You can almost hear Barbara Grover, co-owner of Portland, OR's Spendid Cycles shaking her head when she answers the question, "What are the best bikes for women?” Grover, who's been in bicycle sales for years, has developed deep wells of patience, but even she can’t withhold her opinion—and perhaps a smidge of annoyance—when asked which bikes are 'best.' "It's like asking what are the best shoes, bra or beer," Grover grouses. There are so many varieties of bikes with so many uses—sport riding, transportation or just pure cycling pleasure.
And yet, a prospective bike buyer does want to know who is building the best bikes for her money before she walks into a store. And, anyway, bike manufacturers should at least pay attention to the fact that women are physiologically very different from men (for anatomical nitty gritty, read our story about choosing a saddle). One good point Grover makes is that bikes labeled "women’s” generally have a special geometry, with a shorter top tube than men’s models, yet they definitely won’t fit every woman. Some women will easily adapt to so-called men’s bikes and, surprisingly, the reverse is also true.
The key to buying a bike that you love, Grover says, is to choose thoughtfully. "What's the best bike for a woman? Answer: One that meets her needs, fits her body and expresses her personality—it’s no one style or brand." Thus, in this roundup, we’ve chosen 10 bikes that don’t fit statically into a single category such as "racer" or "commuter," but which are special enough to garner an extra look, and perhaps a test ride. Many have new features or innovations in these 2013 models. In addition, all of them are classics, or at least well on their way to being so.