If you want your new road bike to offer great value for money and come with disc brakes, an aluminium disc-equipped road bike could be the right choice for you.
There’s a wide range of aluminium road bikes that typically offer really good value for money because less money is tied up with the frame there’s more budget for better components. And many of the latest aluminium frames offer really good performance.
Disc brakes are increasingly popular and we’re seeing more bike manufacturers releasing disc-equipped aluminium bikes at the moment, so thought it would be useful to round up some of the most interesting choices.
If you'd like to compare these disc brake aluminium bikes with rim brake aluminium bikes check out 13 of the best here.
For first time bike buyers after an optimum blend of build and price, or experienced riders after a great value winter bike or commuter, at £729 direct from French sports megastore Decathlon, it's hard to look past the Triban 520. What surprises most about the Triban 520 is just how accessible the ride is; how easy it is to pedal the bike at moderate speeds and feel like you're just cruising along.
This is a consistent characteristic for everything from a 5km commute to a 40km spin around the country – in each situation, it's a supremely easy bike to get on with. In fact, it's almost lazy. If you want sharp and direct responses above all else, this aluminium-framed bike most certainly isn't the one for you, but the easygoing manner lends itself to almost any other kind of road rider this side of a gravel specialist.
Cannondale is a brand famous for its dedication to aluminium, with its CAAD series stretching back a couple of decades and being raced in the pro peloton. The latest CAAD 12 Disc is the latest version, lighter and smoother than the previous CAAD 10 (don’t ask about the CAAD 11, it never happened). There are just two disc versions in the CAAD 12 range, you can get a Tiagra model from just over a grand, or go all the way up to Dura-Ace if you are feeling flush for £3,500, which while a big bag of cash is good compared to what a carbon frame with the same groupset would cost you.
Not to be outdone, Trek has been investing heavily in aluminium and its Emonda ALR with its claimed 1,050g frame is one of the lightest options. The welds are as smooth as anything and there is internal cable routing and many features carried over from the carbon fibre Emonda, such as the tapered head tube and oversized bottom bracket. At £1,750 the ALR 5 Disc is the most expensive model in the range with a Shimano 105 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes, while at £1,400 the ALR 4 Disc features a Tiagra groupset.
German direct-sales brand Canyon is probably best known for offering carbon bikes at a fraction of the price of other mainstream brands but it also understands the value of a really good aluminium road bike. Using its endurance platform the Endurace AL Disc provides a more upright riding position for knocking out big miles in comfort, with a carbon fork and seatpost. The range-topping AL Disc 8.0 gets you a full Shimano Ultegra groupset with hydraulic discs for £1,649, or there’s 105 option at £1,349. Both bikes share the same 1,350g frame with internal cable routing and 12mm thru-axles.
Swiss company BMC is a familiar sight in the professional peloton with its carbon TeamMachine, but there’s also an aluminium version that carries many of the same features combined with an advanced aluminium frame that weighs a claimed 1,250g frame weight. BMC has attempted to provide as smooth a ride as possible by flattening the rear stays and using a D-shaped carbon seatpost for adding bump absorption. With a Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake groupset, it costs £1,800.
The Paralane is one of road.cc's favourite endurance bikes for its combination of a really smooth ride, good handling, wide tyre clearance and plenty of versatility options. The good news is that an aluminium version was included right at the beginning of the design process and so this bike carries many of the same key features, such as clearance for 28mm tyres, a skinny seatpost for compliance and mudguard mounts. The aluminium frame also boasts rack mounts which the carbon one doesn’t, making it an ideal commuting and touring option. The two aluminium-frame variants have Shimano 105 components and SRAM Apex 1 x 11 respectively.
First launched in 2015 the Mason Definition is aimed at the cyclist wanting a four-season road bike with stable and surefooted handling with lots of practicality and versatility, with space for wider tyres and eyelets for mudguards and racks. The updated Definition 2 brings a few changes such and as a new fork and thru-axles front and rear. It’s one of the more expensive aluminium bikes here proving that aluminium isn’t a byword for cheap. That price gets you a Shimano 105 or SRAM Rival 1x build with Hunt wheels.
Cube’s Attain model is an endurance and comfort-focused road bike and the SL Disc brings disc brakes to the party. There are various models to choose from, the Pro Disc costs £848.99 with a Shimano Sora groupset or there’s the posher spec of the Attain SL Disc for £1,299 which upgrades the groupset to Shimano 105 along with better wheels and tyres. It’s a smart frame, with slim dropped rear stays to boost comfort, a tapered head tube for precise steering and full internal cable routing giving a very clean appearance.
Brand new to the disc-equipped aluminium road bike party is the Specialized Allez Sprint, with the Smartweld frame now getting the disc brake treatment. The frame uses a very trick hydroforming and welding construction process that leads to lower weight and improved stiffness, and it’s also aerodynamic with a teardrop shaped seat tube and down tube. There’s just one model available, the Comp, and it costs £1,800 with a Shimano 105 groupset.
Kinesis is a brand synonymous with affordable aluminium frames and a couple of years ago it took the weight battle to the carbon competition, with the Aithein frame weighing a little over 1kg. Naturally, a disc brake version soon followed. When Mat reviewed it he said: “stiff and spirited aluminium road frameset that will appeal to people who like to take the battle to the roads, hammering the climbs and hitting the descents equally hard.” Sounds like he enjoyed it then!
The best thing is that the frameset retails for just £750, but at the time of writing this article it’s discounted to £562.50. Bargain!
Young Brit bike brand Bowman Cycles launched a couple of years ago with a couple of models, but it’s the Pilgrims Disc we’re focused on here. With an aluminium frame, carbon fork, clearance for wide tyres and disc brakes, it’s a really good choice for UK riding. The frame is made from 6069 aluminium with a threaded bottom bracket, internal cable routing and 12mm thru-axles with flat mount brakes. It’ll take up to a 30mm tyre. Best thing is it costs just £795 so you can build a complete bike for a pretty reasonable price.
The Contend is basically the aluminium version of Giant’s Defy, the endurance bike that is aimed at cyclists who value comfort as well as performance and speed. The Contend SL features an advanced aluminium frame made from what the company calls Aluxx aluminium combined with features borrowed from the carbon Defy, such as the D-Fuse seatpost, geometry and disc brakes. It’s available in two versions, one with Shimano Tiagra for a currently discounted £849.1, or a Shimano 105-equipped model for £959.20. Both models are shod with Giant’s own Conduct hydraulic disc brake callipers.
British companies sure know the needs of British cyclists well, and nowhere is that truer when checking out the Whyte Dorset. It features an aluminium frame with a carbon fork and space for wide tyres and mudguards, making it a really good bike for getting from home to the office or lazy Sunday rides around the countryside. This model is equipped with a Shimano Sora 9-speed groupset with TRP Hy/RD disc brakes and costs £999 (but you can get 2018 bikes for £799 at the moment). The Suffolk uses the same frame with Shimano 105 and costs £1,350.
The PR SL Disc comes from German company Rose’s marathon line of bikes aimed at delivering more comfort than out-and-out race bikes, and like other direct-sales brands, it offers extraordinary value for money with a customisable build through its website. The aluminium frame weighs a respectable 1,350g with triple butted tubes, an oversized down tube and tapered head tube, and it’s joined by a carbon fibre fork. For a whisker under £1,500, you get a SRAM Force 22 groupset with Rose’s own DX-1650 wheels and a Ritchey cockpit.
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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.