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(The Gear Loop) - With warmer months and longer days just around the corner, it’s highly likely you are thinking about packing away your turbo trainer or static bike and blowing out the cobwebs with a long jaunt on one of the best road bikes.

However, today's advances in cycling technology have meant we are now faced with an even broader choice of bike than ever before. Do we want a road bike that’s at the bleeding edge of aerodynamic efficiency, or do we need something that can handle both the road and the trails?

CanyonThe best endurance road bikes 2022: lifestyle photo 11

Bike companies today have pushed their material and frame designs so much that you can almost buy one bicycle that does pretty much everything - happily spanking fellow riders on a Sunday ride, but also strong and reliable enough to turn off the beaten path.

With that in mind, there has never been a better time to invest in an endurance road bike, one that fuses race-worthy speed, lightness and aerodynamic efficiency with all-day comfort. No longer do you have to suffer a numb bum and smashed spine if you want to go fast.

CannondaleThe best endurance road bikes 2022: lifestyle photo 2

We’ve pulled in some of our favourite models, selected for their ability to iron out imperfections in the road, while maintaining good rolling speed, offering a decent groupset and, more importantly, not cost the earth.

If you need any more information on what to look for when buying an endurance road bike, head to our handy guide at the bottom of the page.

Finally, it’s worth considering that global supply chain issues are blighting most bicycle manufacturers at the moment and stock remains low, so it could be a case of shopping around.

The best endurance road bikes 2022

SpecializedThe best endurance road bikes 2022: product photo 4

Specialized Roubaix Sport

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For

  • Amazing carbon compliance 
  • Clever suspension system
  • Still fast and agile

Against

  • Cheaper components
  • Serious stock issues

It could be argued that Specialized cottoned on to this whole endurance performance bike thing long before the competition, as its Roubaix range has, as its name suggests, always been geared towards winning in the most hostile environments.

The fact Specialized has honed a machine that has won seven times at the Paris-Roubaix only benefits the general customer in so much as they get a bike that’s happy going fast, even if the road is cobbled, potholed and generally hellish.

Central to the latest bike is a Future Shock 1.5 suspension system in the headstock that allows for 20mm of travel. Although this doesn’t sound like a lot, it does a fantastic job of taking the sting out of rough roads and generally making the ride more bearable.

At the rear, there’s also a new S-Works Pavé seatpost, which has had its carbon compliance tuned up a notch so it’s more flexible and energy-absorbing than ever. There’s also room for 33mm tyres, with Specialized long championing the use of fat rubber to help soak up the lumps.

It’s a phenomenal machine that’s an absolute joy to ride over serious distance and even in this fairly basic Sport setting, it still comes with Shimano’s reliable 105 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes.

The only issue is getting hold of one, as they are so popular and stock delays are causing all manner of headaches for the US manufacturer. 

CannondaleThe best endurance road bikes 2022: product photo 1

Cannondale Synapse 3 L

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For

  • Lightweight frameset
  • Fantastically comfortable 
  • Lots of handy features

Against

  • Battery pack adds bulk
  • Components could be better

Cannondale thoroughly refreshed its Synapse model this year - a bold move considering the first carbon-framed road bike it ever built also rapidly became its most popular.

The new direction sees a heavy focus on comfort and versatility, without compromising the speed and cornering performance Cannondale is now synonymous with. 

But here, the company has completely refreshed the carbon lay-up of its frame, adding discreet flex zones in the rear triangle and re-engineering the seat tube so it eats up vibration before they are transmitted to the rider’s arms and backside.

However, there’s still plenty of clever aerodynamic design to the frame and it still manages to dip under the 10kg mark, despite Cannondale adding built-in front/rear lights, Garmin’s rear-facing radar system and an integrated battery pack.

What’s more, there are plenty of opportunities to add several bottle cages, luggage racks and mudguards for those who want to travel further. 

Perhaps the only downside is that access to the top tier components comes at a cost and those looking to scrimp on the pennies will be faced with fairly basic wheels and tyres, despite the relatively hefty outlay.

Decathlon/Van RyselThe best endurance road bikes 2022: product photo 5

Van Rysel EDR CF 105 Disc

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For

  • Superb value for money
  • A surprisingly comfortable ride
  • Doesn’t compromise performance

Against

  • Lacks brand cache
  • Limited colours
  • Wheels aren’t great

Decathlon might not be a name synonymous with elite road cycling, but its new top-end range of Van Rysel bikes represent fantastic value for money and even surprised us with their performance levels.

Packing Shimano 105 gearing and 105 ST-R7020 disc brakes, the carbon-framed offering is a tempting choice for the money. But far from simply being a "cheap" option, we were bowled over by the levels of comfort and performance offered by its even cheaper EDR AF aluminium cousin.

Weighing just 8.2kg, this carbon frame version is super lightweight and sports a geometric blend of triangles that have been conceived with both rolling pace and comfort in mind. It soaks up bumps brilliantly but also transfers power from the legs to the road effortlessly.

Customers do face a few compromises though: there’s no fancy suspension system, for a start, it lacks mounting points and tyre clearance can only manage 30mm rubber, so fat-tyre fans might want to look elsewhere.

That said, we still can’t quite get over the package offered here for the money, seeing as it comes in at around £1,000 cheaper than many of the other bikes we’ve featured on the list.

So, if you don’t mind fellow cyclists repeatedly asking you "what’s that?" when out on the road, it could be the money-saver of the year.

RibbleThe best endurance road bikes 2022: product photo 3

Ribble Endurance SL R Disc Sport

For

  • Excellent components
  • A fast ride
  • High performance offering

Against

  • Not as many comfort features
  • Integrated handlebars not to all tastes

It’s very difficult to beat Ribble when it comes to value for money, as the online-only British retailer manages to fuse lithe, carbon fibre frames with excellent components and finishing kit for a fraction of the price of some better-known rivals.

Its Endurance line-up has long been among its fastest steeds, without going so heavy on the stiffness and performance that it's unbearable over longer distances for the uninitiated.

The Endurance SL R Disc Sport is one of our favourite Ribble bikes, as it comes boasting Shimano’s fantastic Ultegra R8000 gearing and hydraulic disc brakes for powerful stopping performance.

There’s also Level DB40 carbon rims for a fantastically smooth-rolling experience and a lithe Level carbon integrated aero cockpit that’s designed to slice through the air with minimal drag. Even the Selle Italia seat and carbon post are cutting edge.

The only downside here is that Toray T1000 carbon fibre used for the featherweight frame is arguably not as comfortable as some of the rivals on this list and Ribble hasn’t added any fancy suspension systems or built-in flex zones to take the pain out of longer rides.

That said, we’ve always found these machines to offer a great fit, boasting an overall geometry that is neither too sharp or too slack for lengthy, faster jaunts.

Buy direct from Ribble

CanyonThe best endurance road bikes 2022: product photo 2

Canyon Endurace CF SL 8 Di2

For

  • Tried-and -tested platform
  • Plenty of comfort features
  • Great looking machine

Against

  • Pricier than some rivals
  • Bolts and finishing kit could be more robust

Like Cannondale with Synapse, Canyon turned to its popular Endurace line-up this year and decided it needed an overhaul, so it set about increasing tyre clearance, introducing a new bottom bracket and throwing on plenty of mounting points for luggage and racks.

Still, Canyon has kept a sharp eye on performance and has borrowed the speedy bits from its Ultimate range and fused them with comfortable elements, such as the fat 32mm tyres, a clever integrated seat post clamp that allows for more of the post to soak up bumps and a generally more relaxed geometry.

The bike itself is a beauty to behold and the new Stealth Grey and Frozen Yellow paint jobs are both subtle and stylish at the same time.

Currently, only the more expensive electronically-shifting Shimano Di2 version is available, but a cheaper Ultegra R8000 will soon be on sale and represents great value for money in our eyes.

Buy direct from Canyon

CannondaleThe best endurance road bikes 2022: lifestyle photo 5

What to look for when buying an endurance road bike

Size matters

Arguably one of the most important factor when purchasing a new bike is to get the right fit, because even the slightest discrepancy in size can lead to pain and discomfort over longer rides. Use online size guides, questionnaires and configurators to get as close a match as possible, or if you can, get into a shop and sit one one.

Specs appeal 

Components and specification are important on a road bike, because the last thing you want is misfiring gears, poor brakes on an uncomfortable cockpit to hang on to when racking up the miles. Different manufacturers select all manner of finishing kit to offer the best blend of performance and value, with all of them scrimping somewhere to create an enticing deal. 

The gearing or drivetrain and braking system is central to a good ride and you’ll want to get the best you can afford, while other things like tyres and wheels can make or break a machine but can also be replaced easily at a later date. Finally, look out for increased tyre clearance if you’re thinking of putting wider tyres or rubber that can handle gravel onto your road bike at some point.

Comfort is king

The whole idea of investing in an endurance road bike, rather than a cutting edge time trial machine, is to introduce an extra level of comfort to make day-long jaunts in the saddle easier on the body.

If you really do suffer in the saddle, take a look at some of the machines with clever integrated comfort features, such as the Specialized Roubaix’s Future Shock suspension system, or the added flex zones in Cannondale’s latest Synapse bikes. 

Writing by Leon Poultney.