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Disc brakes are the new normal and other top end road bike trends for 2017 and beyond

There were many showstopping bikes at Eurobike last week, and we continue our show coverage with a roundup of 12 head-turning road bikes from the likes of Colnago, De Rosa, Cannondale and more. 

- Showstopping bikes from Cannondale, Colnago, 3T, Mason, Ritte, Santa Cruz and more

In the past, we would have separated road bikes with disc brakes and rim brakes out into two articles, but it’s clear from looking around Eurobike that disc brakes are the new normal and they certainly don’t stand out like they used to. It’s also noticeable that whilst disc brakes have become very popular over the past two or three years, many manufacturers haven’t completely given up on conventional rim brakes, especially at the affordable end of the market. 

Colnago A1r

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Even in the face of ever cheaper carbon road bikes, aluminium is a long way from being a redundant choice, and it’s the basis for Colnago’s new A1r road bike. It’s available in just the Shimano 105 build pictured and will cost about £1,500. The frame is brand new and features a 27.2mm seatpost for extra comfort, a press-fit bottom bracket and internal cable routing for clean lines. 

Colnago C-RS 

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The C-RS is Colnago’s brand new entry-level carbon fibre road bike, the cheapest carbon frame to wear the fabled Italian company’s head badge. There’s a 27.2mm seatpost with the seat clamp integrated into the top tube, which provides more exposed seatpost to deflect during impacts, helped further by the seat tube meeting the seat tube well below the top tube. There’s a press-fit bottom bracket and internal cable routing as well. 

Colnago C-RS launched

BMC RoadMachine

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One of the most interesting new bikes launched this year is BMC’s Roadmachine, which aims to blur the performance line between it’s top-end TeamMachine race bike and the sportive-friendly GranFondo. The frame is lighter than the GF’s frame, and it uses disc brakes with 12mm thru-axles and internal cable routing, which on the top model includes a custom stem that hides the cables out of the airflow. Most interesting is that there is space for up to 30mm tyres on the carbon version, 32mm on the aluminium model, which is wider than most endurance bikes like the Synapse and Defy.

BMC Roadmachine endurance disc road bike launched

Giant Contend SL

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Another entrant into the aluminium class is Giant’s brand new Contend SL. Like the Colnago A1r at the top of the article, this bike is aimed at the entry-level with a choice of 105 or Tiagra and competitive prices. 

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Can’t decide between disc or rim brakes? It’s available with both, so you can make the choice that suits you. Giant has form with aluminium, back in 2013 we were highly impressed by the short-lived TCR SL, which uses a 1,050g aluminium frame. That’s lighter than many much more expensive carbon frames. It rode brilliantly, too. Hopefully, the new Contend does as well.

Ritchey Carbon Break-Away

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Ritchey might be best known for its high-quality steel frames (like the new Outback) but in the Break-Away it also offers a carbon fibre road bike, but with one very unique selling point: it can be folded away into a suitcase. It’s the only carbon frame in the company’s range and uses a compression coupling at the bottom of the down tube and a bracket at the top tube/seat tube junction, that joins the two halves of the bike. This allows it to fit into a suitcase and get around the high costs that airlines charge for flying with a bike in a regular bike bag or box. There are thread connectors on the cables - a wireless groupset would be a particular advantage here I reckon.

T°RED 

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We bumped into new Italian bicycle brand T°RED Bikes at Eurobike, who were showing two very nice bikes. The founders come from a design, engineering and architectural background and told road.cc that they felt they had spotted a gap in the market between craftsmanship and technology and want to use their skills to bridge this gap. 

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They work with a range of materials, including the titanium and carbon frames, they showed us. The titanium model is designed to be a race bike and comprises four grades of titanium throughout the frame used in key places to maximise stiffness. The geometry is intended to offer a counterbalance to the stiffness, with a stable and planted ride promised. It’s using a Columbus carbon fork, but is developing its own model, and has opted for a 142x12mm thru-axle rear end and flat mount disc mounts at both ends. 

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The Aracnide A02RC is a brand new carbon fibre disc-equipped road bike, handmade in Italy and with details like flat mount disc fittings, thru-axles, internal cable routing and an externally threaded bottom bracket. The Aracnide has been 15 months in development and has been designed to have a “racing shape” for a competitive ride, while the rear mono stay is aimed at delivering some cushioning.

De Rosa King XS

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The De Rosa stand at Eurobike is always worth spending some time at, because it always produces some beautiful bikes with arguably the best paint jobs at the show. This is the King XS, not a new model from the Italian company, but new paint schemes and graphics for 2017. The use of oversized frame tubes should ensure maximum stiffness and it’s embraced direct mount brake calipers, with the rear brake tucked away under the chainstays, which should tune out some of the vibrations from riding over a rough road surface. 

First Ride: De Rosa King XS

Giant TCR Advanced

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Giant’s TCR Advanced model comes in four versions (five if you include the new disc models) to suit different budgets. They largely share the same frame design but differences in the carbon fibre layup allow the Taiwanese company to hit different price points, with prices range from £1,149 right up to £5,999. The Advanced range is the most affordable and there are three models, this Ultegra specced bike costing £1,699. Giant hasn’t always had the best paint jobs and graphics in the past but it looks to have turned a corner for 2017, this is a damn fine looking road bike. 

BMC TeamMachine SLR01

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No changes to the BMC TeamMachine SLR01 for 2017. This is the Swiss company’s flagship race bike and this version has been with us since 2013 when we reviewed it and found it to be a vast improvement over the previous model. You get a 790g frame, one of the lightest you can buy, with all the modern details like internal cable routing, oversized tapered head tube and press-fit bottom bracket. The TeamMachine SLR01 owes it form to Accelerated Composites Evolution (ACE) Technology, software developed by BMC that allowed it to work through a staggering 34,000 revisions before settling on the shape you see before your eyes.

BMC Team Machine SLR01

KTM Revelator Sky

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KTM always turn heads at Eurobike because (especially now that Cube no longer attend the show) they have some of the most colourful bikes you’re likely to see. This is the Revelator Sky and it features a full carbon fibre frame and fork with thru-axles, flat mounts and internal cable routing. The seat clamp is neatly hidden inside the top tube but still easily accessible, and this allows the 27.2mm seatpost to do a bit more flexing.

Cannondale Synapse Black Inc.

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Cannondale's Synapse, revamped in 2013, has been a massive hit for the US bike brand, and it’s arguably one of the most popular bikes in the endurance category. It’s clearly still selling well because Cannondale hasn’t updated it for 2017, the frame carrying through unchanged - we expect given the typical 3-year shelf life for a road bike that there might be something new along next year.

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There's a hole in the seat tube!

Before your eyes is the top-of-the-range Synapse Black Inc, a bike dripping in expensive equipment, including a SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset with new HRD disc brakes, a HollowGram SiSL2 crankset and new Hollowgram SL Disc wheels with DT 240 disc hubs. Cannondale is starting to produce more carbon components, we’ve already tested its carbon handlebar and it’s now partnered with Stan’s NoTubes to develop its own rims. 

Speedvagen Surprise Me!

Speedvageen is a small Portland-based bike brand that we’ve featured before on road.cc, and it has just launched a project called “Surprise Me!” featuring an all-new frame graphic design.

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The project is a new paint scheme that it has developed that comprises “new patterns, big blocks of gradient tones and hits of vibrant contrasting colour,” says the company. These are going to be limited edition frames, with an order window running until 31st December, so you’ve got a bit of time to ponder it.

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"With our Surprise Me offering, we promise “No Hints, no regrets”. We're known for our colour work. Dating back to the early years, our customers have a lot of trust in our design sense. They provide a little direction and turn us loose, which is how to best harness our creativity and excitement.” says Sacha White, lead builder and owner of Speedvagen. “We took this one step further, giving people the option to pick a flavour and let us run with it." 

Which bike gets your vote?

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.