The Best Women's Road Biking Gear

High-performance kit for speed lovers

(Inga Hendrickson)
women

For decades, outdoor brands gave little attention to women’s products. That’s changing fast. We asked a field of expert female athletes to nominate the best new performance tools in a range of sports. Here, we present our favorite tried-and-true performance road biking gear. 

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Pearl Izumi Elite Gel Full Finger Gloves ($40)

womens gear
(Courtesy of Pearl Izumi)

I like full-finger gloves for the extra warmth and protection they offer. The Elites mix generous padding in the palms to take the bite out of the road and dimpled, stretchy fabric that won’t cut off circulation. 

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Smith Founder Sunglasses ($169) 

womens gear
(Courtesy of Smith)

The Founder appears decidedly casual, with its chunky frames and flared temples. But over a season of wearing them, they never once slipped off or fogged up.

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Velocio Ultralight Vest ($125)

womens gear
(Courtesy of Velocio)

Do yourself a favor and stuff a lightweight vest in your jersey pocket. The best models, like the sub-two-ounce Ultralight from Velocio, take up very little room and offer a surprising amount of warmth. 

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The XX Factor Issue

Our special issue highlights the athletes, activists, and icons who have shaped the outside world.

Read all the stories

Fondo Honey Kit ($299)

womens gear
(Courtesy of Fondo)

With bright tessellations of color, Fondo’s Honey is a kit for women who want to make a statement. Yet performance features abound, including buttery-soft, fast-drying jersey fabric and a chamois that holds up to 100-mile days.

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Giro Synthe MIPS Helmet ($270)

womens gear
(Courtesy of Giro)

The Synthe nails the holy trinity of road helmets: it’s light, breathable, and supremely adjustable. Coming in at just 9.5 ounces, it remains snug on even the longest days, while the 26 vents channel wind straight to your sweaty scalp. 

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Sidi Wire Vent Carbon Shoes ($499) 

womens gear
(Courtesy of Sidi)

Italian brand Sidi sets the gold standard for race shoes, and the Wire Vent lives up to that heritage. Ridiculously featherweight, it features a slim carbon-fiber sole that saves grams while adding stiffness for better pedaling efficiency. The socklike fit—courtesy of two ratcheting dials that let you make on-the-fly adjustments—is best suited to narrow feet.

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Giro HRC+ Socks ($25)

womens gear
(Courtesy of Giro)

Socks with a deep heel that hugs your foot, no-stink merino fabric, and a pro-looking seven-inch cuff? I’ll take five pairs, please, in all the colors.

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Trek Madone 9.5 Bike ($8,000)

womens gear
(Courtesy of Trek)

Everything about the Madone 9.5 is designed to cheat the wind, right down to the carbon fairings in the fork that flare out when you turn the bars. Even more remarkable: the bike doesn’t make you feel like you’re about to lose a filling, thanks to a tiny suspension system built into the seat tube. 

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The Expert: Outside executive editor Axie Navas was a nationally ranked category 2 cyclist who competed for five years and still drops staffers on after-work rides.

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