The frame material is the main reason for this, but be warned: we have found that as frame technology has improved over the years particularly those of the carbon fibre variety , the finishing kit that completes the bike gears, wheels, brakes, saddles etc. You need to look at the whole package. If you opt for a more expensive carbon, be sure to check out the wheels, groupset gears and brakes and finishing kit saddle, bar tape and cabling , as often manufacturers will balance the books by scrimping on these fittings.
For example, an entry-level groupset such as Shimano's Tiagra or Comapagnolo's Veloce may not endure a long sportive or timed weekend ride as well as other brands, but for those simply looking to rack up the miles on gentler rides or take it easy during a friendly competition, this may not be such an issue. The same can be said for wheelsets. Ideally, the lighter and stiffer the wheel, the better for speed and handling.
But don't forget this will typically mean a compromise in comfort and budget.
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Similarly, the geometry of a frame and its construction will greatly affect the way it performs and handles. A racy geometry - the angles of the tubes that make up the frame - can be a pain on longer rides, despite performance gains. A fact that's well worth considering if you're simply looking to add a little swag to your daily commute.
In short, that ultra, super-lightweight frame that has been tested in a wind tunnel to within an inch of its life might sound like a good idea, but the overall package may not represent good value. You also need to think about whether a carbon frame road bike is even the best for you.
Most cheaper road bikes are carbon frame, but do note that cheaper carbon tends to flex under load and can also be less comfortable and more brittle than their steel or aluminium-framed counterparts. With all this in mind, we've collated a list of brilliant road bikes that represent excellent value across the board - from their tyres to their top tubes.
If we say so ourselves. Named after the infamously gruelling Paris to Roubaix Challenge, this intelligent road bike features the marque's new Future Shock cartridge, which gives a staggering 20mm of vertical stem and bar movement to soak up bumps. The frame and headset are chunky but it doesn't feel like a particularly heavy bike and those oversized elements are only put in place to house the clever suspension system. Although discreet, there's a noticeable difference in the way the handlebars and stem miraculously iron over imperfections in the road, while the squishy seatpost makes arduously long sportives slightly less painful.
The addition of tried-and-tested DT R wheels means it remains a fast ride and that Fact10r frame is stiff and pointy, nicely transferring power through the wheels. Of course, those with bicycle Spider senses will likely argue that the additional damping effects power transfer and handling but we struggled to find those flaws. Plus, the Shimano gearing and brakes is a bit stingy for a bike at this price point, but you're really paying for that brilliantly clever frame. In our humble opinion, it's a race bike that doesn't punish the spine, wrists and arse like its carbon fibre brethren.
And that's a very good thing. After gathering years of data from BMC's pro riders, the Swiss company has created a bike that boasts all of the performance benefits of carbon fibre speed, light weight, great power transfer without being overtly uncomfortable. This is great for amateur riders or those looking to push their cycling to the next level, as it means you get the speed required for bossing local sportives, but with a hint of comfort for lengthier hobby rides. Of course, BMC will sell you a far more expensive team racer but the finishing kit, gearing system and well though out frame on this Teammachine offer hints of the high life, without breaking the bank.
Canyon is the German meister of packing as much bike as possible into as small a price and box as possible — their mail-order packaging is a masterclass in ruthless German efficiency when it comes to use of space, allied to speed and ease of setup. Now, the more astute among you will have noted that there's something rather odd about this 'road bike' and that's because technically it isn't one; it's what is called a 'fitness bike'.
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However, that is a very stupid and un-catchy name for what is essentially a road bike with flat pedals by default; obviously you can fit it with whatever you like and flat bars. And it is fantastiche , as the Germans say. For riding in town, I literally can't think of anything better than this bike. The riding position, forgiving frame and Fizik saddle give you great awareness and comfort but when you need to put the hammer down, it will accelerate in a way that is not unlike a road bike.
As well as very well-judged geometry, you get a carbon frame, Shimano Ultegra components, disk brakes and a DT Swiss E wheelset that's built to be speedy yet highly durable. Shipping is also included in the price, and takes under a week.
Canyon has ridiculously exacting standards for the component sourcing and manufacture of its bikes, and even employs Bluetooth torque wrenches in its factory in Koblenz. This build isn't quite up therewith the pro spec model but it is far more affordable and can be used for a variety of cycling styles. The hardier carbon layup makes it good for weekend racing, as well as the daily commute. The downside is weight, as this will feel slightly heavier than some of the more performance-focussed bikes out there, but it will be barely noticeable to most regular riders.
The use of Shimano and Ultegra is top notch, as it keeps cost down but ensures super smooth gear changes with the added bonus of tried-and-tested reliability. We highlighted a bit of Eddy Merckx in our Tour de France bikes you can actually buy feature, purely because there are very few experts on the subject with the winning pedigree of Merckx This particular model is a homage to the success achieved by the man himself on the Milan-San Remo Spring Classic event, which he won seven times out of It's fast, light and comfortable over those longer rides.
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A winning formula that doesn't require professional sponsorship to obtain. If you love carbon fibre, you've come to the right place because this wind tunnel tested beauty is absolutely dripping in the stuff. The result is a featherweight speed machine that you'll be able to lift with one finger and packs a groupset that wouldn't look out of place amongst a professional pack of elite riders. You'll pay for the privilege but this high-end stunner represents great value considering the tech that has been invested in the frame, carbon rims and Shimano's reliable groupset.
Specialized's FACT 9r carbon fibre construction is light and stiff, for improved straight line speed and inspiring greater downhill confidence, yet it manages to remain comfortable enough for longer rides.
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This means that even the entry level Disc Sport comes with improved rims, powerful disc brakes and a more performance orientated frame geometry than previous iterations. Straight out of the box, this bike is built for lengthy sportives and heavy training usage but with a little more tweaking and outlay, it can easily transform into a pro-spec race-ready piece of kit.
If you're after a ride that screams professionalism by incorporating an almost unhealthy amount of carbon fibre, this seriously slippery customer could well be the steed for you. Vitus launched its original ZX1 models back in , when it wasn't owned by Wiggle, and wowed the world with the first one-piece carbon moncoque frame to hit the market.
Things have changed a bit since then but the latest ZX1 aims to be equally as gob-smacking with its staggeringly pointy carbon frame, which harnesses the power of Kammtail tube profiles to enhance comfort but keep the rigidity that sprinters love. The SuperSix EVO has long been the go-to brand for the UK cyclist who wants to blend serious lightweight performance with a price tag that doesn't require re-mortgaging the house.
This year's model has been tweaked ever so slightly with a new colourway and a slightly lighter and more aerodynamic frame but the same excellent riding experience is still present and very correct. The entry-level model discussed here might not be finished with bags of aero touches and lightweight components, but the money goes towards that excellent frame, which boasts one of the best handling experiences on the market.
It's a beautifully reliable bike that will be handle a variety of levels of riding, from the occasional sportive to regular racing. It's also a template that can easily be improved upon down the line, with a few mods. Giant is often credited with leading the way in terms of creating long lasting, comfortable and great value road bikes and its Defy range is a great entry point to the brand.
This model is built with endurance and comfort in mind, so perhaps isn't as racy as others mentioned on this list, but flattened seat stays and a specially designed seat post are added to decrease road vibrations and keep the dreaded Numb Arse syndrome at bay for longer. These offer extra peace of mind in poor weather, even if they can be a bit of a faff to service. Giant's finishing kit is also solid and will last years of heavy cycling before it gives up the ghost. Only Shimano's entry-level Tiagra groupset lets the package down — more discerning riders may find it can prove lazy to shift and a little unreliable, compared to more expensive offerings.
A few years back, online mega sports retailer Wiggle resurrected the French bicycle marque, Vitus.
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It's been inexorably improving its affordable but really rather good carbon racers ever since. The Evo Team Road Bike is essentially what the professional Vitus outfit hop on when they go racing, so includes some seriously light and fast wheels, Shimano's precision Dura Ace groupset and a featherweight frame that is stiff and speedy. It is a stunning looking thing too, with the shiny carbon frame accented with little red highlights and the Magic Cosmic Pro wheels giving off an air of authority.
However, this bike is not for the faint-hearted and absolutely speeds along the straights. The ultra-stiff frame might be a little unforgiving for those used to more comfortable machines, but the performance gains will be well worth it for anyone looking to take their cycling to the next level. Canyon knows very well that you can easily achieve the perfect bike if you have 10 grand to spare but Canyon also knows that not everyone has that sort of dollar to blow. Its CF SL range is light and durable, with the updated model boasting a Mavic Aksium Disc wheelset with powerful disc brakes, as well as robust Shimano groupset and disc brake.
A super versatile all-rounder, the Arkose R2 will suit anyone who likes to subject their bike to punishment, or have an all-weather commute that requires something hardier than a flimsy carbon show pony.
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From the entry level Aluminium bikes, to pro racing Carbon aero bikes, Giant road bikes are designed and built in-house, giving them complete control over every tiny technical detail. They use their proprietary ALUXX aluminium to deliver lightweight and high performance bikes that are affordable, alongside three different grades of carbon fibre for the ultimate performance road bikes.
Spanning multiple disciplines of road cycling, Giant produce a number of road bike ranges. The Giant sportive road bikes include the popular Contend and Defy models, while the Giant race road bikes includes the much-lauded TCR range of bikes.
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