In Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear uses the expression “to infinity and beyond.” He could have been speaking about road bike prices, a category that knows few limits. Active Junky brings the need for confident handling, speed and reliability back to Earth with these four selections.
Nashbar 105 Road Bike
Done and done. The components alone push it well over $1,000, much less the stiff-and-light aluminum frame plus full carbon fork. Active Junky favors the smooth-shifting, 22-speed Shimano configuration for the athletic and motivated rider. Nashbar knows what they’re doing by pulling parts from big component players at a fraction of the cost. Capable of future upgrades, there’s little reason not to ride this Hutchison-tire model far into the Universe.
Best For: Reliability
Fuji Tread 1.0 LE Disc Road Bike
Keeping Shimano 105 components in the mix, Tread brings 22 speeds into casual and challenging rides alike with this special build. Active Junky applauds the wider tires for a plusher ride without holding back performance. A custom-butted frame is crafted and tapered to improve handling without adding weight. Stopping power is superior to suit aspiring road riders who want to cruise recreationally or commute to their daily grind.
Best For: Utility
Novara Strada 5D Bike
Another superior 22-speed option, the proven, no-excuses power of the Shimano 105 drivetrain and FSA Omega compact cranks propel Strada forward in our evaluation. Thanks to a 15mm thru axle, handling at speed is elevated for turning – and peloton hijinks – with agility uncommon at this price point. Equipped with solid braking, upgraded tires and rims, Strada tips in at under 22lbs. thanks to a 6061 aluminum frame.
Best For: Longer rides
Orbea Orca Bronze Jenson Ultegra Bike
Going, going, gone. Active Junky is astounded there are any copies of this superior build still in circulation from two seasons back. Carbon, laid up for otherworldly flex and whip around the corners, earns Bronze a Gold Medal at 18lbs. in a 53 frame. Race-ready with an Orbea cockpit and tubeless-ready tires, this build features internal, direct cable routing prized by top-tier UCI teams. While sizes are limited to larger frames, the potential attached to this bike is out-sized as well. If this one’s gone – or you take the roads less traveled – the Niner RLT Jenson Ultegra Stans Bike chews up gravel and spits out competitive threats along the way.
Best For: Speed