2017 has been a really weird year — but luckily we still got to ride bikes. Here are five things that moved the needle for me on two wheels.
- How this engineering student has reinvented the wheel
- The 2018 Specialized Tarmac Pro — green, purple, sparkly, lovely
- This is why drop bars sometimes suck
Road cycling is a ridiculously conservative sport that needs brands willing to do things a bit differently, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 3T comes up with next.
- $3,800 / €3,800
- Get the 3T Strada frameset at Merlin Cycles
Whyte S-150C WORKS
It’s a big bouncy bike with bars that are comically wide for such a fun-sized human, and I absolutely loved it.
My colleagues have been banging on about the merits of long bikes for ages and the Whyte has convinced me that there’s really something there.
The medium S-150C has a healthy 458.5mm of reach and it’s just incredibly confidence-inspiring having that much bike in front of you. The sense of security doesn’t detract from the fun at all, it just makes you braver.
It didn’t hurt that I was riding the incredibly Gucci WORKS-spec model which is a superbike by any measure, but I fear it’s left me utterly ruined for all other mountain bikes. Damn.
Canyon Endurace AL
It’s got a great frame and a pretty flawless spec, but more importantly it’s a genuinely excellent ride.
- Buy now from Canyon
Focus Project Y
Focus’ super-light-for-an-e-bike Project Y is interesting because it feels like the designers set out to expand the capabilities of a normal bike, rather than creating an entirely new thing that awkwardly sits somewhere between a pushbike and a motorcycle.
At a claimed 12.5kg for a medium, the Project Y is within spitting distance of a conventional touring bike, and I like the idea that electric assistance could act as a range extender and helping hand, rather than defining the whole riding experience.
I’m also believe that anything that gets more people on two wheels is a net benefit to the rest of us. There’s safety in numbers on the roads…
Shimano Ultegra R8000
It’s slightly ironic to be including this as I’ve yet to actually ride the mechanical version of the latest Ultegra groupset (the Specialized Tarmac Pro I have on test right now is equipped with R8050 Di2) but it makes the list because it’s something I’m actually excited about.
Dura-Ace is the Shimano groupset we all lust over because by its very nature, it’s the best. But Ultegra is somehow more impressive because it offers 99 percent of the performance for a lot less money.
My colleague Jack Luke awarded R8000 five whole stars in his in-depth review and I’m looking forward to spending some time on the new groupset in the coming year.
- £1,099 / $1,475
- Get your own Ultegra R8000 groupset at Merlin Cycles