Now it’s time for us to reveal which bikes we rode and reviewed in 2020 were the best of the best in the overall road.cc Bike of the Year 2020/21.
Over the past week we've told you about the best bikes in each of these categories:
• Superbike of the Year
• £1,000 and Under Bike of the Year
• Gravel and Adventure Bike of the Year
• Sportive and Endurance Bike of the Year
• Frameset of the Year
• ebike of the Year
• Road Bike of the Year
• Commuting Bike of the Year
The bikes that we’re about to show you are the best from those categories combined, covering the many areas of cycling we represent here on road.cc and our sister site off.road.cc.
How we picked the winner
Here’s how we came up with our winner. First of all, for a bike to be eligible for an award in any category it must have been reviewed in 2020 on road.cc or one of our sister sites: off.road.cc and ebiketips. If a brand didn't send us a particular bike to test, it can’t go in.
We put together a list of bikes in each category that were awarded an overall score or at least eight out of 10 in testing. We then went back to the original reviews, consulted the testers, and discussed, debated and argued the toss about the order of the bikes in each category.
Why don’t we simply add up the scores given in our tests and leave it at that? Because although we try to standardise the marking in our reviews, some reviewers might be slightly more generous than others. Also, the landscape of a particular category can alter over the course of a year as new models are introduced. A bike that was the benchmark of its kind at the start of the year might not be so impressive against recently unveiled competitors 12 months later. We take this into account and view the market as a whole with the benefit of hindsight.
The top bikes from each category were then considered for the overall road.cc Bike of the Year 2020/21. We set about arranging them in an order based on performance, handling, specification and value (the prices considered – and quoted below – are the ones at the time we reviewed each bike, whether or not they have increased since) and that’s not easy. In fact, it’s really, really difficult. These are all very good bikes that have done well in their respective categories, so they're bound to be close in terms of their overall merit. Plus, we're comparing a diverse selection of bikes here, from sub-£1,000 aluminium bikes to £10,000 carbon fibre superbikes.
The process takes ages and involves loads of back and forth to get things right. You might not agree with our selection – that’s fine – but this is our fair and honest assessment of the bikes that we've tested.
Right, let's get cracking!
(Or if all that reading is going to be too tiring sit back and watch the video version).
And for those that prefer to keep it real with good old words and pictures here's the 'proper' version…
Vitus Energie EVO CRS Force £2,499.99
Before we get into the top 10, we have a wild card. We didn’t review enough cyclocross bikes on road.cc in 2020 to justify a separate category, meaning that the Vitus Energie EVO CRS hasn't had the chance of a mention elsewhere in our awards, but this is a bike that impressed us hugely.
The Energie EVO CRS is Vitus’s World Cup level cyclo-cross race bike, and it's a belter. With aggressive, race orientated geometry and a low weight, it's an absolute blast to race or just take out for a spin. With large tyre clearances and mudguard mounts you're just a few tweaks from a competent gravel bike or year-round commuter, too.
The EVO range sits above the standard Energie line-up, and for 2021 it has had a complete rethink from the ground up. Reviewer Stu says it's one of the best off-road racers he has ever ridden.
The biggest highlight is the handling. It is really quick through the bends, and not just thanks to its rapid steering, which is good for getting you out of trouble. There's fantastic feedback coming up from the tyres. It allows excellent precision, letting you keep the power on even when sliding your way out of a tight corner.
The long top tube and relatively short head tube create a low-slung race position that feels just right for tackling anything the terrain is throwing at you. Even in the drops on fast gravel descents, the Vitus feels planted, while the 8.12kg weight keeps it responsive (the medium sized frame weight is a claimed 880g), especially when accelerating hard or climbing.
The EVO is stiff. Beefy tube profiles that chunky bottom bracket shell means little of your power is wasted, certainly not that you can detect.
With a maximum tyre clearance of 45mm, the Vitus can easily live as a very capable, fun gravel bike. It’s very comfortable over gravelly tracks, especially once if you get some wider tyres on board. It's happy for you to just enjoy the scenery for hours, then go for it when you fancy some fun on a steep, tricky descent or a flat-out blast.
Vitus has gone for a SRAM Force 1x groupset with gearing very much aimed at racing, with a 40T front spinning a 10-32T cassette. Should you still want to swap, the Energie Evo has the front mech mount to take a 2x chainset.
There are four specs of Energie EVO, with prices from £1,799.99 (a SRAM Apex build) to £3,499.99 (SRAM Force eTap AXS).
If you want a sweet handling, light and flickable cyclocross bike that’s efficient and stiff, then this is for you.
Why it’s here Fast, precise and a light frameset makes this a hugely competitive cyclocross bike or even a gravel racer
Buy it here
Read the review
10. Specialized Aethos Pro Ultegra Di2 £7,250
The new Specialized Aethos Pro is an exceptional bike that offers a stunning ride, amazing acceleration, and handling that's spot on. The price is high, admittedly, but the performance is outstanding.
Specialized says that a supercomputer analysed 100,000 frame designs in coming up with the Aethos. The frame is primarily optimised for pedalling stress and, unusually these days, doesn't give any thought to aerodynamics. Specialized says this approach allows the use of fewer carbon layers than usual, leading to an impressively low frame weight.
At 6.66kg out of the box (no pedals), the Aethos Pro Ultegra Di2 only loses a few hundred grams to the super expensive S-Works versions. The low weight is instantly noticeable, and reviewer Liam loved the way it floats up any sort of incline. It feels like it's constantly surging ahead.
Specialized has nailed the handling. The tight wheelbase ensures the bike is very nimble, and it's brilliant for coming back down steep and twisty hills – an absolute blast when pushing the pace in corners – although it could be a little too twitchy for some.
Get the bike up to a cruising speed on the flats and it's a little harder to hold speed than on an aero bike with deep tube shapes and deep-section wheels. The difference isn't astronomical, though, and the Aethos’s short head tube allows you to hunker down into a low and efficient ride position.
Specialized has stuck with a bit of exposed brake hose, avoiding the current trend of sending everything through the headset. While it isn't as clean as those new race bikes, it's certainly easier to work on.
Elsewhere you find 12x142mm rear and 12x100mm front axles, a threaded bottom bracket – yay! – and space for 32mm tyres.
The Roval Alpinist CL wheels are just what you want for a bike like this. They are light and stiff, so they climb very well. The 33mm rim height means you won't be pushed around by strong winds, and you still get a small aero advantage on the flats.
The Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset is as good as top-level Dura-Ace – at least until a new version of Dura-Ace is launched, probably some time this year – and just a little heavier. It is fabulous.
We have some grumbles regarding the lack of a power meter and the pricing, but this is a brilliant bike. The way the Aethos constantly wants to bound forward like a dog after a squirrel makes it incredibly fun to ride. The low weight is matched with great stiffness, and the ride remains pretty composed over rough tarmac. It's a blast!
Why it’s here What a bike! If you have the cash and don't care about aero, buy it
Buy it here
Read the review
9. Orro Venturi STC SRAM Force eTap £4,599.99
The Orro Venturi Evo 105 got a place in our Road Bike of the Year top 10 while this higher level Orro Venturi STC SRAM Force eTap Tailor Made got an even higher spot in our Superbike of the Year countdown. This newly updated bike takes all of the excellent qualities and attributes of the previous Venturi, but comes with smoother lines thanks to fully integrated brake hoses and some bling-looking cockpit components. SRAM's excellent eTap groupset makes a welcome appearance too.
The frame is made using spread tow carbon (STC) which means that the carbon fibre is arranged in flat, wide tapes; think of it as ribbons that are woven together. The idea is that this reduces weight and increases stiffness.
For such a stiff frameset the Venturi offers impressive levels of comfort. You still know you are aboard a taut, high-performance machine, but there is no harshness or irritating vibration even with the tyres pumped up hard. Speaking of tyres, the Venturi is designed around a 28mm width.
The smoothness means that even on long rides you don’t feel any fatigue at the usual points like wrists or lower back, allowing you to push on at a quick pace for longer.
The geometry and handling feel like those of a fast endurance machine with a racy edge. The stiffness from the oversized tubing and wide BB86 bottom bracket means that you won't be disappointed when you get out of the saddle. There isn't a whiff of flex anywhere.
The tube profiles and seatpost offer an aero advantage, especially when paired with the 40mm-deep carbon rims. This top-level model also gets the BlkTec Carbon Aero stem and handlebar, which give a clean front end (complete Venturi STCs are available with FSA ACR handlebar/stems too).
All this adds up to a bike that cuts through the air. This thing absolutely motors on the flat, especially when you hunker down into the drops.
If you like your downhills then you'll love the Venturi. It feels totally planted thanks to the riding position the geometry allows, and the steering is quick without sneaking over the border into Twitchyville.
If you head into a corner a little fast, the Venturi is easy to bring back onto line whether through the steering or the application of the disc brakes. It's forgiving without damping down the fun levels.
The Venturi range includes builds from Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM so you get plenty of choice.
The 2021 Venturi has retained all of the spirit and fun of the previous model but brings with it more refinement and makes a stunning looking bike even more appealing. The BlkTec components finish things off nicely, and the SRAM eTap groupset really exploits the performance of the frame.
Why it’s here Stunning looks, performance and ride quality in a very competitively priced bike
Buy it here
Read the review
8. Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc 2021 £9,499
At number eight we have yet another model from our Superbike category, the Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc being a lightweight and hugely responsive road bike with aero features. It puts in a performance that is stunning. This top-of-the range offering is an absolute beaut!
Giant has updated the TCR for 2021, managing to cut weight while keeping frame and fork stiffness extremely high. Made using a new higher modulus filament that's stiffer and lighter than previously, the frameset (painted frame, painted uncut fork, integrated seatpost, seat clamp, front and rear derailleur hangers) has a claimed weight of 1,265g. We reviewed a large-sized complete bike weighing just 6.69kg (14lb 12oz). That's properly light for a disc brake-equipped model.
The TCR feels extraordinarily stiff when you jump out of the saddle and bang on those pedals, it is quick to accelerate and it’s fast on the climbs.
Chuck the bike around, brake hard, do whatever you want, you won't cause the front end to waver or fluster. It's more than confidence inspiring, it's almost freaky.
Although the Propel remains the true aero road bike in the range, Giant says that every tube shape on the TCR was analysed, engineered and tested to create an overall structure with significantly lower drag than before at a wide range of yaw angles.
The TCR now features truncated ellipse tube profiles – the leading edge and sides are designed to reduce drag while the trailing edge is cut off square to reduce weight and avoid handling issues. Giant says that compared with the previous version, the new TCR saves 34 seconds over 40km (25 miles) at 200 watts of pedalling power.
One thing Giant hasn't changed radically is the TCR's geometry and that's a good thing because its balance and handling were already excellent. There is increased clearance for larger tyres, though; the disc brake model will now take 700C x 32mm (whereas the rim brake TCRs will only take 700C x 28mm because of the size of the callipers).
You might be surprised that Giant has left the brake cables exposed between the handlebar and the frame/fork when many other brands have opted to run them through the stem. Giant’s rationale is that it makes maintenance a little easier.
Giant’s 2021 TCR Advanced range starts at £1,799 but if you want the top-end TCR Advanced SL frame that’s featured here, a complete bike will set you back at least £6,999. If you can’t stretch that far, the next-level-down frameset is the TCR Advanced Pro which we’ve also reviewed.
Why it’s here Lightweight and stiff race bike – now with aero features – that puts in a superb all-round performance
Buy it here
Read the review
7. Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 1 £6,600
What? Another high-end model? Don't worry, there are more affordable bikes coming! The Cannondale Topstone Lefty 1 is a technological tour-de-force: a sub-10kg, full suspension gravel bike with a monoblade Lefty fork. Our Dave tested this one and says it's a hoot and well-suited to fast riding on a wide range of surfaces.
off.road.cc made the Cannondale Topstone Lefty 1 its Benchmark Bike of the Year, meaning that it's the one that offered the highest level of performance outright. It's a bike that sets the technical and performance standards against which all the rest are judged, and price doesn't come into it. Think of it as the money-no-object dream bike.
The Topstone is a light rig and it's going to be of most interest if you're wanting to move fast on any kind of off-road surface. For a competitive gravel event, the Topstone Carbon would be an obvious choice. Dave thought that for something like the 200km Dirty Reiver, a bike like this would be a perfect choice: swap the tyres for something a bit narrower and more aggressive, and let the frame and fork add a bit of cush back.
This bike also got us thinking; it's often easy to think of state-of-the-art bikes like this, with their top-spec components and technological innovations, more as look-at-me statements than actual bikes you'd buy. But it's good the boundaries between riding types are blurring, and that companies are trying interesting things.
For all its cleverness, the abiding impression of the Topstone Carbon is of a bike that's a lot of fun. It's light and fast – you can keep up on the road, and shoot off on the gravel. The suspension is a tangible benefit for riding on mixed surfaces at speed, and everything on it works brilliantly. There's lots to like here, it's a fast, light gravel ripper with top-notch equipment and useful suspension tech. At the time of writing, the only issue is getting hold of one.
Why it’s here Fast, light gravel ripper with top-notch equipment and useful suspension tech
Buy it here
Read the review
6. Ribble Endurance AL Disc £999
The Ribble Endurance AL Disc is the first sub-£1,000 bike in this year's top 10. It won our Sportive & Endurance Bike of the Year 2020/21 award courtesy of being ideal for long rides, short blasts, club runs, winter training and commuting. It's even quick enough for entry-level racing. The balanced, neutral handling works for the beginner, without feeling overly relaxed for the seasoned roadie. It's a lot of bike for the money.
With tyres pumped up hard you can feel what’s going on with the road below, but the Endurance AL Disc aluminium alloy frame and carbon fibre fork damp much of the vibration. The contact points don't tire you out on long rides, and that's ideal because long rides are something the Endurance AL does very well.
The geometry is more relaxed than that of most race machines, with a slightly shorter top tube and taller head tube putting you into a more upright position. The head angle is a touch slacker too, which takes the edge off the steering speed, while the longer wheelbase (there to allow the frameset to accept mudguards) adds to the stability.
The Endurance AL Disc still focuses on performance, though, and by slamming the stem (removing the headset spacers) you can get a good saddle-to-bar drop if you want to get a shift on.
The steering is quick enough to be fun in the twisty bits without stepping over the line and becoming a handful, which is perfect if you're new to road riding or when heading into bad weather.
Although the 10kg weight can hamper things under acceleration, the Endurance AL Disc gives a real feeling of confidence when gravity is giving you a nudge. The decent spread of gears helps you up the steeper slopes, and the Ribble is plenty stiff enough for out of the saddle shenanigans when the going gets tough.
The frame is made from 6061-T6 aluminium alloy tubing which is double-butted (the thickness of the wall varies) to reduce weight and increase comfort by balancing stiffness levels. The head tube is tapered for front-end stiffness and Ribble has gone for an externally threaded bottom bracket which is a sensible choice on a bike that is likely to encounter plenty of wet weather.
The majority of the groupset on our review bike came from Shimano’s Tiagra range. It offers a very good balance of shifting performance versus cost. If the mechanical disc brakes aren’t to your taste, Ribble also offers the Endurance AL Disc in a next-level-up Shimano 105 standard build for £1,299.
The other option is to have the frameset built up to your own chosen spec based on your preferences and budget. This is really easy to do via Ribble’s online system. As well as the model of components, you can also choose sizes and things like the cassette range.
The Ribble is a loveable bike that’s fun and quick to ride, plus it's just so easy to live with – and all at an impressively competitive price. This makes it the road.cc Sportive & Endurance Bike of the Year 2020/21.
Why it's here Very capable and versatile road bike that doesn't break the bank
Buy it here
Read the review
5. Condor Fratello Disc Thru Axle £1,199
The Condor Fratello Disc Thru-Axle frameset – our Frameset of the Year 2020/21 – manages to keep hold of the traditional look and feel of a winter/fast audax/commuter/year-round mile-muncher bike while having been adapted to the demands of the modern roadie.
At its heart is a custom drawn Columbus Spirit triple-butted steel frame (meaning that we have carbon fibre, aluminium and steel in our top 10) which is paired with a carbon fork, giving an exceptional ride quality. You can pump your tyres up hard, have a firm saddle, a stiff, narrow handlebar, and whatever you want to throw in its way, the quality of the steel tubing will override it.
Condor has kept a traditional look to the frame by keeping a straight-through 1 1/8in head tube, whereas most bikes these days, including steel ones, tend to go tapered to not only improve stiffness but also to increase the weld area for a large diameter down tube. Condor hasn't needed to do this as it has kept the majority of the tubes quite slender without sacrificing overall stiffness.
The geometry means the Fratello is no slouch. The Condor has very similar measurements to an endurance style bike, with a stack/reach of just under 1.55, which means your overall position isn't too aggressive. But the front end does have a 73.5° head angle paired to a fork offset of 45mm, which is sportier than most bikes of its ilk.
Tyre clearance is pretty impressive for this style of bike. Able to take full mudguards with 32mm tyres, Condor’s Fratello allows you to have your winter/training/commuting bike set up pretty much to the same position as your race bike.
With a frameset weight of 2,375g, the Condor has a very confident feel on the road – it doesn't skip about on broken tarmac and you can really chuck it down a technical descent. The only slight downside is that the weight blunts the acceleration a touch and takes the edge off climbing.
The Fratello frames are handmade in Italy and the finish quality is absolutely stunning, really highlighted by the beautiful paint job — available in Stone Blue, Agate Grey and Black on Black. The white decals and the logos are all reflective, which is a neat little detail.
Condor has achieved the style of a traditional looking all-year-round road bike while bringing it bang up to date with the ability to accept wider tyres and the inclusion of flat mounts and thru-axles. It's a worthy winner.
Why it's here Beautifully crafted frameset that delivers an awesome ride feel along with the stunning looks.
Buy it here
Read the review
4. Triban RC520 Women’s Disc Road Bike £749
The Triban RC 520 Women's Disc won both the Commuting Bike and the £1,000 and Under categories, and it also finished fourth in our Road Bike category – probably the tightest one of the lot – where it for once suffered for its versatility, edged off the podium by a trio of out and out road bikes. When we take all categories into account, it's a very high flyer.
The Triban RC 520 Women's Disc is incredibly versatile, provides a comfortable ride on our increasingly rough roads, and is quite simply serious value for money. If you're looking for a bike that can handle the daily commute as well as take on some gravel trails and a bit of touring, the Triban is definitely worth considering.
On the medium size, which reviewer Emma Silversides tested, the effective top tube is 51.5cm and the head tube almost 160mm, which makes for a more compact and upright riding position than a low, race position.
It's aluminium frame is well up to dealing with the roughest roads, and comes with a lifetime guarantee (as do the bar and stem). The fork blades are carbon, while the crown and steerer are aluminium. The fork is stiff enough, and the 28mm tyres, run at a lower pressure provide some cushioning, though going tubeless and running the tyres at even lower pressures helps even more.
The Shimano 105 R7000 gear on the Triban really does make it an outstanding investment as a bike. The 105 derailleurs, combined with 105 levers, give a crisp, smooth and efficient shifting system. The levers share the same ergonomics as Ultegra and Dura-Ace, and just feel 'right' in the hands. Even though the chainset is a non-series RS510 model, it doesn't look like a cheap substitute and certainly doesn't reduce performance. It has considerate gearing for hills, thanks to a compact 50/34-tooth chainset and an 11-32-tooth Microshift cassette.
The wheels falls in line with the Triban frame – they're heavy, but reliable and well up to the job. In terms of weight, you wouldn't be expecting much less at this price. With 28 crossed steel spokes, 6106-T6 (24mm) aluminium rims and sealed cartridge bearings, it's a 2kg pair of wheels that roll smoothly, are pretty rigid and certainly up to handling what you are likely to throw at them. They are also tubeless ready.
The Triban RC 520 is well specced, versatile and affordable. Emma did have a few gripes – issues with fitting mudguards and that the welding isn’t the tidiest – but in the grand scheme of things these are very trivial when you consider what you are getting for your money.
The Triban RC520 Women’s Disc Road Bike has been extremely popular and isn't available in Decathlon stores at the time or writing, but it hasn't gone forever. It should be available to customers again from 26th January 2021. If you're interested, we'd advise that you get in there quickly.
When we last checked, the standard Triban RC520 Disc Road Bike (£799.99) was available in most sizes.
Why it's here Commuter, tourer, even a bit of gravel... this is a hell of a lot of bike for the money.
Buy it here
Read the review
3. Ribble CGR 725 SRAM Apex 1X 650B £1,549
Taking third spot in the road.cc Bike of the Year 2020/21 is the Ribble CGR 725 SRAM Apex 1X 650B. This is simply the best gravel bike we tested on either road.cc or off.road.cc in 2020, providing great performance, good value for money, and a shed load of versatility too. It's a bike that we reckon, should you drop the money on buying one, will last you a lifetime and will be easily upgradable when and if the time comes.
Former editor of off.road.cc Jon tested this bike and he said that it was a superb do-it-all drop bar machine. He reckoned that is was a great looking traditionally styled frame that had lots of modern details such as the 650B wheels, large tyre clearance, a full carbon fork and thru axles at both ends, plus plenty of rack and mudguard mounts.
To ride the steel framed bike with its carbon fork proved to be comfortable and versatile, as at home on some big road miles as it is heading off fully laden for bikepacking adventures.
Jon said, "There's little not to like about the CGR 725. It's equally adept on tarmac or fireroad, with the combination of steel frame and fat 650b tyres giving comfortable cruising ability, no matter what surface you're on. It's stable on dirt without feeling lethargic on tarmac, while it feels just as happy weaving in and out of traffic as it does at the end of the long, full laden day of bikepacking.”
Above all, it was good value too as just £1,549 and, if you aren't familiar with Ribble's bikes, you can tweak pretty much every element of the build on the website once you've chosen you base groupset, SRAM's Apex 1x 11-speed group set as in this case.
Why it's here Superb do-it-all drop bar machine that offers a traditional looking frame with modern detail, plus comfort, versatility and great value.
Buy it here
Read the review
2. Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Dura-Ace Di2 £10,500
We're back to the big ticket items with the S-Works Tarmac SL7 Dura-Ace Di2 which won the road.cc Superbike of the Year 2020/21 title. It takes second place overall in the road.cc Bike of the Year 2020/21 because, although expensive, its performance is amazing.
This Tarmac SL7 focuses as much on aerodynamics as it does on weight – or the lack of it. The frameset has seen various tweaks over its predecessor, and when paired with aero components like the handlebar and wheels makes the SL7 a very fast bike indeed.
The Tarmac has always been the lightweight road bike in Specialized’s range, with the Venge the aero model. However, the US brand says that the Tarmac SL7 is so aerodynamically efficient that there’s no longer a need for the Venge (which is available only as a frameset now).
As a complete package this S-Works is phenomenally efficient and fast. Coming in a smidge over the UCI's minimum weight limit of 6.8kg (15lb), the 56cm S-Works we reviewed was no slouch off the line, so acceleration was very brisk.
Find out everything you need to know about the new Specialized Tarmac.
Once you get the bike up to speed it just rolls along, like you are always on top of the gear. As the aero benefits start to diminish on the climbs, the low weight helps you power uphill.
Alongside the low weight and wind-cheating design, the Tarmac SL7 delivers on the stiffness front. Compared with a lot of the tightest frames out there, Specialized hasn't exactly gone for massive tube profiles to create the stiffness and nor has it gone for a wider bottom bracket shell that would use press-fit bearing cups located inside the frame. It has instead plumped for a threaded option, with the cups mounted externally.
Even with all of this stiffness, the SL7 hasn't sacrificed comfort. It's a peloton-ready race machine, so don't go expecting a cosseting ride, but it's firm without any irritating levels of harshness. If you want to bring in a little bit more cushioning then you can exploit the Tarmac's 32mm maximum tyre width.
The steering is quick, which makes the S-Works an absolute blast when descending. Very light, stiff bikes can sometimes feel a little flighty over rough road surfaces at high speed, but the Tarmac never does. The whole bike feels balanced and thanks to the handling being precise, you can carry a lot of speed into the corners.
This bike really does deliver on all the attributes you'd want of a top-flight race machine: speed, stiffness, handling and comfort. Yes, this model is very expensive, but SL7s are available at half the price.
Why it's here A bike with an eye-watering price but an exceptional performance
Buy it here
Read the review
1. Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc £3,799
Drum roll please! Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the road.cc Bike of the Year 2020/21 is... the Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc. Why? Because it offers a superbike performance at a way more accessible price. Of course, you're still looking at a considerable investment, but Giant TCR Advanced Pros are available from £3,199 and lower level TCR Advanced models start at £1,799.
You're not getting déjà vu, there was a Giant TCR at number 8 – the £9,499 Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc. But our rules are clear; all bikes we reviewed in 2020 are up for consideration in the road.cc Bike of the Year. If we test two different models from the same range – at very different price points – and they both end up in the overall top 10, so be it. We're not going to cook the books to eliminate either of them.
The TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc is a lively and efficient road bike that boasts most of the aero features the new, top-level TCR Advanced SL gained earlier this year, and it's a lot more affordable. The Shimano Ultegra-based parts package is impressive. Pack in a power meter and great wheels and you’ve got a cracking bike.
Aside from being great value for money, the real strength of this TCR is the ride quality and amount of tech that it gets from the more expensive SL model. While the carbon used is different, you’ll immediately notice the Advanced Pro Disc's tube shapes are mostly identical to those of the SL, for example. The head tube, down tube and fork all feature the same new tube profiles and these are all shaped to reduce drag.
The down tube is designed to work aerodynamically with a water bottle in place, the majority of us riding with a bottle most of the time, after all. We've measured that tube at a whopping 65mm across at the widest point, which is about as wide as it's possible to go without interfering with the drivetrain.
The TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc is a lively performer that responds well as you increase the power. Press hard on the pedals and very little of your effort is lost. You certainly aren't left feeling the Advanced Pro is in any way flexy. Far from it. It feels solid and offers rapid acceleration, while climbing remains a real strength
Comfort is also good and there is space to enhance this with room for 32mm tyres should that be what you want. We found the 25mm rubber supplied was good for a balance of speed and comfort. The race-focused geometry allows you to hunker down at the front end if you want to get into a proper aero race position.
Giant specs a 52/36-tooth chainset with an 11-30-tooth cassette, which is a great choice for a bike of this kind, allowing you to mix it with your fastest mates when sprinting for signs, and still drag yourself up the toughest gradients when your legs are about to pack up for the day.
There’s also a Giant PowerPro power meter integrated into the chainset. It's a double-sided device that adds just 32g and has a claimed power range of up to 3,000 watts and boasts an accuracy of +/-2 %.
The Giant SLR-1 42 Carbon Disc wheels give you a 42mm-deep hookless carbon rim with an inner width of 19.4mm, and an outer width of 23mm. They offer loads of lateral stiffness that you notice when sprinting, and they’re just 1,452g. That is very good for the depth.
The one negative for some might be that the cables run externally between the handlebar and the down tube and fork, while most other bikes at this price have fully internal designs these days. Giant's rationale is that this makes maintenance easier and the aero impact is tiny.
The Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 Disc is an excellent road bike that performs with aplomb and even a flourish. It's zippy and efficient while offering well-balanced handling. Add in a high quality build, excellent wheels and a power meter, and you have a worthy overall winner of the road.cc Bike of the Year 2020/21
Why it wins It puts in an exceptional all-round performance and is well worth the money
Buy it here
Read the review
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The late great Humphrey Lyttleton on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue: "You join us this week from Nottingham. Nottingham has a long history, being...
JEM - hello! Thank you for your thoughts here. My frustration is that Azamara keep coming back with the same answer "you can take part in one of...
Bing maps is another good one for browsing OS maps (not so good for routing). You have to select OS maps and then zoom down, but it has both 1:50...
Road safety issues concerning the blind you say......
I'm glad cyclists are required to dismount - I mean phew! right?
I really am an advocate for leather saddles. Initially expensive maybe, they do have a break in period but are then comfortable and last literally...