These nine bikes are all lightweight with high-grade materials. Carbon fiber is the secret sauce in almost every bike on this list, whether it’s in the frame or the components. Unlike metal, frame-builders can make carbon fiber stiff in one direction, and flexible in another. This means that frames can be made to absorb vibration better than metal, improving long distance comfort while staying rocket stiff for sprinting.

This cross-country mountain bike beats the rap that full-suspension bikes are squishy, inefficient, and heavy. The Yeti ASR’s ultra-light carbon fiber rig takes its design cues from carbon-fiber-based road bikes. Its rear suspension system doesn't bob when the rider pedals, saving energy and making for faster sprints off the starting line.

For: Cross country racing
Price: $4,400
From: Yeti Cycles

The PR6-LT is a versatile all-mountain machine without the bulk usually associated with long-travel bikes. At 27.1 pounds fully built, it's a solid three-to-five pounds lighter than most of its peers, without the use of carbon fiber, which adds expense and fragility to bikes in this category. Also of note: the bike's shorter-than-average top tube, which makes the cockpit of the bike feel more snug and maneuverable in technical terrain.

For: All mountain riding
Price: Frame only: $2,080
From: Pronghorn Racing

Freeride bikes have a tough job: suck up huge obstacles on the way down the mountain, but be light and efficient enough to pedal back up. There are several ways to find equilibrium between efficiency and absorption, but Santa Cruz has arguably one of the best: a system it calls Virtual Pivot Point, or VPP.

For: Freeride
Price: Frame only: $2,400
From: Santa Cruz Bicycles

This is the bike that Lance Armstrong will ride in 2009 (if he can make up with the French, that is); the newly unretired racer rides fully stocked bikes that are available to the public. Lance's Madones are no different, except for their radical 30-hour paint jobs and the occasional set of decorative gold bolts.

For: Road racing
Price: $9,130 (SRM power meter sold separately.)
From: Trek Bikes

The Cento Uno is Wilier's (pronounced "Vil-yer") flagship bike, and it shows. Even though the Italian bike-maker has been in the business since 1906, its recognition in the United States exploded after Wilier team rider Alessandro Ballan won the UCI Road Race World Championships in September 2008 riding this very bike.

For: Road racing
Price: Frame only: $4,300
From: Wilier Bicycles

Giant's TCR Advanced SL is the pro-level bike for the everyman. Remarkably responsive and lightweight, it has been roundly celebrated across the industry for its comfortable geometry and forgiving ride quality. But it's no slouch: The Dura-Ace parts group makes it fully race-ready.

For: Road training
Price: $8,000
From: Giant Bicycles

The Langster is Specialized's take on the urban bike messenger's daily ride: a low-maintenance, durable and minimalist fixed gear with a bad attitude and a sideshow paintjob. Nothing typifies the category better than the Las Vegas version with its gambling-themed paint job and crass gold stem. (Tokyo, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York versions are also available, each with its own bizarre styling and parts spec.)

For: Urban commuting
Price: $880
From: Specialized Bicycle Components

The Loring's name is evocative of the word "lorry," a heavy-duty transport truck. If such a thing existed in bike form, this would be it--with a heavy dose of style. Civia's multi-purpose front rack features wood accents and plenty of tie-downs for your stuff, and the rear rack lets you lash down the awkward-shaped stuff that won't fit on the front end.

For: Around town
Price: $1,730
From: Civia Cycles

The Moof is a solid daily driver with panache. At only 28 pounds, it's lighter than most commuter bikes, thanks to its 6061 aluminum frame, which is made of a suppler alloy than most other bikes. It's also powder-coated in a lengthy application involving lots of electricity. The results are worth it: Power-coated frames are more durable and scratch-resistant than paint, and they look the same after 10 years as they do after 10 days.

For: Around town
Price: $600
From: Areaware

9 Cutting Edge Bikes for 2009

Be it for speed, efficiency, technology, or style, these are the ultimate bikes in the industry for 2009. Who says you can't be eco-friendly, fit, terrain-gobbling, and head-turning all at once?

These nine bikes are all lightweight with high-grade materials. Carbon fiber is the secret sauce in almost every bike on this list, whether it’s in the frame or the components. Unlike metal, frame-builders can make carbon fiber stiff in one direction, and flexible in another. This means that frames can be made to absorb vibration better than metal, improving long distance comfort while staying rocket stiff for sprinting.

Add New Comment

0 Comments