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Best Sportive Bikes Under £1,000

Sportives tend to be long, all day events. When you’re in the saddle so long you want a bike that is comfortable as well as being quick and efficient. We’ve handpicked 5 of the best sportive bikes under £1,000 that don’t break the bank.

Unless you are very fit, a full-on road race bike just doesn’t fit the bill. An endurance bike is a much better option as they are designed to be ridden all day over difficult terrain. Endurance bikes are now widely regarded as sportive bikes and are also called comfort race bikes. They are what the pros tend to ride on challenging road race courses like the classic Paris-Roubaix.

To handle rough road surfaces like cobbles, sportive bikes have some flexibility (compliance) built into the frame to lessen the effect of road vibrations on the rider - making them more comfortable, reducing rider fatigue.

The frame geometry tends to be tweaked too - longer head tube and relaxed head & seat angles - to provide a more comfortable upright riding position and stable handling. Compact chainsets and larger cassettes to make hill climbing easier are also the order of the day. Sportive bikes tend to be great all rounders and usually have wider tyres (25c) than those found on road race bikes (23c).

The best sportive bikes are also great for training and fast commuting and at the £1000 mark all qualify for the Cycle to Work Scheme.


Giant Contend 1 2017

Giant Contend 1 2017
Giant

£675.00



Quick look

Frame  ALUXX-Grade Aluminium


Fork  Hybrid Composite bladed fork


Drivetrain  Shimano Sora 2x9


Wheels  Giant SR 2 Wheel Set


Brakes  Tektro R312 dual pivot


Review

For 2017 the aluminium Giant Defy range has been replaced with the new Contend. The Contend keeps many of the benefits of the old defy yet is slightly shorter for nimbler handling. The relaxed geometry that made the bike such a hit with sportive riders remains unchanged but comfort in the saddle has been significantly improved.

Up front you get a carbon bladed fork that absorbs ‘road buzz’ for a more comfortable ride. The tapered seat tubes have also been tweaked and now dissipate more of the vibrations from uneven road surfaces.

The Shimano Sora 2x9 speed drivetrain with compact chainset has a good range of gears for tackling the hills on a Sportive. A great all-rounder the Giant Contend 1 is a great road bike for a long day in the saddle and won’t hold you back on faster rides.



Superseding the Defy for 2017, the Contend 1 keeps many of the benefits but is nimbler.


Cannondale Synapse Sora 2017

Cannondale Synapse Sora 2017
Cannondale

£749.99



Quick look

Frame  SmartFormed C2 Alloy Frame


Fork  SAVE Carbon bladed fork


Drivetrain  Shimano Sora 2x9


Wheels  RS 700c


Brakes  Promax RC-459 long reach


Review

Designed specifically for endurance riding the 6061-alloy frame uses Cannondale’s Save Plus System to improve comfort. The chain and seat stays are flattened and internally butted. This allows vertical deflection to absorb road shock and vibration while remaining stiff laterally for efficient power transfer and confident cornering.

The carbon bladed fork also flexes fore and aft while remaining laterally stiff and matches the rear. As well as making the ride more comfortable this compliance also aids traction on uneven road surfaces improving grip when cornering.

The drivetrain is Shimano Sora 18 speed. The ratios are reasonably spaced for efficient pedalling and lack only the very lowest gear when compared with most of the others here.

Perfect for sportives, long rides and anyone wanting to ride fast in comfort, the high-quality frame of the Synapse Sora is worthy of future upgrades.



Super smooth ride from a quality frame.


Specialized Diverge Sport A1 CEN 700c 2017

Specialized Diverge Sport A1 CEN 700c 2017
specialized

£800.00



Quick look

Frame  Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum


Fork  FACT carbon fiber


Drivetrain  Shimano Sora 2x9


Wheels  Axis Sport Disc


Brakes  Tektro Mira, mechanical disc


Review

Something slightly different we have picked the ultra-versatile Specialized Diverge Sport road bike. This road bike is designed for riding with speed and efficiency over rough surfaces with a lightweight and robust A1 premium aluminium frame. Up front the carbon fork offers compliance to dampen road buzz and has clearance for wide tyres (for when you want to do a bit of adventuring).

Like most of the sportive bikes under £1,000 in this list, the Diverge is equipped with the capable Shimano Sora 2x9 speed drivetrain for reliable shifting in all conditions. Extra low gears are a bonus when climbing tricky road surfaces.

Tektro mechanical disc brakes give you all the stopping power you’re going to need, in all weather and surface conditions.



Ride any surface from gravel tracks to smooth tarmac and everything in between.


Specialized Allez Elite 2017

Specialized Allez Elite 2017
Specialized

£800.00



Quick look

Frame  Specialized E5 Premium Aluminum


Fork  FACT carbon fiber


Drivetrain  Shimano Tiagra 2x10


Wheels  Axis Sport


Brakes  AXIS 1.0


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Review

The second Specialized bike in our list is the same price as the Diverge, it’s the Allez Elite. We couldn’t have a best of sportive bike review without including the superbly popular road bike. While the Allez Elite is not an endurance bike as such (Specialized’s endurance Roubaix range starts above out £1000 cut off) its versatile nature make it well worth considering as a sportive bike.

More of a race oriented riding position will suit riders who like to put their heads down and push on and is included here as many riders will be doing more than sportives on their road bike.

Despite its racy nature, the Allez has some compliance in the rear end and combined with the carbon fork offers a reasonably comfortable ride. The 25c tyres on the AXIS Sport wheels are also more in line with an endurance bike than a full on road racer.

The aluminium frame is double butted and the innovative head tube welds have allowed for a stiffer headtube junction meaning that less material is needed and weight is reduced. the internally routed brake cable gives very clean lines around the curved top tube.

The Shimano Tiagra 2x10 speed drivetrain has a race oriented range of gears on the cassette but the compact chainset means that getting up the hills isn’t too much of a problem.




A race bike that's just as equipped for a fast sportive


Merida Ride 400 2017

Merida Ride 400 2017
merida

£1,000.00



Quick look

Frame  6066 Aluminium


Fork  Full carbon fibre


Drivetrain  Shimano 105 2x11


Wheels  Merida Comp SL


Brakes  Merida Pro


Review

Designed for taking on the cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix road race course the Merida Ride 400 is perfect for taking on a long sportive.

This is their top of the range aluminium frame and is made from triple butted 6066 aluminium. The tubes are formed into shape and the rear triangle has compliance built in offering vertical flex whilst maintaining lateral stiffness. Combined with the full Carbon fork this significantly reduces road buzz from uneven road surfaces.

A Shimano 105 2x11 speed groupset offers crisp precise shifting and offers the widest range and lowest gear of all these 5 bikes. The 11-speed cassette ensures that there are no annoying gaps in range despite offering such a low gear.

A racy looking bike the Ride 400 is still a purpose-built endurance machine so is perfect for taking on sportives and all day rides and has a great spec for the price point too.



Responsive bike purpose built for sportive races.