(Inga Hendrickson)

The Best Road Bikes of 2020

Updated rides for modern performance

Inga Hendrickson

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Moots Vamoots Disc RSL ($13,795)

(Courtesy Moots)

For generations, cyclists have ­lusted after titanium’s durability, light weight, and forgiving ride. Those same qualities make the ­Vamoots Disc RSL an instant classic, though it’s far from traditional. Moots uses gram-saving butted tubes with 3-D-printed titanium through-axle dropouts, and nine frame sizes fit a wide range of cyclists. The Steamboat, Colorado, brand will match tubing diameter to your weight and riding style, and offers add-ons like fender and pump mounts and internal routing for electronic drivetrains. Seasoned riders familiar with Ti frames from decades past conceded that the bike’s stiffness and precise handling was on par with their own carbon-fiber wünderbikes. The frame also muted road chatter in a way that no carbon model in our test could. Comfort, performance, and customizability in a U.S.-made bike doesn’t come cheap. But treat this right and you’ll be handing it down to your grandchildren.

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Niner RLT 9 RDO ($6,600)

Road Bikes
(Courtesy Niner)

Best Gravel Bike

Niner’s flagship grinder, the RLT 9 RDO, has an impressive race résumé that includes victories at both the Dirty Kanza and Land Run (now the Mid South). In addition to being a worthy competitor in high-speed gravel events, the latest iteration of the RLT 9 RDO is a willing companion on bike­packing adventures. The updated frame features clearance for 700c wheels and 50-millimeter tires, a carbon fork teeming with mounts for cargo cages, and multiple spots to bolt on a full or partial frame bag for a clean, strapless look. If you’re as interested in rambling as racing, this bike is ready for wherever the unpaved roads may take you. Testers favored the Niner’s neutral handling and its ability to adapt to rides and events that could last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

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Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert EVO ($9,000)

(Courtesy Specialized)

Best All-Road E-Bike

We expect to see the e-road category explode in coming years. (A bit of assistance can keep older cyclists riding longer and make the sport more approachable for beginners.) Specialized is ahead of the pack with the lightweight carbon Turbo Creo. This all-road machine provides up to 240 watts of power to help propel riders to a maximum assisted speed of 28 miles per hour for up to 80 miles. Testers appreciated how seamless the boost felt and noted that, unlike other e-models in this year’s test, the Creo handles like a traditional road bike, thanks to the low-slung motor and battery. Beyond its electric capabilities, the Turbo Creo comes with wide, fast-rolling tires that are capable on both gravel and blacktop. Specialized’s steer-mounted front suspension was also a hit: it reduces fatigue and improves handling by absorbing road vibration.

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Cannondale SuperSix EVO ($7,750)

(Courtesy Cannondale)

Best Men’s Race Bike

Weekend warriors and World Tour pros alike have praised ­Cannondale’s SuperSix EVO for years. The venerable road model received a ground-up redesign last summer. The new SuperSix is more wind cheating than the previous version, although that’s not all it’s designed for. The frame’s down tube and seat tube are shaped to balance aerodynamics, weight savings, and stiffness. Aero features extend to the internal cable routing, integrated handlebar and stem, and sleek seatpost. The Shimano Ultegra Di2 build is our pick, since it includes 45-millimeter-deep carbon wheels and an integrated power meter—a feature testers thought should come standard on road bikes in this price range. We found the SuperSix to be an excep­tionally agile and sturdy ally when sprinting for mile-marker victories on country roads.

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Liv Langma Advanced Pro 0 Disc Force ($6,000)

Road Bikes
(Courtesy Giant)

Best Women’s Race Bike

If you’re a female roadie in need of a go-fast weapon, look no further than the women-specific Langma Advanced Pro 0 from Liv. Some ladies find unisex road frames—generally designed with heavier male riders in mind—to be overbuilt, with harsh rides that lead to fatigue. Liv tuned the layup of the Langma’s carbon frame for lighter riders, improving comfort while retaining stiffness under power. The bike may be comfortable, but it’s not a slow-steering cruiser. Aggressive geometry yields quick handling in line with performance-driven frames designed for deftly maneuvering through the peloton. The bike we tested was race-ready, with SRAM’s electronic Force eTap AXS drivetrain, carbon wheels, and an integrated Quarq power meter. (A Di2 version is also available for $600 less.)

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