Specialized Myka HT Expert £830

Womens specific trail ride

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

The Myka isn’t as well equipped as some of its price rivals, but there’s nothing that lets it down on the trail, and we’re happy to find a bike being marketed to women that presents itself without the almost obligatory hints of pink, pastels or flowers. The best women’s bikes, and this is one of them, shouldn’t need to look stereotypically feminine enough to deter men.

While the relatively high price of the Myka Expert compared to other similarly specced bikes will put off some riders, its lightweight frame and great trail feel combine to make it thoroughly worthy of consideration regardless of whether you’re in its target female market or not.

Ride & handling: Built in comfort

It’s hard to tell to what extent the comfy ride is down to the swoopy lightweight frame construction and how much it’s due to the componentry. Either way, the Myka combines a confident, lively and forgiving ride feel on all types of terrain with the sort of acceleration and climbing prowess that makes it a great choice for those planning to take part in the occasional competitive outing.

The soft-sprung fork, skinny handlebar grips and Riva saddle were welcomed by male and female testers alike, apart from one 90kg guy who found the fork spring too soft. The reasonable weight and overall ride personality of the bike did a lot to make up for the fact that it’s not as well specced as a couple of other options at this price.

Frame: Quality frame

The looks, the geometry configuration and the extra comfort touches of the Myka Expert deserve to be considered alongside any men's bikes, just as well designed men’s bikes should be considered by women. Frame geometry and sizing will often be different on bikes aimed at women. The reach from the saddle to the bars is often shorter for each given frame size. This will suit many men too.

Getting a right size bike is more crucial than getting a right gender bike: horizontal top tube length, to get the right stretch from seat to bars, is more crucial than seat tube length, and the 23.5in top tube reach of the 19.5in Myka was perfect for all of our testers. We didn’t tell them it was a ‘women’s model’ and only two of them noticed. Just as many women buy men’s bike models, don’t ignore a bike just because it’s a women’s model.

Equipment: Good quality finishing kit, low spec drivetrain

At 27.8lb it’s a reasonably lightweight bike, mainly because of a light frame and light wheel/tyre set. The fork has a softer spring than you’ll normally find on a RockShox Tora SL on a 19in bike, but this combines well with the high profile tyres and well-upholstered saddle to create a comfy ride on rough terrain. The Tora lockout is welcome for road use. 

A lot of male riders like women’s saddles. Every tester thought the Specialized Riva was one of the most comfortable and supportive saddles they'd ridden on bikes of this ilk, and that makes a big difference on rough terrain. A comfy saddle can help you stay seated and keep the power on.

‘The Captain’ tyres roll faster on hard ground than most but still grip well when the going is soft or wet. The 27-speed drivetrain twins a Deore rear gear and shifters with basic Shimano steel ringed Octalink cranks and Alivio front mech. Brakes are Shimano too, while the finishing kit is good quality Specialized branded stuff.

Some riders like fat handlebar grips but the majority prefer skinny grips of the sort fitted to the Myka (because it’s a women’s bike). Obviously a preference can be catered for by swaps when you order a bike, but try both before you buy.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

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