Without pro road racing to watch, the off-season is long and dreary. Fortunately, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is this Saturday, kicking off the spring classics. To celebrate, I’m polishing up my road bike so I can sit on the trainer (Colorado is still snowed in) and watch all the exciting racing. Maybe it’s a good time to polish up my old Dream Road Bike Quiver too!
This week’s Dream Bike Quiver is designed to satisfy every pavement-addicted roadie. Whether you’re dreaming of the Tour de France, pushing the pace on your local group rides, or just fitting in lunch spins when you can, there’s a road bike here for you.
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Endurance bike: Trek Domane SLR 6 Project One - $7,399.99
With Omloop and the Cobbled Classics on the brain, I’m starting this quiver off with an endurance bike to take the edge off of rough roads. The Trek Domane adds comfort with IsoSpeed Decouplers that separate the seat tube and top tube as well as the steerer tube and head tube with elastomers. These elastomers absorb shocks and vibration but add very little weight so the Domane still feels as efficient as a pure road racing bike. It also has clearance for big 38mm tires so you can get a bit adventurous and explore beyond where the pavement ends.
Climbing bike: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 - $11,999.99
For steep climbs, I gravitate toward featherweight bikes with skinny tubes like the Specialized Aethos. But recently, the Tarmac SL7 has been catching my eye. With the latest generation Tarmac, Specialized combined the aero efficiency of the discontinued Venge with the climbing capabilities of the Tarmac SL6. This is the ultimate all-rounder. While it can handle any course profile, this top-of-the-line S-Works build weighs only 15 pounds and will shine brightest in the high mountains where low weight and high stiffness help it accelerate up the steepest grades.
Aero bike: BMC Timemachine Road 01 - $7,749.99
If your goal is to win a sprint, fly off the front in a solo breakaway, or just go fast on flat and rolling roads, you need a slippery aero bike. You could go for one of the usual suspects (e.g., Venge, Madone, S5, or SystemSix), but there’s something about the BMC Timemachine Road that's irresistible. The sharp angles remind me of a stealth fighter jet, and the frame’s “Aero Module” beautifully integrates the bottle cages and storage compartment. I think the Timemachine Road might be the best looking aero bike ever (comment below if you disagree!). It’ll definitely turn heads when you hammer past at mach speeds.
Commuter: Cannondale CAAD13 - $2,249.99
When I say “commuter,” I don’t mean a boring old city bike. I’m talking about a road bike that’s as quick as every other bike in your quiver, except it costs less so you don’t feel bad about abusing it or locking it up for a quick jaunt into the store. For this purpose, the affordable Cannondale CAAD13 is perfect. It saves money with a hydroformed, aerodynamic aluminum frame that rivals Cannondale’s SuperSix Evo. Turn your commutes into training rides, go out in bad weather, or enter crash-prone crit races. With the robust CAAD13, you can preserve your precious halo bikes and still go fast.
Total cost: $29,399.96
This speedy Dream Quiver can dominate cobbled roads, mountain passes, windswept plains, and your daily commute. Of course, owning four top-quality bikes is going to cost you. If you can only pick one road bike to do it all, the best choice is the Domane. Most road riders will benefit from the comfort and tire clearance.
Personally, I’m still lusting after the Timemachine Road simply because it looks amazing. If you’re a racer, you'll prefer the S-Works Tarmac for its combination of aero efficiency and light weight. But in reality, the basic CAAD13 is probably all most riders actually need. Modern aluminum bikes provide amazing performance for the money, and at only $2,250, the CAAD13 is hard to beat.
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