If you’re after one of the best women’s road and gravel bikes, here’s the cream of the crop to help you choose.
Each of these bikes, starting from £999/$1,300/€1,100 has been ridden and tested extensively by our team of reviewers.
Whether you want a bike for racing, long rides or bikepacking and adventures, we’ve got great recommendations.
This selection includes bikes that have been designed specifically for women, for example by Liv and Canyon, as well as those with a unisex frame, such as Trek and Sonder models.
Best women’s road and gravel bikes in 2023
Canyon Grail 6 WMN
- Well priced
- Performs well across different terrain
- Slightly harsh handlebar and tape combination
- £1,649 as tested
The Grail is described as a do-it-all bike. Testing the bike for a whole year, Robyn Furtado found this to be true, saying it is excellent for exploring off-road and can keep up on the tarmac.
Canyon has specced the Grail with good components. The Shimano GRX components provide flawless shifting and the brakes are exemplary. The DT Swiss wheels worked well at first but the bearings became sticky after a few months.
It would be nice if the Grail had rack mounts to make it a truly versatile bike, but overall, it will suit a wide range of riders.
This model has been discontinued and replaced by the Canyon Grail 7 WMN.
Liv Devote Advanced 1
- Great tyres and saddle
- Handlebar tape is a bit rough without gloves
- £2,599/$3,450/AU$4,199 as tested
The Devote Advanced 1 comes fitted with decent kit. It has beefy 45mm tubeless Maxxis Rambler gravel bike tyres, a women’s-specific Liv Approach saddle and Shimano GRX groupset.
A dropper post is a nice addition, considering the bike’s off-road potential.
The bike is light enough to lift over any unexpected obstacles, but the bar tape can feel a bit rough if you’re not wearing gloves or mitts.
Liv Devote Advanced Pro – best for gravel/adventure
- Designed specifically for women riders
- Comfortable on- and off-road
- Lightweight carbon frame and mounts for mudguards, luggage and accessories
- £4,699/$5,700/€5,399 as tested
This range-topping Advanced Pro model, featuring a Giant CXR-2 carbon gravel wheelset, is built for fast racers and riders.
But the large gear range, generous tyre clearance and plenty of mounts mean the dropper-post compatible Liv Devote Advanced Pro is no one-trick pony.
Liv EnviLiv Advanced 1
- Fast aero bike rewards your effort
- Comfortable and with a reach that’s not too long
- Rather over-geared for steeper pitches
- £4,499/€4,399 as tested
The Liv EnviLiv Advanced 1 frame is made from lower-grade carbon than Liv’s pro-level aero bike, but uses the same frame profile, for which it claims impressive drag-reduction figures compared to the previous-generation EnviLiv.
The Advanced 1 is also some 292g lighter than its predecessor, according to Liv, with the test bike weighing 8.6kg.
With deep-section Giant SLR2 50 wheels and a SRAM Rival AXS groupset, the Liv EnviLiv Advanced 1 is fast, comfortable and agile on the flat. But we found the gearing a little high for steeper climbs.
Liv’s slightly shorter reach makes for a nicer ride position. The only thing we’d change is where the bar tape finishes on the tops.
Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+
- Bike of the Year 2022 women’s winner
- Dependable and upgradable
- Non-series cassette and excess cable length are drawbacks
- £3,149/$4,050/AU$4,799 as tested
The bike has hydraulic brakes, carbon fibre wheels and a majority Shimano Ultegra drivetrain. Lower gears would be better for steeper climbs though.
Overly long cables look messy and the non-series cassette adds weight, but these are small drawbacks on an otherwise good-value bike.
Scott Contessa Addict 25
- Sprightly ride
- Top value
- Tubeless-incompatible tyres
- £2,499/$2,800/€2,800 as tested
The Scott Contessa Addict 25 won our coveted Women’s Road Bike of the Year category. Its level of tech, including a mostly Shimano 11-speed mechanical 105 R700o groupset and hydraulic disc brakes, is very competitive for its price.
The carbon road bike responds promptly to your pedal effort, particularly on climbs, while the well-shaped handlebar from Scott’s in-house brand Syncros and the 32mm-wide tyres enhance comfort.
It would be a shame to put this classy-looking bike away in winter. Concealed mudguard mounts enable you to fit proper, full-length mudguards if you wish to stay cleaner while riding the Contessa Addict 25 year-round.
Sonder Colibri Ti Force 22 – best for road riding
- The robust titanium frame will last for years and is very upgradable
- Excellent value for money
- Impressive spec for the price
- £2,449/$3,220/€2,711/AU$4,441 as tested
The brilliant Sonder Colibri Ti Force 22 was crowned our Women’s Road Bike of the Year in 2020. Accessibly priced and with cheaper options, the titanium frame combines comfort over long distances and rough surfaces with a sprightly feel that’s a pleasure to ride.
Cube Axial WS Race
- Quality shifting and braking
- Great value
- Awkwardly shaped handlebars
- £1,749 as tested
The Axial WS race tops Cube’s performance aluminium bike category and features wide-ranging gears from Shimano 105 and powerful hydraulic disc brakes.
The bike is comfortable and handles well thanks to its modern geometry, which helps deliver all-day comfort. We did find the handlebar shape to be slightly odd with its sharp angles.
A few tweaks could improve the fit and appearance of the Axial WS, but the bike offers a great spec for the price and is perfect for long and hilly rides.
Juliana Quincy CC Rival
- A very comfortable, capable carbon adventure bike
- Premium carbon frame comes with a lifetime warranty
- The frame geometry makes this well suited to off-road adventures
- £3,699/$3,499 (as tested)
The Juliana offers a premium ride, and one that’s oh-so-good it’s worth considering if you have the cash to splash.
The carbon unisex frame feels planted and secure on rough ground and will see you tackling fire roads, gravel paths and bridleways in search of adventure.
Lugs mean you can attach luggage for longer adventures, too.
Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2 – best for endurance riding
- Impressively light with a nimble, agile ride feel
- Designed specifically for women riders
- A great choice for smaller riders
- £3,499/$4,100/€4,099 (as tested)
A stalwart of the Liv road bike range and incredibly popular, the Avail was completely redesigned in 2020.
This carbon-framed version features hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano Ultegra gearing and a range of features that make it well suited to smaller riders. These include brake/gear shifters that sit closer to the bars, with a wider pad making them easier to use with smaller hands.
The ride feel is light, precise and nimble, comfortable over long race distances, and a lot of fun, though it can feel harsh on rough ground.
We tested the 2020 version, but a newer model is now available.
Ribble CGR Ti Enthusiast
- Abundantly versatile
- Impeccable comfort
- On the heavy side
In the all-road ‘Enthusiast’ guise we tested, the Ribble CGR Ti handled poor-quality tarmac, off-road excursions and longer adventures with aplomb.
Fans of aero tubing, cable integration and racy geometry should look elsewhere. But the Ribble CGR Ti won’t disappoint riders looking for practicality, a more laid back riding position and timeless, metallic looks.
Ribble’s premium titanium frame has multiple mounting points, including for a rear pannier rack and mudguards.
When climbing, the wide gear range from the Shimano 105 Di2 R7150 groupset partly offsets the CGR Ti’s portliness.
Scott Contessa Addict RC 15
- Carries speed effortlessly
- Aggressive race position
- Good looks
- £5,699/$6,300/€6,299 as tested
The Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 has all the features you would expect from a class-leading race bike: aerodynamically optimised carbon fibre construction; integrated cable routing; 12-speed Shimano Ultegra Di2 gearing; hydraulic brakes and carbon fibre wheels.
The geometry is racy and this is apparent as soon as you get on the bike, putting you in an aggressive position.
Scott says the bike is made for climbers, but the aerodynamic shaping means it carries speed exceptionally well on the flat, too.
Despite its race intentions, the bike also handled gritty roads well, in part thanks to its 30mm-wide tyres.
If you have competitive ambitions, the Contessa Addict RC 15 will suit you well.
Trek Domane SL5
- Super-comfortable thanks to the IsoSpeed tech in the frame
- Unisex bike design with an extensive range of sizes available
- Storage integrated into the down tube
- £2,550/€2,950/$2,900 as tested
The carbon-framed Trek Domane has been the recipient of numerous Women’s Bike of the Year awards at BikeRadar, and for good reason.
If you’re looking for serious comfort over distances long and short, it’s hard to find better, though there is a bit of a weight penalty. The bike has lots of brilliant features and it looks pretty awesome too.
These bikes scored fewer than four out of five stars in testing, so we haven’t included them in our main list, but they are still worth considering
Canyon Endurace WMN CF SL Disc 8.0 Di2
- Excellent value for money and a great all-rounder
- Women’s-specific design
- Size range goes down to 3XS with smaller wheel sizes to suit smaller riders
- £3,399/$3,999/€3,399 as tested
Canyon has developed a women’s-specific frame for the Endurace, and it’s one of the bikes you might see ridden by the Canyon/SRAM pro women’s race team.
A carbon frame and fork with Shimano Ultegra groupset represent excellent value for money from the direct-sell brand, and the size range caters to smaller riders with its 3XS and 2XS options.
Comfortable, versatile and fun to ride, it’s one to check out.
Buyer’s guide to women’s road and adventure bikes
If you’re looking to clock up the miles, fly up climbs or race, the right road bike can make all the difference to your comfort and performance.
Even if you want to venture onto rougher surfaces or are looking for a bike that can handle off-road riding, the latest gravel bikes will help you transition smoothly between on- and off-road adventures.
If you’re not sure what kind of road bike to go for, this buyer’s guide will help you choose the best women’s road bike for you based on what kind of riding you’ll be doing on it and what your budget is.
What is a road bike?
Road bikes, as the name suggests, are designed first and foremost to be really efficient at riding on hard surfaces such as tarmac and concrete.
They’re ideal for covering large distances, or for just pure sprinting speed.
Handlebars tend to curve around and down, which is known as a ‘drop handlebar’. This allows you to place your hands in a range of positions for comfort and efficiency.
Narrow tyres and stiff frames without suspension, bar a few exceptions, give an efficient and fast riding experience.
What type of road bike do I need?
Racing bikes are built for speed. Their stiff frame optimises power transfer from pedal-stroke to drivetrain and the gearing facilitates high-speed sprints. The frame geometry places you in an aggressive position to enable you to push out plenty of power.
These bikes feel light, fast and nimble. They often incorporate aerodynamic features, such as deep-section wheels, from the best aero road bikes. On the flip side, they can feel uncomfortable for longer rides.
Endurance bikes are designed for long rides and big distances. Their typically more upright position favours comfort and efficiency over out-and-out speed, but they will often be light and fast too.
Gravel, all-road and cyclocross bikes
Gravel, adventure and cyclocross bikes could best be described as road bikes that are comfortable off-tarmac.
The frame should be tough, yet comfortable and cushion the rider from the worst of off-road knocks and bumps – some even include suspension.
In addition, more clearance is necessary around the fork, seat tube and seatstays to fit the best gravel tyres, which are wider and grippier than on purely road-focused bikes. The extra space also reduces the chance of mud clogging up the wheels.
Popular for bikepacking and multi-day adventures, they’ll usually have plenty of lugs to enable luggage to be fitted to the bike, such as panniers and frame bags.
Touring and adventure bikes
The touring and adventure category can cross over with gravel bikes, and vice versa. Tourers will usually have a sturdy frame and a comfortable upright riding position.
What road or gravel bike can you afford?
The budget you have is going to be the biggest influencing factor when it comes to deciding which bike to go for.
Road bikes vary massively in price, from several hundred pounds/dollars for entry-level bikes through to five-figure sums for a carbon-framed pro-level race machine.
Whatever bike you go for, there are a few things you should consider:
- Road bikes are supplied with either no pedals or basic flat pedals, so keep some money back for a decent set of the best road bike pedals or best gravel bike pedals.
- Key maintenance items will keep your bike running sweetly, so apart from the usual spare inner tubes and tyre levers, a good-quality track pump, some bike cleaner and chain lube should be on your list
- If you haven’t already got them, don’t forget the usual kit and accessories, such as road cycling shoes, a road bike helmet, bike lights for road cycling and a bike lock
If you shop carefully, you can get a lot for your money. Below is a summary of what to expect from certain price ranges.
- Under £750 / $1,000 – Alloy frame and fork, possibly with carbon blades, an 8-speed or 9-speed double crankset, with alloy bars and stem, either rim brakes or mechanical disc brakes
- Under £1,000 / $1,500 – Alloy frame with carbon or alloy forks, Shimano Tiagra or mechanical Shimano 105 groupset with good-quality rim brakes or mechanical disc brakes
- Under £2,000 / $3,000 – Alloy frame with carbon or alloy forks, some carbon frames available, Shimano Tiagra or 105 groupset, hydraulic road bike disc brakes and lighter, more aero components are likely
- Under £3,000 / $4,000 – Carbon or high-end aluminium frame and carbon forks, steel and titanium frames also available, 11-speed gearing such as Shimano Ultegra or SRAM Force with some electronic groupset options, carbon bars and seatpost
- More than £3,000 or $4,000 – Expect near pro-level spec, including carbon frames and forks, carbon parts, hydraulic disc brakes or quality rim brakes, lightweight road bike wheels, plus top-end 12-speed electronic shifting, such as Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200
To see what we recommend in those price brackets, head to our compilations of the best cheap road bikes, best road bikes under £1,000, best road bikes under £2,000 or $3,000 and the best road bikes under £3,000 or $4,000.
Do I need a bike designed especially for women?
The short answer to the question: do I need a women’s bike? is no, but many women find them more comfortable, so they are definitely worth considering.
On some bikes marketed at women, the only difference is a saddle that’s designed for women. The best women’s road bike saddles can have a huge effect on comfort, but they’re also something you can change yourself later if you don’t get on with the saddle on your new bike.
Other women’s bikes are designed entirely for women, with a different frame design. Both Liv and Canyon take this approach to making bikes specifically for women.