Aero roads bike are built for one thing... speed! They are not overly concerned with weight or comfort. It's all about cheating the wind and saving watts. Aero road bikes are distinguishable from other roads bike by their large tube profiles, deep section wheels, and total integration.
Tube profiles on aero bikes are generally larger than other road bikes to create a more aerodynamic profile and are shaped to reduce drag. This causes the overall weight of the bike to be greater than traditional road bikes, normally around the 8kg mark. Deep dish wheels are another feature of aero road bikes, 40mm-60mm deep rims a common sight.
Integration on aero road bikes is key. Everything on an aero road bike is hidden out of the wind (cables, brakes, etc). The tube profiles are even moulded to conform to the shape of the wheels.
Thanks to the larger tube profiles, aero road bikes are also incredibly stiff, making them the bike of choice for sprinters in the pro peloton. They come with a narrow wheelbase, short headtube and aggressive geometry.
Here are seven of the best aero road bikes for 2016 for under $3,000.
The Cervelo S2 is part of Cervelo's S aero line of bikes, incorporating much of the technology found on the S5 and S3 versions. The S2 features a carbon frame and fork, partial seat tube cut out, thicker tube profiles, and the ever reliable Shimano 105 groupset paired with Rotor 2D cranks.
Frame: Cervélo All-Carbon
Fork: Cervélo All-Carbon, Tapered S2
Drivetrain: Rotor 2D 52/36, Shimano 105 RD & FD
Wheels: Shimano RS010, Vittoria Rubino Pro
Fuji Transonic 2.5
The Fuji Transonic 2.5 has a high-modulus carbon frame and fork, seat tube cut-out, and hidden rear brake optimising aerodynamics. The Transonic 2.5 is relatively light for an aero bike in this price range, weighing in at 8.0kg. It is also one of the few aero bikes under $3,000 that features Shimano Ultegra components. Oval supply Concept 520 'mid-compact' crankset and 327 aero alloy wheels.
Frame: C5 high-modulus carbon, integrated head tube w/ 1 1/2" lower, press fit BB30
Fork: FC-440 carbon w/ tapered carbon steerer
Drivetrain: Oval Concepts 520, forged 6066 arms, 52/36T, Shimano Ultegra RD & FD
Wheels: Oval 327 aero alloy clincher, Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick, 700 x 23 folding
Giant Envie Liv Adv 1
The Giant Envie Liv Advanced 1 is outstanding value for any women looking in the aero bike market. It's hard to match the specifications of the Envie Advanced 1; Advanced-grade composite frame and fork, Shimano Ultegra groupset and Giant's own PA-2 Aero wheelset. The Envie range of bikes maximises aerodynamics by hiding the front and rear SpeedControl SL brakes and tapering the tube profiles after extensive CFD and wind-tunnel testing.
Frame: Advanced-grade composite
Fork: Advanced-grade composite, Hybrid OverDrive steerer
Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra, 34-50T, Shimano Ultegra RD & FD
Wheels: Giant PA-2, Aero, Giant P-SL 1, 700x23c folding
Avanti Corsa DR1
The Avanti Corsa DR1 has a carbon frame and fork, and the common aero profile rear triangle with dropped seat stays and hidden rear brake. The seat tube has a partial cut-out to accommodate the rear wheel and the rear brake is hidden under the bottom bracket to reduce drag. The Corsa DR1 frame set is complemented with Shimano 105 groupset and Shimano RS010 wheelset.
Frame: ADT R5 Carbon, Performance Road Geometry
Fork: ADT R5 Monocoque Carbon Integrated with 1 1/4"-1 1/8" Steerer
Drivetrain: Shimano 105 5800 53/39T, Shimano 105 RD & FD
Wheels: Shimano RS010, Kenda Kountach 700 x 25c Folding with Superlite Tubes
The Felt AR5 shares much of the same technology of the top-of-the-line AR FRD, which Felt claim is '31% faster than typical round tube road frames'. As with many other aero road bikes, the rear brake is once again underneath the bottom bracket and there is a slight cut out of the seat tube. The AR5 is complete with Shimano 105 groupset, comprising of a 'pro-compact' crankset, perfect for all conditions. It also improves rider comfort thanks to Felt’s 'Vibration Reducing Aero Road flip position carbon seat post.'
Frame: Felt Aero Road UHC Performance carbon fiber, MMC w/ InsideOut construction, BB30, carbon fiber dropouts, replaceable rear derailleur hanger, mechanical internal cable routing
Fork: Felt Aero Road UHC Performance carbon fiber monocoque construction, AeroTaper 1.125" - 1.25" carbon fiber steer tube w/ integrated crown race, crown, blades & dropouts
Drivetrain: Shimano 105 52/36T, Shimano 105 RD & FD
Wheels: Felt Aero Road R3, Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II tires
Specialized Venge Elite
The Specialized Venge Elite has the 'old' Venge frame shape, but is still a very impressive aero option. The frame is made from FACT 10r carbon frame, which not too long ago featured on all of Specialized S-Works road bikes and the high-performance element of the Venge Elite continues to the S-Works Aerofly carbon handlebars. The Fulcrum Racing S5 wheelset, accompanied with Specialized own Turbo Pro tyre, provides a durable and reliable wheel choice, all topped off with Shimano 105 groupset.
Frame: Specialized FACT 10r carbon, FACT IS construction, aero-shaped tubing, compact race design, tapered 1-1/8" to 1-3/8" head tube, internal cable routing, carbon OSBB
Fork: Specialized FACT carbon, full monocoque
Drivetrain: Crankset by TURN Zayante by Praxis Works, BB30, 52/36T, Shimano 105 FD & RD
Wheels: Fulcrum Racing S5, Specialized Turbo Pro, 127TPI, folding bead, BlackBelt protection, 700x23mm
Boardman Road Air 9.0
After extensive wind tunnel testing, the Boardman Road Air 9.0 has a redesigned frame, fork, and seat post, making it slippery in the wind. The frame features internal cabling and the rear brake is under the chainstays to further optimise the Air 9.0's aerodynamics. A compact Shimano 105 groupset drives the Air 9.0, alongside a Mavic Aksium wheelset. The Air 9.0 weighs in at a healthy 8.38kg for a medium and comes in a striking red paint job. We all know red goes faster.
Frame: AiR ultralight full carbon monocoque, tapered headtube, PF30, internal cable routing
Fork: AiR ultralight full carbon, tapered steerer
Drivetrain: Shimano R565 - 50x34t, Shimano 105 FD & RD
Wheels: Mavic Aksium, Continental Ultra Race