Editor’s Note: In April 2011, we unveiled VeloLab, our in-depth bike and component testing program that combines objective, lab-based metrics with on-the-road evaluation. In the 14 months since, we’ve tested more than 20 bikes, from sub-$1500 budget road racers to the bikes of the WorldTour. We’ve even given four commuter rigs a spin. We’ve also recently put seatposts to the test and in the July 2012 issue, our tech team runs five aero wheelsets through the lab and over the road. The following cover story launched VeloLab with a look at the Ridley Noah, Cervélo S3 and others.
Torsional-stiffness testing. Aerodynamic-drag assessment. And expert analysis.
We present the VN Bike Lab’s inaugural review.
For the first time, VeloNews is undertaking extensive bike reviews. Here, we pit four cutting-edge aero bikes against each other in the lab and on the road.
In addition to riding each bike for at least 30 hours, we subjected each bike to two scientific tests performed by third-party facilities that specialize in such work. The end result is a balanced presentation of quantitative and qualitative information.
Our torsional stiffness test, co-designed and performed by Microbac Laboratories, Inc., will be constant throughout all our reviews going forward. The second test used here is specific to the aero category — aerodynamic drag testing at North Carolina’s A2 wind tunnel.
We rated each bike on five categories: scientific testing (30 points), ride quality (30 points), value (20 points), user friendliness (15 points), and weight (5 points). Each bike’s final accumulated score is not a grade — it’s simply an amalgamation of distinct characteristics. In other words, you should weigh segments of the ratings system in relation to your own preferences.