WINNER Specialized Allez Elite › Redesigned Allez excels in its new all-round role
Six bikes, one winner. But as you can see from the uniformly high marks, these have proved very hard to separate. With £1000 being such a crucial price point, companies put a lot of effort into creating very good bikes, and this close-fought battle is the result.
If you’re looking for speed over everything else, Merida shows that it’s possible to make a genuine aero road bike at this budget, with good handling traits and enough comfort for longer rides. It’s a similar story for the Cannondale Optimo. It’s fun, fast and feisty, and has Shimano’s updated 105 groupset. Plus, if you’re looking for something racy it’s a great place to start.
Pinnacle’s Pyrolite is an absolute blast, as well as being ultracomfortable and very versatile. You could employ it on tarmac and trail, as a commuter, an old-school tourer or a new-age bikepacker. It’s fabulous fun too.
We broke the budget for the Ribble Endurance, but wanted to see whether it’s worth splashing out on hydraulic discs. It is. Great brakes top off a comfortable bike that lives up to its ‘Endurance’ name.
The final two are familiar faces in Cycling Plus, and on Britain’s roads. Deservedly so. Giant’s Contend replaced the popular Defy and is a worthy successor. A few tweaks to last year’s design make for even more comfort and easier climbing, and its wider tyres and a lower bottom gear are welcome additions for the real-world climber.
Specialized’s winning Allez Elite has a lot in common with the Contend, as it prioritises longdistance comfort, practicality and versatility. The new geometry is slightly less aggressive and ideal for the ‘more mature’ rider. It’s a fast, comfortable bike for commuting, training and leisure rides and it looks absolutely superb.
The Specialized Allez Elite is a fast, comfortable bike for commuting, training and leisure rides