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If you’re a cyclist who wants to ride faster, further, and, most importantly, enjoy the ride more, you need a road bike that matches your skills and goals. But with so many options available right now, how do you find the one most suited for you?
As an expert cyclist, you have strict criteria and expectations when deciding on your next road bike. You would want a bike that can assist you in reaching greater heights, no matter if it is a race, a climb, or a ride for fun.
The three main criteria to assess the best bikes for pro-cyclists, are performance, comfort, and durability.
Performance is the most important criterion. You want a bike that can deliver power, rides efficiently, and be responsive on any terrain and condition.
Usually, such bikes have high-end components, like electronic groupsets, hydraulic disc brakes, carbon wheels, and tubeless tires, which offer better shifting, braking, rolling, and puncture resistance than their lower-end counterparts.
Bikes that have aerodynamic features are a plus as well, such as integrated cable routing, sleek tube shapes, and deep-section rims. These features reduce drag, and lesser energy is therefore needed.
Comfort is also another important criterion. You would want a bike that can provide a smooth and enjoyable ride quality, especially on long rides and rough roads.
Such bikes have features that help improve comfort and reduce fatigue of the cyclist, such as vibration damping systems, ergonomic handlebars and saddles, and adjustable frame geometry. These features help to absorb the shocks from the bumpy road, provide better grip and support, and allow the rider to fine-tune the fit and position of the bike according to his liking.
Durability is the final criterion. You would want a bike that can last longer and hold up over time. Such bikes have strong, high-quality frames and components that can withstand wear and tear and harsh conditions. I also looked for bikes that can be easily maintained; hence they feature replaceable parts, standard fittings, and warranty coverage.
The top 5 road bikes for expert cyclists
With these criteria and experience, here are top 5 road bikes for expert cyclists:
Trek Domane SLR 9 eTap
If you want a bike that can handle any road condition and any ride length, the Trek Domane SLR 9 eTap might be your best bet. This bike is not meant to be a pure race machine but a versatile all-rounder that offers comfort, performance, and reliability.
The Domane has a carbon frame and fork with dual IsoSpeed decouplers that smooth out the bumps and vibrations from the road. The front IsoSpeed is located within the head tube and allows the steerer tube to flex fore and aft independently, while the rear IsoSpeed is adjustable and lets you fine-tune the compliance of the seat mast.
The bike also has clearance for up to 32mm tires, which adds to the comfort and versatility of the bike. The Domane comes with Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37 carbon wheels and R4 320 tires, which are light, fast, and grippy.
The bike is equipped with an SRAM Red eTap AXS wireless electronic groupset and hydraulic disc brakes, which offer precise shifting and braking. The bike weighs only 8.3 kg for a size 56cm, which is impressive for a bike with this level of comfort and versatility.
The drawbacks of this bike are its high price tag ($11,000), heavier weight than some competitors (8.3 kg), and possible lack of agility or stiffness, although some riders prefer that.
But if you’re looking for a bike that can do it all, the Domane might be the one for you. It’s a bike for the love of cycling, not for chasing podiums or KOMs.
Specialized S-Works Aethos
If you want a bike that combines ridiculously low weight with a classic look and superb ride quality, you might want to check out the Specialized S-Works Aethos.
The Aethos is not a race bike, according to Specialized. It’s not designed to be aerodynamic, nor meant to be used by pro teams, and it’s not even UCI-legal. It’s a bike for the pure joy of riding.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking that the Aethos is slow or sluggish. On the contrary, this bike is one of the lightest and most responsive road bikes on the market, weighing only 5.9 kg for a size 56cm with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes.
The Aethos has a high-quality carbon frame and fork that offer a comfortable and responsive ride quality. The tubes have a subtle conical shape that helps balance that low weight with the stiffness expected from a top-end bike.
The frame also has clearance for up to 32mm tires, which adds to the comfort and versatility of the bike. The Aethos comes with Roval Alpinist CLX wheels and S-Works Turbo tires, which are light, fast, and grippy.
The drawbacks of this bike are its high price tag ($12,500), lack of aerodynamic features compared to other models, and limited availability and customization options. The Aethos is not tubeless-compatible, which might be a deal-breaker for some riders.
But if you’re looking for a bike that feels fast, looks great, and delivers an exceptional riding experience, the Aethos might be the one for you.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Dura-Ace Di2
If you want a bike that combines lightweight and aerodynamics, perhaps the Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Dura-Ace Di2 might be your best bet. This bike is designed to be fast and efficient on any terrain, especially on inclines and flats.
The SuperSix EVO has a carbon frame and fork with aerodynamic tube shapes and integrated cable routing that reduce drag and improve speed and efficiency. It also has a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes that offer reliable shifting and braking.
The bike comes with HollowGram 45 SL KNØT carbon wheels and Vittoria Corsa tires, which are light, fast, and grippy.
The drawbacks of this bike are its high price tag ($10,500), low compliance on rough surfaces, and limited tire clearance (28 mm max).
But if you’re looking for a bike that can fly up the hills and slice through the wind, the SuperSix EVO might be the one for you. It’s a bike for speed lovers, not for comfort seekers.
Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc RED eTap AXS
If you want a bike that is both stiff and lightweight, the Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc RED eTap AXS might be your best bet. This bike is designed to deliver all-around performance in any road condition.
The TCR Advanced SL has a carbon frame and fork with compact geometry and integrated seatpost that offer a lightweight and stiff ride quality. It also has a wireless electronic SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset and hydraulic disc brakes that offer accurate shifting and braking.
The bike comes with Cadex 42 Disc carbon wheels and Cadex Race tubeless tires, which are light, fast, and smooth.
The only drawbacks of this bike are its high price tag ($10,000), lack of comfort on rough roads, and integrated seatpost that may limit adjustability or compatibility with some accessories.
But if you’re looking for a bike that can do it all, the TCR Advanced SL might be the one for you. It’s a bike for the performance seekers, not for the compromise makers.
Cervelo R5 Disc Dura-Ace Di2
If you want a bike that emphasises balance and agility, the Cervelo R5 Disc Dura-Ace Di2 might be your best bet. This bike is designed to excel in climbing and descending, as well as handling and cornering.
The R5 has a carbon frame and fork with Squoval Max tube shapes and a BBright bottom bracket that offer a balanced and agile ride quality. It also has a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes that offer consistent shifting and braking.
The bike comes with DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut db 48 carbon wheels and Continental Grand Prix SL tires, which are fast, stable, and durable.
The only drawbacks of this bike are its high price tag ($9,500), lack of aerodynamic features compared to some rivals, and the possible need for some fine-tuning to optimise fit and comfort.
But if you’re looking for a bike that can climb like a goat and descend like an eagle, the R5 might be the one for you. It’s a bike for the balance lovers, not for the extreme chasers.
Ultimately, the best road bike for you is the one that meets your needs and expectations and that makes you happy and motivated to ride.