When Cycling Plus magazine asked manufacturers to send them their standout models in the highly competitive £1,500-£2,500 price range for their Bike Of The Year test, they had no idea the standard would be so high.
It made whittling down the initial shortlist of 50 road bikes to just five contenders extremely difficult, but after weeks of testing and thousands of miles of riding, the results are now in.
The 11 test riders, who included BikeRadar editor Jeff Jones and ranged from sponsored team racers to sportive riders and commuters, wished they could have squeezed a dozen more bikes onto the podium. Honourable mentions go to, in no particular order, Basso, Wilier, Time, Ribble, Verenti, Giant, Orbea, Colnago and Raleigh.
However, only five bikes could make the final cut, and all had one thing in common – each was loved by everybody who rode them, though often for different reasons. The top five bikes are listed below. You can get the lowdown on all 50 bikes and find out which machine won in issue 234 of Cycling Plus, out now.
Bianchi C2C Infinito (£2,500)
Comfortable enough for all-day riding, but stiff and responsive enough for top Barloworld sprinters to win races on, the Bianchi Infinito C2C was a revelation. (www.bianchi.com)
Cannondale Six (£1,799.99)
It’s the cheapest of the final quintet by quite a margin, but the Cannondale Six – which received some major design revamps for 2010 – was capable of taking on the other four bikes. (www.cannondale.com)
Felt F3 (£2,500)
One of the best looking bikes on test, Felt’s California-designed F3 also had some of the best kit, in the shape of SRAM Red. But it was the ride quality that really wowed our testers, racers and fitness riders alike. (www.saddleback.co.uk)
Scott CR1 Pro (£2,499)
A massive success when it was first introduced, the CR1 has evolved considerably since 2004. The Scott impressed just about everybody who rode it, but did it do enough to gain the exalted top podium position? (www.scott-sports.com)
Storck Scenario 1.1 (£2,500)
We were surprised that you could get a Storck for £2,500. Ours came with Campagnolo kit, handbuilt Harry Rowland wheels and was very light. It was lightning quick and made everyone’s top five. (www.poshbikes.com)
Ridden any of these bikes? We’d love to hear your views. Have your say in the comments box below…