With its price tag of nearly ten grand, you'd expect the Storck Aernario.2 Platinum G1 to be something very special indeed, and if you were to ride one you'd probably find it's as close to perfection as you're going to get. Light, stiff, fast and comfortable, it delivers everything by the bucket load. Is it worth the huge outlay, though? That's the question.
The Aernario.2 doesn't feel like a race bike to ride. It's fast, yes, but there don't seem to be any of the compromises you usually find with an out and out race machine.
It's part of Storck's Allround range where it sits alongside the Fascenario.3 which I was testing at the same time. They are both bikes designed to be ridden hard and fast but in a multitude of settings like fast club runs, day-long rides or sportives. The Aernario.2 is the more race orientated of the two, though.
Ironically, the Fascenario.3 is designed to be the one that focuses more on comfort but I found it surprisingly buzzy and a little harsh on UK roads. The Aernario.2, on the other hand, has a much more refined ride and it was a joy to spin along even when the surface wasn't the best.
The Fascenario.3 I rode was the entry-level Comp model, while the Aernario.2 on test is the top end Platinum frame which uses a much higher grade of carbon fibre in its construction, and this is likely to produce the biggest benefits in comfort.
The Aernario.2 seems to cancel out the high frequency buzz you get from slightly rippled and broken road surfaces, and that makes a difference on rides of over four hours, especially to your contact points.
As well as it being so comfortable, I was impressed by the huge feeling of stiffness from the frame, as one usually compromises the other. Stamp on the pedals and this bike surges forward. If you need to bridge a gap or beat the lights, as soon as you push the pedals hard it responds, there is no feeling of lag anywhere in the system. And you don't even need to get out of the saddle either.
And if the urge to sprint does take you, no matter how hard you are laying down the power and flinging the bike from side to side, every single watt feels as though it is going straight to the tarmac.
If you are out for the long haul and want to take things a little bit easier, though, this is still one quick bike. Average speeds on familiar routes were quicker by a mile per hour or so.
All this stiffness and the light weight – it sits below the UCI weight limit – mean it's one hell of a climber. Attacking the local hills actually became a joy and I even started riding climbs that I generally avoid just to set some personal bests.
And when it comes to technical sections and descending, the Aernario.2 is an absolute hoot.
As you'd expect for such a performance bike, the handling is on the quick side, so you need to be relaxed and smooth to really exploit the brilliance. The short head tube allows you to get into a perfect tuck to lower your centre of gravity and once in the drops, slight shifts of position and bodyweight mean you can pick your line through the bends with absolute precision.
I've mentioned my favourite test hill in my reviews before, and the Storck took a fair few seconds off my fastest time down it.
It has a steep chicane at the start with a tricky camber change then you swoop down through bends in various directions and degrees of tightness before dropping into the village through the last final couple of bends at over 50mph. If a bike has a flaw in its handling, one of the sections will always pick it up, but I've never known a bike change direction as fast and as smoothly as the Aernario.2. You have this real feeling of the bike being an extension of you, and it leaves you with a massive grin on your face.
Detailed engineering is right at the heart of everything that comes out of Storck's design and development.
As I mentioned, the Platinum uses a higher grade of carbon fibres in its construction compared with the cheaper Pro and Comp models, and achieves an impressive claimed weight of 790g for the frame in the smallest size and a fork weight of just 270g. That is pretty light.
Advanced Sectional Aerodynamic Shaping is used on quite a few of Storck's bikes, including the Aernario.2. The frame is designed in such a way that the tubes and their junctions offer as little resistance to the wind as possible while still functioning in other roles like stiffness. It also takes into account the entire aerodynamic package including the rider and other components.
The shaping of the head tube, down tube and seat tube are all included, as is the huge press-fit bottom bracket shell as it leads into the chainstays.
Short 399mm chainstays mean that the rear wheel is tucked into a recess in the seat tube for improved airflow too.
Each of the tubes has its carbon fibre layup designed to get that balance of stiffness and comfort, plus Storck uses proportional tubing in relation to the size of the frame. A taller rider tends to be heavier and possibly more powerful than one riding a smaller bike, so as the frame size increases so do the properties of the tubing to cope.
The entire frame has internal cable routing and is compatible with both mechanical systems and electronic gearing. It gives the bike a very clean look and I'm happy to report that even with all of the stiffness going on there is no rattling on the inside from the cables over rough roads.
The seatclamp is also integrated into the frame, with a hex bolt under the junction between the seat tube and top tube tightening a wedge against the seatpost. It allows for more post length to be exposed, giving more flex for comfort even though Storck has gone with a larger diameter 31.6mm post.
Up front the fork has similar properties to the frame. It's stiff enough to deal with heavy braking and steering loads thanks to the use of a 1 1/8in to 1 1/4in tapered steerer tube, but still offers plenty of comfort.
The Aernario.2 is available in six sizes running through from XS to XXL. We've got the medium here which has an effective top tube of 566mm, a head tube at a very short 139mm, with a stack and reach of 552mm and 403mm respectively.
The Platinum models come in a range of builds, Shimano Ultegra in either mechanical or Di2, and the same setup in Dura-Ace. We've got the most expensive Dura-Ace Di2, with its cool £9,520 (€10,697) price tag.
As you'd expect for this price, it comes with a full R9150 groupset made up of a selection of mechanical and electrical components. I won't into massive details about it, as you can read the full review here.
In keeping with its performance character, Storck has specced a semi-compact chainset which has a 52/36-tooth chainring setup. This is paired with an 11-28 cassette, giving a spread of gears that suits fast riding.
This latest version of Di2 is the most refined yet. The gear shifting has a positive click and the shift buttons feel to be in a more natural place than they were on previous iterations. The shifting layout is customisable and it's great to see the Storck using the new control box which pushes into the end of the handlebar, replacing one of your bar ends; it looks so much neater than the box sitting under the stem.
Shimano's latest dual pivot brakes are absolute corkers, with loads of power and modulation even with the carbon rims being quite grabby once the pads get some heat into them.
A lot of the newest carbon fibre wheels have very good braking surfaces, especially in the dry – and they are getting there in the wet – but the DT Swiss PRC1400 rims are a bit on/off, if you know what I mean.
The 35mm-deep rim doesn't offer much in terms of aerodynamics, but it's a good all-rounder wheelset and they certainly stayed true throughout the test period.
They have a claimed weight of 1,444g so offer a good balance of performance and strength, although they do have a rider and bike weight limit of just 100kg.
Their internal rim width of 18mm isn't as wide as some, but they do stretch your tyres out a little over their nominal size. The hubs are DT Swiss 240s which run very smoothly and have a very quick engagement from the freehub.
Tyre-wise, Storck has gone for Schwalbe Ones in a 25mm width and they are well suited to the Aernario.2. They roll very fast and offer a huge amount of grip, wet or dry, which really allows you to push the Aernario.2 to its limits and not be held back by the tyres.
Like on a lot of its bikes, Storck has used Selle Italia's Monolink system for the seatpost and saddle. It's based around a central rail, which offers more adjustment fore and aft than a traditional saddle with two rails and corresponding seatpost clamp.
To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the SLS Monolink saddle – I don't really get on with the shape – but at least with the Aernario.2 using a fully round seatpost you can swap it out to fit a standard favourite. The Fascenario.3's seatpost has a flat rear section meaning you're stuck with the Monolink design.
Our test model came with Storck's integrated bar and stem which I found pretty good in the stiffness stakes. There is very little flex to be found, but thankfully the frame and fork's comfort levels take care of that anyway.
I wasn't totally enamoured with its shape, especially at the hoods as it slopes away quite heavily and I always felt like I was having to keep pushing back on the hoods to stop my hands feeling like they were slipping. If I'd set the bike up myself I would probably push the gear shifters a little further up the bar. Obviously there isn't much adjustment with integrated bars.
This is quite literally one of the best bikes you can buy, but it is an absolutely massive outlay which makes you wonder just how much better it is than the entry-level Comp.
It's up against some really tough opposition too, such as Canyon's Ultimate CF SLX. The top of the range rim-braked model, the CF SLX 9.0 Di2 with Dura-Ace electronic shifting, Mavic carbon wheels and an integrated carbon bar and stem combo, is just £5,699!
I rode the mechanical shifting option a couple of years ago and it was an amazing bike. Fast, comfortable and stiff, just like the Aernario.2 Platinum, and while it may not have the same levels of exclusivity of the Storck and it might not quite hit the numbers on the test jigs, out in the real world it's barely perceptible, especially not nearly four grands' worth.
The Platinum is available as a frameset for £5,046 (€5,699) which also puts it at a grand more expensive than Colnago's flagship, the C64. The Storck is quite a bit lighter, though.
The Aernario.2 Platinum G1 is an absolutely awesome bike and if you've got the type of money that you can afford one, then value – the one real stroke against it – probably isn't an issue for you.
Take money out of the equation and there is little to fault it.
One of the best all-round race bikes out there, and also one of the most expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Storck Aernario 2 Platinum Edition G1
Size tested: 55cm
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 2x11 (R9150)
Frame Storck Aernario2 Platinum
Fork Storck Aernario2Platinum
Color Matt Black
Material Carbon Fiber Reinforced (CFR)/Unidirectional (UD)
Cable Routing Internal Cable Routing Braking/Shifting
Bottom Bracket Pressfit™ Diameter 41x86,5 mm
Headset Acros 1 1/8" - 1 1/4"
Handlebar 31,8 mm Storck RBC170 Carbon
Handlebar Tape Storck
Seatpost 31,6 mm Storck MLP150 Monolink Carbon
Saddle Selle Italia Monolink SLS
System-Wheels DT Swiss PRC1400 / 35mm
Tires Schwalbe One 25 mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano Dura Ace Di2
Front Derailleur Shimano Dura Ace Di2
Shift Levers Shimano Dura Ace Di2 2x11
Brakes Shimano Dura Ace
Crankset Shimano Dura Ace 52/36, 172,5 mm
Chain Shimano Dura Ace 11-speed
Cassette Shimano Dura Ace 11-speed, 11-28
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Storck says, "Our top performer! The evolution of the Storck models is entering the next round. The peak technical values of the Aernario success model and innovative technologies of the F.3 are united in the Aernario.2. All characteristics typical for Storck such as loss-free propulsion due to high stiffness values, aerodynamics and noticeable comfort reach a new quality in the Aernario.2 models. 'Advanced Sectional Aerodynamic Shaping' and 'Directional Depending Stiffness' have practically reinvented themselves resulting in tube shapes that are both attractive and technically superior. Aernario.2 is the optimum racing machine and makes the difference in the peloton. Aernario.2 – the lightweight bike paired with maximum stiffness and perfect comfort."
The Aernario.2 Platinum G1 offers huge performance and comfort, and can be ridden hard by everyone, from racer to fast individual.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
The Platinum sits at the top of the Aernario models, above the Pro and Comp.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The overall build quality and finish can't really be faulted.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Storck doesn't give much away about the specific build but it says for the Platinum range it uses the highest grade carbon fibres compared to those models lower down the range.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The Aernario.2 is very racy, with a very short head tube for an aggressive front end, and with a decent length top tube the overall position is long and low.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
This medium has a stack of 552mm and a reach of 403mm which is very race bike. It gives a ratio of just 1.36.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
For the type of bike it is, the ride feel is very refined and comfortable.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
The stiffness is one of the best aspects of the frame.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Very impressively indeed.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Fast, but the right side of lively overall.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
As a rider, if you are smooth and let the Storck do its job you will be repaid by a bike that delivers pin point accuracy in the bends.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The seatpost offers quite a bit of flex for increased comfort.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Dura-Ace chainset is one of the stiffest out there and works well with the bike.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
It all works well together to create an awesome race bike package.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
Dura-Ace is hard to fault and the latest Di2 shifters are so much more refined than earlier versions.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
I wasn't a massive fan of the braking surface of the DT Swiss wheels compared with other carbon wheels I've tried lately, but other than that they are good all-rounders.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
I love the Schwable Ones for use as a fast performance tyre, and they really suit the limits and handling of the Storck.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
I'm not really a massive fan of the shape of the handlebar.
Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)
The shape of the saddle doesn't really suit me, but that's personal opinion.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? I wish... No, I don't think I could justify the cost for the marginal gains over cheaper models or other brands.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes, if they were after one of the best bikes they could buy, money no object.
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's more expensive than most, and some of the mass produced brands are catching up on performance levels very quickly.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Take the price out of the equation and the Storck is very difficult to criticise, it's exceptional, and if you're looking at buying this bike then chances are money is no object... but when you compare it with what else is out there, it has to lose a point on value.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!