BUYER'S GUIDE: Fast non-racing bikes – Bike Magazine Australia

“I like riding fast, but I don’t race,” you may say.

Well, it’s a great day to be you, because this year has seen an explosion of new options in the category loosely referred to as endurance road. The BMC Roadmachine 02 and its peers, which include the Canyon Endurace CF SL and the updated Specialized Roubaix, are designed to better handle and offer more comfort on paved and unpaved roads, while borrowing some performance and aerodynamic features of race bikes.

Our pick

BMC Roadmachine 02 TWO, $5,499

We’ve sampled many of the new endurance models, and the Roadmachine is one of the more race-influenced, with quicker reflexes, a crisper-feeling ride, and cleaner frame design (no shocks, decouplers, or springs) with some aerodynamic shaping. A flat headset bearing cap allows one of the lowest bar positions among its peers – but if you want a higher bar, it’s still possible with BMC’s 20mm taller headset cap.

BMC also built in more vertical compliance than is found in a racing bike, and more control via disc brakes and a slightly stretched wheelbase. Wide-range gearing, clearance for larger tyres, and hidden fender mounts also offer additional versatility.

Our Roadmachine 02 weighed just over 8.15kg for a size 54: not unreasonable, but it does reflect the weight penalty of the 11-32 wide-range cassette and disc brakes. But as we discovered climbing a 13km route featuring about 915m in elevation gain, this is one of those bikes that climbs lighter than its weight, and wastes nothing – whether ascending, crossing flats, or punching over rollers, it moves with crisp efficiency.

And it is smooth while doing so. One tester remarked, “It’s buttery on fresh pavement and feels really good on rougher and broken stuff.” And these impressions are based on 25mm tyres; the Roadmachine will also fit 32s. – Matt Phillips

You may also want to consider

Giant Defy Advanced 2, $2,699

Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice when looking at the Defy is its compact rear triangle – and that’s the foundation of much of this bike’s speed. Giant claims the sloping geometry helps with lightness and stiffness, with the Advanced 2 also boasting Overdrive head tubes which improves the handling. Despite offering plenty of pace, the 11-32 gear spread means climbing won’t be a chore, with Giant’s own 140mm Conduct hydraulic disc brakes providing the stopping power. And although the Advanced 2 is in the lower end of the Defy range, it is ‘electronic ready’ which means you can easily upgrade if you wish somewhere down the track.

Specialized Roubaix Comp. $4,500

Specialized say that rolling smoother means rolling faster – and that is the ethos behind the Roubaix Comp.

The building block is a lightweight FACT 10r carbon fibre frame, featuring the company’s ‘Rider-First Engineered’ design that ensures every frame size performs to its optimal potential. If you’re not looking to race, then comfort comes more into the equation, and with the Roubaix you get 20mm of front suspension from the Future Shock system. The Roval SLX 24 Disc wheelset offer a sub-1600g weight and an alloy construction that makes it a solid performer when the roads turn rough, with 32c tyres also compatible if you want to convert your bike into a long distance cruiser.

Canyon Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0 Aero, $5,299

The Endurace could have been named specifically for this very category, with Canyon themselves admitting they are targetting riders who want to go far and go fast.

A carbon frame featuring Sport Geometry is the basis of this machine, with tried and tested smooth shifting supplied by the Shimano Ultegra groupset. The Ultegra disc brakes have been updated, with the new rotor design aimed at managing temperatures even better, while 41mm deep Reynolds Assault LE Disc Carbon wheels promise lightweight responsiveness and durable reliability.

For anyone looking to buy a comfortable bike that will get you through long adventures – but still feel like a seriously fast racing bike – the Endurace CF SL Disc 8.0 Aero should definitely be on the shortlist.

Scott Speedster 10 Disc. $2,199

You want to go fast? Try a Speedster! This budget-friendly bike offers real versatility thanks to the 35mm Schwalbe G-One Allround tubeless tyres that are super-fast despite their size. When it comes to stopping, the hydraulic disc brakes are a real boon at this pricepoint – with Shimano’s RS505 levers helping to give braking performance on a par with bikes that cost much, much more. With an aluminium frame, the much-loved Speedster is not the lightest steed on the market by any means, but it is well known for being stiff and lively and delivers plenty of fun.