Endurance Road Bike Guide
In recent years road bikes have been becoming more and more advanced with brands trying to squeeze as many watts as possible out of the frame and optimize the rider position for maximum speed. While all of these advancements are great for racers, for the vast majority of riders, these updates make the bikes less comfortable and not as effective for recreational riding. Because of this, brands have been trying to develop ‘endurance’ bikes to fill the gap for those who just want to daily ride and not race. These road bikes will have higher stack heights, shorter reach, and in a lot of cases, more tire clearance to ensure the bike provides a comfortable ride.
At Contender Bicycles, we have many bikes that fit into this category of endurance road bikes. A few of our favorites are the Cannondale Synapse, the Open Min.D, The BMC Roadmachine, the Time ADHX and the Cervelo Caledonia. All of these bikes will provide a comfortable and fun ride for whoever chooses to take them out. Each one of these bikes stands out with their unique designs, and give you a reason to consider each as your next new road bike.
The Cannondale Synapse is Cannondale’s bike that emphasizes a comfortable, and smooth ride. Cannondale sought out to create a comfortable road bike that emphasizes a compliant carbon frame, wide tires, and aero lines. The Synapse has clearance up to a 35mm tire, allowing you to choose a 32-35mm slick tire to get a more comfortable ride on the road without compromising the speed. These tires provide stability and comfort for the entire ride in addition to added durability and tire-life.
One of the crowning features on these bikes is Cannondale and Garmin’s advanced radar system. The SmartSense system will detect cars from in front and behind you, and then notify you on a head unit to alert if a car will come close to you. On the roads this is a worthy upgrade because it will alert you when you are going to be passed closely, so you can make an effort to get more space. The same technology has been on display in the Garmin Varia, which has proven itself to be a useful safety device. The SmartSense radar system is standard on any synapse with the RLE denotation. The one downside to this system is the excess of wires and the large battery visible on the downtube. The bike is not internally routed, so what is gained in extra adjustability and ease of parts swaps, is lessened by the lack of clean cable routing.
Cannondale’s Synapse is a mid-range road bike. The pricing is competitive with many others in the industry, so you can get some nicer components on the bike without paying a premium. The high stack height and relaxed geometry mean the bike will be comfortable for a wide range of customers. You should check out the Synapse if you are looking for a road bike that was designed in the US, with a high-quality frameset, and a geometry set up that allows you to ride all day.
The Cervelo Caledonia is Cervelo’s take on an endurance bike. The frame fits up to a 34mm tire and has the capacity to run fenders with some 31mm tires for rainy days. This bike does not have internal headset routing, but it does have many accessory mounts and a removable front derailleur (for the 1x people out there). This Caledonia preserves the iconic look of a Cervelo road bike, but without an overcomplicated design that makes the bike difficult to own and maintain.
The Caledonia comes in two different framesets, the Caledonia and the Caledonia-5. The top-level, Caledonia-5 uses Cervelo’s hi-mod carbon frame as well as internal frame routing. The Caledonia-5 is built for the endurance warriors out there, the ones who want a top-end, modern frame that will remain comfortable on days with triple digit miles. With the large variety of builds too, Cervelo allows you to get exactly what you want without having to spend more than you need.
This Cervelo emphasizes simplicity, giving everything you would need without much more. This frame has disc brakes, wider clearance, a clever cable routing system, and fewer proprietary parts. Cervelo had long days in mind, so the frame is built to be able to handle some dirt roads, and even short singletrack sections, because they know that sometimes to do long distance you may have to go off the beaten path. If you are looking for a comfortable and simple road bike able to take a beating, check out the many builds of the Cervelo Caledonia.
The BMC Roadmachine was designed to take on any road terrain you could imagine. The Roadmachine, like the others on this list, is designed for long days with maximum comfort. BMC offers many different configurations on this frame, including a couple bikes with the 1x SRAM XPLR groupset to give it a wider gear range. On the high-end models, like the Caledonia, there is internal headset routing, but on the lower-end, they opt for traditional cable routing to add some ease of adjustability.
The Roadmachine utilizes a less traditional look, to increase the bikes stiffness and responsiveness. The futuristic, geometric tubing provides a modern look, while also adding the performance that BMC is known for. Like many other bikes with internal cabling, BMC’s high-end carbon frames (referred to as 01) feature an irregular steerer tube which only allows you to run a BMC stem which can make it harder to fully optimize the fit.
The Roadmachine is a perfect bike for days spent in the saddle, as its geometry pairs their racing DNA with the benefit of additional comfort. BMC is an established brand that knows what they are talking about when it comes to designing their bikes, and the Roadmachine reflects exactly that. If you are looking for something with high-quality carbon construction, with a futuristic look, the Roadmachine would be the perfect bike for you.
The Open Min.D is the only bike here from a brand that does not make a race road bike. The goal that Open set out to achieve was to build bikes to last the test of time and to be your only bike. With that mantra, the Open Minimal Design (Min.D for short) was born. The Open Mind is available in frame-up builds only, but that means you can get exactly what you want from the gate. The frame is offered in two configurations, the Standard and the California. The California is 75g lighter, designed and built in California, but significantly more expensive.
One feature of the Open Mind is the integrated seat tube. This means you have to cut it to achieve your saddle height and then only have about 3 cm of wiggle room. This less-adjustable post does have its benefits with the biggest being the flex of the post. Open designed the frame to be stiff everywhere but the seatpost to give the rider added comfort over rough roads. The California frame emphasizes this quality to give the bike extra comfort while maintaining some stiffness and responsiveness that you look for in a race bike. The frame has clearance for up to a 32mm clearance giving you a bit extra space for a wide tire.
The Mind is great for people who want a customized road bike to last. Since it does not have internal headset routing, the bike is easy to find cockpit options for and customize the bike for you. The frame is optimized for electronic shifting, with it only allowing a 1x mechanical setup. The Open is the perfect bike for people who crave simplicity, the clean lines and round tubing preserves the iconic look of road bikes, while the construction makes the bike stiff where it needs to be and flexible where it can be.
The Time ADHX is the most dirt focused bike here. The ADHX was intended for a lot of asphalt roads as well as smooth dirt roads. The highlight of the frame is the hand-woven carbon. Time is one of the only brands left that do all their carbon work in Europe, ensuring that every frame shows the same quality and craftsmanship. Time’s expertise in carbon is utilized to make this bike incredibly smooth and comfortable throughout a long ride on rougher roads. The ADHX features internal headset routing, but still allows you to have a wide variety of cockpit options for the bike.
The ADHX has the biggest tire clearance of the bikes on this list. Time lists a 38mm clearance, in practice we have found it to be closer to 36mm depending on the tires and the rim. This allows the bike to utilize a wide tire to provide added comfort to the rider. The bike is able to support either electronic or mechanical groupsets, so you are able to choose exactly what you want to go along with this frame.
The ADHX is the perfect bike for people who are chasing some dirt roads, but mostly just long days in the saddle. This is for the people that want an extraordinary quality frame, that translates directly into the road with an incredible ride quality. Time builds a bike that emphasizes precision above all else, so if you are in search of a bike with a precise, comfortable ride, look no further than the ADHX.
While all of these bikes stand out in their own way, the best way to choose your next road bike is to ride each of them. They may look similar on paper, but slight differences in their geometry and frame will make a world of difference. We have all these bikes in stock, so we encourage you to come test ride them around the neighborhood to get a feel for the bikes. If you are going to come down, bring your riding shoes too, so you can ride the bikes with the same setup as if you were to buy one for yourself.
Whether you want the advanced radar on the Synapse, the futuristic ride and look of the Roadmachine, the versatility of the Caledonia, the European craftsmanship of the ADHX, or the Simplicity of the Mind, we are happy to get you sorted. Give us a call or email us with any more questions. We are happy to let you pick our brains on the pros and cons of each bike. Visit us in Park City or Salt Lake City to chat and take a look.