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The Year's Best Road Bikes

Bicycling magazine announces its coveted Editors’ Choice awards

Cannondale
The $2,000, 17.5-pound Cannondale CAAD10 4 Rival got the nod in the recreational road category.

Following up on its 2012 buyers guide in the April issue (and an expanded version in iPad format)  Bicycling magazine announced its Editors’ Choice awards at last weekend’s Sea Otter Classic.

“For those looking to purchase a new bike, it truly is a buyer’s market,” said Bicycling editor-in-chief Peter Flax. “Never have there been so many exceptional bikes, across all categories and price points, and our Editors’ Choice Awards are the perfect place to get started.”

Bicycling narrowed down a field of hundreds of options to 28 nominees, from which it picked eight top bikes. Testing was handled near Bicycling HQ in Emmaus, PA, and on a product-flogging trip to Tucson, AZ.

This first round of Editors’ Choice covers only road bikes, but Bicycling will roll out similar results for mountain bikes, triathlon/TT bikes, and shoes, gear and apparel later in the season.

For the full rundown check out the June issue of Bicycling, or surf over to Bicycling.com for the eight winners—which range from the $700 Cannondale Quick 4 flat-bar road bike to the $11,000 Specialized Tarmac SL4 Di2.

Bicycling includes commuter bikes in the road category, and gave top honors to Trek's SoHo Deluxe. And deluxe it is, with a belt-drive 8-speed internatl Shimano hub, a front disc brake and lightweigh alloy frame—not to mention fenders and a rack. Cool bike, but out of the 15 bikes in Trek's "Urban Utility" category, the $1,370 SoHo Deluxe is the priciest non-electric model.

For a gateway category like commuter bikes, it would have been nice to see a more realistically priced option, such as Giant's excellent Via series of smart steel-frame city bikes. The top-of-the-line Via 1 sells for a little less than half the price of the SoHo Deluxe, and still comes compettively equipped.

Notably, Giant took three of the eight Editors' Choice categories, so it's not suprising to see the Via excluded, but there were plenty of more affordable—and perhaps more sensible—commuter options to pick from.

The top 2012 Race Bike honoree (the Best Picture equivalent of the annual Editors' Choice awards) also went to Specialized for its S-Works Tarmac SL4. The editors gushed over the Di2-equipped steed, and it's hard to fault them for that. A bike that weighs just 14.7 pounds (for a 54cm frame) and comes with the race-proven pedegree of Specialized's Tarmac chassis is hard to beat at any pricepoint.

One last honoree of note is the CAAD10 4 Rival, from Cannondale (which ranked second among brands with two blue-ribbon bikes). The $2,000 alumiunm Cannondale took home Best Recreational Road Bike, beating out a field stocked with carbon fiber competitors, signaling that alumiunum's not quite dead when it comes to real-world performance and ride quality. The bike (pictured above) sports a snazzy avant garde color scheme, too.

All eight Editors’ Choice road bikes can be found here, as well as in the Bicycling's June issue.

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