With 2021 upon us, it’s nearly time for the road.cc Bike of the Year awards. Every year at this time we reveal the best bikes that we've reviewed over the previous 12 months, and starting on Monday (11th January 2021) we'll be presenting awards in several different categories:
• Road 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
• e-bike of the Year
• Road Bike of the Year
• Commuter Bike of the Year
Then we'll include the best models from these categories in:
• Bike of the Year Overall Award
We'll just make that clear once again because every year we get asked why a particular bike that we haven't reviewed during the relevant period isn't included: a bike has to have been reviewed by road.cc, off.road.cc or ebiketips during 2020 to be considered. If a brand didn't send us the bike to test, we can't comment on its performance and it doesn't go in. Simple.
We compiled a list of bikes in each category that were awarded an overall score or at least eight out of 10 during testing. That's the easy bit. Then we go back to the original reviews, consult the testers and start the process of deciding on category winners. This involves a lot of discussion, debate and – usually – argument.
We could simply add up the scores given in our tests and leave it at that, but we don't. Why? 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 significantly over the course of a year. A bike that scored highly in January, say, might be outclassed by bikes released in the summer and look less of a bargain by the end of the year. We take this into account and view the market as a whole with the benefit of hindsight.
In some categories there's a standout winner, in others it's more of a tight-run thing. You might not agree with our selections, and that’s fine. The right bike for you depends on the sort of rider you are, the riding you do, your budget and many other factors, but our awards represent a fair and honest assessment of the bikes we've ridden in the last 12 months.
Last year's winner was the Triban RC 500 Disc, a £529.99 road bike that offered an outstanding performance and stunning value for money. Check out the full top 10.
Which bike will follow it as road.cc Bike of the Year? Stay tuned and we'll start revealing the results on Monday, beginning with our Superbike of the Year.
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.