While the 2021 crop of race bikes saw a trend towards giving lightweight bikes an aero lick, that doesn’t mean to say that the all-out aero rigs were neglected.
Quite the contrary, for several brands their flagship launch of the year was an updated out and out aerobike – Canyon, with the new Aeroad and Merida’s updated Reacto being but two prime examples.
So which do you choose? Here are seven of the hottest for 2021…
The headline news on Scott’s 2021 Foil is its fully internal cable routing, made possible by the incorporation of the Syncros Creston iC SL Carbon combo handlebar. This has the cables run through the handlebar and into the head tube creating a cleaner aesthetic and – if other brand’s claims can be transposed to this machine – saving around two watts per cable.
The bike’s tubes themselves use Scott’s own airfoil design, and there’s also been an increase in comfort thanks to dropped and skinny seatstays.
The Foil has long been praised as it’s fast but without sacrificing ride quality, which can only be a good thing. Our test model, complete with SRAM Force eTap AXS at £5399 came in at 7.8kg too, so it’s no heavyweight.
Models start at £3599 with Ultegra mechanical and HMF carbon, whilst the Scott Foil Premium comes in at £8099 with the higher end HMX carbon and Dura-Ace Di2.
The Aeroad that Canyon finally unveiled in October 2020 was perhaps preceded by its own shadow, with leaks going back as far as January 2020. Thankfully when the real deal finally arrived, it was no disappointment – we awarded the Canyon Aeroad CFR a 9/10 on test.
The Aeroad has some nifty tricks up its sleeve. Most notably, the cockpit features two bolts either side of the stem, allowing riders to adjust their handlebar width without buying a new set of bars. On our size large, the bars could be run anywhere from 39cm to 43cm, with this number decreasing on smaller sizes.
The range starts at £2,899 with Shimano 105 and spans nine models, topping out with the Campagnolo Super Record EPS version at £9,299.
Merida Reacto Team E
The Merida Reacto Team E scored a perfect 10/10 when tested by Cycling Weekly’s review team, making it the highest-scoring aero bike we tested all year in 2020.
The Merida features fully internal cable rounding which saved a reported two watts per cable when tested at 45kph in a windtunnel. A concealed seat post clamp, flush thru-axles, and Merida’s unique disc brake calling fins all added up to watts saved.
The range starts at £2,450 for the Reacto 5000, with the Dura-Ace Di2 version we reviewed retailing at £9,000.
The Trek Madone’s update for 2020 wasn’t easy to spot, but the flagship models enjoyed the addition of Trek’s OCLV 800 ‘wünder-carbon’, which was developed for the lightweight Emonda bike.
The carbon is a reported 30 per cent stronger than the previously top-end OCLV 700, without losing stiffness allowing frames to use less carbon, therefore, save weight – in the case of the Madone SLR, it’s about 80 grams.
The frame uses Trek’s Kammtail Virtual Foil tubing, and features integrated cables, with comfort coming from the IsoSpeed decouplers front and rear. The technology was first developed for Trek’s Domane but has since cropped up across its models.
The range begins with the Madone SL 6 costing £4150 with mechanical Ultegra and tops out with the SLR 9 eTap model costing £11,950.
The Taiwanese brand’s aero road bike hasn’t seen any big overhaul for the 2021 season, but it’s long been a front runner.
The Advanced Pro and SL models come with fully internal cable routing and Giant Contact SLR Aero bar/stem combos, with Giant Pro power meters fitted as standard from the £4199 Advanced Pro 1 disc.
Unlike the majority of other options within this list, models start at £1999 too – in this case, that’s the Giant Propel Advanced 1, which for 2021 comes with Shimano 105, rim brakes, and Giants own P-A2 wheelset.
At the upper end of the range are the Propel Advanced SL models, where a SRAM Red AXS build will cost you £9,999.
Cervélo created the aero road bike concept, with the Soloist, back in 2002, later renaming these bikes the ‘S Series’ with models broken into the top end S5 family and more affordable S3s.
Never one to shy away from an engineering challenge, the S5’s most recent overhaul was characterised by its ‘V Series’ stem. The brand also increased stiffness by replacing the fork steerer with a tensioning rod, and building up the front portion of the head tube. Cervélo says the bike saves 42g of drag over the outgoing model, a saving of around 5.5 watts.
The S5 also boasts aero cable management, and a ‘built for bottles’ design which uses an aerofoil downtube that’s flattened to offer an aero edge.
An Ultegra equipped model will set you back £4999 with Dura Ace Di2 at £9699.