If you’re looking to smash out the long miles in some comfort then an endurance road bike could be the bike for you. Generally, we see them getting a slightly more relaxed geometry, frame features to reduce vibrations getting through to you and space for wider tyres, all taking a little of the strain off your body.
Endurance bikes don’t have to be slow. In fact, many now feature aero tube shapes to help make you as efficient as possible over this long miles. Here are six of the best endurance bikes.
One of the first bikes to blur the lines between race bike and endurance bike, the Canyon Endurace was one of the first to add aero tube shapes to a bike category that had for years been solely focussed on compliance.
The Canyon Endurace CF SLX Disc 8.0 eTap is the ideal bike for riding fast and long. It's quick, offers plenty of stiffness, and comes fitted with the highly efficient gear ratios of the 12-speed SRAM Force eTap groupset. It's a match made in heaven.
The first thing you'll notice is the bump-taming properties of the leaf-spring S15 VCLS 2.0 CF seatpost. It allows a small amount of movement which takes the edge off rough road surfaces and just smooths the ride – great when you are out for four or five hours as you'll return home noticeably less beaten up around the chamois area.
The Endurace also has impressive tyre clearance, coming as standard with 30mm tyres and with room to go up to at least 32mm. The Reynolds wheels are tubeless ready as well, so you can drop the pressures if you like. I didn't. I like the feel and feedback of a pumped-up tyre and even when swapping out the S15 post for a standard rigid carbon one, the CF SLX frame shows its quality ride.
The 7000-E tops the new Scultura Endurance range from Merida, and is a more relaxed, less aggressive version of its Scultura race bike. It still offers plenty of performance and comfort, but it's more suited to those big rides – and, thanks to large tyre clearances and mudguard mounts, you can use it whatever the weather too.
The Endurance has taken a lot of its styling cues from the Scultura and, while they share the same seat and head tube angles, pretty much everything else is different.
What this all means is that you're still getting a performance-based riding position, but it's not quite as extreme. In fact, the Scultura isn't one of the most aggressive race bikes on the market anyway, so the changes aren't huge.
It feels as close to a race bike as it needs to for the speed and performance required of a fast day in the saddle. But it's also fun to ride, either when going fast or going far, something that's only helped by its excellent comfort levels.
We love a titanium road bike and the Ribble Endurance Ti Disc is one of the examples of this lovely material being used for a mile-munching road bike.
Ribble has been very clever when it comes to the design of its Endurance Ti Disc Enthusiast. By using tube profiles that exploit the natural smooth ride feel of titanium, and geometry designed to offer the compact, aero position of a race bike but without the associated fast and sometimes twitchy handling, Ribble delivers a bike you can ride quickly and comfortably regardless of the distance.
Bike designers and testers often wax lyrical about the ride feel you get from a titanium frame, but it's true – it's one of the best out there. Just like any frame material, though, the tube profiles, wall thicknesses and the way each tube interacts with the others all play their part; get it right and your titanium frame will deliver a smooth ride that removes plenty of high-frequency road buzz feel while still delivering on stiffness.
Ribble has got it right. Long distances on the Enthusiast are a joy – you can really cover a lot of miles very quickly, and it'd make a great audax or sportive machine – but it's not just because of the comfort levels coming from the frame and fork, it's also to do with the geometry.
Bearing in mind that this bike can take mudguards and rack, so it's ripe for being ridden loaded up and/or in bad weather conditions, this neutrality at the front end is ideal.
The Attain has been in the Cube range for years and has always been loved by our reviewers.
The Attain GTC SL is part of Cube's endurance range and it delivers a very good combination of comfort, both from the frameset and the geometry, and performance. It's not a bad weight either, and certainly feels responsive to your input, making it fun to ride fast as well as comfortable for longer, more sedate jaunts.
A kick on the pedals away from the lights or when launching into a bit of a sprint sees the Attain respond well. There is plenty of stiffness around the lower section of the frame, especially around the bottom bracket area, and you feel like you are getting a decent return for your effort.
The Cube performed well on the descents, especially on the faster, sweeping corners where you just need to pick a line and let the bike go.
The feedback through the frame and fork is really good too, which helps you know what the tyres are up to on the road's surface. You can feel if you are carrying too much speed as you enter the bend, and respond to it before you get into trouble – and even if you panic you are unlikely to massively upset the bike thanks to that neutral handling.
Cube has delivered a really good frameset that's relaxed enough in its geometry that you can really tap out the miles, but if you have one of those days when you really want to get out and just smash it about it'll also deliver the fun factor.
Ever since we took the B'Twin Triban 520 Disc road bike for a first ride in London in early October, we've been keen to see if it could stand up to his first impressions, as well as the great value legacy of previous Triban road bikes we've tested. We can confirm that it really does, although riders used to or wanting a racier geometry should look elsewhere.
The geometry thing is a really important point here, because it forms the basis of your entire ride experience. It defines the position range that you can attain, as well as having a fair impact on the handling. With the Triban 520, it's all about a functional position aimed right at tourers and regular commuters at one end of the spectrum, and endurance roadies at the other.
With a super-tall head tube and compact top tube (more details on those below), the bike sits you upright relative to your general entry-level race bike, or even a fair chunk of the endurance-specific market too. It fully justifies its do-it-all tag – aside from the budding racers, who will be better off opting for an equivalently priced Specialized Allez or similar, even with the downgrade of kit that comes with it.
However, for first time bike buyers after an optimum blend of build and price, or experienced riders after a great value winter bike or commuter, at £729 direct from French sports megastore Decathlon, it's hard to look past the Triban 520, it really is.
From the entry-level to the “you can buy a car for that” kind of money. Sure, but does that car have electronic shifting and a carbon frame. Argument won.
From the cobbles of northern France and the iconic race it's named after, to the roads of the Cotswolds, the latest generation Specialized S-Works Roubaix offers unmatched comfort and near-race bike speed. Granted, this lavishly equipped S-Works model is eye-wateringly expensive, but there are more affordable options in the range that inherit all the key changes.
Our first ride on this latest generation Roubaix took place on the very roads and cobbles of the race, Paris-Roubaix, to which this bike owes its name. Over the ferocious pavé of the Arenberg and other key sectors that make up the classic route, the new Roubaix was deeply impressive. It was comfortable, shielding us from the brutal impact forces, and above all was fast.
Following several months of testing on more familiar roads, it's clear the Roubaix isn't a one-trick pony. The Future Shock works overtime to smooth out the wrinkles, cracks and holes that are abundant on my local roads, and which on a stiff race bike can lead to a bumpy ride.
The 20mm of suspension is buttery smooth and quiet during use. You don't notice it, apart from the smoothness you're feeling through the handlebar and when you look down to see the protective rubber boot being constantly squashed.
The Future Shock works particularly well on coarsely surfaced roads, the sort where the top layer of tarmac is peeling away to leave a rubbly texture. It's like the road is being resurfaced ahead of you. The Future Shock delivers a level of smoothness that few bikes, even those with fat tyres, can match.
As you’d hope, the components on a bike north of ten grand are equally brilliant and SRAM’s Red eTap AXS also comes with a power meter built in. You could almost say that it’s good value. Well, ok, maybe we won’t go that far.
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.