It’s that time of year again when the team behind BikeRadar shortlist a long line of bikes and come to their verdict of the best on test for the season. Across the spectrum, bike testers from CyclingPlus magazine, What Mountain Bike magazine and Mountain Biking UK (MBUK) came together to put the best bikes of 2017 through their paces. The long list of contenders was whittled down to a short list of over 150 bikes, and here are the best road bikes on test…
The relaunch of a model almost as ingrained in the cycling industry as the classics race its named after was always going to come with innovation and revolution, and the new Roubaix and Ruby did not disappoint. Constructed around Specialized’s forward thinking and aptly named ‘Future Shock’ technology, the Roubaix delivers 20mm of travel ‘without degrading speed, handling or comfort’. This innovation, although extremely impressive, wasn’t the only thing that resonated with the testers from CyclingPlus – the ride was just as striking. According to CyclingPlus, the Roubaix has a ‘wonderfully balanced ride’ and ‘grips impressively, with the Future Shock laughing scornfully in the face of broken surfaces and potholes’.
The endurance road bike market has become more and more diverse in recent years, with a serious amount of tech and innovation going into the development of these long-distance machines. The Orbea Avant M20 Team D 2017 was highly commended by Cycling Plus in the Bike of the Year Awards 2017, achieving a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. Cycling Plus commended the Avant for its stronger and lighter structure as a result of polyurethane inserts in the bottom bracket shell and head-tube, impressive kit and increased tyre clearance.
Although certain models won the categories and achieved a highly commended award, there’s an abundance of shared technologies that are present throughout the whole range of bikes. Two examples are below.
It may have been the Domane SL6 that won the second place prize and a high commended award, the but the Domane SL6 Disc has all the same handling and ride characteristics as the standard SL6. The reason for the disc version not featuring in the same category is because of the price point (the SL6 Disc comes in at a higher price of £3700), however, for that increase in price you get Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and a Vision Metron 40 carbon wheelset. Featuring IsoSpeed Technology that doubles compliance on rough roads, the Domane SL6 Disc is the ultimate in long distance endurance riding where a smooth and confident ride is vital.
The handling of a bike comes fundamentally comes from the frame – and the Giant TCR Advanced 1 2017 shares the same great frame as it’s disc equipped counterpart that won a highly-commended award. Giant’s Advanced-Grade composite provides the magic formula of all-round road performance with a precise blend of frame stiffness and riding compliance in an ultra-lightweight chassis that allows you to rail fast corners and attack long climbs. Combining this great chassis construction with a Shimano Ultegra full groupset delivers the ultimate package for everything from leading the peloton on a Sunday group ride to sprinting on the drops to win a crit race.