It’s tough to say what makes a truly great road bike. Sure, there are features cyclists tend to look for—a light but sturdy frame, a solid brake system, a generally smooth ride—but it’s not just the summation of those parts (and others) that make a great road bike.
As the master fitter and Founder of Fit Werx Ian Buchanan told us, “the very best bikes are the ones that match up well with the individual rider.” The perfect bike for you needs to match your needs, aspirations and body. Bike selection is a personal process and great bike shops like Fit Werx take that process seriously. When considering buying a bike, be sure to consult experts like those at the best bike shops and take your time finding a fit that feels right for you.
That said, there are some bikes that are objectively incredible rides. We consulted experts like Founder of Fit Werx Ian Buchanan, Director of Operations at the Cycling House Shaun Radley and Jason Woznick of Fair Wheel Bikes to get the scoop on the very best road bikes of 2015. If one of the bikes below matches your needs, budget and fits you well, you can be sure that it’s one of the best bikes out there.
Parlee Altum R
“A pure road bike in almost every sense of the word, the Parlee Altum R captures the essence of carbon fiber’s potential,” said Founder of Fit Werx Ian Buchanan. The master fitter also added that “the very best bikes are the ones that match up well with the individual rider.” If you’re looking for a “light and nimble, yet stable and predictable” ride, this might be a top choice for you. The Altum R also comes with a Flex Fit top cap, which allows for more fit adjustments than most bikes.
parleecycles.com; starting at $3,999 for a frameset
Cannondale CAAD10 105 5
Road bikes don’t come cheap—this is especially true of the newer models—but Cannondale’s CAAD10 is a high quality ride for a great price. The biggest difference from most other bikes on this list is that this bike is aluminum, where the others are carbon, but Cannondale insists that the CAAD10 can fly. Supposedly “lighter stiffer and smoother than many elite carbon frames,” this bike has won the hearts of new racers and seasoned club riders alike and frankly, it’s tough to beat the price.
cannondale.com; complete bike for $1,680