by Stuart Kernaghan
Trek Madone 9.5 Women’s – $10,500
The Madone 9.5 is a straight-up performance-oriented race bike. The frame makes use of Trek’s kVf (kammtail virtual foil) tube shape, while the fork has an integrated stem and brake mounts. Everything about this bike screams wind cheating. It also uses Trek’s own IsoSpeed decoupling system on the rear end to smooth out rough roads. As you’d expect with this price tag, the spec is top shelf: a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and Vision Metron 40 LtD wheels. The integrated bar and stem is by Trek and also sports a kVf profile. Bontrager’s Ajna Pro saddle (see also the saddles section of this guide for more information) sit atop the Madone micro-adjust carbon seatmast. The bike is available in 50 cm to 56 cm sizes.
Felt FR2W Disc – $6,999
The fr2w Disc is Felt’s take on the disc brake-equipped performance road bike for women. It uses the company’s Felt Fit geometry and sizing to create a gender-specific bike with very small sizes available: you can get the fr2w in 43 cm, 47 cm, 51 cm,
54 cm and 56 cm, which will be good news for riders shorter than 5’3″. That size range doesn’t mean any compromises in components, however. This model comes with a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic drivetrain with r785 shifters, a Rotor 3D30 crankset, 3t bar, stem and seatpost and a Prologo Nago Evo Pas saddle.
Scott Contessa Speedster 15 – $1,650
The Contessa Speedster 15 from Scott is proof that good road bikes don’t have to cost a fortune. This aluminum-frame entry-level machine comes with a full carbon fork, which will take some of the sting out of rougher roads. Components are largely Shimano 105, which provides excellent performance at a fraction of the price of higher-end parts. The 11–32 tooth cassette will make big hills a little more manageable. Handlebar, stem, seatpost and saddle are from the Syncros women’s line. The Contessa Speedster is available in sizes extra small to large, so it’s a good option for riders of all heights.
Liv Avail Advanced 1 – $2,699
Liv is the women’s-specific line of Giant Bicycles. Liv benefits from Giant’s long history with composites to deliver a full carbon bike at a price that rivals some companies’ aluminum offerings. The endurance-oriented Avail Advanced 1 comes with a Shimano Ultegra 11-speed mechanical drivetrain, rS505 hydraulic disc brakes and a mix of Giant components at all the contact points. The machine rolls on Giant P-R2 wheels and P-SL1 (25c) tires. Sizes run from extra, extra small (39.5 cm) to large (53.5 cm), which means that riders who are close to the 5’0″ mark should be able to fit on this bike.
Specialized Ruby Expert – $5,529
The Ruby Expert features Specialized’s women’s endurance geometry, as well as the adjustable Future Shock suspension system, which builds 20 mm of travel into the steering tube of the bike. The Expert features a full Shimano Ultegra 11-speed mechanical drivetrain, with RS685 hydraulic brake levers, Specialized bar, stem, seatpost and saddle, and DT Swiss r470 Disc Pro wheels. Like most women’s bikes, it comes spec’d with an 11–32 tooth cassette for easier climbing. Sizes range from
44 cm to 58 cm, so most riders should be able to jump on a Ruby and go.