Our Top 5 Road Bike Picks | Unlimited Budget!

by | Jul 4, 2023 | Buyer's Guide, Bike, Bike Check, Sports

In-case you missed the previous articles, we’re exploring ‘Our top five road bike picks’ at certain price points, you can get up to speed by clicking here.

For the no price cap segment, we’re looking at the best of the best currently, or soon to be, available on the local market. With that being said, a custom build from a frameset up will generally cost you more, you could also bump up the price by hand choosing some pricy gear, but we’d like to hone in on complete builds.

Not surprisingly, you’ll see some fairly familiar road bikes from the world tour podium positions, these options are true ‘Superbikes’.

Cover Image Credit: Specialized Bicycles

In no particular order, here are our top 5 picks:

Trek Project One Icon Madone SLR 9

Price: R259 586

Material: Carbon 

The Trek Project One option was the first thing that came to mind in this segment! If money isn’t an issue and you want a bike that is uniquely you, then this is the way to go. 

Whilst the price point is absolutely bonkers for a bicycle, you do get to custom build your road bike, changing the style of the paint, colors, branding and even adding your own name or signature should you please. I opted for the “Ultra-Iridescent” colorway, a Sram Red Etap groupset, Quarq power meter included, some top notch carbon Bontrager bits and pieces and a Ceramic Speed bottom bracket, because why not? 

There are 6 different base models to choose from when ordering, starting with a Shimano 105 Di2 equipped Madone SLR 6 at R140 000. Add around R20K for the custom paint and then the final price is determined by what you build it up with. If custom isn’t your thing, the range topping Madone SLR 9, almost identically specced to my custom build, will set you back R210 000.

Like: Project One custom colors. 

Dislike: Wheel options, would have liked a deeper option.

Most Expensive Road Bikes Bicycles
Trek Madone SLR Project One

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 – Shimano Dura-Ace Di2

Price: R220 000.

Material: Carbon.

If you’re looking for a World Tour winning road bike that blends an incredibly light build with some solid ‘Aero is Everything’ frame design, well here it is! 

I am a huge fan of the Satin Carbon paint finish (surely this is even lighter?) along with the tan sidewalls, if you have ever ridden the Specialized Turbo Cotton tires, you’ll know these feel amazing and are incredibly fast, and if you haven’t, do yourself a favor. The front wheel is a rather odd depth of 51mm, with the rear wheel being 60mm, can we use the term ‘mullet’ for road bikes? Either way, running a shallower wheel on the front does make for some good handling and a great looking stance when the bike is on show at your local coffee shop. 

At this price point you’re getting the best in the business, the Shimano Dura Ace Di2 groupset is absolutely flawless, instantaneous smooth shifting that will go the distance with you, Specialized has also included a 4iiii dual sided crank based power meter. On the cockpit you’ll get some nice grippy Supercaz ‘Super Sticky Kush’ bar tape (wonder what they’re up to in California with that name), paired with a carbon Roval Rapide aero handlebar. As far as integrated handlebar and stem options go, the verdict is still out on this one. Personally at a retail level I do think the 2 piece option is still a better one for consumers, meaning it is more cost effective for both store and consumer should a handlebar width or stem length wish to be changed. 

Like: Great all rounder.

Dislike: No mention of tubeless compatibility should you change the Turbo Cotton Tires.

Most Expensive Road Bikes Bicycles
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7

Canyon Aeroad CFR Disc Di2

Price: R165 000.

Material: Carbon.

We’ve watched the likes of Mathieu van der Poel and co countless times dominate races on-board the Aeroad, so its’ not only a looker but a performer! 

At first glance, this is a killer deal considering the spec, even with the current state of the Rand, but, there is a but. The price listed above excludes shipping and import duty, I have heard of some instances where the bike arrives at your door somehow avoiding those import duties. You won’t see a Canyon on your local bike shop floor, as the company uses a direct B2C business model which is the primary factor as to how they achieve their competitive price point, which is great, if you’re in Europe.

Now I’m not saying that if you are interested in one of these that you should avoid paying import duties at all costs, but I am also not saying that you could, perhaps, get a friend to take delivery of it, remove the packaging, re-box it and ship or bring it over with them. 

About the actual build, well, what’s not to like? Much like the Specialized Tarmac, this road bike from Canyon is also equipped with Shimano Dura Ace Di2, however with a Rotor Crank and highly rated INspired power meter. The sleek integrated handlebar and stem combo is also great, despite previously mentioning its limitations, Canyon has found a solution for this. Whilst you can’t adjust the stem length, as long as you get that right from the get go you can adjust the handlebar width and stack height with a single tool.

Another neat finish that I wish all bike manufacturers would adopt, are the height markings on the seatpost, this will help when making minor adjustments and ensuring the post hasn’t slipped. There’s also a bunch of really cool accessories you can add to your purchase such as a sleek computer mount and proprietary lights. At a claimed 7.2kg for the build, that’s not too shabby for a pure aero machine! 

Like: DT Swiss ARC 1100 Dicut Wheels.

Dislike: Lengthy warranty process, no local after sales service. 

Bianchi Oltre Pro RC50

Price: R200 000.

Material: Carbon.

Say hello to the incredibly light Italian ‘hyperbike’, tipping the scales at a mere claimed 6.85 kgs. 

2021 through to 2023 seems to have been the weird, wild and out there road bike design years, many brands claiming to have used Formula 1 as inspiration behind the crazy curves. The new Oltre claims to ‘dominate’ airflow, saving 45 seconds over 40km compared to the previous model, I mean it sure looks like it would. 

There doesn’t seem to be all that much difference as far as build quality goes between the listed super bikes, the Bianchi is also equipped with Shimano Dura Ace Di2, some in-house carbon bits and a 1 piece proprietary handlebar and stem. I am not all that familiar with the 50mm Reparto Corsa wheels, they sure do look good. For the purist old school cycling fan that wants to adopt new tech, the classic Bianchi celeste color should tick the boxes. 

Like: Weight.

Dislike: General Look. 

Most Expensive Road Bikes Bicycles
Bianchi Oltre Pro RC50

Pinarello Dogma F

Price: R254 000

Material: Carbon

If you’re looking into road bikes above R200k, you’re bound to find some Campagnolo Super Record, once you ride Campy you’re a fan for life, if you’re not a fan of the Italian groupset manufacturer it’s probably because you haven’t ridden it. The Dogma F is equipped with the 12 speed Super Record EPS (electronic) along with Campagnolo’s notorious (however now disc brake) Shamal wheelset. Much like the rest of the bikes in this lineup, you won’t spot a wire or cable dangling about in the wind. Featuring the MOST Talon Ultra Light 1 piece cockpit and a 3D printed titanium seat clamp, it’s safe to say nothing was held back on this build.

The Pianrello may look somewhat weighty due to the tube shaping, however it is not, sitting at a claimed 6.9kg’s. The Dogma series is the most successful Grand Tour bicycle as far as the general classification goes in the last decade, racking up numerous victories thanks to the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Gerraint Thomas and Egan Bernal. In-fact, a Pinarello has won 7 of the last 11 Tour de France’s, surely that speaks volumes for the quality of this ride. 

Like: Campagnolo Super Record EPS. 

Dislike: The Price. 

Most Expensive Road Bikes Bicycles
Pinarello Dogma F

The bikes listed are mind blowingly expensive, they do however feature the best components in the business and I’m sure any roadie would give their left kidney to ride any of them. The listed bikes should all be available in South Africa, but I wouldn’t expect to see them sitting on any old shop floor given the price point. If these are out of your price bracket, have a look at our other top 5 picks!

Find more buyer’s guides for road bikes, MTBs and gear here.

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