The road bike market in Australia is much like its automotive equivalent; there’s an almost overwhelming choice and, with a couple of exceptions, you’ll be hard pressed to find a bad one. Years ago, when the big European and American manufacturers sent their engineers to set up factories in cost-effective-but-not-quality-hindering Taiwan, the market opened right up. Suddenly, mass-produced product that was both affordable and desirable began to fill wish lists and bike stores around the globe.
So, you could throw your leg over offerings from brands like those ridden by the professional riders without melting the bank balance. Some brands still make their range-toppers in Europe (one of which you’ll read about in a sec), but Asia is the hub for treadly manufacturing.
Here, we narrow the selection down to five road machines that suit all wallets and riding styles, from a dollar-friendly training specialist to a handmade racing superbike that costs more than your average hatchback.
Cipollini RB1000K Approx $19,000
Bespoke Imports (08) 8333 2470
Italian Mario Cipollini (pronounced ‘chippoleenee’) was one of the most flamboyant riders in professional racing, once turning up to a race dressed as Julius Caesar and quoted as saying he would have been a porn star had he not been a professional cyclist. His bikes are stupendously exotic and the RB1000 model sits at the top of the pile. Its frame is handmade in Florence and is a piece of rolling sculpture. The German-made Lightweight Meilenstein wheels cost more than $5500 a pair and the top- spec Shimano Dura Ace gearing is electronically actuated. The ‘Cipo’ weighs little more than a feather and rides like an utter dream. As you’d expect. Buy it: if you need a bike worthy of being parked next to your Ferrari F12
Boardman Comp $999
Goldcross Cycles (07) 3482 7900
Our entry-level steed comes from the brand of former Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France stage winner, Chris Boardman. Aluminium frames are typically standard at this price level, but this is a good one. It features triple-butted alloy tubing, so its wall thickness varies to provide strength only where necessary to save weight. It also has a full carbon fork, which delivers smoothness in the front end, while Shimano Sora gearing and Mavic wheels provide dependable operation in all weathers. Buy it: if you’re a new to road cycling, or need a second training bike, ditching the car to commute
BMC Time Machine TMR01 Starting from $6999
Echelon Sports (07) 3902 1155
Aussie Tour winner Cadel Evans rides BMC, which produces some of the most innovative mounts on the market. The full-carbon Time Machine takes a number of design cues from BMC’s top-spec time-trial bike, so you get the extra wind-slicing ability, thanks its aero-tube profiling and integrated front brake caliper. All that tech ain’t cheap, with the frame alone costing $5999 and the complete bike with midrange components another grand on top of that. Ideal for: Racers chasing that extra aerodynamic advantage
Colnago AC-R $2599
FRF Sports (02) 9559 9000
Colnago’s entry-level racing bike brings the sexy look of its top models at a more affordable price. It looks the part with matching white wheels and frame, though we don’t recommend you add revealing white lycra bike shorts to complete the look. The carbonfibre-framed AC-R comes with Shimano 105 gearing, which is better than ever since its redesign, and slick Colnago Artemis alloy wheels. Buy it: if you’re an image-conscious weekend warrior watching the wallet
Orbea B M30 $3499
Orbea Australia (03) 9686 9990
This new Orbea is the consummate all-rounder, catering for those who crave equal amounts of speed and comfort for spirited weekend jaunts. The frame is a stiff one-piece carbonfibre monocoque, which helps transfer the power to the road, while the 11-speed Shimano Ultegra gearing provides seamless shifts. Oh, and the Mavic Aksium wheels deliver a smooth ride while also feeling as though they’d survive an IED blast. Buy it: if you’re an enthusiast getting sick of being dropped by the pack