The Freedom To Explore
Road.cc Superbike of the Year Finalist

Words by Road.cc – January 12, 2017

We’ve reviewed a lot of superbikes here on road.cc over the past 12 months – cutting-edge bikes with huge price tags – and here are the very best.

How does a bike get onto our list? First, it has to have been reviewed on road.cc over the past year. If we’ve not had it in, it doesn’t go on. Simple.

Second, it has to have a price tag of over £3,500. That’s an arbitrary figure. We could have made the cut off £3,000, £4,000, or anything else, but we chose £3,500 this year.

titsIf a bike fulfils these first two criteria it’s up for consideration. Beyond that, it has to put in a serious impressive performance. We’re also looking for technical and engineering innovation and smart design features that lead to an improved performance out on the road. Tech for tech’s sake doesn’t count for anything, we’re all about the ride.

All of the bikes here have a little something extra too, something that elevates them above being just very good and into superbike status. Lots of bikes out there do their jobs very well, but the bikes below really make us want to keep coming back for more.

One thing we don’t take into account in the road.cc Superbike of the Year is value. This is a money-no-object category. If you’re interested in looking at value, click on the link to the full review at the end of each entry on our list.

In short, this is a rundown of the high-end bikes that have impressed us most during testing over the past year, with value taken out of the equation. With all that sorted, let’s get stuck in…

8. J.Laverack R J.ACK III £6,200

The new R J.ACK from young Rutland-based company J.Laverack combines the classic titanium appearance with a ride that is wonderfully smooth and entertaining when you up the pace.

You’ll soon notice that the R J.ACK is something special. Many words get slung about when people start rhapsodising about the virtues of titanium, the most frequent being ‘springy’. J.Laverack has produced a frame that retains the inherent liveliness of the material, but has increased the rigidity just enough to produce a very sharp-riding race bike. With the stout feeling amplified by the stiff Enve carbon fibre fork and oversized tubes, the result is a bike that feels alert and direct. But it also retains the smoothness that draws many cyclists away from carbon and aluminium to titanium.

It’s an exciting, fun and confidence-inspiring bike to ride. It has a ride quality that surpasses that of many carbon frames. Where good carbon frames can damp the road surface beneath you in a brutally efficient manner, titanium relays just enough of the surface while filtering out the harshness, to provide a lively and entertaining ride.

The wheels seem to follow the contours of the road surface rather than crashing in and out of dips. Nowhere is this better felt that on fast descents with a variety of road surfaces to deal with – it’s planted at high speed and feels secure through the bends.

It’s a bike that lets you really climb, sprint, chase, surge and plummet to your full potential. It promotes confidence, never getting nervous or twitchy. You can exploit its nimbleness through challenging corners, and the weight – albeit a small penalty over an equivalent carbon bike – doesn’t detract from the ride. Let’s face it, 7.5kg isn’t exactly heavy. And on the climbs, the stiff front end comes into play and really lets you lean on the handlebar and wrestle the R J.ACK up any steep gradient.

While it’s billed as a race bike, and it will surely suit performance-minded cyclists, it’s a better match for someone wanting a comfortable and smooth bike for tackling long distances rides.

Why it’s here:

A thoroughly enjoyable and fast riding titanium road bike from a new British bike brand.

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