Bikes - Road
Cannondale’s SuperSix carbon race bikes have proved almost universally popular since they were introduced in 2008, and this year sees the technology filter down to a lower price point than ever before. At £1,800, the new SuperSix 105 is the entry-level model in the range. That’s still a big wedge, of course, but fitted with a mostly Shimano 105 groupset and rolling on Mavic Aksium wheels, it looks like a whole lot of bike for your cash.
We’ve been surprised by the Giant TCR Advanced 2. In a good way. To be honest, I was expecting a solid, workmanlike machine, but not necessarily any fireworks. Something that ticks all the boxes, covers the bases, does the job… but perhaps not with a great deal of flare. What I got is a fast and lively bike that’s smooth-riding too. It’s right up there among the best in its class.
The Gran Turismo is a new model from Italian brand Wilier, designed to be lightweight and efficient like a road race bike but with an extra helping of comfort added to the mix. It sounds like the perfect sportive machine… Is it?
Frame and fork
The first road stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia saw the unveiling of Colnago’s latest top of the range C59 being ridden by Colnago-CSF Inox sprinter Sacha Modolo after 4 years in development. The frame follows on from the technology used on Colnago’s EPS model but has been put a diet bringing the frame in at around 950g.
Wiggle describe the Kilmeston as offering ‘versatility and value’ and on initial inspection you can see where they’re coming from – compact gearing, rack and mudguard eylets and a near full Sram Rival groupset for £900! The Verenti range has been receiving rave reviews throughout the cycling press since the launch so we gave the Kilmeston nearly two months of testing day in day out to see what the bike is like to live with long term.
So, a carbon Litespeed… The famed titanium bike manufacturer has branched out into a brave new-ish world, the Archon carbon framesets are the result of two years of design, progression and testing. The test model here is the C3. Litespeed say that their “relentless drive for the perfect ride has finally delivered the results we had hoped for”. Taken on face, it would seem that Litespeed feel this is the perfect bike, quite a statement for a company who have built so many great bikes in titanium.
The Imperiale is Wilier's latest offering in the highly competitive market of carbon dream bikes. With this bike Wilier attempt to give you all your cake and let you eat it too. The Imperiale combines, performance, aerodynamics. Sounds like a super high end sportive bike? Wilier don't believe in the idea of "sportive" bikes, well they didn't until they announced the Gran Turismo for 2011 another model that's all about performance and comfort and is "ideal for Sportive/Granfondo riding but is definitely aimed at performance riders" says Wilier.
GT's GTR Sport Carbon is a good bike with a bit of an identity crisis. According to GT, it's a bike for the "recreational rider or beginning racer looking for a carbon racing bike". If that's you GT reckon you need "look no further than the FTR carbon sport…you can rest assured that the GTR Sport Carbon can, and will, make up for any lapses in your own racing ability. See how nice the podium feels”. Hmm… well, we'd agree with the "recreational" bit but we're not sure the GTR Carbon sport is going to bridge the gap between a lack of training, or the wrong sort of genes, and putting you or me on the podium.
Look are best known for their market-leading clipless pedals but the French company also packs plenty more innovation into their range of carbon frames. The 585 Optimum is a frame and forks package that’s built for speed but also with a real focus on comfort. It’s got ‘sportive machine’ written all over it (no, don’t be silly – that's a metaphor).