4 Best Road Bikes For Climbing

You want a road bike that makes climbing easy? There ain't no such thing. But these bikes may help.


Aaron Borrill, Leah Flickinger |

Merida Scultura 6000

If you’re looking for a road bike that’s just as fast up the climbs as it is on the flats, there’s nothing quite like the Merida Scultura. The Scultura range is pretty comprehensive, in that it offers frames fabricated from both carbon and alloy. The company also offers a disc option, guaranteeing something for everyone.

The model pictured here, however, is the Scultura 6000 – a carbon-fibre rocket laced with all the go-faster attributes needed to overcome gravity when you need them the most. The carbon-fibre lay-up on this particular bike has been reworked to increase overall stiffness, while still retaining a certain level of compliance for added comfort.

Spec-wise, it benefits from a complete Ultegra groupset, meaning everything from the brakes to the transmission is taken care of by Shimano. As such, it’s fitted with a rather compact 50/34T front and 11-28T rear drivetrain, which will benefit those who struggle with steep gradients. Despite the gearing, it’s a super-fast machine, having borrowed some aero-tech from its Reacto big brother to make it a little more slippery through the air.

PRICE: R35 999
GET IT NOW: merida-bikes.com

Cannondale SuperSix Evo Ultegra

cannondale supersix

The Cannondale SuperSix is arguably one of the most iconic bikes in the world; and it’s now available in an even wider spread of models, from the most expensive Black Inc. and hi-mod choices, to the standard Evo and women’s models – even a disc option. While the hi-mod and standard SuperSix Evo differ in materials, the frames share matching technology and geometry.

RELATED: Cannondale’s Race Rocket: SuperSix Evo 105

About frame geometry: subtle tweaks were carried out on last year’s model to make it lighter, stiffer, and a shade more aero. And along with a smaller-diameter 25.4mm seatpost (like the Synapse), the new Evo has a 21% improvement in compliance, according to Cannondale. But it’s the bike’s newfound ability to accommodate 28c tyres that makes it more desirable than ever before.

PRICE: R39 000
GET IT NOW: omnico.co.za

Specialized Tarmac Expert

specialized tarmac expert

The all-new Tarmac’s biggest attribute is its light weight; everything from paint to carbon construction was scrutinised, so as not to add any unnecessary grams. The result is a bike that’s 200g lighter than its predecessor – a 56cm frame tips the scales at a mere 733g!

Much of its feather-lightness stems from cutting-edge carbon layering techniques, as suggested and supervised by McLaren (yip, the F1 guys). The Tarmac underwent six months of rigorous wind-tunnel testing, and also benefits from six years’ worth of in-house aero knowledge.

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Structurally, the most notable changes are the dropped seat stays; and a wheel cut-out and an aero-style seat tube and seat post all do duty – undoubtedly drip-down technology from the Shiv TT, Venge ViAS and Roubaix.

PRICE: R60 000
GET IT NOW: specialized.com

Scott Addict 20

scott addict

Scott’s been at the forefront of road-bike innovation for 15 years. Between the super-lightweight Addict and the aerodynamic Foil, they’ve consistently offered excellent options for riders looking for any advantage possible.

The Addict 20 rides light – it’s a lively bike, fast on climbs and super-responsive devouring the flats. At the same time, the racy geometry sets you up to drill through corners and down descents. The frame takes 28c rubber; with the increased compliance in the rear triangle, bad roads or gravel are as enjoyable as silky-smooth bitumen.

It’s a stellar example of a road bike that combines the liveliness of its racing DNA with the versatility of exploring dirt. And a great buy for the serious rider who loves to race, but can’t say no to adventure.

PRICE: R32 990
GET IT NOW: scott-sports.com

*Prices were correct at time of publishing.

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