We called this article "budget busting" and no doubt many will be attracted to this headline looking for a cheap but top performing ride. Unfortunately in cycling, as elsewhere, you definitely get what you pay for and the term "budget busting" is a relative one.
I often state that $1000 is the ballpark starting point for a real enthusiast's bike, be it road or mountain. This is true for women's specific bikes as well. While you can buy a cheaper road bike, if you want to truly experience performance road cycling it is bikes like these that you want to check out as the budget models.
TIP: The other option is to buy second hand. There are many good deals out there but we recommend either buying from a local bike shop, or alternatively getting the bike checked over by an expert before purchasing. A worn drivetrain is impossible to spot with an untrained eye and could result in many hundreds of dollars on top of the bike asking price. Following your purchase take the bike to a local bike shop for a check over or minor service, not only to ensure all is working properly, but also to check safety.
Gears and drivetrain
These 5 bikes feature a Shimano Claris or Sora drivetrain and gearing system. These entry level component sets come with double or triple chainrings. Which is best? Both systems offer a wide range of ratios to cope with fast, powerful riding on the flats and also low gears for climbing. Sora is a 9 speed and is the more advanced setup here although typically costs more. Claris is 8 speed and is the entry level component set.
There are many approaches to creating a bike designed around the specific anatomical differences between men and women. It depends on the brand as to how "women's specific" a bike actually is. It may be as small a detail as a different saddle and a pastel color or could be a complete redesign of frame geometry.
TIP: Regardless of whether a bike is women's specific or not, always get a professional fit when purchasing a road bike. As with bikes for men, the geometries are not custom to an individual and it is up to the shop staff to make certain the bike can be fitted to you, not the other way around. This attitude goes a long way to ensure maximum comfort, maximum performance and maximum fun!
One of the first topics to come up when talking about road bikes is weight, as if it is the single most important factor when purchasing a new bike. Certainly when you begin racing and taking on long challenging rides weight becomes a factor and if you plan to spend many thousands of dollars you would expect featherweight qualities.
At the lower price points, however, weight is not as much of a concern as say comfort or stability or reliability. The bikes here will all sit in the 9kg+ category.
All these bikes retail for approximately $1000 give or take a few bucks and feature an alloy frame, carbon fork and basic yet quality drivetrains. The geometries, apart from being specific to women, are designed around the sportif or gran fondo idea with a more relaxed position and sloping top tubes - perfect for smaller riders, creating a feeling of confidence and stability, as well as easy to mount/dismount. These bikes are perfect for someone just starting out in road cycling and are great options for a young rider or one that is small in stature. This is the place to gain skills and fitness before stepping up into the big league.
Any questions? Consult BikeRoar or visit your local store.