Super Bike Vs. Mid-Range Bike | What Really Is The Difference?


– A few months back, we pitted a bike that we found on Ebay for 100 pounds against this super bike, a Canyon Aeroad, with Shimano’s top of the
range Dura-Ace 9170 groupset. And the results were pretty stark. This one was significantly faster. But what was really surprising
was the margin of victory. I mean, this was on another level. And so it got us thinking,
just how much money would you need to spend in
order to actually shut that gap? And to be fair, many of you
wondered exactly the same thing in the comments section
under that previous video. So we have come back to our horrible climb and our torturous descent
and our flat time trial. But with this, a Canyon Endurace AL 7.0. Now, it retails for just over €1000, or just under £1000, making it a purchase for
a committed bike rider, but very much still in
the mid-range category. It’s got a lightweight aluminum frame. It’s got Shimano’s ever-reliable workhorse groupset, the 105. And it’s also got a very sprightly set of Mavic wheels on there. But just how much faster will
this super bike still be? I tell you what, I’m going to need some help for this, actually. I can’t do it on my own. Matt? Matt! Matt! – [Matt] We’re going to test these, firstly on our horrible climb. It’s not exactly an Alp,
but it’s plenty hard enough. Although just two kilometers long, the average gradient is 11%, and there’s a really big chunk at 22%. – On a climb like this, the
major difference in speed between these bikes is going
to come down to the weight. Now this super bike, if you
remember, is no featherweight. Its major strengths lie elsewhere. But that aside, it’s still pretty remarkably light at 7.3 kilos. – Now remember, our cheap bike weighed in at 11.95 kilograms. For this mid-range bike
also, let’s weigh her in. – 8.9, so that’s a pretty bonkers 3 kilos weight saving between our bargain basement and our mid-range. Although clearly, to save more weight is going to cost quite a lot more money. In this case, what’s that, like 1500 grams costing five grand. – So, Si, let’s put our
money where our mouths are. – Yeah, how much faster
does 1500 grams get you? – Getting a bit nervous.
– Yeah, I am, actually. – I know, it’s a tough climb, isn’t it? – It is, I remember how
much it hurt last time. Right.
– You focused? – Yeah, I think I am, actually. – Right then.
– Okay. – I’m going to count you in.
– Alright. – Alright. (imitating beeping) (energetic music) (imitating beeping) Didn’t get me foot in. Almost disaster at the
start, but here we go. – Run number one and I’m riding the Aeroad and Matt is on the Endurace. We are going to ride this climb flat out. And on paper, you might
expect to see the Aeroad have a margin of victory
of about six seconds, because of the weight saving. But the Endurace may
just have a trump card, because the 105 gears that are
specced on there are compact, so that could allow us to
ride the steepest section at a more comfortable cadence,
a more optimal cadence. Now, we specced the Aero, meanwhile, with standard race-oriented gears, although it does take advantage still of the new Dura-Ace’s ability to use a 30-tooth cassette at the back. But nevertheless, the smallest gear on the Aeroad is still bigger. (upbeat music) (heavy breathing) Hey, Matt. How’d that feel, mate? – Pretty brutal, but not too bad, considering it was my first
ride for quite a long time. It felt really light. Gear selection, although
not quite as smooth as Di2. Functional, no issues with the
gears, nice low gear ratio. And I actually managed to stay seated for the vast majority of the climb, which is saying something,
since we’re talking about that. Do you know what, it felt pretty good. What about you? – Well, I can’t complain, if I’m honest. It’s everything you’d hope, isn’t in? – I was going to say, yeah. – Well, I have to say,
the chain’s a bit dirty. – [Matt] Not much to– – [Si] But you need to scrub it off a bit. – Not much topping that,
it’s better than your shades. Okay, run number two. I get to go on that one. (imitating beeping) – Go on, go on.
– That was quick. That’s not seconds.
– First time, you’re in. Go on, three is enough. – Tell you what, first
impressions, very positive. (imitating beeping) – He’s in! Here we go. Run number two and a quick bike swap. So that we haven’t altered
the bike spec at all, we’re using PowerTap P1 pedals
to monitor power output, as well as just going full gas. Another difference between the two is that while the
Dura-Ace of the super bike has a power meter option, 105 doesn’t. As we mentioned, the
Endurace is really light, particularly for the price. The frame is about 1390 grams, which is only about 300
grams more than the Aeroad. (energetic music) – Whose idea was it to do max effort? (heavy breathing) Terrible idea. (heavy breathing) There he is. Super. Right, well, leaving aside
the fun factor for the ride– – It was fun?
– Yeah. What of the results, Matt? Let’s get straight in there. – [Matt] Well, 10 seconds
quicker on this bike, but– – [Si] 10 seconds. – But for pretty much the same power. So not much, isn’t it? – No, well, to be fair, this one, this one, I, was even closer. Eight seconds faster on the Aeroad. – [Matt] Eight seconds,
that’s not much at all though. – [Si] No, it’s not. – [Matt] Wow. – I mean, to a certain extent,
we can’t be too surprised, because a climb that steep doesn’t really play to the advantages of
our particular super bike. And the weight difference of 1.5 kilos, that’s not the be-all and end-all, is it? That’s probably what’s
made the difference, a shade of 10 seconds or eight seconds. And you know, the other thing that the can come into
play, really, are the gears. But actually the difference
in performance, really, between Endurace and 105
is quite slight, isn’t it? – It is, well, the first thing to mention, of course, is that 105 is a bit heavier. So that’s–
– Fair enough. – So that’s one of the
contributing factors for this bike being heavier. But from a performance perspective, there’s not much separating them at all. There’s 22 gears. They’ve got a similar
array of ramps and pins. Now, the main difference in relation to separating the price points is the materials used and also the manufacturing process as well. – The only other thing that I noticed, and I don’t think it
affected the performance, just perhaps the fun factor
slightly, was just the position. It’s just a little bit more
cramped on the mid-range bike. But I could’ve sorted that out with a swap of the stem,
which wouldn’t cost much. Drop it 10 mil, get an
extra 20 mil longer stem, and that would’ve meant that I probably felt a lot more comfortable. But that’s just what I’m
used to, I guess, as well. – Yeah, I mean, I felt
exactly the same thing. And remember I said I spent
most of the time sat down? I must’ve been, when I got out of the saddle on the mid-range bike, it didn’t feel quite as comfortable. But it felt pretty efficient, sat down. Whereas on this one, I was
out of the saddle a lot more. It just felt far more efficient. But again, same power
but 10 seconds quicker. So not much at all to call it, mate. – Right then, mate, challenge
number two is calling. – Break time.
– No, braking time. Yeah, sorry, not break time. On to challenge number two, braking. Last time the might of the disc brakes versus old, flexy rim brakes, paired with some slightly
ropy wheels, was no contest. In fact, the stopping
distance was almost doubled. – [Matt] What though, when
you have a good set of wheels with a machined braking surface and a really solid set of rim brakes? – The test is a simple one. We ride at 40 kilometers per hour, and then when we hit this
line, we jam the brakes on. Just how long does it take
these bikes to slow down? Run number one is going to be this Canyon Endurace mid-range bike. And on it, we’ve got
Shimano 105 rim brakes. The caliper itself is
made out of aluminum, meaning that it is light
and it’s also stiff. And that’s the really important part, ’cause it means that the braking force exerted by your fingers is
transferred through the cable and then directly into the pads, and therefore onto the
rim, slowing you down. With a flexier caliper,
although your power does still eventually get to the rim, the flex in the caliper means that you don’t have quite as much control or as much feel over what is
happening with the brakes. The other factor that
should help this bike slow down quickly is the wheels. So we’ve got Mavic Aksiums on here, that again, made out of aluminum. They’ve got a CNC machined brake track. And that means it’s
almost a perfect surface for those brake pads to grab onto. (energetic music) Run number two, disc brakes. Now, not much can be
said about disc brakes that has not been said before. Inside the brake line
we’ve got hydraulic fluid, as opposed to a steel cable. So that improves the responsiveness
of them even further. And while those Mavic rims are
very nicely machined indeed, so too are our disc rotors. And whereas with the rim
brakes we’ve just got rubber pads being squished against them, the pads inside the disc brake are much, much harder non-rubber compound. So again, that improves
the responsiveness. And while we might not need all the power that these brakes offer, what we will take advantage
of is the extra modulation that allows us to use that
power more effectively. (energetic music) Well, almost identical. Has that taken us by surprise? Not particularly, actually,
it has to be said, because we know that the brakes on the mid-range bike are fantastic. And actually, disc brakes only really come into their own in the wet. And thank goodness today is not wet, because unlike disc brakes, GCN presenters do not tend to
come into our own in the wet. Now, there is also a slightly funny thing here we’ve got to mention, in that a mid-range bike is almost always going to come with aluminum rims on there, which tend to offer better braking performance than carbon ones. Not always, some carbon rims
are on a par with aluminum. But there could’ve been
a situation here where, were our super bike to
have had rim brakes, it may actually have performed worse in this test than our mid-range bike. That said, a Dura-Ace rim brake caliper would offer better
modulation than a 105 one. And particularly, if you’re able to go for the direct mount option, which means that it bolts onto your frame via two bolts instead of one. That stiffens it up even further. – Right then, so far, so good. The difference between the mid-range bike and super bike is pretty small. But will the tables turn, now
the speed’s about to go up? Test number three, it’s the descent. Unlike the cheap bike before,
there’s not going to be too much of an advantage
with braking here. But we’ve yet to mention the
trump card of the super bike. And like its name suggests, the Aeroad, well, it’s aerodynamic. – Not all super bikes are
going to have that strength, but then, we chose this one
precisely because it does. The Shimano C40 wheels
should save a chunk of time. So the deeper rim on
there means that it causes less turbulence as it
passes through the air. And that’s helped by the wider profile, and what’s called its toroidal shape. Now, because it’s made
out of carbon fiber, it’s still super-lightweight. Were it to be made out of
aluminum, like those rims, then it would probably weigh a ton. Now, you can, of course, stick
those wheels into any bike. But harder to swap are the aerodynamic handlebar and stem on here. But then even more intrinsic to the Aeroad are the very shapes of the
tubes that make up the frame. And they are designed
to cut through the air. (cheering) (energetic music) Well, just like last time, it is tough to truly put two bikes through their paces
downhill on an open road without an unduly high risk
of serious injury or death. But nevertheless, once again
the Aeroad steals a victory. Why, well, we can only guess. But the aforementioned aerodynamics will likely be playing a role, and the increased modulation of the discs also instilled a greater
feeling of confidence in us, meaning that we were able
to brake later and harder. It’s challenge number
four, and it’s crunch time. You remember this? It’s the time trial. Completely flat course, out and back. And I suspect that just as when we put our bargain bucket bike
against a super bike, this one is going to totally crush it. Because aerodynamics are even more important than people think. And that bike is aero,
and this one is not. – And I get to go on this one first. – You do make it look aero, mate. – It does, look at that. It’s just built for speed, isn’t it? – Depends who’s riding it. No, actually, it doesn’t. It’s built for speed, no
matter who’s riding it. – Thanks mate, yeah. (imitating beeping) – [Si] You should’ve held me up, actually. – Go on, Si. (energetic music) (imitating beeping) (energetic music) – Around 300, kept it. 8:39 was the time. God, bit rusty there, mate. Felt fast.
– Yeah. – Was so fast, what of yours? – It felt really good, actually. It’s got to be said, it’s a
world away from that cheap bike. Like it feels fast,
like a proper road bike. But I just have a feeling
it’s just going to be, just not quite as quick as that one. – No, I mean, this, like
I said, it’s really comfy. The only thing that’s wrong with it is the engine at the moment. But no, it certainly felt as quick as I could push it, anyway, mate. – Quick change and then–
– Round two, yeah. Give it another nudge. Super bike time for you, okay. Three, two, one. (imitating beeping) (energetic music) Well, I’m glad that’s over. – [Si] Yeah, so we got to find somewhere for a coffee and a piece of cake, get through these results. – [Matt] Perfecto. – You know what, Matt. I’m not entirely sure what to think here. That mid-range bike clearly represents such great performance for the price. It’s kind of leaving me wondering exactly what it is about a
super bike that’s so super. – Well, one’s thing for certain, Si. It’s good news, because after our cheap bike V super bike test, we were just left a little bit concerned at the cavernous gap in performance. And it’s actually reassuring to know that cycling isn’t the
preserve of the super-rich. And maybe we’re not as elitist as a lot of people previously thought. – Yeah, that is right, isn’t it, actually? Because while there’s nothing stopping the rider of our mega-cheap
eBay bike from having fun, the bike was seemingly
stopping us from riding fast. Whereas in this case, that mid-range bike is super good fun and it is
pretty darn fast as well. I mean, the frame is
what, 400 grams heavier. The groupset behaves flawlessly. And even when we try
and put it to the sword, aerodynamically, it
wasn’t that far behind. – [Matt] It’s a lot of extra money for relatively minor performance gains. Yet just the feel of it
is far more engaging. It’s more agile, it’s more responsive. It’s like it’s willing you on. – At this point, I suspect that you are going to be split on this. For many of you, this is just a sign that you do indeed get minimal return for your extra investment
when you buy a super bike. It is, of course,
predominantly about the rider. And actually, you probably think that Matt’s previous statement
is just a bit fluffy. Sorry, Matt, it’s true. But then for many of you, you’re going to agree
wholeheartedly with Matt. And that, yes, you can’t actually explain the difference between these
two bikes with stopwatch alone. Can you quantify just what makes that super bike so rewarding to ride? – Well clearly, Si, there has to be something tangible that
distinguishes super bikes, because many people are
lucky enough to own them. And if that wasn’t the
case, they wouldn’t. Now, us as cyclists, it’s a fact, have become far more attuned at noticing very small differences. So drop your tire pressure, for example, by 20 PSI, and you’ll know about it. Drop your saddle height by two mil and it’s going to drive you insane. So as long as there’s going to be a measurable difference,
you’ll know about it. So whether it’s downhill,
whether it’s on a climb, whether it’s braking, or
whether it’s on the flat. It’s no surprise that we
can still perceive that. – Yeah, that is true, actually, isn’t it, when you think about it. ‘Cause if you extrapolate
out our short tests, in percentage terms, on
the climb, it was 2%. On the TT, it was 4%. So over an hour’s ride,
that would then be what, two and a half minutes, roughly? And so on a two hour
ride, that’s five minutes. Quick maths there. And you would definitely
notice if you got to the cafe five minutes earlier, wouldn’t you? – [Matt] So would your mates as well. – That’s a good point, actually. And not only that, you’d also have to buy another coffee, wouldn’t you? But I still can’t get
away from the fact that that Endurace gives you so
much bike for the money. I mean, in terms of groupset alone, when the bikes that we were
racing on not 10 years ago, the Dura-Ace, I don’t think
was as good as this 105. I mean, it was 10-speed, this is 11-speed. The shifters were a lot bulkier. Like, that’s just amazing. That costs a grand and you
could race on it brilliantly. – I mean, there’s no doubt the difference between that eBay bike and
the mid-range bike is vast. And we should also throw in another slight curveball when buying a super bike. Although it performs
better in every regard, spending that bit more money also allows you to tailor the bike. Now, 7.2 kilograms is pretty light. You could buy one for five
kilograms and climb faster. – Yeah, you could. Or actually, you swap out the wheels on that one for deeper ones, and you could go even faster on the flats and on descents as well. So having more money does allow
you more choice, doesn’t it? – But that still leaves plenty of room to go further and find
value in a super bike. Yeah, the differences aren’t that big, but they’re still
significant and measurable. And that doesn’t even take into account the kind of unquantifiable
side of things as well. – Yeah, I mean, like we said, you get to the cafe five minutes earlier. That’s measurable and
significant, isn’t it? – Definitely. – Measurable in terms of
time and also finances, ’cause you got to fund
that extra flat white. – And probably caffeine
dehydration on top of that as well. – Yeah, complex topic. Now, I would imagine that this is going to stir up quite a bit of debate. So if you are not in the
comments section already, please head down there and let us know what you think on this subject. Do you feel that there
isn’t enough of a difference between a mid-range bike and super bike to justify that extra expense, or do you feel that you can easily justify a super bike if you can afford one? Make sure you let us know. – Yeah, now, if you want
just a little bit more of a detailed look at this very subject, why not watch our geek edition over on the tech channel to find out? – Yeah.

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