Best for Beginner Racers

Cannondale CAAD10 4 Rival

Here's a secret Cannondale probably doesn't want you to know: Its CAAD10 line is every bit the racehorse its high-end carbon Evo rigs are. Weighing 1,150 grams, the CAAD10's frame is lighter than many expensive carbon competitors, while its aluminum construction is stiff and incredibly responsive. We loved specs like the light FSA cranks and the plush Prologo saddle, but the flattened seat and chain stays were what kept us pedaling happily. [$1,950; cannondale.com]