From lunch-hour sprints to a Sunday century, the Cannondale Synapse does it all. It's as responsive, stiff, and zippy as high-end machines twice the price, but thanks to its relaxed geometry, it's also comfortable on the longest days. Credit the full-carbon frame, which absorbed bumps even on Vermont's roughest back roads. We loved the reach-adjustable Shimano shifters and brake levers and the comfortable Fi'zi:k Vitesse HP Ti saddle. 17.8 lbs; cannondale.com
Bonus: With a triple chainring for the steeps, this bike is a touring machine.
Bummer: Wish it was a pound lighter.