child bike seats. Regular “triangle” frames are usually compatible with rack and frame mounted rear bike seats. Both styles of bikes are equally compatible with front-mounted seats.

Hybrid, Fitness Comfort, Cruiser Rec. Mountain Bike eBikes
Casual Neighborhood Riding
Fitness, long paved rides
All-terrain rides
Upright Positioning
Use with bike trailer
Use with child bike seat

Women’s BIke STYLES – DETAILS AND EXPERIENCE

JUMP DOWN TO DESIRED BIKE STYLE SECTION:
1. Hybrid Bikes – Best for average to longer distance paved riding
2. Comfort and Cruiser Bikes – Best for shorter distances on paved trails
3. Recreational Mountain Bikes – Best for basic dirt trail use or mixed use
4. E-Bikes – Various models available to match all types of riding

Women’s Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes are a mix between road bikes and mountain bikes. With the smooth rolling, low resistance tires of a road bike combined with the more upright position and flat handlebars of a mountain bike, hybrid bikes really are the best of both worlds. Hybrid bikes are ideal for any rider who plans on riding almost exclusively on smooth, paved surfaces.

If you plan on riding mainly paved with a bit of all-terrain riding mixed in, consider a hybrid bike with a suspension fork (typically only available on higher-end models). If all-terrain dirt or gravel trails will be the majority of your riding, a recreational mountain bike is likely a better choice (see mountain bike section below).

Distinguishing Features of Hybrid Bikes:

  • HANDLEBARS: Hybrid bikes have flat, mostly straight handlebars that can vary in height and width. Hybrid handlebars typically aren’t as wide as those on a mountain bike or as narrow as those found on road bikes, but rather a comfortable in-between.
  • BODY POSITION: Riders are positioned in a semi-upright position. The rider’s torso is more leaned-in than on a comfort/cruiser bike, but much more upright than on a road bike. This semi-upright position places the rider in the optimal position for getting the most power out of each pedal stroke. As a result, they are typically much more efficient for use with a child bike seat or trailer as compared to a comfort or cruiser bike.
  • WHEELS AND TIRES: Like road bikes, hybrid bike tires are thinner and run at higher air pressures to minimize the rolling resistance between the tire and the pavement. As a result, hybrid bikes are fast and efficient on paved surfaces but don’t offer much cushioning as compared to the tires on recreational mountain bikes.
  • SUSPENSION FORK: With minimal cushioning provide by hybrid tires, suspension forks help minimize the bumps and jolts if you’ll be riding on rough paved roads or gravel and dirt trails.
  • GEARS: Gears can range from 3 to 27. The number of gears you need really depends on how varied the elevation where you ride. The more steep uphills and downhills you encounter, the more gears you will need. The average rider, however, typically does just fine with 3 to 10 gears.
  • BIKE TRAILERS and CHILD BIKE SEATS: Of all the bike styles on this list, women’s hybrid bikes are generally your best option if you plan on pulling a bike trailer or using a child bike seat in the city.

Decathlon Btwin Riverside

Best on a Budget

mom riding the Decathlon Btwin Riverside womens hybrid bike with a iBert seat

MSRP: $299+
HEIGHT RANGE: 3 sizes, for heights ranging from 4’11” – 6’1
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Yes
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Front frame, rear frame, rear rack
SUSPENSION FORK: Yes, but on higher-end models only

The Btwin Riverside is a rare find in the budget bike world as it offers real quality and comfort without breaking the bank. From responsive shifting to quick braking, we were honestly shocked at the value and performance of this $300 bike.

As part of our tests, we put the Riverside to work with several different front and rear-mounted child bike seats and we are pleased to report that it didn’t skip a beat. If your young family is looking for a quality bike on a budget to start getting out the kids, you can’t go wrong with the Riverside.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Quality build and a comfortable ride for an unbeatable price
  • Available in three different sizes to fit a very wide range of heights (4’11” to 6’1″)
  • Compatible with rear racks, as well as front and rear-mounted child bike seats
  • Standard lifetime warranty on frame, stem, handlebar and rigid fork

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • Thinner “hybrid tires” roll smooth on the pavement, but offer less cushioning than wider tires on other bikes
  • Limited color selection – only Black is available on the base model
  • Only available online, so you won’t be able to try it before you buy it
  • Bikes are returnable through Decathlon, but return shipping expenses will be deducted from your return (common with many bikes)
  • Riverside 100 has grip shifters, while the Riverside 500 and 900 have trigger shifters (as well as additional gears)

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Riverside 100 ($299): (Model we tested) Great for around town on paved surfaces. 6-speeds.
  • Riverside 500 ($549): Improved comfort and gearing for all-terrain riding. Jumps up to 9-speeds, has suspension fork.
  • Riverside 900 ($799): Lighter-weight build and additional gearing for more aggressive riders. 10-speeds, aluminum frame (others have steel).

Priority Classic Plus – Gotham

Maintenance-free Belt Drive and Simplified 3-speed shifting

Woman riding Priority Classic Plus Gotham edition womens bikes with her baby in a seat in front of her

MSRP: $599
SIZING: 3 sizes, for inseams ranging from 26″ – 36″
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Not without special hub adapter
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Front frame, rear rack, (rear frame on men’s diamond-frame only)
SUSPENSION FORK: No

The Priority Classic Plus Gotham Edition has been a staple in our bike fleet for years. From long family bike rides to quick commutes around town, this Priority has been a smooth ride and has required basically no maintenance.

Based out of New York City, Priority Bicycles are designed to withstand the unique rigors of city riding. Our team has owned seven different Priority bikes over the years, and they’ve all withstood the test of time… even the Priority kids bikes which can take quite a beating from their little riders.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Grease-free belt drive requires very little, if any, maintenance. Most bikes have a bike chain set up, which is significantly more finicky and more likely to get damaged and need fixing.
  • 3 speeds keep shifting super simple, while still giving you the flexibility to climb moderate hills or race the flat roads.
  • Very lightweight, which makes a huge difference when going up hills, carrying kids, or riding longer distances

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • Thinner “hybrid tires” roll smooth on the pavement, but offer less cushioning than wider tires on other bikes
  • Offered in both a women’s step-through and men’s diamond frame. Choose according to your preference or height restrictions.
  • Due to the internally geared rear hub, a special adapter is required for bike trailers. If you already know you want to pull a bike trailer, we recommend looking at a different bike.
  • If you want to carry a rear child bike seat on the women’s model, you must also purchase a rack and buy a rack-mounted child bike seat. The men’s diamond frame is compatible with both rack and frame-mounted rear child bike seats.

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Priority Classic Plus – Gotham ($599): Great for around town or longer distances on paved surfaces. Ideal for carrying kids on child bike seats.
  • Priority Classic Plus ($599): Swept-back handlebars put a rider in an upright position, and wider cushioned saddle put this model in the women’s comfort bike category. It’s not as ideal for carrying kids on child bike seats, although you certainly can (we’ve done it!).

REI Co-Op Cycles CTY 1.1

Largest Range of Gears for Tackling Elevation Gains

Woman riding REI CTY 1.1 hybrid bike on the sidewalk

MSRP: $649
SIZING: 4 sizes, for heights ranging from 5’3 to 6’3
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Yes, but needs longer rear axle skewer.
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Front frame, rear rack. Not enough clearance above the rear tire for a frame mounted rear seat.
SUSPENSION FORK: No

Besides great quality for a fair price, there are so many benefits to buying a women’s bike from REI. Order online and pick up already assembled in store… then for a full year, get free adjustments and basic maintenance!

A more leaned forward body position and trigger shifters, make this city bike particularly closer towards a “fitness” bike than the other hybrids on our list. The leaned in position allows the rider to exert more force on the pedals and really pound away on the pedals for a great workout.

With 21 gears, the gearing range of the CTY 1.1 is the widest of any hybrid on our list. If you’ll be regularly tackling tough elevation gains, this Co-op Cycles bike should be high on your list.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Order online, pick up assembled in your local REI store
  • Free adjustments and basic maintenance for a year, including brake and derailleur adjustments and chain lubing (for anyone, not just REI members)
  • Easy returns or exchanges at your local store
  • If you’re an REI member, the REI mechanics will fix any flat for free (forever)!
  • Lightweight, aluminum frame
  • Rear Shimano Acera derailleur shifts easily and smoothly
  • Mechanical disc brakes for faster stopping power than traditional v-brakes

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • 21 gears cover a wide range and trigger shifters shift smoothly, but might take a little getting used to
  • The handlebars and stem on the CTY are a bit lower and flatter than other women’s hybrid bikes. This will work great for many women, but if you find yourself leaning too far forward, you can have your local REI put on a riser stem to put you a little more upright. (This is about $40.)
  • If you’re looking to use a bike trailer, you’ll need a longer rear axle skewer to be able to attach the trailer hitch. After ordering online, simply call the store and request a longer skewer when they assemble the bike.
  • Available in diamond or step-thru frame styles

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Co-Op Cycles CTY 1.1 ($649): Most basic and least expensive model, highlighted above.
  • Co-Op Cycles CTY 2.1 ($799): With front suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, and an upgraded drivetrain, the 2.1 is a great option for bumpier roads, has more stopping power, and also has smoother and easier shifting.
  • Co-Op Cycles CTY 1.2 ($999): Additional gears (27 speeds), upgraded drivetrain for increased durability and reliability, hydraulic disc brakes, thru-axle hubs for increased rigidity. 1 lb. lighter than the CTY 1.1

Cannondale Quick CX 4 Women’s Bike

Quality Hybrid Bike with Suspension

women riding the Cannondale Quick CX womens hybrid bike in a neighborhood

MSRP: $725+
SIZING: 4 sizes, for heights 4’10” to 5’10”
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Yes
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Yes, but smaller framed women’s models may not be a good fit for a frame-mounted rear seat. But all sizes should be able to fit front-mounted seats as well as rear rack-mounted seats.
SUSPENSION FORK: Yes

The Cannondale Quick CX is a great choice for those riding mainly on paved surfaces, but with a few gravel or compact dirt trails thrown in. The CX stands for “cyclocross” which is a type of riding in which riders traverse grass, dirt, and paved surfaces. While not a true cyclocross bike, the Quick CX offers the functionality of a basic CX bike paired with the comfortable positioning of a hybrid bike.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Rides incredibly smooth on paved surfaces. Pedal strokes feel quick and efficient as the bike easily climbs up mild ascents and glides down hills.
  • Included tires have slight knobs that make them more suitable for mild gravel or compact dirt trails than smoother tires found on other hybrid bikes
  • Trigger shifters are responsive and easy to use
  • Women’s step-through version is available in 3 different frame sizes and the standard version has 4 frame sizes
  • Front suspension fork helps smooth out the bumps and rocks along the way
  • Available at REI, so you can order online and pick it up already assembled and tuned for no extra charge. Returns are just as easy!
  • If purchased at REI, free adjustments and basic maintenance are free of charge for a year!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • The lower the CX model number (i.e. CX 1, 2), the higher the component quality (suspension fork, brakes, drivetrain) and the more expensive the bike
  • Water bottle mounts on seat tube can prevent smaller models from being compatible with frame-mounted rear bike seats
  • All CX models come with the same tires that are suitable on varied smooth terrains (paved to compact dirt trails)
  • Standard models (diamond frame) tend to fit more rear bike seats than the women’s step-through models

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Cannondale Quick CX 4 ($725): 63 mm coil fork, 3×7 Shimano Tourney drivetrain, mechanical disc brakes
  • Cannondale Quick CX 3 ($900): 63 mm coil fork, 2×8 Shimano Acera and Tourney drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes
  • Cannondale Quick CX 2 ($1,150): 63 mm coil fork with lockout, 2×9 Shimano Acera and Alivio drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes

Womens Cruiser Bikes and Comfort Bikes

As the name implies, women’s cruiser bikes and comfort bikes are meant for cruising in comfort, usually for shorter distances. Here are a few distinguishing features you can typically expect in these bikes:

Distinguishing Features of Cruiser Bikes for Women

  • HANDLEBARS: Comfort and cruiser bikes generally have swept-back handlebars. This style of handlebar allows a rider to sit up straight.
  • BODY POSITION: Upright, with back straight. Many casual riders prefer to sit upright, instead of leaning forward to grasp the handlebars. This is personal preference, but is very comfortable for leisurely riding.
  • WHEELS AND TIRES: Tires have smooth street tread, but their width does vary. Wider tires are considered the most cruiser style as they offer more cushioning than narrower tires.
  • SADDLE: Wide, cushioning saddles cradle your bum and prevent “saddle soreness” that often comes with standard bike saddles that are more narrow. These wide saddles also often come with springs for light suspension that is more aesthetic than truly cushioning.
  • BIKES TRAILERS and CHILD BIKE SEATS: Many cruiser and comfort bikes are compatible with bike trailers and child bike seats. However, because of the adult rider’s upright body position, pedaling is less efficient and generally more tiring, especially when hauling a child with your bike. For hauling kids longer distances or in hilly areas, we highly recommend a hybrid bike instead.

SixThreeZero Around the Block Women’s Cruiser

Single Speed on a Budget

Woman riding SixThreeZero beach cruiser bike through her neighborhood

MSRP: $269
SIZING: One size, for women 5’0″ to 6’0″
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Not recommended with a coaster brake only
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Front frame, rear rack, but not ideal with a coaster brake only

If you’re truly on a budget and looking for a beach cruiser bike, SixThreeZero is a popular choice for a 26 inch women’s bike. Available in tons of fun colors as well as single and 7-speed, there are plenty of options to fit your needs and budget.

We tested the single-speed, 26″ wheel “Around the Block” women’s cruiser. Single speed bikes are ideal for flat terrain, and have a lot fewer components that can break or need maintenance.

The coaster brakes on the SixThreeZero require much less adjusting and maintenance than hand brakes, but on the flip side, they take more effort to engage and don’t allow you to backpedal when trying to regain your balance.

Ideal for casual neighborhood riding in flat areas, this women’s cruiser bike is affordable on the front end, and will require less time and money for maintenance over the long run.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Low price, low maintenance
  • Single speed keeps it simple for casual riding, and requires less maintenance over the long run
  • Wider tires are more cushioning than the thinner tires of other women’s cruiser bikes we tested
  • So many fun color options
  • While we are tested the single speed, 7 speed options also available

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • Many models come with a rear rack. The weight capacity is only 43 pounds, so we don’t recommend putting a child bike seat on the rack
  • Rear racks add weight to a bike. If you won’t be using the rack, take it off.
  • We don’t recommend using a bike trailer or child bike seat with a bike that only has a coaster brake. The added stopping power needed when hauling kids is a bit much for a single coaster brake.
  • Bikes with only coaster brakes and no handbrakes are cheaper, but harder to control your speed as you have to pedal backwards to slow down
  • Assembly is more involved than more expensive bikes on this list

AVAILABLE MODELS:

Priority Classic Plus

Maintenance-free Belt Drive and Simplified 3-speed shifting

Woman riding Priority Plus Classic womens bike with her child in a bike seat behind her

MSRP: $599
SIZING: 3 sizes, for inseams ranging from 26″ – 36″
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Not without special hub adapter
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Front frame, rear rack, (rear frame on diamond-frame only, not step-through)

The Priority Classic Plus offers exceptional quality in an easy-to-maintain package. If you’re looking for a women’s cruiser or comfort bike with gears, the 3-speeds of the Classic Plus offer plenty of range for casual riding and are easier to manage than bikes with more gears to shift through.

You probably learned to ride on a bike that had a coaster brake (back pedal brake), and may think that’s what you want now as well. All models of this bike come with a front hand brake and a choice of brake in the rear – hand brake or coaster.

We highly recommend that you consider no coaster brake. Dual hand brakes (and no coaster brake) make the riding experience easier and more natural. They also offer more stopping power, which will come in especially handy if you’ll be carrying a child on a child bike seat.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • If you don’t know much about bikes, bike maintenance can be a huge pain. The Priority Classic Plus’ grease-free belt drive and internally geared hub which require very little, if any, maintenance. Most bikes have a chain drive and derailleur, which make the bike much more likely to end up in the bike shop.
  • 3 speeds keep shifting super simple, while still giving you the flexibility to climb moderate hills or race the flat roads.
  • Assembly is streamlined and straightforward.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • Thinner “hybrid tires” roll smooth on the pavement, but offer less cushioning than wider tires on other bikes
  • Offered in both a women’s step-through and men’s diamond frame. Choose according to your preference or height restrictions.
  • Due to the internally geared rear hub, a special adapter is required for bike trailers. If you already know you want to pull a bike trailer, we recommend looking at a different bike.
  • If you want to carry a rear child bike seat on the women’s cruiser model (step-thru frame), you must also purchase a rack and buy a rack-mounted child bike seat. The diamond frame is compatible with both rack and frame-mounted rear child bike seats.
  • If you are using a child bike seat, dual handbrakes offer better (and more controlled) stopping power than a coaster brake.

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Priority Classic Plus: With sweptback handlebars, an upright body position, and wider cushioning saddle, the Classic Plus is a true comfort/cruiser bike.
  • Priority Classic Plus – Gotham: This women’s hybrid bike has straighter, flatter handlebars that allow a rider to lean forward while riding. It is easier to climb hills or gain higher speeds if you can lean in.

Electra Townie 7D

Flat Foot Technology for Worry-free Cruising

Woman cruising on the Electra Townie comfort bike.

MSRP: $630
SIZING: One size, for 4’11” – 6’0″
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Front frame, rear rack (but not ideal for either)

The Electra Townie women’s bike is the ultimate bike for comfort cruising and is especially ideal for timid riders. Unlike traditional bikes, the Townie allows the rider to position the saddle lower to the ground so that they can touch the ground with their entire foot when starting and stopping the bike. As a result, the Townie is noticeably easier to start and stop for timid riders.

The secret to the Townie (and many of the bikes in Electra’s lineup) is Electra’s Flat-Foot technology. Electra Flat-Foot Technology has nothing to do with electronics or an app. It’s all about the frame design of the bike, which positions the pedals farther forward on the bike instead of directly under the rider.

This allows the rider to get a full extension with each pedal stroke by pushing in a more forward direction, instead of straight down. As a result, the seat doesn’t need to be as high and the rider is able to place their full foot flat on the ground when starting and stopping.

This set-up is fantastic for those who don’t have the best balance, or just for those less-than-confident riders who want more foot contact with the ground when stopping and starting. However, you need to know that because you are pushing more forward on the pedals than straight down, you don’t transfer as much power to the pedals. This makes it less ideal for hills, long distances, or carrying kids in bike trailers or child bike seats.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Flat-foot technology is the top reason to choose this women’s cruiser bike. We were surprised just how comfortable it was and how much we loved being able to stop and start with our feet flat on the ground!
  • 7 speeds gives you much more flexibility in climbing hills than most women’s cruiser bikes with just one speed
  • 2″ wide tires are wider than others on this list, and add to a feeling of stability and cushioning
  • Tons of fun color options

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • The Townie has dual handbrakes and no coaster brake. Many women’s cruiser bikes have coaster brakes, but this isn’t one of them! Coaster brakes require less maintenance, but don’t allow you to backpedal and require more force to stop the bike.
  • Offered in just one size, but from what we’ve seen, it fits this wide range of heights very well.
  • While you can attach a child bike seat or bike trailer, this is really not the best bike for that set-up. We highly encourage you to look at hybrid bikes if you’ll be bringing kids along for the ride frequently.

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Electra Townie 7D: With Electra’s famous Flat-Foot Technology, the Townie is ideal for super comfort riding.
  • Electra Townie Path 9D: Upgraded components like hydraulic disc brakes and a more expensive drivetrain with 9 speeds instead of 7 make the 9D a better bike, but not necessary for your average casual rider.
  • Electra Loft 7D: If you love the comfort of an upright body position, but you want to ride longer distances or climb hills regularly, the pedal position of the Loft model is less flat-foot, but more efficient.

Electra Loft 7D

Best Women’s Cruiser for Longer Distances or Hauling Kids

Woman riding Electra Loft 7D womens bike across the cross walk

MSRP: $630
SIZING: Two sizes to fit 5’0 – 6’3
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: TBA
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Front frame, rear frame, rear rack

If you prefer an upright body position but want to go longer distances or haul kids, the Electra Loft 7D women’s bike is our favorite option. With 7 speeds, it will be much easier to adjust for the weight of a child on your bike as you tackle inclines or flat roads.

While the Loft 7D falls under Electra’s “flat-foot technology” category, its effect on this women’s bike is very small compared to the Townie – honestly, it’s not very noticeable. So if you really want to have your feet flat, you should go for the Townie. But if you just want to be upright, the pedal position on the Loft 7D is more like a standard bike, which allows you to get more leverage on the pedals. This makes riding long distances or with kids in tow more manageable.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Efficient pedaling, upright body position, and 7 gears is a rare combination
  • The uniquely designed split top tube makes this women’s comfort bike particularly stylish
  • A small detail, but the pedals are both functional and pretty!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • Forward-placed pedals and large wheels mean that your toes could hit the tire when executing tight turns. This happened to us and is one of the few potential drawbacks of flat-foot technology when paired with larger wheels.
  • The leather grips are gorgeous, but pretty slick with little grip. If this bothers you, just get some grip tape!
  • Electra women’s bikes may not be compatible with all racks. The rack compatible with the Loft 7D is the Electra MIK Rear Rack.

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Electra Loft 7D: Features a standard derailleur.
  • Electra Loft 7i: All the advantages of the Loft 7D, but with an internally geared hub that requires less maintenance than a traditional derailleur… but costs an extra $100.
  • Electra Townie 7D: With Electra’s famous Flat-Foot Technology, if you prefer to set your feet down flat when stopping, the 7-speed Townie is for you.

Womens Mountain Bikes (Recreational)

If you’ll be doing a lot of your riding on basic dirt trails, as well as the occasional ride on paved surfaces, a recreational mountain bike is the perfect choice for you. Recreational mountain bikes are not as fined-tuned as true mountain bikes and are not built to withstand the rigors of aggressive trail riding. However, they still provide plenty of cushioning and traction for basic, non-paved trails.

One of the major differences between a hybrid bike and a recreational mountain bike is the tires. The wider tires found on mountain bikes offer more traction and cushioning for off-road riding, but are slower-rolling on paved surfaces compared to hybrid bike tires. As a result, riding on paved surfaces on a mountain bike will require a bit more effort on your part than riding a hybrid bike on paved surfaces.

The difference between true trail bikes and recreational mountain bikes comes down to components and build. True trail bikes with hydraulic disc brakes and an air suspension fork (not necessary for the average rider) typically start around $1,200.

  • HANDLEBARS: Wide and straight with a slight rise, mountain bike bars typically position the hands much wider than other bikes for increased stability, yet still in a comfortable position.
  • BODY POSITION: Similar to a women’s hybrid bike, recreational mountain bikes place the rider in a semi-upright position with the rider’s torso slightly leaned in towards the handlebars.
  • WHEELS: Wheel sizes range from 26″ to 29″. Wheel sizes vary widely between models as well as frame sizes. For basic riding, wheel size shouldn’t be a deciding factor.
  • TIRES: Knobby, wider, and squishier than any other bike tire, mountain bike tires are designed to grip the trail as well as provide cushion from rocks and uneven surfaces.
  • SUSPENSION: Most recreational women’s mountain bike have basic coil spring forks which help to smooth out your ride. One of the biggest differences in price between mountain bikes is the suspension fork. Quality air suspension forks, which offer better cushioning for taking on larger obstacles, can more than double the cost of a bike.
  • GEARS: More gears aren’t necessarily better. Due to simplicity, we prefer women’s mountain bikes with 8 to 12 gears and only one shifter (on the right hand). However, those bikes tend to be more expensive than bikes with two shifters (left and right hand) and 20+ gears.
  • BIKE TRAILERS and CHILD BIKE SEATS: Recreational mountain bikes typically work well with rear mounted child bike seats (both rack and frame). Many lower-end mountain bikes also tend to be compatible with traditional front-mounted seats, but expensive mountain bikes typically are not. Mid-mount “mountain bike” child bike seats are usually a great choice for mountain bikes.

Decathlon Rockrider ST 100

Best on a Budget

stock image of Decathlon Rockrider st100 recreational mountain bike

MSRP: $349+
SIZING: 4 frame sizes, fits height between 4’11” and 6’5″
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Yes
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Bike is rear rack compatible and likely compatible with front-mounted bike seats as well (we haven’t tested any on the bike).
SUSPENSION FORK: Yes

While we have yet to be able to test out the Rockrider ST100 in person, we have tested out several other Rockrider models and they have all been phenomenal bikes for the price. When it comes to getting a quality bike without breaking the bank, look no further than Decathlon’s Rockrider line.

Compared to other budget brands you might find at Walmart or Target, the Rockrider line of bikes has better components for more reliable shifting and braking, as well as a lifetime guarantee on the bike’s frame.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Great quality for the price compared to similarly priced bikes at big-box stores
  • Frame has eyelets for mounting a rear rack, making it suitable for many rear child bike seats
  • Multiple models to allow you to pay for exactly what you need – the more aggressive and more often you ride, the higher the Rockrider model you should purchase
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame, handlebar, and stem. 2 year warranty on other parts.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • The ST100 has a grip shifter, while the higher-end models have a trigger shifter
  • There are two main lines of “Rockrider” bikes within Decathlon. The ST models are recreational mountain bikes while the XC are more “true” mountain bikes. The ST models do come in full-suspension options as well, but for the average rider, full suspension is overkill and simply not needed.
  • Bikes are returnable through Decathlon, but return shipping expenses will be deducted from your return (common with many bikes).

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Rockrider ST100 ($399): 3×7 drivetrain, v-brakes, 80 mm coil suspension fork
  • Rockrider ST520 ($499): 3×8 SRAM X3 derailleur and SRAM X4 trigger shifter, mechanical disc brakes, 80 mm coil suspension fork
  • Rockrider ST540 ($699): 2×9 Shimano Altus derailleur, Shimano Altus trigger shifter, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, 100 mm hydraulic suspension fork with lockout

Trek Marlin 5

High-Quality Versatility for Paved and Beginning Mountain Bike Trails

Woman riding Trek Marlin 5 women's mountain bike

MSRP: $719
SIZING: 8 sizes, for heights ranging from 4’5” to 6’8”
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Yes
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Front frame, rear rack. Eyelets on seat tube may interfere with a rear frame mounted seat.
SUSPENSION FORK: Yes

The Trek Marlin 5 is one of the most popular women’s mountain bikes on the market. We have been hugely impressed with how comfortable it is to ride, the precision of its braking, and its smooth and easy shifting – all at a reasonable price tag for those just getting started with trail riding. 

The Marlin 5 is in our “recreational” women’s mountain bike category because of its versatility. It was designed to excel at riding kids around the neighborhood, but is also right at home on mild dirt trails.

Our “mom bike tester” has been riding her Trek Marlin for about two years now and can’t stop raving about it. With a baby still in tow, she currently sticks primarily to paved trails with the baby on the back in a rear child bike seat. But dirt trails are in the near future as she and her boys tackle the new world of mountain biking together.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Exceptional MTB geometry for a comfortable, stable ride
  • 2.2” wide tires offer great traction and additional cushioning
  • Hydraulic disc brakes for maximum stopping power
  • Coil-sprung front fork provides light suspension to smooth out bumps on the trail or road, but can be locked out mid-ride to more efficiently climb hills
  • Ergo grips are so comfortable and help prevent hand and wrist fatigue
  • Kick stand mount for the win! While it doesn’t come with a kickstand, our mom bike tester easily added one.
  • Even if you buy online, it can be assembled at your local bike shop

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • While the Trek Marlin 5 is the most popular in the Marlin series, there is also a Trek Marlin 4, 6, 7, and 8. 
  • Trigger shifters (vs grip shifters) are ideal for mountain biking because you can shift through several gears with just one push. The mechanics may be a new concept for you, but you’ll grasp it quickly.
  • If you’re not sure “how much bike” you need, any bike in the Marlin series can easily be upgraded. You can always start with the “Goldilocks” Trek Marlin 5, and then upgrade components later as your budget allows, if you get more serious about mountain biking.

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Trek Marlin 4, 5, 6, 7, 8: The higher the number, the better the components and the more expensive. If you’ll only ever be tackling mild dirt trails, you’re safe to stick with the lower numbers. If you’re serious about progressing your MTB skills, buy the highest number your budget will allow.

Cannondale Trail 8

Entry-Level True Mountain Bike

woman riding the cannondale Trail 8 womens bike in a neighborhood

MSRP: $625+
SIZING: Four sizes, for heights, 4’6″ to 6’0″
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: Yes
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Rear rack child bike seats are best, rear frame mounts are limited due to water bottle mounts on the seat tube
SUSPENSION FORK: Yes

The Cannondale Trail 8 is a quality, higher-end recreational mountain bike that is easy to use, fun to ride, and if purchased at REI, easy to maintain. Built with a high-quality, comfortable frame and paired with mechanical disc brakes and easy-to-use trigger shifters, the Trail 8 is a great beginning mountain bike that also happens to be great around the town.

Compared to other bikes on this list, one of the Trail’s biggest “pros” is its availability through REI. From testing to maintaining, when purchased through REI, the bike comes assembled, fully tuned, and with free flat repairs for life (as long as you’re an REI member).

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • Comfortable, semi-upright geometry – seamlessly takes rider from city paths to basic trails
  • Also available in several different models at various price points to help get the most out of your budget
  • Mechanical disc brakes offer plenty of stopping power for the average rider
  • Available at REI, so you pick it up already assembled and properly tuned. Returns are also a breeze!
  • Bike includes free basic bike maintenance for a year, including brake and derailleur adjustments and chain lubing
  • REI members also get free flat tire repairs for the life of the bike

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • Wider 2.25″ MTB tires are great on dirt trails, but have higher rolling resistance on paved surfaces as compared to the tires on the Cannondale Quick CX. If you’re mainly riding on paved surfaces, the Quick CX is likely a better choice.
  • Coil-spring fork with 75mm of travel helps to smooth out small bumps along the trails, but is not built to take on aggressive trails with big jumps
  • Wheel sizes vary by frame size – XS and S come with 27.5″ wheels and the M and L come with 29″
  • The higher the model number, the lower the components and the more “recreational” the bike is. We tested out the Trail 8 and found it to be comfortably at home on basic trails.
  • Water bottle mounts on seat tube can prevent smaller models from being compatible with frame-mounted rear bike seats

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • Cannondale Trail 8 ($625): 75 mm coil suspension fork, mechanical disc brakes, 2×7 Shimano Altus rear derailleur, Microshift trigger shifters
  • Cannondale Trail 7 ($750): 100 mm coil suspension fork, hydraulic disc brakes, 2×8 Shimano Altus rear derailleur, train, Shimano trigger shifters
  • Cannondale Trail 6 ($850): 100 mm coil suspension fork, hydraulic disc brakes, 2×8 Shimano Altus rear, Acera front

Womens eBikes

E-bikes are available for every style of women’s bike – from cruiser to mountain. For this article we focused on women’s e-bikes that are ideal for city riding, provide great value, and can also be used to haul littles ones around. When it comes to electric bikes, there is A LOT to learn as there are a wide variety of options that provide a vastly difference riding experience.

If you are new to e-bikes, be sure to check out our eBikes Buying Guide (it’s geared towards kids, but the information is still the same). From features to bike classes, it covers everything you need to know about e-bikes before your purchase. Here are some notable differences to be aware of:

  • USE: Buy a bike that matches how you want to use it. Like regular bikes, a city bike with thin tires won’t have enough traction on dirt trails and a bike with fat, knobby, all-terrain tires will be heavy and slow rolling on paved surfaces.
  • CLASS: There are 3 classes of e-bikes – class 1, 2 and 3. The classes differ by how fast the motor will propel the bike and whether or not the bike as a throttle. Bikes with throttles (class 2 or class 3) are prohibited in some areas, so be sure to check your local laws before your purchase.
  • THROTTLE: The throttle on an e-bike propels the bike forward completely independent of the pedals of the bike. With a throttle, pedaling an e-bike is optional.
  • TORQUE SENSOR: Higher-end bikes with torque sensors allow you to control the speed of the bike with the pedals (like you do on a regular bike). Lower-end bikes typically do not have a torque sensor, so speed is controlled via the throttle, by braking, and by tempering speed by coasting.
  • MOTOR: The higher the Watt rating on the motor, the more power available to power up hills. For city riding, a lower-end watt motor do just fine.
  • WEIGHT: e-bikes are very heavy! Most are too heavy for car-mounted bike racks, so don’t plan on transporting your e-bike with your car without buying a heavy duty hitch rack.
  • BIKE TRAILERS and CHILD BIKE SEATS: We DO NOT recommend using a bike trailer on an e-bike. Most trailers have a max MPH of 10 to 15 mph which is really easy to accidentally blast past on an ebike. Going faster than the recommended speed puts the trailer at risk of tipping over. As long as you are cautious with your speed, many e-bikes are compatible with front or rear rack-mounted child bike seats.

Aventon Pace 350

Amazingly fun, comfortable, and affordable e-bike

woman riding the Aventon Pace 350 ebike in a neighborhood

MSRP: $1,399
SIZING: Two sizes to fit heights 5’1″ to 6’4″
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: No – you shouldn’t pull a trailer with an e-bike
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Rear rack seat and some front mounted

Our testers continually raved about how much they loved the Aventon Pace 350. In addition to being comfortable, easy to use, and affordable, it is also extremely fun to ride! Whether you are looking for a bike to replace short car trips around town, need some extra assistance to take on longer bike rides, or simply want a bike to reignite your love of biking, the Aventon Pace fits the bill.

What makes the Pace so much fun? Unlike other similarly-priced ebikes, the Pace accelerates smoothly with no jolting or lag time. The “natural” feel of the Pace keeps the rider at ease and feeling in control, even when just using the throttle and not pedaling. The integration of the motor on other ebikes isn’t as smooth, leaving the bike to feel more mechanical and less “graceful”.

Extremely versatile, the Pace is compatible with a rear bike rack for carrying cargo or a child bike seat, and comes standard with front and rear fenders, as well as integrated frame lights that make the Pace hard to miss in low-light situations.

For added fun, this Aventon e-bike also provides a free app to help you track everything from your miles to your average speed. The app also contains an active community of helpful members who regularly share tips, inspirational rides, and maintenance tips.

If you happen to live in an area in which Class II ebikes are prohibited (ebikes with throttles are considered Class II), the throttle on the Pace can quickly and easily be removed. The pedal assist modes on the bike are not affected by removing the throttle.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • The Pace 350 is ridiculously fun to ride, with or without the throttle! We’ve tested out several different e-bikes at various price points and the Pace was a clear winner in the “fun” department.
  • Offers a comfortable upright body positioning
  • Thick padded saddle is comfortable for all types of riders
  • Throttle is easily removable and bike can function without it
  • Available with a standard or step-through frame
  • Integrated lights along the side and back of the bike’s frame
  • Sleek design that allows the battery to seamlessly blend into the frame, yet still be removable (battery can be charged on or off the frame)
  • Compatible with rear rack for hauling gear or for adding a child bike seat
  • Free app to help you track miles and milestones, battery life, turn on or off the lights

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • The Pace 350 is pretty fast! The speed can easily be controlled via the 5 different pedal assist modes, but it does take a bit to get used to its speed.
  • Two levels are available (the 350 and the 500), and both are available in standard and step-through frames
  • The 500 has a faster top speed (28 vs. 20 mph), a more powerful motor, a larger battery, and upgraded disc brakes

AVAILABLE MODELS:

RadPower RadRunner

Best for Hauling Kids or Cargo

mom riding the RadRunner Plus ebike with her child on the back

MSRP: $1,499+
SIZING: One size fits most (4’11” – 6’2″)
BIKE TRAILER COMPATIBLE: No
CHILD BIKE SEAT COMPATIBLE: Yes, RadRunner sells rear-bike seats that are compatible with the bike’s integrated frame

Fun, functional, and highly adaptable, the RadRunner Series from RadPower bikes is the perfect bike for those who need a quality multi-use bike. Whether you’re making quick trips to the grocery store or dropping off your kids at school, the RadRunner’s extended frame provides plenty of real estate for hauling kids, gear, or groceries!

The rear integrated frame easily holds a large storage basket, a child bike seat, or a cushioned bench for carrying teenagers or lighter weight adults! Need even more space? The front of the RadRunner has mounts for a front basket for carrying groceries and even a small basket for dogs. Lastly, a large covered and locking center console is also available for keeping items safely tucked away and out of the elements.

While we love the RadRunner, the ride is not as smooth as the Aventon Pace 350. The primary reason to purchase the RadRunner is if you need to haul kids, teens, small adults, pets, or cargo.

WHAT WE LOVE:

  • From baskets to kids (and even pets!), the RadRunner is highly customizable to meet your needs
  • Single frame size has a long seat post and rotating handlebars that adjust to fit a wide range of heights
  • 5 different levels of pedal assist, as well as the throttle
  • Both models come with a built-in rear and front light
  • RadPower offers excellent customer service as well as a 14-day free trial
  • Like the Aventon, you can remove the throttle

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY:

  • Both models of the RadRunner are very heavy, 65+ lb.! Due to their weight and wide tires, there are very few car bike racks that they are compatible with.
  • The RadRunner is a Class II e-bike, which is highly regulated in some parts of the US (check your local laws before your purchase)
  • Does not have a torque sensor, so controlling the speed of the bike with the pedals can be challenging. Speed is controlled by coasting, braking, and changing the pedal-assist levels more than the speed at which you turn the pedals.

AVAILABLE MODELS:

  • RadRunner 2 ($1,499): Same exact frame and components as the Plus, but as a single-speed and without any of the upgrades.
  • RadRunner Plus ($1,899): Model shown above, comes with rear seat, fenders, 7 gears and a suspension fork.

If you’re getting a bike, you might also need a helmet and a bike rack! Check out these articles for a quick and easy breakdown of what to look for as well as our top picks.

10 Best Women’s Bike Helmets: If you need a bike, you need a helmet! Here are our 10 favorites for all style of riding.

10 Best Hitch Bike Racks: We’ve personally used all of the bike racks we recommend. Which one is right for you? Check out this article!

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review, however, some of the reviewed product was supplied by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  All content and images are copyrighted and should not be used or replicated in any way. View our Terms of Use.

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