When preparing to purchase a road bike, you need to be informed.
Bicycles seem simple on the surface, but there are important details to factor in when buying one. I’ll help you pick the best bicycle for your needs and wants.
I tracked down the best women’s road bikes for beginners. Here are my picks:
What Makes a Quality Road Bike?
Maybe you’re a complete beginner. Perhaps, you’re new to road bikes but have mountain or hybrid biking experience.
Either way—you wouldn’t call yourself a road bicycle expert, right?
So before I get into the breakdown of my picks, I’ll clue you in on what to look out for. This is the criteria that helped me select the best women’s road bikes for beginners.
Road bicycles have ultra-thin wheels. Thinner wheels means there’s less material touching the cycling surface. The wheels will be firm, so they won’t flatten out, and there will be almost no friction.
No friction, means nothing stopping you from whizzing and coasting at top speeds. Well, so long as you can pedal fast enough!
And don’t worry—I know that sounds scary, especially as a beginner. But you have gears and brakes to help control your speed.
Wheel sizes vary considerably in road bicycles.
Some prefer a larger, and increasingly common 29-inch wheel. The main advantage of that is that they’ll help lessen the impact of bumpy terrain. Bigger wheels may also mean a bigger cycle overall—not ideal for the average woman.
However, women’s road bicycles usually possess a 26-inch diameter, like a mountain bicycle.
Many bicycle manufacturers won’t put their exact wheel size in their product descriptions. They’ll give a vague “700c” despite some manufacturers using the same term across multiple sizes.
The “c” means tire, and the “700” is meant to represent the diameter in millimeters—but I’ve found manufacturers using “700c” to mean a multitude of wheel sizes. Generally, 700c is a standard term, and you can trust this wheel size.
Weight is easier to navigate than wheel size. The lighter the bicycle, the faster you can go. A light cycle will also be easy to transport and store.
It’s difficult to say what weight a road bicycle should be—but I wouldn’t go for anything much over 30 pounds. I’d prefer the cycle in the 20-pound range, or even lighter—but weight is material-dependent.
Some stronger materials will push your cycle closer to 40 pounds. One example is carbon steel, which is strong and wear-resistant.
My preference in a cycle is carbon fiber, as it’s both light and strong. It’s also pricey—so if your budget is strict, aluminum is fine too.
Aluminum is light, but not the lightest. It’s strong, but not the strongest. You should expect to find aluminum in low-end and mid-range road cycles.
Lastly, you may find some steel or carbon steel in your road cycle too. I enjoy steel’s durability, but generally I prefer carbon fiber—again, though, it’s budget-dependant.
Drop handlebars are a sign of an authentic road bike, and cause a bent riding position.
However, some road bicycles have straight handlebars. Nervous beginners should consider the straight bar, as you’ll be more upright with it.
You can always replace the handlebar, though, so keep that in mind when shopping for a road bicycle. Also, consider your budget—factor in the cost of the handlebar replacement, if you plan on doing it.
You don’t need tons of gears, but at least three would help:
- High gear for flat terrain.
- Low gear for uphill cycling.
- A moderate gear for taking off.
Although, I recommend a higher number. It takes some getting used to—especially when you get to over 10 gears. But I feel it’s necessary for the ever-changing terrains you may face.
Since these are women’s bicycles, they’re going to be smaller than your average cycle. Ensure the size is suitable before purchasing. Manufacturers will let you know by listing one of these:
- Heights it’s suitable for.
- Standover height—aka, the distance between the ground and the saddle.
- Full height—the ground to the bicycle’s tallest point.
Reviews of the Best Women’s Road Bikes for Beginners
After in-depth research, I’ve pulled together a list of some excellent road bikes for beginners. I feel there’s something for everyone here—so keep the road bicycle essentials in mind, and take a browse.
I find that people starting with budget bicycles have a lesser experience and give up sooner than someone who invests.
My opinion is that cycling is an investment as a hobby, or a commuting method. So if you’re ready to commit, you might want to dive into a higher-end road bike off the bat.
This bicycle isn’t the best you can get, demonstrated by the aluminum frame and no carbon fiber. But it’s far from a budget bike, and should last you years of use.
Regardless of material, the build quality is what you should be mindful of. While it’s light, this is a well-built cycle, optimized for durability and agility. It’s made to be easy to handle, on open roads or right corners.
Something I really appreciate about the cycle is the straps on the pedals. This ensures further ease when using it, and is great for beginners. You may not be used to keeping your feet on the pedals yet.
- Straps to keep your feet in place.
- The smaller version of this bike is the perfect size for women.
- Strong aluminum and alloy double wall rims ensure durability.
- Two fantastic color options for different tastes.
- Agile and easy to handle.
- Precise shifting allowed by brake and shifter combo lever.
- Brakes require some fine tuning.
- The seat may stain your pants, according to users.
- Some customers felt the tire and tube quality need improvement.
- Weight: Approximately 25 pounds.
- Brakes: Alloy caliper dual-pivot brakes.
- Size: 32.25-inch standover height.
If you want something a little more affordable, here’s a cycle you may prefer. But be warned, it’s slightly unorthodox.
Although it has the shape of a road cycle, the wheels are thicker, remnant of a mountain bicycle. This can bring ease to someone fearing the ultra-thin speedy tires on most cycles.
There’s also straight bar handlebars, for a more upright riding position. Again, this may be better for a beginner. I understand how daunting drops can be.
You can replace the handlebars and wheels with something more typical of a road bicycle in the future, if you wish.
Despite the atypical wheels, you shouldn’t have an issue with speed. The cycle has 24 gears, so a competent pedaler should be able to make the most of them.
Having so many gears and thicker wheels leads me to think this bicycle is suited to riders who live in a slope-laden area. More tire on the ground means more friction, and more gears lets you handle steeper inclines at a steady pace of your choosing.
So, keep that in mind when considering this cycle.
- Striking visual.
- Dual disk brakes ensure easy stopping.
- Many gears, to handle many speeds and terrains.
- Straight handlebars are great for beginners.
- Thicker wheels put beginners at ease.
- Not the best for those wanting a fully authentic road bicycle.
- Assembly instructions aren’t in English.
- May be a little too tall for women under 5’5.
- Weight: Just over 20 pounds.
- Brakes: Disc.
- Size: 37.4 inches (either standover or maximum height), in the large size.
We’re back to drops now, if that’s your preference, but the wheels are still quite thick. I feel this cycle would suit a beginner who’s fine with the position, but nervous about the speed.
Thicker wheels will slow you down slightly, and the 21 gears will help. Pick whatever you need, master it, and increase as you go on. As you advance as a cyclist, you can easily replace the rims and wheels with something thinner.
I feel this is an excellent upgrade-as-you-go cycle. It’s a total budget pick, although the sturdy aluminum frame can hold up to 300 pounds. Size-wise, it’s best for heights 5’2–6’0.
My experience leads me to believe you may want to replace the pedals and keep an eye on the brakes and gear shift with this. It’s not vital—but those are just some of the things to watch out for with a budget bicycle.
- Perfect size for women.
- Eye-catching colors.
- Strong frame that can handle a lot of weight.
- Thicker wheels/tires, for beginner ease of mind.
- Great gear options.
- Will likely require upgrades as you go along.
- Some people may not like thicker tires on a road cycle.
- Weight: Unspecified.
- Brakes: Disc.
- Size: Unspecified, suits heights 5’2–6’0.
Straight off, this bicycle is a steal. It’s a carbon steel cycle for a mid-range price! Carbon steel may be horrendously heavy for a road bike, but it’s very strong and of extreme quality.
That said, customers have had problems with the build-quality of this brand before. The instructions are terrible though, so are partly to blame. Since you’re a beginner, I recommend seeking an expert to help you assemble the cycle.
Once put together, you’ll have an eye-catching and strong steed.
Although, you may need to make changes and upgrades along your cycling journey. For example, as you get more comfortable riding, you should consider replacing the straight handlebar with drops.
For now the straight handlebar will be beneficial, along with the 24 gears for you to try.
Something I also find beneficial is the disc brakes, usually used on mountain bikes, which sport larger tires. To me, it’s a sure sign of a solid stop.
- Disc brakes for confident stopping.
- Straight handlebars are great for beginners.
- Carbon steel is very sturdy.
- Brightly colored—you’ll never lose sight of the bicycle!
- You may need to replace the handlebars eventually.
- Speed changes with gears may be too rapid for newer riders.
- It’s heavy.
- Weight: 38 pounds.
- Brakes: Disc.
- Size: For heights 5’4–6’1 in size large.
Lastly, we have this LRHD bicycle which is quite similar to our previous contender. However, the difference is in the visual. I think this is the perfect bicycle for anyone with a fun personality, wanting to show it off.
Overall, it’s an excellent road bike, once again, with some features beginners may find useful, like the straight handlebars. You can of course replace these handlebars, but quality-wise I don’t think you’d need to. It’s a matter of preference, not quality.
The bicycle features an excellent carbon steel construction, making it strong. Although, the carbon steel makes it very heavy too.
There are 21 gears to keep you at a stable speed, and highly effective brakes like ones found on mountain bikes.
The flashy exterior is what sets this cycle apart from the crowd, though.
- Fun and exciting color scheme.
- Great handlebars for beginners.
- High-quality and strong carbon steel construction.
- Pricier than cycles of the same quality.
- Handlebars may need replacing with drops eventually.
- Weight: 38 pounds.
- Brakes: Disc.
- Size: For heights 5’4–6’1.
Best Women’s Road Bikes for Beginners Conclusion
My pick for the best women’s road bike for beginners is the Schwinn Volare 1400 700C Road Bike. It’s a more advanced, pricer cycle that works as a learning curve for the committed cyclist.
I think it’s a fantastic size, and I find the double wall rims an assurance of the bike’s quality.
Another thing I enjoy is actually the flaws the cycle has. As it needs a few tweaks right away, it’s a learning opportunity. Take it to an expert, and ask to watch them show you what to do, for future reference!