Six of the best £2,000 to £2,500 road bikes

Six bikes for between £2,000 and £2,500 with a choice of carbon, aluminium and titanium

by David Arthur   December 5, 2012  

Pearson Hammerandtongs - riding 5

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Two grand is clearly a lot of money to spend on a bike but it can get you a very good, well-equipped machine. At this price there’s a vast choice of brands offering very high-quality road bikes, whether it’s for racing or sportive riding.

The choice of frame material will include a lot of carbon fibre at this price, and you’re looking at advanced high-quality carbon that benefit from the trickle down effect from the top-end. Titanium is attainable too if you want that unique aesthetic and ride quality that only Ti can offer.

And don’t discount steel. The latest Reynolds and Columbus tubesets make splendid frame choices if outright stiffness isn’t top of your list of priorities, and you value the traditional look of a skinny tubed steel bike. Finally, aluminium is a rare sight, it’s just not as popular these days, which is a shame, but there are some good examples out there.

While the frame still makes up a large chunk of the price, you can expect groupsets of the Shimano Ultegra level and even some smattering of Dura-Ace. SRAM’s Force and Campagnolo Athena and Chorus are alternative choices. Electronic? That is possible...

As for finishing kit, you can expect branded components from well established brands that specialise in handlebars, stems, seatposts and saddles. Carbon starts to replace aluminium for items like handlebars and seatposts, but don’t automatically assume carbon is better - some aluminium components can actually be lighter than carbon.

Giant TCR Advanced 3 £1,999.00

Our first offering (coming a pound under our price range but we’ll round it up) is Giant’s TCR Advanced 3, a bike that Mat described in his review as a, “Fast, race-orientated road bike with precise handling and class-leading efficiency.”

The frame is made from T-700 carbon composite using a monocoque construction technique, and it features Giant's huge OverDrive 2 front end. Here, the top bearing is 1 1/4in (compared to a typical 1 1/8in) which means Giant had to design their own headset and stem. They reckon on a huge stiffness increase and it's certainly a stiff handling bike.

Hanging off the frame is a Shimano 105 groupset finished with Giant's own SL1 wheels and tyres, a carbon seatpost with a Fizik Arione saddle topping it off. Read Mat’s review here

Cannondale CAAD10 Ultegra £1,999.99

I wanted to demonstrate the choice of frame materials available in this price range so here’s a fine aluminium example in the shape of Cannondale’s CAAD10. Cannondale have a long history with the metal and are renowned masters of working with it, and the CAAD10 has many years of expertise in its DNA.

It has a carbon-fibre fork in the tapered head tube and very slender seat stays and a hugely oversized down tube and top tube. An FSA SL-K chainset slots into the BB30 bottom bracket and there’s a Shimano Ultegra groupset wrapped around it. Cannondale’s own C3 parts decorate the cockpit, the wheels are Mavic Askiums and the saddle is a Prologo Scratch.

Read our review here

Genesis Equilibrium Ti  £2,299.99

Over the last 10 years titanium has gone from being one of the most exotic materials, with its aerospace background, to being far more affordable. British brand Genesis use 3AL/2.5V double-butted titanium tubes with a thoroughly modern 44mm head tube with a tapered steerer tube, and shaped and flattened rear stays. The cost of the titanium frame shows in the specification though, with a Shimano 105 groupset fitted along with DT Swiss R450 rims on 105 hubs. Genesis supply their own finishing kit.

It’s the only bike in this roundup that has the versatility to accept mudguards, making it a good pick for year-round cycling.

Read our review

Jamis Xenith Pro   £2,399.99

We said in our introduction that getting an electronic groupset at this price would be a rare sight, but the Jamis Xenith Pro manages just that. A Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic groupset is attached to a fine looking full carbon frame and fork. Jamis have routed the wires internally giving a very clean look.

There appear to be few compromises, but the Shimano's RS10s are notch below what we’d normally expect to see at this price. The frame has modern touches like a press-fit bottom bracket, tapered head tube and profiled tube shapes, so there are few corners cut on the chassis. Vittoria Rubino Pro Slick tyres and Ritchey finishing kit complete the package.

Read our Xenith Pro review.

Pearson HammerAndTongs £2,500

From the longest running bike shop in the world comes this stylish full-carbon beauty. Geometry is steered towards the needs of sportive rides with a higher front end than usual for a comfortable ride, and the frame has a stiffness to match the needs of the most demanding riders. It’s finished with a full Shimano Ultegra groupset, Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels and Continental Ultra Sport tyres, and Pearson branded finishing kit.

Read our review of the HammerAndTongs

Specialized Ruby Comp £2,500

Leonie tested the lower specced Ruby Elite this year and found a comfortable, fast and stylish bike that proved to be an excellent all-round women’s sportive choice. Specailized use their own FACT 9r carbon to craft the frame and fork with comfort provided by the Zertz dampers incorporated into the rear stays.

Specialized has considerable buying power and this shows, with a Shimano Ultegra groupset (a 105 front mech the only downgrade) with DT Axis 3.0 wheels wrapped in Specialized’s own Espoir Elite 25mm tyres. A Body Geometry Lithia Comp Gel saddle and Specialized Women’s Comp handlebar complete the package.

Read our review of the Ruby Elite here

4 user comments

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Assume this review is based on list price because there are some deals to be done and 2.5k can land you a lot of bike if you have the spondies to splash. A quick check (and this is the Christmas season don't forget) lined up some carbon beauties with great running gear that would show a clean pair of wheels to your parade:

Focus Izalco Pro 1.0 Dura Ace (2.3k)
Raleigh SP Team Dura Ace (2.3k)
Focus Izalco Pro 2.0 (SRAM) Red/Force (2.2k)
Focus Cayo Evo 2.0 Ultegra Di2 (2.1k)
De Rosa Athena (11 spd) (2.1k)
Ridley Noah RS 1102A/B Ultegra (2.1k) - [this one is a beaut]
Felt F3 Red (1.95k)

If you could stretch a little north of 2.5k then it gets seriously sexy:

Colnago CLX 3.0 Ultegra Di2 (2.8k)
Focus Cayo Evo 1.0 Dura Ace (2.6k)

posted by RTB [47 posts]
5th December 2012 - 21:32

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Why no Canyon Ultimate AL?

posted by usernameforme [44 posts]
6th December 2012 - 5:59

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where did you see the ridley noah available for 2.1k RTB

posted by mpt68 [101 posts]
10th December 2012 - 2:40

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I like the look of the Genesis Equilibrium Ti, yet you gave it a less glowing review than the Kinesis GranFondo Ti - similar price with an outstanding spec - £2400 for build including Ultegra 6700, RS80 wheelset. (declare bias - I own one, hence I remember the review)

Why is there never a tailwind?

posted by What Mid Life Crisis [13 posts]
26th September 2013 - 16:45

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