Storck Aernario Comp Shimano Ultegra Complete Road Bike - 2016

No concessions.

When considering Storck's impressive lineup of frames, it's difficult to designate one frame as being the true alpha. But, we'd be remiss if we denied the Aernario Comp Shimano Ultegra Complete Road Bike its position near the top tier of Storck's road lineup. The race-ready frame begs to be unleashed in the harrowing corners and tight lines of a criterium while its weight — relatively low for an "aero" frame — also suits it to long days of vertical gain. Of course, the Aernario Comp also exemplifies all of the other advantages of any bike with a Storck pedigree: an exceptional stiffness-to-weight ratio, aerodynamic shaping, and an enviable build kit.

The Aernario Comp features the same frame geometry as the pricier Pro and Platinum models, but it's constructed using a grade of Storck's unidirectional carbon fiber that requires a heavier layup than the grades used on its siblings. Though the Comp gains a few grams, it doesn't sacrifice strength, stiffness, or any of the vibration-dampening effects of Storck's lighter, more expensive options.

The frame's individual tubes are shaped according to Storck's Sectional Aerodynamic Tube Shapes design, which resembles a classic NACA aerodynamic profile that's slightly revised to shave valuable grams. Minimalists will appreciate the tubes' subtle shaping, which doesn't suggest an ostentatiously "aero" design upon first glance. Regardless of subtlety, though, Storck claims that the frame creates as much of an aerodynamic advantage as possible without resorting to more exaggerated frame lines. Aerodynamics also don't come at the cost of handling; the frame exhibits snappy, responsiveness over everything from wide shoulders on smooth, rolling tarmac, to harsh, weather-beaten switchbacks on nervous descents.

That responsive handling comes courtesy of a geometry that caters to the Euro-style, race-ready purists among us. At a time when endurance frame geometries are gaining considerable mainstream appeal, Storck once again makes no concessions to slackening angles with the Aernario Comp. As it has in the past, the frame continues to respond best to a rider who races it — not simply rides it — without hesitation and who takes advantage of the potential for absolute control that the aggressively low stack height and shorter wheelbase offer.

The Aernario still features a compact rear triangle and seatstays that join the seat tube at a lower point than on traditional designs, so it better distributes road noise throughout the frame. This design effectively dispels the notion that race frames and excessive harshness need to go hand-in-hand, and by supplementing the compact rear triangle with an oversized PressFit BB86 bottom bracket juncture, Storck ensures that the frame will experience far less flex for a more responsive ride.

The build kit featured here includes a full Shimano Ultegra 6800 drivetrain, and while it isn't the groupset you watch your favorite pros ride in the spring and summer, Ultegra now boasts enough trickle-down technology that it functions more effectively the peloton's Dura-Ace from just a few years ago. Ultimately, the groupset still calls upon a strong engine to truly put its power on display.

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