Litespeed Archon C3

Race: Wind Breaker; $3,000.

Litespeed Archon C3     Photo: Photograph by Inga Hendrickson

Aerodynamo

Traditionally, aerodynamic frames (like those on triathlon bikes) haven't been laterally stiff enough to safely handle the quick turns, sudden sprints, and climbs of road racing. As materials and designs have advanced, however, engineers have begun figuring out how to work some aero properties into road frames, like they have here on the Litespeed.

Integrating aerodynamic shapes into regular road bikes is nothing new, but Litespeed's brand-new carbon line takes it to a new level. Everything from the massive profile of the C3's head-tube junction to the bottle-shrouding down tube was designed with the wind in mind. You can tell: The C3 holds its speed like a rocket. The downside is that getting it up to speed takes a little work. Crafting these shapes takes loads of carbon, which means the C3 is also a bit heavy and unforgiving. Still, with Shimano Ultegra components and hill-gobbling compact cranks, the C3 is a solid race choice for the budget-minded. 18 lbs (56 cm); litespeed.com
PEDALING RESPONSIVENESS: 4.1 HANDLING: 3.9

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