Specialized Aethos Pro Ultegra Di2
The Specialized Aethos Pro is the gold standard for general road bikes. The ride is truly stunning, with exceptional acceleration and handling that's just spot on, and despite what Specialized says, it's a race bike if you want it to be – just add deeper wheels.
At 6.6kg, the low weight of the Aethos is instantly noticeable. It floats up any sort of incline, and feels like it's constantly surging ahead—it's truly addictive.
The tight wheelbase also ensures the bike is very nimble. It's a brilliant for coming back down those steep and twisty hills.
There's a little ovalisation to this Fact 10r carbon frame, and according to Specialized, that makes it stiffer where it's needed, more robust and yet lower in weight. The frame is primarily optimised for pedalling stress and doesn't give any thought to aerodynamics. Specialized says this approach allows the use of fewer carbon layers around those stress points, hence the impressively low frame weight.
The amount of exposed seatpost, thanks to its sloped design, allows more flex under load, and the result is a bike that's composed over rough roads.
The handlebar is the S-Works short and shallow model. It provides a comfortable range of hand positions that are all easily accessible, while also doing a good job of damping out road buzz.
Specialized has stuck with a bit of exposed brake hose, avoiding the current trend of sending everything through the headset. While it isn't as clean as those new race bikes, it's certainly easier to work on.
Overall, the low weight of the Aethos is matched with great stiffness, and the ride remains pretty composed over rough tarmac. What a bike.