The January issue of Cycling Plus has your festive period and new year covered

The best bikes, German brands, winter clothing, turbo trainers, power meters vs heart rate monitors… and a free gear guide!

It’s that time of year where the smell of glühwein and bratwurst fill our town centres, and this month Cycling Plus gets its own fix of Germany. Our main bike test pits six German brands against each other, including bikes from Canyon, Focus, Cube and Storck.

They have a reputation for unflashy efficiency, but is it deserved and, more importantly, who comes out on top? There are also new bikes from Van Nicholas, Kona, Marin, Verenti and Genesis, plus long-term reviews on the Santa Cruz Stigmata and Trek 920.

While it’s not officially winter, good luck wearing anything other than the most robust winter clothing just now. With that in mind, we test eight softshell jackets and bib tights. And if this horrid weather really is beyond your limits of acceptability, we review 12 turbo trainers, from the Team Sky-endorsed Wahoo Kickr to the Tacx Satori Smart.

Turning to features, we look at whether you really need a power meter in 2015 – can the humble heart-rate monitor still be effective? Deputy editor Paul Robson finally reports back from August’s 1,200km Paris-Brest-Paris, while Velominati’s ‘The Rules’ are put under scrutiny as we let David Millar loose on them. And have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a pro for a day? We hooked up with One Pro Cycling for the day at L’Etape London in September to see if we had what it took.

Elsewhere, a helmet camera ‘vigilante’ responds to a recent article of ours that was critical of them and we chat to MotoGP star Bradley Smith, a super keen rider who’s pals with Mark Cavendish.

In ‘How to…’ we look at the minefield that is eating over the festive period by speaking to British Cycling nutritionist Nigel Mitchell and suggest some New Year’s resolutions that you might just stick to.

We also take a trip to the Italian Alps to ride the Granfondo Stelvio Santini, look ahead to the Ride Across Britain sportive and preview five must-do sportives at home in 2016.

Last but certainly not least in big mag is Ned Boulting. With cycling off our screens it’s the time of year where Ned pops up presenting obscure sports like darts, but cycling is still very much on his agenda. This month he reports from China from on their most unlikely revolution: e-bikes.

And if that’s not enough, and heaven knows it should be, we have a 34-page ‘Gear Guide’ supplement – the wheels, helmets, clothing and components to get excited about next year. The January issue of Cycling Plus is in the shops now!

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This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

After early cycling flirtations with the Tour de France on childhood holidays, John Whitney fell for it hook, line and sinker in his mid-20s as an escape from the more sedate sports of his youth. As a classically trained news reporter, he snagged his dream job as a cycling writer straight out of college and is now fully immersed in the industry and wouldn't have it any other way.
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