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All of the best road bikes we’ve reviewed for triathlon and Ironman use in one handy resource

If race-day speed is your only concern, then a super-expensive, super-aerodynamic TT bike is probably going to get you across the finish line fastest at your next triathlon or Ironman race. But if you’ve got a limited budget, care about comfort and/or want a bike you can also use for training, commuting or the odd sportive event, then a road bike is the way to go.

Here you’ll find our archive of the top-scoring road bikes we’ve tested, with all receiving at least 4/5. They’re listed in alphabetical order, and were all still available to buy at time of publication.

All these bikes cost over £1,000 – if you can’t afford to spend that much, check out our Best Triathlon Bikes For Beginners round-up. You can find more bike reviews in our triathlon bike reviews archive.


Bianchi Siempre

Bianchi  Sempre Pro Veloce (2013)
£2,000
bianchi.com

The latest Sempre Pro improves on what was already a great bike. It retains the great ride and has a fully featured up-to-date frame that’s also shaved a fair few grams.

Read the full Bianchi Sempre Pro Veloce review

Pros
+ Smooth over coarse surfaces
+ Sharp race-bike like handling

Cons
– Not the best value for money spec
– Frame deserves better than average wheels

Performance 5/5
Value 3/5
Overall 4/5 


Boardman SLR 9.2Boardman SLR 9.2 (2012-2013)
£2,799.99*
boardmanbikes.com

The Boardman SLR is a racer’s bike: seriously light, but stiff enough to put every watt where you want it and superbly stable to make sure you can concentrate all your effort on going forward. It’ll go toe-to-toe with bikes three times its price.

Read the full Boardman SLR 9.2 review

Pros
+ Superbly stiff, power-proof, stable and surefooted frameset
+ Top componentry keeps weight low and responsiveness high

Cons
– Stiff frame feels sharp rather than forgiving at low speeds
– Man-size performance means man-size gears, so pootlers need not apply

Performance 4/5
Value 5/5
Overall 4/5 

 * Price has risen since original review was published.


Cannondale SuperSix Evo Red

Cannondale SuperSix Evo Red (2013)
£3,500
cannondale.com

Our first ride on the Evo involved some deep breaths to ready ourselves for potential disappointment. Down-specced, mid-price carbon fibre copycats from other brands have a history of half-hearted performance. But Cannondale’s carbon guru, Peter Denk, has done an incredible job here. The ride sensation as you clip in and roll up the road is sublime.

Read the full Cannondale SuperSix Evo Red review

Pros

+ Fantastic ride quality
+ Super-light SRAM Red based build flatters the frame further

Cons

+ Fantastic ride quality
+ Super-light SRAM Red based build flatters the frame further

Performance 5/5
Value 5/5
Overall 5/5 


Cannondale SuperSix Evo

Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Red,
Racing Edition (2013)

£4,999
cannondale.comcyclingsportsgroup.co.uk

Cannondale’s SuperSix isn’t a new bike, but the Evo Hi-Mod version introduced in 2012 dropped it into the competitive ultra-light frames fight. The builds available with this frame are cleverly-thought-through kit lists that create stunning performance at a relatively reasonable price.

Read the full Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod Red, Racing Edition review

Pros
+ Stunning ultra-light, yet powerful and punchy frameset
+ Ride is really soft but it still corners and sprints very well

Cons
– Tubular tyres will scare some people off
– Leaves you with absolutely no excuses

Performance 5/5
Value 5/5
Overall 5/5 


Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 SLCanyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 SL (2013)
£3,689
canyon.com

The Canyon is as accurate and direct as William Tell’s arrow; that it combines this with oodles of stability is testament to what a fine machine this is. You can also take for granted its climbing ability thanks to its minimal weight – it floats uphill when you’re out of the saddle.

Read the full Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 SL review

Pros
+ Stunning value for money
+ Rapid, responsive and stable for a flyweight

Cons
– Some set-up issues
– Screechy brakes

Performance 4/5
Value 5/5
Overall 4/5


Cervelo R5CACervelo R5ca (2011-2012)
£7,500 (frameset)
cervelo.commadison.co.uk

With only the fork providing a tangible performance upgrade, you’d have to be insane to spend the extra £4,000 on an R5ca frame compared to a standard R5. However, in terms of owning a piece of state-of-the art technology that’s both breathtaking and breath saving, it outrides anything else we’ve ever tested.

Read the full Cervelo R5ca review

Pros
+ Truly ultralight, but still superbly surefooted, sprint-bustingly quick
+ More upright distance and dodgy-back friendly position than most

Cons
– Not everyone will get on with the position and large sizing
– Massive cost increase compared to the ‘standard’ R5

Performance 5/5
Value 3/5
Overall 4/5


Felt F1 Di2Felt F1 Di2 (2012)
£7,499
feltbicycles.com / saddleback.co.uk

Felt’s ultralight F1 all-rounder is as easy on the road as it is on the eye. It’ not a gear-masher’s muscle bike but a good choice if you want a light, efficient, smooth cruise that sucks the sting out of serious miles.

Read the full Felt F1 Di2 review

Pros
+ Smooth and light chassis creates fatigue-free all-round friendliness
+ Dura Ace Di2 transmission and tubeless ready wheels

Cons
– Power delivery isn’t as direct as the stiffeast bikes
–  Short stem and steep angles give handling wobble when pushing hard

Performance 5/5
Value 3/5
Overall 4/5


Felt Z5Felt Z5 (2013)
£1,749
feltbicycles.com / saddleback.co.uk

For 2013, the Z Series chassis has been revamped from the ground up to create one of the finest bikes of its type around. The Z5 is light, smooth and very well equipped.

Read the full Felt Z5 review

Pros
+ Wide gear range optimised for climbing
+ Future-proof frameset

Cons
– Sportive focused design won’t appeal to racers
– Cone-shaped headset top  cap limits adjustability

Performance 4/5
Value 5/5
Overall 4/5


Felt Z6Felt Z6 (2013)
£1,399
feltbicycles.com / saddleback.co.uk

The class of the Z6’s frame and fork shines through the relatively mundane spec. It’s simply a very rewarding bike to ride, and well worth holding on to and upgrading as parts wear out (or you just feel like buying stuff).

Read the full Felt Z6 review

Pros
+ Impressively low weight and lively ride
+ Really flatters your efforts

Cons
– Colour scheme isn’t the most subtle
– Square-taper chainset is a little low-rent

Performance 3/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5


Giant Defy Advanced 2Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
£1,999
giant-bicycles.com

It’s the poise and stable character on fast descents that makes us love the Defy. It’s simply a better all-rounder than the competition and puts plenty of out-and-out race bikes to shame when you’re pointing downwards.

Read the full Giant Defy Advanced 2 review

Pros
+ One of the best all-round framesets ever created
+ Lightweight chassis ideal for upgrading

Cons
– Kit can’t match the truly impressive frame
– You’ll want to start upgrading it immediately

Performance 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5


Giant TCR Advanced 2 Bike Review

Giant TCR Advanced 2 (2012)
£2,249
giant-bicycles.com

If you’ve been studying bike test form recently, then you’d be daft to bet against Giant when it comes to ride quality at any price. The TCR Advanced is a proper thoroughbred that’ll delight both experienced race jockeys and those just moving from a canter to a fast gallop.

Read the full Giant TCR Advanced 2 review

Pros
+ Super-light, powerful, ultra precise handling and future-proof frameset
+ Decent quality kit collection considering the superlative frame

Cons
– Wheels roll and corner really well, but they’re not light
– Currently limited aftermarket stem options

Performance 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5


Giant TCR Advanced SL 4Giant TCR Advanced SL 4  (2013)
£3,249
giant-bicycles.com

If you like your bikes punchy and aggressive, then you’ll find few better allies for your biking brawls than the outstandingly muscular and accurate Giant TCR Advanced SL.

Read the full Giant TCR Advanced SL 4 review

Pros
+ Outstandingly accurate, responsive and secure-handling frameset
+ Excellent blend of smooth Shimano and quality own-brand kit

Cons
– Limited sizing means some riders may have to compromise fit
– OverDrive 2 front end limits equipment upgrade options

Performance 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5


Mekk Poggio 2.5Mekk Poggio 2.5 (2013)
£1,349.99
mekkbicycles.com

It’s not the most comfortable bike for longer rides, but many riders will like the racy feel of the Poggio, and it’s certainly a fast, fun and great-value package.

Read the full Mekk Poggio 2.5 review

Pros
+ Impressive value for money
+ Great combination of speed and comfort

Cons
– Firmer ride than the competition
– Can’t match the best on test for weight and pace

Performance 3/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5


Ribble Sportive RacingRibble Sportive Racing (2011>)
£1,999.99
ribblecycles.co.uk

Yorkshire-based Ribble’s direct-selling business has allowed them to offer some outstanding value for money packages based around their Italian-sourced carbon framesets. A stunning spec helps keep the Sportive Racing’s ride light and easy, but this is a long-haul bike that prefers to take things steady.

Read the full Ribble Sportive Racing review

Pros
+ Very well equipped for the price
+ Light frame and good complete weight too

Cons
– Buzz through the bars needs to be reduced
– Handling isn’t race-ready

Performance 3/5
Value 5/5
Overall 4/5


Specialized Amira Elite

Specialized Amira Elite (2012)
£2,000
specialized.com

Specialized’s Amira range is aimed at women who want to race.  The Elite is the middle-of-the-range model offering a light, stiff frame made from Specialized’s signature FACT carbon (Functional Advanced Composite Technology) with an average groupset, at a sensible price. It’s an upgrade-ready package that’s good for distance and for destroying races.

Read the full Specialized Amira Elite review

Pros
+ Race and sportive elements give a comfy but responsive ride
+ Stiff rear end allows explosive movements out of the saddle

Cons
– Wheels are distinctly average and will probably need upgrading
– Aerodynamic elements could be developed further

Performance 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5


Trek Madone 3.1

Trek Madone 3.1 (2013)
£1,500
trekbikes.com

The Madone legend may have been tarnished by recent revelations about Lance Armstrong but it’s still one of the true greats. While Trek’s range-topping 7 Series frame has had a successful aero makeover for 2013, the 3 Series has kept the previous round-tube design but with a few upgrades in the spec. It offers precisely what most of us want from a big distance bike, and that’s comfort and confidence on the road.

Read the full Trek Madone 3.1 review

Pros
+ Superior comfort balanced with fine handling
+ Massive gear range is a boon to tired legs

Cons
– Wheels don’t do justice to the frame
– We’d also like a carbon seatpost

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5


Trigon RQC-29Trigon RQC29 (2012-13)
£3,850
trigon-cycles.com

Trigon is a Taiwanese carbon fibre specialist which, until a few years ago, only made frames and parts for other top brands (including Shimano Pro and Pinarello). Then the staff realised that they could use their expertise to produce a range under their own name. By any other name this is a £6,000 superbike, with an exciting and focused ride from a very thorough package.

Read the full Trigon RQC29 review

Pros
+ Stiff, rewarding frame feels better and better the harder you ride it
+ No corners cut in the spec, full carbon clinchers save on upgrades

Cons
– Does the bare minimum to smooth out the road for you
– Colour scheme is starting to look outdated

Performance 4/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5


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Marin Verona T3 (2013), £1,399.99

Norco Valence Carbon 4 (2013), £1,250