So much of cycling is mental. If you feel faster, you'll go faster. Not only do this year's best new roadies look NASCAR quick, but after months of testing we're happy to report they really do scream. On everything from all-day crushers to quick little hill climbs, we dropped more riding partners than ever before. But none will turn friends into enemies faster than this year's Gear of the Year winner, the so-swoopy-it-hurts Kestrel RT700.
Kestrel RT700 (16.8 lbs, 55 cm) $3,300 kestrel-usa.com
1. Twenty-one years after introducing the world's first all-carbon production frame, Kestrel continues to put a premium on stiffness and aerodynamics. But unlike true aero bikes, the RT700 loves to climb and descend; plus it's comfy enough for long-haul speed. And, damn, doesn't it look good on the rack?
2. Because Kestrel engineers designed the RT700's fork in-houseinstead of outsourcing it, as many companies dothey were able to take into account the rest of the bike's specific geometry and handling characteristics. You can tell. The RT700 was the most agile and responsive bike we tested this year.
3. The RT700 isn't as aerodynamic as Kestrel's tri-specific bikes, but its shaped tubes and airfoil-like seat tube still slice through the wind much better than typical road frames. If you want a bike that can handle twitchy criteriums and, with a set of aero bars, the occasional triathlon, this is it.
4. The sleek seat-tube cluster and proprietary aero seatpost provide the bike's most visually stunning moment. But there's also function to the beautiful form: The design means you'll never have to worry about centering your saddlea constant headache with standard round tubes.
5. Think a steady din of rattles and pings is just part of the deal with race frames? Think again. Thanks in part to the RT700's elegant internal cable routing, this is one of the quietest rigs around. Plus, like all Kestrel bikes, the RT700 comes with a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.