As road bike technology has changed in the last several years, so too has the idea of what a road bike is. The advent of the road disc brake has allowed designers to fit wider, tubeless tyres, while suspension and the way carbon fibre is manipulated means lightweight frames can be enjoyed on the roughest farm tracks.
With that in mind, the six bikes in our main group test explore the new capabilities in the road bike market, all offering comfort and control-boosting, ride-expanding, puncture-saving, weather-beating advantages while still being fast enough to be properly flat-out fun.
Elsewhere, senior technical editor Warren Rossiter fulfils a lifetime ambition of riding a custom-built titanium bike, collaborating with US Ti frame builder Lynskey on its Helix model. We’ve also got First Ride reviews of the Colnago Concept, Kinesis Aithein EVO, Canyon Inflite CF SLX 9.0 and Calibre Lost Lad, while the Cube Attain GTC SLX Disc and De Rosa Vega 105 go head to head.
In New Gear we test out the Thule EasyFold XT rack, Killer KS1 shoes, SRAM Red Quarq DZero, Abus GameChanger helmet and Rudy Project Sintryx sunglasses, while Pirelli and Hutchinson tyres go head to head. We take a look the products, indoors and out, for keeping you fit this winter, with clothing, turbo trainers, apps and training software to suit all budgets, and test 18 multi-tools.
In features, we look at the small changes you can make that pay big dividends, from bike fit fixes to dietary changes and training tweaks. We get the lowdown on the top 10 hardest sub-100km rides in the opinion of a man who ought to know: 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs author Simon Warren. And we head to Morocco’s Atlas Mountains to ride HotChillee’s new gravel event.
In this month’s Spin we examine how we can embrace training video games like Zwift, with caveats; we share three routes in Halifax; hear from soprano Laura Wright on her bumper charity cycling challenge in 2018; and look at why cyclists make better partners.
In Training Camp we have advice on how to ride in crosswinds like pro Greg Van Avermaet; discover why Russell Downing enjoys riding in the Lincolnshire Wolds; and share advice on keeping your hamstrings healthy; how coffee is a performance enhancer and how cycling changed Marcos Lopez’s life.
And Ned Boulting, as ever, gets the Final Word, predicting 2018’s major stories, with tongue wedged firmly in cheek.
As a bonus, we’ve got a free 36-page guide to six of the best rides in Europe, featuring Majorca, Catalonia, the French and Swiss Alps and the Ride Across Portugal.