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Three great endurance road bikes tested in 2017

When it comes to categorizing bicycles, “endurance” road bikes are slippery. Should they be termed “cobble” bikes? Not really — the average rider rarely tackles pavé like the pros do in spring classics. But isn’t every bike an “endurance” bike if you simply ride it for a long time on the weekends? Probably. We don’t necessarily have a clear way to define endurance road bikes, but these three bikes have a lot in common. Their geometries are a bit more relaxed. They have employed novel technology to make the ride more compliant when the road gets bumpy. And, these three bikes remain lightweight, stiff under power, and capable of fast group rides, fondos, or even races.

Trek Domane SLR 7 Disc
$6,500

Photo: Trek

Trek accomplished exactly what we’ve been asking for in the endurance category: a comfortable race bike that actually feels like a race bike, not a cruiser’s cousin. With the recent addition of Trek’s Pro Endurance geometry for some high-end models, the Domane disc sheds the dubious distinction of endurance bikes as laid back slow-wagons. This thing is all race.

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Giant Defy Advanced Pro 0
$4,700

With the Defy Advanced Pro 0, Giant targets riders who enjoy all-day rides on challenging terrain over mixed surfaces.

The bike largely delivers on this goal. The geometry is intended for a more upright riding position and stable platform.

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Specialized Roubaix Pro
$6,500

The new Roubaix raises something of an existential question: Just how soft do we want our road bikes?

The spring-loaded steerer tube Specialized calls “Future Shock” isn’t suspension by the traditional definition, but it is unquestionably successful, offering 20mm of true vertical compliance. It is more effective than any other road system — yes, including the Trek Domane’s IsoSpeed Decoupler — at isolating the handlebars, and thus your entire upper body, from harsh road surfaces.

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