Did your lucky numbers pay off? Because if price isn’t an issue, we’ve got eight road bikes you need to look at.
It’s amazing what happens when you start searching for bikes without a budget in mind. Suddenly, when not automatically sorting from “low to high” on the price range, $5,000 for a road bike seems not only affordable but downright cheap.
It’s not just about the frame, either. The bigger the budget, the higher the quality of the components attached to it — from ultralight carbon wheels to electronic shifters. Whatever your budget is, you might enjoy scrolling through a few of our favorite (Power)baller road bikes we’d buy if we ever hit the lottery.
Even if all of these dreamy two-wheeled machines are out of your price range, who doesn’t love some aspirational bike porn during the workweek?
Hottest High-Priced Road Bikes
Carbon, titanium, bamboo — oh my! We chose eight of the sleekest, fastest, and most outrageous (a lot of) money can buy. Each of these is road and race ready, and available for anyone to purchase. Well, anyone with a few commas on their bank statement.
We’ve arranged these bikes from lowest to highest price, though some may vary depending on component choice.
Pro tip: If you buy one of these road bikes, spend the extra few bucks to buy a seriously sturdy bike lock.
Boo SL-R: $7,000 (and up)
That’s right, we’re starting this list with a bike that isn’t made from carbon or even titanium. Rather, Boo makes bikes with — wait for it — bamboo. And it doesn’t just make bikes for riding on smooth roads. It has cyclocross bikes raced by elite riders like Georgia Gould!
These bikes offer a surprisingly stiff and smooth ride despite being made with panda snacks. Boo’s top-end road bike, the SL-R is compliant enough to feel ultra smooth in corners, with handling that’s a bit more responsive than stiffer frames (thanks to the bamboo’s slight give).
The brand binds the bamboo with hand-wrapped carbon fiber, and each frame features custom geometry designed to make your ride feel exactly right. Now with thru-axle dropouts, the road bike can handle beefier tires. And disc brakes mean excellent stopping power.
Boo’s builders work with customers to customize frames, kitting them out with the best components for their preferred types of riding. So you can almost guarantee you’ll be the only one in the group ride with a bike made of grass.
Litespeed T1SL: $7,249
Litespeed is one of the classic titanium bike builders in the U.S., and the T1SL road racing bike is one of the lightest titanium options on the road. The 2018 model is 15 percent lighter than the brand’s 2015 T1SL frame and comes in at a mere 1,000 grams for a medium frame. For you Yanks, that’s under 2.25 pounds!
Available in six sizes from 50 to 60 cm, Litespeed’s range of road bikes can accommodate almost everyone. Plus, titanium, with its stealthy-looking silver sheen, stands out in a crowd of black and brightly colored carbon and alloy frames.
And Litespeed created the new top tube for the 2018 model from a single sheet of titanium, tapered to reduce weight and add stiffness to the ride.
Handmade in America and kitted out with Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting system, this bike will definitely attract a lot of envious looks at the starting line. But it looks equally cool on those more casual coffee shop rides.
For space-age tech under $10,000, the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc 9.0 Ltd, with its 11-speed SRAM eTap HRD hydraulic disc brakes, is your best bet.
Canyon chose components for and built the entire bike with aerodynamics as the primary goal. The H11 aero-integrated handlebar and stem help you get low, and even the seatpost’s design mimics that of the frame — ready to slice through a headwind.
SRAM’s eTap system provides wireless shifting, shaving off grams by reducing cable weight. Hydraulic disc brakes may seem crazy for an aero bike, but the confidence gained by being able to stop on a dime more than makes up for the few added grams compared to calipers.
Of course, Reynolds Aero 65 ATR Disc Carbon wheels offer a range of aero ability regardless of headwind or a brutal crosswind.
Trek Émonda SLR 9 Disc eTap: $11,000
Want to climb hills? You may need the Émonda, Trek’s answer to hill-lovers looking for a frame that likes to climb as much as they do.
The most baller version of the Émonda, the SLR 9 Disc eTap combines a carbon road frame with some seriously high-tech components. At sub-14 pounds, the carbon Émonda is among the lightest of Trek’s road bikes.
And it’s the lightest Trek frame with disc brakes. Notice a trend towards disc brakes here? Almost every high-end road bike has them now.
And again, what makes this bike Powerball worthy isn’t just the frame: it’s what comes with the frame. Full SRAM eTap wireless electronic drivetrain and flat mount hydraulic disc brakes mean this road bike stops on a dime and shifts without worrying over regular cable adjustments. Just remember to charge your robotic derailleur every so often.
Bontrager, Trek’s component and clothing brand, provides the XXX cockpit and saddle as well as the uber-light Bontrager Aeolus XXX carbon wheels.
Women’s bikes are no longer the base model with cheap components and a women’s-specific saddle. Now, brands design bikes with women’s geometry and needs in mind, and the bikes spec out with components at the same level as high-end men’s bikes — if not better!
Specialized (obviously) designed the newest iteration of the Women’s S-Works Tarmac Disc to be fast. But tons of R&D went into making it a fast all-around bike, whether climbing, hitting a headwind, or even dealing with a gravel section in a fondo.
The stiff, lightweight carbon frame boasts a power-measuring system integrated into the carbon fiber S-Works road cranks, with dual-sided power measurement. And shifting comes courtesy of electronic Shimano Dura-Ace Di2.
Disc brakes modulate speed, and 50-mm-deep Roval CLX 50 Disc wheels with cotton-cased Turbo tires keep you rolling smooth and fast.
Moots Vamoots Disc RSL: $11,000
Another titanium option, Colorado’s Moots brand has made a name for itself on road, mountain, and cyclocross courses. But when it comes to road racing or riding, the Vamoots Disc RSL is the brand’s “pure road performance” machine.
Moots designed this road runner for stiff, tight handling. The brand also used its proprietary butted titanium tubes. And this iteration of the Vamoots drops a bit of weight thanks in part to a 3D-printed rear dropout. Thru axles mean an even stiffer ride and better pickup.
Unlike most bikes with five or six size options, the Vamoots comes in nine different made-to-order sizes and designs. And for the aesthetically inclined, Moots added dozens of finishing options for the frame, from iridescent logos to barely visible etching — arguably the hardest part of the decision when ordering!
The highest-end model comes with Shimano Dura-Ace 9170, a Chris King bottom bracket, and Mavic K-Syrium Pro Disc wheels. Custom sizing is available as well, as are plenty of modifications if you’re hoping to swap standard shifting for electronic. (But prices vary based on specifications.)
Bianchi Specialissima Super Record: $13,700
Are you obsessed with the Celeste light blue-green that screams “Bianchi”? Or do you have a deep-rooted love for Campagnolo (despite the prevalence of Shimano and Specialized)? Welcome to the new age of retro, with the Bianchi Specialissima Super Record.
It looks classically cool, like a bike your dad or a Tour de France racer may have ridden back in the day. But there’s nothing old-fashioned about it once you look closely.
The Super Light Carbon uses Materials Sciences Corporation’s patented “Countervail” integrated vibration-canceling system, designed to decrease vibration by up to 80 percent. And guess what? That’s NASA technology.
Campagnolo’s Super Record 11-speed shifters, crankset, and bottom bracket power the ride while Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite wheels with Vittoria Corsa G+ tires speed along descents, up climbs, and through tight corners.
We started with bamboo, and now we’re going to wrap up the list with something even crazier: Steel! Williamson Goods & Supply presents the ultimate luxury experience, beginning with custom-built, high-quality Columbus Chromoly steel tubing hand-brazed in Detroit.
Granted, it’s a little over the top, but the limited-edition bike is already almost sold out. So someone is snapping them up! Each component on the bike is wrapped in hand-sewn python or crocodile leather — yes, really. And while it’s definitely not a vegan-friendly option, but the animal skins are certified as harvested in a sustainable and humane process.
Copper plating also covers the frame, lugs, bars, and posts, all of which are made in Detroit. Each bike is engraved with its number because only 30 (10 in each of the three colors) will be produced.
The front and rear lights are vintage Schwinn, and there’s even a copper-plated “adult beverage canister”! In all, this is one bike you’ll want to hang on a wall as much as pedal around town.