Cycling Plus October is on sale now!

From what might be the fastest bike in the world, to bikes that will make your commute faster, we've got all bases covered this month

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The Specialized Venge first appeared in 2011 as one of the first ‘aero’ road bikes on the market. With their new 2018 bike, the third iteration of the Venge, Specialized believe nobody could produce a faster bike right now – not even them! We’ve got our hands on the £9,500 bike and assess whether it lives up to the billing.

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In other First Rides, we swing a leg over the Bianchi Aria Campagnolo Potenza Disc, Trek’s 520 Disc and the Felt AR4, as well as putting the Boardman SLR 8.6 and B’Twin Ultra 500 AF GF head-to-head.

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Move over, hybrids – the new-fangled ‘fitness bike’ is in town. Flat bars and wider tyres are about the only things they have in common, because the fitness bike is more forgiving, more desirable, more ridable. Whether you want it to commute, to train or even to ride sportives, the six bikes in our main grouptest are all up to the job.

In our second grouptest, we look at two tourers that with two very different approaches to haulage. While the Dawes Super Galaxy has a traditional touring set-up, the Whyte Glencoe opts for a bike packing set-up, with bags spread across the frame. But which fared best?

In our Gear Guides, we try out some of the most popular bike fitting systems on the market, including Guru Fit, idmatch and Trek Precision Fit, after testing out 12 low-cost rim brake wheels.

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In New Kit, we hit the dirt roads with DT Swiss’s CRC1400 gravel wheels, try on for size FWE’s Beacon Comp shoes, test the Specialized S-Works Evade II helmet and Rapha’s first saddle, the Classic.

In Features, Chris McGuire looks at the lies cyclists tell themselves – how much we spent on our bike, or how far we rode on our last ride – and how we can turn them into a more honest reality. John Whitney heads to the Tour de France to witness the most talked about stage (17, in the Pyrenees) by the roadside, while Paul Robson speaks to Ashmei owner Stuart Brooke about pursuing perfection with his brand for the latest in our Best of British series. We also head to Orkney for a more than breezy ride in one of Britain’s most northerly points.

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And that’s not all: in addition to the main mag is a 20-page ‘Fix Your Bike’ supplement, which packs in the essentials that’ll keep your bike in tip-top shape.