If you want a carbon fibre, Shimano Ultegra
disc-equipped bike, this test makes it clear that there are some great options for most types of rider. Despite weights and geometry being very closely matched across two out of three bikes, they feel surprisingly different on the road.
When it came to the aero bikes, the Bianchi Aria despatches miles easily with a cultured feel and stable handling that fat tyres and disc brakes make the most of. In contrast, the Merida Reacto Disc feels urgent and snappy. In terms of actual speed over a long rolling ride we couldn’t get a decisive preference from our test team, especially once you add price disparity complications into the mix.
But there was one thing every tester agreed on – the Cannondale CAAD12 is brilliant if you want a bike that lights up every part of every ride. It’s not the mellow or relaxing option, but its effervescence is perfect for attacking shortcourse triathlon rides. Cannondale has nailed the component package to add fatigue-reducing tyre float and surefooted security to maximise the gains from disc brake control. And it’s done it for an awesome price, whether you go for this superbike spec or the Ultegra/Mavic sibling.