[This article was last updated on March 9, 2018]
"You can buy a car for that!" It’s a comment we hear a lot when the subject of expensive road bikes comes up.
You certainly can spend the price of a small hatchback on a bicycle these days. To see just what exotica is out there for a price of a new Peugeot 108 and just for a bit of fun, we’ve rounded up some of the most expensive road bikes currently available.
These aren’t crazy one-off bikes with expensive paint jobs, oh no, they're all standard production road bikes that you can buy online or from your local bike shop, though we doubt many shops will carry any of these bikes in stock.
Canyon is usually associated with value for money bikes, but with the Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 Ltd the German direct sales specialist has pulled out all the stops to create a stunning superbike. It has the same design and tube shaping as the regular Ultimate CF SLX, but a more advanced and costly carbon fibre layup. The result is a 665g frame and 270g fork.
There's a SRAM Red eTap transmission hung on that feathery frame with some of Germany's finest über-light components including Lightweight Meilenstein Clincher wheels and a THM Clavicula M3 SRM chainset. Yes, you can see just how much (or how little?) power it takes to propel the Ultimate CF Evo 10.0 Ltd, right out of the box.
Swiss manufacturer BMC has stepped up a notch with its top model for 2018, incorporating the brain for Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting into the frame and adding disc brakes and DT Swiss PRC 1100 DICUT carbon fibre wheels to the mix foe a thoroughly up-to-date race bike. It's dripping with clever details: BMC's own super-light through axles, the sleek Integrated Cockpit System bar and stem, brake hoses and gear wires routed almost-invisibly through the frame, super-tidy Direct Frontal Flat Mount brake mounts.
You want a ten grand bike to be exclusive, and this version of Colnago's Italian-made flagship bike certainly is. Produced to celebrate Ernesto Colnago's 85th birthday, only 85 were made, and of those there are only 10 in the UK. The C60 is handmade in Colnago's workshop in Cambiago, and this version is fitted with Campagnolo's top groupset, Super record EPS.
To celebrate Engima’s 10th birthday, the British company has produced this extraordinarily beautiful limited edition anniversary bike. Crafted from 6AL-4V titanium and built with only the finest and most expensive components - including colour matched Super Record groupset, Enve rims and Chris King parts – it’s a beautiful bike to behold.
Want to race the same bike as the pros? Trek is one of a few companies that offers an identical replica of a team race bike, from the full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset right down to the paint job.
Scott’s Foil was a cutting-edge aero road bike when first launched in 2011, and the latest version still commands your attention if you want to ride fast. This top-end model gets a no-expense-spared build kit including Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels and a one-piece carbon fibre Syncros aero handlebar and stem.
It may not be blessed with looks, but if you’re into pure speed, the triathlon-specific Cervelo P5X is probably as fast as it gets. This is not a bike for riding to the cafe on, that’s for sure. It's a full carbon fibre construction with SRAM Red eTap wireless gears and hydraulic disc brakes and ENVE wheels.
Specialized says it's shaved an impressive 200g off the frame of the Tarmac SL6 compared to the previous SL5; a 56cm Tarmac SL6 frame weighs just 733g, which is pretty staggering. The Tarmac's aerodynamics has also been tweaked so it's now claimed to be 45 seconds faster over 40km than similarly-feathery road bikes.
Specialized has even used a lightweight paint finish that it says adds only 10g to the frame, and the S-Works Tarmac SL6 Ultralight incorporates Specialized's own carbon fibre cranks and eecycleworks lightweight direct mount brakes.
If you want an Italian-bred performance bike the Oltre XR4 puts in a stunning performance, and this massive price tag gets you a frame equipped with Campagnolo Super Record EPS and Fulcrum Zero wheels.
The Tour winning Dogma is a much sought after bike and this version comes with Shimano's latest Dura-Ace Di2 groupset. This Dogma is the best yet, providing exceptional performance and handling.
No guide to the most expensive road bikes could be complete without a Storck. The German company has a reputation for producing some of the most well-engineered road bikes, and also for producing some of the priciest bikes we’ve ever reviewed (there are more affordable bikes in the range too).
Wilier's 680g frame, SRAM's Red eTap shifting system and Mavic's Ksyrium Pro Exalith wheels add up to a superbike that Wilier says weighs a mere 6.1kg. Even when you've added pedals you're going to need to bolt on a couple of lead lumps to bring it up to the UCI's 6.8kg weight limit.
Cannondale has been doing a Black Inc. version of its top road bikes for a few years now; the basic idea is to paint them in a stealth black paint finish and whack on some high-end components. In this case, it’s a Dura-Ace Di2 groupset with Cannondale’s own feathery chainset and some ENVE wheels.
This beauty is Giant’s most expensive offering but compared to some of the other bikes here it doesn't look too pricey at all! Giant’s TCR Advanced has long been a favourite with racers, and the latest model offers a better stiffness to weight ratio than before - it’s stiffer for the same weight, basically. It comes fully decked out with SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset including a Quark power meter and Giant’s own carbon fibre wheels and finishing kit.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.