Best women’s road bikes for 2018: 9 of the best

Tried and tested bikes for racing, sportives, gran fondos, commuting and more from £999 / $1,500 / AU$1,999

If you’re after a new women’s road bike, we’ve picked the cream of the crop to help you choose. Each of these bikes has been extensively ridden and tested by our team of expert reviewers.

Whether you’re after a bike for commuting, for racing or for enjoying long rides, we’ve got some great recommendations.

If you're not sure what to expect for your money or what type of road bike to go for, our women’s road bike buyer’s guide has all the info you need to make the right decision based on your needs and budget.

Women’s road bike of the year — Trek Domane SL 6 Disc Women's

BikeRadar score5/5

The Trek Domane SL 6 Disc Women's is BikeRadar's pick for Women's Road Bike of the Year 2018
The Trek Domane SL 6 Disc Women's is BikeRadar's pick for Women's Road Bike of the Year 2018

  • £3,000 / $3,499 / AU$4,499
  • IsoSpeed and big 32mm tyres really smooth-out the road
  • Carbon frame and forks
  • Full Shimano Ultegra groupset, including hydraulic disc brakes

The exceptional Trek Domane SL 6 Disc Women’s took the title of Women’s Road Bike of the Year 2018.

It combines a supremely smooth and efficient ride that’s comfortable mile after mile with a turn of speed that reveals its racing DNA.

The carbon frame features Trek’s proprietary IsoSpeed decouplers, which isolate the rider from fatiguing road chatter, while the SL 6 Disc build has a full Ultegra groupset that includes powerful and efficient hydraulic disc brakes.

It’s not just a great endurance bike, or women’s bike for that matter, it’s just a great bike, full stop.

The Trek Domane SL 6 Disc Women's wins women's Road Bike of the Year 2018

Best women’s road bike on a budget

On a tight budget? You can still get a good quality road bike without spending a huge amount of money.

Liv Avail SL 1

BikeRadar score4/5

A good all-rounder for a good price
A good all-rounder for a good price

  • £999. Only the Avail SL Disc models are available in the US and Australia — so, consider the Avail SL 1 Disc priced at $1,430 / AU$1,999
  • Comfortable aluminium-framed bike with carbon fork
  • Women's specific frame design
  • Shimano 105 groupset

The Avail SL 1 is a comfortable, good quality all-rounder that's forgiving and versatile, and one that hides a turn of speed when you need it.

Best women’s race bikes

Speed, agile handling, lightweight. These are some of the key ingredients of a great race bike and below are the best of the best of the race-focussed bikes we’ve tried and tested.

Specialized Women’s Tarmac S-Works SL6

BikeRadar score5/5

Women's S-Works Tarmac
Women's S-Works Tarmac

  • £8,500 / $9,500 / AU$13,000
  • Top of the range carbon frame and fork with aerodynamic profiling
  • Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset
  • Carbon finishing kit

The pinnacle of racing perfection, it has incredible acceleration, agile handling without twitchiness, superb confidence on corners, aero features, efficient power transfer — the works.

By its very nature, this is a bike that anyone riding it with a serious desire for speed, control and performance will go for.

Liv Langma Advanced SL 0

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Built for racing, tested by the pros
Built for racing, tested by the pros

  • £7,749 / $10,000 / AU$10,999
  • Top-of-the-range carbon road bike designed for pro-level racing
  • Women's specific frame design
  • SRAM RED eTap groupset

This premium, range-topping bike from Liv Cycling was designed to fulfil the needs of its pro-riders, including Team Sunweb. Designed from the ground up for female riders, it boasts aerodynamic features and an incredibly light weight for the size.

Trek Emonda SL 5 Women’s

BikeRadar score4/5

Trek Emonda SL 5 Women’s
Trek Emonda SL 5 Women’s

  • £1,800 / $2,000 / AU$2,499
  • Quality carbon frame and forks
  • Shimano 105 groupset
  • Bontrager tubeless-ready alloy wheels

If you’re into fast-paced riding or racing and are looking to make your first carbon road bike purchase, or want a quality frame that’s perfectly placed for future upgrades, then the SL 5 is a good choice.

Canyon Ultimate WMN CF SLX Disc 8.0 Team CSR

BikeRadar score4/5

Canyon Ultimate WMN
Canyon Ultimate WMN

  • £2,699 / $2,999 / AU$4,299
  • Women's specific carbon frame designed for the Canyon//SRAM pro team
  • Frame sizes down to 2XS
  • SRAM Force groupset including hydraulic disc brakes

This version of the Canyon Ultimate is ideal if you want a race bike that's built around the same high-quality carbon frame as ridden by the Canyon//SRAM pro team (and features the team colours), and/or are looking for a race-ready bike for smaller riders.

Sizing goes from M to 2XS, with smaller 650b wheels and spec to maintain a similar ride feel and performance across all sizes.

Best women’s sportive / gran fondo bike

Looking for something more comfortable yet still efficient on long rides, sportives and gran fondos? Want something to tackle the Ride London 100 or similar? Or looking for something for general, enjoyable riding? This selection will see you right.

While the Trek Domane SL 6 Disc Women’s bike (above) is an excellent choice, we’ve also got some other top-rated options we’ve put to the test.

Canyon Endurace WMN CF SL Disc 8.0

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Canyon Endurace WMN
Canyon Endurace WMN

  • £2,699 / $2,699 / AU$4,299
  • Carbon frame and forks
  • Women's specific frame design with endurance geometry
  • Shimano Ultegra groupset including hydraulic disc brakes

If you’re looking for a do-it-all bike that errs more towards comfort and versatility than all-out speed, but is quite capable of going hard when you need it to, the new Endurace WMN is a bike to consider.

It features a carbon frame and full Shimano Ultegra groupset including hydraulic disc brakes.

The Endurace WMN also wins points for its range of sizes — it’s great to see a brand such as Canyon cater to smaller riders, going down to a 3XS size, with smaller wheels to ensure consistent handling and no toe overlap.

Also consider…

Best women’s hybrid / city bike

Hybrid or city bikes are versatile machines, able to handle a range of conditions and put the rider in a comfortable, upright position. You’re usually able to bolt on a pannier rack and mudguards too, so they’re perfect for everything from popping to the shops or a social ride to efficiently taking you from home to work and back.

While most have flat handlebars and aren't typically defined as road bikes, there are plenty of drop handlebar bikes that make great city bikes, allowing you to add a pannier rack for your luggage.

Strap on your pannier rack and zip through the lane-ways and streets, dodging traffic as you go… or head out for a countryside cruise.

Best women's adventure bike

Genesis Datum 20 W

The Genesis Datum 20 W is built for adventure
The Genesis Datum 20 W is built for adventure

  • RRP from £2,399 for the current model
  • Women's specific finishing kit including narrower bars
  • Comfortable, confident and wide 32mm Clement Strada tyres
  • Shimano Tiagra gearing

The Datum from UK brand Genesis is designed for comfort, long distances and those who like to venture away from tarmac.

Best if… you’re after a cheap cargo bike

Elephant bike

The ex-Royal Mail bike is sturdy and reliable
The ex-Royal Mail bike is sturdy and reliable

  • £250

The name might not sound promising, but this is a brilliant, cheap, practical and robust bike for anyone who’s looking to cart stuff around town.

It is, in fact, based on the old Royal Mail post bike, and as well as being perfect for weighing down with bags and boxes, the company behind Elephant Bikes will ship one over to the people of Malawi, Africa for every bike sold in the UK.

The bikes are tough and require minimal maintenance, with Sturmey Archer 3-speed transmission and drum brakes, a step-through frame and mudguards and fitted cargo racks.

Aoife Glass

Women's Cycling Editor
A mountain biker at heart, also drawn to the open road. Likes big long adventures in the mountains. Usually to be found in the Mendip Hills or the Somerset Levels in the UK. Passionate about women's cycling at all levels.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Rocky, rough and a long way from anywhere.
  • Current Bikes: Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2015, Juliana Furtado 2013, Canyon Roadlite AL
  • Dream Bike: Juliana Roubion, Liv Avail Advanced SL
  • Beer of Choice: Red wine for the win!
  • Location: Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK

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