Q: I am wondering what would be a good entry level mountain bike for my wife?


Hey mtbchick!

i am wondering what would be a good entry level mountain bike for my wife? she has had a big box store roadmaster womens bike forever, and she is ready to move up to something that doesn’t weigh close to that of a Abrams tank.

i am a fan of trek bikes and was looking at the trek 820 WSD, but was wondering if there is something along the same lines we should check out? we originally had a budget of 200 but if i can get a new trek for 300ish we may go that route.

thoughts comments ideas?


Dear Gracious Husband,

It definitely sounds like your wife is ready for an upgrade! And something lighter than a tank, certainly!

The Trek 820 WSD (Women's Specific Design).

Before I can answer conclusively yes or no about the Trek 820 WSD , I’d have to know more about riding terrain, style and plans for the future. While the 820 is a great bike, it is not necessarily a mountain bike. The 820 can go on dirt roads fairly well, but when it comes to singletrack, the bike is too upright to descend safely. A bike that is upright will also give trouble climbing singletrack and steep grades– a rider simply can’t get into a strong position if the front end of the bike is too high. Since I do not know what your riding trails or options are, it is difficult for me to definitively answer yes or no.

The Trek 820.

If your wife plans to stick to dirt roads, pavement and an occasional flat trail, the 820 would be a great choice. If her desire is to venture into singletrack, I would suggest something a tad more bold in design. This may take you out of your price range, at least for a new bike. The men’s 820 may be a tad more aggressive, and more suitable due to having a more normal top tube than the seriously sloping top tube on the women’s bike.

For singletrack trail riding, I like the Specialized Myka, which prices around $450-$500 is a great entry level mountain bike which can handle singeltrack. Here is one for sale on eBay.

Which bike you purchase should also be dependent upon the bike shop with which you choose to do business. If you prefer your local Trek dealer, and your wife likes the shop, work with that shop to find the proper bike. They may also be able to help you find a closeout deal on a bike; do not be afraid to ask.

Here are the next steps:

1. Determine which style of bike your wife prefers: a mountain bike, or a versatile road/path/dirt bike. That will largely determine your choices.

2. Decide on the bike shop. Brand is personal preference, but your bike shop is your hub, your lifeline, so choose wisely!

3. Determine size and price. If your absolute top is $300, then go for the Trek 820 WSD, it is a great bike. Or find a used bike on eBay or Craigslist (you lose customer service in what you gain in savings).

Good luck, and hope to see you and your wife on the trails soon!


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