Whether you’re a beginner at cycling or a seasoned vet looking for a comfortable trail machine, you’ll find something to love in this roundup of great fitness bikes and commuter hybrids
Hybrids tend to be thought of as clunky, but the newly relaunched Cannondale Quick is as light and zippy as it is smooth and easy to ride. The bike comes in eight numbered models with different components and features, with the Quick 1 being the highest-end (they range from $400-1,200). The 1-4 Quicks use the Quick SL frameset and a tapered carbon fork; the 5-8 Quicks use a Quick frameset with alloy or cromoly forks. Disc brakes are available on Quicks 1, 3, and 5. Check out our full review here.
A true hybrid, the Square Cross 3 has a 60mm-travel front suspension fork and Tektro ACC hydraulic disc brakes for easy handling and bonus stopping power on rough trails. With a Shimano triple crank and Acera 9-speed rear derailleur, the bike can accommodate any tough, off-road climbs you’re willing to tackle. It also comes in both standard and step-through aluminum alloy frames.
Breezer mastered the low-maintenance commuter bike with the Beltway, and now the company intends to corner the market on performance and comfort for fitness riders with the Liberty 3R. The bike adds Breezer’s stiff Breeze-In Dropouts to a lightweight aluminum frame; Shimano Altus components on a 27-speed drivetrain; and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Fenders and a rear rack can be purchased to add all-season capabilities to this clean-looking, high-value bike.
The Strada unites that trademark Bianchi celeste with a flat-bar endurance bike inspired by the company’s cyclocross frame, the Volpe. With double-butted chromoly tubing and Shimano Claris 2×8 11-32T, the Strada is designed to be fast and comfortable for long commutes and fitness riding. The bike comes equipped with Vittoria Randonneur 28c tires but enough clearance for up to 38c, and Tektro CR720 cantilever brakes that uphold the bike’s classic look and performance.
The Grade Flatbar is a fun, responsive bike made for long commutes and exploring your city on two wheels. Available in Comp, Elite, and Expert models in a wide array of sizes (48-60), the bike integrates road geometry and a hydroformed aluminum frame with a Shimano Claris eight-speed triple crank, flat bars, and 700×28 Kenda Kwest tires ready to take on anything. The bike also comes with a Grade carbon fork designed to soak up road vibrations and potholes and Tektro mechanical disc brakes for speedy braking in all weather conditions.
RELATED: First Ride: GT Grade
Felt offers the Verza Café for chill commutes and the Verza Path for off-road riding, but the Speed model brings together everything you need for a fast commute or weekend workout. It’s available in seven different component levels with two women’s versions (the Verza Speed 40 Women and the Verza Speed 50 Women). If you want a lightweight carbon road bike with flat bars, the Speed 3 is the high-end option. But for a comfortable aluminum ride with Shimano Sora 9-speed and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, the 25-pound Verza Speed 30 is a great deal at $750.
Fuji’s Absolute line of alloy-framed lifestyle bikes includes the 1.1, 1.3, 1.7, and 1.9 disc brake bikes and the lower-cost 2.1 and 2.3, which come with rim brakes. The Absolute 1.3 disc is an upper-middle option with Shimano Sora components; a 50/34T crankset with an 11-32T, 9-speed cassette; and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. At 24 pounds it’s light enough for commuting or rail-trail fitness rides and comes with rack and fender mounts for added versatility.
RELATED: 10 of the Best Long Rail Trails in the US
Great for beginners who want to go fast or anyone who prefers more upright, flat-bar comfort, the Cadent 4 is a cherry-red fitness machine with a SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain, an 11-42 11-speed cogset, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. With a lightweight aluminum frame and carbon fork—as well as fender and rack mounts—the bike is ready for long country rides and city commutes. Raleigh also offers the Cadent 3 and Cadent 1 as down-spec’ed options and the Cadent I8 as an upper-end version, with a Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal gear rear hub with Gates Center Track carbon belt drive.
Ready to crush a hard-packed trail or a cross-town commute, the Roll is Specialized’s good-looking fitness bike, available in multiple iterations and even step-through versions. The aluminum-frame Roll Elite comes with an aluminum fork, fender/rack mounts, a Sunrace 8-speed 11-34t cassette, 48/38/28T chainring, and Tektro mechanical disc brakes. With upswept handlebars and relaxed geometry, the Roll is designed to be an ultra-comfortable hybrid that’s geared for both beach rides and hilly commutes.
Here’s a lightweight, aluminum-framed bike that’s easy to ride and decked to the gills with touring, commuting, and rugged-riding features. The ToughRoad SLR 1 comes with an alloy fork, SRAM 10-speed drivetrain, and Shimano M395 hydraulic disc brakes—as well as front and rear racks included with the bike. The D-Fuse seatpost is intended to smooth trail bumps and the Giant SX-2 double wall rimmed wheels with 700c anti-puncture tires are designed so the bike can handle off-road adventures. For a more entry-level version, Giant also offers the ToughRoad SLR 2.
The San Rafael DS4 is a lightweight aluminum hybrid designed to tackle mixed terrain. With a suspension fork, rack and fender mounts, increased tire clearance, hybrid tires, disc brakes, and a Shimano FC-T521 10-speed, 48/36/26 crankset, the bike has been built primarily for off-road excursions without losing speed or stability on the road. The bike is also available in descending order of price as the DS3, DS2, and DS1, the entry-level version.
Pinarello’s hybrid combines the sleekness of a road frame with the lower price point (for Pinarello) and utility of a city bike. With drop bars, Shimano Sora components, and an asymmetric frame design similar to the one originally pioneered in the Pinarello Dogma, the bike has been classified as everything from an entry-level road bike to a “super-hybrid.” Cyclists looking for a lighter, more elegant hybrid will appreciate this versatile, carbon fiber machine.
With a lightweight aluminum frame/fork and cushy Vittoria Randonneur 700x32c tires, the Allegro is designed to bring well-fitted comfort to a faster-riding fitness bike. The bike has an adjustable threadless steering system, so handlebar height can easily be recalibrated in the middle of a ride. It also features Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes and a 48/38/28 Shimano FC-TY501 crankset, so you can tackle any hill and rapidly come to a stop at the bottom of it. Find it in numerous versions, including women’s versions of the Comp and more entry-level Sport, and the higher-end Allegro Elite.
Schwinn’s hybrid is designed for long fitness rides and commuting in comfort, with a special elastomer in the seat stays that adds 15mm of rear suspension to soak up rough roads. The Vantage comes in two modesls: An F1 with a Shimano 3×9 speed drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and Kenda tires; and an F2 with a down spec-ed 3×8 Shimano drivetrain (with SR Suntour crank), Promax mechanical disc brakes, heavier rims, and Kenda tires with less flat protection.
RELATED: Schwinn Vantage RX1
Primarily designed to tackle bike lanes and paved trails, the VFR is from the smaller Canadian bike brand Norco. The VFR line of fitness bikes is available in both carbon and alloy frames, from VFR 1 to 6 in descending level of spec. The VFR3 has a double-butted alloy frame and carbon fork with Tektro flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes and a Shimano CS-HG200 11-32T 9-speed cassette. For a rim brake option (and more entry-level parts), the VFR 6 is a bargain at $399
Like them or loathe them, disc road bikes are here to stay. And what better time to consider one than just before the Autumn-Winter period. Whether you are a competitive racer or a weekend club-riding warrior looking for an off-season training tool, or a commuter who wants something a little faster than a hybrid, the disc road bike is a versatile winter machine that will give you improved stopping power in all weather conditions, and if you’ve ever grabbed a handful of rim brakes in the rain and found stopping times to not be what they’re used to be, then you’ll already understand the benefits of discs.
Cable operated disc set-ups have been available on road bikes for some years now and, of course, have infiltrated the cyclocross scene since the UCI allowed their use at the top level of the sport in 2010. Then came bikes like the Genesis Croix de Fer who have shown how versatile a road disc bike can really be – something that can be used for commuting, occasional cyclocross, touring, audax and riding 100km sportives.
Most disc road bikes these days are in the ‘endurance’ category, mainly because there’s still a question mark over using discs in road racing. Discs have been tested in pro tours, and there have been mixed reactions. Some riders have been badly cut up in crashes, but it is inconclusive as to whether landing on a disc has or could cause rider damage or not. It’s safe to say, however, that most of us will not be matching their 40-70km speeds, or riding in such large groups, so I don’t personally see discs as a concern for most riders. Put it this way, mountain bikers have been using them for over a decade and not found any hazardous issues. And even if this is a concern for you, companies such as Hope Tech are coming up with clever inventions to protect you, like Hope’s new round-edged discs (pictured above).
Whatever your thoughts on the matter, they’re here to stay, and rumour has it that some companies may even go disc only in their entire road range. Until then, make good use of the choice. For those that have chosen, for whatever reason, there’s a disc road bike out there for you. From the classic endurance road bike and tourer, to the aero speed machines and road racers, there’s a disc in all the categories, and we’ve tried to capture the best of them below:
1. Colnago AC-R Disc Ultegra
Colnago have amended the design of their disc models by changing to 12mm thru axles both front and rear, and have also brought the brakes up to date with flat mount callipers. The all new C60 Disc, will be available from January 2017 looking as stunning as every other C60 with their distinctively lugged carbon frames. There is also word that the previous Colnago A-CR Disc model is being replaced with the updated CRS Disc for 2017 too. If you can’t wait until then, you may be able to pick up a 2016 AC-R Disc for around £3k, or even the 2015 CX Zero (which implies a cyclocross bike, but is in fact an endurance road bike) for less than £2k. One thing is for sure with these guys, is the price may be higher than the competition, but the quality of the ride, the attention to building detail and the aesthetics of these rides are equally as high. This is the roadie’s choice.
2. De Rosa Idol Disc
De Rosa create some stunning Italian beauties, like the Ferrari of bicycles. What’s more is they have provided a number of disc brake options outside of the typical ‘endurance road’ category, including the curvy SK Pininfarina, an angular aero road machine designed for outright speed. For nothing other than adrenaline-fuelled blurs across the tarmac, the Idol Disc looks to be a sturdy all-day beast. The Idol frame is made from super hi-modulus fibre with a blend of T1000 (70%) and T800 (30%), thereby guaranteeing structural rigidity, as well as vibration dampening and lightness. An Ultegra build is expected to retail at £2,999 and comes in a few colour options.
3. Cannondale CAAD12
Cannondale obviously provide an endurance disc road bike in the popular Synapse, but the CAAD12 is incredible value at £2,499 with Shimano Dura Ace, if you don’t mind aluminium, and it comes in a new shouty ‘Neon Spring’ yellow that’ll surely get you noticed on the roads this winter. Lower specs are available for even less too.
4. KTM Revelator Sky Ultegra
It’s quite telling that KTM’s top spec road bikes are disc, and it marks a direction more and more companies will move towards. The Revelator Sky is a cushy endurance ride retailing at £2,399 with a full Shimano Ultegra groupset. Key features include a comfy 27.2mm seat post with a classy integrated seat-post clamping system, which is a stylish touch that’s new for this year, and comes in at a reasonable sub-8kg weight.
5. Ridley Fenix 10 Disc
Ridley are arguably the kings of ‘cross, producing World Cup winning bikes for decades. Ridley now only produce disc brake cyclocross bikes and have had a few years perfecting their techniques too. Though Ridleys are lesser spotted on the UK roads, they are a high-performance brand seen between the legs of pros in the Tour de France. Currently, discs only make an appearance in their endurance range with the Fenix Disc. The Fenix Disc 10 is a carbon frame built up with a mixture of Shimano Ultegra and 105, weighs in just under 9kg and retails at £2,499, but 2016 models can be found for sub-£2k. On paper, it doesn’t quite compete in weight or value, but they are known to be good handlers.
Showcasing discs in the road racing range, Cube’s new Litening Disc is apparently too fast to spell the namesake properly. We reviewed a non-disc Litening C:68 recently and found it to be fast, fast, fast, and I’m sure the disc option will be no different, especially with the added benefit of bolt-through axels to compensate for braking forces. Your options include the Litening C:68 (referring to the carbon:resin ratio) with Dura Ace Di2 electronic gears and 25mm wide wheels retailing at £5,999, or the Litening C:62 (a lower ration of carbon: resin) with Ultegra, which is an utter bargain at £2,499.
7. Trek Domane
Trek have a good range of road bikes with disc brakes, but they remain firmly in the endurance domain, with a few tourers as well. If you’re a commuter and part-time touring adventurer, then the 920 Disc comes with pannier racks from and rear for under £2k. For everyone else, the Domane is their main performance road disc bike, designed to go the distance with comfort as its primary goal. The main selling point of the carbon Domane frame is the IsoSpeed design; a “decoupling” device that allows the seat post to flex by a few millimetres independently, as it is effectively disconnected from the chainstays and the top tube. Trek have now worked IsoSpeed into their carbon forks as well to give a super plush ride. We’ve had our mitts on a Domane 4.3 Disc in the past, and while it isn’t a race bike, it certainly does what it says on the tin with regards to comfort. The range starts at a respectable £1,900 for the 4.3 Disc, considering the amount of design work going into the frame, but this does make it comparatively expensive on paper with an a Ultegra build (Domane SLR 6) expecting to cost £3,600 for 2017.
8. Focus Cayo Disc
Focus offer the Cayo in disc, which is their ‘performance’ road bike; neither race nor endurance, but somewhere in-between and looking rather sporting. The Focus Cayo Disc Ultegra, as its name suggests, comes with full Ultegra build and the odd spattering of carbon in their finishing kit, which a nice touch for a bike that’s under £2,000. I can’t say the monochrome paint job excites me, but the price tag is certainly appealing for a full Ultegra spec on a carbon frame with acceptable wheels. Perhaps the most compelling feature of the Cayo Disc, though, is the inclusion of RAT (Rapid Axle Technology) thru axles, front and rear. The RAT axle incorporates a ‘T-Pin’ that replaces the threaded portion of the axle and allows for much quicker, more accurate wheel changes. Lower specs will save you some money, and the Cayo AL, with aluminium frames, will save you even more if you’re on a budget. This makes the Cayon probably one of the better value packages for a winter hack.
9. Merida Scultura Disc 5000
Merida are offering a couple of disc models in their range, but again, it’s nice to see a brand offering disc in their ‘road racing’ category with the Scultura Disc 400. The highest spec is pretty low with Shimano Sora on an aluminium frame, but at £800 it’s a cheap winter thrasher that still looks pretty slick. Keep an eye out for the all-new Scultura 5000 in 2017 though, which should hit the shops soon at a competitive £2,100 with Ultegra and a carbon frame, and also check out the Ride 5000 Disc for an endurance-oriented version.
10. Bianchi Infinito CV Disc
Bianchi have a couple of disc models in their ‘endurance road‘ range, including the Impuls0 (aluminium frame), the Intenso (carbon frame) and the Infinito CV (fancy carbon with Convervail; technology that offers an amount of flexibility in the frame to soak up the bumps and cancel vibration). The fancy CV model does come at a cost, as the Infito CV Disc with Ultegra is priced around £3,400. I guess the question is; what’s the cost of comfort and performance to you? The Intenso Disc, however, is only available in a slightly lesser spec than the Infinite CV, with Shimano 105, and is priced at £2,500. The ladies get the Impulso Dama in disc. This, and the unisex Impulso Disc, offer great value for a nippy aluminium ride at £1,300, which would seem the perfect winter tool for roadies who like a well balanced ride with performance heritage.
11. Scott Solace Disc
The Scott Solace is their carbon endurance bike, and it is available for women as well in the Solace Contessa. The HMF carbon fibre frame is built in 2 ‘zones’; a Power Zone and a Comfort Zone, in order to result in a stiff and responsive front end and a comfortable rear triangle. For an Ultegra build expect around £2,500. If comfort isn’t your bag, the Speedster Disc is more of a racier model with aluminium frame and carbon forks, which is available up to a Shimano 105 build at £1,300 or lower.
12. Storck Aernario Disc
As the name suggests, the Aernario hints at a lower drag design that your usual endurance-oriented disc bike. If you want even less drag then you’ll need to take a look at the Storck Aerfast, their dedicated aero road bike. Coming from a low volume, high quality, innovation and technology-focused manufacturer, you’ll be getting a very well designed product from Storck, albeit at a deserved premium price tag. Expect around £4,699 for an Ultegra build with DT Swiss bolt-through wheels.
13. Raleigh Mustang
Raleigh have a few disc options, but if you’re exclusively looking for carbon, you’ll need to look at the RX, their cyclocross bike, and the Roker, their gravel bike, and convert them for road use. We’ve tested a RX and RXW before, and loved the handling, so a set of road tyres would give you a great commuter, weekend trainer that can double as a cyclers race bike when it takes your fancy. Also on offer with disc brakes is the Mustang; a do-it-all, tarmac, gravel, pot-hole eating aluminium bike that is surely a bike for consideration by a rider looking to use this as their main weapon of training, whatever and wherever that may be. The base-model is quite a looker (pictured) and starts at a purse-pleasing £850, reaching up to £1,500 for SRAM Rival 1×11 and tubeless American Classic wheels.
14. Specialized Roubaix, Tarmac and Venge
Specialized have dived right into disc road bikes this year, and probably have the biggest choice of disc road bikes out there, with the Roubaix (endurance road), the Venge (aero), the Tarmac (road race), the Sequoia (touring) and the Diverge (all-purpose road). For the women, the Ruby (the women’s specific Roubaix), the entire range is disc only, but there’s still a few rim brakes left in the Dolce range. Being new, and being one of few brands to offer an aero road bike in disc, it’s understandable that the Venge comes with a hefty price tag at £3,600 for a mixed Ultegra groupset, but hey, this a Tour de France-worthy bike. The Roubaix doesn’t come cheap either, with a Shimano 105 spec coming in at £2,500 with a carbon frame. Unfortunately, they’re not making aluminium versions of their favourite models as yet, and the aluminium Allez is currently still a full rim-brake range. I’ve heard a rumour this may change though, so keep an eye on them next year if you’re interested.
15. Giant Defy and TCR Advanced
Giant’s TCR Advanced now comes in disc, new for 2017, but the highest spec you can buy at present is with Shimano 105 for £1,500, which is actually great value for a carbon frame, and one that is a proper road racing bike. If you’re looking for a better spec you can get the Giant Defy (the endurance road bike) or the Avail (the women’s specific endurance bike) in a carbon frame with Shimano Ultegra for the same price as the aforementioned TCR Advanced.
16. Lapierre Sensium & Xelius
For the Lapierre fans, you’ll be pleased to know that they now offer disc options in both their Sensium (endurance) and Xelius (race) range. What’s nice about the Xelius, other than it being a proper race bike with discs, is that they offer a good level of size customisation; small sizes get small handlebars, short stem and even a shorter crank arm length. It has never made sense to me that a small rider should have the same finishing kit as a large rider, so this is a welcome level of detail. By comparison to the rest of the bikes mentioned in this Guide, the Xelius won’t seem such a bargain on paper at £2,999 for an Ultegra build (in the Lapierre Xelius SL 600 Disc MC), but you have to remember that this is a road racing bike, not a casual endurance rider, and it’s one that has helped Team FDJ win many stages of the Tour de France in the past. This is a winter warmer for those that want more speed than scenery.
17. Genesis Zero and Equilibrium
Team Madison Genesis, a UK-based pro team, do very well on their Zero road racers, especially in short criteriums like the Tour Series, so I don’t doubt the ability of the Zero Disc as an equally nimble stead, especially with the added bonus of through-axels. There is only one build option for this, and that’s hydraulic disc brakes and electronic gearing (Ultegra Di2) at £3,300, which is well priced for the spec. Genesis says this is “the future”, and I certainly agree it’s the future for functionality regardless of weather. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if residents of typically wet regions in the UK start to use bikes spec’d like this as year-round racers. The Zero Disc also comes with size appropriate handlebars, stem and crank arm lengths according to the frame size. For everyone else, commuting, exploring and club riding with a dispensary for chatting rather than elbowing their way to the front of a pack, there is the steel Equilibrium; a do-it-all road bike, and one of the first of its kind, which starts from £1,249.
If we’ve missed out something you’ve ridden, feel free to share your story or review in the comments below! Sharing is caring.
Here at Cycling Weekly we get to ride hundreds of bikes each year, everything from £250 hybrid commuters to £12,000 super bikes, all of which have their merits, so narrowing them down to decide on our 2017 Bike of the Year has been no easy task.
To allow every bike to shine its own way, and to make it easier for you to find your next new bike, not only have we given an overall winner, but we have also split our Bike of the Year award into five categories: best aero bike, best endurance bike, best value bike, best disc brake road bike, and best women’s bike.
However, there can there can only be one overall winner: a bike that not only stands out in its own category, but is fantastic however and wherever you choose to ride it…
Overall Winner: Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0
Our Bike of the Year for 2017 is the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0.
The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 is a bike that ticks all the boxes you will want from your next bike.
At just 6.8kg, it sits plum on the UCI’s weight limit, an attribute that makes it an excellent climbing bike, helping you fly up hills like Nairo Quintana or Alberto Contador.
However it also manages to excel on the flats and descents. The tubes have a subtle D-shaped profile to improve aerodynamics, while lowering the seat clamp down the seat tube helps to improve comfort, and the shortish wheelbase makes for sharp handling.
The price is also spot-on, with your £2,999 getting you a pro-level frame equipped with the exceptional Shimano Ultegra groupset and Mavic Ksyrium Pro Exalith SL wheels.
Best Aero Bike: Planet X EC-130E
Our Aero Bike of the Year for 2017 is the Planet X EC-130E.
The Planet X EC-130E might not be the most technologically advanced aero bike, but it manages to combine speed with practicality in an impressive package.
In what is perhaps a display for sensible northern design, Planet X has decided to position the brakes in their normal places at the front the fork and the rear of the seatstays, and hasn’t gone over the top with the internal cable routing.
Add into the mix the supremely stiff bottom bracket and sharp front end that makes the EC-130E a great race bike, which is also easy to maintain, clean, and live with.
Best Endurance Bike: Specialized Roubaix Expert
Our Endurance Bike of the Year for 2017 is the Specialized Roubaix Expert.
The Specialized Roubaix comes with front suspension technology that might be easy to dismiss as a gimmick, but really isn’t.
The suspension built into the steerer tube does a great job of improving comfort on really rough surfaces, and also helps to improve handling, as the tyre spends more time in contact with the tarmac around bumpy surfaces.
It also doesn’t impede your sprinting and climbing even as you pull up and down on the bars when out of the saddle, and the bike’s weight is impressive for an endurance bike too.
Best Value Bike: B’Twin Triban 540
Our Best Value Bike of the Year for 2017 is the B’Twin Triban 540.
B’Twin took this prize last year, and things have got even better in 2017, with the Triban 540 offering Shimano 105 shifting for only £650.
Considering the bargain basement price, we were expecting a bargain basement frame and wheels too, but what you get is nothing of the sort.
Don’t be put off by not having a carbon frame, as the aluminium Triban frame offers impressive performance and comfort, and the Mavic Aksium wheels are more often seen on bikes costing twice as much.
Best Disc Brake Bike: BMC Roadmachine RM02
Our Best Disc Brake Bike of the Year for 2017 is the BMC Roadmachine RM02.
Disc brakes have long been synonymous with endurance bikes, but BMC has taken them in a different direction with its new Roadmachine, a seriously impressive all-rounder.
The Roadmachine has been designed from the ground up to be a disc brake bike, and that really shows out on the road, where it is stable under braking, letting you attacks corners and descents.
It also offers a relatively low overall weight and a fast, stiff, and comfortable ride that makes it a great all-rounder for those making the conversion from rim brakes.
Best Women’s Bike: Cannondale SuperSix EVO
Our Women’s Bike of the Year for 2017 is the Cannondale SuperSix EVO.
The SuperSix has plenty of pedigree, and this latest model is better than ever with a new carbon lay-up making the frame stiffer and better to ride, while also reducing overall weight.
This is a bike that is great fun to ride, with a stiff asymmetric BB30a bottom bracket that really responds when you chose to put the hammer down.
The slender seat tube and seatstays also help to improve comfort, and the redesign fork means there is enough space for 28mm tyres. Finally the women’s specific saddle and bars mean it’s ready to ride straight out of the box.
Thanks to Volta Pro Tours and Daniela Reis for their help with filming. If you’d like to know more about our filming trip in Portugal and find out how you can ride in these spectacular locations, read the behind the scenes look at our shoot.
From the cheap to the expensive, these 13 road bikes all have something to offer for cyclists looking to upgrade in 2017
Lightweight has expanded its roster of products beyond expensive wheelsets to include expensive framesets. The Urgestalt frame is designed to be stiff and light foremost (790g claimed weight for a 54cm frame; 310g for the fork), with no aerodynamic treatments. The geometry is race-oriented with short chainstays, long reach, and short stack. The frame is offered in six sizes (48, 51, 54, 56, 58, and 60cm) and is electronic and mechanical shift compatible.
Unlike Lightweight’s wheels, which are made in Germany, the Urgestalt is made overseas. The company recently dropped its USA prices, so the black frameset (frame, fork, post, and headset) sells for $5,500 (but was $6,500), and the Weiss Edition (which is the same frame, but with white “Duraflon” coating) is now $6,000 (originally $7,000). The Urgestalt disc frame—coming late spring 2017—will start at $6,000 for the frame kit (frame, fork, and headset but no post).
RELATED: 2016 Buyer’s Guide: Best Disc-Brake Road Bikes
Though the $5,900 (frameset-only) Italian-made C60 gets most of the love, Colnago’s mid-range bikes shouldn’t be overlooked. The new CLX uses a Taiwan-made monocoque carbon fiber frame, which Colnago representatives claim weighs less than 890g: That’s less than Colnago’s C60 (the claimed weight of a painted 52cm is 1,050g).
The CLX is lighter and costs less as a complete bike than just the C60 frameset. Built with full Ultegra mechanical (down to the cassette and chain), the CLX sells for $3,500 with Shimano RS11 wheels, and $3,700 with Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels. The CLX uses Colnago’s ThreadFit 82.5 bottom bracket (which aims to combine the best benefits of a threaded and press-fit BB), is electronic and mechanical shift compatible, and is offered in eight sizes and four colors.
RELATED: 2016 Buyer’s Guide: Best Road Race Bikes
Look’s 765 Disc is the company’s first disc-brake equipped road bike. The model is in the endurance style, with both a shorter reach and taller stack, and more relaxed handling due to longer chainstays (410mm) and longer trail (64.6 or 64.8mm, depending on size). The frame is primarily a carbon-fiber composite; however it has an additional layer of flax linen in the fork and chainstays, which, Look representatives claim, damps vibrations for a smoother ride. The frame features thru axles front and rear, Flat Mount brake calipers, a PressFit 30 bottom bracket shell, and is electronic and mechanical shift compatible.
The claimed frame weight is 1,100g for the frame, with a 350g fork. Three builds are available: Shimano Ultegra mechanical for $3,800, Shimano 105 for $3,000, and a SRAM Apex 1 flat bar build for $2,500. Five sizes and three colors are offered.
There’s a dirty secret about the “Made in Italy” sticker on some carbon frames: Due to some loopholes in Italian law, the frames are not actually “made” in Italy the way a normal person would define it. Basso’s carbon fiber frames, however, are made at Basso’s facilities in Italy, alongside the composite parts the company makes for motorsports racing teams on Formula 1, Moto GP, and World Rally Championship circuits. The Diamante SV (Super Veloce) is the brand’s top-of-the-line frame. It’s in the aero-road-style frame, with a claimed weight of 820g before paint.
RELATED: 2016 Buyer’s Guide: Best Adventure Bikes
The SV is compatible with Basso’s Comfort Kit, an extension that adds two centimeters to the head tube length, facilitating higher bars without the use of spacers under the stem; riders who prefer lower bars would ride without the Comfort Kit spacer. In either case, the bar height can be further fine-tuned with Basso’s 5mm steerer spacers (available in 10 colors), which are shaped to integrate with the frame. Other significant frame features include direct mount brakes; compatibility with electronic or mechanical drivetrains; and a vibration-damping elastomer built into the seatpost clamping system. The current price is $5,195 for a frame, fork, headset, stem, seatpost, and Comfort Kit. Complete bike prices will be announced later this year.
The Wilier-Triestina Zero.6’s frame is super-duper light. It’s one of the lightest frames in the world (if claimed weights can be believed) at just 680g (with paint), approaching the 670g (or so) claimed weight of Cervelo’s RCA frame. The big difference is that the Cervelo frameset sells for $10,000 and is made in very limited numbers, while the Wilier Zero.6 frameset (with fork, headset, and Ritchey SuperLogic seatpost) sells for $5,450 and is not a limited-edition frame. Like the Zero.7 before it, the Zero.6 adds a layer of viscoelastic film called SEI to the carbon layup, which, according to Wilier representatives, damps vibration and improves the frame’s impact resistance.
The Zero.6 features internal cable routing compatible with electronic or mechanical drivetrains; 28mm tire clearance; and a small-diameter 27.2mm seatpost. In a surprising twist for Wilier—a company that helped develop and promote BB386EVO—the Zero.6 uses the PF86 standard. The Zero.6 is offered in four sizes and one color.
The Moots Vamoots Disc RSL is the better-stopping sibling of the Editors’ Choice winning Vamoots RSL. Like the rim brake version (RSL), the Disc RSL uses Moots’ most butted tube set to keep weights down while maintaining stiffness appropriate for aggressive riding and racing. Moots uses the most updated standards for the Disc RSL: a 44mm head tube, 12mm thru axles front and rear, and flat mount calipers.
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For the rear caliper mount, Moots sourced 3D-printed titanium dropouts from England, which are lighter and produced with less waste than machined versions. Nine stock sizes are offered, and customization is also available. In addition to custom sizing, Moots offers a range of custom options, including an etched finish, pump peg, and a chain hanger. The frameset carries a retail price of $5,519 while the complete build sells for $11,699.
Scott’s Foil saw its profile raised dramatically this year when, under Matthew Hayman, the aero-road racing frame won the punishing Paris-Roubaix Spring Classic. Claimed to be one of the most aerodynamic road frames in the world, it’s also reasonably light, with a 945g frame and 335g fork (claimed). But Scott engineers also paid attention to ride comfort, claiming an 86-percent improvement in vertical compliance in the seat tube area, and an 11-percent improvement at the fork compared to the first generation Foil.
Normally, we might laugh that off as hyperbole, but that Paris-Roubaix win is compelling evidence that the Foil is at least smooth enough to get a racer through 257 punishing kilometers. Shown here is the Foil in limited Rio-Olympics finish. Only 50 framesets will be available in the USA, and they sell for $4,000.
The KHS Flite 900 was developed with input from the KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo, a US-based elite amateur team, so you can probably guess its deal: light, stiff, aggressive geometry and position. This model uses the same frame as the top-of-the-line Shimano Dura-Ace equipped Flite Team ($5,149), but the 900 is built with lower-end parts like Shimano Ultegra, dropping its price to $3,069.
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The frame features a 1.5-inch tapered steerer fork and PF30 bottom bracket shell, and its internal routing is compatible with both electronic and mechanical shifting systems. One of the more unique and curious features is that the fame will accept two kinds of rim-brake calipers: the traditional center-bolt style, or two-bolt direct mount calipers. The complete bike is equipped with direct-mount versions.
While one wood bicycle frame would seem to be unique enough, Portland based Renovo offers nine different frame models, all stretching across several categories: mountain bike, commuter, adventure, and road. Company representatives claim wood is lighter and stiffer than steel, and say Renovo frames offer a ride with a “warm smoothness” reminiscent of steel, but with the stiffness of carbon.
According to the company’s FAQ, frame weights are between 1,814 and 2,267g. The swoopy Aerowood is the company’s most expensive road frame, carrying a price tag of $4,975 for a frame, with complete bikes starting at $7,930. The frame is hollow, made in Portland, and composed of machined bubinga and curly maple, with some machined aluminum bits where needed—the dropouts, headtube, and bottom bracket.
The Masi Evoluzione Ultegra ($3,050) boasts one of the most adventurous finishes seen on a mass-produced carbon road bike. And credit to Masi for owning it: There’s no “mild” paint option for this model, either. Though more associated with classic steel bikes, the Evoluzione is Masi’s modern carbon race bike, with a tapered steerer fork, press fit bottom bracket shell (with Enduro double-row bearing BB), direct mount brakes, and internal routing that’s compatible with electronic or mechanical drivetrains.
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Though it sits at the middle of the Evoluzione range, this model is still built with the same brand parts, such as Rotor 3D cranks, DT Swiss wheelset, Fizik saddle, and Clement tires, with Ritchey providing the bar, stem, and seat post.
While Louis Garneau is best known for its clothing lines, the brand offers a complete range of bicycles as well. The Gennix A1 Course is the company’s aero-road bike, with the requisite airfoil tube shaping, dropped seatstays, and rear-wheel cutout. Frame features include a 1-3/8-inch tapered steerer fork, press-fit bottom bracket shell, direct mount brakes, a two-position water bottle mount on the downtube, and an adjustable-setback seatpost.
One of the coolest options, however, is that the bike is available through Garneau’s Dream Factory custom program, allowing the buyer to customize the bike’s finish. Once you’re satisfied with the way the bike looks, you can then take advantage of Garneau’s no-minimum custom clothing program and design a kit to match your new bike.
For $1,599, BMC’s ALR01 105 offers a lot of bike for the money. The well-detailed aluminum frame (smooth-welded, dropped seatsays, replaceable derailleur hanger, and tapered head tube) is light (the claimed weight is 1,295g with paint), and sprayed with a brilliant red paint (the fastest color, of course), while an all-carbon fork hangs on the nose.
The drivetrain and brakes come from Shimano: The bike uses 105 11-speed shifters, derailleurs, chain, and a wide-range 11-32 cassette, with Shimano’s cost-saving “series” components used for the crank and brake calipers. Like the BMC professional team’s race bikes, rolling parts come from Shimano (wheels), and Continental (tires). Geometry isn’t quite as plush as an endurance bike, but neither is it as aggressive as a race frame, and should offer riders a sporty ride.
The road bike category is currently in the throes of a big-tire tizzy, with newer thinking and research showing that wider tires may be faster—not to mention more comfortable—than skinny versions. Brands are rushing to develop bikes with greater clearance, and relying in part on disc brakes to get there. But you don’t need to buy a disc brake bike, or even an expensive bike, to try out big tires.
Marin’s $959 Argenta Comp uses mid-reach rim brake calipers to help it achieve clearance for up to 32mm-wide tires. And that’s not the only versatility trick this bike offers: It’s also ready to accept fenders and a rear rack, while a wide-range 11-30 cassette helps the rider get over the big hills.
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