We have chosen six beautiful road bikes to look at, Cannondale, Giant, Orbea, Scott, Specialized and Trek. Yes, the six best known bike manufacturers around.
All six of the frames have been designed specifically for women, the seat and head angles and the lengths of the main tubes are made to fit women’s body shape and perform in the same way as any other race bike.
We describe the frame design of each bike and look at the equipment fitted to each one, we liked them all and we do have a favorite, but if you are in the market for a new bike then read our reviews and make up your own mind!
Trek Madone 6.0
The Trek is the only bike in our list that is not a compact design with a sloping top tube, it has fairly “normal” angles and design, except it has a much longer top tube than the seat tube, which is quite usual for a woman’s bike. With the frame having a horizontal top tube this gives you less of a step over, which can be a problem. The frame and forks are made of carbon. The Trek is available in four sizes.
The equipment is mostly Shimano Ultegra 10 speed with a triple chain set, so you climb anything and everything else is Bontrager as it would be with a Trek bike. The complete bike weighs in at 8.1 kgs, looks good and will ride well. The only draw back is that non sloping top tube.
Cannondale Synapse Feminine
The Cannondale has an Alloy frame with carbon forks, in four sizes, sloping frame design with a steep seat angle and a more relaxed head angle, this allows for the shorter seat tube and a longer top tube. Shimano 105, 9 speed gears and a mixture of other bits and pieces to keep the price reasonable. Triple chain set, Mavic rims and Fi’zi:k feminine saddle are all quality goods, but the bike weighs 9.3 kgs, so not too light, but a good price.
The Giant is the cheapest and the heaviest of our six bikes. Alloy sloping frame with carbon composite forks, frame sizes (three sizes) and angles are based on the Giant formula that all the others have copied over the years, so no worries there! Shimano Tiagra 8 speed gears with an FSA triple chain set, the other parts are a mixture of Giant own brand with Alex rims and a San Marco saddle. A heavy 10 kgs will give you a hard work out!
Orbea Diva TPB
This is the most expensive bike we have looked at, but not the lightest, weighing in at 8 kgs, the Orbea is a top class piece of equipment. Full carbon frame and forks with comfortable angles and a very nice look. Shimano Ultegra 10 speed mated to a Zeus Ziclon compact chain set with 34/50 tooth chain rings, so a compromise between normal double and a triple, but without the draw backs of either. Shimano wheels and ITM bits and pieces with a Selle Italia lady saddle, makes this top a top quality steed, but at a price. The only problem with the Orbea is that it is only available in two sizes.
Specialized Ruby Comp Compact
A very nice bike, the Ruby Comp, well proportioned and designed in carbon with Specialized Zerts inserts to take away road vibrations. Sloping top tube and a compact design with much the same angles and dimensions as the other compacts. FSA Compact chain set and Shimano 105 10 speed make this economical and sporty. Specialized fit there own brand part, which are perfectly good and hard wearing. The complete bike weighs 8.3 kgs, so its one of the lightest and it comes in five different sizes so there shouldn’t be any fitting problems.
The Scott Contessa is our favorite of the six, carbon frame and forks with a perfect design to fit any woman’s physique, available in five sizes. It looks good and is the lightest of the bunch at 7.8 kgs. 10 speed Shimano 105 gears with a Shimano triple chain set, the wheels are Mavic Aksium with Continental tires, Fi’zi:k Vitesse HP saddle and Ritchey handle bars makes this bike very well specked at a good price. The frame and all the parts are well known and can be trusted to work and last. We vote this our choice for best ladies bike. The only thing we would change would be the chain set, we would fit a compact 34/50, this would make the bike even lighter and look just a little bit nicer, if that is possible.
What do we Think?
All these bikes are made especially for women and have the correct frame specifications for fit and performance. Looks, weight and price could sway your choice, one way or the other.
We have based our choice on everything, taking all aspects in to consideration, some times you have to accept a low quality group set to get a better frame or other components, on this basis we come to the conclusion that the Scott Contessa is the best, closely followed by the Specialized and Trek.
We very much liked the Orbea, it is expensive, but it has the best equipment, it loses out on price and that it is only available in two sizes.
Now ladies, make up your own mind, go and get a new bike and get out on the road!