Presenting BikeRadar Women's Bike of the Year Awards
Nearly 30 bikes, hundreds of cumulative miles, a whole load of climbing and descending, a smattering of sprinting, and a selection of BikeRadar readers were the magic ingredients that went into making the BikeRadarWomen’s Bike of the Year Awards, in association with Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazine.
Over the course of two seperate days, six readers put our fleet of test road bikes through their pacesPhil Hall / Immediate Media Co
Finding the best women’s bikes — the process
We sourced over 20 women’s specific road bikes based on popularity, covering a wide range of brands including Specialized, Trek, Liv, Cannondale, Fuji, Canyon and Scott. Bikes were collected into two categories: mid-range and budget.
On the mountain bike side of things, we called in all the women’s specific trail bikes available that fitted our test criteria: mid-range bikes, up to 140mm of travel, women’s specific or aimed at the women’s cycling market, and designed for trail use. Unsurprisingly, there were far fewer options here.
All bikes were ridden extensively by the BikeRadar team, covering long distances, sprints, climbs, descents, and a variety of terrain.
We were also keen to find out what our readers, the women who will be buying and riding these bikes, thought about them. So we recruited two BikeRadar reader panels.
The road group joined us for two unfortunately very wet and cold days of testing in the Mendip Hills, in the south-west of England, and the mountain bike group put the trail bikes through their paces over a test weekend in the Forest of Dean, UK.
Five readers joined our BikeRadar women’s cycling editor for a test weekend in the Forest of Dean in MarchPhil Hall / Immediate Media Co
Each bike was ridden by at least two different readers in the test panels, who each provided feedback on the bikes which has been incorporated into the reviews and the overall judging.
Our testers were all volunteers with a range of different riding experience who gave up their time freely, and we’d like to thank them for helping us put the shortlisted bikes through their paces.
What is a women’s specific bike and do I need one?
Confusingly, different brands have different definitions of what constitutes a ‘women’s specific’ bike, and it can vary from simply having different finishing kit, such as handlebars and saddle around a unisex frame, to a bike that’s completely different from the men’s/unisex equivalent in terms of geometry and design.
Some women find that women’s specific bikes suit them better, others simply like the fact that components such as the saddle and handlebars are more likely to fit so they won’t need to fork out on new ones, and still others find they get on fine with men’s/unisex bikes.
A selection of the trail bikes on test, including some budget options that will be online soonPhil Hall / Immediate Media Co
As with anything to do with buying a bike, the ideal scenario is to take a few out for a decent test ride and see what feels best for you.