We review four of the best road bikes for under £4,000
If you want a top performing bike, £3,000-4,000 is a sweet spot. Below the stratosphere of superbikes bought by those for whom money is no object, manufacturers know that value is still a consideration and that our expectations for frames and equipment are high.
The crucial, and very exciting, fact about this price band is that it is where the top-end frames start. This line-up includes a wind-tunnel developed Scott and a state-of-the-art Cannondale that have won races at the very highest level of professional cycling. If it’s pedigree you want, look no further.
As counterpoints, we also have two high-value alternatives from Stevens and Trigon, which aim to deliver extra spec and performance for your money in the absence of such a prestigious name on the downtube. By making a smart choice now, you’ll be just a canny wheel upgrade away from superbike heaven when you next have some cash to spend. Now that’s a good investment.
Scott Foil 20
We all know the value of a great aero set-up for an Ironman event – a dedicated tri bike, wheels and helmet can get you to T2 faster by whole minutes – so why not look for some of the same advantage in a road bike? That’s exactly what Scott have aimed at with the Foil aero road bike. The mid-range Foil 20 is ballistic and only held back by its wheels. On faster hoops it would be perfect for attacking short and middle-distance races.
Read the full Scott Foil 20 review
+ Aerodynamic design will help you cut minutes from long rides
+ Stiff, light frame gives a top ride and will dazzle on upgraded wheels
– Wheelset is slightly heavy and way too flexible to suit the eager frame
– Comfort levels aren’t the most generous for long rides
Stevens is a new brand to the UK. It’s German, so no doubt you already have a few preconceptions about it. But is the Ventoux more like our cliched ideas of German fashion and rock music (appalling) or those of German sportscars and classical music, which are venerated the world over? It’s a good bike with a comfortable ride but little to make it really stand out. We expect to be dazzled more at this price.
Read the full Stevens Ventoux Ultegra review
+ Light and well equipped, with particularly good wheels
+ Comfortable frame with numerous intelligent details
– Lacking in ultimate stiffness for aggressive riding and steep climbs
– This colour scheme is dated but at least the white version looks better
The RQC-29 is a joy to ride hard and it deserves a name that better reflects its character – Piledriver perhaps, or Typhoon. If you prefer to attack every ride rather than cruise, you’d still love the Trigon if it was called Cuthbert because it’s a beast!
Read the full Trigon RQC-29 review
+ Stiff, rewarding frame feels better and better the harder you ride it
+ No corners cut in the spec, full carbon clinchers save on upgrades
– Does the bare minimum to smooth out the road for you
– Colour scheme is starting to look outdated
Cannondale SuperSix Evo 2 Red
The SuperSix Evo 2 is instantly and emphatically impressive. It feels fast straight away, wherever you’re riding. It’s so light that the response to any extra effort is electric. Incredible performance in the hills and on the flat, plus great comfort. It’s only a trick set of wheels away from being unbeatable.
Read the full Cannondale SuperSix Evo 2 Red review
+ State-of-the-art, ultra-light frame and no weak link in the spec
+ Outstanding all-round performance, fast on the flat and up the hills
– Well, it would be nice to be offered the white option available in the US
– Finding new friends when your old ones get bored of being dropped
If you’re lucky enough to have £3,000-4,000 burning a hole in your pocket, then you’re even luckier than you know because the bikes in this range have never been better. Choosing between this quartet isn’t easy as all four are good bikes but when the standard is high you simply have to be even more demanding.
The Stevens Ventoux is the bike that inspired us the least, so that’s fourth. The Scott Foil is a fantastic bike, only let down by wheels that can’t keep up with the pace it sets. It’s one thing to be worthy of upgraded wheels (which it certainly is), it’s another to need them urgently. The Trigon RQC-29 ran the Cannondale close for the win. It’s the most complete package, thanks to the really good wheels, but its aggressive character isn’t for everyone.
The weight and ride quality of Cannondale’s SuperSix Evo frame is a big achievement; building that frame into a £4k bike that feels neither hindered nor compromised by its pricepoint-driven spec is an even bigger one. It’s a bike that’ll excel equally in feisty sprint races, mountainous sportives and Ironman events, and it’s a worthy winner.