1) Liv Langma Advanced SL 0
Named for the Tibetan word for Everest, the Langma is designed specifically for climbing. It’s the lightest frameset Liv has yet produced, and Liv worked with pro road racers Coryn Rivera and Lucinda Brand to develop the new model. Liv’s engineers also drew on global anatomical data to optimize the Langman’s geometry specifically for women. The Langma features narrow tubing and an integrated seat post, which helps keep the weight down to a claimed 6.05 kilograms for size small. The Advanced SL 0 is Liv’s top-line build and features SRAM’s E-Tap electronic shifting and composite wheels. If you’re looking for a light, racy road bike to crush the climbs, the Langma is designed for you.
2) Trek Remedy 9.8
The Remedy is Trek’s all-around ripper, a 27.5-inch wheel bike designed for technical trails. A carbon main triangle and chainstay paired with an alloy seatstay keep things light and strong. We’ve long been fans of Trek’s Re:Aktiv suspension platform and for 2018 they’ve updated the 150mm shock with a 3-position damper called Thru-Shaft. The new design aims to create a smoother, more responsive suspension system, which should mean better control and traction for you. A Rockshox Lyrik RCT3 provides 160mm of travel up front, and SRAM’s GX 1×12 Eagle gives you incredible shifting range in a durable package. The Bontrager wheels are tubeless-ready and feature the Boost 148 (rear) and Boost 110 (front) axle standards.
3) Canyon Endurace WMN AL Disc 7.0
This past summer, Canyon brought their direct-to-consumer sales model and quality line-up to the United States for the first time. The German brand designs their women’s bikes from the ground-up, creating geometry they believe is optimized for women’s physiology. The Endurace is Canyon’s long-ride road bike, made for centuries and grand fondos and, really, for any ride during which you’d like a more comfortable position. An increased stack height and shortened top tube distinguish the Endurace from Canyon’s road race machine, the Ultimate. The 7.0 model features an aluminium frameset paired with a bump-absorbing carbon fork. Shimano’s reliable 105 groupset handles shifting and the Endurace features disc brakes. Canyon’s women’s bikes are especially ideal for smaller riders, thanks to a size run that extends to 3XS but tops out at size medium. We like the affordability and high quality found in the Endurace.
4) Specialized Chisel Expert
For 2018, Specialized has significantly revamped their product line. Among the new bikes this year is the Chisel, an impressive and affordable hardtail mountain bike. Specialized uses a newly developed welding process they believe creates a lighter, more finely-tuned aluminium frameset for the Chisel. Designed for cross-country riding and racing, the Chisel rolls on 29-inch wheels and features a RockShox Reba RL 100mm fork up front. Front and rear hubs use the updated 110 and 148 spacing standards. SRAM’s GX 1×11 groupset reliably handles shifting and includes a hill-crushing 10-42 rear cassette. The women’s Chisel Expert shares the same frame as the men’s product line, but has a seat and grips designed for women as well as a fork tuned for lighter riders. It’s available in sizes XS, S, and M.
5) Scott Contessa Addict 15 Disc
The Addict is Scott’s endurance-oriented road bike, featuring slacker seat- and head-tube angles than the brand’s race bikes. New for 2018, the Addict features disc brakes and a new carbon lay-up. Thanks to innovations on the production side, the Addict is also an unusually affordable carbon bike at just $2800 with Ultegra and Syncros components. The Addict is off-road ready with clearance for 32mm tires, 12mm thru-axles, and flat-mount disc brakes. It features the same geometry as the men’s Addict, but Scott swaps out women-specific seat and bars for the Contessa. Unlike some brands that offer limited size runs for their women’s lines, the Contessa Addict is available in five sizes, from 47cm to 56cm.
6.) Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra Di2
The Synapse is a versatile ride, capable of accepting 32mm tires for off-road adventures while being light enough to hammer out a fast group ride or road race. Endurance road bikes run the gamut from slack-angled barcaloungers to machines only a few ticks of the protractor away from full-on race bikes. The Synapse sits more on the aggressive side of the endurance scale in terms of geometry. But details such as flat-mount disc brakes, thru-axles, fender mounts, and Cannondale’s SAVE micro-suspension make it a capable adventure machine. The newly-designed frameset features an asymmetrical layup that seeks to balance pedal and disc brake loads for a more durable and stiffer bike. Cannondale uses size specific geometries and two different fork rakes through the 44cm to 54cm size run for consistent handling. Built with Shimano’s Ultegra Di2, the Synapse is fun, fast, and versatile.
7) Juliana Strega Carbon C S
The Strega is the newest addition to the Juliana mountain bike line, and it’s designed for the gravity girls (or for anyone who wants some extra travel in their lives). The Strega features 170mm of the brand’s proprietary VPP suspension paired with a long, low geometry. A flip chip in the suspension’s lower link allows riders to switch the geometry to suit their style with either a 65-degree head angle and 10mm bottom bracket drop or a 64.6-degree head angle and 15mm bottom bracket drop. Up front, RockShock’s Lyrik fork
provides a plush 170mm of travel to keep you stable in the most demanding terrain. The Strega is designed with a low stand-over, and the RockShox Super Deluxe R shock is specifically tuned for lighter riders. The Strega is finished with women’s specific seat and grips for added comfort. Built with SRAM GX Eagle, the Strega is ready to shred. We like the more affordable C series carbon frames. It’s available now for $5,299 at Competitive Cyclist.
8) Specialized Tarmac Expert
At the S-Works and Expert level, Specialized’s 2018 unisex Tarmac replaced the women’s Amira as the race-ready road bike for women. It’s not an oversight—after sifting through fit data, Specialized believes that men and women are choosing more similar positions on their road bikes and that the same frame would serve both genders equally. The new SL6 frameset features a fine-tuned carbon lay-up that Specialized says is 20 percent lighter than the previous Tarmac. Specialized also refined the fork shape with the aim of improving the bike’s aerodynamic profile. The women’s Tarmac Expert comes built up with Shimano’s quality Ultegra groupset and house-brand Roval wheels, complete with women’s specific saddle and bars. The Tarmac Expert is a lot of bike for the price, and you can upgrade the wheelset down the road for an even lighter bike.
9) Scott Contessa Genius 710
Scott has significantly updated the Genius for 2018. The most noticeable change is a four-bar suspension design that replaces the previous single-pivot platform. The new suspension aims to give riders more balanced, progressive suspension performance. The new Genius retains Scott’s TwinLoc remote that gives you three suspension modes with the push of a button, including a full lock-out. In fully open mode, the Genius provides 150mm of rear travel. A flip chip allows you to run either 27.5- or 29-inch wheels without swapping out your fork. The Contessa genius will also accommodate plus-sized tires out to 2.8 inches for 27.5 and 2.6 inches for 29. The Contessa Genius features a Fox 34 fork with 150mm of travel and a women’s specific tune. Scott also adds a 30-tooth chainring and shorter crank lengths for the Contessa line. Women’s specific touch points such as saddle, bars, and grips, complete the build.
10) Yeti Beti SB5 Carbon GX Eagle
For 2018, Yeti has made some updates to the build kits available for the Yeti Beti SB5, but the bike mostly remains unchanged. We can’t argue with that decision. The SB5 features 127mm of rear travel using Yeti’s innovative Switch Infinity suspension platform. Switch Infinity is designed to give riders consistent performance throughout the suspension’s range. Rolling on 27.5-inch wheels, the Beti SB5 is a versatile trail bike. A relatively steep seat tube helps create an efficient pedaling platform for the climbs and flats while the slacked out head tube provides stability when the trail turns downhill. Though the Beti shares the same geometry with Yeti’s men’s line, designers added a shock tuned for lighter riders, a 30-tooth chainring up front, and shorter 170mm cranks. Women’s specific touch points such as grips and saddle provide additional comfort. The Carbon series SB5 with a SRAM GX build offers a nice balance of performance and price with its mix of SRAM X01 Eagle and GX Eagle parts. A 10-50 rear cassette gives you plenty of gear range for getting up and down in style, while SRAM Guide R disc brakes do their best to keep you under control. A Fox Transfer dropper post, Race Face bar and stem, and DT Swiss wheels complete the build. You can buy it at Competitive Cyclist for $5,199.
11) Felt FR2W Disc
For the FR2W Disc, Felt starts with the same lightweight race-ready carbon frameset they use for the men’s product line. The long and low geometry is designed to put the rider into an aerodynamic position. Put simply, this is a bike designed for speed. The Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic drivetrain handles shifting at the touch of a button. A 52/36 crankset pairs with an 11-28 rear cassette to handle everything from a bunch sprint to a hill climb. Shimano hydraulic brakes offer power and control and are a good choice if you regularly ride in wet weather. Felt adds thru-axles for additional security. With nice attention to detail, Felt uses size-specific crank lengths for the FR2W. Sizes 43cm to 47cm receive 165.5 cranks, size 51 has 170mm, and sizes 54 and 56 include 172.5mm. We also like the wide size run on the FR2W. Pink is not for everyone, but we confess that we love this bike’s paint job. Women’s specific touch points, such as saddle and narrower width bars, complete the build.
12) Cannondale SuperX Women’s Force 1
These days, there’s a fair amount of overlap among adventure, gravel, and cyclocross bikes, but the Cannondale SuperX Women’s Force 1 is designed specifically with cyclocross racing in mind. If you like mud, snow, running stairs, and hopping barricades, this might be the bike for you. Cannondale pairs a lightweight carbon frameset with SRAM Force components. The geometry combines short chainstays for agility with a slack head tube for control. Flat mount hydraulic disc brakes provide solid stopping power, even when the weather takes a turn for the wet and muddy. Thru-Axles help provide a solid platform for braking. Cannondale’s CX 1.0 wheels are tubeless-ready. It’s available in three sizes: 46, 51, and 54. We love Cannondale’s playful design on the SuperX, which pairs understated grey with colorful graphic highlights on the fork and chainstay. The bike just plain looks fun.
13) Liv Brava SLR
The Liv Brava is a versatile ride designed for cyclocross racing or gravel-grinding adventures. Liv pairs a high-quality aluminum frameset with a composite fork, which keeps things affordable. SRAM Apex 1×11 components handle shifting and the Brava includes hydraulic disc brakes for stopping power in whatever conditions your ride throws your way. A wide-range 11-42 cassette in the rear should get you over just about any climb you encounter and Schwalbe Super Swan tires provide traction over a variety of conditions. Size-specific stem and crank lengths help provide a more comfortable fit. The Brava SLR is available in three sizes: XS (44.5cm), S (47.5cm), and M (50.5cm), so taller riders will need to look elsewhere. If you’re looking to get into gravel riding or cyclocross for the first time this year, the Brava SLR is an excellent starter bike.
14) Specialized Epic Comp Carbon
The Specialized Epic is the brand’s flagship full-suspension race machine. For 2018, the Epic receives a make-over that reflects newly available technology and the evolution of cross-country racing toward more technical courses. Without turning it into a full-on enduro machine, Specialized lengthened the top tube and slightly increased the head angle on the Epic. That increased reach should translate into a more stable-handing bike at speed, while the 74.5-degree seat tube angle keeps you positioned over the pedals for crushing the climbs. Specialized also updated their proprietary Brain suspension technology with the goal of creating an even more responsive platform. The new Epic is lighter than previous years’ models and designed to handle racing’s demands better than ever before. The Epic Comp Carbon combines the lightweight composite frameset with a 1×11 SRAM GX groupset. A Rockshox Reba RL fork handles suspension up front and provides 100mm of travel. If cross-country racing is your passion, the Epic is designed for you.
We like the Comp Carbon build for its affordability. It could also be easily upgraded with lighter wheels or drivetrain as your wallet allows and as your aspirations demand.
15) Canyon Ultimate WMN CF SLX Disc 8.0 Di2
The Ultimate is Canyon’s race-inspired road bike. For 2018, they’ve added an Ultegra Di2 build option to the line-up. The Ultimate features a lightweight carbon fibre frameset with a geometry that Canyon believes is optimized for women’s physiology. On the 3XS and 2XS frame sizes, Canyon uses 27.5-inch wheels with the goal of creating a better-handled bike for smaller riders. For this build, Ultegra Di2 11-speed handles shifting and Canyon includes disc brakes on the Ultimate. A host of details aim to create a better ride experience for women, including size specific bar widths and crank lengths. The Canyon women’s line is best suited for smaller riders, as the size run tops out at a 52cm seat tube. Canyon sells directly to consumers, and this build is a great value.
16) Trek Émonda SL 5
The Émonda SL is the more affordable of Trek’s two Émonda models, which are the lightest road bikes in the Trek line-up. We love the supple feel of the well-tuned carbon frameset on the Émonda SL and if scooping up KOM’s is your goal, the Émonda SL is worth a close look. The SL 5 is built with Shimano’s reliable 105 drivetrains with a compact 50-34 crankset and an 11-speed 11-28 rear cassette. Trek uses their house brand, Bontrager, for the wheelset, which is tubeless ready. The SL 5 features Trek’s H2 fit, which includes a slightly shorter reach with a taller top tube when compared to the H1. Women’s specific saddle, bar, and a shorter stem length complete the build. With its affordable build, the SL 5 is a high-quality carbon road bike at an excellent value.