If you want to know about some of the hottest aero road bikes for 2021 then this list is for you. As well as being fast, comfort and lightweight are now becoming ever more important.
Merida Reacto V4
When the Merida Reacto was first released in 2011, aero road bikes were a very different beast. Above all else they had to be fast, and this usually came at the expense of comfort, weight and the overall ride quality.
Fortunately, times have moved on, and the Merida Reacto of 2021 is still designed to be fast, but crucially competitively light and comfortable as well.
The headline stats include dropping the top-spec CF5 frame down to 965g, upping tyre clearance to 30mm and, thanks to Vision’s Metron 5D bar/stem system, hardly a cable is in sight.
Another cool feature we really love is the Shimano specification direct-mount rear mech, which should make for more accurate shifts, better reliability and a much easier bike to live with.
Long term fans of BikeRadar will know the Cervélo S5 was included in last year’s aero road bikes list. And, as we like to keep things varied, we had no plans to include it in 2021.
However, upon seeing Marc Hirschi’s amazing attacking performance aboard an S5 during the 2020 Tour de France, we felt we had to feature again.
Cervélo is considered one of the originators of aero dynamic bike design, so, as you’d expect, the S5 is about as slippery as they come.
The front end features a unique bar and stem combo, which is attached to an equally striking fork.
At the rear you have an almost time-trial-like design, with the rear wheel cutting aggressively into the seat tube.
A final thought, while there’s no doubt the S5 is an incredibly fast bike, we’re not sure if it’s the prettiest.
The Scott Foil has been around for a while, and for good reason. It’s won lots of races and won the hearts of many a bike tester the world over.
As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So, for 2021, Scott has made some subtle improvements to the Foil, rather than give it a full reworking.
The tyre clearance has been improved to 30mm, and all bikes will come shipped with 28mm tyres as standard.
Now, this may seem normal now, but imagine if we’d told you 10 years ago that an aero race bike would come with 28mm tyres. You’d think we’d have inhaled too much tub glue while gluing our 22mm tyres on.
But that’s progress, and who knows what aero road bikes will look like in another 10 years.
Anyway, back to the Foil. Just like its climbing bike, the Addict, Scott has been able to hide all the cables by including the Syncros Creston iC SL integrated handlebar.
You may think this would make the Foil a total nightmare for home mechanics, but apparently Scott’s split headset spacers make it much easier than you’d think.
First seen in the 2020 Tour de France, Factor’s new Ostro looks set to make its mark on the aero road bike scene in 2021.
Just like any modern-day aero bike worth its salt, the Ostro is designed to be a ‘quiver killer’. This means it’s fast, lightweight, comfortable and able to speak seven languages fluently. We’ve also heard it makes a great Gin and Tonic.
Jokes aside, the frame weight is an impressive 780g claimed for a size 54. That’s very similar to another all-round aero machine, the Specialized Tarmac SL7.
You also get massive clearances for up to 32mm tyres. Although, we suspect the most aero conscious among you would be going for something more reasonable, such as a 26 or 28.
All those aero home mechanics will be thrilled to hear the Ostro also comes with the user-friendly T47 bottom bracket standard. If you know BikeRadar well, you know how much we loathe the number of bottom bracket standards consumers have to deal with. Thankfully T47 is one of the best around, so we’re very happy to see it on the Ostro.
Our final pick is the new Canyon Aeroad – a bike claimed to be the fastest race bike on the market.
With brands such as Specialized and Factor going down the ‘aerodynamic, but lightweight’ route, Canyon has stuck to making the Aeroad as aerodynamically efficient as possible.
What this means in numbers is that the Aeroad is 5.4 watts faster than the outgoing model at 45kph.
Just like the other new bikes on this list, the tyre clearance has been upped to 30mm, and the overall weight for a top-spec CFR model in size medium is claimed to be 7.26kg.
Not earth-shatteringly light, but light enough. And, hey, if it’s light enough for Mathieu van der Poel, then it’s definitely light enough for you.
As you expect coming from Canyon, the Aeroad is offered in three different carbon make-ups and a wide variety of builds. So there should be options for those looking to get their aero fix on a range of budgets in 2021.
What do you think of our list? Do aero road bikes get you going or do you struggle to see the real benefits of the sleek aerodynamic design? Let us know in the comments below.