Hit the pavement with one of the best road bikes of the year
So you're ready to take that next step and start to get serious about biking? We've searched and narrowed the field to the top three road bikes of the year so far. These bikes are the best in their field for reliability and performance. Training hard will get you 90% closer to your goals, but the last 10% will take some quality gear too. Take a look at some of the three best road bikes for 2012 and find the one that's right for you.
Coming in just under $1500 the nearly full Shimano 105 grouped Speedster S20 is an aluminum frame and carbon fork combination that draws on Scott's experience at the top end to deliver accessible performance. Designed to ease ambitious riders into racing, the Speedster introduces you to a go-fast stance but at a lower price that is easy on your wallet. In comparison to a low end carbon setup this bike is in line as far as weight is concerned. It comes in at just under 20 lbs, but again that can be lowered by upgrading the components. With all the hype of carbon frames and the actual benefits of a carbon frame it is more of a decision you’ll have to make. Yes, this is maybe your first bike as an “adult” but you should think a bit down the road if you will be wanting something that could be used for a group ride that may get a bit competitive.
Buy it if you don’t care about the carbon hype but want a starter bike that will not leave you wanting to buying an “upgraded” bike within the next couple years.
At $2000 the Tarmac Elite features a new frame that is stiffer and lighter than last year's. The geometry is identical to the Tour-winning Tarmac SL-3 just with a lower grade, heavier grade carbon. It weighs in at about 19.5 lbs but some of that weight can be shed by upgrading the components. The Elite utilizes SRAM's Apex group with an 11-28 cassette and 52/36 chainrings for a gear spread low enough for steep climbs and tall enough for tailwinds.
Buy it if you want a stiff yet comfortable ride that looks good and you can upgrade as you go.
At just under $1900 the TCR Composite is a full carbon fiber bike, but just utilizes a lower-grade in the frame's construction and replaces the outer cosmetic layer of carbon weave with black paint. This makes the frame heavier in comparison to higher end carbon frames but it allows Giant to sell it at a lower price point. If you’re familiar with Giant's TCR Advanced SL, the high-end cousin of the Composite, you’ll notice that the geometry on the entire TCR line is identical. In addition, the Composite is stiff and is clearly intended to perform and stand up to even the strongest cyclists. The bike features a full Shimano 105 group mixed with some good Tektro stoppers. They use the Fi'zi:k's Aliante saddle--a favorite among many riders
At a bit over 18 pounds it’s a bit on the “heavy” side for a full carbon frame, but that’s its only weakness.
Buy it if you want to ride fast and spend less than two grand. This bike is a great entry level bike that can be upgraded with higher end components as you grow into an enthusiast.
Have some ideas of your own or a favorite bike that you feel should have made the list? Let us know.