We prowled the floor of Interbike, the largest cycling trade show in the U.S., last week in search of the coolest road bikes for next season. Here are our top five picks.
BH Quartz Disc
Last year was supposed to have been the year of the disc road brake, but SRAM's recall of its hydraulics put a damper on the technology. Now that both SRAM and Shimano are shipping their new stoppers, practically every manufacturer at Interbike was showing at least one disc-road model. Spanish company BH has revamped its endurance platform, the Quartz, with clearance for up to 32mm tires, internal cable routings for both mechanical and electronic drivetrains, and two high-value disc-brake specs. The $3,700 Ultegra build uses Shimano's R785 hydraulic brakes, which we consider the industry standard, while the $2,700 105 build includes the solid TRP mechanical models.
Moots Routt 45
Though Moots maintains that—thanks to the durability and compliance of titanium—almost any of their road bikes is suitable for adventure riding on mixed surfaces, this is their first-ever dedicated gravel-style bike. For added stability while cruising, the bike has a longer wheelbase and lower bottom bracket than the company's Psychlo X 'cross bike. And the taller head tube and sloping top tube make for comfortable long-distance positioning. The Enve carbon fork is thru-axle equipped for rigidity and steering precision, and there's clearance for up to 41mm tires. Frame and Enve fork sell for $3,960.
Launched at this year's Tour de France under the NetApp-Endura team, Fuji's first foray into the aero road market will be available to the public next year. Based on extensive wind tunnel testing and lessons learned from the slippery, TT-oriented Norcom Straight, the Transonic is said to be 55 and 65 seconds faster on a 40-kilometer time trial ridden at a steady 300 watts than the company's other two road bikes, the SST and the Altamira. And while we're sure the Transonic will perform great, what we really like about it is the affordable (for the market) pricing, with a SRAM Red 22 model going for only $5,700 and an Ultegra Di2 spec just $3,350.
For those who lusted after last year's Gear of the Year winning SLR-01 but couldn't swing the $5,600 price tag, the Swiss company has trickled down the technology to more affordable models. The SLR03 comes from the same molds as the top of the line bike, but it's much more economical thanks to a less expensive carbon and layup process. The frameset is little more than a pound (500 grams) heavier than the SLR01, but it has identical geometry and gets the same Tuned Compliance Concept design that makes the top bike such a comfortable ride. The Shimano 105 spec is perhaps the best bang for the buck at $2,300, though there will also be Tiagra ($1,900) and Sora ($1,690) builds.
The adventure road category might come across like an industry ploy to sell more bikes, but we're excited about it because we feel that most riders will be happier on these more comfortable, versatile models than on hard-charging road racers. The Search embodies everything we want in an adventure roadie: a carbon frame with compliance built in, thru-axles front and rear, and meaty 35mm Clément tires. With a full Ultegra spec, including the R785 brakes, it will be a great riding gravel bike at a great price ($3,700). The tubeless-ready Easton EA70 wheels mean it isn't just a bike for dirt roads and gravel, however, but a solid ride for all roads as they'll accommodate standard road tires, as well. Norco will also offer the Search in a more affordable steel range, from $1525 down to $885.