For that much money, you can get a great bike from pretty much any manufacturer. But just like clothes and shoes, it does not mean every model will fit you and your purposes equally. Bike fit >> looks, components. Also, I would recommend you get a professional bike fit with the new bike. However, keep in mind that with any new bike, you will need to spend some extra money on new pedals and probably a new saddle. Perhaps you would also want other handle bars.
You wrote you want something racy and you do in fact race. That narrows down your choices as far as geometry go. But IMHO you still need to decide whether you want an aero bike or not.
You can afford a proper aero bike with your budget. In case you want something more exotic, you could go for a 3T Strada Pro. Currently, the Pro config costs about $4,100, which I think is a bargain, and you get a great, great aero bike. I test rode the more expensive Strada, and this thing is a rocket ship. Plus, I loved the seating position (but that is a matter of preference). However, if you like to climb and 50:36 is not easy enough a gear — although you could change the gearing. But other manufacturers will have entry- to mid-level aero bikes for $5000, too.
On the other end you have bikes like Cannondale’s SuperSix or BMC’s Teammachine. Personally I test rode both, and the BMC is just sublime that is right in the sweet spot of raciness, comfort, agility and speed. But probably you will have a hard time finding one for a test ride. (My local shop sells BMC.) But honestly, “any” manufacturer makes a version of those, and if you don’t have any clear preferences, it is probably better that you test ride a few bikes first.
A third option is that you go for a cheaper frame (e. g. Cannondale’s venerable CAAD12 or Specialized’s Allez) and get a great set of carbon wheels from the start.
Get a red one. I have a red one and it’s great.
You pretty much have your choice of bikes at that price point, start with a fit session then start looking at bikes that best fit you and your needs instead of starting with a brand and hoping it fits you properly
I have a BMC Teammachine and really enjoy it although the stack is a little higher than I’d like. Always been jealous of the Wilier and Factor bikes I come across. Might not get into a racier disc version for $5k though.
I agree with getting a fit at a shop with a tech that’s reputable.
There’s also the Strada Due for a 2x setup. And I agree—Stradas are unreal.
This one is on my list! It got some bad marks for handling? Did you feel it handled like a race bike? Meaning it cornered fast and responded to inputs quickly?
Allez Sprint Comp Disk w/ a set of ENVE 7.8 wheels.
The CX bike the Retul fitter tells you to buy, lol.
So many great options.
First, personally I’d try and find a shop you like, has a reputation for being honest and has good mechanics. Ultimately for me the mechanics are the most important and have helped me a ton over the years. They know how to fix things but they also know what works and holds up well. Also, make sure the shop has a reputable fitter.
Second is narrowing down a little what you want. If it’s racy - do you want an all out aero bike, a light climbing bike, or some combo of the two. When I built my last road bike I wanted to go light but also disc brakes were a must-have. Ended up going with Emonda SLR and its been perfect.
A lot of shops, especially bigger ones, will have a demo fleet. Take advantage of it and get a few rides in. This will tell you a lot. 5k is a lot of money, so you want to make the best possible informed decision.
Emonda SLR paired with some race wheels is about as good as it gets. Especially for road racing. Rocket ship.
I love my TamMachine, though it’s old enough that it won’t fit 25mm tires in the rear.
I would get two different bikes for approximately $2,500 each.
I ride a 2017 Giant TCR Pro Disc and 2019 Specialized Venge Pro. The new 2019 versions of the Propel, TCR, or Defy are awesome and include dual sided power meters on Ultegra level bikes. Similar level build costs a bit more with Specialized.
If you want aero, look at the Propel or a used Venge Vias. All-round you’re looking at Tarmac or TCR. Endurance Roubaix or Defy.
There are a lot of other great choices out there from many other builders but I don’t have regrets with any of three Giant bikes I’ve owned or with my Specialized.
I don’t have a whole lot to compare it against, but yeah, in my opinion it handles like a race bike. There’s a noticeable quickness to the steering compared to my other bike that has ‘endurance’ geometry anyway. The only other ‘race’ bike I’ve had any time on is the Tarmac SL4 (rented one in Mallorca) and the XR3 certainly handles as well. It has (I think) very similar geometry to the old XR2 and pros managed to win plenty of races on that bike! Oh and the Countervail thing they add to the frame is pure witchcraft. It’s a really smooth ride!
I’m a firm believer in always taking bike reviews with a pinch of salt. Once you get above a certain price point there aren’t really any terrible bikes. Find one which a) fits well and b) makes you want to ride it every time you look at it!
Mine’s a 2016 and 25s fit, haven’t tried 28s but I don’t think they’ll fit. Happen to fit a 51 cm? Buy my frame?
I didn‘t test the handling, because the distributor here in Japan had decided to bolt on mechanical DuraAce Di2 and mechanical disc brakes. I have had no prior experience with mechanical disc brakes, but these were so horrible that the sales person at the bike shop warned me no less than three times that the brakes weren‘t great. So I didn‘t want to try my luck with any downhills and $10k worth of bike parts under my rear end. (In case that makes you worried about getting a disc brake-equipped bike, don‘t. I have disc brakes on my road and mountain bikes, and they work great.) Since going uphill would have meant going downhill, I didn‘t try that. But honestly, I don‘t think I would have had any big surprises here: yes, the bike is heavier than a non-aero bike, including the 60 mm wheels, but most studies show that the break even point between an aero bike and a lighter traditional bike is a steeper gradient than most people think.
But at least in that limited capacity the handling was great, it felt very natural and I didn‘t have to think about too much. I might test the Strada again, because I felt it necessary to contact 3T’s customer support, and they said they built up another bike (unfortunately size S, so the fit won’t be ideal) that took my criticism into account (I reckon that means it comes with hydraulic disc brakes now). Then I’ll try going up- and downhill.
Regarding handling, the BMC Teammachine handled the downhill sections like a peach, I was carving down narrow turns on one of the local climbs and I had tons of fun.
I think this is important to keep in mind: perhaps one bike is better than the other, but I think it is hard to find a terrible bike.
Nah, I’m attached to this one.
Test ride one of these…
I love my Advanced SL 0! Take your time and enjoy the process! Good luck!
Try the Trek Émonda ALR with disc brakes. I have a previous years model with rim brakes. It’s 7.2kgs with pedals and cages, corners like a champ, and rides pretty well for an aluminum bike. The welds are so pretty too.