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Best Road Bikes of 2016

By: Scott Boulbol

Best Road Bikes of 2016

While the latest hot trend in road bikes is the Gravel Road bike, that category wouldn’t even exist if not for the previous movement toward more comfortable yet high-performing road bikes called Endurance Road. The Specialized Roubaix, first launched in 2008, is widely credited for starting the Endurance Road category, which is defined by slacker head tube angles than their Road Race cousins, along with longer head tubes and chainstays/wheelbases. These characteristics are generally found on all Endurance Road bikes—there are other characteristics too, such as narrower, and/or shaped seatstays, skinnier seatposts, etc., but they can vary according to brand. 

The results are a more upright position, which adds comfort especially to the neck and shoulders, and a smoother, more “compliant” ride, since the slacker angles and longer tubes allow more flex in the frame. Of course this comes with a compromise in terms of responsiveness and efficiency—that flex in the frames means less of the power input translates directly into motion. For all but the most serious riders and racers, however, this is more than made up for by the bike’s comfort and smooth ride.

The bikes in this roundup range from around $6500 to well over $8000, and are among, if not the, top model in this category for each brand. As many share individual components and/or groupsets, these reviews focus mainly on the overall performance of the whole package (some specific content on the components may repeat where applicable).

Scott Solace Premium

93

2016

Scott Solace Premium

Scott’s top-of-the-line Endurance Road option is the Solace Premium with the Dura Ace Di2 Disc 11-speed group and a high-end Syncros carbon aero wheelset. The Solace adds highly shaped tubing and a slightly narrow seatpost to add compliance, and a beefy bottom bracket area and downtube for responsiveness. It also feature a full carbon build, including saddle rails, seatpost and bars.

Trek Domane 6.9 Disc

92

2016

Trek Domane 6.9 Disc

The Trek Domane 6.9 Disc bike with Dura Ace’s Di2 Disc 11-speed group and Bontrager's Affinity Elite wheelset is Trek’s top-of-the-line Endurance Road offering. Trek adds compliance to the already Endurance-focused geometry by using a "decoupler" which in essence creates a bushing between the seatstays/top tube junction and the seatpost, while an adjustable carbon seat mast keeps it from being too bouncy. The full carbon build includes saddle rails, seat tube and bars.  

Moots Vamoots DR, Build 2

91

2016

Moots Vamoots DR, Build 2

The Vamoots DR, Build 2features Moots' flagship Endurance Road Disc frame, handcrafted from Titanium, with Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed group and Ksyrium's Pro Disc alloy wheelset. There are also other build options in the line. Titanium frames, though slightly heavier and more flexible than carbon, also provide a far superior ride feel, and Moots knows how to build them as well as anyone, making this by far the smoothest ride in the group.

Eddie Merckx Mourenx 69 Black Anthracite Red

91

2016

Eddie Merckx Mourenx 69 Black Anthracite Red

Eddy Merckx's Mourenx69 Black Anthracite Red model is the top-of-the-line build, featuring Shimano's Ultegra Di2 11-speed electronic shifting, and the Fulcrum Race 5 wheelset. The distinctive squared-off tubing adds aero benefits while also combining compliance and torsional stiffness. While the frame is more compliant and slightly more upright than some of Merckx's more traditional race bikes, this is clearly the most race-oriented bike in this group.  

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Red

90

2016

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Red

The Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Red isCannondale's top-of-the-line Endurance Road frame featuring SRAM's flagship Red Disc 11-speed group and Cannondale's house brand CZero carbon wheelset. The line is also available with multiple other build options. Highly manipulated tubing along with an ultra-thin seat tube are said to further improve the combination of vertical compliance and torsional stiffness, and it's the lightest full build in the group.

About the Author

Scott Boulbol

Scott Boulbol

Scott Boulbol is a freelance writer who has been working in the outdoor and cycling industries for about 15 years. He lives near Boston.

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