It’s that time of year again. The time where we bring together the best bikes on the market, ride them, then ride them some more, whittling them down over months and thousands of miles until we have just one: our 2017 Bike of the Year.
Competition was stiffer than ever, with full-on race machines, endurance workhorses, built-in suspension and, more than ever, bikes with disc brakes all in the mix.
There are 25 bikes from 25 different brands, all competing for the top prize — and yes, you’re going to have to go out and buy the mag to find out who got it.
While the test dominates the new issue — there are 38 pages of it! — there’s plenty more besides in a monster magazine. There are reviews of Zipp’s 454 NSW wheels, the Bont Vaypor+ shoes and the upgrade kit to SRAM’s top-end Red eTap WiFli groupset. There’s also a grouptest of the best bike bags available today.
In Features there are tips on how to tackle your first hundred mile sportive, while for those who like their cycling a bit more wild, there’s an introduction to bikepacking — the 21st century take on touring. We also find an answer to the age-old question of where it’s best to lose weight — your body or your bike.
In Big Ride we celebrate track cycling, as the World Championships approach, by riding between the Manchester and Derby velodromes with Rob Hayles and through a region that’s rather nice for road cycling, the Peak District.
In How To there are tips on how to enjoy the benefits of drafting, as well what to do when riding into a headwind. And in The Hub, we hear from F1’s newest star Stoffel Vandoorne on his love of cycling (he is Belgian, the odds were high), and wonder if Britain’s gold medal haul will continue with the offspring of golden couple Jason and Laura Kenny. And having the final word as ever is Ned Boulting, who’s sharing something that many Cycling Plus staffers could relate to: his descending demons.
Our free gift this issue is a 36-page guide to the best rides in Britain, featuring reports from Kintyre, Shetland, the Lake District and Pembrokeshire.