The Forme Longcliffe 1.0 follows a bit of a trend we've seen this year. With so many manufacturers making ill-advised componentry compromises in order to squeeze in a carbon frame close to the £1000 price point, more and more often we're finding the best bikes feature a middle budget aluminium frame that's offering the same sort of performance, comfort, weight and looks advantages as its carbon framed price competitors.
Last year Canyon's Ultimate Al rode away with a bike of the year gong, and the RS-3000 from German compatriots Rose is a cracking bike too. You can get a carbon bike for this kind of money but this is a ready-to-race weight and spec; just slap some pedals on and you can mix it straight out of the box. Aluminium is well and truly back, folks.
Mekk have produced a lovely frame here that, with a few changes to the componentry - preferably before you even leave the shop - will offer an excellent racey ride.
The Speed Concept 2.5 is Trek's entry-level triathlon/time trial bike. The frame has the Kammtail Virtual Foil aero design employed by the more expensive bikes like the 9.9 that Mat reviewed, only here it's aluminium. The wheelset and gears, however, look like they've been borrowed from a sportive bike, and the tri bars are too high relative to the saddle.
Last Sunday was the first weekend day that felt like spring to me, so I filled a couple of big bottles, put on some shiny new kit and headed out on the Specialized Allez Comp for my first 100-miler of the year. After a few hours on the back roads of Wiltshire and Berkshire, I came home thinking that this is a really neat, value-packed bike that deserves some serious consideration.