The Best Road Bikes of 2022
These rigs impressed us with fresh design
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Road bikes continue to blossom beyond the narrow confines of racing. Stiff, aerodynamic, featherlight frames are still the keys to speed; but the category is also expanding to include different experiences and styles of riding, to bring a new, more diverse generation of riders into the sport. The four bikes we enjoyed riding the most this season are all very different, but well-executed, interpretations of this modern road machine. If we had the budget, we’d want all of them in our garage.
Pinarello Dogma F Disc ($14,500)
Pinarello’s Dogma line of race bikes has won seven of the past 10 Tour de France overall titles. The eighth-generation Dogma F has the same muscular curves as its predecessors, with a slightly lighter carbon chassis and aerodynamic refinements such as a narrower seat tube and seatpost. Success comes at a cost—for which the brand makes no excuses—but riders who are not turned off by the price of admission can choose from one of the widest fit selections of any production bicycle: a staggering 11 sizes, as opposed to the typical five to seven. Combine this expansive frame range with 16 different handlebar and stem configurations and you have a level of fit adjustment that borders on full custom. On the road, the Dogma’s handling is quick, effortless, and intuitive—exactly what we appreciate in a race-bred road bike. It’s also more comfortable than many other aero road bikes, which is wonderful, since it will take riders many miles to make good on their investment.
Cervelo R5 Force eTap AXS ($8,400)
Road rigs are often divided into wind-cheating aero bikes and ultralight climbing ones. The fourth-generation R5 remains an accomplished all-rounder, with subtle, aero-inspired frame lines and an updated carbon chassis that shaves 130 grams from the previous version. At a time when frame stiffness is highly regarded, Cervelo did an about-face with the R5. Designers detuned the R5’s fork and front triangle to improve compliance, making it better at absorbing high-frequency road vibrations than the previous version. On pavement, these changes were readily apparent. The R5 is still incredibly agile and fast on the gas but also very comfortable on rough tarmac and cobblestone roads. Tire clearance is also better than past generations, with plenty of room for the 25- and 28-millimeter tires most road cyclists prefer. The Force eTap AXS build—our pick of the lineup—is race-ready out of the box, with tubeless-compatible Reserve carbon wheels and a crank-based Quarq power meter.
All-City Zig Zag ($3,199)
Carbon fiber may be king when it comes to race bikes, but there’s something appealing about the aesthetic of small-diameter tubing and the lively ride of a well-built steel frame. Far from retro, the Zig Zag is a modern interpretation of the classic steel road bike. It’s up to speed with contemporary frame standards and components, including a carbon fork, Shimano’s workhorse 105 drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes, and tubeless-ready wheels and tires. Subtle touches like the beautiful head badge, brazed seatpost collar, pump pegs, and clean welds are all signs of craftsmanship often reserved for much more expensive handbuilt frames. The Zig Zag’s handling leans toward the endurance end of the road-bike spectrum, with a long wheelbase and slack head angle that make it an ideal machine for century rides. We think the stable handling also renders the Zig Zag a wonderful introductory road bike for novice riders as well as a great companion for seasoned cyclists who care more about having fun than finishing first.
Cannondale Synapse Carbon 2 RLE ($5,500)
This updated jack-of-all-trades road bike impressed us with its eager yet forgiving handling. It features a redesigned carbon frame with flex zones in the rear triangle and seat tube to improve comfort on long rides. There are also mounts on the top tube for things like a bolt-on feedbag (who doesn’t like snacks?) and clearance for tires up to 35 millimeters wide. It also features some of the most exciting bike-safety tech out there, thanks to Cannondale’s SmartSense, an awareness system that combines an LED headlight and taillight with a rear-facing Garmin Varia radar that alerts the rider to approaching vehicles. All three items are typically sold as after-market accessories; but Cannondale bundles them together and powers them with a single removable battery, which rests on the down tube and supplies enough power for a eight-hour ride on standard mode (or 20 hours in battery-saving mode). A wheel sensor wakes the system up and shuts it off automatically when you’re done, so you never have to worry about remembering to turn the system on before you head out.