Top 5 road superbikes

Five marvellous machines you probably can't afford

Feast your eyes on 2018's hottest superbikes

Superbikes are fearsomely expensive and loin-achingly beautiful. We love them, you love them, so here are five for you to lust over.

For the full experience, watch our Top 5 video above. If you'd prefer the text version, read on. 

BMC Teammachine SLR01 Disc Team

The BMC Teammachine SLR01 Disc Team is about as super as they come
The BMC Teammachine SLR01 Disc Team is about as super as they come

The BMC Teammachine SLR01 is a race bike that’s proven itself time and again at the very highest level of the sport. Now, you can have one with disc brakes.

In some ways the Teammachine isn’t terribly surprising, being an updated version of an existing superbike.

What makes it special is the sheer elegance of the design, which is at once beautiful and utilitarian – claimed frame weight is just 815g.

BMC arguably popularised dropped seatstays, a design that engineers love because it’s a simple yet effective way to add some squish to the back of your road bike.

They’re used to great effect here, while huge main tubes and burly chainstays deliver obscene amounts of stiffness.

The Integrated Cockpit System runs cables and hydraulic hoses through the stem for the cleanest possible look, while the seat clamp is equally stealthy.

Top spec models get Shimano’s latest and greatest Dura-Ace R9170 groupset, which means Di2 electronic shifting and hydraulic brakes.

Sound super to you?

Wilier Cento10NDR

The Wilier Cento10NDR is a fresh take on the squishy superbike
The Wilier Cento10NDR is a fresh take on the squishy superbike

Italian brand Wilier is the latest manufacturer to stick suspension on a road bike, and the result is the marvellous Cento10NDR.

Wilier has added bump absorption to the rear end using what it calls ‘Actiflex’. The seatstays are connected to the seat tube via an alloy linkage which allows them a few millimetres of movement, cushioned by an elastomer.

This sounds similar to Trek’s IsoSpeed system, but Wilier’s version keeps the saddle-to-bottom-bracket relationship constant, with only the rear triangle moving.

Things get weirder though — the Wilier accepts both rim and disc brakes, and it can also be switched between standard quick-releases and thru-axles.

As this is a superbike, everything is slick and internal, and if you take a horizontal slice through the frame tubes or fork legs, you’ll reveal a Kamm tail cross-section, for the aeros.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac

The S-Works Tarmac has a new look for 2018 and we love it
The S-Works Tarmac has a new look for 2018 and we love it

Ah Specialized. The big S. The S-Works Tarmac has long been the Porsche 911 of the superbike world, in that it’s not a very original choice, but you buy it because it’s bloody good.

The latest and most splendid version of the Tarmac sports a frame weighing a claimed 733g for a size 56, the lightest Specialized has ever made.

This was achieved with clever use of the brand’s latest Fact 12r carbon, along with paint that adds just 10g for the entire frame.

The familiar curvy Tarmac side-profile is gone, with dropped seatstays and a near-straight top tube taking its place.

Although the Venge is Specialized’s ‘aero platform’, the new Tarmac has spent plenty of time in a wind tunnel too.

It’s claimed to be 45 seconds faster over 10km than the competition’s lightweight bikes, the equivalent of swapping from box section alloy rims to deep section carbons.

More to the point, just look at it! In Ultralight guise with posh ee brakes and Dura-Ace Di2, it weighs just 6.2kg. Just don’t ask about the price.

Scott Foil Premium Disc

The Scott Foil Premium Disc is one of many aero bikes that's been given the disc treatment
The Scott Foil Premium Disc is one of many aero bikes that's been given the disc treatment

Adding discs to aero bikes has been something of a theme for 2018, and the Scott Foil Premium is another machine to have sprouted rotors.

Scott set out to make sure that the Foil Premium Disc was just as slippery in the wind tunnel as its rim brake sibling. That meant adding a funky shroud at the fork dropouts to smooth airflow past that lumpy brake caliper.

It also meant no more dumb rim brake caliper stuck underneath the chainstays, to the delight of bike mechanics the world over.

The Foil is the quintessential aero machine, with radically dropped seatstays and more truncated aerofoils than you can shake a stick at.

The cockpit is a one-piece carbon thing that looks absolutely amazing at the cafe stop, and saves you the bother of changing stem lengths or making minor adjustments to bar angle. Because you can’t.

With Dura-Ace R9170 and Zipp 303 NSW wheels the pictured example is a dream spec bike that will crush KOMs and wallets alike.

Storck Aernario.2 Signature

The Storck Aernario.2 Signature is what happens when you throw budget constraints out of the window
The Storck Aernario.2 Signature is what happens when you throw budget constraints out of the window

Does price alone bestow superbike status? If it does, then the Storck Aernario.2 Signature definitely qualifies.

This 15,000 Euro machine is limited to just 53 examples in honour of Storck founder Marcus’ 53rd birthday.

That kind of cash gets you a frame, fork and headset combination that weighs less than a kilo combined.

Along with SRAM eTap wireless shifting, it’s built up with a no-holds-barred laundry list of weight weenie bling, including THM Fibula brakes and carbon cranks, plus a saddle that’s completely devoid of padding.

The complete bike comes in at under five and a half kilos. If you’re struggling to imagine how much that is, picture five and a half one kilo bags of sugar. You’re welcome.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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