As part of our mega guide to the best bikes on the market, we help answer the question of whether female riders need to buy a women's specific machine.
Liv (as well as Giant) this year are using new decals, printed in one sheet, to finish bikes. They weigh a lot less than paint, and digital printing means they look fantastic. Off the showroom floor, the Langma Advanced Pro 1 is a great-looking package, and came with tubeless-ready wheels all set up and nothing to add but my pedals. While we didn’t get a chance to set the tubeless up ourselves as a result, dealers and other Bike editorial staff assure me it’s an easy process.
Out on the road, it’s immediately obvious that the Langma is intended for serious riding. While she’ll be fine for a casual coffee spin or a weekend jaunt to check out the countryside, the Langma is going to come into her own when the chips are down, the cowbells are ringing, and the chequered flag is waving. This bike’s racy geometry and good overall stiffness, particularly the front-end stiffness, lends it to aggressive, out-of-the saddle climbing, as well as sprints and accelerations.
The top-of-the-line Langma Advanced SL 0 comes with a SRAM power meter, so it’s not surprising that as we work our way down through the range, Liv have kept a bit of integrated technology. The Advanced Pro 1, for example, comes equipped with RideSense, a chainstay-integrated wireless data transmitter that sends wheel speed and cadence information directly to any ANT+ compatible computer.
The Langma is an elegant bike to ride. The front-to-rear end stiffness feels well-balanced, and her geometry is a good compromise between whippy and dependable. The bike weighs 7.5kg without pedals and she climbed beautifully.
I’d advise a little bit of caution, though for the recreational rider considering a Langma. It’s nice to have a light, racy bike, but the carbon wheel set and somewhat more aggressive setup doesn’t come for free - a bit of comfort has been exchanged for the competition pedigree. When I went out for a cruise, I felt the set-up was a bit too stiff for a ride that was all about enjoyment - remember Liv has a good range of the gentler endurance roadie, the Avail, for 2018 as well. – Imogen Smith
For Optimum Performance: Canyon Ultimate WMN CF SLX Disc 9.0 Team CSR
The Canyon Ultimate WMN, like the Langma, is bred to race. Compared with the unisex model, the Ultimate WMN has slightly reduced reach and taller stack, which Canyon says puts women in the same race-oriented position as male riders would be on the unisex frame. It’s also lighter, more aerodynamic (saving 2 watts at 45kph, says Canyon), and the two smallest sizes sport 650b wheels. Canyon says this allows the smaller bikes to have similar geometries - and thus handling - as larger sizes.
To ride, the Ultimate WMN pulses with energy. It’s light, smooth, and jumps at every acceleration. Once moving, it has a subtle, slippery aero feel. Handling is responsive but predictable, inspiring you to move with assurance through a churning pack. The position is long and low, but still comfortable for less hard-charging rides. When you’re winding up for a sprint, the bike is solid and provides a sense of direct power transfer. On rough descents, it sticks to the road well. Reynolds Assault LE carbon rims help to plump up the 25mm tyres (the frame fits up to 30mm of rubber). The Ultimate WMN weighs in at 7.0kg (small).
One of Canyon’s strengths is a direct-to-consumer model that enables competitive pricing. For $8,899 you get SRAM eTap, carbon wheels, and disc brakes. – Gloria Liu
RRP: $8,899. Delivery: $199