Specialized Shiv Elite

The Draw: Absolute wind-beater

In the under-$5K category, Specialized’s Shiv Elite (which has remained largely unchanged since last year) is a great way to get into an excellent frame with room to build up the components. Though it only boasts a 105 rear derailleur and other lower-end componentry, the true value in this setup is the incredibly aero frameset that slices through headwinds and performs surprisingly well in gusty crosswinds. In fact, the Shiv Elite uses a similar frame shape as the older high-end S-Works Shiv. Aside from a slightly rougher ride than other bikes in this range (likely due to the depth of the carbon sections), the Shiv Elite’s excellent straight-line handling and snappy response make it a fine choice for all distances. Invest in a set of race wheels, and this bike will cruise through any course.

19.89 lbs. (size large)