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Best women’s bikes 2023: Bicycles for your every need from £230

Looking for the best women’s bikes to get you from A to B? Put the pedal to the metal with our picks for road, mountain or city rides

Whether you’re a cycling pro or a beginner looking to get into the sport, the best women’s bike can make or break the experience. Having a good bicycle is important even if you aren’t planning a trip to the mountains. Bikes for commuting or leisurely city rides should still be comfortable, easy to ride and, above all, safe.

Cycling has many health benefits. Not only does it increase cardiovascular fitness, muscle flexibility, joint mobility and strengthen bones and muscles, but it can also decrease stress levels, improve posture and is a great way to maintain weight at a healthy level.

The main difference between men’s and women’s bikes is that women’s versions are often slightly smaller, and they have a bit of a different frame that allows women to step through and get on the bike easier if they’re wearing a skirt or dress. While this concept is a little outdated and many women prefer riding a men’s bike, some still like the smaller size and ease of use of a women’s bike.

Bikes for women come in all different types, shapes and sizes, so choosing the right one for you highly depends on how you want to use it. We’ve found some of the best women’s bikes and listed them below, along with a detailed guide on choosing the best one for you.

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Best women’s bikes: At a glance

How to choose the best women’s bike for you

What types of women’s bikes are available?

There are many different types of women’s bikes available, so the first step in choosing the perfect bicycle for you is knowing the differences between them. Below we cover some of the most popular types of bikes available for women.

Mountain: These bikes are made for off-road use and, as the name suggests, on hills and mountains. These bikes tend to be heavier-set than other types of bikes and have thick, off-road tyres that provide superior traction. Most also have great suspension for riding on uneven terrain with bumps.

Road: Though technically all bikes can ride on roads, road bikes are designed specifically for on-road use and do not perform well off-road. They typically have lightweight frames, thinner tyres and drop-style handlebars with curved grips. These bikes are great for commuting and are made to go fast. They can also be used for competitive on-road cycling.

City: Like road bikes, city bikes are designed to be used on-road in urban areas. The difference, however, lies in the handlebars, which allow the rider to be seated in a more upright position as, with these bikes, speed is not of the utmost importance. For the same reason, city bikes often have fewer gears than road or mountain bikes. These fun and easy-to-ride bikes can usually house baskets too—in the front and back—and are great for shopping, running errands, or strolls around the city.

Hybrid: Hybrid bikes are excellent for anyone who wants to do a bit of everything with their bicycle. Commuting on weekdays? Check. Taking to the hills on weekends? Check! Sitting somewhere in between a mountain bike and a road bike, hybrids have flat handlebars, fairly thick tyres and more often than not come with suspension.

Folding: With their smaller wheels and overall compact size, folding bikes have been designed for commuters or those with minimal storage space. These bikes get you from A to B and can be easily folded if you need to hop on the tube as part of your commute. You can even bring them inside or up the stairs with you for greater safety instead of leaving the bike outside with a bike lock, as they take up minimal space once folded.

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What features should I look for in a good women’s bike?

If you’ve decided on the type of bike you want, the next thing you need to consider are features that will aid in your comfort and safety.

Seat: Seats on women’s bikes are typically wider than those on men’s, but you can always look for a bike that has an extra padded seat if you’re worried about getting a sore behind. If you still find the bike’s seat uncomfortable, there are many off-market ultra-padded and cushioned seats available to buy that you can simply swap out with a wrench. Padded bicycle shorts are also available and opted for by those going on longer rides.

Handlebars: You’ll want to make sure that, while riding, you’re in a position that is most comfortable to you. If you prefer a more upright stance, opt for a city or hybrid bike. If you’re a little more sporty and are cycling professionally (or trying to get there), a road bike with lowered handlebars can help gather speed, but these may take a little getting used to if you’re a beginner.

Gears: Gears allow you to tailor the bike’s stride according to the road’s incline. For instance, a lower gear, though harder to peddle, can enable you to get uphill much easier. A higher gear is great for gaining speed along straight roads. If you’re planning on using the bike on various terrains, finding a bike with more gears is preferable. However, if you’re just planning to ride along straighter roads, you likely won’t need as many.

Capabilities: Unless you want a specialised bike for just one purpose – such as a racing bike or a mountain bike – you might want to opt for an adaptable bike. Hybrid bikes are great for commuting, city strolls, and a little off-roading. Folding bikes can also be useful for getting where you need to go and are easy to pop into a car boot, too. If you want to add a basket or a trailer, you’ll want to look for a bike that can accommodate these, as not all bikes can.

Extras: Some bikes, believe it or not, don’t come with a stand. If you need one of these, you might have to buy it separately, but they’re typically economical and straightforward to install. In addition, you want to ensure that your bike has adequate reflective lights, especially if you’ll be riding at night. Final touches like baskets and bells typically need to be purchased separately. You can even opt to add a couple of rearview mirrors to the handlebars for added safety.

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The best women’s bikes you can buy in 2023

1. Challenge Orbit Unisex Mountain Bike: Best budget women’s bike

Price when reviewed: £230 | Check price at Argos
If you’re after a fun yet affordable bike for a bit of adventuring, the economical Challenge Orbit 26-inch Unisex Mountain Bike will be right up your street. This mountain bike can roll along uneven terrain and still keep you comfy thanks to its dual suspension, but it can also easily take you around the city.

The bike can switch smoothly between its 18 gears, and reflectors and a bell are included in the already low price. The seat is fully adjustable and comes with a one-year manufacturer’s guarantee. However, the mudguards are not included, so you’ll need to get these extra if you plan to go hardcore on those dirt roads.

Key specs – Type: Mountain; Wheel size: 26-inch; Gears: 18; Colour: Blue

Check price at Argos

2. Van Rysel Women’s Road Bike EDR AF 105: Best splurge women’s bike

Price when reviewed: £900 | Check price at Decathlon
If you’ve decided to take on a bit of on-road racing, you’ll want to get yourself one of these bikes exclusive to Decathlon. Though it’s pricier than your average bike, professional-grade racing bikes can cost well into the several thousands. The Van Rysel EDR AF 105 Women’s Road Bike costs much less and is the next best thing to getting a pro bike.

It has a lightweight, sporty, 100% aluminium frame and skinny reinforced Michelin tyres made for speed. Expertly designed for efficiency, precision steering, good propulsion and durability, the EDR AF 105 also has an ergonomic sport saddle for comfort. Decathlon also offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, stem and handlebar.

Key specs – Type: Road; Wheel size: 28-inch; Gears: 11; Colour: Navy

Check price at Decathlon

3. Carrera Intercity Disc 8-Speed Folding Bike: Best folding women’s bike

Price when trend: £385 | Check price at Halfords
Known for its line of high-performance bikes used by many pro cyclists, Carrera has brought out this compact yet comfortable folding bike that’s perfect for commuters. Weighing just 13kg, this bike can be carried under an arm when it’s time to get on the escalators on the way to work or effortlessly put in the boot. It’s easy to fold, with the single lever in the middle of the bike’s frame, and takes up minimal space.

It has eight speeds which are enough for your typical intercity journey, and they’re easy to change with the single gear shifter on the handlebars. The mechanical brakes provide easy and comfortable stopping, and it’s a funky bright red colour, meaning you’ll be clearly visible in traffic. For a folding bike from a leading brand, this model is affordable, reliable and highly efficient.

Key specs – Type: Folding; Wheel size: 20-inch; Gears: 8; Colour: Red/black

Check price at Halfords

4. Licorne Bike Stella Premium City Bike: Best women’s city bike

Price when reviewed: From £290 | Check price at Amazon
This best-selling city bike not only looks great with its sleek and stylish black frame, brown faux leather seat and handlebar grips, but it’s also a joy to ride thanks to its easy gear transitioning and large 18-inch wheels. There are 21 gears for scaling city hills, and it comes with both front and rear safety lights, and a bell.

The bike has a rear rack so you can carry your shopping home, and it even comes with wheel reflectors. This is a good, value-for-money bicycle for women, but it requires some assembling when it arrives, as well as the adjustment of the brakes and gears. It comes with all the tools you’ll need to set it up, so you should be ready to roll in no time.

Key specs – Type: City; Wheel size: 28-inch; Gears: 21; Colour: Black/beige

5. Cannondale Trail Women’s 7 Mountain Bike: Best women’s mountain bike

Price when reviewed: £429 | Check price at Cycle Store
As a leading industry brand, Cannondale is well-known in the mountain biking community. The Trail Women’s 7 model is a heavy-duty, hardwearing bike that can take a good pounding and live to tell the tale. Everything on this high-quality bike has been engineered for the best mountain experience.

It features a hand-built, sturdy yet lightweight aluminium frame, stainless steel spokes, powerful brakes, dependable gears, and micro-suspension in the frame’s rear triangle that provides a controlled and smooth ride. The bike comes fully assembled for you to ride immediately with a set of bike tools, a kit bag and a one-year no-hassle return policy.

Key specs – Type: Mountain; Wheel size: 27.5 or 29-inch; Gears: 16; Colour: Iridescent white

Check price at Cycle Store

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