Vitus Venon VRL £1399.99

Made-for-women road machine

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Vitus – boasting ex-pro ‘brand ambassador’ Sean Kelly – scores points for not adding girly pink touches to its new women’s road bike. A dash of purple shows its face here and there, but that’s allowed on the otherwise smart dark grey carbon frame.

Highs: Stiff and responsive

Lows: Handlebar a bit narrow

As with the men's version – the VRS – the frame is stiff, and you can really feel the road surface as you ride. Yet the VRL isn't uncomfortable and the stiffness makes it feel very responsive: getting away at the lights or nipping across roundabouts, it’s right there with you.

‘Made for women’ touches include a narrow 38cm handlebar, though with no flaring of the drops it feels a little too narrow when you get down in them. The saddle isn’t the most comfortable either, but if you don’t favour cutouts you might get along okay.

Both derailleurs and levers are Shimano 105, and while there’s been a lot of weather to put up with during testing, apart from a bit of chainrub – easily tweaked – it’s shifted and performed without problem.

The 25mm Kenda Kriterium tyres have held up well in all the road debris too – no punctures in a couple of months’ commuting on road and cyclepath (probably tempting fate…).

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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