Rough road riding is a key component of the RoadBikeReview $3,000 Endurance Bike Shootout.
Endurance. It’s what we so often strive for each time we pedal a bike. The endurance to ride farther, pedal faster, climb quicker, and when done, recover so we can do it all over the next day.
In the bike industry, endurance has engendered its own definition. Endurance bikes are built to be both comfortable — and efficient and powerful. Or put another way, they are the bikes that best suit most of us most of the time. We want to head out for a long, pain free day in the saddle, but still feel efficient, smooth and fast. These aren’t purebred race bikes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be raced. These are road bikes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be taken off road. These are bikes that can do a little bit of everything — and do it well.
This test will examine, compare and contrast seven endurance bikes, each produced by one of sport’s major two-wheeled manufactures: Cannondale, Felt, Giant, Jamis, Scott, Specialized and Trek. And each of these bikes will have a price tag around $3,000. We choose this dollar amount because it is both a reasonable — but not overly extravagant — amount of money to pay for a road bike, and at this price point you still get access to near top-end technology. Frames are made of carbon fiber. Drivetrains are speckled with Shimano Ultegra components. Cable routing is typically internal. Weight is well under 20 pounds.
During our month-long test session, each bike will be driven through a rigorous test regimen that includes long rides and short rides, steep climbs and fast flats, smooth pavement and rough dirt roads. We’ll weigh them. We’ll evaluate component spec. And we’ll talk to the manufacturers to find out why they did what they did when bringing these bikes to market.
Flats, climbing and of course descending prowess will be critical the testing regimen.
The RoadBikeReview test team is an eclectic mix of passionate cyclists. Among our crew is an accomplished Ironman triathlete, a WorldTour-level mechanic, several Cat. 1 racers, and a handful of weekend warriors and average Joe’s who simply love riding bikes. Each tester will spend extended time aboard the fleet of test bikes, then deliver copious feedback about what they liked and what they loathed.
Our test tracks are the myriad cycling-friendly roads that ring the cycling Mecca that is Boulder, Colorado. We’ll bang around the rough dirt roads of the famed Boulder Roubaix course north of town. We’ll spin up the steep canyon climbs west or the city. And we’ll traverse the rolling bucolic country lanes that connect the two. When done testing, we’ll publish in-depth reviews of each bike, outlining the good and bad, and then rank the bikes against one another to help you make an informed buying decision. In the meantime, here’s how the bikes stack up by weight and price.
Head over to page 2 of this post for a brief first look sketch of our seven test bikes, including key components and our first impressions.
Have you spent time on any of these bikes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.