Best Women's Road Bikes for 2018
March 7th, 2018
March 7th, 2018
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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While no company truly agrees on what a "woman's bike" should look and ride like, what they all agree on is that size matters - no really! With the average height of women being more like an Extra-Small than a Medium, most women's bikes will be available in sizes below 50cm. Components also seem important, with every brand agreeing on the addition of a women's-specific saddle, and some even shortening crank length and handlebar widths. Whatever your reasons for choosing a ladies’ bike, here's the lowdown:
Canyon Ultimate WMNs Though Canyon have been offering women's-specific bikes for a couple of years now, they have largely been the same frames as the men's, but in different colours. This year the women's bikes have been completely redesigned, with the most notable change being they’re 2cm shorter. This is as a result of research from Canyon that found that women tend to have a shorter reach for their height in comparison to men. All three models (the Aeroad, the Ultimate (pictured) and the Endurace) now come in women’s-specific versions, and the majority come with disc brakes. Carbon models start from £1,349 and aluminium models start from £799.
Trek Domane Women's While Trek have offered women's-specific bikes in the past, with road bikes like the carbon Silque and aluminium Lexa, Trek are now favouring a slimmed down range and insist that their years of bike fitting data has shown them that women want the same ride as men, so they are dropping their women’s-specific frames and geometry and simply adapting the existing unisex frames instead. The Women's aluminium rides start from £625 in a fetching pink and grey paint scheme, and their carbon fully built bikes start from £1,800 in stealth black, with the Domane Women’s model being their flagship carbon endurance bike that receives smaller components, a slightly different pant-job and a women’s specific saddle.
Liv Let's not forget Liv, the sister company to Giant Bicycles, completely dedicated to women's cycling. Every bike they have is a "woman's specific" bike, and is often slightly different to their Giant counterparts. With everything from sport to road race, from endurance to aero, you'll find something to match your needs in a huge range of options. Not forgetting one of the few (if not, the only) women’s-specific triathlon/time-trial bikes on the market, the Avow Advanced (pictured), which starts from an incredible £1,849 with Shimano 105/Ultegra.
Cube While Cube offer a number of road bikes, from fitness to road racing, they have chosen to focus their women’s-specific efforts on just the endurance road bike, meaning the Axial is their only women's specific road bike, however; it is available in six versions, from a rim-brake aluminium ride at £699, up to their "SL" lightweight and more aerodynamic carbon disc brake option at £1,869 with Shimano Ultegra. Though the women's rides do share similar geometry to the unisex endurance bike, the Agree, the Axial tends to be a few millimetres shorter with a women's saddle, and is also offered in size 47cm.
Specialized Ruby While Specialized still offer the Amira, a carbon road race bike with women's specific geometry from £2,500, they only offer it in lower end specs. If you have a bit more cash to play with, the new Women's Tarmac shares the exact same geometry as the standard unisex Tarmac, but with different decals and a woman's saddle from £3,500. In the middle of their range is the Ruby (pictured), which is the women's version of their popular endurance road bike, the Roubaix, both from £1,900. The Ruby has slightly different geometry to the Roubaix, though Specialized insist they didn't change it from the original design, but men buying the Roubaix wanted something racier. They also offer the Dolce, an affordable aluminium ride from £999.
Cannondale Their women’s range isn’t as extensive as their men’s/unisex range, but there is a women’s specific version for 10 of their most popular models, from the aluminium Synapse Disc at £850 with Shimano Sora, to their SuperSix Evo Disc race bike with Shimano Ultegra for £2,700. The women's frames are no different in sizes or geometry, they simply come with a women's-specific saddle and a different paint-job, but they are thankfully no different in price.
Bianchi Dama Although Bianchi are very good at offering small sizes that fit most women, and the majority of their bikes come in either black or signature “celeste” (a green/blue) as opposed to over-masculine colours, they do also have the Infinito CV Dama, which is the same frame as the popular Infinito CV carbon endurance road bike, but with a different paint-job and a women's-specific saddle. This model only comes with Shimano Ultegra at £3,500 and is the same price as the unisex model. For a more affordable ride, check out the three women’s specific Intenso and Via Nirone aluminium road bikes from £599.
Other women's specific road bikes are on offer, from high-end brands like Colnago, down to more affordable brands like Carrera, but we have chosen to give you the lowdown on the biggest brands as they tend to have bigger ranges with better choice of models and specs.