Want the best women’s road bike on the block? We’re introducing five of the top choices for women’s road bikes that have speed, comfort, and performance in mind. The LIV Envie advanced and Specialized Amira Comp are two of the bikes we’ll discuss that can provide reliability and maneuverability to road cyclists on hills and around turns, regardless of speed.
Our Picks for the 5 Best Road Bikes for Women
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What makes a good road bike for women?
What Makes a Good Road Bike for Women?
Our choices for the top road bike for women are ones we pulled from various price points, since there’s no clear-cut mold for the best road bike. This way, you can find an excellent bike regardless of your budget.
Most road bikes are lighter than other bikes so that they can climb uphill easily. They’re generally made with carbon frames that are lighter weight than steel or aluminum, but very stiff to lend to the responsiveness of the bike around sharp turns.
If you look at road bikes built for men and women, you likely won’t notice too much of a difference in their geometries. You may see slight variations in the stack, reach, and effective top tube length, which all relate to the way the bike positions the rider.
The average woman tends to be shorter than the average man, so shorter measurements might bring some comfort to women riders. Of course, there are different sizes of most bikes to match various heights, making it a non-issue most of the time.
Other slight differences you might see include the shape of the seat, which is usually a bit wider on women’s bikes. The handlebar length may also be a bit shorter on women’s road bikes to accommodate narrower shoulders.
Whether you need a women’s bike mostly boils down to comfort. If you feel more comfortable with the way the bike positions you on a women’s bike, you’ll be likelier to want to use it.
The Top 5 Road Bikes for Women Compared
Our reviews of the top five road bikes for women compare the 54cm sizes of each bike, except for the LIV Envie advanced, for which we used the Medium (M) size. Doing so allows us to more accurately compare each bike’s geometry and features to give you a precise picture of their differences and of what each bike is capable.
Stack / Reach
One of the most significant differences between these five bikes is the stack measurement. The stack is the vertical distance between the head tube and bottom bracket, and a higher measurement creates a more bent-over position.
The Diamondback Airen 5 Carbon has the highest stack and the Specialized Amira Comp has the shortest. While you may sit more upright in the Specialized bike, your positioning on the Diamondback might give you better aerodynamics.
The Raleigh Revere 2 and Diamondback have the shortest reach, or the horizontal distance between the head tube and center of the bottom bracket, of the group, making them the best at slow speed maneuverability.
Effective Top Tube Length
Most of these bikes have a similar effective top tube length around 540mm, except for the LIV Envie advanced, which comes in at 550mm. The longer top tube results in a more bent-over position for the you, which could influence your comfort level on the bike.
Road bikes are for both agility and climbing, and the chainstay length can influence that. The LIV Envie advanced and Specialized Amira Comp both have lengths of 405mm, which may give them better control around corners. The Diamondback Airen 5 Carbon has the longest measurement, which can help the bike climb uphill easier than those with a shorter length.
The length of the wheelbase on a road bike also affects its agility, and the measurements of these bikes vary greatly. With the shortest measurement, the LIV Envie advanced, again, comes out on top for agility with a nimbler approach to corners. The Diamondback has the longest wheelbase measurement, giving it a more relaxed and comfortable ride.
Light weights are especially important for road bikes if you’re going to be riding in areas with a lot of hills. The Specialized Amira Comp is, by far, the lightest bike of the group, which can give it an easier uphill climb.
The Raleigh Revere 2 is over eight pounds heavier than the Specialized bike, which will make you use more effort to climb uphill. But, you’ll likely have a steadier ride downhill with this bike.
Review of 2016 Raleigh Revere 2
The Raleigh Revere 2 is a lower-budget road bike for women that incorporates traditional road bike geometry for comfort and performance. Raleigh made this bike more for comfort than for racing performance, though, which is evident in its heavy weight and short stack and reach.
This bike has entry-level components, like the Shimano Sora groupset and an aluminum alloy frame, which lead to a lower price point. Still, it can offer long-lasting comfort for beginners to endurance cycling at around an $800 price point.
The Raleigh Revere 2 uses a Double Butted Alloy Disc Frame with Thru-Axles.
An aluminum frame tends to bring the price down on road bikes and is most often used on entry-level, rather than professional, bikes. Aluminum alloy provides less stiffness than other materials, like carbon, which means that this bike may give a rougher, less responsive ride than the bikes in this guide that use carbon fiber frames.
The Revere 2 uses the Shimano Sora crankset, shifters, and cassette. It also uses Tetro Cable Mechanical Disc brakes and Shimano Sora brake levers.
The Shimano Sora groupset is one of Shimano’s entry-level sets, made for those who want reliable components for less money. The set offers a broad range of gears within its 9-speed cassette. Shimano Sora may not stand up to as much wear and tear as Shimano’s high-end groupsets, like the Ultegra, but can still give the Raleigh Revere 2 reliable shifting and braking for a lower price point.
This bike uses the Formula Alloy Disc and Weinmann XC180 Double Wall 23mm Rims wheelset.
The Formula Alloy Disc hubs are fairly basic, used mostly on entry-level bikes that won’t meet a broad range of terrains. Weinmann XC180 rims are ones you may want to consider replacing if you plan to use your bike frequently, especially for endurance cycling. The rims may not hold up to rough road riding with bumps and frequent turns.
The Raleigh Revere 2 may not be the best option for professional riders. Its low price point does come with some sacrifice in performance, handling, and lower-end components.
“Braking for the Revere 2 is handled by mechanical discs, making them low-maintenance, easy to use, and will inspire confident braking under any weather condition or any terrain condition.” – Spindatt
Review of 2017 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Women's Bike
The Cannondale Synapse Carbon Women’s Bike will set you back around $1600, which is an excellent value for the performance-level components you’ll get with it. Cannondale kept comfort in mind with this bike to reduce fatigue and boost endurance with its geometry that keeps you more upright as you ride.
The Cannondale is one of the heavier bikes in our roundup, which is mostly from the high-tech carbon frame. This isn’t necessarily a negative, though, as Cannondale designed the bike’s frame to provide ultimate durability, stiffness, and responsiveness with SAVE PLUS technology.
The Cannondale Synapse Carbon Women's Bike uses a BallisTec Carbon, SAVE PLUS frame.
BallisTec Carbon is a material specific to Cannondale that uses a special blend of carbon fiber with a precise construction that keeps it strong and stiff. This material is more expensive than aluminum, which leads to its higher price point than the Raleigh. The SAVE PLUS geometry helps make riding on the bike more comfortable by absorbing shock from road bumps.
This bike uses Shimano 105 shifters, brakes, and cassette, and a Cannondale Si crankset.
Shimano 105 is one of the company’s higher-end groupsets that offers various gears on an 11-speed cassette. It sits at the lowest price point of Shimano’s performance-level sets, but provides extreme reliability and durability.
The Cannondale uses its Si crankset, which is lightweight, yet boosts the bike’s overall stiffness and responsiveness.
This bike uses the Mavic Aksium hubs and rims with Mavic Yksion WTS tires.
Mavic Aksium is a good choice for cyclists who will ride their bikes frequently, as the hubs and rims can stand up to wear and tear from every day use. This set is an entry-level wheelset from Mavic, though, and may not provide the best braking ability. Mavic Aksium hubs and rims are also a bit heavier than higher-end racing sets, which contribute to the bike’s overall weight.
The Mavic Yksion WTS tires are perfect for gripping smooth and rough road surfaces, putting them in line with this bike’s other performance-level features and components. These tires can also avoid punctures and tears well.
The Cannondale Synapse Carbon Women’s Bike can be an excellent option for cyclists who want reliability and performance at a good value. This bike’s components work to reduce fatigue for endurance rides, while also handling responsively and comfortably.
Review of Diamondback Airen 5 Carbon
The Diamondback Airen 5 Carbon is about $1000 more than the Cannondale, at about $2800. But, you’ll get quite a bit of bang for your buck with this women’s road bike, which has a high-tech carbon frame that can help reduce fatigue and boost comfort.
With its use of a mid-range Shimano crankset and high-end Shimano shifters and brakes, you’ll find that this bike shifts between gears beautifully to match your needs on the road. The Diamondback has beneficial geometry, too, for ultimate comfort through positioning, climbing, and turning.
The Diamondback Airen 5 Carbon uses a Carbon Monocoque Endurance Road Frame.
A carbon frame is what you’ll see most frequently on performance road bikes like the Diamondback Airen 5 Carbon. Carbon monocoque refers to the way in which the carbon comes together to make the frame.
A carbon monocoque frame is one with a continuous carbon shell that wraps around the inner layers of carbon to create an ultra-stiff frame that absorbs shock and stress throughout the bike. This design does tack on some extra money, but it also can help endurance riders avoid riding fatigue.
This bike uses HED Flanders C2+ Disc rims and Continental Grand Sport Race tires.
The alloy Flanders C2+ disc rims from HED are an entry-level option for road bikes with thicker rim walls that make them a bit on the heavy side. The overall weight of this bike is right in the middle of the pack at just over 19 pounds, which could take more effort to maneuver up hills.
The Continental Grand Sport Race tires pick up some of the slack, though. These tires have excellent grip on a variety of road surfaces. The mid-range tires offer value, but they may not stand up to long-term wear and tear.
This bike uses a Vittoria Randonneur Trail 700 x 38 mm wheelset.
This wheelset is one of the strongest features of the Cinelli, and it’s the defining trait of the bike. You’ll be able to keep on touring for decades using the same wheelset, provided that you don’t abuse them too much.
This is a relatively uncommon wheelset to encounter on bikes in the US, so you may have trouble finding exact replacements at arbitrary bike shops.
The major downside to this bike is in its wheelset. But, with an upgrade of a set that’s better matched to professional riders, the Diamondback Airen 5 Carbon is a contender with some professional bikes at much higher price points.
“The frame features endurance geometry called EPG. It puts you in a more upright position to reduce fatigue without compromising performance for an all-day ride.” – Newark Bike Shop
Review of LIV Envie Advanced
The LIV Envie is a true speed and performance bike made to be incredibly agile and high-performing to help you ride. The bike’s geometry lend to its aerodynamics, with a longer effective top tube and a shorter chainstay than some of the other bikes, making it move with you easily wherever you go.
The Liv Envie will set you back about $3150, making it the most expensive bike is our roundup. But, its stiff, advanced-grade composite carbon frame and high-end Shimano and Giant components might make its price tag worth the boosts in performance for serious riders.
The LIV Envie advanced uses an Advanced-grade composite carbon frame.
Advanced-grade composite carbon is a high-end version of a carbon bike frame. Its construction makes the LIV Envie stiffer and lighter than similar bikes. Carbon is an ideal choice of frame material for road bikes, lending to the bike’s overall weight and strength and also boosting power-transfer ability. The bike’s advanced-grade composite carbon, though, boosts its price tag over regular carbon frames.
This bike uses the Shimano Ultegra shifters, cassette, and crankset. It also uses Giant SpeedControl brakes.
The LIV Envie has mostly Shimano Ultegra components within its groupset. The 11-speed Ultegra cassette provides a broad range of gears for various types of road riding and hill climbs. Shimano Ultegra is one step down from the professional DURA-ACE groupset, giving the LIV high-performance power and speeds at a slightly lower price point.
Since LIV is Giant’s female-specific brand, the bike uses Giant SpeedControl brakes. This braking system is one you’ll find on Giant’s top performance bikes, like the Propel Advanced SL 2.
This bike uses the Giant SLR 1 Aero DBL WheelSystem with Giant Gavia SLR Tubeless tires.
The LIV takes advantage of the Giant SLR 1 Aero DBL WheelSystem. Special technology and design help distribute weight evenly on the spokes of the rims, improving durability and helping you accelerate. The rims also have special anchor points to increase stiffness, which allows for tight cornering.
Giant designed its Gavia SLR tires for serious road riding, offering a lightweight tire with remarkably gripping treads.
The LIV’s components target serious riders who want to race on the road. With reliable Shimano and Giant components and a frame that’s built for power and movement, the LIV Envie advanced is a bike that professionals or those in training might benefit from using.
“A bike, for me, has to be an extension of the body. The perfect bike for me is agile and light. It makes it stiff and most efficient. I want a bike that gives me an advantage, that allows me to break away and sprint. The Envie advanced is exactly the bike I’m looking for.” – Marianna Vos, Olympic Athlete and World Champion
Review of Specialized Amira Comp
The lightweight Specialized Amira Comp sits at a similar price point to the Diamondback Airen 5 Carbon, at around $2800, making it the second most expensive road bike in our roundup. But, this bike is meant for racing, endurance, and performance, and its geometry and components match that purpose.
The Amira Comp has a slightly more compact geometry than some of the other bikes, which gives you a more upright position and may also improve handling at top speeds. Its super lightweight frame also makes it a top option for hill climbs.
The Specialized Amira Comp uses a FACT 9r carbon frame.
Functional Advanced Composite Technology (FACT) is Specialized’s unique approach to frame design and construction. This technology is the company’s step toward creating the most functional bike possible using high-modulus carbon for extra stiffness and responsiveness.
The Amira Comp’s FACT 9r frame is one of Specialized’s mid-range FACT frames, resulting in more carbon fiber and less separate pieces than lower-end frames.
This bike uses Shimano Ultegra brakes, shifters, and cassette. The bike also uses a Shimano Ultegra compact crankset.
The compact Shimano Ultegra 50/34t crankset may be one of the few negatives to this bike. Although Shimano Ultegra is a reliable and high-end brand, some racers may find that the compact crankset doesn’t give enough gears for a personalized riding experience. However, it does help with the bike’s overall compact geometry and lighter weight than other bikes.
This bike uses the DT Swiss R460 wheelset with Turbo Pro tires.
The lightweight DT Swiss R460 rims keep road racing at the forefront, offering a wide rim size that helps tires grip, distribute weight, and perform. The rims also have a brake wear indicator that points out when you might need a replacement for safety and reliability.
Turbo Pro is Specialized’s own brand of tire. These tires are light and offer puncture protection and excellent cornering ability in various weather conditions.
The Specialized Amira Comp is a bike with serious cyclists as its focus. Its compact design makes the bike as nimble as possible, without sacrificing power and speed. With Shimano Ultegra components, the bike is worth its price tag, although the compact crankset could warrant a future upgrade. With its lightweight, yet strong and reliable, parts, the Amira Comp could be a contender for road cycling enthusiasts.
“Amira is the perfect bike for a more performance-minded female rider, whether you want to line up for your local quick series, or you want to mix it up on a shop ride, or you just want to go out and ride 20 miles. If that’s your workout, Amira is the perfect bike for you.” – Olivia Bleitz, JE James Cycles