Best Road Bikes for Women: Reviews & Comparisons

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?

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


Effective top tube length = the level distance from the seat to the stem. 

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.

Chainstay Length


Chainstay length = the level distance from the bottom bracket to the rear wheel. 

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.

Wheelbase


Wheelbase length = the level distance from the front to rear wheels.

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.

Weight


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

Stack (561mm)
Reach (369mm)
Price

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.

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

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.

Pros

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    Raleigh Revere 2 offers a good entry-level road bike option for low budgets. 
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    Shimano Sora may be one of Shimano’s entry-level groupsets, but it holds up well to normal wear and tear.
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    The comfortable geometry of this bike makes it a good choice for endurance riders.

Cons

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    The wheelset of the Raleigh Revere 2 may need an update for frequent cyclists.
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    This bike is the heaviest out of those in our roundup, which puts it at a disadvantage for climbing hills.

Expert Opinions

“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

Stack (570mm)
Reach (378mm)
Price

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. 

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

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.

Pros

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    SAVE PLUS technology in the Cannondale Synapse Carbon frame absorbs shock and reduces rider fatigue.
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    This bike is a good value for the money, considering its performance components and frame design.
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    Mavic Yksion WTS tires and Aksium hubs and rims perform with speed and control, which can help professional racers stay nimble on the bike.

Cons

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    The Cannondale might not be as aerodynamic as others due to your more upright riding position.
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    The Cannondale might not be as aerodynamic as others due to your more upright riding position.

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

Stack (589mm)
Reach (371mm)
Price

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. 

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

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. 

Pros

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    The carbon monocoque frame can reduce fatigue and absorb impacts from small to large bumps in the road.
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    The carbon monocoque frame can reduce fatigue and absorb impacts from small to large bumps in the road.
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    A compact geometry lends to this bike’s comfortable positioning and ease of speed and climbing transitions.

Cons

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    The wheelset is okay for more casual riders, but may warrant an upgrade for racers.
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    The bike is somewhat heavy, mostly because of the monocoque frame and HED Flanders C2+ rims.

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.

Expert Opinions

“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

Stack (561mm)
Reach (378mm)
Price

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.

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

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.

Pros

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    The LIV Envie is one of the lightest bikes in this group, thanks to its lightweight parts and frame, which can make it highly responsive.
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    LIV designed this bike for agility, and its geometry helps position the rider properly to improve overall aerodynamics.
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    Giant SpeedControl brakes are a worthy addition to this bike, increasing its reliability in various weather conditions.

Cons

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    The LIV uses a compact Shimano Ultegra crankset, which may not be enough gears for very strong riders who want a challenge.
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    The bent-over positioning the bike places the rider in might be uncomfortable for some.

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.

Expert Opinions

“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

Stack (548mm)
Reach (378mm)
Price

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. 

  • Frame
  • Groupset
  • Wheelset

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.

Pros

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    The Amira Comp’s wheelset is perfect for racers, offering even weight distribution and allowing top speeds on the road.
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    This bike is the lightest of the bunch, which can make for an easier uphill climb than on other bikes.
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    You’ll sit more upright on this bike, which might provide a more comfortable riding experience.

Cons

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    The compact crankset doesn’t give as many gear options as a standard Ultegra. 
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    The compact crankset doesn’t give as many gear options as a standard Ultegra. 

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.

Expert Opinions

“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

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