Spend around a thousand pounds on a women's road bike and you can expect a fast and nimble charge that not only looks the part, but rides like it too. What else should you expect for your money?
Generally speaking you’ll be getting relaxed handling, suitable for all round road riding, from long commutes, weekend training and even the odd foray into racing.
Most 2013 bikes at this price have aluminium frames; not featherweight like the carbon fibre frames you find if you spend more, but still light for easier acceleration and climbing. You do usually get some carbon fibre in the front fork though, which saves weight and absorbs the sting of uneven roads. The components will usually be from Japanese manufacturer Shimano's Tiagra range, which is reliable and provides good quality gear changes and braking.
The half-dozen best bikes we’ve chosen here represent what you should expect for around a thousand pounds. There are many more out there, from very large manufacturers like Trek and Giant and from smaller brands such as Corratec and Focus all for a great value.
Women's Road Bikes: Scott Contessa Speedster 15
Scott’s £999 Contessa Speedster 15 has one of the best specifications for the price, coming at a great value for your money, including a comprehensive selection of Shimano 105 components. This is the next range up from Tiagra, gear changes tend to be more precise and smooth and the parts weigh less too, which means a lighter load for you!
Look out for the internal cable routing, where the brake and gear cables run inside the frame ensuring a sleek finish to the frame. You’d have to look twice to check it’s a specific women's road bike; of course there’s women specific geometry, female specific bars, saddle and stem but there are no patronising pinks or girly swirls here. It’s cool black all the way with the Contessa Speedster.
Women's Road Bikes: Specialized Dolce Elite Equipped
The Specialized Dolce Elite Equipped costs £1050, and is available in five frame sizes including a nifty 44cm for those petitie riders under 5ft, whilst taller riders are also catered for with the 57cm frame size.
The frame geometry is ‘women’s endurance’ which is shorthand for a comfortable and relaxed ride without feeling sluggish. You’re looking at a comprehensive Shimano Tiagra range of components, including a triple chainset that allows easier gearing for steep hills.
Women's Road Bikes: Bianchi VIA Nirone 7 Dama
Bianchi’s VIA Nirone 7 Dama Tiagra 2013 women's road bike is bang on the money at £1000, the lovely classic peppermint colour matches the sporty frame design and would look right at home on the start line of a race.
The components include a mix of Shimano Tiagra and the reputable FSA parts topped off with the slender and sporty San Marco SPID Glamour saddle.
Women's Road Bikes: Forme Longcliffe 1 FE
The £1099 Longcliffe 1 FE, from recently hatched British brand Forme, is designed with endurance riding and long distances in mind, and comes ready to fit proper mudguards for year round riding comfort.
Bucking the trend for Shimano components, the Longcliffe 1 FE instead comes fitted with Italian manufacturer Campagnolo’s Veloce gears and brake levers. The Veloce range sits neatly between Shimano’s Tiagra and 105 ranges. It provides reliable shifting and slightly smaller brake levers that better fit some women’s hands.
Women's Road Bikes: Eddy Merckx AFX-1
Smalle riders will be pleased to hear their choices just got larger as the £999 Eddy Merckx AFX-1 2013 Women's Road comes in a 40cm frame, and provides plenty of stand-over room at the top tube, perfect for a sub-five ft rider.
It’s a stunning all white number with Shimano Tiagra components plus solid and reliable Shimano R501 wheels, and of course bears the name and reputation of the greatest male rider of all time.
Women's Road Bikes: Jamis Ventura Race Femme
If you fancy a bit of carbon glamour to spice up your ride then check out the Jamis Ventura Race Femme women's road bike, the cheapest women's road bike on this list, coming in at £960. The carbon fibre tubing at the rear end reduces road shock and vibration on longer rides and helps to lighten the frame weight too.
The full carbon composite straight bladed fork and tapered headtube are usually featured on higher end race bikes and rarely seen in this price bracket.
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