BEST FOR: Budget-conscious riders who don’t want to look like it. THE TEST: Show up at a group ride on this pretty entry-level racer and you’ll likely raise eyebrows along with the pace. The Impulso is emblematic of a new breed of hydroformed aluminum bikes—the tubes have been rigorously shaped to fine-tune the ride, including a flattened and tapered top tube to add compliance—with the kind of blazing acceleration and hard-edge kick you just can’t get with carbon fiber. With choice bits of Shimano Ultegra where it counts (shifters, rear derailleur), the Impulso packs a lot of value. Unfortunately, it also packs on the weight, especially in those shiny but stout wheels. THE VERDICT: Only Italians could make a Fiat-priced bike that looks and performs like a Ferrari. 20.7 lbs
Aluminum bikes are getting lighter and more comfortable through hydroforming, a process that uses injected hydraulic fluid to make thinner tubing that is as stiff and compliant as traditionally formed, thicker tubes.