Whether you like to commute to work via bicycle or simply enjoy long-distance cycling, having a bike that’s suitable for highway riding is going to be a must.
There are so many options for bikes on the market these days, which range in specs and performance, which can make finding the right one for you rather challenging. If you are the kind of person that spends a lot of time riding on the highway, you should pick out a bike that is going to be ideal for this kind of riding condition.
The best bikes for highway riding are the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert, Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc, Giant TCX Advanced Pro2, SAVA HERD 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike, Moots Vamoots Disc RSL, Reilly Gradient, Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105, and the Specialized Allez.
Cycling is as popular as it has ever been - with new and improved bikes being constantly manufactured. A lot of this has to do with innovative technology that we have been seeing implemented with modern-age bikes. Manufacturers are creating more sophisticated designs and using advanced materials which are making bikes more durable, dynamic, and lighter. So much so, that many people now prefer to handle their daily commutes via bicycle instead of driving their car. However, this also means that a lot more people are riding their bikes on the highway these days. If you find that you spend a lot of your time cycling on the highway, you are going to benefit greatly from selecting a bike that has been designed for this kind of terrain and riding condition. For highway riding, road bikes are generally going to be your safest bet but you should reflect on the kind of features and performance capabilities that you want your bike to have before you make any commitments. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at the best bikes for highway riding in more detail.
After extensively researching road bikes, I have been able to gather enough information to determine which ones are the best for highway riding. My research has taught me that the best way to determine which highway bike is best for you is to consider the kind of materials that you want your bike and its components to be made out of - as well as your budget.
Carbon Fiber Road Bikes
One of the most groundbreaking innovations that we have seen with bicycles is the implementation of carbon fiber as foundational material for bikes frames, parts, and components. Since carbon fiber was introduced to cycling in the 80s, it has become the standard for so many professional and casual riders out there.
Carbon fiber is such an incredible material for cycling because of how lightweight it is. The lightest bikes in the world utilize carbon fiber, making this a material that enables you to maximize your speed and have the best endurance on the road. This is especially important for highway riding - given the fact that cyclists who ride on these roads are usually doing so over longer distances than casual riders.
There are a lot of other reasons that you should consider a carbon fiber road bike for your highway riding. Although this material is light, it is also quite strong and weather resistant. Unlike some other materials commonly used on bikes such as aluminum and steel, carbon fiber is not going to be as affected by adverse weather conditions - especially rain. This means that you can expect to have longevity out of your purchase, which is not only going to save you money in the long run but it will also keep you from needing to maintain your bike as often.
However, carbon fiber is much more difficult to produce and manufacture compared to other biking materials used in the industry. This generally makes carbon fiber bikes some of the most expensive options available. If you can afford to get yourself a carbon fiber road bike, you will have a perfect bicycle for your highway riding. On the other hand, if you are shopping for a highway bike on a budget, you may want to consider opting for another frame material such as aluminum. Let’s take a look at the best carbon fiber road bikes for highway riding.
Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert ($4,750)
When it comes to manufacturing world-class road bikes, Specialized are masters of their craft. They have been releasing top-of-the-line road bikes since they first came on the scene back in the 70s and they continue to prove themselves as being among the best in the entire industry - with releases like the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert being a testament to that.
This is an excellent carbon fiber road bike from Specialized that ticks just about every box for highway riders. The frame was designed with FACT 10r carbon fiber which is considered by professional cyclists to be one of the best grades of carbon fiber that you can have in a road bike. You will be amazed by how lightweight this bike is, which is going to enable incredible speeds when you are on the highway - you will certainly not be late to work when riding the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert.
One of the key features that all highway riders look for in a bike is the ability to maximize their endurance. The FACT 10r carbon fiber used in the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert is going to do just that, which not only makes this a great bike for commuters but also anyone who wants to have an edge when racing or long-distance cycling.
In addition to the carbon fiber used in the frame, the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert also features ROVAL C38 carbon wheels - taking lightweight design to a new level. These carbon fiber components enable this road bike to weigh in at just 16.2lbs. This is remarkably light for a road bike, as most standard options will have a weight of roughly 18 to 20lbs.
Another great feature of the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert is that it was designed to not only be fast but comfortable as well. The build of the frame and geometry of the bike makes it perfect for any rider that wants to cycle on the highway for long distances without feeling any aches or stiffness. It can be easy to assume that a bike this light in weight might feel shaky when ridden on bumps and uneven surfaces. However, that is certainly not the case with the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert, as this road bike was designed to not crack under pressure. You will find that stone, pebbles, and cracks in the road are not going to slow you down on the highway or cause any discomfort.
The quality of this bike is also reaffirmed by the additional parts and materials used for the components of theTarmac SL6 Expert. You will find Shimano parts in the derailleurs, brakes, shifters, and cassette. In addition, Specialized also implemented their groundbreaking S-Works components within the Cockpit of the Tarmac SL6 Expert.
All in all, if you want a Grade-A bike for highway riding, look no further. The only real drawback of the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert is that it is going to be considerably pricey. With the specs and incredible performance of this carbon fiber road bike in mind, you can expect to pay about $4,750 for it.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc ($9,500)
Cannondale is a bike manufacturer that has been in the business for over half a century. This company was formed in the United States and has since made a name for itself as being one of the leaders of the cycling industry - with road bikes being a specialty of theirs.
Cannondale has a fantastic line-up of high-end road bikes but we thought that their best option for highway riders was the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc. This bike was designed to do one thing - go fast. Cannondale manufactured this bike to the highest standard that one could ask for within the cycling industry - with an amazing build and high-end parts in every detail of the bike.
The Ultralight low-drag Hi-MOD BallisTec frameset is made out of full carbon fiber. This is Cannondale’s most advanced frame design yet and it is a remarkable upgrade from their already excellent previous generation road bikes. In addition, the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc has HollowGram 45 SL KNØT carbon fiber wheels, which are going to enable you to take high-speed highway riding to a whole new level.
The carbon fiber build and components of the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc make this a world-class road bike that will match up to any of the top competitors within the industry. Cannondale designed this road bike to achieve speeds of 30+ miles an hour. This is going to give you fantastic speed and consistency when highway riding. If you are looking to optimize your travel time on your commutes or are looking for a fast road bike to compete with, the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc is going to be an excellent option to consider.
Cannondale was able to achieve this kind of speed and performance thanks to the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc’s excellent design and materials, which results in the bike weighing a mere 16.8 lbs. The weight of this road bike doesn’t just make it great for highway riding but also for storage and handling when reaching or leaving your destination. This is a particularly great feature for highway riders that need to bring their bike in to work with them.
Another amazing feature that the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc has is that it is integrated with the Cannondale App. When you ride on the highway, your bike is going to be logging and monitoring your activity on the road. There is a wheel sensor that gives you the ability to track your rides so that you can monitor your stats, which is great for anyone who is training to compete or just a rider that wants to be aware of their performance. The Cannondale App is so advanced that it even notifies you when your bike needs a tune-up.
To top it off, the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc is equipped with Shimano parts in its derailleurs, shifters, chain, brakes, and brake levers. This implies that you have got top-notch bike parts with an amazing Cannondale design. If you are looking for a road bike that is going to give you optimum speed and agility on the highway, the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc is going to be an amazing option. With that being said, this Cannondale carbon fiber road bike is going to be way out of the budget for a lot of riders out there. You can currently pick up Cannondale’s SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc for $9,500. If price is not a factor for you, this is going to be a tough option to beat.
Giant TCX Advanced Pro2 ($2,800)
If you are into cycling, then Giant is a name that you will have certainly heard of. This manufacturer is based in Taiwan and they are highly regarded within the industry for not only releasing world-class bikes but also having an incredible line-up that is very expansive. A lot of cycling brands put a focus on making their bikes for advanced and professional riders, which involves utilizing high-end parts. This can make the price tag for a lot of these bikes incredibly steep and out of reach for most riders out there.
Giant, on the other hand, strives to make cycling accessible to everyone, which is why they have a huge variety of bikes that vary in price. However, that is not to say that Giant compromises quality when releasing budget-friendly options. We were particularly fond of the Giant TCX Advanced Pro2 carbon-fiber cyclocross road bike.
The Giant TCX Advanced Pro2 is a bike that is designed to perform great on the highway and it will be as fast as most high-end road bikes. However, the cyclocross design of this bike also makes it more versatile. You will have excellent speed when on the highway with the Giant TCX Advanced Pro2 but you will also find that its dynamic design will enable you to have a great riding experience when needing to hit slightly more adverse terrain.
Cyclocross bikes like the Giant TCX Advanced Pro2, give riders the ability to ride fast on smooth paved roads and also have excellent control and performance when riding on gravel, dirt, and uneven surfaces. This is great news for highway cyclists who need to ride on a few different types of terrain regularly, as road bikes that are designed solely for speed are not going to handle any kind of terrain adversity well.
In addition, the Giant TCX Advanced Pro2 is also a great option for highway riders that want to have a dynamic bike that they can use for a variety of different types of cycling, as you can go on trails with this Giant bike as well. Furthermore, not all highways are as smooth and well-maintained as the ones that you see in urban areas. Some riders cycle out in the countryside or have to deal with highway terrain that does not have an ideal surface. If you do not want to feel bumps and vibrations the way that you will with most road bikes that are designed for speed, the Giant TCX Advanced Pro2 is going to be the way to go.
The carbon fiber frame still enables fast riding - with the bike weighing in at just over 18lbs. Compared to a lot of standard road bikes, this is still considered very light. Giant also designed this bike with excellent parts, as you have got SRAM components in the derailleurs, crankset, chain, brake levers, cassette, and bottom bracket.
The excellent design, parts, and materials make the Giant TCX Advanced Pro2 a great bike for highway riding. You may have slightly less speed on the highway than our previous options but ultimately, the dynamic range of the Giant TCX Advanced Pro2 makes it a better option for a lot of riders who want versatility for their bike. Lastly, this is also going to be a great highway bike for anyone that is on a budget, as you can pick up this giant carbon fiber road bike for just $2,800.
SAVA HERD 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike ($1,899)
SAVA is a Chinese bike company with a lot of its manufacturing happening in Germany. This is a name that is not as well known within the cycling industry but they should not be overlooked as they make some fantastic bikes.
SAVA is one of the leaders in releasing top-notch bikes at a comparatively lower price than its competition. We found that the SAVA HERD 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike was a perfect example of how a manufacturer can design a Grade-A fully carbon road bike at a price that is under $2,000. The SAVA HERD 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike is going to be the best highway bike for any cyclist who wants a speedy, lightweight carbon fiber road bike without spending $4,000 - $5,000 (or more) on a bike.
Despite its cheaper price tag, SAVA HERD did not hold back on parts and materials when they designed this carbon fiber road bike. The SAVA HERD 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike features a full carbon fiber TORAY T800 frame that is incredibly lightweight, which makes the bike come out at a mere 18.3lbs. This is going to enable some serious speed and agility when on the highway. At the end of the day, this bike weighs just a couple of pounds more than the most high-end carbon fiber road bikes that we mention.
Surprisingly, SAVA HERD was even able to put Shimano parts into so many components of its 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike, which is remarkable for how affordable the bike is. The SAVA HERD 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike features Shimano front and rear derailleurs, shift lever, V brake, and crankset. You have also got 11 different gears at your disposal, which gives you a great range for different types of incline - if you happen to ride in a region with hills.
The stiffness of the bike gives it an excellent feel for highway riding and for traveling at high speeds, as you will have great precision and control which enable agility. In addition, we really enjoyed how comfortable the ride was as the SAVA HERD 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike was designed with excellent geometry. This is a road bike that will likely not match up to the specs and performance of high-end options out there. However, for the price that you pay, this is an amazing bang for your buck deal that very few manufacturers can boast. If you want a full carbon fiber road bike for your highway riding that is affordable, the SAVA HERD 6.0 Carbon Fiber Road Bike is going to be one of the best options that you have available to you - for a mere $1,900.
Titanium Road Bikes
A lot of highway riders prefer to have a titanium bike over any other kind of frame material. Carbon fiber is a great material but it is not known for being the most durable. When met with hard impacts, carbon fiber can crack or even break. This is going to be the best type of bike material for highway riders that want something a bit tougher.
If you want all of the benefits of a lightweight bike but want to ensure that you will have longevity and durability at the same time, getting a titanium road bike is going to be your best option. Titanium is a very strong material and also a lightweight metal - making it perfect for bike frames and parts. By getting a titanium bike instead of a carbon fiber one, you can be a bit more rugged with how you treat it. This means that you do not have to panic every time your bike gets dinged or knocked around a bit.
Another great feature that titanium road bikes have is that this material does not corrode easily. A lot of alternative bike materials such as steel are subject to rust over time, which means that they are going to need to be replaced or maintained pretty regularly.
Titanium bikes are very resistant to corrosion and will not rust. This is a great characteristic for highway riders that find themselves riding in the rain at times. Let’s take a look at your options for the best titanium road bikes for highway riding.
Moots Vamoots Disc RSL ($11,000 to $13,000)
Moots has been manufacturing bikes for decades - with an impressive line-up of advanced high-end options to consider. They excel in titanium bike design with their Vamoots Disc RSL being one of the best titanium bikes ever made. The excellent design and performance of the Vamoots Disc RSL have been met with critical acclaim from bike enthusiasts within the industry.
Moots has delivered a world-class titanium road bike that can challenge the speed of high-end carbon fiber bikes - while at the same time, offering all of the incredible qualities that a titanium bike presents. The Vamoots Disc RSL is very lightweight and will be a great option for any highway cyclist that wants to prioritize speed.
However, the titanium design of the Vamoots Disc RSL also gives it exceptional ride comfort and feel. There is a perfect amount of stiffness that you will experience on the road which enables great agility. The ride comfort is reaffirmed by the sophisticated geometry of the bike. You have got 9 different sizes to choose from when picking out your Vamoots Disc RSL, which gives this titanium road bike great versatility and adaptability to be ridden by a lot of different riders out there.
With that being said, one of the best things about opting for a Vamoots Disc RSL is that Moots gives its customers the ability to have the geometry of the bike designed specifically for their build. This means that you can customize your highway bike to your perfect measurements so that you have the absolute best comfort and performance imaginable when riding.
Moots also builds the Vamoots Disc RSL by hand in the United States. They also offer a lifetime warranty for any kind of malfunctions or defects that the bike may experience - reassuring you that your investment is going to last forever. All in all, there are very few titanium bikes that even come close to the Vamoots Disc RSL as far as specs and performance.
However, for a bike of this caliber, you can expect to pay considerably more than most other options. Moots currently has the Vamoots Disc RSL listed from $11,000 to $13,000, which is going to be way out of the budget range for most shoppers. You can pick between three different design options that vary in parts and components, as well as price. If you have got the cash to spend, you will find that this is going to be an amazing bike for highway riding that stands out among its competition.
Reilly Gradient ($4,400)
Reilly Cycle Works is a bike manufacturer that is based in the UK. They have a handful of titanium bikes in their line-up that are going to be ideal for highway riding - with the Reilly Gradient being our top pick. Reilly Cycle Works is a manufacturer that specializes specifically in titanium bikes, which is why they are one of the most trusted names in the industry for bicycles made with this material.
The Reilly Gradient is an engineering masterpiece and has a highly-sophisticated design. To start the titanium build of the bike make it incredibly lightweight and an amazingly fast piece of machinery. Although the Reilly Gradient will not match up to the speed of a high-end carbon fiber road bike, it is still amazingly fast and will get you up to very high speeds on the highway.
However, although the frame is made with titanium, the fork of the Reilly Gradient is actually designed with carbon fiber. This takes away a bit of the weight from the bike and only increases its speed even more - offering highway riders the best of both worlds in many ways.
We particularly enjoyed the advanced geometric design that the Reilly Gradient has. It is very comfortable and enables riders to have an optimum feel on the road. The titanium parts and components give this even more assurance, as this metal is known for delivering a very comfortable ride - making bumps and cracks in the road very tolerable.
Reilly Cycle Works designed this bike to be amazing for traditional road bike terrains such as paved trails and highways; however, it is also highly adaptable for more rugged use. You will find that the Reilly Gradient will give you excellent performance if you decide to take it on gravel trails. This is a great feature for someone who needs to ride several different terrain types before entering the highway, as well as any rider that simply wants to have versatility from their bike for their spare time.
In addition, the Reilly Gradient enables even more versatility as you can add storage compartments onto it. One of the most tedious things about highway riding is that you often have to take a backpack with you - especially with most carbon fiber racing bikes. However, the Reilly Gradient gives riders the option to have very convenient storage on the road.
We also really enjoyed the Reilly Cycle Works lets you choose the Gradient to have different parts and components depending on the build that you choose. Virtually all parts of the bike that are not custom-designed by Reilly Cycle Works are either Shimano or SRAM, so you know you are getting top-of-the-line quality no matter what you choose. This build variation gives you the option to really customize the performance of your Reilly Gradient to cater to your preferences. The Reilly Gradient is not the cheapest bike on the market, as you can get it for roughly $4,400. However, for the specs and performance that this bike can boast, you really can’t go wrong.
Best Aluminum Bikes
If you can’t afford a high-end carbon fiber or titanium bike, your best bet is going to be to opt for an aluminum road bike. Aluminum is a metal material commonly used in various bike types and although it is a bit heavier than some of the most lightweight options out there, it is still an incredibly useful and dynamic material.
Aluminum road bikes generally weigh anywhere from 20 to 22lbs for quality options. When you consider that most road bikes weigh about 18lbs and that the best high-end options are about 16 to 17lbs, there is really not that much of a difference for highway riders. If you are riding on the highway for your commutes and long-distance cycling, an aluminum bike is going to be very reliable through and through.
What is great about aluminum is how durable of a material it is for bikes. Carbon fiber can crack or break with impact quite easily, which is not ideal for any rugged riders. On the other hand, titanium bikes are very durable but cost a lot. This makes aluminum a perfect balance between the two, offering durability and lightweight that is going to be very well suited for most highway riders. In addition, one of the best things about getting an aluminum road bike is that they are generally the most budget-friendly options out there.
With that being said, you should weigh out the drawbacks of having an aluminum bike before you commit to one. Road bikes that rely on aluminum are known for having issues with corrosion when exposed to moisture over long periods. This means that you can expect to have less longevity from your bike - or at the very least, you will need to maintain it to preserve its integrity. In addition, aluminum bikes can be a bit more rigid compared to titanium and carbon fiber. If you are okay with having a slightly heavier bike and are on a budget, aluminum bikes are going to be the best option for you.
Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 ($2,300)
Cannondale is back with what may just be one of the greatest aluminum road bikes ever made. The Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 is a true standout amongst its competitors for offering riders a road bike with incredible specs and performance capabilities - while being relatively affordable at the same time.
The CAAD13 Disc 105 is part of Cannondale's CAAD series, which features a line-up of a handful of bikes that share similar design features. Every bike from the CAAD series is designed to perfection and they are all remarkable pieces of machinery that are excellent for highway riding. However, when it comes to balanced specs and performance for the price, you really cannot beat the Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 - a bike considered by many to be one of the best aluminum road bikes that money can buy.
Cannondale uses an Ultralight SmartForm C1 Premium Alloy Frame for their road bike, which is top-of-the-line aluminum material - enabling the bicycle to stay very light while at the same time incredibly durable. The Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 also features integrated cables which are routed inside of the bike, instead of being visible from the exterior. This not only gives it a better and cleaner aesthetic but also keeps the frame and structure more organized so that cables are never distracting you on the road.
While the frame material of this bike is aluminum, Cannondale designed the fork to be made out of BallisTec carbon fiber. This carbon fiber fork enables the CAAD13 Disc 105 to weigh slightly less than it would with aluminum, which is going to increase the speed of the bike overall - essentially giving highway riders the best of both an aluminum and carbon fiber bicycle in many ways.
Cannondale also utilized a lot of high-end parts and components when designing the CAAD13 Disc 105. You have got Shimano parts in the front and rear derailleurs, chain, crank, shifters, and rear cogs. To top it off, Cannondale even added Shimano hydraulic disc breaks. With these specs in mind, Cannondale essentially offers all of the high-performance parts that you could want from an expensive bike but cuts down the costs dramatically by implementing an aluminum frame.
We were very impressed with the quality and performance of the CAAD13 Disc 105, as it ticks the box for so many highway riders - offering speed, durability, and only the best parts and components throughout every detail of the bike. Remarkably, you can get the Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 for just $2,300.
Specialized Allez ($1,000 to $2,300)
Specialized is back with another amazing road bike series - the Specialized Allez. These road bike masters have designed an amazing line-up of bikes from the Allez series that all follow a similar style and design but with a very nice variety of specs for riders to choose from.
Every bike from this line-up is impressive but we particularly liked that Specialized offers the Allez at a nice budget range for riders to choose from. You can get yourself a beautifully crafted Specialized Allez with an aluminum frame for as little as $1,000. The quality of this aluminum frame is phenomenal and was designed to be very lightweight for the price, which is also complemented by its durability.
Specialized utilized their very own custom-made E5 Premium Aluminum when building this bike. However, what is remarkable is that they were even able to implement a full carbon fork, which gives it an amazing edge over its competitors for aluminum bikes in the $1,000 range. The Allez also features a series of Shimano parts in its front and rear derailleurs, crank levers, shifters, and bottom brackets - with a SunRace 8-speed cassette.
For the price that you pay, Specialized does not disappoint - making this the most affordable and best value road bike that you can buy for your highway riding. The design and geometry of the Specialized Allez also make it very comfortable. The ride will feel quite stiff but this is usually a good quality that most riders look for when picking out a road bike.
With that being said, one of the best things about buying the Allez is that you have got 6 different models to consider when weighing out your options. The Allez series is great through and through but its variety does enable highway riders to select a model that they prefer based on specs, performance, as well as price. However, if you are on a budget, you will find that the standard aluminum Allez for $1,000 is going to be an excellent fit for virtually any highway rider.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson