If the three-week spec­ta­cle of the world’s big­gest cy­cling race has whet­ted your ap­petite for long-dis­tance rid­ing, take a look at these road bikes that share plenty with the ma­chines of the pro pelo­ton

Triathlon Plus - - Contents - Words Marc Abbott Pho­tos Stuart Collins


THE TOUR de France is un­doubt­edly the most fa­mous bike race in the world: big-name rid­ers, leg­endary moun­tains, three weeks of high drama and a band­stand fin­ish on the Champs Élysées guar­an­tee its ap­peal. But how of­ten have you sat at home watch­ing it on the telly, wish­ing you could find enough pen­nies down the back of the sofa to af­ford a toplevel bike like those you see un­der­neath the Grand Tour con­tenders? Yes, the bikes they ride will of­ten set you back well into five fig­ures, but there’s a more af­ford­able way into su­per­bike own­er­ship.

The three bikes we’ve tested here are based upon those fea­tured used by the high­est-level pro cy­cling teams. Canyon’s Ul­ti­mate CF SLX has a frame that’s used by the Mo­vis­tar and Ka­tusha Tour de France squads, al­lied to a top-drawer Shi­mano Dura-Ace groupset and race-ready Mavic wheels. At £3,599, it’s cer­tainly a lot of bike for your in­vest­ment.

Sec­ondly, the Ri­d­ley He­lium SL20 shares more than just its name with the high-end He­lium of the Lotto Soudal race team. It costs 99p more than the Canyon, al­though its groupset is slightly lower-spec Shi­mano Ul­te­gra. Will its frame make up for any short­com­ings we find in its build?

Thirdly, to find out if it re­ally is worth in­vest­ing in a bike with elec­tronic gear shift­ing, we’ve thrown BMC’s Team Ma­chine £3,399 SLR02 into the mix, fea­tur­ing Shi­mano’s Di2 sys­tem. With a frame closely based on the BMC squad’s Tour de France-win­ning bike, will it prove a win­ning com­bi­na­tion? To find out, we took all three for a hilly ride to see which of­fers the most pro-level thrills for your money.

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