'New bike feeling' is probably the best feeling in the world. However, it's usually preceded by uncertainty, angst and indecision. Choosing your new bike can be tough - so we've pulled together our favourite 2017 women's road bikes between £1k and £2k to help you out.
Of course there are many exceptional bikes on the market - and we can't include every single one. But we can certainly pick out some of the best.
Fundamentals of choosing a new road bike
Before we look at specific bikes, it's important to know what you're looking for in your new bike. Your style of riding will effect the decisions you make. The key considerations should be...
The material your frame is made from can dramatically affect the ride quality, price, and longevity.
The most common choices in this price range are aluminum and carbon. Aluminum is resilient, and fairly light. Though frames will vary, the rider tends to feel more vibration from the road on an alloy frame. Carbon is generally lighter, and more comfortable - but more expensive and prone to cracking in an accident or crash. It's worth remembering that a light carbon frame with cheap components on might weigh more overall than an aluminum frame with expensive components. This said, you can always upgrade them.
Outside of the big two - other popular choices include titanium, which is light and very strong but usually expensive, and steel which is 'real' but usually quite heavy unless your budget is large.
We could write an essay here - but will try not to.
Geometry refers to the position that the bike will put you in. Most bikes can be adjusted to suit you, but the ideal situation is that you buy a bike that doesn't require huge changes to meet your needs.
Bikes with 'endurance geometry' will generally put the rider into a more upright position. This will be ideal for someone who is planning long, all day rides, or who wants the stability of a more 'heads up' position.
Bikes with 'racey geometry' will feel faster and be more aerodynamic. But to ride one and feel comfortable, you'll need a strong core and a good level of flexibility. Of course, there are many options in the middle.
Women's specific bikes are adapted to suit the needs that the respective brand feels women need. Generally, they have shorter top tubes to cater for shorter upper bodies. Opinions are quite divided here - but one thing we do know for sure is that narrower handlebars are more likely to suit most women, as will a female specific saddle, and all women's bikes have these fitted as standard.
When it comes to choosing the bike with the best geometry for you, start with a general idea where you sit along the aggressive race and endurance continuum, and then test ride until you find one you like!
The more you spend, the better the spec - groupset, wheels, tyres - will be. Therefore, the components you're getting will be similar within each price bracket.
Most bikes at this sort of price point will have fairly entry level wheels fitted as standard - the expectation is that riders will upgrade them as they progress. However, a few gems in the stable will come with nicer hoops.
It's worth being aware that if you go for a bike with Shimano or SRAM shifters, you'll be able to wind the shifters in if you've got smaller hands - not the case with Campagnolo.
Well - you're going to ride this bike every day, right?! You want to like the way it looks - there's nothing shallow about that.
Without further ado, here's a look at some of the best women's road bikes we've seen popping up for 2017...
Canyon Endurace AL 6.0 2017 Women's Road Bike - £999
We're staring UNDER budget?! Well - you do have to add packaging and shipping on top of that, so not really.
Canyon's direct sales method of delivery means they can offer some shockingly good deals - and that's what you get with this Canyon Endurace AL. For now, the frame is identical to the men's/unisex version, with just touch points altered and a shorter stem on most models - but Canyon do tell us they're developing something more well researched to be released in coming years.
As the name would suggest, this is an endurance bike designed for long rides. It's also got a full Shimano 105 groupset - including brake calipers (you don't always get that and the alternatives are usually cost cutting). The wheels are Mavic Aksium's with Continental Gran Prix 4000sII tyres - reliable first wheels that'll ride ok and last many miles. Canyon have specced a Selle Italia Lady Flow saddle and their own handlebars, seatpost and stem.
Genesis Zeal Women's 2017 Road Bike - £1399.99
This is the first year Genesis have offered 'women's specific' bikes. They've opted to keep their geometry identical to the unisex frames, on the understanding women will adjust the fit with comportmentry - but have supplied a shorter stem, narrower handlebars and women's saddle to help ensure the fit is closer to spot-on. Regardless if this is the 'right' or 'wrong' approach (it really depends on who you are), it's good to see them making this step - and it does mean that we can ride out the box without paying extra for new handlebars and the such when buying a unisex frame.
The Zeal itself is a sturdy looking carbon framed bike ideal for those after a comfortable, endurance focused ride. The groupset is Shimano Tiagra, with Alex AT470 wheels.
Genesis being a small, British based brand, you might notice the components used are lower end than could be found elsewhere for the price. This said, they design their own frames and their ride quality is renowned. The 2017 women's bikes have some stunningly detailed paint jobs, too - there are some more close-ups here.
Trek Silque S 4 Women's 2017 Road Bike - £1,400
The Trek Silque has been a favourite among female riders for years - and it's back by popular demand offering a silky smooth ride.
This is a racey, performance orientated ride - but Trek's legendary 'IsoSpeed Decoupler' allows the seat tube more movement, offering greater comfort and therefore making this an ideal bike for fast but long rides on questionable road surfaces.
Lightweight, OCLV carbon makes for easy climbing and at this price point you also get a compact chainset and 11-32 cassette which gives you lots of gears for the hills. The groupset is full Shimano Tiagra, with Bontrager wheels and tyres.
It's worth noting that the new Trek Silque SLR 7 features front and rear adjustable IsoSpeed decouplers - so you can fine tune the level of movement to your ride - but it's also £4,400. Still, we're sure we can expect to see that technology trickle down in coming years so it's always nice to know what's out there!
Cube Axial WLS GTC SL Disc 2017 Women's Road Bike - £1,699
Liv Envie Advanced 1 2017 Women's Road Bike- £1,749
The Liv Envie Advanced 1 is an aero road bike - it's designed to help you cheat the wind for your fastest results yet. The brakes are hidden from airflow, seatpost is sharply sliced and the rear wheel hides in a rounded seat tube - all to minimise drag.
As well as a full carbon frame, you get a Shimano Ultegra groupset, excluding the brakes which are Giant's own SpeedControl calipers. The Giant P-A2 wheels have a slightly deeper rim and low spoke count for extra aero advantage and the tyres are 23mm race rubber from Giant.
Cannondale Supersix Evo 2017 Carbon Women's Ultegra Road Bike -£1,899.99
This was the bike ridden by London's Sigma-Sport Women's Race Team over the 2016 season and we heard some really great feedback from the riders.
An all-round race bike, this is a machine for someone who wants to charge up the hills, but feel strong and powerful on flatter circuits. Cannondale use 'BallisTec' carbon which is said to be high strength, and very stiff whilst still being light weight.
At this price point, you get an Ultegra groupset, Mavic Aksium wheelset. New for 2017, the bike comes with caliper brakes but is disc brake ready, if you decide to make a switch to flat mount rotors. Some models are also available ready equipped with discs. If you want the same race driven frame for a little less, you can get it with a Shimano 105 groupset for £1699.99.
Specialized Ruby Elite - £1,900
Launched this year, the Specialized Ruby 2017 model offers something very different: it's got front end suspension. Specialized worked with McLaren Applied Technologies to develop their 20mm 'FutureShock' suspension fork - creating a super comfortable ride that they also claim is faster as rider and bike aren't slowed down by uneven roads.
More detail and full review: Specialized Rip up the Rule Book with Ruby Road Bike Suspension
The bike is available in an S-Works model, for £7,500 - but for those who don't want to spend quite that much you can get the same frame and technology for £1,900 in the Elite.
At this level you get a groupset that is largely Shimano 105, a Praxis crankset and Tektro mechanical discs. The wheels are Axis Elite Discs, with Specialized Turbo Pro tyres, the alloy hover bars and Lithia Expert Gel saddle.
Those are some of our favourites for 2017 - but of course there are plenty more out there! If you're struggling to decide - check out these posts for more pointers...
How To: Choose the Perfect Road Bike Gear Set Up For You (read this if the stuff about cassette sizes and compact chainsets didn't make sense!)