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Best aero bikes 2022: Ride faster for less effort

The best aero road bikes ridden and reviewed

Paul Norman
22 Nov 2022

The best aero bikes offer free speed, however fast you're riding. A systematic approach to aerodynamics could be the biggest step-change in bicycle design since the invention of the safety bicycle. Letting you go faster for the same effort by cutting down on drag, today the aero story hardly needs telling, the bikes and the plethora of data-driven claims speak for themselves.

Direct comparisons between rival bikes aren’t easy, as everything from the testing standards to testing apparatus differs from manufacturer to manufacturer – a fact a cynic will say is bent to each manufacturer’s will, allowing it to claim ‘our bike is the fastest’. 

But no matter, it's still undoubtable that aero bikes, as a whole, are quicker than their round tube counterparts. 

The best aero bikes of 2022

  1. Trek Madone SLR: From £6,850
  2. Cannondale SystemSix: From £5,250
  3. Cervelo S5: From £9.600
  4. Specialized Tarmac SL7:  From £5,500
  5. Pinarello Dogma F: From £11,000
  6. Factor Ostro VAM: £9,450
  7. Giant Propel Advanced SL: €12,000
  8. 3T Strada Due: £10,900
  9. Parlee RZ7: Price on request
  10. Cube Litening C:68X: £4,000
  11. Felt AR Advanced: £5,760
  12. Vitus ZX-1 EVO: £5,400
  13. Argon 18 Nitrogen: £8,500
  14. Canyon Aeroad: From £3,400
  15. Merida Reacto: From £2,550
  16. Scott Foil RC: £10,500
  17. Lapierre Aircode DRS: From £2,700
  18. BMC Timemachine 01 Road One: £12,100

Keep reading for a full rundown on these bikes.

What is an aero bike?

Photo: Matthew Loveridge

Aero bikes are road bikes designed to give you an extra turn of speed through aerodynamic features that streamline the bike's frame. That starts with aero tube profiles.

The first aero bikes like the Cervélo Soloist had teardrop shaped tubing, but now Kammtail truncated aerofoil shapes – where the tail of the aerofoil is sliced off – are the norm. They're lighter and more rigid, while still giving the aero benefits of a much longer tube with an aero tail.

The modern trend is to mix lightweight and aero. There are a couple of bikes here which fit into that mould, like the Specialized Tarmac SL7 and the Factor Ostro VAM, but you'll find even more like the Bianchi Specialissima in our main guide to the best road bikes

Related: Aero vs. lightweight bike: Which is better for climbing?

Why take our word for it?

Photo: Lizzie Crabb

At Cyclist, we're constantly out testing and evaluating a huge range of bikes from the budget to the most expensive. Our reviewers are riders like you who care about the whole experience of owning a bike, not just the numbers. 

So here's the pick of the freshest, fastest and most stylish aero bikes on the market. 

Products appearing in Cyclist buyer's guides are independently selected by our editorial team. Cyclist may earn an affiliate commission if you make a purchase through a retailer link. Read our reviews policy here

1. Trek Madone SLR

  • From £6,850
  • Novel aerodynamics around the seat tube
  • Claimed 20 watts aero gains from previous model

The seventh generation Trek Madone SLR has had a radical update that has dispensed with IsoSpeed, as found on the previous generation Madone SLR9, in favour of IsoFlow, which has a huge hole in the seat tube, with the saddle cantilevered over the rear of the bike.

It's a design that Trek says saves around 10 watts on the previous model, while there's a similar saving from the new cockpit with its flared bars. The previous Madone was quick, so we're expecting fireworks with our test of the new bike.


2. Cannondale SystemSix

  • From £5,250
  • Aggressive aero looks
  • Fast on climbs, not just the flat

For a long period, Cannondale neglected the aero-specific market due to the simple fact its SuperSix Evo race bike was so good. However, in 2018, the US brand made enough advancements in the world of speed and released the SystemSix.

It was a bike with bold claims. At 48kmh it will save you a claimed 50W over a non-aero equivalent, while its combination of aerodynamics and weight make it faster than any climbing bikes on gradients up to 6%.

Its aggressive looks are backed up with serious speed on the flat and even uphill, despite the Ultegra spec's 8.5kg weight.

3. Cervélo S5

  • From £9,600
  • New tube shapes to up the aero quotient
  • Room for 34mm tyres

Cervélo is no stranger to speed, and the Cervélo S5 continues the brand's aero lineage, with the latest model seeing action with the all-conquering Jumbo-Visma squad at the 2022 Tour de France and replacing the Cervélo S5 which we've previously reviewed.  

It’s long been lauded as one the fastest bikes out there, a fact not hurt by appearing beneath Wout, Jonas, and Co.

The new S5 has enhanced tube profiles, a very narrow headtube and the split stem design carried over from the old bike, as well as room for 34mm tyres.

4. Specialized Tarmac SL7

  • From £5,500
  • Comfortable, light, fast
  • Now compatible with tubeless tyres

Another aero bike with an impressive WorldTour palmarès, the Tarmac SL7 mixes aero with lightweight, with the S-Works spec that we tested hitting 6.8kg exactly. It's rigid, agile and responsive with it.

Like many newer bikes, there are big clearances – up to 32mm tyres can be fitted – although there's enough comfort for all-day riding on the fitted 26s if the racy position suits you. The latest generation of the Roval CLX Rapide wheels has gone tubeless since our review too.

5. Pinarello Dogma F

  • From £11,000
  • Disc brake bike weight down to 7.0kg
  • Disc and rim brake options

With Chris Froome on board, the Pinarello Dogma F8 gained a brace of Tour de France victories. Geraint Thomas nabbed one aboard the F10. While the F12 got its first Tour win beneath Egan Bernal.

Since then Pinarello has decided to stop upping the numbers. The latest Pinarello Dogma is now just known as the Dogma F. The definitive article, as revealed to Fausto by the god of cycling, it's still available with traditional rim brakes.

However, even Ineos has now switched to the slicker-looking disc version, as the F's weight is closer to the UCI limit than its predecessors.

6. Factor Ostro VAM

  • £9.450
  • Superb handling up and down hills
  • Mixes light weight with aero 

The Ostro VAM is part of the aero/lightweight bike crew, making it one of the best all-rounder race bikes out there, with our review bike weighing just 7.2kg.

It shares its geometry with the Factor O2 VAM climber's bike and mixes frame stiffness with a comfortable ride – something that's difficult to achieve.

That's with 25mm tyres, but there's room to head out to 32mm. Its light weight makes for fast climbing and handling on descents is superb too. 

7. Giant Propel Advanced SL

  • €12,000
  • Rear end compliance but with a stiff headtube
  • Easy adjustability to bars and adequate saddle height range

The latest Giant Propel is less aggressively aero, with the tubes around the rear triangle thinned out for a more compliant ride, while front end stiffness is retained. Giant says that the frame is some 225g lighter too and our test bike with top drawer Cadex wheels weighed just 6.9kg.

The new internal cabling system is easier to live with and although Giant has kept the seatmast, there's 45mm of height adjustment. It's a bike that feels exceptionally quick over all terrain.

8. 3T Strada Due

  • £10,900
  • Double chainring version of the Strada
  • Fast and aero, if a little heavy

Whereas the original Strada was set up for single ring groupsets, the Strada Due comes with a front derailleur hanger, here decked out with Super Record derailleur. Ahead of its time, the Strada is also tuned for tyres of up to 30mm. Nowadays the externally cabled cockpit is unusual though.

On those wide tyres, the ride is smooth, but it's also fast and we clocked up some good averages. At 7.8kg, the Strada Due is a little on the heavy side for a modern aero bike at its price though.

9. Parlee RZ7

  • £6,900 as tested, current price on request
  • Fully integrated monocoque frame from maker known for customs
  • Disc brake fairings add extra aero

The tubes on the RZ7 feature a distinctive scallop on their trailing edge, the benefits of which are not just aerodynamic. Instead, their design has allowed Parlee to cut weight and also increase tube stiffness.

With fairing covered discs the RZ7 is as fast as it looks. Yet this never translates into a harsh ride. In fact, when we took it out for a spin it proved extremely capable on broken surfaces – something further boosted by its ability to fit tyres up to 32mm. All in, it’s a very modern and very fast aero bike.

10. Cube Litening C:68X Pro

  • £4,000
  • Quality frame shared with higher spec bikes
  • Slightly chattery ride might be improved by a switch to 28mm tyres

The Litening C:68X Aero, which we've tested, sits alongside the newer, lighter Litening C:68X Air. Cube claims that the latter can weigh as little as 6.6kg, whereas the Aero which we tested comes in at 7.9kg for a size 58. It's the product of 100 hours of wind tunnel testing and rides as fast and stiff as it looks.

The high quality frame uses spread-tow carbon fibre to keep the weight down. We were impressed by the compliance on offer that made for a more comfortable ride on the 25mm tyres than expected from the aggressive looks. There's room to up that to 28mm too.

11. Felt AR Advanced

  • £5,760
  • Very aero but copes well in a crosswind
  • On the heavy side at 8.5kg

With five years of R&D behind it, the Felt AR Advanced has the wind tunnel numbers to prove its slipperiness and that's borne out in its speed out of the blocks. The tall and narrow frame cuts through the air effectively.

It's surprisingly comfortable thanks to design features like rubber damping around the seatpost. But the Felt is on the heavy side at 8.5kg, which we felt in our testing.

12. Vitus ZX-1 EVO

  • £5,400
  • Stiff front end transmits some vibration to the bars
  • Fast ad planted on downhill runs

Vitus has upped the aero credentials of its ZX-1, so that they're the match of much more expensive bikes, with an integrated cockpit, waisted head tube and deep section wheels. That chunkiness does lead to quite a lot of road noise heading through to the bars though.

The geometry, with its long front centre and short chainstays leads to a slightly quirky low speed ride, but loads of stability at speed. At 8.1kg, it's not the lightest aero bike, but it's considerably cheaper than most too.

13. Argon 18 Nitrogen

  • £8,500
  • Stiff frame, although not quite as comfortable as some
  • Very precise tracking through corners

Balance is the name of the game for Argon 18’s Nitrogen – it takes comfort cues from the Canadian brand’s Gallium Pro and blends them with aero profiling inspired by its dedicated TT frameset.

Having formerly sponsored Astana, Argon 18 has since dropped out of the WorldTour peloton. However, its continued involvement with several national teams means its bikes still regularly compete at the highest levels, particularly on the track.  

14. Canyon Aeroad CFR

  • From £3,400
  • Now lighter and more aero
  • Bars disassemble for easier transport

The German online powerhaus has been successfully turning bicycles into Grand Tour and Monument successes for more than a decade, and the latest Aeroad CFR shows no signs of that abating.

Handling is racy, offering assured tracking through tight corners, and thanks to the now de rigeur T-shaped bar-stem combo, revised truncated tube profiles and wheel hugging downtube, it’s one of the fastest bikes on the market. It's also practical, with the ends of the bars removable for travel.

15. Merida Reacto

  • From £2,550
  • Elastomer insert adds extra compliance
  • Fast and reactive

Between them, Merida and Giant produce 80% of the world’s bike frames, so Merida should know a thing or two about what makes a good bike, or in this case, a fast one.

The latest model Reacto ups the aero and drops the weight while adding features like an elastomer insert in the seatpost to add compliance, with a built-in blinkie.

Alongside the pro-level Team E, we've also reviewed the more affordable Merida Reacto 4000, with a similar frame geometry but more a more affordable grade of carbon and finishing kit.

16. Scott Foil RC

  • £10,500
  • Improved aerodynamics over the previous Foil
  • Claimed to be lighter and more comfortable too

The latest bike replaces the older model Scott Foil that has been around since 2015 and been ridden to numerous victories, most famously as the first aero bike to win Paris-Roubaix.

The new bike takes design cues from the Scott Plasma time trial bike, with the rear wheel aggressively cut into the back of the seat tube, and frame profiles that take advantage of the UCI's latest rule updates.

Scott has trimmed the bike's weight and updated its aerodynamics too and there's a new, more aero bar/stem from in-house component brand Syncros.

Like the Merida Reacto, there's a cut-out in the back of the seatpost to add compliance and provide room for a rear light

17. Lapierre Aircode DRS

  • From £2,700
  • Aggressive ride position
  • Stiff front end offset by more compliant rear

The Aircode DRS looks a bit less chunky than many aero bikes and it lacks the usual features like dropped seatstays. The ride position is aggressive, which places you in a more aero position, helping to save watts more effectively than the most sophisticated aero gizmos and leading to good weight distribution on fast descents.

That does mean that you have more weight on your shoulders though. The front of the bike is stiff too, transmitting some chatter and making for a less comfortable ride than some alternatives. The rear of the bike is more compliant though. Lapierre specs high quality DT Swiss wheels, so there's little need for an upgrade.

18. BMC Timemachine 01 Road One

  • £8,500
  • Down tube aero module saves between 3 and 18 watts
  • Some flex in the cockpit

When a bike straddles time-trial and road categories it’s fair to say it’s fast, and when a reconfigured version of the Timemachine gave Rohan Dennis a rapid – yet brief – Hour Record title, that only bolstered the credentials of BMC’s aero-road machine.

The front end assembly integrates like a Transformer, while the rear end sets the stays as low down the seat tube as UCI rules allow, a design almost ubiquitous across the aero board.

More lightweight than aero? You can have both with many of the bikes in our pick of the best road bikes

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