The number of sportive and endurance bikes has grown hugely in recent years and almost every major manufacturer worth their salt has at least one comfort-focussed bike in their range for 2016.
The choice can be overwhelming, with options to suit all budgets, and bikes made from carbon fibre, aluminium and titanium – so if you’re in the market for an endurance machine, we’ve picked out 18 which caught our eye.
What to expect from an endurance bike
But first things first, what makes an endurance bike? You can find our full blow-by-blow guide to what makes an endurance bike here, but let’s quickly recap. First things first, the terms endurance bike and sportive bike are interchangeable.
Essentially, an endurance bike is a machine designed with long-distances rides like sportives and gran fondos in mind, where the rider will most likely be seeking a balance of comfort and performance, rather than a full-blooded race bike. However, that blend of comfort and performance is why many pro riders use an endurance bike for the toughest cobbled Classics, like Paris-Roubaix.
Comfort normally comes by way of a more relaxed geometry, with a slightly taller headtube to provide a more upright riding position, and a longer wheelbase to stabilise the handling, particularly over rough surfaces.
Speaking of which, endurance bikes will usually have clearance for wider tyres – with room for at least 25mm expected as standard and sometimes that will go up to 32mm, in the case of a machine like the Trek Domane SLR Disc.
Many manufacturers have also developed their own comfort-boosting technologies within the frame itself, from Trek’s IsoSpeed decoupler, to Bianchi’s Countervail technology and Pinarello’s suspension system to Cannondale’s weird and wonderful tube profiles. You might also find hidden features like mudguard mounts to further increase the bike’s versatility.
While disc brakes have had a stop-start beginning to life in the pro peloton, bike manufacturers have fully adopted discs in the endurance market. If you value the all-weather braking and control offered by disc brakes, you won’t be short of options – but there are still plenty of rim brake endurance bikes out there, too.
Now, without further ado, let’s get down to business.