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BUYER'S GUIDE

Ultimate superbikes: 14 of the world's most expensive road bikes

Won the lottery? These bikes cost as much as a small car

"You can buy a car for that!" It’s a comment we hear a lot when the subject of expensive road bikes comes up.

You certainly can spend the price of a small hatchback on a bicycle these days. To see just what exotica is out there for a price of a new Peugeot 108 and just for a bit of fun, we’ve rounded up some of the most expensive road bikes currently available.

  • Materials: all these bikes have carbon fibre frames, and usually carbon fibre almost-everything-else. That's no surprise: if you're trying to make the ultimate bike, you want it to be feather-light and that means very high-strength composites

  • Components: SRAM Red eTap AXS, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and Campagnolo Super Record EPS are the high-zoot groupsets of choice here, all of them electronic

  • Looks: if you've got it, flaunt it, right? Colnago and Wilier certainly think so with their Ramato and art decor paint jobs, and Trek will paint your Project One bike in pretty much any colour scheme you can imagine, but many others are surprisingly modest

  • Disc brakes rule okay? Not quite — there are a couple of rim-braked bikes here because they're still the stoppers of choice if you're speccing with a gram scale

14 of the best and most expensive production road bikes for 2021

The cheapest bike here costs nine grand while the most expensive is almost twice that. Most of these bikes fall foul of the UCI's increasingly daft 6.8kg weight limit, but we don't think anyone who can afford one of these is going to care very much.

These aren’t crazy one-off bikes with expensive paint jobs, oh no, they're all standard production road bikes that you can buy online or from your local bike shop, though we doubt many shops will carry any of these bikes in stock.

Specialized S-Works Aethos - SRAM Red eTap AXS 2021 — £12,000

2021 Specialized S-Works Aethos - SRAM Red eTap AXS

Specialized says the frame of its new Aethos flagship featherweight weighs just 588g in a 56cm, a gram-count achieved by eliminating "lazy plies" — the layers of carbon fibre in a conventional frame that aren't really doing much aside from adding mass/

The objective, according to Specialized, wasn't to make a super-competitive race bike, that's the Tarmac SL7, but to improve ride quality for riders "that yearn for more than racing, that see the experiences of the open road as an equivalent to toeing a start line". And, of course, who have a pretty hefty pile of spare cash to spend on a new bike, a combination that's led to even more snarking about dentists than is usual when a major manufacturer launches a superbike.

Still, it's a hell of an achievement and we can hardly wait to find out how the claimed improvement in feel translates to the back roads of Wiltshire, Somerset and the Mendip hills.

Read more: Specialized releases Aethos: "the lightest disc brake road bike ever"
Watch: Specialized Aethos First Ride Video Review - How does the world’s lightest disc-brake road bike ride?

Merida Reacto Team-E 2021 — £9,000

2021 Merida Reacto Disc Team-E 2.jpg

Merida's 2021 Reacto Team-E road bike is a race thoroughbred that excels on flat and rolling terrain. The straight line speed, stiffness and handling are all brilliant, but the ride may be too firm for some. This is unapologetically a race bike. Comfort is the last thing on the Reacto's mind, with the focus being entirely on speed. Kick the pedals round and the bike reacts with a surge befitting the superbike price.

Read our review of the Merida Reacto Team-E
Find a Merida dealer

Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS 2021 — £11,999

2021 Bianchi Specialissima EPS

Back in 1985, at a bike show in London, Bianchi showed one of the prettiest bikes ever, the Centenario, finished in glorious dark chrome and hung with Campagnolo's finely-polished Record C components. I turned to my mate Pete and said "If I put that on my shoulder and run, how far do you think I'd get?" He said "I'll hold them off for you."

With its black carbon finish and just a hint of Banchi's signature celeste blue, this version of the 2021 Specialissima Super Record EPS stirs similar larcenous feelings. It's a bike you'd surely have to ride like you stole it, so you might as well.

Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc 2021 — £9,499

2021 Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc.jpg

If you've got it, flaunt it, right? That maxim doesn't seem to have reached the ears of Giant's design team. They've chosen to hide the light of the new TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc under a stealthy grey bushel. It could only be less noticeable if it had a Klingon cloaking device.

And that's a pity because this is an absolutely stunning bike, in the words of our own Mat Brett. "Chuck the bike around, brake hard, do whatever you want, you won't cause it to waver or fluster. It's more than confidence inspiring, it's almost freaky," he wrote.

It comes fully decked out with SRAM's latest Red eTap AXS wireless groupset including a Quark power meter and Giant’s own carbon fibre wheels and finishing kit.

Read our review of the Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc
Find a Giant dealer

Wilier Zero SLR 2021 — ~£11,000

2021 Wilier Zero SLR Dura-Ace Di2

Wilier bills the SLR Zero as the "first ultra-lightweight racing bike with disc brakes and fully integrated cables". That's a category in which it now has plenty of competition, but it's still a featherweight all-rounder by anyone's standards and manages to be both bang tidy with its fully concealed cables and attention-grabbing in this Astana team colour scheme.

Read our first ride report on the Wilier Zero SLR

Canyon Aeroad CFR Disc EPS 2021 — £9,299

2021 Canyon Aeroad CFR Disc EPS

Canyon is usually associated with value for money bikes, but with the new Aeroad CFR Disc EPS the German direct sales specialist has pulled out all the stops to create a stunning superbike. It has the same design and tube shaping as the regular Aeroad CF SLX, but uses Toray M40X carbon fibre for a claimed 140g weight saving.

You can have the Aeroad CFR with SRAM, Shimano or Campagnolo's top-end groupsets, but if you're going for maximum bank balance damage, then it's got to be Campagnolo.

Read more: Canyon unveils 2021 Aeroad 065 road bike

BMC Teammachine SLR01 One 2021 — £10,250

2021 BMC Teammachine SLR01 One

It's ten years since BMC rolled out their first Teammachine, a bike solely focussed on racing, but with enough tuned-in compliance that riders would reach the end of the race less fatigued than their rivals. It certainly seemed to go down well with the riders, as the following year Cadel Evans won the Tour de France aboard a Teammachine SLR and in 2012 Philippe Gilbert took the world championship.

BMC say they're now taking aerodynamics into account in the development process for the Teammachine, and as a result the new Teammachine with cables tucked away inside the bar and stem, and bottle cages that nestle into the downtube and seat tube, is "the fastest Teammachine SLR ever designed."

Trek Madone SLR 9 eTap 2021 — £11,950

2021 Trek Madone SLR 9 eTap

For their 2021 top model Trek have taken the OCLV 800 carbon fibre developed for the latest Émonda and used it to build the Madone SLR frame, shaving 80g off the weight in the process. The new bike also gets the new Bontrager Aeolus RSL VR-C integrated bar and stem, and Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6 60mm-deep aero wheels. A classic case of a bike that looks 100mph standing still!

Cannondale SystemSix HM Carbon Dura Ace Di2 2021 — £9,500

2021 Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Dura-Ace Di2

Cannondale's flagship endurance bike is packed with high-end tech, including high-modulus carbon fibre, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting with hydraulic disc brakes and a newly-refined frame that Cannondale says reduces drag over the previous version. And here's the EF Education First team replica in collaboration with Rapha.

Read more: Cannondale shows off bold new EF Pro Cycling team bikes
Read more: Cannondale SuperSix Evo - radical redesign with aero and comfort improvements

Colnago C64 Art Decor — £10,299

2018_colnago_c64_art_decor.jpg

If you meld modern materials with traditional Italian frame-building and design, this is what you get. The C64 is a deeply-refined carbon fibre frame that's constructed by bonding tubes into lugs. That might not sound as sophisticated as moulding a frame in one piece, but it makes possible a wide range of frame sizes for a better fit, and it allows incremental refinements like the C64's new one-piece seat tube and lug without scrapping an expensive mould.

The C64 is handmade in Colnago's workshop in Cambiago. This version is fitted with Campagnolo's top groupset, Super Record EPS, and has one of the stunning special paint jobs for which Colnago is renowned.

Scott Addict RC Ultimate 2021 — £10,799

2021 SCOTT Addict RC Ultimate

The Addict RC is Scott's super-lightweight racing platform, and this is the latest top-of-the-range version with Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels and a one-piece carbon fibre Syncros aero handlebar and stem. Like many 2021 top-end bikes it has SRAM's 12-speed Red eTap AXS wireless electronic shifting and disc brakes.

Cervelo P5X Dura-Ace — £10,999

2020 Cervelo P5X Dura-Ace Di2 Disc

It may not be blessed with looks, but if you’re into pure speed, the triathlon-specific Cervelo P5X is probably as fast as it gets. This is not a bike for riding to the cafe on, that’s for sure. It's a full carbon fibre construction with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 gears and hydraulic disc brakes, and DT Swiss wheels.

Storck Fascenario.3 Platinum Aston Martin — ~£14,500

Storck Fascenario.3 Platinum aston martin side view on white

Need a bike to match your Aston Martin Vantage? Storck's got you covered. No guide to the most expensive road bikes could be complete without a Storck, but here the Germans have gone completely bok, outfitting their top-of-the-line Fascenario.3 Platinum with ultra-light carbon fibre components including carbon fibre cranks, THM brakes and Storck's own carbon bars and stem.

Read our review of the Storck Aerfast Platinum

Pinarello Dogma F12 Disk — £12,000

pinarello dogma f12

With the ten grand psychological barrier well and truly smashed in the last couple of years, brands like Pinarello are taking off into the financial stratosphere with ultra-high-tech frames and the latest electronic shifting, in this case SRAM's brand spanking Red eTap AXS 12-speed groupset.

Pinarello says the latest Dogma "achieves the best aerodynamic efficiency values of any Dogma model to date" and comes in two distinct versions for rim and disc brakes.

Read more about the Pinarello Dogma F12 and F12 Disk

Explore the complete archive of reviews of road bikes on road.cc

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

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Road.cc buyer's guides are maintained and updated by John Stevenson. Email John with comments, corrections or queries.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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