Endurance road bikes are fast becoming the most popular form of road bike with their relaxed geometry, stable ride, and focus on comfort above all else. Endurance road bikes are distinguishable from other road bikes by having a longer wheelbase, longer headtube, relaxed geometry, and in recent times coming with disc brakes as standard. In addition to those qualities, endurance road bikes will also typically come with a compact drivetrain set-up, greater clearance allowing for bigger tyres, and additional vibration dampening mechanisms to further smooth out the road.
Endurance road bikes are sometimes called 'Sportives,' as they are perfectly suited to endurance road riding and Gran Fondos.
Here are nine of the best endurance road bikes for 2016 for under $3,000.
Specialized Roubaix SL4 Sport
The Specialized Roubaix SL4 Sport is full carbon frame and fork, with the addition of vibration dampening Zertz inserts. The Zertz inserts act as a suspension mechanism and are located on the fork and seat stays. The SL4 Sport is topped off with the reliable Shimano 105 groupset, FSA Gossamer Pro compact crankset and a huge 11-32 cassette on the back to help you spin up any incline.
Frame: Specialized SL4 FACT 8r carbon, 1-1/8" to 1-3/8" head tube, compact race design, Zertz, internal rear brake cable, OSBB
Fork: Specialized FACT carbon
Drivetrain: FSA Gossamer Pro, BB30, 50/34T, Shimano 105 RD & FD
Wheels: AXIS 2.0, Specialized Espoir Elite, 60TPI, folding bead, double BlackBelt protection, 700x25mm
Trek Domane 4.3 Disc
The Trek Domane 4.3 Disc features many of the Domane 6 series technologies that make Trek's endurance bike one of the most popular on the market. Trek's 'endurance comfort technology', the 'Isospeed decoupler', is at the heart of the Domane's comfort along with a longer wheelbase and relaxed geometry. The 4.3 comes equipped with Shimano RS505 hydraulic disc brakes, guaranteeing strong braking performance in any conditions.
Frame: 400 Series OCLV Carbon, IsoSpeed, disc balanced post mount, 142x12 Closed Convert dropout, vanishing fender mounts, E2, BB90, 3S chain keeper, DuoTrap compatible
Fork: Trek IsoSpeed carbon disc, E2, 15mm thru-axle
Drivetrain: Shimano RS500, 50/34 (compact), Shimano 105 RD & FD
Wheels: Bontrager Tubeless Ready disc, Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite, 700x25c
Bianchi Impulso Disc 105
The Bianchi Impulso Disc 105 uses vibration dampening technology known as 'K-VID: Kevlar Vibration Isolation Device' in its carbon fork to reduce road vibration and ultra thin seat stays add to the overall comfort. The Impulso Disc has Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes and allows for 28c tyre clearance. The Impulso shares its geometry with the racer Infinito, ensuring there is still a strong performance element to Bianchi's endurance bike.
Frame: Impulso Disc Brake Alloy 6061 hydroforming triple butted
Fork: Bianchi Alu/Carbon w/Kevlar w/ Disc Mounts
Drivetrain: Shimano FC-RS500 50/34T, Shimano 105 RD & FD
Wheels: Reparto Corse R-500, Vittoria Zaffiro Slick 700x25
Polygon C6 Disc
The Polygon C6 Disc represents great value with a full carbon frame and fork, Shimano 105 groupset and Shimano BR-R517 hydraulic disc brakes. Entity ensure a very polished finish by providing the saddle, seat post, stem and handlebar for the C6. The whole package is capped of with Schwalbe Ultremo ZX 25c tyres producing a plush ride.
Frame: ACX Advance Endurance Carbon with Postmount 160mm
Fork: ACX Advance Endurance Carbon Fork with Carbon Tapered Steerer and Postmount 160mm
Drivetrain: Shimano 105 FC-5800 50X34T, Shimano105 RD & FD
Wheels: ShimanoRX31 Clincher, Schwalbe Ultremo ZX, 700X25C Folding
Giant Defy Advanced 2
The Giant Defy Advanced 2 has everything the modern day endurance bike should have: endurance geometry, disc brakes, large tyre clearance, and seat stays and seat post to further reduce road vibration. The frame and fork are made from advanced-grade composite material that is light and stiff with dropped seat stays and a slack headtube for comfort. The disc brakes are TRP Spyre mechanical brakes providing great stopping power and reliability, while the Giant PR-2 Disc wheelset provide that high-end performance road bike feel.
Frame: Advanced-grade composite
Fork: Advanced-grade composite,Hybrid OverDrive steerer
Drivetrain: Shimano 105, 34-50T, Shimano105 RD & FD
Wheels: Giant PR-2 Disc, 700x25c, Folding
Merida Ride 5000
The Merida Ride 5000 weighs in at a class leading 8.2kg and is one of the few bikes under $3,000 to come with full Shimano Ultegra groupset. Capping off the great spec on the Ride 5000 is the Fulcrum Racing 7 wheelset Continental Grand Sport Race 25c tyres. The Ride 5000 also has one of the largest size range of any bike on the market, ranging from 44cm all the way to 62cm.
Frame: RIDE CF2
Fork: Road carbon Race
Drivetrain: Shimano RS500 50-34, Shimano Ultegra FD & RD
Wheels: Fulcrum Racing 7,Continental Grand Sport Race 25 fold
Avanti Cadent C2
The Avanti Cadent C2 comes in a fraction under $2,000 which is astounding given it comes with a carbon frame and fork and Shimano 105 groupset. The Cadent C2 is one of the only endurance road bikes at this price point to come with 'mid-compact' 52/36T chainrings. If you did plan on upgrading your groupset in the future it's nice to know the Cadent C2 frame is electronic component capability.
Frame: ADT R3 Carbon, Endurance Road Geometry
Fork: ADT E3 Monocoque Carbon Integrated with 1. 5-1 1/8" Steerer
Drivetrain: Shimano RS500 Compact 52/36T, Shimano105 RD & FD
Wheels: Shimano RS010, Kenda Kountach 700 x 25c Folding with Superlite Tubes
Scott Contessa Solace 35
The Scott Contessa Solace 35 is one of the only women-specific endurance bikes. The Contessa shares similar geometry to other bikes in the Solace range with two defined areas; a 'Power Zone' and a 'Comfort Zone'. The Solace's 'Power Zone' comprises of the head tube, down tube, bottom bracket shell, and asymmetrical chain stays that improve power transfer, while the seat stays connect to the side of the top tube instead of the seat post to create the 'Comfort Zone'.
Frame: Solace HMF / IMP Carbon technology / Road Comfort geometry /INT BB
Fork: Solace HMF, 1 1/8" Carbon steerer, Alloy Dropout
Drivetrain: Shimano Tiagra FC-4700, Hyperdrive 34 × 50 T, Shimano Tiagra FD & RD
Wheels: Syncros Race 27 Aero Profile, Schwalbe Lugano 700x25C
Cannondale Synapse Disc 105
The Cannondale Synapse Disc 105 is another bargain coming in at under $2,000. Cannondale are considered industry leaders in alloy bikes thanks to the popular CAAD series. The Synapse frame is made with Optimized 6061 alloy, the same as the performance-based CAAD 8, the only difference being the endurance geometry. The Synapse Disc 105 runs Shimano 105 with FSA Gossamer crankset and Promax Render R disc brakes putting it in the same league performance and specification wise, as many other more expensive endurance bikes.
Frame: Synapse Alloy Disc, Optimized 6061 Alloy, SAVE PLUS, BB30
Fork: Synapse SAVE Disc, Carbon blades, 1-1/8"
Drivetrain: Shimano 105 5800, FSA BB30, Shimano 105 FD & RD
Wheels: Maddux RD 3. 0 Disc, Schwalbe Lugano, 700x25c