Cycling Guide: This Season’s Best Road Bikes

On these bikes, the coffee shop will no longer be the most exciting part of your ride.

Henry Phillips & Chase Pellerin

Picking the best road bikes will always create an uproar. At the end of the day, factors like fit and desired ride quality mean that, for some riders, one bike could be the greatest thing since handlebar shifters, while to others it seems more like a softail mountain bike. For that reason, we decided to simply pick our favorite bikes out of the ones we’ve ridden so far this year. Hours of deliberation, meticulous research, and most importantly, riding, are boiled down into the bikes that we dug the most. Whether it was the pristine paint job that won us over, or the impeccable craftsmanship, or the feeling of confidence we had with the bike beneath us, these bikes all gave us what we desire most in a road bike. — AJ Powell

Cannondale CAAD12 Disc Ultegra

This CAAD12 might just be the best bike, in terms of value, in cycling. Constructed out of rigid, lightweight 6069 aluminum alloy, the bike is spec’d with Shimano’s Ultegra drivetrain, flat-mount disc brakes, a carbon fork and Cannondale’s proprietary HollowGram crank. It’s quick, no doubt. And just plain pretty. For the price, no other bike comes close. – Jack Seemer

Buy Now: $2,660

Breadwinner Lolo

This season, I’ve been riding the Breadwinner Lolo. I’m not one to care a great deal about how aero my bike is or how fast I can sprint off the line. The thing that matters most to me is comfort sprinkled with a bit of performance, and the Lolo delivers. The workmanship on the frame is incredible — the weld seams on the Columbus Life tubing are nearly invisible. If I could only have one pony in the stable, the Lolo would be it. – AJ Powell

Buy Now: $3,950+

Colnago V1-r

At the upper end of high-performance road bikes, the product descriptions (and the prices) begin to resemble exotic cars. We talk about sensational handling, ultra-lightweight constructions, wind-tunnel testing. So it’s no surprise that BMC has partnered with Lamborghini, Specialized with McLaren, Look with Maserati — and with the V1-r, Colnago with Ferrari. Ferrari consulted on the choice and layup of carbon fiber (as they did on Colnago’s first carbon bike in 1987), resulting in the company’s lightest frame ever, which, thanks to truncated tube profiles and extensive wind-tunnel testing, is also very aerodynamic. That translates to a ride that’s stiff, responsive and fast, whether out of the saddle in a climb, accelerating on the flats or descending on a winding mountain road. – Jeremy Berger

Buy Now: $4,750 (frame only)

Argon 18 Gallium Pro

In 2005, Argon 18 launched their first full-carbon monocoque frame. Today, the Montreal-based brand is best known for their award-winning triathlon/TT bikes, but the Gallium Pro, the descendent of that monocoque they’ve refined for over a decade, is still the most beautiful bike from the Canucks. The years of fine-tuning generate a responsive ride both when climbing and sprinting, an engineering feat rarely accomplished. And for all the stiffness, the handling is smooth on descents and the bike works with the body to absorb road noise. In a performance geometry with a matte-black finish and a pop of red on the seat tube, it seems that for the Gallium, time has fostered perfection. – Matthew Ankeny

Buy Now: $3,500 (frame only)

Speedvagen Road

First impressions from riding a 2016 road edition? This isn’t a cute, talk-about-your-steel-bike kind of steel bike. The stock geometry is racier than most carbon frames and relatively large tubing means that it’ll sprint and descend with the best of them despite having that trademark steel comfort. But the reason you buy a Speedvagen isn’t really the geometry or the tube set — just look at the damn thing. The finish work is miles beyond anyone else (see: painted components, stainless brake bridge, hidden Di2 battery cap, infinite other things) and all of the stock paint schemes are immaculate (if you’re going to get one though, get the “Surprise Me”). This is a bike that, a bit like a golden retriever puppy, manages to justify its exorbitant cost when you catch your first glimpse of it. Then you can’t imagine another day without it. – Henry Phillips

Learn More: Here

Parlee Altum

Out of all the lightweight carbon bikes I’ve ridden over the years, the Altum was the first one to provide a sensation similar to riding a steel bike. We all love the idea of lightweight bikes, but most of the time, stability or comfort is sacrificed in the name of weight savings. Some carbon bikes can bounce around too much or make you nervous during a fast descent. Parlee claims to have come up with a “new layup process that places the high-modulus carbon fiber in strategic areas to maximize weight reduction without negatively impacting strength or stiffness.” Their new process certainly helped them create the best lightweight bike I’ve ridden. It didn’t bounce around while hammering in the city and it provided a great deal of stability during fast descents (I was able to achieve my first 50+ mph descent.) Paired with Di2 and Mavic carbon wheels, it’s the best bike I’ve ever ridden. – Sung Han

Learn More: Here

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