What exactly is an all-road bike, and which is this season’s best model? We put seven trendsetting bikes to the test in Prosecco Hills, comparing them to find out what makes a good all-road bike and what you should look for. Everything goes, nothing’s compulsory!

Which is the best all-road bike of 2022? Can there even be just one best model? To answer these and other questions, we headed to the wonderful Prosecco Hills in Italy with seven of the hottest, trendsetting bikes in tow. During last year’s road bike group test (available here) of a very diverse test field, we found out which bike provided the best all-round characteristics, and, while doing so, gained a lot of important insights into what a modern road bike should be capable of.

For this group test, however, we focused on a much smaller test field and only included models that are marketed as endurance, all-road and marathon bikes. So, the stage was set and our mission was clear: to equip you with the most important insights and the necessary know-how needed to make the best decision when buying your new bike. We want to look beyond just racing against the clock and explore the vast horizons of modern road bikes. All-road? All right!

Italy’s Prosecco Hills are every road biker’s dream. Between the Dolomites and vast plains, this region leaves nothing to be desired in terms of asphalt and gravel riding.

A sign of the times: full-speed vs full adventure!

Things are settling down – many brands’ portfolios seem to have stopped expanding with an ever increasing diversity of model ranges. Innovative components and the constant evolution of materials is allowing them to design bikes that are more versatile than ever, requiring fewer models for specific uses. Competitive riders who are out to race against the clock will find performance oriented bikes that are both aerodynamically optimised for the straights and light enough for the climbs. To test this hypothesis and find out which is the fastest all-round race bike currently on the market, we got out our stopwatches and power metres for our race bike group test. Check out the group test here to find out which of the 5 race bikes came out on top.

On the other side of that you’ve got the connoisseurs of good times: those who don’t follow a strict training plan, don’t always have a race number pinned to their jersey, and put a lot of value on things like freedom when they ride. If that’s you, you’ll find what you’re looking for amongst the endurance, marathon and Gran Fondo segments. The adventurers amongst us are less about racing and more about riding, simply enjoying the time spent in the drops during their post-work jaunts. Do you recognise yourself here? Good, then this is the group test for you! In times where everything seems to need a new name and the neologism specialists of bike brand marketing departments are constantly trying to outdo each other, a clear line has finally been drawn. What used to be an endurance, marathon or Gran Fondo bike is now just an all-road bike. What’s changed? Well… the name. And the enormous potential and capabilities of the newest bikes in this segment, of course. Regardless of whether it’s a short post-work ride, a relaxed cruise over several hours, hobby races, or gravel shortcuts, a modern road bike that hasn’t been designed specifically for racing and that feels at home on compact gravel, a.k.a. an all-road bike, excels in each of these scenarios.

Despite the seemingly clear differences between these two schools of thought, newcomers to the sport of road riding will still ask themselves: “Which bike suits me and my requirements? Which is the best complete package? And which is the best bike of all?” This is what a lot of excited newbies sound like and you might recognise yourself in these questions. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. As such, this group test is for you. For all the road bike individualists like Sarah and Michael who ride 6,000 km/year on average – our readers’ most common names and average annual mileage according to the 2021 GRAN FONDO reader survey of over 11,100 participants (check out the results here).

Just like us, Sarah and Michael are probably in awe of the performances demonstrated by the world tour pros and the wattage bombs that Mathieu van der Poel drops on a regular basis. It’s understandable that we’re fascinated by the pros and their bikes, but the majority of mere mortals like us shouldn’t be looking to them for guidance when buying a new bike. If you earn a living from racing your bike, demand maximum performance or simply like to believe you’re a pro, you’ve chosen the perfect hobby since you’ll be able to ride almost the exact same bike that you see in the pro peloton. For everyone else, including the open minded disciples of pain who occasionally want more from riding their bike than just chasing KOMs on Strava, this group test is here to prove that you shouldn’t have to shy away from throwing in a few more gravel segments the next time you plan a route. Full-speed and full-on adventure!

Road bikes: between rebirth, friends with benefits and lots of gravel

Gravel bike sales have shot up and there’s a bunch of possible reasons for this. Is it due to the hip and carefree videos of the core scene, proclaiming the freedom of life on two wheels? Maybe it’s the breathtaking reports of events in far flung corners of the earth, or perhaps the increase of traffic on asphalt roads? We’re sure that the above-mentioned aspects all play a role in the current gravel boom, but it’s primarily due to the easygoing nature and versatility of these bikes that makes them the perfect choice for so many riders. But what’s that got to do with this group test, you ask?

In times of “friends with benefits,” in which no one seems to want to make any long-term commitments, it obviously makes the most sense financially to invest in a bike that will allow you to realise as many of your pent up dreams as possible, doesn’t it? You want a loyal two-wheeled companion where anything goes but nothing’s compulsory. It’s this mindset that’s rubbing off from the gravel scene onto the road bike segment, turning the latest road bikes into thoroughbred all-rounders. In doing so, they’re relegating the more specialist bikes into niche existences and showing that it’s become possible to combine previously opposing handling characteristics. While you used to have to look for only the smoothest asphalt when planning your routes, you can now include stretches of cobblestones, poorly maintained surfaces and the occasional gravel road. This new-found versatility is liberating, a kind of two-wheeled self-actualisation, emancipating road bikes from the confines of performance!

Back to the roots! If you look at the terrain that Tour de France riders had to cope with a hundred years ago… they needed the bike that we’re looking for here!

You might ask yourself why it’s taken so long for this development to happen. However, we must acknowledge that the detours the various brands took to get here via sub-categories such as endurance, aero and climbing were a vital part of the journey. It’s the only way the bike industry could work out what really matters in each specific use case. They can now use the knowledge that they’ve gained to bring it all back to the bigger picture: not just the pure performance but the experience as a whole. It’s with this mindset that we’re seeing the birth of a new generation of road bikes, capable of doing (almost) anything on (almost) any terrain. It’s the rebirth of the road bike!

Which bikes did we test? The best all-road bikes of 2022 in review

As the name suggests, all-road bikes are road bikes that are designed to excel on a wide variety of terrain, from perfectly smooth asphalt to moderate gravel roads. But there’s more to it than that. After all, almost all modern road bikes are capable of that, even the aero specialists – thanks to wider tires and tubeless technology. What is the difference then? It’s quite simple, really: What typically sets an all-road bike apart is the geometry and the level of comfort. They’re meant to be comfortable enough to ride so that you can spend all day in the saddle even on poor surfaces without needing to visit your physiotherapist or chiropractor to have your spine realigned when you’re done. So, are all-road bikes the same as endurance bikes? Yes and no. While endurance road bikes also focus on providing geometry that puts you in a more comfortable, upright riding position, they’re not necessarily made for poorly maintained roads or gravel.

Just because modern race bikes are capable of riding almost everywhere, and the pros hammer them over cobblestones and gravel at the Paris-Roubaix and Strade Bianche, that doesn’t make them all-road bikes.

As you can see, there are no hard and fast rules for defining an all-road bike and the different terms used to describe more or less the same thing only add to the confusion. It doesn’t help that some all-road bikes have mastered the sorcery of laying down a respectable race performance on the road despite boasting ample long-distance comfort and a relaxed riding position. As such, our definition of an all-road bike is this: A bike for when you don’t know what to expect. It’s for all the long rides where you don’t know what kind of topography and terrain you might encounter. Simple, right?

As you might expect from the confusion surrounding the definition of all-road, our test field is very diverse, and every brand has a different approach. Some try to make their classic road bike a little more off-road capable by adding a few modifications, whereas others approach the matter from the side of gravel, and some just start with a blank canvas. You’ll find an overview of the seven bikes on test in the table below:

Model Groupset Wheels Tire dimensions Weight (kg) Size Price (€)
BMC Roadmachine X ONE SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR CRD-321 Carbon 700x32C 7,98 56 € 5.999
Cervélo Caledonia-5 Ultegra Di2 Shimano ULTEGRA Di2 Reserve 40|44 700x28C 8,05 58 € 7.299
Parapera Atmos Masterpiece Camapgnolo Super Record EPS Tune Schwarzbrenner 45 Disc Skyline 700x30C 6,88 L € 9.948
ROSE REVEAL SIX DISC RED eTap AXS SRAM RED eTap AXS ROSE RC-Forty/Fifty Disc 700x32C 7,45 57 € 8.099
Sarto Seta Disc Camapgnolo Super Record EPS Campagnolo Bora WTO 700x32C 7,62 L € 12.000
Specialized Aethos Expert Shimano ULTEGRA Di2 Roval C38 700x26C 7,21 56 € 7.000
Trek Domane SLR 9 Shimano DURA-ACE Di2 Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37 700x32C 7,87 58 € 12.099
Ø 7,58 € 8.920,57

As different as the bikes might be, they also have similarities: all seven of the bikes on test rely on electronic shifting and hydraulic brakes. For the groupsets, the test field is almost evenly divided among the three common brands. Two of the bikes come specced with Campagnolo components, two rely on SRAM and the remaining three rely on Shimano groupsets. All the bikes are supplied with carbon wheels, though there are big differences regarding the tire width. We had everything from 700 x 26C to 700 x 32C. The bikes’ weights range from 6.88 kg to 8.05 kg, bringing the average weight to 7.58 kg. With an average price of € 8,920.57, they’re not cheap, showing that you’ll need quite a big budget when shopping for a modern all-road bike.

What should you look for? The most important characteristics of a road bike

If you’ve ever competed in a hobby race, you can probably confirm the following hypothesis: you’ll often see the best bikes right at the front and right at the back of the peloton. And that’s precisely what we find to be one of road biking’s most fascinating aspects. Regardless of whether you choose to buy a bike because you’re into the tech, you demand the best performance, or simply because of an emotional draw to the product, anyone can get their hands on the latest road bike tech. It doesn’t matter whether you’re racing to win, whether you race at all or if all you’re interested in is enjoying a ride with friends at the weekend. Unfortunately, however, a lot of bikes still get designed for pro racers while also being made available to us hobby bike fans. Rules like those of the UCI might apply to most official mass-participation races, though a large part of the road riding community will never pin a race number to their jersey, let alone earn their living from racing. So, for us, what counts most is having a good time, not a fast time!

We’re all about good times – not fast times!

To cater to the widest possible target group with a huge range of use cases, the best road bike of this group test must be an all-rounder, equally suitable for an experienced rider with racing ambitions as it is for leisurely cruisers, tourers, newbies and adventurers.

In other words, the best bike must be capable of meeting the needs of as many types of riders as possible, preferably without having to make any compromises. As such, our dream road bike offers balanced handling, can go fast if you want it to, is sufficiently compliant and comfortable, and instils you with confidence. Moreover, it should be capable of doing all that on perfect asphalt as well as poorly maintained roads and smooth gravel. In search of this bike, our test riders put the test field through its paces in real world conditions, after which they discussed their findings, which occasionally resulted in rather heated, or, shall we say, passionate, debates. Will we be presenting you with a table of results, a points system and percentages from lab tests? Not at all! This is a hand-crafted test, conducted by riders with grit between their teeth and either lactic acid or coffee flowing through their bulging veins. You’ll find our test criteria below.


Handling is easily our most important criterion. We couldn’t have said it better than the ex-pro David Millar who helped us test bikes for our 2019 group test in Girona: “A good bike must have good manoeuvrability. […] I believe a bike’s handling determines whether you will win or lose a race. If the handling is shit – the bike is shit – at least to me it is.” We’ve got nothing to add. When it comes to the handling, we always ask ourselves how agile a bike is on a scale of nervous/playful to composed/sluggish. How precise is it through the corners? Does it feel balanced between the front and rear? How direct is the steering? These are all questions we asked ourselves during this year’s group test. The best bikes on test can find the sweet spot between agility and composure, offering direct and precise handling through the corners without feeling nervous or vague. With those characteristics, it’s suitable for both ambitious riders and leisurely cruisers.

Acceleration and speed

Regardless of whether you’re pulling away from the ice cream parlour, accelerating out of a corner or sprinting for the finish line, a light-footed bike can make all the difference when it counts. And for a bike to be quick, it all comes down to the weight distribution, a low overall weight and minimal rotating mass. That said, the bike’s efficiency on flat terrain is just as important. So, we also ask ourselves, how easily can the bike carry its speed? In this case, aerodynamically optimised bikes are typically at an advantage despite their generally higher weight. The combination of reduced wind resistance and the higher rotating mass of the slightly heavier deep-profile aero rims allows them to carry their momentum better, though this comes at the cost of acceleration. However, the rider makes up 75% of the total wind resistance. So, the longer you can remain comfortable in an aerodynamic riding position, the longer you can hold your speed. Therefore, the bike’s comfort has a direct influence on its speed. The perfect road bike strikes an even balance of traits in both scenarios.

Control and confidence

These are far too underrated, far too often. A bike can be as light, stiff and aerodynamic as it wants, but if it’s difficult to control and the rider doesn’t feel confident riding it, none of that matters. Besides, a nervous bike that’s difficult to control will rob you of energy and concentration, as you’ll be putting more effort into keeping it under control than in holding your pace, even if it’s subconscious. It’s only when you feel confident aboard your bike that you can take calculated risks and safely push your limits. Riding on the road and on uneven terrain is risky enough as it is – a lack of control is the last thing you want. After all, you want to enjoy the ride and get back to your friends and family in one piece. The best bikes on test offer predictable handling that allows you to push the limits even if you haven’t got several years of martial arts training under your belt. They’re more reserved, not forcing the rider to be in a constant attack mode, yet they’ve got enough reserves to come to the party when you want them to.


Since we don’t all have our own private physiotherapist waiting on stand-by for when you get home after a ride, comfort is a vital topic and it’s also gaining traction in the pro peloton. If you can remain comfortable, you can ride fast and stay fresher for longer. A modern and ergonomic riding position should be both comfortable and aerodynamic. It allows the rider to stay in the drops for long stretches of time and not just during the sprints. A comfortable bike provides a balanced level of compliance as a whole. Comfort doesn’t come from just a single source, but it’s the sum of many components that offer compliance and damping. And they need to be capable of absorbing both high-frequency vibrations and bigger hits. Contact points like the handlebar tape and saddle are down to personal preference, which is why we didn’t include these in our final evaluations.


We’re sure this doesn’t need any further explanation.

Where did we test the bikes?

Admittedly, the Prosecco Hills aren’t the first place you’ll think of when looking for an Italian road biking destination. They’re more of an insider’s tip, situated between Venice in the South and the Dolomites to the north. The fact that the region has suitable routes for road riding was proven by the Giro d’Italia, which has previously made its way right through the middle of it. It’s no wonder, as it’s got something to suit every taste: from long, steep mountains in the north – the most famous of which must be Monte Grappa – to flat sections in the south as you head towards the ocean, and everything from rolling hills to steep climbs in between. However, as soon as you veer off the main roads onto the little side streets winding through iconic vineyards, you’ve got to be prepared to face broken asphalt and gravel. The perfect conditions for our all-road bike group test.

Prosecco Hills – where they’ve mastered the art of living! Award-winning sparkling wine, fine dining, and beautiful, quiet roads. What more could you want?

It is a little surprising that the region isn’t as well-known to the international cycling community as road bike meccas like Livigno or Girona, especially considering the calibre of the brands who have their headquarters here: Basso, Willier, Campagnolo, Selle Italia and Sarto, to name a few. But, as the owners of two castles, vast tracts of land and among the biggest Prosecco producers of the region, the royal Bogoluce family have taken it upon themselves to make sure that the Prosecco Hills will no longer remain in the shadows of cycling tourism. To do so, a part of their estate is reserved for tourism, letting you escape and unwind in one of the beautifully renovated farmhouses, surrounded by nature and enjoying the locally grown produce. It’s here that we held our test camp. For the test route, we used the roads surrounding Susegana. That gave us access to a vast variety of climbs, high-speed descents and everything in between, interspersed with technical routes and changing surface types. Our test bikes were made to excel on routes just like these. There’s no laboratory test that can prove this, which is why we choose not to measure meaningless things like isolated stiffness values. Instead, we rely on the feedback from our experienced test riders.

Who tested the bikes?

As diverse as the bikes on test, so diverse are the riders who tested them. As such, our test riders all came to this group test with different expectations and preferences as they went in search of the best all-road bike of 2022. Read on to find out what they look for and what having a good time on the bike means to them.

Ben, GRAN FONDO Editor-in-Chief, gravel aficionado and sprinter
“To me, road biking is all about discovering new things. As such, my perfect road bike shouldn’t mind dealing with the occasional off-road excursion. I’m not one to turn down home stretch sprints either.”
Anke, freelance journalist and wannabe bikefluencer as her alter ego @anke_is_awesome
“Since gravel was my gateway drug, my road bike obviously has wider tires too. It must be capable of spontaneous off-road detours – even if it’s just because I think I’m smarter than Komoot and Wahoo.”
Matilde, businesswoman, Dolce Vita lover and QOM
“I’m lucky enough to call the Prosecco Hills home. I love the lifestyle and the people here. For my daily commute, the bike has to be capable of dealing with the local conditions: lots of hills, long climbs, fast descents and constantly changing surfaces.”
Tobi, GRAN FONDO Editor, 2% body fat, yogi and bike racer
“I’ve been following a strict training plan for some years and you’ll often find me at the starting line of elite or recreational races. When I ride, it has to hurt every now and then. So, I demand a certain level of race performance even from an all-road bike.”

The tops and flops of the group test

Often, it’s the details that make all the difference: clean integration, good ergonomics, and cleverly specced components. Below, we look at all the tops and flops of the bikes in our 2022 all-road bike group test.


Ready for more
Thanks to the bosses on the top tube for a small pouch to store energy bars and gels, the BMC Roadmachine X ONE is ready for long tours.
No sunshine? No problem!
With its integrated mudguard mounts at the front and rear, the Cervélo Caledonia-5 is ready for all kinds of weather.
Carbon as far as you can see…
… on the Parapera Atmos Masterpiece. It’s the ultimate choice for all carbon fetishists and weight-weenies.
Integration made easy
Fully-integrated one-piece cockpits are difficult for direct-to-consumer brands to implement since they can be complex for customers to assemble. Not so on the ROSE REVEAL SIX DISC RED eTap AXS.
Attention to detail
The offset lettering on the top tube of the Sarto Seta Disc adds the perfect finishing touch. It doesn’t get much more extravagant.
Carry all the essentials…
… like a tube and tools on board the bike thanks to the integrated storage compartment and matching pouch hidden underneath the bottle cage on the down tube – a smart and convenient solution.


It runs in the family
As on the Émonda and Madone, the proprietary Bontrager seat post on the Trek Domane offers limited adjustability, making it necessary to offer two different seat post lengths.
Too narrow for the win
The 700 x 26C S-Works Turbo tires on the Specialized Aethos Expert inflate to 27 mm on the Roval C38 rims with an internal width of 21 mm. That’s simply too narrow for a modern all-road bike, significantly and unnecessarily limiting its versatility.
Why not tubeless?
The Campagnolo Bora WTO 45 Disc wheels on the Sarto Seta Disc are tubeless-ready. We can’t figure out why the Italian brand chose to set them up with tubes, especially with the high-volume Continental Grand Prix 5000 tires.
To narrow for all-road riding
The Tune Schwarzbrenner 45 Disc Skyline wheels are a real treat for carbon lovers, and they deliver in terms of performance, too, with their minimal weight and tubeless compatibility. However, the 17 mm internal width just isn’t up to modern standards.
The cable of the ULTEGRA Di2 derailleur hangs dangerously close to the tire on the Cervélo Caledonia-5, having quite a few of our test riders worried.
Not quite perfect
Integration requires attention to detail and not all brands give their bikes enough of it. The Specialized Aethos Expert, Parapera Masterpiece, and the BMC Roadmachine X ONE all have externally routed cables around the cockpit, which we don’t like seeing in this price segment, let alone when wanting to attach a bar bag.

Which is the best all-road bike of 2022?

We put the bikes through their paces on the winding roads surrounding the Prosecco Hills and discussed their various strengths and weaknesses over several glasses of sparkling wine. And, ultimately, it’s not just the region that won us over, but we also found a clear winner amongst the bikes that ticked all the right boxes.

The Best in Test all-road bike of 2022: the Trek Domane SLR 9

Here it is, the best all-road of the season. The Trek Domane SLR 9 immediately caught our attention. It’s no wonder considering the eye-catching paint job. But it also leaves the longest lasting impression after you ride it. No other bike on test was as good at combining seemingly opposing characteristics at such a high level. The bike provides the most long-distance comfort in the test field while also delivering the best race performance. True to the motto of “Everything goes, nothing’s compulsory.” It never pushes you to lay down your best performance, feeling equally at home on a leisurely coffee ride. Added to that are clever details like the integrated storage compartment and fender mounts, making it a dream commuter. The top-end Shimano components add the cherry on top for the deserved Best in Test title. Well done, Trek!

The Best in Test all-road bike of 2022 – Trek Domane SLR 9 (Click for review)

Our all-road Best Buy: the Cervélo Caledonia-5 Ultegra Di2

For the second time, the Cervélo Caledonia-5 secures a spot on the hotly contested podium of one of our prestigious group tests. It stands out above the competition thanks to its high level of integration, ample tire clearance and all-weather capability thanks to the fender mounts while also delivering excellent efficiency at speed. The Cervélo Caledonia-5 has certainly made a name for itself, placing it among the top contenders of a new generation of road bikes and it’s an excellent all-road option.

Our all-road Best Buy – Cervélo Caledonia-5 Ultegra Di2 (Click for review)

All bikes on review: BMC Roadmachine X ONE (Click for review) | Cervelo Caledonia-5 Ultegra Di2 (Click for review) | Parapera Atmos MASTERPIECE (Click for review) | ROSE REVEAL SIX DISC Red eTap AXS (Click for review) | Sarto Seta Disc (Click for review) | Specialized Aethos Expert (Click for review) | Trek Domane SLR 9 (Click for review)

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Words: Benjamin Topf, Tobias Hörsch Photos: Benjamin Topf, Phil Gal