When it comes to road bikes, the mantra among weekend warriors is invariably 'lighter, faster and more expensive, please', with prices routinely pushing into eyebrow-raising five-figure territory.
Now you can add "slipperier" to your lexicon, because a range of 'aero' bikes is building the cutting-edge tech of professional cycling's eye-wateringly expensive time trial machines into more accessible and (relatively) more affordable road bikes.
The latest is called the 'Heroin', and it achieves world-leading aerodynamics due to a unique 'honeycomb' skin applied to sections of the frame most exposed to air resistance.
According to the company, the Heroin Project, wind tunnel testing has shown an almost 10 per cent boost in aerodynamic performance at just under 20 km/h, "providing the sensation of constant acceleration".
The bike is the brainchild of French entrepreneur Marc Simoncini, whose diverse background includes being the founder of Meetic, Europe's biggest dating website, and an angel investor for young start-ups.
The multi-billionaire chose the name Heroin because "it's a pure, rare product that gives so much pleasure that you can't give it up".
The bike is the product of two cycling-obsessed nations; France and Italy. Designed and assembled in France, the featherweight (750-gram) monocoque frame was hand-built by Italian craftsmen using high-end modulus carbon fibre that is usually reserved for the aerospace industry. The result is a brilliant stiffness/weight ratio, in addition to air-cheating aerodynamics.
Other features include 390 gram rims, FSA headset, asymmetrical rear stays, and a built in Rotor brand crank with power meter. Surprisingly, instead of saluting its Euro heritage and opting for an Italian-sourced Campagnolo electronic groupset, Heroin straps on ultra-reliable Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifters.
You're unlikely to see another Heroin pull up beside you in the peloton; there are only 349 available worldwide. Each is individually numbered, tuned to the rider's specifications, and comes with a lifetime guarantee (although we'd recommend reading the small print).
The complete bike tips the scales at just under 6.5 kilograms, meaning it is too light to legally race in any Union Cycliste Internationale events (the minimum is 6.8 kilograms) unless you add some ballast to the frame (and no, we don't mean a motor). However, seeing as the Heroin is unlikely to be raced anywhere but from home to the café, it shouldn't be a problem.
The Heroin will set you back a rather weighty 14,900 Euros ($22,700) and is available directly from the showroom on Rue Saint Roch, Paris, or online at Heroin.
Check out our gallery above of the Heroin, plus?other sexy?aero-focused bikes currently on the market.?