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).
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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.
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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.
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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.