Now it’s time for us to reveal which bikes we rode and reviewed over the past year were the best of the best in the overall road.cc Recommends Bike of the Year 2022/23.
Over the past few days we've told you about the best bikes in each of these categories:
The bikes that we’re about to show you are the best from those categories combined – the crème de la crème, if you like – covering the many areas of cycling we represent here on road.cc and, in some cases, our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.
Here’s how we came up with our top-10 bikes and ranked them in order.
First, for a bike to qualify for consideration it must have been reviewed in 2022 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, we couldn’t consider it.
We went back to our original reviews, consulted the testers, and then debated and deliberated, bickered and argued about the order of the bikes in each of the individual road.cc Recommends Bikes of the Year 2022/23 categories that we’ve run over recent days.
We don’t simply add up the scores given in our reviews and leave it at that. Why? Although we try to standardise our marking, some reviewers might be slightly more generous than others in their marking.
Also, categories can alter significantly over 12 months as new models are introduced. A bike that set the standards at the start of the year might have been eclipsed by other models 12 months later. We take this into account and view the market as a whole with the benefit of hindsight.
Then we considered the top bikes from each category for the overall road.cc Recommends Bike of the Year 2022/23. We began putting them in an order based on performance, handling, specification and value (the prices considered – and quoted below – were correct at the time we reviewed each bike, although some may have increased since) and that’s really hard.
These are all outstanding bikes that have impressed us massively, so they’re very difficult to separate. Plus, they’re hugely diverse: we’re comparing £450 folding bikes with £10,000+ superbikes, gravel bikes with e-bikes, and that’s not simple.
The process takes an eternity. You might not agree with our selection – and that’s fine – but this is our fair and honest assessment of the bikes that we've tested over the past year.
Right, let’s crack into the rundown.
Kicking off our top-10 is the Specialized S-Works Crux, a bike that started out life as a cyclocross races and has now transformed into an exceptional gravel bike for fast riding… and it can still excel on the cyclocross course. Priced at £11,300, this is the most expensive bike here by a long way, although the range starts at £4,600.
This lightweight (7.2kg) package is an incredibly good climber, whether the terrain is steep, technical, or both. The low weight of the front end is a real help on hills with rocks or big step-ups and you get impressive stability when the gradient slows you down.
The longer wheelbase comes into play on faster sections, as does the aggressive riding position. It’s fun to flick from one line to another and this bike is great at making you feel more skilful than you are.
The Crux really shines when you're piecing together gravel with stretches of road – which is the reality for many gravel rides of a decent length in the UK. It is so nippy that twisty back lanes are among the best places to ride this bike. The 38mm Pathfinder tyres provide a huge amount of cornering grip and there's no issue when you run into a poor surface.
The Crux's low weight, nippy ride and excellent handling are ideal on twisty and tight gravel with loads of climbs and descents. The ability to take 47mm tyres on a 700C wheel or a 2.1in on a 650B opens it up to seriously technical terrain.
Stick slick tyres on the Crux and you can use it as an endurance road bike. It doesn’t have mudguard eyelets, though, and while there is a spot under the down tube to store a third bottle cage, you won't be able to mount a frame bag without the use of straps. This is a bike that’s designed for speed rather than overnight adventure.
Specialized has used the frame layup technology that it developed for the Aethos here. The tube shapes do away with the need to reinforce certain areas with extra material. Less resin is used and thus you have a lighter frame.
The S-Works model we reviewed is made with FACT 12r carbon. A 56cm frame has a claimed weight of just 725g, and the fork is around 400g. This fork is shared with the Pro and Expert bikes that use 10r carbon. With these models, you get a frameset that isn't much heavier for significantly less cash.
Built up with an excellent SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset and Roval Terra C wheelset, the Specialized S-Works Crux is a brilliant bike for racing cyclocross, batting through the lanes or flying along twisty gravel trails. For the fast, hilly riding that it is designed for, it is exceptional.
It’s a massive price drop to the bike in ninth position in our countdown. The Carrera Intercity Disc 9-Speed might not boast the engineering genius of more famous folding rivals, but with enthusiastic road manners and excellent specification, this is a folder with appeal beyond the traditional commuter set. The fact that it’s priced at just £450 is a huge bonus.
The first thing you notice when you jump aboard the Intercity Disc 9 is that it’s a very pleasurable bike to pedal and especially to get up to speed. If you’re new to folding bikes, you’ll be surprised by its brisk turn of pace and ability to transfer power into forward motion.
With exciting handling and excellent power transfer, there’s the distinct possibility that comfort could take a hit, but that’s not the case here. Even with 20in wheels, very little knocks the Intercity Disc 9 off its stride. It breezes over rough country roads, potholes included.
This bike is fantastically fun. Rather than it being just a basic A-to-B transport tool, you might find yourself detouring simply for the fun of a longer ride. It's also nice that you can get your head down for super-stable high-speed cruising, but then sit up a bit for more reactive ducking and diving.
The Intercity Disc 9’s frame comes with a main locking hinge in the middle so that it can fold in half, and another hinge where the stem meets the head tube so the front end can fold down. Halfords says it takes 30 seconds to fold or unfold but you’ll probably end up doing it quicker after a bit of practice.
Both the frame and the fork are aluminium and the 12.5kg weight is fine at this price. There’s also a bottle cage mount on the top of the main tube, and mounts for mudguards and a rear rack.
Allied with the 9-speed 11-34 cassette, the 53-tooth chainring means you’ve got the option to venture way beyond benign city slopes and take on some proper hills. Although its all-out power might be a little lacking, the Tektro M275 hydraulic brakeset offers a decent feel.
The Intercity Disc 9’s only real negative – for taller riders – is the saddle height. The bike is said to be suitable for riders up to 6ft 3in but we’d suggest you check if you’re close to 6ft.
That said, if you’re looking for a folding bike, you want a surprisingly rewarding ride with good quality components, and you don't want to spend Brompton money, the Intercity Disc 9 is way more fun than you'd ever expect.
The Mason Definition Chorus gets a really strong placing here after impressing us as the definitive all-round road bike, offering a great ride quality and a geometry that works both at speed and when you’re just cruising along. This jack of all trades somehow manages to be a master of them all. The build quality and finish are flawless too. Yep, we were seriously impressed by this bike.
The Definition has had a few tweaks since it was introduced in 2015, such as switching from quick-release skewers to thru-axles, but all of the great bits of the original design remain.
The aluminium frame, handbuilt in Italy from Dedacciai tubing, silences road buzz to give a velvety feel and the geometry is spot-on for a bike of this type.
The front end isn't as razor-sharp as that of a race bike but it’s close, and the slightly slacker head angle – plus a wheelbase that’s a few millimetres longer to accept full mudguards – means handling that’s a little bit less frantic. It really allows you to ride the Mason quickly over long distances.
The Definition feels exceptionally solid, flowing through the bends sweetly, and the relatively short head tube allows you to get tucked into the drops to lower your centre of gravity.
The frame is impressively stiff which makes the Definition feel nimble and responsive on the climbs. It’s also well suited to tapping out the miles at a decent pace, and you won’t be disappointed should you want to put in a hard effort or sprint.
The Definition is available in a range of builds, with both electronic and mechanical shifting from SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo, and even a 1x setup in the case of Campag's Ekar.
Campagnolo Chorus – which is what we had on our build – gives a defined click when you shift, and the hoods and the curved carbon brake levers fit so well with the natural resting positions of your fingers. Those hydraulic disc brakes provide loads of power on tap.
Taken as a whole, the Mason Definition is a phenomenal bike that provides a sublime ride.
We described the Fara Cycling F/AR as “an absolute cracker of a bike” in our original review and we stand by that assessment. It manages to feel like a race bike on the road and can transfer that performance to hardpacked tracks and even trails as a result of its ability to take 38mm tyres. The ride quality and handling are exceptional, and the 8.1kg weight is impressive for a bike of this kind.
The AR part of F/AR stands for ‘All-Road’ and this bike allows you to explore byways as well as tarmac – although it doesn’t quite make the jump to gravel.
It feels responsive and reactive on the road, an impressively stiff carbon-fibre frame, a large bottom bracket shell and a compact rear triangle keeping things tight.
The geometry is similar to that of an endurance road bike, with a front end that’s balanced between quick handling for fun in the bends and on descents, and enough stability and poise that it inspires confidence on rough roads.
The F/AR’s frame offers just enough forgiveness to take the edge off iffy road surfaces and the fork similarly removes chatter.
Head onto hardpacked byways and the F/AR behaves well. It’s confident and easy to control, and remains comfortable, especially if you drop a little pressure from the tyres.
Designed for racking up big miles, the frame comes with multiple mounting points. You get mounts for a bento box on the top tube, for example, plus three mounting points on each fork leg, and the F/AR will take full mudguards too.
The F/AR is available as a frameset-only option (£2,519) and in several complete bike builds. You can select wheelsets and various finishing kits, too. Whatever you choose, you’ll get a bike that provides a stunning ride, both in terms of comfort and the way it behaves.
If there’s a better bike that the Carrera Subway All Weather Edition out there for less than £500, we’ve yet to hear about it. This mountain bike-styled urban warrior comes out of the box with some very useful winter-riding accessories and an excellent spec for the money. It’s a fun, easy ride thanks to gears, brakes and tyres that are all very good for the money. Even the saddle’s decent.
Three features make this an ‘all-weather’ bike: it comes with mudguards; it has heated grips to keep your hands warm in winter; and you get LED lights to get you seen on dark evenings. Granted, the mudguards and lights are basic, but the GloGrips heated grips are marvellous.
The Subway AWE’s ride is quite firm thanks to a beefy aluminium frame and rigid steel fork, and the handling is on the quick side. The ride feel is easily softened by running the tyres at lower pressures than usual.
Carrera offers a 46/30 chainset combined with an 11-36 cassette for a 502% gear range. There are plenty of low gears so you can comfortably get up just about anything a UK city is likely to throw at you. More bikes should be geared like this. The Shimano Altus shifting is better than you've any right to expect on a £450 bike too and the Clarks Clout disc brakes provide plenty of easily controlled stopping power, which is why they have such a good reputation.
The most unusual aspect of the Subway line of bikes is the 650B wheels – a little smaller than the more common 700C. On a hybrid, 650B wheels provide the ability to fit a wide range of tyres. Swap them for 700C wheels with lighter tyres and the Subway would make a great flat-bar tourer and countryside explorer.
The Carrera Subway AWE is an excellent flat-bar bike for round-town and recreational riding, handily straddling the gap between a classic hybrid and a rigid mountain bike. It boasts well-thought-out features like a wide, low gear range and very good brakes, and the winter-friendly features are the icing on the cake.
Why it’s here Brilliant versatile round-town bike with really handy extras to cope with the great British weather
Buy now for £475 from Halfords
Read the review
It’s the titanium Evoke MK3 from British brand Enigma that opens our top five, a bike that provides a buzz-free smoothness and plenty of stiffness where it really counts, along with durability and a classic looks. This is a top-quality bike.
The Evoke, make from 3Al/2.5V titanium alloy, offers a performance that was inspired by classic race bikes. It uses a custom tubeset and each frame size comes with varying tube diameters and butt profiles to get the best balance of ride comfort and stiffness for a given rider weight and size bracket.
It offers a firmer ride than many titanium bikes but in a purposeful way. The stiffness around the bottom bracket makes the frame feel hugely responsive, and it’s a great bike for attacking the climbs or just getting the power down. The lack of unwanted flex makes the Evoke feel lighter than it is and very nimble. That said, 8.8kg with an electronic groupset, disc brakes, and deep-section wheels is none too shabby anyway.
The Evoke’s geometry is a little less aggressive than that of a true race bike, but it’s not as relaxed as an endurance bike – it sits somewhere in between. The steering is quick while the wheelbase is long enough to provide a degree of stability.
The slim seatstays remove the chatter while you’re seated and also give the bike’s rear end a planted feel, keeping the tyre in full contact over rough roads.
This new version of the Evoke comes with internal routing for cables, wires and hydraulic hoses, plus a T47 threaded bottom bracket. The chainstays are stiffer too, which benefits performance, and you can fit tyres up to 32mm wide. Don't expect mudguards or rack mounts, though; this is a performance bike.
The C-Six DSC Carbon fork – with a tapered steerer tube – matches both the quality and the nature of the frame and is stiff without feeling harsh or transferring road buzz up to your hands.
The Evoke frame is £2,199, the frameset is £2,638.99, and full builds are available too. Our review bike was built-up with Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 groupset which is excellent throughout. If you’ve got the money, it’s a superb option for a frameset of this calibre.
The Evoke is the complete package offering a stunning performance ride with just enough titanium zing for comfort. Oh, and those looks… Beautiful!
The MiRiDER One GB3 bags our fourth place. This is a funky-looking fold-in-half magnesium electric bike with an integrated but removable battery, mid-frame elastomer suspension, adjustable height handlebars and seatpost, and three gears. This is a really impressive all-round performer for shorter commutes and leisure rides.
The MiRiDER finished behind the Carrera Subway All Weather Edition Men’s Hybrid Bike (above) in our commuting bikes, folding bikes and urban bikes awards but the positions are reversed here. Why? Because here we take factors beyond commuting into account. The MiRIDER won our electric bikes category and it’s super-impressive for leisure riding out of town too. It’s also a very nice bike to ride if you want a workout, with just enough assistance to make the exercise a pleasure rather than a pain.
The three-speed Efneo GTRO gear unit is housed within the chain wheel body and manages to get a planetary gear setup into a space only around 15mm deep and with a diameter the same as a medium-sized chainring. It’s really impressive engineering.
You operate things via a twist grip with three gear points to click between. Simplicity itself. A cracking little rear hub motor provides the power.
The biggest bonus of not using a derailleur is that MiRiDER is able to fit a belt drive, meaning there’s no oil to get on your clothes and no regular maintenance.
We got over 35 miles from the small 252Wh battery over moderately hilly terrain when ridden mainly in the lower power levels and without using the throttle to give a power boost up steeper sections. This meant a decent amount of moderate exercise, but the small Bafang motor certainly took the sting out of the climbs. It proved a very nice bike to ride downhill and on the flat with the power turned off too.
It's possible to get such impressive mileage because even at the lowest assistance level the power keeps on coming right up to the assist cut-out limit of around 16mph. You can ride it with just a small amount of assistance if conditions are fairly benign, rather than having to dial up the power levels to get more speed.
The subtleties of the MiRiDER control system mean it's not only an efficient e-bike if ridden in the lower power levels but it feels very like a non-electric bike too, the assistance blending nicely with your leg power.
The Gemma hydraulic disc brakes are smooth and powerful while the all-new full-colour LCD display is crisp and clear and pretty legible even in sunlight. It doesn't overwhelm you with information but provides helpful metrics as you ride.
The GB3 is cheaper than a lot of the competition. Add on the two-year guarantee and a UK factory and dealer network and this bike is a real star.
Into the top three and we have the excellent Reilly Fusion, a stunning bike both in terms of looks and the way it rides. With smooth tube junctions, it could almost be mistaken for carbon fibre rather than titanium, but climb aboard and you’ll experience that unmistakable Ti feel. You can ride long distances fast and in comfort.
Like many other bikes, the Fusion is made from 3Al/2.5V titanium, but rather than the tubes being welded together Reilly uses investment cast sections (made from 6Al/4V titanium alloy) for the head tube, seat cluster, bottom bracket shell and dropouts, with the tubes welded to them. This results in great stiffness and also the distinctive smooth finish you see where the seat tube meets the top tube.
Reilly has also embraced hydroforming to shape the tubing and meet the performance required in terms of stiffness and comfort – as well as aesthetics. The dropped seatstays with their elegant curves are a prime example.
The Fusion looks every inch the high-speed racer, and the performance is great. It's a decent weight – 8.27kg – and impressively stiff, feeling lively off the line and on the climbs.
The Fusion’s geometry is a small step back from that of a full-on aggressive race machine. It feels just as at home on longer road rides, from the club run through to a sportive or a day ride. This is a bike that’s easy to ride fast, but without the twitchiness of a race bike. It’s capable of being raced but doesn't feel like it has to be.
The Fusion is nimble while at the same time feeling composed thanks to the buzz-taming nature of the frame. This gives you the confidence to push hard through the corners. It feels planted while responding well to handlebar movements and shifts in body position.
A full-carbon fibre fork reinforces the frame’s performance. There is plenty of stiffness here without any compromise to the ride feel on rough roads.
Reilly’s website offers the Fusion in three builds – Shimano Ultegra Di2 in 11-speed or 12-speed, or Dura-Ace Di2 12-speed. Our review bike was built with the latest Ultegra Di2, 12-speed R8170, with fast and crisp shifting and awesome braking. You can also choose from a selection of wheels.
£8,699 is a big price tag but the Fusion isn’t overpriced compared with other bikes of its ilk (you could get it fully built up for £7,499), especially considering that the investment casting of the 4Al/6V components adds to the cost.
Overall, the Fusion rides with all of the excitement and involvement of a great race bike, with the manners and ride quality of a quick endurance machine. It’s a difficult balance to pull off, but Reilly has done it. If you want the performance of a high-end carbon fibre machine, but have a hankering for titanium then the Reilly could well be the one for you.
Our runner-up spot goes to the £1,680 Forme Monsal 1 gravel bike. This aluminium option is an absolute belter. It’s fun and engaging on the fast stuff, comfortable for those longer days in the saddle, and offers great value. As well as being exceptional on gravel, this is a bike that could easily turn its hand to commuting too.
This Forme Monsal 1 was ranked below the Carrera Subway All Weather Edition Men’s Hybrid Bike and the MiRider One GB3 in our commuting bikes, folding bikes and urban bikes awards but that’s because commuting is just one of its extra skills. Take into account that the Forme Monsal 1 came out on top in our gravel/adventure bikes category and you’ll see why it’s fully deserving of such a high position overall.
This is one of those bikes where you just have to ignore the spec sheet and put the scales back in the cupboard. At 10.87kg the Monsal sounds on the weighty side, but it feels anything but sluggish. It’s lively and responsive when you get out of the saddle for a short, sharp climb or a sprint and it gives you the confidence to push on just a little bit harder and faster. In fact, that bit of extra weight makes it feel very composed. It’s a flattering bike to ride.
The geometry has a racy edge, putting you into a position that’s aggressive enough to help you get the power down. It offers quick handling on the rough stuff without ever feeling twitchy or out of its depth.
The front end is low enough for tackling a headwind or descent but not so extreme that you can't sit with your hands on the hoods for many miles at a time.
The Monsal excels when it comes to comfort. The tubing delivers a high-quality steel frame feel. It has a smoothness to it, taking the edge off any buzz and rattling that would otherwise come through from the road/track surface. You get enough feedback to know exactly what’s going on beneath your tyres but without the chatter.
Stiffness hasn’t been sacrificed to provide that comfort. The Monsal is tight around the bottom bracket area, helped by the oversized down tube and beefy chainstays.
Up front things are also taut thanks to the tapered head tube and the stiffness of the carbon fibre fork that copes well with the loads from steering and heavy braking. Reviewer Stu Kerton said that this is one of the nicest aluminium alloy frames he’s ridden in a long time.
The Monsal doesn’t come with quite as many mounting points as some gravel bikes, but it’ll take a couple of water bottle cages, mudguards and a rear rack. This should help if you fancy using the Forme as a commuter. It would prove extremely capable, especially if your route skips between the road and by-ways, hence its inclusion in road.cc Recommends Bikes of the Year 2022/23: commuting bikes, folding bikes and urban bikes.
The frame and fork provide plenty of space for the 45mm tyres that come as standard, and if you’re worried about creaks after riding in the wet or dust, the fact that it is specced a threaded bottom bracket should allay your fears.
The Monsal 1 uses a Sram Apex 1x groupset that provides crisp and clean shifting across the cassette, and the tall hoods on the shift-brake controls give you plenty of purchase at speed on rough terrain.
Overall, the Monsal has one of the best frames on the market when it comes to balancing ride quality, comfort and stiffness, the geometry works beautifully on all kinds of surfaces, and the spec is great. Like we said, it’s an absolute belter.
The road.cc Recommends: Bike of the Year 2022/23 is the Mason SLR. This steel model encapsulates everything that's great about a modern metal bike, with a nod to tradition.
The SLR is a massively versatile road machine that gives the comfort and confidence of a big-mile tourer, with the fun of something much quicker. This is a hard-to-categorise bike that reviewer Stu Kerton described as “faultless”.
The SLR is a truly impressive bike, beautifully created and finished, that offers a stunning blend of performance and ride quality. It is designed with big rides in mind, whether loaded or not, and this is where it excels.
The ride is excellent thanks to a custom tubeset that provides an extremely supple feel. Even built up with an electronic groupset, hydraulic disc brakes and full mudguards, it’s nimble, responsive and involving for its 9.9kg weight.
The geometry is backed off a touch from what you’d expect of an endurance road bike, which allows you to sit back and enjoy the scenery, while the steering is reassuringly neutral. You get no surprises from the front end even on poor road surfaces… or when straying off tarmac. With the ability to take tyres up to 40mm with mudguards fitted and 45mm without, the SLR can take on light gravel sections or even firm mud.
This bike provides plenty of comfort and it also responds readily to a kick of the pedals, especially when you’re already rolling along. It’s no slouch on the climbs either. A tapered head tube and a beefy bottom bracket shell provide stiffness, meaning the SLR has get-up-and-go when you’re out of the saddle.
Descending is a joy. The SLR feels quick in the bends and the geometry helps you push on quicker than you'd expect thanks to a feeling of stability and poise. This gives you confidence in the wet too.
The Mason SLR is built around a custom-shaped and formed Dedacciai tubeset, which has received a phosphate anti-corrosion coating made exclusively for Mason.
The various tube shapes and profiles provide an exceptional blend of stiffness and comfort, and you get mounting points for racks and full mudguards, along with three bottle mounting positions and a chain pip for holding the chain while the rear wheel is out. There’s also internal dynamo routing for front and rear lighting, plus a pump peg for holding a full-size frame pump under the top tube.
The SLR is currently available as a frameset for £2,150, in a Campagnolo Ekar 1x build for £4,375, and in the SRAM Force eTap AXS build that we reviewed for £5,200 (other builds will follow). Force sits below SRAM's flagship Red groupset but shares much of its performance and quality at a lower price point.
One benefit of SRAM over Shimano or Campagnolo’s road groupsets is the size of chainrings open to you. Whereas the smallest offering from both of those (not including gravel groupsets) is 50/34T, SRAM offers Force in the 48/35T set-up we used. When paired with the 12-speed 10-33T cassette you get a huge spread of useable gears.
Whether you choose a Mason SLR because of your head or your heart, you’ll be incredibly satisfied. You’ll get a piece of engineering excellence that’ll stun you with its ride quality and behaviour.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.