Felt’s women-specific range opens with the ZW40. Built using Felt?s aluminium F-Lite tubing, the frame has seen plenty of manipulation to get the best from the material. As a result the ZW40 rides with a higher quality than its price tag suggests. Over rough lanes the frame was supple enough to give some cushioning, and despite its weight and some flex in the rear end, it still had the positive feel of power transfer.

A comparatively long head tube made for a high front end that conferred a stable if unexciting ride; ideal for new riders or if your confidence needs some steadying.

The eight-speed groupset came with a triple front chainring set-up. This meant that climbing in the small ring was good for steep climbs and also makes it a less daunting prospect for new riders, but it does limit your gear options in the middle ring, as it?s a higher gear range than normal.

The ZW40 comes armed with a host of women-specific parts, including the bars and saddle, making for a promising package. The Felt-branded saddle is similar to the Selle Italia women?s gel flow design ? a popular model, with a well-placed cut-out to relieve pressure where it?s at its most unwelcome.

The compact drop bar meant that the drops were easily accessible but the radius of the curve was just too great to allow for easy reach to the brake levers. An insert into the levers is needed, this would make the reach far more acceptable.

The ZW40 combines a frame that performs well and carbon fork with a thoughtfully-chosen groupset and components. It?s even more appealing considering its budget price-tag.

Felt ZW40: info

Distributor Saddleback, www.saddleback.co.uk, 01454 299965

Price £599.99

Frame Felt FitWoman custom-butted super-light 7005 aluminum

Fork Felt FitWoman carbon-fibre with chro-moly steerer

Size range Petite, small, medium, tall

Weight 21.33lb (9.7kg)

Groupset Shimano Sora/2200

Wheels Felt sealed alu hubs with alu aero rim

Size tested Medium