The spring classics season is upon us and over the next few weeks we’ll see the pro teams tackle the Ronde de Vlaanderen and Paris Roubaix one day races. The ‘“endurance” bikes used for these races are a great buy for the rest of us. For the UK’s potholed country lanes and long days out an ‘endurance’ bike will be faster and more comfortable.
Compared to the early 1990’s experiments with full suspension, at first glance, modern classics bikes look much more conventional. The reality is that advances in carbon manufacturing have let manufacturers tune in some vertical flex with flat (Cannondale Synapse) or pencil thin (Cervelo R series) seatstays while substantial chainstays and bottom bracket shells resist twisting and ensure efficient power delivery. The Specialized Roubaix range took this furthest with Zertz inserts in the carbon fork and stays to absorb shocks.
Geometry is subtly different to race bikes - a slacker head angle and longer wheelbase add stability and comfort. Head tubes are taller for a more upright riding position. Clearance for wider tyres, running at lower pressures, adds comfort and resists pinch flats on the cobbles.
Further tweaks are seen in build kit. The Cannondale Synapse simply runs a small diameter seatpost to give extra flex. The Giant Defy, Specialized Roubaix and Canyon Endurace all utilise different designs of seatpost intended to flex front to back while remaining stiff laterally.
The ultimate expression of endurance bikes is currently the Trek Domane which uses ‘IsoSpeed’ decouplers front and rear allowing vertical flex of both headtube and seat tube while remaining completely stiff laterally. Unlike Specialized new ‘futureshock’ system from the 2017 Roubaix the Trek system has the benefit of being completely maintenance free. On the SLR version of the Domane the seatpost flex is adjustable enabling you to run it as stiff as a Madone when on the terrain allows.
We’ve got a number of Trek Domane in stock ranging from the great value disc equipped ALR 4 at just £945 (save £355) right up to the Domane 6.9 with full Di2 at £3995 (£2000 off RRP). We also have a number of the Silque with all the same benefits in female specific fit.