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Our annual bike awards start next week so here’s a look at this year’s categories and how we decide the winners

It’s nearly time for us to reveal the road.cc Bike of the Year. Starting on Monday (7 January 2019), we'll be presenting awards to the best bikes we tested in 2018, divided up into several different categories that represent the diversity of the market. We'll then unveil our overall Bike of the Year.

These are the award categories:

• Road Bike of the Year
• Road Frameset of the Year
• Sportive and Endurance Bike of the Year
• Road Superbike of the Year
• Gravel and Adventure Bike of the Year
• Gravel and Adventure Superbike of the Year
• Gravel and Adventure Frameset of the Year
• Cycle to Work Scheme Bike of the Year
• Bike of the Year Overall Award

How do we pick the winners?

First of all, for a bike to eligible for an award it must have been reviewed here on road.cc during 2018.

We'll just say that one more time because every year we get the same question about why bike X, Y or Z isn't on the list: a bike must have been reviewed on road.cc over the past year to be in the running. If a brand didn't send us a bike to test, it isn't included. Simple.

We compiled the shortlist for each category by rounding up all the bikes that reviewed well — those that scored at least 8 out of 10. Then we started the long process of deciding on a winner in each category — a lot of discussion, lively debate and all-out argument.

We don't simply tot up the scores awarded in our initial reviews and leave it there. That would be the easy way to do it but different reviewers might be slightly more generous than others in their scoring so we take that into account, and it's useful to view the market as a whole with the benefit of hindsight.

Most of the categories are self-explanatory and are the same as ones we've used in previous years, although the Cycle to Work Scheme Bike of the Year is new. The government's Cycle to Work Scheme is based on a salary sacrifice process; you can get a bike with the cost deducted from your wages over a 12 month period, before tax. The upper limit is usually £1,000 so that's the top price for bikes included in this category.

In some categories there was a standout winner, in others there was a lot of debate. It’s a difficult process but we got there in the end.

Last year’s winner

Last year's winner was the 3T Strada, an innovative aero frameset that takes wide tyres, disc brakes and a 1x groupset. Check out the full top 10

3T Strada - riding 1.jpg

Which bike will follow in its tyre tracks as road.cc Bike of the Year? We'll start revealing the results on Monday.

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 pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.