Best women’s road bike under 1000

If you are ready to invest in a road bike but don’t have a ton of money to spare, we’ve listed down some of what we consider the best women’s road bike under 1000 dollars.

As you get into this sport, you could easily be spending up to $10,000 on a bicycle and parts. However, none of that is really necessary, especially when you’re first starting out.

These road bikes we’ve listed aren’t necessarily the lightest or fanciest road bicycles on the market, but they do provide the best bang for your buck. 

Volare 1400

Schwinn Volare 1400 comes 90% preassembled in the shipping package. It is available in two different colors. It looks great with a classic design. The lightweight aluminum frame provides a speedy and smooth ride.

The rigid steel frame is resistant to fatigue and shifting can get comfortable with Shimano 14 speed shifter & derailleurs. The double-pivot braking lever with shifter combo is also an exciting feature you will get with it.

It has a lightweight saddle & drop bar handles that give you a comfortable ride. a 28-inch wheel with 28-millimeter tires gives a perfect on-road riding experience.

The Volare 1400 weighs 28 pounds and is suitable for beginners, for commuting, exercise, on-road & short-distance riding.

Pros:

  • A good entry level road bike at a low price.
  • It comes with 90% pre-assembled parts. Only to set up the front wheel, saddle, and handlebar. It’s easy to set them up.
  • The lightweight frame offers great speed & a comfortable riding experience.
  • It comes with a quick-release tire that eases maintenance.
  • A high-quality saddle and a drop handlebar ensure great comfort.

Cons:

  • Not the right choice for the long-distance riders.
  • A little heavy for racing
  • 14-speed derailleurs don’t favor offroad riding.
  • The tires are a little less grippy.

Tommaso Imola Road Bike

This Tommaso bike is equipped with a complete Shimano groupset or Shimano Claris groupset which includes the whole drivetrain, derailleurs, shifters, and brakes. The result is that one component complements the other which guarantees a smooth ride.

The 6061 aluminum frame and its compact geometry offer a more relaxed position for all riding styles, with a shallow handlebar drop so that you can still be comfortable when riding in the lower handlebar position.

Tommaso has also added extra control on turns by equipping the Imola with wider 25 millimeters, 700c road bike tires. They also added rear rack mounts, so you can carry all of your valuables. Moreover, the frame is compact and comfortable, making it stable and fun to ride, no matter the style.

The Tommaso Imola weighs 23 pounds and is a great bike for beginners, commuters, and short-distance riding.

Pros:

  • It is a gender neutral bike that features a lower top tube which is comfortable for both men and women.
  • Can be used by both beginners and those bikers who are returning to the sport after a long break.
  • Comfortable design and allows for a smooth riding experience
  • Comes in multiple colors and lightweight construction.

Cons:

  • Cheap road bike pedals needs to be upgraded
  • Expensive as compared to other entry level bikes
  • Requires tightening and assembly of various parts before use

Vilano R2 Road Bike

The Vilano R2 has a charming and durable design with a frame made from 6061 double-butted aluminum. The frame maintains a smooth traditional look with an appealing gloss black color that blends in well with the sleek build of the bike. 

The Vilano R2 is equipped with alloy caliper brakes, double-walled CNC machined wheelset aided by the existence of a Quick Release Skewer. These have stable braking performance and the wheelset on the bike promise a smooth biking experience.

This bike uses Shimano A050 thumb shifters that work with a Shimano 21 speed drivetrain to stay ahead of any situation on the road. The Shimano front friction 3-speed and rear indexed 7-speed combine to make a total of 21 different speed levels. This means that you’ll get just the amount of speed you need for the terrain you’re biking in.

The 700c by 25c wheels on the Vilano R2 get good traction on the road, and their slim design makes them ideal for the road terrain. The bike weighs 27 pounds and is suitable for commuters, short-distance riding, and for both men and women.

Pros:

  • It comes in various amazing color options
  • Plenty of room on the front frame triangle for you to carry accessories
  • Equipped with a water bottle mount
  • The brake levers are very neutral 

Cons:

  • Doesn’t Have a Kickstand
  • Tires could use some improvement

Schwinn Phocus 1600

The Schwinn Phocus 1600 is a great example of a quality road bike that is made just for women, as it has a size and configuration that is more in tune with a woman’s measurements, which results in a more comfortable feel, with improved efficiency.

The bike’s frame, which is made from forged aluminum and while the Phocus 1600 is very adjustable, the frame and handlebars are specifically designed for smaller body sizes. 

The drivetrain features a mix of Shimano and Schwinn parts. The rear derailleur is a Shimano Acera, so you get a high-end derailleur that offers very fast and accurate shifting, which is done via the Shimano trigger shifters.

Schwinn Phocus 1600 women’s bikes include a 14-speed Shimano shifter, 700cc Schwinn wheels and brakes are the usual dual-pivot style. It weighs 31 pounds and is a great choice for those who are progressing with their biking and are looking for the right bike to accommodate them.

Pros:

  • Size and configuration is great for women
  • Pared down size makes a huge difference in overall feel and efficiency.
  • Actual shift action is incredibly effortless and quick
  • Acera rear derailleur is always accurate
  • adjustable seatpost without using tools

Cons:

  • Brake pads require extra pressure
  • Tires aren’t the greatest, so an upgrade is advised.

Hiland Road Bike Hybrid Bike

This cruiser is yet another unisex for both women and men, but quality and features are all in sync with female body-built. This stylish-looking hybrid bike may not be as hyped as Schwinn or Sixthreezero but it’s safe, comfortable, and wouldn’t cost you much. 

It comes with a solid matt black 58cm aluminum frame which is completely rust-free and rigid. It also features 160-millimeter rear radius and 180 millimeter front mechanical brakes for smooth and safe braking.

The Hiland road bike includes a 24-speed Shimano drivetrain, mechanical brake design, and is aptly engineered with aluminum rims, Shimano 12-32T cassette, and Kenda 700*40C high-quality tires. 

It weighs 32 pounds, it is 85% pre-assembled, free installation tools and pedals are included. Suitable for beginners and commuters.

Pros:

  • Easy to switch over gears
  • Suitable for short and long trips.
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Budget road bike
  • Solid aluminum frame and able to withstand severe weather

Cons:

  • Difficult to assemble as it doesn’t come with a manual
  • Not the best components

How to Choose A Women’s Road Bike

Road Bike Type

The first thing you have to decide before you buy a road bike is what type of road bike you want. Frankly, the $1000 price range does not offer too many options. You will most likely find endurance, performance-oriented, or touring/adventure road bikes only.

Endurance Road Bike

Endurance road bikes are beginner-friendly because of their geometry. They allow you to ride in a more upright position that is more comfortable and does not require much flexibility. So if you are starting with road cycling, an endurance road bike may be a good option. The downside of endurance road bikes is that you will be slower due to less aerodynamic position.

Performance Road Bike

Performance road bikes are also sometimes called lightweight or race road bikes. They are very like endurance road bikes. The main difference is their geometry that is more aggressive. It pushes the rider into a more aerodynamic position with a lower drag coefficient. They also tend to be very lightweight and stiff. This type of road bike is perfect for performance-oriented riders. Pro riders use performance road bikes for mountain stages with a large elevation.

Aero Road Bike

Aero road bikes sometimes fall into the “performance road bike” category. They are optimized to be as aerodynamic as possible while maintaining other important features like stiffness. Their geometry is similar to the geometry of performance road bikes. Aero road bikes are popular among sprinters and racers, especially for the criterium, flats, and eventually hilly races. Their main downside is higher weight than performance road bikes and high price. Aero road bikes start at around $2500.

Other Types

There are also other road bike types like touring road bikes, cyclocross, gravel bike, time trial, etc. 

Weight

Most road bikers are weight weenies. They obsess over how much their bike weighs and how they can drop more weight. All for good reason. The lighter and stiffer your bike is, the farther and faster you will be able to pedal.

When just getting into the sport of road biking, you won’t have the lightest, faster bike on the road but you should still consider the overall weight. Carbon fiber frames allow bikes to be lightweight and stiff, however, you won’t find a carbon fiber frame for under $1000.

Aluminum technology has come a long way, allowing the bike to be stiff and still lightweight. Many aluminum frames also come with a carbon fork. This allows the bike to have the stiffness and performance of a carbon fork without breaking the bank.

Size

You want to choose a bike size that is right for you. This may mean test riding a few different sizes to figure out what you feel most comfortable on and what works best for your body.

Ideally, you should be able to stand over the top tube with both feet flat on the ground. Bikes list the rider heights that work best for that size but everyone is different.

If you know you are someone with proportionally short or long legs, consider choosing a bike size accordingly.

Groupset

Road bikes for up to $1000 use mainly 2X or 3X groupsets. 3X groupsets may seem like a better option thanks to the wider gear range, but is it true?

Well, 2X groupsets are much more popular among road cyclists. They provide a wide enough gear range (mostly 2×8, 2×9, 2×10, 2×11) and are not as complicated and heavy as 3X groupsets.

It is really not recommended to buy a road bike with a 3X groupset unless the bike provides other major benefits like a very good price-value ratio. 3X groupsets have no real advantage over 2X groupsets for road cyclists.

There are 3 main manufacturers of groupsets – Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM. Shimano dominates the market. 

Road bikes under $1000 almost always come with cheaper mechanical groupsets like Shimano Claris or Sora. Some road bikes feature components made in-house or from less-known brands.

These groupsets differ mainly in their efficiency, weight, and shifting (which is up to your personal preference).

Part vs Frame

When buying a bike on a budget, you should consider the price of parts and the price of the frame. Parts are mainly referring to your brakes, shifters, and derailleurs. Everyone recommends something different.

When first getting into the sport, I think having a heavier frame with nicer parts makes more sense. If your bike is shifting smoothly and efficiently, you will have a better riding experience.

On the other hand, if you buy the bike with the nicer frame and lower quality parts, you may end up spending more time and money fixing, adjusting, and ultimately replacing those lower quality parts.

Frame Material

Aluminum

This is a relatively cheap material that is not as labor-intensive as carbon. Aluminum frames are less stiff and heavier than carbon frames.

Their downside also is that they may corrode over time. Aluminum road bikes are the perfect entry-level point because of their affordability. Some experienced riders choose aluminum road bikes as their spare bike for winter training

Steel

Steel road bikes are more common among touring road bikes. They are durable and easy to repair. They provide good power transfer and have a unique look thanks to thin tubes. Their biggest downside is that they are heavy.

Carbon

Carbon road bikes are not very common in the under $1000 price range because of the carbons’ high costs, which is probably its biggest downside.

On the other hand, carbon is the stiffest and lightest material of these 3. Carbon has the highest stiff-to-weight ratio.

Women-Specific vs Unisex

Some bike companies make women’s specific frames, other companies make unisex. How do you know which is right for you? The best way to figure this out is by test riding bikes.

Women’s specific frames typically have a shorter distance from the seat to handlebars and are taller from where the crankset of the pedals meet the bike to where the handlebars come into the headtube.

Most women have shorter wingspans and prefer to ride more upright so some bike companies have tailored this.

Other companies that advertise a unisex bike argue that the adjustability to address these differences can be done with the crank arms, stem, handlebars, and seat adjustments. There is no concrete answer as to which is better, just what works best for you and your body.

Carbon Front Fork

Having a stiff front fork on a road bike makes a big difference in your ride. A stiff front fork can take on rough roads and provide a smooth ride. The stiff fork also affects how the bike handles and turns on sharp corners.

Although all bikes at this low price point will be aluminum frames, many feature a carbon front fork to increase the overall performance of the bike.

Handlebars

Almost all road bikes come with drop handlebars. This allows you to ride in a more aerodynamic position for longer. 

Drop bars take some getting used to since they force you to ride in a more forward and narrower position.

Brakes

You want your bike to have good quality brakes for when you’re cruising back down the hill you just climbed. You will want to have disc brakes, be it hydraulic disc brakes or mechanical-disc brakes.

Either will work well to slow you down or stop you on a road bike. Disc brakes create a smaller surface area for the brake pads to squeeze down on to stop the momentum of the bike.

Rim Brakes

These are cheaper, lighter, and easier to maintain than disc brakes. Their main downside is their effectiveness during wet conditions or in long descents.

Disc Brake

These are much more effective in various weather conditions so your stopping power is not affected. Their downside is the weight, more difficult maintenance, and higher price.

Cheaper road bikes come with mechanical and more expensive bikes with hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanics are less effective than hydraulic but still provide a very good stopping power.

The disc is also relatively close to the center of the wheel providing greater stopping power than rim brakes do around the outside of the wheel.

The advantage of having hydraulic brakes over mechanical is there is a faster reaction when you pull the hydraulic brake over the mechanical.

Pedals

If you’re serious about getting into road biking, you’ll want to upgrade to a set of clipless pedals. Although they are called clipless, these pedals allow you to clip the bottom of your bike shoe cleat directly into the pedals.

This allows you to pedal more efficiently than flat pedals. For each rotation, you will get 15% more due to momentum from your upstroke in addition to the downstroke. Unfortunately, pedals are sold separately from the bike, so budget accordingly.

Wheel Type

Clinchers 

These are the most widespread type of wheels/tires. The tire is supported by an inner tube that can be made of rubber or latex. This is a wider tire type and is used on most low-end road bikes.

Tubular Tires

Tubular tires are more common among professionals. Some hobby riders use tubular tires as well because they allow you to inflate lower pressures. This means they are more puncture-resistant and more comfortable.

Tubeless Tires

Tubeless tires are the most modern ones. Tubeless-ready wheels allow you to use a tube-free tire because they use sealant instead of the inner tube. Tubeless-ready wheels are relatively rare in the below $1000 range.

Tire Width

The wider and more volume the tire, the more comfort you get, and the more difficult terrain you will be able to ride in.

The common standard was 23 millimeter tires, but it slowly changed to 25 millimeter tires. Nowadays, road bikes are designed to fit 28 millimeter and sometimes even wider tires.

It is recommended that you do a few experiments and test rides with various tire widths inflated to different pressures to find which one will best suit you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a lightweight road bike?

17 – 17.5 pounds is the normal range for lightweight bikes. The performance advantage of a lighter bike is greatest when the hill is steepest. Most weight conscious people aren’t bringing their bikes down to 15 pounds because down at that weight, the handling gets very sketchy.

Can a woman ride a 26 inch bike?

Petite women may want 26-inch wheels but most will be best served by a 27.5 inches or 29 inches wheel. These two wheel sizes are becoming more common on modern mountain bikes, so if you are buying a bike new, it’s likely to have 27.5 or 29-inch wheels

What’s a good weight for a road bike?

An average entry- to mid-level road bike will weigh around 20-25 pounds or 9.1-11.3 kilograms.

The lightest bike ever made was 6.1 pounds  or 2.8 kilograms and the heaviest entry-level road bike I found was about 33 pounds or 11.8 kilograms

Generally speaking, the more expensive the bike, the less it will weigh. As your budget increases, you can get fancier and lighter components. If your budget is limited, you’ll need to settle for basic and heavy components.

Does bike weight really matter?

Not really. A 5 pound (2.3 kg) difference is only going to be a change of about 3% of the combined weight of you and your bike. That adds up fast for professionals that are riding a lot of intense miles, but most of us aren’t going to notice a massive difference.

Conclusion

If you’re serious about getting into the sport of road biking, the first bike you buy won’t be your last. As you improve, then you’ll want to consider upgrading your bike.

Having the right bike for you is important, especially when first starting out. If you are not happy with your bike, chances are you won’t enjoy riding it as much.

Before buying a new road bike, take a look at your budget. If you can afford to, putting in a little more money upfront can ultimately save you more down the road. Be careful about choosing expensive road bikes that seem like a good deal.

Oftentimes companies cut corners by putting cheap, off-brand brakes and drivetrains on their bikes to keep the price low. While this saves you money upfront, you’re going to spend a lot of time fixing and ultimately replacing those parts.

Ultimately, any bike on this list will be good for you. The best way to decide is to consider your budget and get out for as many test rides as you can.

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By Paul P.

Paul Panha is an avid cyclist and sports performance enthusiast. Regularly on the road testing (and buying) new bikes. Paul is a co-owner of GetBike.fit and is the head resident author here.