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Racing bikes belong in races. For day-to-day cycling, such as commuting and recreational riding, an endurance road bike is a better option.

The road bikes you see in the Tour de France are like Formula 1 cars: great for racing, not so good for journeys to work, to the shops or into the countryside. For these situations, where comfort and practicality are as important as speed, a general purpose road bike is a better choice. Often called endurance road bikes, they’re also sometimes referred to as sportive bikes or four-season road bikes.

These bikes are designed for long and/or casual rides rather than competitive ones. They typically have a slightly more upright riding position that’s kinder to your back, neck, hands and shoulders. Larger frame clearances provide room for wider tyres and mudguards to help keep you comfortable on rough or wet roads. The frame geometry tends to be more relaxed and the gearing may be lower.

Most endurance road bikes are aluminium with a carbon fibre fork, in order to be lightweight yet not too expensive. Some are steel (heavier, more durable), while high-end ones are sometimes titanium (lightweight and durable). Carbon fibre endurance bikes exist but tend to be racier (because carbon’s ace card is its strength-to-weight ratio); they may lack practical features such as mudguard fittings.

Here are ten good endurance road bikes at a range of prices. Prices are RRP so don’t forget your Cyclescheme savings.


Triban RC 120 Disc £499.99

Triban RC 120 Disc

Own-brand bikes from French superstore Decathlon are usually good value, and the entry-level Triban RC 120 Disc is no exception. Its aluminium frame has a shorter top tube and a taller head tube than a race bike, so you won’t be as hunched over, and it’s paired with a carbon fibre fork to save weight. There are mounts for full-length mudguards and plenty of room to fit them above the not-too-skinny 28mm tyres. It’s possible to fit pannier racks front and rear, although you’d probably only want one or the other; the 2x8 Microshift drivetrain is low geared in road bike terms but it’s still not optimised for heavier loads. Basic but functional mechanical disc brakes complete the package.


Boardman SLR 8.6 £650

Boardman SLR 8.6

Disc brakes are rapidly becoming the norm on road bikes. Yet traditional rim brakes are lighter, cheaper, and work fine. The ones fitted to this Boardman SLR 8.6 have a longer reach (57mm) than standard so there’s room to accommodate proper mudguards as well as 25mm tyres, making it suitable for year-round use. There are mudguard mounts on both the full-carbon fork and aluminium frame, plus rear rack mounts on the latter. The drivetrain is 2x8 Shimano Claris with convenient STI shifters and a reasonable range. Unusually for an inexpensive bike, the wheels are tubeless ready so you could upgrade to self-sealing, faster-rolling tyres in future.


Cannondale Synapse 3 £1,100

Cannondale Synapse 3

The Synapse is Cannondale’s do-it-all road bike. The more expensive models (the dearest is £9,000!) have carbon fibre frames and exotic components; the Synapse 3 is the cheapest of the aluminium models. It has the same focus on comfort, however. There’s room (and fittings) for mudguards above the 30mm tyres, and you could go up to 32mm. The full carbon fork may absorb some road buzz, while the frame geometry is closer to that of a gravel bike than a razor sharp race bike. It’s equipped with 2x9 Shimano Sora gears, which are a step up from Claris, and Promax Decoder R dual-piston mechanical disc brakes. There are mounts for a rear rack and a top tube bag as well as a couple of bottles. It’s available in a wide range of sizes, from 44cm to 61cm.


Specialized Allez £1,000

Specialized Allez

Specialized’s venerable Allez, which has been in the range for four decades, was always more lower-back-friendly than most road bikes as it was a little shorter in the top tube. That’s still true today, although it’s now more of gravel-influenced all-rounder like the Cannondale Synapse 3 than just an entry-level road bike. It too has a refined aluminium frame and a full-carbon fork with clearance for 32mm tyres and mudguards, for which there are mounts. It will also take a rear rack; the seatpost clamp has integral eyelets. The Allez’s drivetrain is 2x8 Shimano Claris, which is one tier lower than the Sora of the Synapse 3. Brakes are again dual-piston mechanical discs, this time Tektro MD-550. They’re better modulated than the cable discs you get on cheaper bikes.


Planet X Kaffenback SRAM Apex 1 £1,099

Planet X Kaffenback

Although Planet X describes the Kaffenback as a four-season commuter it’s also designed for recreational riding, as its name (‘caff-and-back’) implies. With its 1x11 SRAM Apex gears and huge (11-42) cassette, it looks more like a gravel bike than a traditional road bike. You could use it in such a role, for while it comes with 32mm touring tyres it will take rubber up to 40mm wide. The Kaffenback’s frame is chromoly steel, which is tough enough to shrug off the knocks from unseen potholes or careless parking, and the fork is carbon fibre. There are mounts for mudguards and a rear rack. The wheels are meant for gravel riding, so will suit wider tyres and worse roads better than those of many road bikes.


Trek Domane AL 3 Disc £1,200

Trek Domane AL 3 Disc

Like the Cannondale and Specialized, Trek’s Domane AL 3 Disc is an endurance road bike with bigger tyre clearances – 32mm with mudguards, 35mm without – for improved comfort and versatility. It’ll tackle cobbles, gravel and towpaths as well as tarmac. The Domane AL 3’s aluminium frame and carbon fork have fittings for mudguards and a rear rack, and the fork’s longer offset means you’re less likely to catch your toes on the front mudguard. The drivetrain is 2x9 Shimano Sora, while the brakes are Tektro C550 dual-piston mechanicals. It’s nice to see tubeless ready wheels, plus a really wide range of frame sizes for different heights of rider.


Kinesis R1 Road Bike £1,680

Kenesis R1 Road Bike

The Kinesis R1 has been around for a few years now. From the outset it reflected the gravel bike influences that are showing up now in the road bikes of bigger brands. It was launched with room for wider tyres and mudguards, and it also has a 1x11 SRAM Apex groupset. (The Kinesis R2 is basically the same bike but with 2x10 Shimano Tiagra.) This includes hydraulic disc brakes, which have better modulation and power than the mechanicals of the cheaper bikes here. The aluminium frame and full carbon fork have the fittings required for mudguards and a rear rack, and the wheels are tubeless ready. It’s relatively light for a disc brake bike at this price, tipping the scales at 9.5kg.


Liv Avail AR 1 £1,899

Liv Avail AR 1

The Avail is the all-round road bike in Giant’s women’s specific Liv brand. The AR 1 is the most expensive of the aluminium models, which start at £1,099 with the AR 4. In profile, you can’t see the frame clearances that distinguish the Avail from other compact road bikes. Yet it comes with 32mm tyres and will take up to 38mm. Rack and mudguard mounts are hidden but the bike can be equipped with Giant’s own RGX 45 fenders. As the frame is compact, the seat tube is shorter and the (D-shaped) seatpost is longer, so it should flex more for comfort. The groupset is as good as you’d expect at this price: 2x11 Shimano 105 with matching hydraulic disc brakes.


Light Blue Wolfson 105 R7000 £1,949

Light Blue Wolfson

The Light Blue Wolfson is a classically-styled road bike with a frame made from Reynolds 853 steel tubing. This has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than cheaper steels so the manufacturer can use less of it to build a lighter frame with a slightly springier, more compliant feel. In combination with the carbon fork, that should take the edge off the firmer ride from the narrow (25mm)  tyres. Note that you can fit mudguards over these tyres, as the Wolfson has 57mm-reach brakes and hidden mounts. This version of the Wolfson (there are two others) has a 2x11 Shimano 105 drivetrain. For a little extra, you can order the bike with full-length mudguards, a dynamo lighting setup, or higher spec wheels.


Ribble Endurance Ti Disc – Sport £2,999

Ribble Endurance Ti Disc

The bikes in Ribble’s Endurance range use all four common frame materials: aluminium, steel, carbon fibre and titanium. Titanium is a good choice for a year-round mile-eater: half the weight of steel and with a similar strength and springiness, it also won’t rust. Both the frame and the full carbon fork have mounts for mudguards, although unlike the other disc brake bikes here you’re limited to 28mm tyres if you add guards; the Endurance Ti Disc makes no pretensions to gravel riding. The Sport is the least expensive of the titanium models and comes with 2x11 Shimano 105 gearing and hydraulic disc brakes. You can customise the exact specification at point of purchase on Ribble’s website.