Now find your favorite brand.
When choosing a road bike, the first thing to consider is which brand to choose.
If you look only at riding performance in the same price range, there is not much difference between entry- to mid-grade models from different brands. Even if there were, it would be at a level where you would not need to worry about it, as it would be difficult to perceive subtle differences in the beginning.
Then, the selection criterion of “a bike with a design you like” becomes the top priority.
It consists of several factors such as logo design, frame shape, and coloring.
This post summarizes the features, brand image, and representative model images of popular road bike brands by region, so that you can use them, along with your design preferences, as a reference when selecting your first road bike.
text / Tats (@tats_lovecyclist)
1. North America
A North American brand that leads the trend in the industry. It is the preferred choice of serious racers in particular because of its outstanding driving performance achieved through capital-intensive, data-driven development.
Continuing to bring innovation to the industry
S-Works Tarmac SL7
Founded in 1974, it is one of the leading American brands along with Trek and Cannondale. The company boasts the most technological prowess, having won the Tour de France for the past several years.
Specialized’s high-end grade S-WORKS, which is stoically pursued for performance, has attracted the enthusiastic faith of serious racers.
Specialized is constantly innovating in the industry, such as by discontinuing the highly perfected aero road bike “Venge” and focusing on only one race bike “Tarmac,” and developing the innovative “Aethos,” a bike that is not bound by UCI rules.
Specialized will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in terms of trends in the industry.
First-rate performance and technology
They are a top-notch brand in terms of both track record and technology, having supplied bikes to Lance, who won the Tour de France seven times in a row (despite doping issues), and having developed ultra-lightweight models using cutting-edge carbon molding technology. They are also in a rival position to Specialized.
The “Madone,” an aero road with a thick frame, is TREK’s representative aero road, and the strong presence of the logo gives the brand as a whole a very masculine image.
Pioneer of Performance x Style
Supersix EVO Hi-Mod
If Specialized is a pioneer in the racing scene, Cannondale is taking the lead in pioneering the bicycle x lifestyle scene. The lineup is rich in user-friendly features, such as a small logo on the top tube and “SmartSense,” which includes lights and radar as standard equipment on some bikes.
Of course, the company also focuses on race bikes, with the aero “Systemsix” model and the lightweight “Supersix” model being high-performance bikes that are at the forefront of the industry, including the stylish new logo.
Fastest lineup for professionals
The brand name is a combination of the French word “cervello” (brain) and the Italian word “vélo” (bicycle).
The brand started with the development of TT bikes, and has a long track record of carbon frames designed based on fluid dynamics.
In addition to the pinnacle climbing bike, the R5, and the fastest performance aero road bike, the S5, the brand has also developed a new customer base with the all-road Caledonia-5, which transcends preconceived notions.
Rising star of the road racing world
Founded in 1989 by Jarves Liu, who represented Canada in road racing at the Olympics.
Although it has a strong image as a TT bike like Cervélo because of its achievements in triathlons, it began to attract attention in the road racing world when it was used by Bora Argon 18, which competed in the 2015 and 2016 Tour de France. 2017-2019, Astana used the bike.
The track bike was also used by Australia and other strong nations at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Current models continue to pursue performance, led by the SUM all-around bike, an evolution of the GALLIUM climbing bike.
2. Asia and Oceania
The area is centered on Taiwan, which is renowned as a major bicycle manufacturing country.
Taiwanese brands have strong horizontal ties and have accumulated knowledge of other brands in their factories, so Taiwanese brand road bikes are characterized by excellent performance and cost performance.
Leading general manufacturer with a wide frontage
TCR Advanded SL
The world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, founded in 1972. Known for being the first in the world to mass-produce carbon bikes, the company now uses its production and data capabilities to maximize cost performance. As a result, quality is high even in the same price range compared to other brands.
The TCR, with its all-around performance as a total race bike, and the PROPEL, an aero road bike that has won the title of the world’s fastest, are representative models.
The company also offers the “Liv” brand exclusively for women, with sizes that can be ridden by women under 150 cm. No matter what kind of cyclist you are, there is a model to suit your style and needs, which is something only a major manufacturer can offer.
Asian brand with the second highest overall strength after Giant
A major brand established in 1972, the same year as Giant. The company’s R&D base is located in Germany, a world leader in industrial design, and the company utilizes the feedback from the racing scene in real time for product development. The company uses its own facilities for everything from design to production, making it one of the few manufacturers capable of developing high-quality bikes.
Representative models include the SCULTURA, an ultra-lightweight all-rounder that combines aerodynamic performance and comfort, and the REACTO, an aerodynamic road bike that is the ultimate in aerodynamics and rigidity.
CHAPTER2 (New Zealand)
A “second chapter” style with an ethnic flair
CHAPTER2 was founded in 2017 by Mike Pride, who previously led the bicycle division of NeilPryde, as a “second chapter” in his life.
Unlike NeilPryde, which aimed to be a winning brand, CHAPTER2 also emphasizes style. The focus is more on enjoying the bikes, such as controlling rarity by offering Limited Edition colors in addition to regular colored frames, and offering cyclists the pleasure of working with a dealer to build a bike of their choice by selling only framesets.
The founder, who himself is a petite 163cm, has also developed a full lineup of small-sized bikes for women and juniors.
The naming and graphic design reflect the culture of the indigenous Maori people. The ethnic-inspired bikes, including the all-road “TOA” (meaning “victory”) and the aero road “KOKO” (meaning “flying”), are very cool.
Solid Japanese brand
A brand by Bridgestone Cycle.
The company’s frame design and size selection is geared toward shorter riders, and it offers a system that allows riders to freely exchange parts to suit their physique.
The 2022 model “RP9” has been called “post Venge”, with performance on par with European and US brands, and is highly popular among Japanese users.
3. Europe – Italy
Many Italian brands have a long history and tend to emphasize tradition.
When you want a bike with a strong brand name, you can’t go wrong with an Italian bike, and it is also accompanied by top-class competence in racing.
Celeste color with assured competence
The world’s oldest bicycle brand, now in its 130th year of existence, legendary champions such as Pantani and Gimonti have won many victories on Celeste bikes. In recent years, the brand has continued to win major races, and its presence in the world of competition is undiminished.
The Oltre XR4, in particular, has proven its performance with victories over Jumbo-Visma riders such as Roglic and Juan Aalto, demonstrating once again Bianchi’s development prowess.
Representative of high-end luxury bikes
Pinarello, a coveted brand for many cyclists, joined the Louis Vuitton Group umbrella in 2016 and has been refining its luxury brand power.
As seen in the recent success of Ineos Grenadiers (formerly Team Sky), it has won the Tour de France seven times in the last 10 years and is one of the best in its class.
The flagship model, DOGMA, has also been recognized by the general public for its design quality, having won a gold medal at the London Design Awards in the past. The artistic streamlined fork is also beautiful. The current model is priced at $15,000 for a complete bike, the ultimate bike that satisfies both the desire for ownership and performance at the same time.
A traditional brand with beauty
Founded in 1945, Wilier has a history of many Tour victories in the late 40’s. The brand’s name comes from the Italian acronym “Viva l’Italia Libera e redenta” (= Long live freedom and prosperity Italy). Viva l’Italia Libera e redenta (= Viva Italia Liberty and Prosperity).
Its lineup is led by the all-around model “Zero SLR” and the aero road “Filante SLR,” both of which feature a sleek logo and clean frame shape.
The company has concluded a partnership with the UCI WorldTour team Astana Kazakhstan for the 2020 season, and is expected to continue its success in the Tour.
High-end performance bike with high brand value
Ernesto Colnago, who was once an active athlete, had his racing career cut short by a broken bone at the age of 20. He became a mechanic and opened his own store in 1954, which was the beginning of the brand.
The brand’s beautiful frame forms and hand-crafted artistic paintings are highly satisfying to own. Rather than being “just fast,” the brand image is that of a brand with a solid and powerful core.
Pogachal, the winner of the Tour de France 2020 and 2021, rides the all-around racer “V3-RS,” and the brand’s tradition and performance are once again attracting attention.
A hereditary brand that emphasizes tradition
The company is part of the traditional high-end Italian motorcycle industry, and the heart logo is a status symbol.
Founded in 1953 by Ugo Dellosa, who was a frame craftsman, the company is currently headed by his son, Cristiano Dellosa, who is the second generation CEO. The brand is steeped in heredity, as evidenced by the carbon road “Nick” named after his grandson Nicolas in the bike lineup.
The company has renewed its logo for the 2020 model year and is moving forward into a different worldview from other brands, while keeping the concept of “retro-futurism” in mind.
A sophisticated, heavy-duty bike made by Italian craftsmen
Founded in 1979, they are young among Italian brands.
The brand does not make a flashy impression because of its policy of not supplying equipment to professional teams, but by allocating resources to product development rather than extensive advertising, it creates high-quality bikes with carefully selected frame materials. Their technical capabilities are at a level that is acceptable in the German market, which is the most demanding in terms of quality.
The Diamante, Basso’s flagship model, has been evolving as an all-around bike for more than 20 years, and together with the Diamante SV, an aero road bike derived from the Diamante, it has become famous as a high quality bike.
Not only does it have a stately silhouette, but it also has a good sense of graphic design, such as the color collaboration with the popular apparel brand “MAAP” in the past.
A unique futuristic concept
Founded in 1989 by Davide Boifava and Luciano Balaki, former professional racers in the 1960s and 1970s.
Their flagship model is the PHIBRA, with a form that can be recognized from a distance. Although not a top racing brand, and not one that demands marginal performance, PHIBRA continues to fascinate us as a unique brand that can be enjoyed for both long and short rides.
4. Europe – Germany
The image of road bikes in Germany, an industrialized country, is above all one of “quality and solidity. The design has a chic impression that is more masculine than sexy, as is clear when compared to Italian bikes. And, as a product of a manufacturing powerhouse, the lineup is highly precise.
Authentic modern bikes
IZALCO MAX DISC 9
A relatively new brand founded in 1992 by cyclocross world champion Mike Kluge, it is a full-fledged manufacturer that has provided equipment to the French team AG2R in recent Grand Tours and has achieved a large number of results.
Their flagship model is the IZALCO MAX aero road bike. The frame incorporates the latest technology and the modern logo design makes it look very fast.
No-frills blue & black frame
A general bicycle manufacturer founded in the 1980s by Jim Felt, a former motocross mechanic and frame wizard (Jim is still active in setting up bikes). The logo design fits the brand concept of “FAST, LIGHT, SMOOTH” and stands out well.
Many of the frame designs are based on blue and black.
Quality bikes born at the foot of the Alps
The brand was born in 1990 in the Southern Alps. Bikes are researched and developed at the headquarters located at the foot of the Alps, and are characterized by their solid and rigid design.
Although the absolute number of distribution is small, the quality is good, and it is rare to see someone riding one.
A direct sales brand that combines high cost performance and competence
Founded in 1996, this young brand is a pioneer in establishing a sales model of direct online sales of complete vehicles.
Although some knowledge is required for purchase and maintenance, the pricing seems quite reasonable compared to other brands of the same grade. The simple design is also excellent.
They supply equipment to two World Tour teams (Alpecin Phoenix and Movistar), and have won many victories with star riders such as Mathieu, so they are also very competitive.
5. Europe – France
Competence x Status Symbol
795 Blade RS
This venerable brand has actively pioneered industry standards, including the world’s first development of clipless pedals for road use in 1984 and the first introduction of a full carbon frame in 1986, which won the Tour de France. Its models are divided by numbering, with the “795” aero road, the “785” lightweight model, and the “765” endurance model.
Because of their high carbon technology, they are positioned as “the bike you want to ride at least once,” so they are chosen by cyclists with a certain level of riding experience rather than beginners.
The strong carbon machine
Alpe d’Huez 01
Founded in 1986 as a road pedal manufacturer.
The brand is 100% made in France, and does not engage in large-scale marketing or supply equipment for races, but devotes its resources to refining its technology and developing frames.
The RTM carbon molding technology used only in TIME frames produces lightweight and strong bikes, and the inclusion of Vectran, a flexible and resilient material used in space suits, reproduces the suppleness of a comfortable ride. The price is also high because it is not suitable for mass production.
It is only sold as a frame set, and along with LOOK, it is one of the two wings of high-end bikes.
Friendly French nobleman
Xelius SL 9.0
Founded in 1946, this general bicycle manufacturer developed as a mountain bike brand and later began manufacturing road bikes. If LOOK and TIME are French aristocrats, Lapierre is the good-looking guy of the common man. Of course, he also has the sense to compete on equal terms with the upper class.
It currently provides equipment to the French professional team “Guparma FDJ” and has won many Grand Tours and classic races.
The representative model is the Xelius SL. The beautiful arch shape of the independent seat tube and seat stays is the source of not only design but also rigidity and comfort.
6. Europe – Other Countries
European brands outside of Italy, Germany, and France have country-specific characteristics, ranging from ultra-premium frames to competent bikes.
High-end brand for a new era of sophistication
Founded in 2007, the British brand became famous after supplying the French team AG2R in 2017-2018, and has a partnership with “Israel Premier Tech” since 2020.
It has a state-of-the-art carbon fiber manufacturing process using engineering technology derived from the aerospace industry, and its road bikes are focused on high-end models for racing, with the lightweight aero model “Ostro V.A.M” and the mountain model “O2 V.A.M” at the top.
The flat design of the frames and the FACTOR logo, the most sophisticated of all the manufacturers, give the brand a new-age feel not found in traditional brands.
Ultra-lightweight frame for the strong
Addict RC Pro
Originally a manufacturer of ski poles, the company began producing MTB and road bike frames in the 1980s and developed the world’s first aero handlebars. Since the 2021 season, the company has been supplying its frames to the World Tour Team DSM, and has been successful in numerous races.
The brand has a strong image as a brand that stoically pursues performance, with the Addict, which combines light climbing performance with high rigidity to withstand the power of sprinters, and the historical aero road Foil, which was one of the first to incorporate a cam-tail shape.
Solid bike with spectacular results.
BMC (Bigelow Mounting Company) was established in 1986. Initially a distributor for the British brand Raleigh, the company began manufacturing its own brand in 1994.
The compact rear triangle called “iSC” was synonymous with BMC frames, but now its shape is considered the optimal solution in terms of comfort and responsiveness, and many brands have come to imitate it.
The representative model is the Teammachine SLR01, 10 years after its first release. It has a spectacular track record, winning the Tour de France overall, the World Championships, and an Olympic gold medal, and is expected to be active with the French world team AG2R CITROEN from 2021.
Strong brand for classic racing
The brand was born in 1990 in Belgium, where cycling is the national sport. Through a long-standing cooperative relationship with the Belgian team Lotto Soudal, he has a strong presence on the ProTour.
Based in Belgium, which hosts classic and cyclo-cross races, the company has a reputation for developing bikes that can handle rough surfaces. The Fenix, an endurance bike developed through experiments on cobblestone surfaces, is a representative model of this. In addition, the company offers the Noah aero road bike and the Helium, a lightweight all-around bike, making it one of Europe’s top brands.
Authentic to the taste of professionals
BH stands for “Beistegui Hermanos,” a historical brand that began as a firearms company founded by the three Beistegui brothers during World War I, which then began to manufacture bicycles after the war. Today, the BH Group is a huge company with a variety of businesses besides bicycles, including banking, cutting machine manufacturing, and home appliance manufacturing.
Its flagship model is the aero all-around “G8. The “G” series, a global concept model, has adopted advanced technologies such as integrated seatposts, and the G8 continues the lineage, brushing up aerodynamics and rigidity.
Comprehensive brand strong in mountain stages
Founded in 1840, the company, like BH, was originally a firearms manufacturer, but began manufacturing bicycles in 1920. Today, it is one of the largest general bicycle brands in Spain.
The Basque Country, where the company is headquartered, is located at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, and it is said that the company’s performance is greatly enhanced in the mountains. Its flagship model is the all-around bike “ORCA. It is characterized by the design concept that in mountains, not only lightness is important, but also rigidity that converts high torque into propulsive force when climbing and aerodynamic performance that increases speed on descents are important.