Best endurance bikes 2022: a buying guide

Our top picks of the best endurance bikes suited to long days in the saddle plus what to look for when buying an endurance bike

best endurance bike

The best endurance bikes are designed so you can just keep riding, with comfort and stability top attributes. Heading out with just a few provisions in your pockets and exploring known and unknown roads always feels a lot like freedom. For many of us, it's why we began cycling in the first place. 

Of course adventurous road rides can be experienced on any bicycle. But they're far more enjoyable if undertaken on one of the best endurance bikes.

These are road bikes designed for long days in the saddle; drop bar machines that are less concerned with speed, rather on delivering bags of comfort over demanding terrain. If you're planning on tackling a sportive or gran fondo or training to ride 100 miles, then these are the bikes best suited to the challenge ahead.

So what do the best endurance bikes have in common?

The frame's geometry will certainly be more relaxed than that of a race bike, with a more upright riding position and a shorter reach to the handlebars. This more upright riding position is likely to be accompanied by a frame design that places a premium on compliance - including in most cases room for wider tyres. Often you'll get other comfort features like microsuspension built into the frame too, helping to smooth out the constant vibration from uneven road surfaces. 

The idea of comfort extends into the bike's gearing, with a wide range commonplace, offering you a low gear for the steepest climbs as well as helping to preserve your energy, while still allowing you to ride quickly on flatter roads. Other features you should expect to see include disc brakes and mounts for mudguards.

The endurance sector is well-established meaning there's plenty of choice but also many decisions to make when choosing the best road bike for you.

Here's our pick of the best endurance bikes, after which we'll help to answer questions about what features you should look out for when searching for a bike in this category.

The Best Endurance Bikes

Best Endurance Bikes: Canyon Endurace SL 7 Disc

(Image credit: Canyon)
Best endurance bike with an aluminium frame

Specifications

Frame: Aluminium
Groupset: Shimano 105 R7000
Wheelset: Fulcrum Racing 900
Weight: 9.2kg

Reasons to buy

+
Great ride quality
+
32mm tyres and disc brakes
+
Planted, assured handling
+
Confidence inspiring

Reasons to avoid

-
A little heavy compared to carbon offerings

The Endurace AL 7 has been updated for 2022.  It's still designed for all-day riding adventures, with geometry racy enough to provide a fast and fun ride. However it now has clearance for 35mm tyres and comes specced with 32mm (as opposed the 28mm on our review bike). There are also mounts for a tube tube box, further adding to its all-day riding credentials.

Elsewhere it still uses Shimano's ever-reliable 105 groupset - the 11-34 cassette provides plenty of range - and Fulcrum Racing 900 wheels. It's also still available in some markets with a rim-brake option.

Read our full review of the older model Canyon Endurace AL 7.

Best Endurance Bikes: Giant Defy Advanced Pro

(Image credit: Giant)
Best endurance bike for a fun yet stable ride

Specifications

Frame: Advanced Grade Composite
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels: Giant SLR 1
Weight: 8.2kg (M/L)

Reasons to buy

+
Tyre clearance for 35mm rubber
+
Comfortable for longer rides
+
Well-priced for the spec
+
Assured, predictable handling

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit heavy - over 8kg
-
Saddle not the most comfortable
-
Cable routing is a bit awkward

With a relaxed position and stable ride, those long miles will be eaten with ease aboard any of the Defy models.

Giant tweaked its best selling bike in 2020. It has taken its D-Fuse seatpost concept and applied it to the handlebars. Now both the seatpost and handlebar will dampen the bumps on the road. The brand has also lengthened the wheelbase slightly to add a comfortable level of stability. The tubes have also been re-shaped.

The Overdrive 2 steerer promises excellent handling and front end stiffness thanks to oversized headset bearings. 

The reviewed model comes with a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain. However for 2022 the 11-speed mechanical Ultegra groupset is now offered on the Defy Advanced Pro 2, which costs £3,499 /$4,600 and features its SLR-2 carbon wheelset, while the Advanced Pro 1 is offered with both 12-speed Shimano Ultegra Di2 (£4,999 / $6,350) and SRAM Force eTap AXS (£5,499). The top-tier Advanced Pro 0 uses SRAM Red eTap AXS while the Advanced Pro 3 is equipped with Shimano 105.

The Giant Defy Advanced range starts from £2,099, with this model equipped with a Shimano Tiagra groupset (not available in the US). The Advanced 2 features Shimano 105 and costs £2,229 / $2,680, while the Advanced 1 boasts an Ultegra groupset and costs £2,499 / $3,550. There's also an Advanced 0 which utilises SRAM's Rival eTap AXS electronic groupset. 

We have a full explainer of all the bikes in the Giant Defy range or you can read our full review of the Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1 here.

Best Endurance Bikes: Ribble Endurance SL R

(Image credit: Ribble)
Best endurance bike for custom build options

Specifications

Frame: Endurance SL carbon monocoque
Groupset: Shimano 105 (tested)
Wheels: Mavic Aksium
Weight: 8.6kg (L)

Reasons to buy

+
Aerodynamic frame
+
Comfortable ride
+
Stable handling
+
Clean looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the lightest in its class (although different build options can improve this)

With aerodynamically optimized tube shapes and a 2x11 hydraulic disc brake groupset, this offering from Ribble represents extremely good value. The quality of the frame does not disappoint, with the carbon doing a lot to absorb the road buzz. With discrete eyelets for mudguards and confidence-inspiring handling, long winter miles aren’t a problem for this bike.

The Mavic Aksium wheels our bike came with are not the lightest, nor the most aerodynamic. While they are certainly dependable and robust, in pure performance terms they do hold back the bike a little from its full potential.

Fortunately, Ribble allows you to swap out components with its Bikebuilder app. There are a wide range of wheelset options, heading up to some very expensive raceworthy hoops and you can choose the groupset spec that suits your budget, including the new Shimano Ultegra Di2 12-speed

You can read more about the Ribble Endurance SL Disc here.

Best Endurance Bikes: Specialized Roubaix

(Image credit: Specialized)
Best endurance bike for less-than-perfect roads

Specifications

Frame: FACT 10R carbon
Groupset: Shimano 105
Wheelset: DT Swiss R470
Weight: 8.73kg / 19.2lb

Reasons to buy

+
Good vibration damping

Reasons to avoid

-
Clunky front shifting
-
Can't lock out the suspension on lower spec models
-
No mudguard mounts

The Specialized Roubaix saw a major overhaul in 2017 with the addition of the 'Future Shock' front suspension, and 2019 saw another update, with adjustable suspension added to the top models. 

The suspension built into the steerer tube provides 20mm of damping between the Hover handlebars, with their slight raise, and the frame. The Future Shock suspension does a great job of improving comfort on really rough surfaces, and also helps to improve handling, as the tyre spends more time in contact with the tarmac around bumpy surfaces. The bar shape does mean that there's less room to mount lights and other accessories though.

At the rear the carbon S-Works Pave seatpost is clamped below the top of the frame, adding some extra flex and compliance and there's clearance for 33mm tyres, although no mudguard mounts. There's a good quality range of finishing kit, although we found the Praxis Alba chainset didn't shift as smoothly as an in-series Shimano 105 unit.

The 2022 the Roubaix comes in a number of models with wide ranging specs. The entry level Roubaix Sport costs £3,100 and comes with a Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset (with a Praxis chainset), while the Comp model is offered with  an electronic SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset (£5,000). There are also Expert and Pro builds as well as the top-tier S-Works bike that comes with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 12-speed and has an RRP of £12,600.

We reckon that the higher specced models of the Roubaix are a better bet than the entry-level Sport spec, as they give you features like a lockable Future Shock, which helps if you're riding hard. Take a look at our reviews of the Specialized Roubaix Comp.

For more info, read our explainer of the Specialized bike range or our full review of the Specialized Roubaix Sport.

Best Endurance Bike: Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE

(Image credit: Cannondale)
Best endurance bike for safety features

Specifications

Frame: Synapse Carbon
Groupset: Shimano 105
Wheelset: RD 2.1 rims, Formula CL hubs
Weight: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Room for 35mm tyres
+
Inbuilt lights and radar aid confidence and safety
+
Frame blends compliance with aero properties

Reasons to avoid

-
SmartSense not offered across the entire range

The Cannondale Synapse is renowned for offering a comfortable ride, without cancelling out the quality handling and frame reactiveness that you want from a road bike.

It's been significantly updated for 2022 and we haven't yet had the opportunity to fully review the latest models, although you can read our first impressions of the Synapse Carbon 2 RL. 

The headline-grabbing new feature is the integration of SmartSense lighting and a radar to let you know what's coming up behind you. There's also a new carbon frame with clearance for 35mm tyres, better aerodynamics and mounts for mudguards and a top tube bag. 

The RRP for the top spec Synapse Carbon 1 RLE is £9,000 but some of this new tech is offered on cheaper models, such as the Synapse Carbon 3 L, which still boasts the SmartSense lights, and the frameset improvements but is specced with Shimano 105 to help lower the price significantly to £3,200.  The spec sheet above applies to this new version rather than the 105-equipped model we reviewed in 2020.

We have recently ridden this latest iteration of the Synapse, where we got to experience first hand the various updates including the SmartSense lights and radar.

Boardman SLR

(Image credit: Future)
Best endurance bike for value

Specifications

Frame: T700 carbon frame and fork
Groupset: Shimano 105
Wheels: Boardman alloy tubeless ready
Weight: 8.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Carbon frame with aero features
+
Fast stopping rim brakes

Reasons to avoid

-
Restrictive tyre clearance
-
Ripe for some component upgrades

The Boardman SLR 8.9 delivers a carbon frame and fork, which have been wind tunnel tested, for a price that's not much over £1000, where many brands will give you alloy. Although billed as an all-rounder, the SLR 8.9 is plenty comfortable for longer rides and sportives. 

To hit that price it's made a few compromises, so you get rim brakes rather than discs, although we found them as effective as the cable operated discs that you're likely to find at this price. 

You also don't get quite the full 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset, with an FSA chainset, but it's impressive for the price. Tyre clearance at 28mm is okay, but wider rubber would up the compliance.

Read our full review of the Boardman SLR 8.9 here.

Best Endurance Bike: Trek Domane SL6 eTap

(Image credit: trek)
Best endurance bike for all-day comfort

Specifications

Frame: 5000 Series OCLV carbon
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra / SRAM Force eTap
Wheels: Bontrager Paradigm Comp 25
Weight: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile - fits up to 38mm tyres
+
Frame integrated storage
+
Comfortable
+
Great spec

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly sluggish on steeper hills

The Trek Domane has evolved over the years into an extremely capable endurance road bike that can tackle long miles on surprisingly rough terrain. Part of its magic is the inclusion of the front and rear IsoSpeed decouplers; these pivot-based flex points take the square edge off big hits without sacrificing any efficiency or power transfer.

The other piece of the pie is the tyre clearance. There is room in the frame for up to 38c tyres (35c with fenders), which also makes it somewhat gravel-friendly. Trek has also integrated nifty down tube storage that comes with a tool roll and is big enough for a few spares and tools or heaps of snacks.

We reviewed the 2019 SL 6 but the 2022 version is offered with both Shimano's Ultegra groupset (as tested) or if you prefer electronic shifting, SRAM's Rival eTap AXS. There's a broad range of Domane models in the range, starting with the sub-£1000 alloy Domane and topped off by the Domane SLR 9 at over £11,000, so it's worth reading our Trek bike range overview for more context.

Read our full review of the Trek Domane SL 6 too.

BMC Roadmachine

(Image credit: Future)
Best endurance bike for a fast ride

Specifications

Frame: Carbon w/ full carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheelset: CRD-321
Weight: 7.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable ride while still lively
+
Well specced

Reasons to avoid

-
Hard to adjust the seatpost
-
No mudguard mounts
-
Expensive

The Roadmachine from Swiss brand BMC has the slightly more upright ride position, tubes shaped for compliance and space for tyres up to 33mm that mark it out for endurance riders. It's a bit faster handling than many endurance bikes though.

The Roadmachine 01 comes with BMC's top end carbon and an Ultegra Di2 groupset. There's a D-shaped seatpost, also designed to smooth the road and BMC's integrated cockpit for clean looks. There are no fittings for full mudguards, but BMC does make a rear clip-on that's mounted to the rear of the seatpost to help keep your rear end dry.

Read our full review of the BMC Roadmachine here.

Best Endurance Bikes: Bianchi Infinito XE

(Image credit: Bianchi)
Best endurance bike with modern Italian styling

Specifications

Frame: Carbon w/ full carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra
Wheelset: Fulcrum Racing 918
Weight: 8.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Stability
+
Nice blend of comfort with enough range in the geometry

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy - 8.8kg tested
-
Wheels a let down

Painted up in its trademark celeste green, the Bianchi Infinito XE sees a slightly more relaxed position than its racier cousins with a taller head tube and a slightly longer wheelbase — which also makes more room between the rear stays for bigger 32c tyres.

But hidden between the layers of carbon that make up the frame is Bianchi's Countervail vibration cancelling technology. The viscoelastic material which is incorporated into the layup was originally developed for NASA and does surprisingly well to eat up harsh road vibrations before they reach the touchpoints. The layup also sees the same Carbon Nano Technology used in the Oltre XR which reduces the gaps between the resin and carbon fibres vastly increasing the overall stretch and stiffness.

All of this adds up to a planted and confident frame that creates a plush ride, but with chunky tubing that is unyielding to twisting and flexing during big efforts and sprints.

The 2022 model is offered across three builds: 11-speed Shimano 105, Ultegra and SRAM Rival eTap AXS. 

Read our full review of the Bianchi Infinito XE.

The Best Endurance Bikes Buyers Guide

What is an endurance or sportive bike?

An endurance bike, otherwise referred to as a sportive or gran fondo bike, is a bike that has been designed to make long days in the saddle just that little bit easier by providing a more comfortable ride that should not only protect your backside from all the vibrations passing through your seat-post and saddle, but should also keep your legs fresher after multiple hours on the road.

These bikes have become increasingly popular over the last few years for two main reasons. First, the huge growth of sportives and fondos has meant that there are more and more people whose main concern when buying a new bike is that it makes eating up the miles on long rides that bit more pleasant. And second, most people don't get to ride on velvety Swiss roads, and so as to tackle broken tamac and chip seal most riders generally value a bike that is able to take the worst out of rough tarmac.

How should an endurance bike ride?

Comfort is your primary concern when buying an endurance bike. As most of your weight is supported by your saddle rather than the handlebars, it is most important that the back-end of the bike is comfortable. However, depending on your position, your arms and wrists will still be bearing a fair amount of your weight so front end comfort is still important.

But comfort is not the be-all and end-all with an endurance bike. After all, comfort is not going to be your only concern 100-percent of the time, and you still want a bike that is able to respond and give an exciting ride when you want to put the hammer down.

This means that you don't want a bike that provides comfort by building flexibility into every part of the frame as this will result in a frame that cannot respond to quick bursts of power and will mean that you can't hold your speed as well. So any extra comfort would be offset by the extra time that you have to spend out on the road due to lower average speeds.

As you're not going to be tearing up a tight and twisty criterium circuit on an endurance bike, the handling should be leaning towards the more chilled out end of the spectrum. This means that you need to put in more effort to navigate the bike through corners, which might sound like a bad thing, but also means that less effort is required to keep it on the straight and narrow.

Don't worry though, it should still be able to cope with everything but seriously fast and technical descents. And anyway, your bike handling is probably more important than the bike's handling when it comes to cornering.

best endurance road bike

Endurance bikes are designed for long days in the saddle
(Image credit: chris catchpole)

What is endurance bike geometry?

The geometry is one of the most important elements that defines how a bike rides. Indeed, give an expert a geometry chart and they will be able to have a pretty good guess at the type of bike that they are looking at and how it rides.

best endurance road bike

There are a number of features of an endurance bike's geometry that should make it comfortable for riding long distances over rough terrain, normally including a more upright riding position that will place less stress on your back and neck.

The first thing to look for is a taller head tube, which will usually be more than 17cm for a 56cm frame, although on some bikes it will be approaching 20cm, which will mean that you don't have to lean over as far to reach the bars. Of course, this position can always be tweaked by the use of spacers underneath the stem and by using stems of different angles.

Endurance bikes will also usually come with a slightly shorter top tube, which will effectively bring the saddle and handlebars closer together. Again this will mean a more upright, less stretched out position to reduce the strain on your back and neck.

Other endurance bike geometry features are designed to improve the comfort of the frame and to alter the bike's handling. Most endurance bikes have a slightly slacker head tube angle and greater fork rake, which will create a more compliant front end and more stable handling, while a longer wheelbase (occasionally greater than a metre) also makes for a less twitchy ride.

best endurance road bike

What makes an endurance bike comfortable?

Aside from the geometry there are a whole load of different features that different manufacturers build into their endurance bikes to try and make them stand out from the crowd.

One of the most popular such features is the use of some sort of suspension or vibration dampening technology to reduce the amount of road buzz that is transmitted through the frame and into your body. Two of the most well-known are Trek's IsoSpeed decoupler technology and Specialized's Future Shock, although there are other similar systems used by the likes of Pinarello and Lapierre. Other brands like Bianchi (see above) and Look build layers of vibration absorbing materials into their carbon layups.

Yet other manufacturers create comfortable endurance bikes by working with the carbon-fibre layups of the frames to build flex into areas like the seatstays and top tube while other areas of the frame are stiffened up to make sure that power transfer isn't hindered.

best endurance road bike

What components should I look out for on an endurance bike?

As when buying any new bike, the most important thing to look at when buying an endurance bike is the groupset. Most endurance bikes will come with gearing with a wide range that should enable you to get up some pretty steep hills even when tired at the end of a long ride but still ride relatively fast on flat and downhill runs.

This will usually mean a compact chainset (50/34t) and a wide range cassette with a 32t or even 34t largest sprocket. SRAM eTap AXS cassettes go out to 36 teeth. Along with smaller chainrings, enabled by SRAM's cassettes going down to 10 teeth, that means that there's more range on the large chainring before you need to change down and a lot of low range with the small chainring, which goes well below 1:1. 

However, your choice of groupset won't affect the comfort of your endurance bike, while your choice of wheels and tyres certainly will.

You probably won't get much of a choice if you're buying a complete bike, but some wheels with wider rims combined with wider tyres will improve the comfort of the ride. More and more endurance bikes are coming with clearance for 28mm, 30mm or even wider tyres, which can be run at lower pressures to soak up road vibrations, and come with the added benefit of better grip and lower rolling resistance. Most of them can be run tubeless too, which lets you lower tyre pressure even more.

The benefits are greater when combined with wider rims, which allow for a greater volume of air within the tyre at any given pressure, and therefore a more comfortable ride, as well as making for a wheel that is also able to absorb more vibrations from the road and greater tyre stability for predictable cornering.

best endurance road bike

Finally, the majority of endurance bikes come with disc brakes rather than rim brakes. These are by no means a deal breaker, but certainly offer a number of benefits over rim brakes. Most notably you get more consistent braking performance in wet and dry conditions, while they have more braking power and better modulation as you don't need to squeeze the brake lever as hard to apply the brakes. 

More expensive bikes are likely to have hydraulic rather than mechanical disc brakes. In general hydraulic systems are more powerful than mechanical disc brakes and they're a closed system so not subject to contamination and should be lower maintenance.

How must does an endurance bike cost?

There's no need to splash the cash in search of a good endurance bike. The geometry is probably the most important thing in creating a comfortable endurance bike, and in general bikes at the lower end of the market have a more relaxed geometry. This means that you should be able to pick up a comfortable endurance bike for well under a grand.

However, if you want something made out of carbon fibre and featuring the bells and whistles of some snazzy vibration dampening technology, then you can spend a lot more than that. £2,000 / $2500 and a bit of shopping around should be able to secure you a bike with the same frame design features as used by the pros in the likes of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, albeit made with a cheaper mix of carbon fibre and with a cheaper (although usually perfectly good) groupset and heavier wheels.

Spending more money than this will move you up the groupset ladder but might not give you a significantly better frame, so it's worth considering whether this extra money is better spent on other kit, such as some high quality shorts which will greatly improve your comfort on long days in the saddle, or a bike fit which could relieve any aches and pains that you get from riding.

Stefan Abram
Stefan Abram

Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.


Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.


Height: 177cm

Weight: 67–69kg