7 Spring Classics Bikes You Should Know

Rough cobbled roads will beat up your body and bike. Luckily, endurance road bikes can help take the edge off. If you're searching for more comfort, these bikes are the answer.

7 spring classics bikes you should know

Written by
Bruce Lin

Published on

Posted in
Bikes

Nothing beats the excitement of the Spring Classics. These one-day races are full of drama, wild fans, and — my favorite — rough cobbled roads. For the toughest cobbled races, many pros turn to comfort-enhancing tricks like double-wrapped handlebars and extra-wide tires. This hunt for extra comfort eventually led to the development of a new type of road bike: the endurance bike. For big races like Paris-Roubaix, many pros will ride endurance bikes so they can really attack the cobbles.   

For most road cyclists, endurance bikes are actually a better choice than pure race bikes. With relaxed and stable geometry, wider tire clearance, and other comfort-enhancing features, these bikes let you ride farther and with less fatigue. If the Spring Classics are inspiring you to go out and explore some rough backcountry roads, these are the seven best endurance bikes for smoothing out your ride. 

[button]Shop endurance road bikes[/button]

Specialized Roubaix

Specialized Roubaix

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The Specialized Roubaix is the bike that started it all. Its inventor, Robert Hines, found that agile race bikes felt slow and unstable over Paris-Roubaix's brutal cobbled sectors, so he gave the Roubaix a more upright position, vibration-damping tech, and more tire clearance. Since its introduction, it’s gone on to win its namesake race five times. The latest Roubaix uses FutureShock, a spring in the head tube which suspends the handlebars. With 20mm of travel, it smooths out bumps without adding excessive weight or affecting handling or efficiency. 

Trek Domane

Trek Domane

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The Roubaix’s greatest rival is the Trek Domane. Trek developed this bike with Fabian Cancellara, one of the greatest classics riders in modern history. While the Roubaix uses FutureShock, the Domane uses more passive IsoSpeed decouplers to improve comfort without sacrificing power transfer. This system “decouples” and isolates the seat tube and steerer tube with bearings and elastomers that allow them to flex freely and absorb bumps and vibration. 2020+ Domanes also have the biggest tire clearance in the business, able to fit up to 38mm tires. 

Cervelo Caledonia

Cervelo Caledonia

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The Cervelo Caledonia was designed in collaboration with Team Sunweb specifically for cobbled races. It was inspired by Cervelo’s rare, Paris-Roubaix-winning R3 Mud. Compared to the standard R3, this bike had a lengthened rear end and a longer fork for extra stability, frame flex, and tire clearance. Building on these features, the new Caledonia adds slippery aero tubing to create the ultimate classics race bike. It’s already scored a Paris-Roubaix Femmes podium under the indomitable Marianne Vos, and I expect more big results this spring. 

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Cannondale Synapse

Cannondale Synapse

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The Cannondale Synapse is a classics veteran. It went into battle under legends like Peter Sagan, and in 2018, the entire EF Education First team chose to race the Hell of the North aboard the Synapse. It smooths out rough roads with Cannondale’s SAVE Micro-Suspension technology. Flex zones engineered to soak up vibration and chatter are added to key parts of the frame like the seat tube and fork legs. For 2022, the latest Synapse adds SmartSense, which uses integrated lights and a rear-facing radar to enhance rider safety.

Canyon Endurace

Canyon Endurace

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Compared to Canyon’s road racing bikes, the Endurace has slender fork legs and seat stays that provide ample flex. This is capped off with the S15 VCLS leaf spring seatpost, one of the most comfortable seatposts ever designed. Okay, okay, I know Canyon’s most famous rider, Mathieu van der Poel, raced Paris-Roubaix on a Canyon Aeroad, but I got news for you, you’re not Mathieu van der Poel. While one of cycling’s brightest stars can handle the rough cobbles on an aero bike, us mere mortals will be much happier on the very comfy Endurace. 

BMC Roadmachine

BMC Roadmachine

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The BMC Roadmachine replaces the Swiss brand’s original Paris-Roubaix bike, the Gran Fondo. It improves on its predecessor with BMC’s latest Tuned Compliance Concept (TCC) Endurance technology. TCC Endurance uses “Angle Compliance,” where specific areas of the frame can move when subjected to vertical loads, providing plenty of vertical compliance without sacrificing lateral stiffness. Stated simply, BMC engineers have designed the Roadmachine to be the ultimate balance between comfort and performance.

Giant Defy Advanced

Giant Defy Advanced

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Giant is the world’s biggest bike manufacturer, so of course, it offers an endurance bike too. The Giant Defy gives you the same cobble-gobbling comfort as the best endurance bikes but at a more affordable price. It may not be as flashy as its American and European rivals, but don’t think that means it’s any slower. In 2015, John Degankolb sprinted to a dramatic Paris-Roubaix victory aboard the Defy. 

[button]Shop endurance road bikes[/button]

With seven amazing endurance road bikes featured here, which one would you pick? Well, I recently bought my wife a new Specialized Roubaix, and I plan on getting my own to match. So that’s my answer. Anyone who’s ridden with me knows that I constantly complain about hand pain. The FutureShock feature is incredibly appealing, especially now that it has a lock-out option. 

In terms of the Spring Classics and Paris-Roubaix, I’m excited to see the new Cervelo Caledonia in action beneath one of the sport's most interesting racers, Wout van Aert. I’m betting money on the Caledonia making a few visits to the podium when van Aert brings it out for the toughest cobbled races. 

What’s your favorite endurance road bike? And what other endurance bikes belong on this list? Let me know in the comments! 

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