Editors' Choice: Aero Road Bikes
Proven in competition, aero road bikes are ready to make you faster. —Bicycling Test Staff
Aerodynamic Road Bikes Tested
It’s no longer enough for a race bike to be light and stiff—now it also needs to slice through the wind. Because cyclists use the majority of their power to overcome wind resistance, aero frames are faster in nearly every situation, leading to a new category for performance bikes. A marriage between time-trial bikes
and standard road racers, these models are light, efficient, and wind-tunnel certified
The execution of the aero road bicycle has taken time. Many early models were heavy, not stiff enough, or transmitted too much road noise. But now, several generations later, the bikes are more refined, riding with characteristics similar to traditional frames. For our first-ever Editors’ Choice award in this category, we gathered some of 2012’s best examples. In addition to extensive road evaluations by our test riders—our practice with every bike we test—we took all five to North Carolina’s A2 Wind Tunnel to evaluate the aerodynamic characteristics of each, comparing them with a 2012 Editors’ Choice award-winning race bike, the Specialized Tarmac S-Works SL4. In the tunnel, there was a clear winner, but the differences between bikes were minimal. That means you should base your purchasing decision on ride characteristics and fit rather than on aerodynamics. If you want to go faster, one of these slippery machines will speed up your next competitive ride—be it a race or Strava segment.
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