Orbea Fleche

Starter

    Photo: Photograph by Shana Novak

A race-worthy bike for less than a grand? Believe it. The Fleche pounces under the lightest pedal pressure and is nimble enough to move through a peloton. Like all aluminum bikes, it can be jarring on rough roads. (One tester quipped that it vibrated "like Jenna Jameson's purse.") But for short, hard efforts, the Fleche transfers tons of energy to the wheels and excels on climbs. As with most bikes in this price range, the low-end (and heavy) house-brand wheels rob the frame of some of its spark. If you can swing it, upgrade them immediately—Shimano 105's are an affordable option—for a dramatic improvement. $929; 21.3 lbs (54cm); orbea-usa.com

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