Blending comfort, performance and value for money with a smooth ride that encourages you to go farther and faster, the Trek Silque is our choice for BikeRadar Women’s Road Bike of the Year.
- BikeRadar Bike of the Year
- Best women’s road bikes: a buyer’s guide
- Women’s cycling news, reviews, interviews, advice and more on BikeRadar Women
This year for the competition BikeRadar partnered with Cycling Plus – Britain’s leading road cycling magazine, also published by Immediate Media – which means you’ll be able to get the lowdown on the test, the results, the highlights and all of the trends in an upcoming copy coming to a news stand near you soon!
Competition was tough this year, with many brands upping their game when it comes to innovative tech and comfort. Overall, we saw women’s bikes on a par with their unisex/men’s equivalent when it came to spec and price. The majority of the bikes tested have women’s specific geometry, designed to suit female riders according the data and design philosophies of the various brands.
The optimal blend of comfort and performance
The criteria for inclusion in this test was women-specific road bikes priced between £2,000 and £2,400, though unforeseen cost increases over the period of testing meant that the priciest bike in the test now comes in at £2,650.
Competition was fierce, with most of the bikes tested providing an excellent riding experience. However, there were a few that stood out over and above. And of these, the endurance-oriented Trek Silque represented the best all-round blend of comfort and performance.
The Trek Silque S 6 features a women-specific carbon frame, carbon fork, Shimano Ultegra groupset with rim brakes and Bontrager wheels and tyres. For £2,100 / $2,699 / AU$3,699.
The Trek Silque was mainly tested by Emily Chappell, a former London cycle courier and now endurance cyclist.
Chappell’s adventures include touring across Asia, fatbiking Iceland, Alaska and Yukon, bikepacking the Western US, and racing across Europe in the formidable Transcontinental. She is a founder and director of The Adventure Syndicate, and her first book, What Goes Around, is published by Faber.
Chappell tested the Silque extensively around the mountains of South Wales and Scotland, and in range of conditions including torrential rain.
“The Silque S 6 features Trek’s rear IsoSpeed decoupler technology and if you’re not sure how that might work, oh my goodness, it’s a game changer! Of all the bikes I tested in this bracket, this one manages to strike the optimum balance between stiffness and comfort.” she comments in her review.
“The Silque S 6 sprints and climbs as jubilantly as any other high-end carbon road bike, but the IsoSpeed decoupler allows the seat tube to flex independently of the top tube and seat stays, dampens vibrations over longer distances and rough terrain, and significantly reduces fatigue and soreness for the rider.”
Silque vs Ruby
The bike narrowly pipped the Specialized Ruby to the winning post, as we found the slightly racier feel of the Silque gave a more dynamic, exciting ride without sacrificing comfort.
That said, the Ruby was a supremely comfortable ride, with the ‘future shock’ suspension system in the head tube softening even the roughest of country roads. If you suffer from sore wrists or shoulders when riding, this is a game changer.
If your priority is out-and-out speed and you’re looking for a race-ready machine, the Specialized Amira wowed us with its zippy handling, rapid acceleration and confident, secure cornering.
The Canyon Endurace WMN CF SL Disc also scored highly, proving very popular with our reader test panel. Its stealth, looks and outstanding value for money make this a contender, matched by its smoothly confident handling.
How we tested
In addition to extensive testing by Emily Chappell, the Silque was also ridden by Women’s Cycling Editor Aoife Glass, and by our BikeRadar reader test panel.
This panel of 6 women put all the shortlisted bikes through their paces over several test days in the Mendip Hills in the South West of England, taking in the iconic Cheddar Gorge climb and descent as part of the test loop.
Their feedback and observations were incorporated into our individual bike reviews, and the overall judging.
- [clockwise from top left]
- Katherine Moore
- Gill Chantler
- Rebecca Smith
- Janine Doggett
- Eleanor Jakowska
- Jordan Guilfoy-Richards
Check out our review of the Specialized Ruby Comp and our other shortlisted bikes: