How we chose our Road Bike of the Year 2021 winner

It’s taken months of testing and plenty of heated debate, but now our list of 32 has been whittled down to a final four – but which will become our ultimate bike of 2021?

Contenders for the BikeRadar Road Bike Of The Year 2021

With thousands of miles ridden on roads and gravel tracks, and some 32 bikes tested, our 2021 Bike of the Year test has, once again, been gruelling but rewarding, intense but inspiring, and plenty of fun.

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The 2021 edition has also been far from normal with a backdrop of a global pandemic, unprecedented shortages and pricing pressures from a combination of global factors and political decisions.

My usual collaborative efforts when it comes to whittling down to the winning bikes have also been disrupted, with group riding and round-the-table discussions over coffee, beer and good food in Gran Canaria or San Remo replaced with Microsoft Teams and plenty of hard yards in the Wiltshire countryside that serves as my usual testing ground.

That hasn’t made our discussions any less deep or the arguments less heated, though, with myself and my three test pilots all in agreement that the final four bikes are the best on offer in 2021. And yet we all have our own favourites among this glittering group.

We’ll be bringing you full reviews of all 32 bikes tested for Bike of the Year 2021. For now, however, it’s time to reveal the final four – and tell the story of how we chose this year’s winner.

2021 Road Bike of the Year | The final four

  • Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS disc carbon: £2,700
  • Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon disc Ultegra: £3,950
  • Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc: £4,199
  • Rondo HVRT CF1 Ultegra: £4,699

Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc

5.0 out of 5 star rating
The first member of the final testing group to introduce is Adrian. He’s smitten by the cheaper version of the nine-grand Giant TCR Advanced SL 0. In fact, Ade is in awe of the £4,199 TCR Advanced Pro 1 option we tested for Bike of the Year and I’m a huge fan of this TCR too.

Ade and I are in firm agreement that Giant’s TCR Advanced Pro 1 package, while not cheap, is of exceptional value. The finishing kit is top-grade, the SLR-1 wheelset is superb and the Ultegra groupset is completed with Giant’s own dual-sided power meter built into the crankset. Ade has a history of training with power meters when riding some of Europe’s toughest sportives.

  • Price: £4,199
  • Weight: 7.65kg (L)
  • Frame: Advanced-Grade composite
  • Fork: Advanced-Grade composite
  • Gears: Shimano Ultegra 52/36, 11-30
  • Crank: Giant integrated crank-based Power Pro power meter
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc
  • Wheels: Giant SLR-1 42mm Carbon Disc WheelSystem
  • Tyres: Giant Gavia Course 1 Tubeless 25mm
  • Saddle: Giant Fleet SL
  • Seatpost: Giant Variant composite
  • Stem: Giant Contact SL
  • Bar: Giant Contact SL

Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Ultegra

5.0 out of 5 star rating
Cannondale SuperSix EVO
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO was once again a contender for the Bike of the Year title.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Next up it’s our resident ultra-marathon runner and Cycling Plus magazine’s senior art editor, Steve. He’s chuffed with the updated Cannondale SuperSix Evo (£3,950) with its light frame, carbon wheels and improved cockpit over 2020’s Bike of the Year-winning bike.

Steve reckons the bike suits his riding because it’s such a great climbing companion and has the comfort his marathon endeavours in the saddle deserve. Well, that and the looks. “I love the understated Cannondale graphics that contrast with the bike’s metallic plum colourway,” says Steve.

  • Price: £3,950
  • Weight: 8.13kg (58cm)
  • Frame: BallisTec Carbon
  • Fork: BallisTec Carbon
  • Gears: Shimano Ultegra (52/36, 11-32)
  • Chainset: Cannondale 1 chainset with 52/36 FSA chainrings
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc with 160mm Ice-Tech rotors
  • Wheels: Cannondale HollowGram 35 carbon disc
  • Tyres: Vittoria Rubino Pro Graphene 2.0 25mm
  • Saddle: Prologo Nago S
  • Seatpost: HollowGram SL 27 KNØT carbon
  • Stem: HollowGram KNØT
  • Bar: HollowGram SAVE SystemBar carbon
Contenders for the BikeRadar Road Bike Of The Year 2021
Ade powers to the front of our test crew on the Giant TCR Pro 1.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Rondo HVRT CF1 Ultegra

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Last year, CP’s art editor Rob was also a huge fan of the SuperSix Evo’s handling, which gave Rob confidence descending the fast mountain roads in Gran Canaria, where we chose the final winner of last year’s test.

Now the proud father of two young children, Rob’s priorities have changed somewhat and he’s looking for a bike that’ll be fast but also versatile with it, due to space being at a premium.

The Rondo HVRT (£4,699) hits the right notes. With its Twin-Tip forks, this clever piece of design can be an aero-road bike with speedy handling or a long-distance endurance bike that’s more stable; a swift switch of wheels makes it a gravel bike par-excellence, too.

  • Price: £4,699
  • Weight: 8.41kg (L)
  • Frame: Carbon
  • Fork: Carbon
  • Gears: Shimano Ultegra, 52/36, 11-30
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Disc
  • Wheels: Hunt/Rondo Carbon Limitless Aerodynamicist 44 carbon tubeless-ready
  • Tyres: Continental Grand Prix 5000 25mm
  • Saddle: Fabric ALM Ultimate
  • Seatpost: Rondo CF aero
  • Stem: Rondo CF
  • Bar: Easton EC70 aero carbon

Boardman SLR 9.4 Rival AXS

5.0 out of 5 star rating