Choosing the best bike for a female beginner can be daunting. You're undoubtedly looking for the best option that fits your needs and pocket.
But where to begin? For starters, I ask myself what kind of cycling I want to do and where I'd be cycling. Do I want to cycle for exercise or leisure? What about cushioning the derrière? I'm not fit right now - but I want to be - preferably without embarrassing myself if I can help it. So, where does a beginner begin?
Right here with examples of the eight best bikes for female beginners:
- Hybrid bike/Cruiser: Liv Alight 3
- All-rounder bike: Co-op CTY 1.1
- Commuter bike: Cannondale Quick CX 4
- Mountain bike: Palisades Trail 2
- Road bike: Specialized Allez
- E-Bike: Comfort 2 Step-Thru Electric Bike
- Touring bike: Cube Travel for Women 2022
- Folding bike: Brompton A Line Folding Bike
As a beginner, it makes sense that you would want a comfortable ride – a bike you would want to climb on again. Choosing a bike suited to your purposes and budget is important. Topics covered here include design, purpose, pros and cons, and what to look for when choosing your first bike. You might even decide you love cycling and pursue it more intently!
The bikes discussed here have been recommended by female beginners and professionals alike and will help us, lady beginners, make the best personal choice. By cross-referencing the overwhelming number of suggestions on top cycling websites and asking my local bike shops what they'd suggest, I found these eight bikes came out tops.
Best 8 Bikes For Female Beginners
The broad categories of bikes on the market include mountain bikes, road bikes, and hybrids (best of both worlds). Within these categories are many offshoots and options, including power-assistance e-bikes, city commuter bikes, chilled-out cruiser bikes, touring bikes, and folding bikes. Bike options are ever-increasing, so knowing what you need is a good start.
My only disclaimer here is that, since we are beginners, I’m not going to throw high-tech terms at you, as I don’t want you to glaze over with boredom or decide this is too much to process. This is important information for beginner females.
According to Bicycling.com, elements to consider when choosing your first bike include stability, a comfortable and relaxed sitting position, wider tires, and the right size bike. Bikes with longer wheelbases, wider handlebars, and fatter tires are good for assisting in stabilizing a beginner.
Total Women's Cycling offers great insight to help female beginners choose their first bike. You immediately narrow your search by knowing what you want and need and how much you can afford. It is helpful, too, especially when a salesperson may want to take advantage of your ignorance and sell you a bike that isn't suited to your needs.
Women tend to have more jiggly bits, so aside from wearing the proper gear, a comfortable ride is an important consideration. Think of the seat (perineum pain) and the shock absorbers; are you going to be riding over dirt or cobblestones regularly? You can get bikes with shock absorbers on one or both tires, and change seats if necessary.
When it comes to speed, are you using a bike for commuting to work or just cruising around? Regardless of speed, good brakes are imperative. You can also ask yourself if you want or need power assistance. E-bikes amplify your pedaling efforts, meaning you don't necessarily have to work so hard. The top speed of e-bikes is often capped for safety purposes.
Price is also a factor when dabbling in something new; you don't necessarily want to splurge out on something that will gather dust in the garage. If you're unsure that cycling is for you but know what type of bike you want, try out a popular bike with good reviews in the mid-to-low range price bracket. If you decide to go more professional, you can upgrade later.
Some of the bikes listed below are unisex but have been modified to accommodate women. If you are interested in seeing how female-specific bike manufacturers design bikes for us ladies, you can follow this link to an article on Cycling Weekly.
Best Hybrid/Cruiser: Liv Alight 3
The Liv Alight 3 is a hybrid that is designed specifically with women in mind. Liv Cycling is the sister company of Giant Bicycles and knows that women are built differently from men; they consider our different weight distribution and body proportions in their designs. This hybrid offers casual comfort, fun fitness, and stylish versatility – a great combo.
Your seating position when riding a Liv Alight 3 is upright. This, combined with the flat handlebars and wide tires, makes it a comfortable, stable, and efficient ride. The lightweight aluminum frame with its balanced geometry offers great speed and stability, and there are integrated mounts for attaching fenders, racks, or panniers. It's like having a stylish dress with pockets.
As far as the price goes, it's probably one of the most affordable ladies' bikes on the market, perfect for beginners who don't know if they want to pursue cycling but want to try it. Women who have the Liv Alight 3 remark on what an easy and comfortable ride this bike has to offer, plus it is light enough to pick up and carry if necessary.
- Adjustable handlebars
- Low-end price range
- Easy pedaling
- It does not come with a kickstand
- Some women found it difficult to maneuver
Best All-Rounder Bike: Co-op CTY 1.1
Across various platforms, the REI Co-op CTY 1.1 was recommended the most. CTY 1.1 is a hybrid, meaning it's good for urban and suburban cycling. The CTY 1.1 offers efficient pedaling and clean shifting with its 24-speed drivetrain. It is an imported unisex bike but is a great option for a female beginner who doesn't want to be limited to specific terrain.
The 6061 aluminum frame and suspension fork of the CTY 1.1 offers a stable and smooth ride, while most testers consider the Selle Royale Saddle + comfortable. The Wellgo aluminum platform pedals allow the rider to wear street shoes when cycling, so you can skip the cleats.
The 27.5" tires are puncture-resistant and wide (40mm), offering more stability for a beginner rider. Another benefit of the Kenda tires is their reflective sidewalls for increased visibility. The CTY1.1 offers a bottle holder and compatibility for mounting fenders and racks, should you wish to add those. The mechanical disc brakes offer excellent stopping power in wet conditions.
Bikes take about a year to "break in", so REI offers a free adjustment period for the first year after purchase, getting the bike suited to you and your riding style; you can take your bike as often as necessary in that year. In the free adjustment, they check the brakes, wheels, and bearings and lubricate the chain.
- It is a very affordable bike
- The Tektro brakes are very efficient
- Ergonomic hand grips that prevent wrist and hand numbness
- The tires incorporate puncture protection
- Assembly is easy, and REI provides the tools and a video to help.
- Users recommend ordering a size bigger as recommended sizes are too small
- The unisex seat is uncomfortable for some women
Best Commuter Bike: Cannondale Quick CX 4 Women's Bike
Is the traffic in the city or town getting you down? You see those cyclists whizzing past in the cycle lane while you're stuck in traffic. Why not use the commute to work for exercising instead? Commuter bikes are fast becoming a preferred choice for making your way through town. They are nippy, have good suspension, and save on fuel costs.
The Cannondale Quick CX 4 Women's bike is a hybrid designed to get you through the busy streets of town and to the old dirt roads out of town. It's a lightweight yet heavy-duty bike designed for women and comes in salmon pink or Alpine blue. It has 21 gears, multisurface tires, and front fork suspension.
This bike offers micro-suspension technology in the frame, helping to reduce vibrations from uneven surfaces and pavements. The frame of the Cannondale Quick CX 4 is made of aluminum, and the big 27.5" tires are 40mm thick, offering the rider more stability. The seating position is upright, making it a more comfortable ride.
- Reflectors on the wheels are 360°, making you visible from all angles
- Internal cabling – this gives clean lines, and it is easier to clean the bike
- Kickstand included
- Suntour NEX-E25 fork with 63 mm of travel absorbs rough bumps
- The tapered head tube keeps steering precise
- Limited gear options
- The saddle is uncomfortable for some women
Best Mountain Bike: Palisades Trail 2
If trail riding is your thing, the Palisades Trail 2 from Marin is an excellent entry-level for riders looking to do some recreational mountain riding. Compared to many similar bikes in its class, the Palisades Trail 2 makes going uphill easier for the rider. The downhill gearing of this bike is on par with other bikes in a similar class, while the braking is very effective.
Some serious hardtail enthusiasts like this bike; it's modest and offers no hollow promises, as the Marin quality and price combo generally means you're getting a bargain. The Series 2 6061 aluminum hardtail frame offers lively front suspension, making it a comfortable ride. The lightweight frame is great for females, and the wide tires offer extra balance.
Another bonus of the Palisades Trail 2 is that the seat features a quick-release seat collar, meaning you can adjust the seat height easily without getting off the bike. Plus, the bikes have water bottle holders so you can rehydrate on the go.
- Wide-range gears are excellent for hill climbing and long-distance, rough terrain.
- Very effective brakes, beneficial for safe descents
- The tires are fast and offer good grip
- Water bottle holder
- RockShox Judy Silver TK fork offers 100mm travel and preload adjustment.
- Cabling routing is external.
Best Road Bike: Specialized Allez
The Specialized Allez has been a popular entry-level road bike for many years, with the more recent models offering you a bike with great acceleration and precise handling. Your efficiency over most terrains is increased with the 27.5" inch wheels, but bear in mind that road bikes have narrower tires than other bikes to reduce drag.
The light and stiff Allez is inspired by racing, and offers great handling and acceleration - perfect for a woman hoping to start road cycling. It is also a good choice as a first bike if you're just starting to get into road cycling. The lighter wheels and the Shimano 9-speed gearing will assist your ergonomics over most terrains.
Being a road bike, the Specialized Allez is a lot lighter in weight than mountain bikes; it only weighs 16.87lbs which is great if you have to carry it up or downstairs between trips. The saddle is a supportive Riva Road Gel saddle, combining efficiency and omfort while riding – perfect for a beginner and seasoned rider.
- An affordable and capable bike
- Great handling
- Cable routing is clean
- The finishing kit is excellent
- Quite a practical bike
- The tires and wheels are average
- Light paintwork is hard to keep clean
Best E-Bike: Charge Comfort 2 Step-Thru Electric Bike
From the makers of Schwinn, the Charge Comfort 2 Step-Thru Electric Bike is an excellent option for a newbie on the market for an e-bike. E-bikes are great for power-assisted cycling, meaning you don't need to exert much effort when pedaling if you don't want to. This is helpful if you tire easily or have an injury, but want to continue riding.
Where to begin? This hybrid-shaped e-bike is competitively priced as far as e-bikes go. It has a comfortable and wide ergonomic seat (they claim it to be the comfiest seat in history), fenders, lights, and the weight capacity for a child seat on the rear rack. The puncture-resistant Goodyear tires are wide for extra stability and have tire-pressure sensors.
The 250W motor of the Charge Comfort 2 has five levels of pedal assist, plus a little throttle at your fingertips. These attributes can help you zip along at up to 20mph if you're in a hurry or need to cover some distance, with the battery lasting up to 50 miles. The handlebars and pedals can fold in, making it easier to store this little gem in tight spaces.
- Quick and easy to ride
- Easy assembly
- Easily removable battery
- Pedal assist and thumb throttle
- One battery charge can get you as far as 50 miles.
- The cost and maintenance of e-bikes are high
- Charging batteries can be a hassle
Best Touring Bike: CUBE Travel Bike For Women
If you want to cover long distances with luggage, this bike is for you. Touring by bike (trekking) is becoming more popular, and with the CUBE Travel bike for women, you can explore an area without the extra travel costs, or you can go and get your groceries. The biggest problem is that you have to find the right company to import one for you.
The Travel is equipped with full-sized mudguards to prevent you from getting splashed from the bottom, a semi-integrated carrier, a kickstand, and front and rear lights powered by a little dynamo as you cycle. This travel bike offers 28" or 29" tires, and you can even put on bike tires up to 2.15" wide for really tough terrain.
CUBE Travel bikes are reputed for being endurance bikes, meaning they fare well over long mileage and in adverse conditions. This is not to say you can't use them for short, relaxing weekend trips. The Travel bikes are built for comfort, practicality, and safety, not at the expense of looks.
- Comes standard with extras, e.g., lights, integrated carrier, and mudguards
- Smooth drivetrain
- Electric versions are also available
- Comfortable and efficient
- Great balance
- Quite pricey
Best Folding Bike: Brompton A Line Folding Bike
The Brompton A Line is one of the lightest and most competitively priced folding bikes on the market. Plus, Brompton is considered to be one of the best manufacturers of folding bikes. Their bikes are hand-made in London and can be bought through their US site, us.brompton.com. The A Line was previously called the B75 model.
But why choose a folding bike? Some reasons to choose a folding bike is that these bikes can fold up to a quarter of their size, meaning they take up less storage space at work, in a trunk, on the subway, or in a small apartment. Because the Bromptons fold up so well and are so light, it won't be as cumbersome to pick them up or carry them around.
The folded-up size of the Brompton A Line measures 25.3'' x 23'' x 10.6'' and weighs only 23.1 lbs, despite having a steel frame. It is easy to fold and unfold, meaning you do not have to break a sweat trying to wrestle the parts into or out of their places, plus it comes with a carry handle. People who have reviewed this bike generally only sing its praises.
As far as looks, performance and comfort go, the A Line comes in a gloss "icy" white but offers a 3-speed drivetrain tuned for city riding, front and rear reflectors, and 16" puncture-resistant tires. The hub gears allow you to shift between gears even when stationary and the weight limit for this bike, including luggage, is 242 lbs.
- Competitively priced
- Lightweight compared to other folding bikes
- Easy to mount and dismount with a low stepover
- The adjustable seat can accommodate short to tall ladies
- Excellent quality from a trusted brand
- You need a screwdriver to attach the bell.
- Foldable pedals must be bought separately but are not necessary.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson