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It’s been a testing time…

| Cycling Plus | 01/03/2013 09:59am

Today sees the April issue – number 273 – of Cycling Plus hit the shops. And it’s not just any issue – it’s our Bike of the Year Issue! This year we’ve put 40 – yes 40 – brilliant road bikes through their paces…

Obviously I want to maintain a tiny bit of suspense so I’m not going to tell you which bike won – you can find out which ones were in the mix here – but suffice to say it is a belter. In fact, all 40 of the bikes were excellent. Of course, you’d expect that as we asked each manufacturer to submit the bikes in the £1500-2000 price bracket that they were most proud of. There’s not a bad bike among them. Actually there’s not a bike among them that isn’t really, really good. Each one of the machines we tested will make a cyclist somewhere incredibly happy!

Of course, I realise that there are a few sceptical types out there who will be thinking that the top bikes have only achieved their lofty positions because their builders pay us a lot of money. Let me assure you that the brown envelopes stuffed with used notes, roast swan suppers and gold-plated mini-pumps had no influence on the judging process… In all seriousness, though, the bikes were judged purely on their riding/kit/value for money merits and those alone.

We’re also likely to be asked why no aluminium and why are so so many of the bikes running Shimano 105? Well, first we love non-carbon bikes here and there’s no carbon-only conspiracy. The bikes we tested for the Award were chosen in consultation with the brands – we went to them with an idea of what we felt were their standout bikes in the £1500-2000 price range and allowed them to nominate the bikes they wanted us to consider – that’s why a couple of brands sent two. Truth be told we did have one aluminium bike in the mix. It was excellent but sadly the weak pound meant that its price ended up too far outside the £2k upper limit for inclusion.

As for 105? Well that’s pretty much the standard for bikes in this price range. Some builders are speccing Di2 here but they’re few and far between, and ampag and SRAM simply aren’t specced as standard as many people would like.

Which brings me to the riding… Credit has to go to Senior Technical Editor Warren Rossiter. Woz has barely been seen in the office – or at home – in the last four months. Ably assisted by, among others, Tech Writer Robin Wilmott and Workshop Manager George Ramelkamp, Warren has put thousands of miles into our test bikes. They’ve battled through some dreadful weather and several bouts of man-flu to bring you this mega-test. Sure, Mrs R barely recognises her husband, but at least we got our Awards Issue!

While we’ve unashamedly handed over much of the magazine to our Bike of the Year feature there is, of course, lots more to get your teeth into. First up there’s a brilliant free gift. Okay, we don’t recommend that you get your teeth into our ZipVit waterproof phone wallet, but you can at least chew on some of their great energy products using the discount card inside! Words-wise we’ve got a feature that gets behind the acronyms and numbers of carbon fibre; training sessions that are guaranteed to harden you up; a stunning ride in the Swiss Alps and – we think – a positive spin on the scandals engulfing professional cycling.

You’ll find Cycling Plus in all good newsagents and supermarkets or you can subscribe here. Our digital edition for iPad and Kindle Fire (search Cycling Plus on Newsstand)  includes bonus video and 360˚ photography! You can also find us on Google Play

 

 

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