Attentions in planet cycling have already turned to 2018 no matter where your interests lie, and with that in mind our grouptest this month pits six of the hottest, most sought-after steeds of next year against one other. Money really was no object in selecting the bikes, with range-topping models of the likes of Specialized’s new Tarmac S-Works and Cervelo’s R5 eTAP.
In our other grouptest, Guy Kesteven asks what exactly is a ‘gravel’ bike by testing a range of them at the Top of the Rock sportive in Yorkshire, including the Cannondale CAADX Ultegra and Cotic’s Escapade Silver Plus. In First Rides, we’ve tests of the Merida Cyclo Cross 5000, Cannondale SuperSix DA Disc, Orro Gold STC Ultegra and Salsa Vaya Claris.
In New Gear, we look at Wattbike’s new well-connected trainer, the Atom, Bontrager’s Velocis MIPS helmet, Zipp 454 NSW Disc wheels and Rudy Project Fotonyk sunnies. We’ve a 16-strong grouptest of waterproof jackets and a guide on financing your upgrades, whether the budget is a tenner or hundreds. In features, James Witts looks at ageing and how you can defy it on the bike.
We also get to grips with cross-training – the off-bike activities you can do this winter that’ll make you stronger on it – as well as heading to Switzerland and braving the snow to take part in the TorTour Cycle-cross event. In Big Ride, Trevor Ward, perhaps inspired by the characters of Jules Verne, travels from the centre of Great Britain at Dunsop Bridge in Lancashire to the highest road in the UK – Great Dun Fell.
In Training Camp we’ve advice on nailing a time trial position like German hotshot Tony Martin, hear from legendary hardman-turned-commentator Sean Kelly on riding in bad weather, show you how to strengthen your calf muscles and discover the energy boosting properties of honey. Finally, Ned is musing on professional cycling’s chaotic side. Which is actually quite a lot of it.
Our free gift this month is a 36-page ‘2018 Gear Guide’, featuring a look into next year’s best kit from the Eurobike trade show, our favourite gear from this year, the best groupsets currently available and the next-generation battery-assisted road bikes. Just don’t call them e-bikes…
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Senior writer and tireless domestique John has been putting in a shift for Cycling Plus for seven years. Despite having been a ‘proper’ road cyclist for the last decade, he still can’t work out what his main motivation for punishing all-day rides is. A freewheeling attitude towards cake is the popular theory, however.