Boardman Team Carbon (Dave Caudery)

Given that sportives tend to be long, all day stints in the saddle undertaken by folk finding their feet in the sport, the bikes they ride need to be fit for purpose.

In short, they need to be comfortable. To achieve this, manufacturers tend to relax the frame geometry by slackening the head and seat tube angles, and lengthen the head tube for a more upright position. Frames also tend to be less stiff for a more forgiving ride, while components (compact chainsets, larger cassettes) are chosen to help riders conquer any hill or mountain in the land without destroying themselves doing so. Below is a compilation of our favourites from the last year.

Trek Madone 3.5

£1,800 / $2,799

We found the Madone 3.5 hard to fault, it surprised and impressed us in equal
measure. With an incredibly smooth ride, impressive spec, and handling that’s the
ideal blend of stability and sharpness this truly is a capable
all-rounder. Better still is the fact the 3.5 is fitted with mudguard mounts for a superb ride whatever the weather.

Read the full review of the Trek Madone 3.5 here

Focus Izalco Pro 3.0

£2,099.99 / $3,700

Cycling Plus’s
Bike of the Year 2012, the Focus Izalco, has been around for a couple
of seasons and has seen action at the highest
levels of road racing, with the top-end Team model being ridden by
Katusha and now Acqua Sapone. On paper the Izalco certainly looks
impressive, as it does on the scales too, at 7.78kg (17.2lb) for a 58cm
size. But it’s the performance out on the road that counts and
thankfully the Pro
3.0 doesn’t disappoint, the Izalco
is truly exceptional for long hilly rides yet is at its best when you’re
going as hard as you can. Overall it’s a hugely impressive all-rounder
that combines great kit, light weight and superlative ride quality

Read the full review of the Focus Izalco Pro 3.0 here

Specialized Roubaix Comp

£1,999 / $2,499

Specialized Roubaix Comp strikes a great balance between comfort and
performance and as a result is an ideal all-day bike. The Roubaix’s
super-plush ride is achieved by using Zertz shock absorbing inserts
combined well thought out geometry in its chassis. The Roubaix is no
slouch in the handling stakes either, with precise steering and zippy
acceleration. Where the Roubaix really excels though is its performance
over poor surfaces and its overall comfort. Riders who like
uncompromising, hard-riding road bikes may feel a little
‘disconnected’ from the road on the Roubaix, but most of our testers
were impressed by its feel and the performance.

Read the full review of the Specialized Roubaix Comp here

Van Nicholas Mistral Apex (+ wheel upgrade)

£1,749 / $2,773

Mistral’s skinny titanium tubes, semi-sloping geometry and long wheelbase set it
out as a bike designed for big distances. The unusually narrow titanium tubes gives the Van Nicholas an
old-school feel that’s as unique as it is welcome. It’s blessed with a supple
smoothness that makes it a wonderful bike to ride over long distances,
especially when the route includes some tough climbs. If you’re not a dedicated
racer, and sportives or big challenge rides are more your thing, then the
Mistral could well be the bike you’ve been looking for.

Read the full review of the Van Nicholas Mistral Apex here

Cube Agree GTC Race Review

£1,799 / $2,850

Cube Agree has always
been a firm favourite with our testers due to its combination of fast
excellent equipment and outstanding value. For 2012, it’s undergone its
ever revamp, with a stiffer fork and fresh and intricate shaping of the
frames tubing being just two of the many big revisions. The results of
these changes are obvious,  comfort over coarse surfaces is vastly
improved over the solidly Germanic outgoing Agree, and handling is a
slower. The finishing kit is among the best value around and the
overall finish is of the highest quality. Overall Cube’s endurance bike
does things differently but with impressive results

Read the full review of the Cube Agree GTC Race here

Giant Defy 1

£999.99 / $1,275

Defy has been the dominant bike in the sub thousand pound category for
the past few years, yet with the all-new 2012 frameset this is now the
benchmark for alloy responsiveness and ride quality at this pricepoint. A
superb chassis creates a responsive but flowing ride backed up by
balanced handling and excellent components for the money. It’s this ride
quality that really makes the Giant stand out from its peers, this is
simply the best riding bike we know of for this price. Finishing
touches like Defy-specific close-clearance mudguards and an aftermarket
seat collar that includes rack mounts complete a superbly designed

Read the full review of the Giant Defy 1 here

Rose Xeon RS3100 review

£1,996.65 / $3,152

direct sales model has allowed them to offer a lightweight race bike
with the latest electronic shifting
from Shimano and a smattering of high quality finishing kit. All of this
less than £2,000 and that’s a price that high street brands just can’t
match. The chassis is stiff enough for rock solid response to pedal
inputs yet ultra-skinny
seatstays, topped with a carbon seatpost allow for great isolation from
road surface vibrations. Overall the Xeon offers a superb level of
equipment on a lively and responsive aluminium frame, a top value

Read the full review of the Rose Xeon RS3100 here

Boardman Team Carbon

£1,499.99 / $1,799.99

The Boardman Team Carbon is a bike with a class-leading specification and a ride to match. Everything about this bike, from the quality of the frame to the level
of components and its sheer ride ability, would have us believe this was
a machine with a pricetag of hundreds more than £1,499. There are sharper handling options out there – the Team Carbon doesn’t
excel at fast direction changes or hustling through the tight stuff –
but for an all-rounder with an emphasis on big rides, it’s hard to beat.

Read the full review of the Boardman Team Carbon here

Ribble Sportive 7005

£608.90 / $963

The Sportive 7005 from Ribble is, as the name suggests – a sportive specific model. Coming in at just over the £600 mark this is an affordable entry into sportive competition with very good all-round performance and a kit spec that’s hard to beat. The Sportive balances the needs of comfort and performance well, the
quite modest frame is decked with some very good kit, and it’s good to
see a carbon fork. Overall this is a fine Sportive choice but we think it would also make an ideal first road bike.

Read the full review of the Ribble Sportive 7005 here

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