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road.cc Bike of the Year 2019/20

We've picked our category winners now it's time to pick the best of the best

It’s time to reveal which of the bikes we rode and reviewed in 2019 were the best of the best – the ones that stood out over all the others during many, many thousands of test miles, and the model that we rate most highly of all: the overall road.cc Bike of the Year 2019/20.

Over the past week we've told you about the best bikes in each of these categories:

Superbike of the Year 
Sub-£1,000 Bike of the Year 
Gravel & Adventure Bike of the Year
Sportive & Endurance Bike of the Year
Frameset of the Year 
E-bike of the Year
Road Bike of the Year 
Commuter Bike of the Year 

The 10 bikes that we’re about to show you are the best from those categories combined, covering the many areas of cycling we represent here on road.cc and our sister site off.road.cc. It's a diverse selection in many ways, with carbon, aluminium, steel and titanium frames all included. Interestingly, aluminium is the best represented frame material this time around. 

One thing that the 10 bikes have in common, though – spoiler alert! – is that they all take disc brakes. This is a significant shift from last year when the top 10 comprised six disc brake and four rim brake bikes, and our overall Bike of the Year, the B’Twin Ultra 900 CF 105, was a rim brake model. You only have to go back eight years to find a road.cc Bike of the Year top 10 without any disc brakes at all.

We did review a lot of disc brake bikes in 2019. We didn't set out to, it's just the way that most sectors of the industry are going. Gravel/adventure bikes have come to the fore and virtually all of these are disc equipped, for example, as are ever more road bikes, especially since the UCI made them race legal. 

We said in our Sub-£1,000 Bike of the Year article that it would have been wrong for us to break up the dominance of Decathlon's bikes in order to sidestep charges of favouritism. In the same way, it wouldn't be right for us to add rim brake bikes into our overall top 10 simply to even things out. It just so happens that the 10 bikes that impressed us most over the past 12 months all had disc brakes. Maybe it'll be different next year, maybe it won't; this isn't something we consider when making our selections.

How we picked the winner

Let’s explain how we reached our decision. First of all, for a bike to be eligible for an award in any category it must have been reviewed in 2019 on road.cc or one of our sister sites: off-road.cc and ebiketips. If a brand didn't send us the bike to test, it doesn't go in. 

We compiled a list of bikes in each category that were awarded an overall score or at least eight out of 10 during testing. We went back to the original reviews, consulted the testers and eventually decided on the winners of each category. This involved a lot of discussion, debate and – usually – argument.  

We could have simply added up the scores given in our tests and left it at that, but we didn'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 over the course of a year. We take this into account and view the market as a whole with the benefit of hindsight.

The top bikes from the various categories were then considered for the overall road.cc Bike of the Year 2019/20. We set about arranging them in an order based on performance, handling, specification and value.

It’s not easy to pick just 10 bikes from the vast number that we've reviewed over the past year. In fact, it's really difficult. You might not agree with our selection, and that’s fine, but this is our fair and honest assessment of the bikes that we've tested. 

Deal of the Year

Deal of the Year acknowledges the bike in our top 10 that we feel offers the best value. Think of it as the bang per buck award, if you prefer.

We've also marked the off-road.cc Bargain Buy which considers only gravel bikes.

Right, let's crack into our top 10.

10. Ribble CGR AL Shimano 105 £1,399

Buy it here 

Ribble's CGR AL Shimano 105 is a hugely versatile and superb value bike for everything from gravel bashing to cyclocross and road commuting. The aluminium frame isn't overly compliant and the kit needs a few tweaks if you intend to stick mostly to dirt, but it's easy to customise the spec to your heart's content when you order.

The CGR bit of the name stands for Cyclocross, Gravel and Road, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about where this bike is pitched, namely as a do-it-all drop bar bike. The impressive thing is that it actually delivers on this promise.

The aluminium frame is well made, there are 12mm through axles at either end with flat mount disc brakes, loads of guard, cage and rack mounts and the paint job is smooth and smart (orange is available as well as this blue). The CGR generally gives off the vibe of being a much more expensive machine than it is. 

While you can stuff up to a 45mm tyre on a 700c wheel and up to 47mm on 650b hoops in the frame and carbon fork, it comes with 40mm Schwalbe G-One AllRound tyres as standard. That's a pretty good choice for most road bashing but you might want to change them out with Ribble's clever custom bike builder if you plan to ride on dirt.

Shimano's 105 hydraulic groupset is a solid choice, with 11 evenly spaced ratios over an 11-32T cassette and smooth, dependable shifting. If you are going to head off tarmac, switching out the 50/34T chainset for one with 46/36T chainrings will lose a bit of bottom end but there's less of a leap between the rings. 

The hydraulic brakes are a good reason to opt for this build rather than the £999 Shimano Tiagra bike, which comes with cable discs. They're powerful, predictable and work in all conditions. 

The geometry combines a great big head tube from gravel, a low bottom bracket from cyclocross and angles that split the difference with a road bike elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, that's exactly how it rides; a bit of a jack of all trades rather than a master of one.

Versatility is at the heart of this machine. If you plan to mix a bit of gravel or a cyclocross race with regular commuting, then this build is superb, and if you plan to vary it more towards one aspect than another, then Ribble has you covered with so many custom build options.

While the handling is a balance between the competing requirements of each of the disciplines, it's a line that Ribble has walked very well. Add in the fact that it is stonking value and looks and feels every inch like a quality product and there's very little not to like.

Why it's here Excellent value and huge versatility from a well mannered drop bar machine
Read the review 

9. Bianchi Oltre XR4 Disc Ultegra Di2 £7,700 

Buy it here 

The Bianchi Oltre XR4 Disc took the runner-up spot in the road.cc Superbike of the Year 2019/20 category because it's a fabulous race bike, offering speed and agility, aero features and an excellent ride quality alongside the power and consistency of hydraulic disc brakes. This bike is a real star!

The Oltre XR4 Disc jumps into action with no fuss whatsoever. The central part of this frame is solid. Get out of the saddle and slam those pedals with everything you've got in a quad-busting sprint and it's still solid. The front end is equally impressive. Lean the XR4 over as hard as you dare, the tyres scrabbling to grip the road surface, and the steering is spot on. 

The Oltre XR4 Disc is just as good on the ups. We've certainly reviewed disc brake bikes that are considerably lighter, but stand up on the pedals and everything feels very efficient.

One interesting feature is the forward sweep of the Vision Metron 5D ACR Disc Integrated Aero bar/stem. From the centre point, the flattened tops curve forward 10 degrees. This means that when you rest your hands up there for climbing, your hands are angled and your elbows stick out slightly. Vision claims that this makes for easier breathing. We're not 100 per cent sure about that but the position definitely feels a little less cramped than usual.

The ACR (Aerodynamic Cable Routing) system also allows the gear wires and brake hoses to be routed inside the bar/stem and from there into the frame and fork. There's nothing to disturb the clean lines here, although if you choose a mechanical groupset Bianchi runs the cables externally between the centre of the bar and ports at the top of the down tube.

The other big feature of the Oltre XR4 is its smoothness. Bianchi will tell you that this is down its Countervail (CV) technology – a patented carbon-fibre architecture designed to reduce vibration.

Of course, there are a whole load of factors that affect a bike's feel, from frame geometry and layup to fairly simple things like tyre pressure and the type of handlebar tape used. We couldn't tell you the degree to which Countervail helps but the Oltre XR4 is among the most buzz-free race bikes out there. This is, though, still very much an aggressive race bike with sharp reflexes so don't expect the deep, soft comfort that you get with some endurance road bikes.

The version we reviewed was fitted with Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels rather than Fulcrum Racing 418 wheels, which are another option. and this put the price up by over £1,000. Several other builds are available.

This really is a great race bike. You'll find lighter bikes and you'll find bikes that beat it on price, but the Oltre XR4 Disc offers a sparkling ride. It's quick, agile and very smooth. Add in an excellent electronic groupset and hydraulic disc brakes and this is a fabulous proposition.

Why it's here Pro-level race bike with fast reactions, a smooth ride and excellent braking
Read the review

8. J.Guillem Major 105 £2,669.25

Buy it here 

The titanium J.Guillem Major took the runner-up spot in road.cc Road Bike of the Year 2019/20, a category open to all road bikes priced under £3,500.

The Major isn't a race bike but it does give more than a nod to performance, so the fact that it is quick shouldn't come as a huge shock, but just how well it performed surprised reviewer Stu.

Stiffness around the bottom bracket is excellent, with all the power you put out going straight to the rear wheel. The front end, with its tapered head tube and full carbon fork, brings the same to the steering and dealing with the braking loads. With a short wheelbase the bike is nimble while the handling is precise.

All of that stiffness means it is a decent climber and sprinter, too, not really feeling held back by a 9kg weight for the Shimano 105 model that we reviewed.

Like most manufacturers, J.Guillem uses 3Al/2.5V grade titanium for its tubes, and here they are drawn complete rather than being rolled and welded. Speaking of welding, the tube junctions are smooth and tidy, and the handbrushed finish gives a shine to the frame.

When it comes to geometry, the Major is aimed at the performance end of the spectrum, giving you quite an aggressive position for tapping the power out.

The Major is a fun and exciting bike to ride, and the performance is brilliant. The ride is certainly firm but Stu found it to be one of the most enjoyable bikes he rode in 2019, if not in the several years since he started to write for road.cc.

Why it's here A firm ride but that's cancelled out by the excellent performance and handling
Read the review  

7. Triban RC120 Disc £399.99

Buy it here 

The Triban RC120 Disc bagged second place in road.cc Commuting Bike of the Year 2019/20 and third place in both the road.cc Sportive and Endurance Bike of the Year 2019/20 and road.cc Sub-£1,000 Bike of the Year 2019/20

With almost faultless ride manners, a perfectly practical spec and mechanical disc brakes, the RC120 Disc has more potential as a high-mileage road machine than its price might suggest.

Reviewer Matt Lamy felt that hopping aboard the Triban RC120 Disc was like reconnecting with an old friend. That's great news for the new or lapsed road cyclists who this entry-level bike is aimed at. Handling is absolutely secure with very little upsetting the Triban's progress. It's comfortable too, both in terms of position and in its ability to filter out the worst of your route's road surfaces.

That bump isolation doesn't come at the cost of efficiency. Start turning up the wick a little and power delivery is decent: keeping a high cruising tempo is a particularly satisfying pleasure. Fast flat sections or moderate climbs are handled with ease and even more testing challenges benefit from the RC120 Disc's stable ride, which allows out-of-the-saddle efforts to be handled without drama. It is pretty much exactly what anybody wanting a friendly, benign road bike would hope for.

The frame is 6061 T6 aluminium while the fork is carbon-bladed. It is effective at taking the sting out of the road and even features front rack mounts should you want to turn this into an ultra-fast tourer.

When it comes to performance, the Triban exceeds expectations and the relatively low-rent componentry has a secure feel. Connoisseurs won't confuse the Microshift front derailleurs and shifters with Mr Shimano's finest – they're not as smooth or quiet in operation – but gear changes are positive. The Shimano Tourney compact (50/34) chainset, combined with the 8-speed 11-34t Microshift cassette, offers a really broad range of gear ratios. 

The Promax mechanical disc brakes are quietly impressive too. Modulation is definitely better than the typical cheapo calliper brakes found at this point in the market, outright power is good and they retain their ability in the rain.

The own-brand aluminium rims roll smoothly on sealed hubs and give you the option of going tubeless if you fit the right tyres in future. 

For relatively inexperienced riders, the Triban RC120 Disc offers a very safe welcome to the world of fast drop-bar bikes. With rack mounts front and back, it could also be a high-speed commuter, and for more experienced hands it could make for a surprisingly effective aluminium winter training bike too.

It also unquestionably upholds its forebears' honour as an entry-level option that offers a real road-bike ride experience. If you prefer long-ride comfort, stability and efficiency to occasional short blasts, it would be hard to better the Triban RC120 Disc at this price.

Why it's here Fast, stable and ultra-reliable entry-level road bike that forgoes fireworks for long-term and long-distance enjoyment
Read the review 

6. Ribble R872 Disc Tiagra £1,099

Buy it here 

The Ribble R872 Disc Tiagra impressed us hugely, earning second place in road.cc Sportive and Endurance Bike of the Year 2019/20

The Ribble R872 Disc Tiagra is a carbon-fibre road bike that offers a much higher performance than you've a right to expect at this price. Plus, there's the bonus that you can tweak the spec to suit your taste and budget.

The R872 Disc is part of Ribble's Endurance range but 'endurance' means different things to different people. By the standards of most endurance bikes, this frame is built to quite an aggressive geometry. It's suitable for sportives, for example, and other long, pacy rides, but the setup isn't as relaxed as you'll often find elsewhere.

The bottom line is that the R872 Disc sits towards the racier end of the endurance bike spectrum. That's not to say that you're going to spend the whole time gnawing your handlebar but Ribble hasn't slung a super-long head tube on here. Make sense? Efficient but not extreme.

Coming in at 9.69kg (21lb 6oz), the Ribble R872 Disc isn't mega-light, but this is a £1,100 disc brake bike we're talking about so the UCI's 6.8kg minimum weight limit is always going to be a distant horizon. If you're bothered you could always go through Ribble's web-based Bike Builder system and select lighter components.

Overall, the Ribble R872 Disc provides an exceptional carbon fibre frame that's suited to tackling long rides at pace, and a strong components package that you can adjust to your requirements. It has to be a contender if you're after a sportive-style road bike that offers high value for money, especially if you want something that's upgradable over time.

Why it’s here Highly impressive carbon road bike that offers exceptional value, and you can tweak the spec to your own taste and budget
Read the review 

5. B’Twin Riverside 920 £599.99

Buy it here 

The B’Twin Riverside 920 took second place in road.cc Sub-£1,000 Bike of the Year 2019/20 and won the road.cc Commuting Bike of the Year 2019/20 category. 

Who could imagine a big old lump of a hybrid – with 38mm tyres and a suspension fork and weighing north of 13kg – being any fun to cycle? Anybody riding something like that is in for a slog, right? Thankfully, nobody told those crazy French cats about accepted wisdom because in the B'Twin Riverside 920 they've managed to put together an incredible bike that combines all the practicalities of a hybrid, with a fun and enthusiastic ride and almost unlimited potential.

The first thing that hits you about B'Twin's Riverside 920 is just how reactive it is. For a big and relatively heavy bike, you can get it up to speed without any real effort, and weaving in and around parked cars or street furniture is exciting and direct. Even if the Riverside 920 isn't necessarily quicker than other bikes, it feels lively and willing. This is a really rewarding bike to ride.

When you're suffering on a climb, there's a reassuring sense that all your effort is going into forward motion. A great deal of credit for the ride experience has to go to the front end. Although you sit relatively high, you never feel estranged from the front wheel, even with the suspension in operation. Placing the bike exactly where you want is so certain and direct that you can quickly go looking for excitement.

None of this direct power delivery and control comes at the expense of comfort. While both ends of the bike feel stiff when it counts, the overall ride is rather refined. The suspension fork helps smooth out vibrations coming through to your upper body, while the rear triangle still has give to keep things smooth. As a complete design, everything just feels fully resolved.

The Riverside 920's aluminium frame comes with a lifetime warranty and a really great riding position that errs on the side of upright. That gives you a good view ahead and commanding road presence in urban environments. 

Up front, the 63mm Suntour NCX air-sprung fork takes the sting out of road imperfections, potholes and sleeping policemen, and features a handy remote lockout. 

While the bike's weight seems hefty, such is its general enthusiastic character – and its sensible gearing – you really don't notice the mass.

The classy NX 36-tooth chainset is teamed with a wide-ranging 11-42t cassette, which really does provide all the gear ratios you'll need to enjoy (or at least conquer) everything from tough climbs to long descents.

The Riverside 920 is almost faultless in terms of ability and ride quality, while the underlying potential of the frame and package is unquestionable. 

Why it's here Agile and exciting ride makes the Riverside 920 an unexpected treasure
Read the review 

4. Mason ISO £3,490

Buy it here 

Sometimes a bike comes along that completely delivers in its capabilities, looks and build quality, and the Mason ISO – InSearchOf – is one of those bikes. With an Italian hand-built frame and a superb level of finish and detail, it nonchalantly redefines what a drop-bar bike is capable of being.

Developed following a conversation between Dom Mason and ultra-distance rider Josh Ibbett, the ISO is designed for the new breed of riding and bike packing that has gained ground over recent years; bikes that can carry loads, but are also a buzz to ride and capable of being adaptable.

The frame is a mix of custom-formed progressive-butted Dedacciai Zero and Reynolds 853 steel tubes, which gives it a unique look and shape. There are also plenty of forward-thinking touches, with bolt through dropouts, disc brakes and all manner of thoughtful, functional detailing on the frame and fork. 

For example, both the top tube and the down tube feature Mason's MultiPort adaptable internal routing for all types of cables while the HotShoe carbon fork is specifically designed to work with the load-carrying Shutter fender. This is a concept unique to Mason and it's a really clever touch for carrying lighter items (up to 2kg). Two handy straps by Voile hold things in place.  

You can mount full racks almost anywhere – the carrying potential is huge and can be customised to your preference – and you get ample mud clearance all round.

Across gravel-type terrain, the decent-sized tyres and the riding position make for a confident feel. When cornering, the ISO seldom feels nervous. The overall feel is very sure footed. It climbs really well, partly due to its lightish feel and also due to the just-right-compliance. It’s not so stiff you feel like you are getting kicked, but not so flexible it feels like you are wasting energy. The butted steel and thoughtful tube shaping all feed into this ride feel. The bolt-through axles keep it all tight and tracking well on bumps, roots or at speed.

What Mason has got so right is that the bike is viable for a lot of different types of trail or even road use. It’s not a road bike, but if you wanted to tour and have a mainly quiet road routes, the riding position is comfy for that. Similarly, ISO is at home off-road too. Somehow, they have struck the perfect balance between all-day comfort and off-road agility. 

The ISO is an absolute hoot to ride. It'll put a smile on your face and can handle a tonne of varied terrain. It encourages you to go and ride, and you can't give higher praise than that!

Why it's here Redefines what a drop bar bike is capable of being!
Read the review 

3. Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 £1,899.99

Buy it here 

The new Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 won our road.cc Road Bike of the Year 2019/20, a category open to all road bikes priced below £3,500. 

The CAAD13 represents far more than a quick update for Cannondale's aluminium race bike – drag has been reduced from that of the CAAD12, versatility has increased and the ride is more comfortable than ever. This is a really impressive revamp and an excellent alternative to carbon. You can even fit mudguards, which is a boon for UK cyclists. 

The belief that aluminium bikes are always harsh is among the more pervasive myths out there, but one ride on the new CAAD13 demonstrates this is really not the case. This bike offers a superbly smooth ride.

The tube shapes and frame silhouette have been altered from those of the CAAD12 and bear no resemblance whatsoever to those of the early CAAD bikes Cipollini rode back in the day. The result is a bike that feels more comfortable and chatter-free than ever before over poorly surfaced roads. The CAAD13 Disc is still nimble in use and the geometry is fairly aggressive, although slightly different from that of the CAAD12 Disc, having been brought into line with the SuperSix Evo Disc.

The CAAD13 is in no way an aero road bike in the same vein as Cannondale's SystemSix, but the designers have added several features designed to reduce drag, as they have with the SuperSix Evo on which it is broadly based. The down tube is a truncated aerofoil profile – so it has a rounded leading edge, flattish sides and a squared-off rear. The idea, as ever with a design like this, is that the air acts almost as if there were a long, tapered tail, but without the weight penalty or an adverse effect on handling.

With less money tied up in a carbon frame, there’s more left over for the components. This model is well specced with a Shimano 105 groupset, FSA 52/36t chainset, Formula wheels with Speed Release thru-axles and smart finishing kit.

Cannondale has developed a new model that keeps all the best bits from before and added aero features, extra comfort, and versatility. Added together, this results in one of the very best aluminium bikes out there.

Why it's here Aero-tuned aluminium road bike that proves carbon isn't the only option for a smooth ride
Read the review 

2. Specialized S-Works Roubaix £9,500

Buy it here 

The latest generation Specialized S-Works Roubaix, which took top spot in road.cc Superbike of the Year 2019/20, offers unmatched comfort – largely thanks to 20mm of suspension from its Future Shock 2.0 system – and excellent bike speed. You can't help but notice the price of this lavishly equipped S-Works model – it is by far the most expensive model in our top 10 – but there are more affordable options in the range that inherit all the key changes.

We used the new Roubaix over the ferocious Arenberg pavé in northern France and it was deeply impressive. It's comfortable, shields your body from the brutal impact forces, and above all it's fast. On everyday roads, the Future Shock – with rebound and compression damping and on-the-fly adjustment –works overtime to smooth out the wrinkles, cracks and holes. You don't notice it, apart from the smoothness you're feeling through the handlebar and when you look down to see the protective rubber boot being constantly squashed.

Should you come to a smooth road or a steep climb requiring some out of the saddle antics, the top dial lets you almost totally lock out the suspension. It's not completely solid – a big enough impact and the Future Shock will still work – but it's a lot firmer than when open.

The Future Shock works particularly well on coarsely surfaced roads, the sort where the top layer of tarmac is peeling away to leave a rubbly texture. It's like the road is being resurfaced ahead of you! The Future Shock delivers a level of smoothness that few bikes, even those with fat tyres, can match.

The new Pave seatpost offers built-in flex, and the seat tube into which the post slots has a lower integrated clamp than previously, allowing the post to bend more. Seated comfort is the equal of any other endurance bike on the market, if not a touch more impressive. Combined with the Future Shock, the result is a very balanced bike that dishes out silky smoothness over the worst roads.

The riding position is very comfortable, with a higher stack than a race bike, ensuring you can ride on the hoods or drops for hours on end without getting a bad back. If you find it a touch too high, you can swap the Hover riser handlebar for a regular bar.

The handling is a nice blend of sportiness to indulge your inner Sagan, but super-relaxed when you just want to ride steadily for five hours. The Roubaix doesn't have the same snap and agility as Specialized's Tarmac nor the outright savage speed of the Venge, but it's still a fast bike and unless you're racing the comfort of the Roubaix is a compelling reason to choose it.

Whether you need the Future Shock is down to whether you want the smoothest bike that will isolate you from lots of jarring impacts. It's a big improvement over the original, being smoother and better controlled, leading to a much nicer ride quality. That, along with all the other changes to the new Roubaix, ensure that it's fast, comfortable, efficient, precise, rewarding and fun to ride everywhere. It's one of the best endurance bikes currently available.

Why it's here Innovative endurance bike with impressive speed and unmatched comfort – it's a real star!
Read the review 

1. Triban RC 500 Disc £529.99

Buy it here 

And so to the overall road.cc Bike of the Year 2019/20... we can reveal that it's the Triban RC 500 Disc, the bike that won both the road.cc Sub-£1,000 Bike of the Year 2019/20 and the road.cc Sportive and Endurance Bike of the Year 2019/20 categories.

While the Specialized S-Works Roubaix (above) was one of the most expensive bikes we reviewed in 2019, the Triban RC 500 Disc was one of the most affordable. Is it controversial that something of this price comes out on top? We don't think so. Taking both value and performance into account, this is the most impressive bike we've reviewed over the past 12 months.

The Triban RC 500 is better than any £500 bike has any right to be, and unless you have serious go-faster ambitions, it's hard to see why you'd buy any other drop-handlebar bike in its price range.

The Triban RC 500 Disc shares an aluminium frame with its £730 big brother, the RC 520, which we reviewed at the end of 2018 and rated very highly indeed. To shave £200 off the price Decathlon has dropped the groupset two levels to 9-speed Shimano Sora instead of 11-speed Shimano 105, used cable rather than semi-hydraulic disc brakes and fitted heavier wheels. But out on the road none of this matters very much because many of the components are the same, especially ones that determine ride feel.

The result is a bike that's just as reassuring, welcoming and accessible to ride as the RC 520, but cheaper. That's a very appealing prospect for a lot of riders. Like its big brother, the Triban RC 500 bowls merrily along when you feed it even relatively modest effort. There's a pleasant, floaty feeling to both bikes. They demand very little in the way of concentration even at significant downhill speeds, and they cruise uphill with aplomb.

The upright riding position inspires a generally unhurried attitude; this is very much a bike for sitting up and admiring the scenery. The position on the drops is deep enough to be useful for fighting a headwind or getting down to bomb a descent, but it's by no means a Mark Cavendish flat-back super-tuck, even with the stem slammed.

The RC 500 gets Shimano's 9-speed Sora shifting. The Sora shifters have a slightly heavier feel than the 105; a tiny bit more effort is required to effect the shift, but it's a barely-perceptible difference. The 11-32t cassette provides good range, but we think they missed a trick in not speccing an even more generous 11-34t cassette, but that’s a very small niggle.

The RC 500 is a very, very good bike for £530. It has a welcoming, approachable ride, decent brakes, and a usefully wide gear range. It’s also very versatile. Mounts for mudguards and racks, and plenty of room around the tyres mean it'll make a brilliant year-round commuter, and a great light tourer. It's an easy bike to cover distance on too, so if you're not in a screaming hurry it'll happily take you from your first long-ish rides to 100-milers and more.

Why it wins Excellent commuter and all-day cruiser that's amazing value for money
Read the review

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.