Perhaps you've looked long and hard at road bikes in the past and thought, nah. And perhaps that thought took hold as you ran an eyeball over the cruel curves of the hyper-efficient drop handlebars on most models. If so, meet Dr. Dew. With a flat handlebar providing a comfortable, upright riding position, an ultra-light aluminum frame, and high-pressure tires driven by fast road-bike gearing, the good doctor suffers from a touch of multiple personality disorder. Maybe he's confused, but once you slide into the saddle and realize that speed and comfort need not be mutually exclusive, you certainly won't be.


SPECIALIZED ALLEZ A1
Who should buy it: Value-conscious riders in hilly terrain
$760; (408) 779-6229 or www.specialized.com

According to a rather sadistic tradition, road bikes have long been equipped with only two front chainrings. Two is plenty for flat terrain, or especially fit riders, but for the rest of us, it's one short of fun. That's why Specialized's Allez A1 is outfitted with a third, smaller front chainring, which turns it into a rolling mountain goat when the tarmac tilts skyward. Thanks to an aluminum frame, the Allez has a light, frisky feel, though it's not terribly forgiving over small bumps. The Shimano Tiagra shifting components lack the ultra-precise feel of their pricier cousins, but the difference in performance is far slimmer than the difference in price.

TREK 5200 (above)
Who should buy it: Serious riders looking for a competitive edge
$2,699 (available with a triple crank for $30 more); (920) 478-4678 or www.trekbikes.com

Sure, you want to ride Lance's bike. We all do. But Lance's bike costs nearly five grand. Would you settle for the func-