We are often asked to advise customers as to which bikes are the finest for their needs.
Well, in an effort to provide more background for your thirst for knowledge, here is the list of our BEST CARBON BIKES of 2014 complete with links, photos, reviews and more:
Alchemy Bicycle Co. Xanthus, Helios or Arion
Cost: $3,750 for Xanthus road frameset
$4,250 for Helios semi-aero frameset
$4,750 for Arion aero frameset
Add $500 for custom geometry if needed
Description: The brand that started in Austin is now based out of Denver and still hand-building some of the stiffest, lightest and coolest carbon bikes around. Two-time winner of the NAHBS best carbon bike award.
Pro: 3 awesome models for traditionalists and tech heads alike, with amazing technology and in-house design, plus unlimited custom options, including disc brakes, BB standards, paint options and more.
Con: Relatively rough finishing standards but perfect for those who prefer the industrial look.
Calfee Manta Pro or Dragonfly
Cost: $4,800 for Manta Pro frame only
Add $500 for custom geometry if needed
Add $1200 for Module with Chris King Inset headset, Look Zed2 Crank, Praxis Chainrings, and choice of ENVE or Easton tapered fork
Add $250 to $1200 for paint jobs, depending on complexity
Add $750 for new 3D-printed custom bladder for maximum stiffness and lowest weight
Description: The carbon originators have stepped up their game for 2014 with an all-new design including some innovative concepts such as their new floating rear suspension and 3D-printed custom mould option.
Pro: Stiff, light, smooth, hand-built in the USA, and tons of technology.
Con: Manta Pro is Electric ONLY (Di2 or EPS) and a very unique oversized look, Dragonfly a bit old fashioned.
[Dragonfly model saves $800 / 150 grams + allows for mechanical cable routing but no fancy Module options]
Carrera Erakle TS, Phibra Evo, SL, or One-D and Pantani Nero custom
Phibra Evo = $3,995
Erakle TS = $4,295
SL = $5,499
One Disc = $3,899
Description: Carrera bikes are super smooth, feature wonderfully balanced geometries, and are all hand-made or hand-finished in Italy. A brand with a great racing pedigree and stylish designs that are very obviously Italian.
Pro: Wonderful handling – somewhere between race and GranFondo – with great technologies, gorgeous paint schemes, and solid stiffness plus a comfortable ride quality.
Con: No custom geometry options, somewhat over-the-top design philosophy, must have Italian passport.
[Note: for full custom geometry bikes built by Carrera, check out the Pantani Nero at $5,499]
Cyfac Absolu V2
Cost: $6,750 for Absolu frameset stock geometry with choice of paint
Add $1200 for V2 build with custom geometry, tapered front end, internal cabling, and PressFitBB
Add up to $600 for custom paint schemes
Description: Hand-made in the Loire Valley, with a long history of custom fabrication and attention to detail.
Pro: Fantastic carbon quality, paint schemes, tube profiles, plus phenomenal finishing and ride quality.
Con: A touch heavier than some modern carbon, but the ride quality makes this investment a smart decision.
Fondriest TF-Zero or TF 1.4
Cost: $4,999 for frameset including seatpost
Add $400 custom geometry
Description: Racey Italian brand with a focus on stiffness, agility and high-quality carbon production.
Pro: Crazy stiff, incredibly light for a tube-to-tube bike, and very snappy in corners and accelerations.
Con: Similar in construction to other tube-to-tube brands like Sarto and Legend, no paint customization.
Independent Fabrication TiFlW, Corvid or XS
Cost: $5,299 for Ti FlW
Add $200 for Corvid full carbon model
Add $800 for XS carbon with titanium lugs
Add $400 – $1,200 for custom paint and other options
Description: Another legendary Boston brand, creators of high-end carbon, ti, and steel.
Pro: 3 different model choices, awesome build quality, over 20 years of custom experience, very fine details.
Con: Arguably not as cutting edge as some brands, but using ENVE carbon tubing is never a bad thing.
Parlee Z5, Z5SLi, SLi, ESXC, Z-1 or Z-Zero
Cost: $3,799 for Z5i frameset
$4,900 for Z5SLi frameset
$5,400 for ESX aero frameset
$6,900 for Z-1 with custom geometry
$7,900 for Z-Zero semi-stock geometry
$400 – $1400 for custom geometry and paint
Description: Builders of some of the lightest, smoothest and finest carbon bikes and Tour proven too.
Pro: Very low weight, incredible finishing quality, tunable stiffness to your liking, US built custom models.
Con: Technical features are subtle, the most “popular” brand on this list also means the most experienced.
Passoni Nero XL or XXTi
$6,999 for Nero XL in new “stock” sizes
$7,999 for Nero XL in custom geometry and paint
$8,499 for XXTi with custom geometry and paint
Add $600-800 for “kit” with matching saddle plus painted carbon stem, bar, and carbon cages
Description: Artisanal carbon+ti blends for incredible all-round performance and perhaps the finest attention to detail on the market. Before you question the price, ask what 30+ hours of hand-made expert labour is worth.
Pro: Stunningly gorgeous, stiff yet smooth ride quality, incredibly rare, and ultra-special to behold in person.
Con: Less technical than some, slightly heavier than full carbon, and arguably so pretty it might hurt to ride.
Scapin Etika RC or Ivor
www.scapin.com or stage-race.com
Cost: $4,499 for Etika RC frameset with seatpost
Add $500 for Ivor with optional custom geometry
Description: Etika is super light and stiff aero racer, while the Ivor blends monocoque parts with a hand-wrapped build process for the best of both worlds.
Pro: Very stiff in BB and headtube, aerodynamic shapes, and Ivor is also incredibly smooth in the rear with CFS stays and features a lifetime warranty.
Con: For the Ivor you must choose mechanical or electric cable routing, otherwise, not many to speak of.
Storck Fenomalist, Aernario or Fascenario series
Fenomalist G2 = $3,799
Aernario Basic = $3,999
Aernario Road G1 or G1 Disc = $4,699
Aernario Platinum = $6,699
Fascenario 0.7 = $5,699 with Stiletto 300 / $6,299 with Stiletto 260
Fascenario 0.6 = $9,599 for full fuselage
Description: Storck bikes are all very stiff, very light and very racey. Great design and technology across the price range. Fenomalist offers racing pedigree, Aernario provides more aerodynamics, and Fascenarios are amongst the lightest bikes on the planet.
Pro: Size-specific tubing means that stiffness and ride-quality are identical regardless of what size you ride. Great carbon technology and quality of engineering make these guys the Cervelo of Germany.
Con: No custom geometry options, or even relaxed geometry options. These are race bikes, no bones about them, meaning they either fit you, or they don’t. If you like an aggressive ride, you will love Storck. If you prefer relaxed cruising, stay away.
COMING SOON: OUR DREAM STEEL AND TITANIUM BIKES FOR 2014…