Why do we buy a particular bike? I think it can be broken down to: Price, weight, comfort and bling. How one weights each of those considerations depends on personal preference, intended use and tax bracket. For most of us we compare weight, comfort and bling, and then filter our options through what we can afford.
At the Outside Magazine Bike Test it's easy to become numbed to the myriad high-end bikes and truth be told, by the end of the week all the $10,000 bikes start melting into one another. They're all light, they're all stiff, they're all pretty comfy. So instead of giving you the blow by blow on every bike in the test I thought I'd give a run down on the three bikes I was most impressed by.
The Scott Addict and the BMC were hard to choose between. The BMC came equipped with bars that were too wide for me and the Scott's stock saddle was pure heaven. At the end of the day, these bikes tied for my Best of Test. Each bike is incredibly light and incredibly stiff. What sets these two bikes apart from the rest of the field is that in addition to these two metrics, they were also incredibly comfortable. And by that I don't mean, "comfortable for a stiff race bike." I mean, "as comfortable as any bike I've ridden." In fact, I thought both these bikes were noticeably more comfortable than the Cannondale Synnapse I rode at the test. I would have no qualms about having either of these bikes as my go-to, everyday, 5 hr century bike.
Acceleration from both bikes is instant, climbing prowess is as good as it gets and shifting is flawless. Out of the saddle sprinting powerful and descending is confidence inspiring.
But here's the rub.... The Scott is $8K and the BMC is $10K. That's a lot of lettuce. Don't get me wrong, if I won the lottery I'd have one of each in my garage, but in the real world, that's real money.
Enter our third, and perhaps most interesting, entry into the Best of Test realm: the Fezzari CR5 Not familiar with Fezzari? Neither was I until shortly before the bike test. Turns out they're a smaller, direct to consumer bike brand out of Salt Lake City, UT. Think Canyon Bicycles, except without Movistar and Katusha as sponsored teams. Like Canyon, Fezzari designs their bikes locally and then has them made to their spec overseas (like virtually every bike company around today). Fezzari offers both complete bikes and frame/fork combos on their website. By ordering direct, you get a great deal.
Fine. A way to get a less expensive bike. But how's the bike? Like you, I had my doubts, but they were quickly silenced. When I first got on the bike, I didn't scrutinize the frame. I wanted my first impression to be that of the ride quality and I didn't want to be put off by less than perfect finishes. The ride was great. Not as great as either the Scott or the BMC, but right up there in the same league. Shifting was flawless. It's stiff, comfortable and light enough to throw down in any race.
After my test I gave the frame a careful inspection. Keeping in mind that this bike was less than half the price of the BMC, I expected to notice slight imperfections in the fit and finish of the frame and paint job. What I found was a frame and finish that is on par with both the Scott and the BMC and every other bike in the test. Without prior knowledge, there's nothing to separate the Fezzari from the Scott or the BMC....except price.
So the question is: If you had $10,000 to play with, would you rather get a BMC? Or would you rather get a Fezzari....AND a bag of $5,000 cash?
Sure, there are some gains made by buying the BMC or the Scott, and if money is no object then those are the two bikes that you should be deciding between. But if you work for a living, the Fezzari is an incredible deal on an incredible bike.
Fezzari CR5 • $4,800 • 15.1 pounds
Scott Addict SL • $7,900 • 13.7 pounds
BMC SLR01 • $10,000 • 14.4 pounds
(All full Dura Ace)