Inquiry to be held into police enforcement of close passing after death of Australian cycling campaigner

Cameron Frewer had written a letter voicing his frustration with police days before he died

An inquiry into police enforcement of close passing laws in Australia will be launched after the death of a prominent cycling campaigner.

Cameron Frewer, 44, died on November 5 after being hit by a pick-up truck while riding near his home in Queensland.

Days before his death Mr Frewer, a dedicated cycling safety activist, had penned a letter decrying police attitudes to near passing.

A government agency in Queensland will now refer Mr Frewer’s concerns to the Crime and Corruption Commission to examine how police deal with near passing enforcement, according to Australia’s news.com.au.

In his open letter Mr Frewer wrote: “I am a father of three, a husband, someone who rides a bicycle on occasion, as well as a driver and motorcyclist.

“I ride alone and at times that avoid rush hour traffic. I stop at red lights, ride as far left as practicable, and do the best I can to keep myself safe on the roads.

“I don’t shave my legs, I use flashing front and rear lights and wear cycling gear that always carries a ‘safe passing’ message.

“I am hardly the ‘stereotypical’ lycra lout, but I do value my life and I value a law and process that encourages people to use bikes for whatever reason.”

>>> Cyclist says ‘I’m going to die at this roundabout’ after filming near misses

Mr Frewer also listed 19 cases from his own experience when he had reported near passes to police with video evidence, but nothing was done.

He alleged that officers were swayed by their personal feelings of “fellow drivers” and “nuisance cyclists.”

Police responses to Mr Frewer’s reports include an officer dismissing the incident because the driver didn’t know the law, ‘maybe the rider should should choose an alternative form of transport’ and one officer saying “I don’t agree with the law.”

According to news.com.au, the Queensland Government will sanction an inquiry by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Mr Frewer’s widow Catherine said she hopes her husband’s death can bring change and vowed to continue his legacy.

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Cycle commuters and walkers have the shortest daily journeys, according to new study

But all kinds of commute take longer than a decade ago…

Cycle commuters and walkers have the shortest commuting times, according to a new study.

Research by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has found that journey times for all commuters have increased in the last 10 years, including for cyclists and walkers.

But cyclist journeys are shorter, with riders travelling for almost 10 minutes less every day than drivers.

>>> Maximise the benefit of your commute

The study found that the average annual commuting time for all kinds of journeys was up 18 hours when comparing 2007 data to 2017.

Chief executive of employment campaign Work Wise UK, Phil Flaxton, said: “Long commutes have become a part of the UK’s working culture.

“But the excessive time spent commuting is one of the main factors contributing to work-life balance problems.

“Not only is the time spent commuting an issue, the nine-to-five culture with its peak travel times generates congestion.

“And the rush-hours on railways, underground and road networks increase stress for commuters.”

>>> Cyclist says ‘I’m going to die at this roundabout’ after filming near misses 

Cyclists spend an average of 44 minutes commuting every day, while walkers spend 29 minutes travelling to work.

Car commuters are now travelling for 52 minutes each day, while train users have the longest commutes at more than two hours.

There has been an increase in journey times across the board when compared with a decade ago.

Cycle journeys now take six minutes longer every day than in 2007, while driver’s journeys have increased by three minutes.



The TUC put the increase in commute times down to three factors – low government spending on transport infrastructure, employers not offering flexible working and real wages falling while house prices rise, which makes it harder for people to live near their work.

Research was carried out by the TUC, who analysed data from the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey.

Daily journey times across all modes of transport have increased from 53.6 minutes per day to 58.4 on average, a yearly increase of 18 hours.

Average commute times are highest in London at 80 minutes, followed by the east of England and the south east at 62 minutes.

The quickest journey times are in the north east – an average of 51 minutes.

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Continental has finally developed a tubeless road tyre — GP 5000 TL first look

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

Continental has launched the Grand Prix 5000 — the successor to the legendary GP4000 — in both a tubeless (GP 5000 TL) and clincher (GP 5000) version. The new all-rounder will replace the GP 4000 S II, one of our favourite road tyres.

The new tyre is notable not only for the technology contained within it, but also for the lateness of its arrival, with a road tubeless option from Continental conspicuous by its absence as competitors have capitalised on the growing market in recent years.

Updates all round

Presentations at launches for new products are usually filled to the brim with hyperbolic guff, but one claim we can actually believe from Continental was that that the GP 4000 S II was a genuine class leader — the tyre has consistently scored well, including in our own tests just last year.

However, it’s 14 years since the original GP 4000 was launched and the market has been waiting for an update to the tyre and, in particular, a tubeless road option from Continental.

The tubeless tyre you’ve all been waiting for

So, yes, a tubeless road tyre from Continental is finally here!

The GP 5000 TL is largely similar to the regular version but adds an airtight liner, a shaped bead — which uses a softer rubber to make fitting easier — and has a coarser, 180 tpi 3 ply casing as opposed to the clincher version’s 320 tpi. 

Continental claims to have gone through countless iterations of the tyre before deciding on its final dimensions, with the GP 5000 claimed to strike a good balance between easy mounting and a secure fit.

There were no unfitted tyres to confirm the actual weights, but the tubeless version of the tyre comes with a weight penalty of roughly 85g over the clincher.  

The tubeless tyre is available in 25, 28 and 32mm widths — the idea of a 32mm tubeless tyre with GP 4000-like performance is a genuinely exciting prospect and this is one I’m really looking forward to trying out.

The tyre is also available in 25 and 28mm widths for 650b-sized wheels.

A blacker Black Chilli

Both versions of the new GP 5000 feature an updated version of Continental’s signature Black Chilli compound.

To be clear, every road tyre in Continental’s range that uses Black Chilli features its own unique version of the compound, but they’re all referred to as Black Chilli.

As Continental will of course have you believe, this new compound is claimed to feature all manner of rubber-mixology-magic to strike a perfect balance between rolling resistance and grip.

Following moulding, the shoulder tread of the tyre is given a treatment that Continental is calling Lazer Grip. This process sees the tread areas passed over with a powerful laser, roughing up the surface of the tyre. This is claimed to improve grip.

Amusingly, Continental also noted that changes to the compound have made the new tyres a darker shade of black compared to the previous generation. The change is genuinely noticeable, though I can’t say I ever found myself concerned over the colour of the GP 4000 S II.

On that note, Continental confirmed that there are no plans to develop a tan wall version of the GP 5000 despite the obvious aesthetic appeal.  

An updated carcass

The carcass of the tyres has also been altered.

The new 330tpi, 3-ply construction of the clincher version is claimed to increase the overall stiffness of the tyre, improving stability in high-speed corners, all while reducing rolling resistance.

The tyre also features an elastomeric layer that Continental has dubbed Active Comfort. This claimed to improve vibration damping and improve comfort without affecting speed. 

Both of the tyres also include an updated version of Continental’s Vectran anti-puncture strip, with the new tyres claimed to be 20 percent less prone to punctures than the GP 4000 S II.

As with all of Continental’s high-end tyres, the new GP 5000 is handmade in Germany.

As mentioned, the tubeless version also adds an airtight liner.

What tubeless wheels will the GP 5000 work with?

Continental was very open about the fact that the situation surrounding road tubeless standards is absolute chaos — there is still no clear consensus on an industry-wide standard for rim and tyre dimensions.  

However, progress is being made, with Continental and other rim and tyre manufacturers sitting on a board that aims to define a standard within the next year or so.

It’s safe to say that we’ll be watching these developments closely — with Continental now on board the road tubeless train and a more clearly defined standard on the horizon, we could very well see mass adoption of the technology.

With that said, unlike Schwalbe, Continental will not be releasing compatibility charts for the new GP 5000.

Continental claims to have tested a huge number of tubeless road rims and has found that the new tyre will work with nearly all options — whether this means ‘works’ as intended or ‘can be made to work’ isn’t totally clear.

I personally think that, given the testing has already been carried out, it’s a real shame that Continental is choosing not to share this data; transparency is in vogue and it would undoubtedly be beneficial to consumers.

Will the pros be riding tubeless tyres?

Continental revealed that, alongside its usual tubular offerings, it will also be making the new tubeless tyres available to pro teams.

While I think it’s possible we may see some time-triallists — who occasionally choose to use clinchers over tubulars — using the tyres, I think widespread adoption at a pro level is very unlikely.

Pricing and availability

The new GP 5000 is available now in all sizes in both tubeless and clincher versions.

The clincher tyres will come in at €60.99 and the tubeless version at €74.99. International pricing is still TBA, though I expect this to be available shortly.

Continental GP 5000 specs

GP5000 specs

  • Available in 23, 25, 28 and 32mm widths for 700c
  • Also available in 25 and 23mm widths for 650b
  • 215g for a 25mm tyre
  • 330tpi 3 ply construction
  • 10g (claimed) lighter than the outgoing GP 4000 S II
  • €60.99

GP5000 TL specs

  • Available in 25, 28 and 32mm widths for 700c
  • Also available in 25 and 28mm widths for 650b
  • 300g claimed for tubeless 25mm tyre
  • 180tpi 3 ply construction with additional airtight liner
  • Claimed to have 5 percent less rolling resistance compared to clincher version
  • €74.99

Continental GP 5000 ride impressions

Continental invited me to Tenerife to try out the new tyres.

The island is famed for its glass-smooth roads and dry weather, so the ride impressions from our delightful 45km ride would be anecdotal at best — the real test will come when the tyres are subjected to a torture test of winter on the worst broken roads around Bristol.

We have tubeless and clincher samples on the way, and as soon as these have arrived, we’ll report back on how we got on fitting them to a number of different wheels.

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The best cheap road bikes reviewed in 2018

What to expect for your money in the best-value road bike sector, plus your guide to choosing the right first road bike for you

If you’re starting out on your cycling journey, or looking for a commuter to splash through the winter miles, then you probably don’t want to spend a fortune. The good news is, the best cheap road bikes can offer you miles of smiles without costing the earth.

If there’s one thing the bike trade loves, it’s a bit of ‘trickle down technology’. This simply means that features found on top end bikes will be available on mid-range models the next year, and eventually on cheap bikes.

>> Thought about trying MTB? mbr: Hardtail of the Year

Cycling Weekly’s test team has had the opportunity to put hundreds of bikes through their paces – with price tags from £250 right up to £10,000+ – so we know a good, inexpensive bike when we ride one.

We’ve rounded up our favourites – but read further on the page for an explanation of what to expect at each price point.

With each bike you’ll find a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

B’Twin Triban 520 road bike, £499

B'Twin Triban 520 best cheap road bikes

B’Twin Triban 520

Read more: B’Twin Triban 520 road bike

Review score: 9/10

An aluminium frame with carbon bladed forks and an alloy steerer, this model comes with Shimano Sora shifting and Shimano brakes. There’s a flat bar version if the idea of drop bars puts you off.

There’s lots of clearance for wider tyres – up to 32c without mudguards – which will be more comfortable and stable. There’s eyelets for mudguards and pannier racks and the weight is 9.9kg.

There’s a women’s version with narrower handlebars, and a women’s saddle, which saves female cyclists spending money on touchpoints soon after purchasing a new bike.

Buy now: B’Twin Triban 520 road bike at Decathlon for £520

Vitus Razor Claris road bike, £499.99

Vitus Razor road bike

Vitus Razor road bike

Read more: Vitus Razor road bike review

Review score: 9/10

An aluminium frame with a full carbon fork, plus Shimano Claris shifting. The brake set comes from Tektro, and the built weight is 10.3kg.

The geometry is designed to sit between endurance and race – so it’ll suit someone looking for a speedy ride, who doesn’t want to plunge straight into an agressive fit, or someone who wants to ride in comfort all day whilst still enjoying the nippy handling of a quick footed racer.

Buy now at Chain Reaction Cycles for £349.99

Boardman SLR 8.6 Alloy, £550

Boardman SLR 8.6 Alloy

Boardman SLR 8.6 Alloy

Read more: Boardman Road Sport review

Review score: 10/10

Boardman’s entry level road bike, the SLR 8.6 Alloy will be just a smidge over the budget for anyone aiming to hit £500, but we’ve always been impressed by Boardman’s framesets.

This one features a quality aluminium frame, carbon fork and steerer, Shimano Claris shifting with Tektro brakes and the built bike weighs around 10kg. Our tester reckoned that with a wheel upgrade later down the line, this model could even compete at the £1,000 price point.

There’s a women’s version with narrower handlebars, and a women’s saddle.

Buy it now at Halfords for £350

Specialized Dolce 2019 women’s road bike, £599

Specialized Dolce 2019 women's road bike

Specialized Dolce 2019 women’s road bike

Read more: Specialized Dolce women’s road bike review 

Review score: 9/10

The Dolce is a longstanding women’s specific bike and it comes at a range of price points.

The frame across the range is a high quality aluminum, with ‘Zertz inserts’ at the fork and seatstays, which are designed to smooth out the bumps.

It’s debatable if women benefit from female specific geometry, but women’s models will come with narrower handlebars and women’s saddles, cutting down on chances of riders needing to update components soon after purchase.

This model comes with Shimano Claris for £599, or there’s a Shimano Sora model at £799 – both use Tektro brakes with Axis sport wheels. You could get higher spec from an alternative brand, whilst here you’re paying for an excellent frame.

Buy now at Evans Cycles for £599

B’Twin Triban 540 road bike, £650

Triban B'Twin 540 road bike road bikes under £1000

Triban B’Twin 540 road bike

Read more: B’Twin Triban 540 road bike

Review score: Editor’s Choice 2017 award winner

Sitting at a significantly lower price point than most if the Cycling Weekly Bike of the Year for 2017. The Bike of the Year awards went to models that impressed us the most, after hundreds of test rides over the course of the year.

B’Twin took the same prize in 2016, and things got even better in 2017, with the Triban 540 offering Shimano 105 shifting for only £650.

Considering the bargain basement price, we were expecting a bargain basement frame and wheels too, but what you get is nothing of the sort.

Don’t be put off by not having a carbon frame, as the aluminium Triban frame offers impressive performance and comfort, and the Mavic Aksium wheels are more often seen on bikes costing twice as much.

Buy now at Decathlon, now £679

B’Twin Ultra 900 AF road bike, £799

B'Twin Ultra 900 AF road bike

B’Twin Ultra 900 AF road bike

Read more: B’Twin Ultra 700 AF 105 review

Review score: 10/10

B’Twin’s Ultra AF has been designed to suit riders seeking a bike for sportives, commutes, or even races. This model sports an aluminium frame with a carbon fork – and impressively at this price point you also get a Shimano 105 groupset with Mavic Aksium wheels.

When we tested the Ultra AF, we discovered a bike that was quick footed and fun to ride – we completely forgot it was an entry level road bike whilst bombing along the lanes – and it would suit racers with a wheel upgrade.

Buy now at Decathlon for £799

Bianchi Via Nirone 7 – £829

road bikes under £1000

Bianchi Via Nirone 7

Read more: Bianchi Via Nirone 7 review

Review score: 8/10

Bianchi is not a brand typically associated with ‘entry level’ – but the Nirone is its aluminium starter. Unlike most you’ll see at this price point, it’s been built to race, and has tackled the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix.

A hydroformed aluminium frame is triple butted – which means the weight is kept low where stiffness is less crucial. There’s a carbon fork, and kevlar inserts at the chainstays and seatstays help to cancel out buzz from the road.

The spec isn’t so top end – most of your budget is going into the frame. You get a Shimano Sora groupset, with Reparto Corse brakes and the wheels are Alex Rims with Vittoria Zaffiro Slicks.

Buy now for £722.49 at Rutland Cycling

Boardman Team Carbon – £1000

Boardman Team Carbon road bikes under £1000

Boardman Road Team Carbon

Read more: Boardman Team Carbon review

Review score: 9/10

We’re dipping into the £1,000 territory now – but if it’s a budget you can creep up to, then this is a bike we’d wholeheartedly recommend.

Boardman’s Team Carbon has sat exactly on the Cycle to Work voucher guideline of £1000 since it first arrived on the scene. The frame is constructed from C7 carbon, with the geometry based around the SLR Endurance model with a 100mm taller stack. This makes for a relaxed ride.

>>> Boardman bikes range explained

The fork is paired up with a full carbon fork, whilst the groupset is Shimano Tiagra with Tektro R540 brakes. A size small comes in at 8.56kg, which is light enough to feel good on the climbs.

Buy it at Boardman for £9000 here


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What to expect from a cheap road bike for less than £500

While £500 might seem a lot of money for a road bike to non-cyclists, to more — ahem — ‘fussy’ and experienced riders it also seems far too little to buy anything with potential. Both trains of thought are utterly wrong — for less than £500 you can buy some fully-fledged drop-bar bicycles that are perfectly able to cope with everything from winter training, to commuting, to even sportive riding.

Some bikes in this bracket have flat bars, and could be described of as hybrid bikes. However, if you’re looking for a speedy commuter or a bike that will be fast on the road whilst still handling some roughter surfaces, a hybrid bike might be right up your street.

What to look for in a cheap road bike under £500…

  • A total weight of around 10kg
  • A modern aluminium frame
  • Shimano Claris or Sora gears, although some brands fit Microshift components at this price
  • Sturdy wheels
  • Unbranded dual-caliper brakes or Tektro products on higher-quality bikes
  • Own brand bars, stem and saddle
  • Steel fork at low end; carbon fork nearer £500

What to expect: road bikes between £500 and £800

As we head past the £500 point, two significant things happen. First, the big household name brands such as Giant, Specialized, Trek, Scott and Cannondale enter the market with their entry-level aluminium road bikes, which normally offer slightly less exotic groupsets and components, but tend to feature very well-engineered frames. The second thing is that smaller specialist brands, such as Ribble, Verenti or Planet X, begin to offer very capable all-year bikes or winter training bikes, sometimes made of steel with excellent ride qualities. These machines may not have all the luxuries and speed of top-end models but do provide enough ride comfort and performance to satisfy even hardened, experienced road riders.

What to look for in road bikes between £500 and £800…

  • A total weight of 9-10kg
  • An aluminium frame with some design niceties such as internal cable routing, or even a mass-produced steel frame
  • On big brand models expect Shimano Claris (on bikes circa £500), Sora (c. £650) and Tiagra (c. £750) components; with specialist value brands expect anything up to Shimano 105 or SRAM Apex parts
  • Possibly Shimano groupset brakes, or more likely Tektro calipers
  • Own-brand wheels or Alex rims on aluminium hubs
  • Own brand bar, stem and saddle
  • Carbon fork

What to expect: road bikes from £800

As we head towards the magic £1,000 mark, all bets are off. The dedicated bargain hunter can find almost any product in this price range, including carbon-fibre frames. Be careful with carbon bikes sub-£1k, though — there are some good composite frames available, but there are also some shockers. Conversely, aluminium bikes at this price can be extraordinarily good, and may also come fitted with mid to upper-range gears and brakes. There is also a growing trend among manufacturers to fit mechanical disc brakes at this price point, too.

>>> Best road bikes under £1000

We’d recommend you really do your homework and read our tests. It’s not a case of general product quality — at this area of the market most bikes are very decent. However, there is the matter of specialisation. By the £1,000 point manufacturers have started to tailor their bikes to fulfill certain specific abilities. So whether you want an all-day comfort machine, or a speedy rocketship, almost any requirements can be filled. Just make sure you know what you want and pick wisely.

What to look for in a road bike between £800 and £1,000…

  • A total weight of 9kg or less
  • A degree of model specialisation for particular ride criteria
  • A top-quality aluminium frame with details such as internal cable routing, general tube manipulation, specific elements designed for comfort, strengthened bottom bracket for power delivery, tapered head tube for better handling
  • Possibly even low-end carbon-fibre frame from specialist value brands (but be discerning when it comes to value carbon!)
  • Mainly Shimano Tiagra or 105 components, although the occasional piece of super-plush Shimano Ultegra also appears. SRAM Apex or Rival, and even Campagnolo Veloce have also been spotted below £1,000
  • Matching groupset caliper brakes or mechanical disc brakes
  • Lighter, own-brand wheels or respected third-party wheelsets
  • Mainly own-brand bar, stem and saddle — occasionally a third-party saddle
  • Carbon fork

How to choose the best bike for you

Buying your first road bike is a pivotal moment in any rider’s cycling life.

Getting down onto the drop handlebars, expect the sensation of speed when compared with a hybrid or mountain bike to be everything you dreamed of.

You can expect to be spending a few hundred pounds, with plenty of models costing more than a perfectly decent car – so you want to be sure you’re making the right choice. Which is where this guide comes in.

Our product suggestions, and what to expect at each price point:

What is a road bike?

A ‘road bike’ is very much an umbrella term describing a machine designed for riding on tarmac. These bikes have narrow tyres, a lightweight frame and (in the vast majority of cases) drop handlebars to allow for multiple hand positions.

best road bike

Road bikes feature drop handlebars and skinny tyres

What types of road bike are there?

Riders who choose to spend their time cycling on the tarmac are of course varied, with many different motivations. Some use their road bikes to commute, others enjoy long drawn out days exploring the countryside, whilst some want to push the boundaries of their bodies to travel as fast as they can. Then there are those who want to do a little bit of everything, for as little money as possible.

>>> How to cycle with clipless pedals 

As a result, there are many styles of road bike. Key differences are found in the geometry – the dimensions of various elements of the frame which position the rider in a way that runs on a scale of ‘relaxed’ to ‘head down/flat back’, as well as the components.

Here’s a look at some of the key road bike genres to help you narrow down your search:

Endurance/sportive road bikes

Comfortable road bikes designed for all-day riding, with a slacker geometry which puts the rider in a more upright position, often with wider tyres and disc brakes which work better in the wet, examples include the Trek Domane and Giant Defy.

Aero road bikes

Designed to slice through the air, aero bikes are stiff and efficient race machines which offer little comfort – such as the Trek Madone. Expect an aggressive geometry, putting the rider in a long and low position, with a high level of integration, including an integrated stem, hidden brakes and internal cable routing.

Road race and lightweight road bikes

Bikes designed for all-round road racing will have an aggressive geometry, like an aero bike, but will often be lighter and able to provide greater compliance. Quick handling is a must-have, too – these bikes are the GC riders of the bike world, examples include the Specialized Tarmac or the Cannondale SuperSix. 

Specialized Tarmac best road bike

The Specialized Tarmac is the GC contender of the bike world

Entry level road bikes

You can pick up a road bike for just under £300 but you’ll get one that will keep you smiling for longer at the £1000 price point. The Specialized Allez is a popular entry level model, and Carerra and B’Twin bikes are also fast selling options.

Gravel and adventure road bikes

A lightweight frame and road handlebars combined with knobbly tyres, disc brakes and mud clearance mean gravel and adventure road bikes are ideal for mixed terrain riding, on and off-road.

Flat bar road bikes

Some popular road bike models are available with flat handlebars, like a hybrid bike, for those who don’t feel confident with or don’t feel they require a drop handlebar.

Women’s road bikes

All of the above are available in women’s specific designs – this sometimes involves tweaks to the geometry, or could mean that the key touch points are swapped to offer a better experience for female riders.


Useful links for road bike shoppers…

Brands/topics Model overviews and reviews 
BMC bikes BMC bike reviews
Boardman Boardman bike reviews 
Cannondale Bike reviewsSuperSix EvoCAAD12Synapse 
Canyon bikes  Canyon bike reviews 
Carrera bikes Carerra bike reviews
Cervelo bikes Cervelo bike reviews
Cube bikes Cube bike reviews 
Focus bikes Focus bike reviews
Genesis bikes Genesis bike reviews
Giant bikes Giant bike reviewsGiant DefyGiant PropelGiant TCR
Pinarello Pinarello bike reviews 
Raleigh bikes Raleigh bike reviews
Ribble bikes Ribble bike reviews 
Scott bikes Scott bike reviews
Specialized Bike reviewsAllezTarmacDiverge
Trek bikes Bike reviewsDomaneEmondaMadone
Price points Bikes under £500under £1000under £1500under £2000
Road bike styles Aero road bikesEndurance road bikesWomen’s road bikesCommuting bikesTouring bikesSinglespeed bikesTrack bikesTime trial bikes , Best Aluminium bikes
Other bike styles Adventure and gravel bikesCyclocross bikesElectric bikesHybrid bikes

Road bike frame material

The frame material used has a dramatic influence on the overall ride quality of a bike. The four most common options are carbon, aluminium, steel and titanium.

Quality carbon is by far the lightest, and most compliant (comfortable) material. Carbon can also be moulded into any shape – so it’s the most popular when it comes to aero bikes. The weakness of carbon is that it can be damaged in a crash, and that damage isn’t always immediately obvious.

A nice close up of Dassi’s Carbon fibre

Aluminium is usually mixed with another metal (such as silicon or magnesium) – to form an alloy. The combination of metals varies between alloy frames, and will be altered depending upon the level of comfort and stiffness required. Lighter frames will be butted – ideally triple butted – which means the material is thinner where it can be, to save weight, and stronger where it needs to be stiff.

Good aluminium can be lighter than bad carbon – but in most cases it’s heavier. However, it is generally stronger so a popular option amongst racers who want to rely upon their bike after a crash – the Cannondale CAAD12 is an example of an alloy crit racing steed.

Most alloy bikes will come with a carbon fork and seatpost, which will drop the weight of the bike and offer greater compliance – dampening out the bumps along the way.

Steel is a more traditional option. It’s generally heavier, but famous for its springy ride quality, and its pretty fail-safe in terms of longevity. Titanium, by contrast, is a hard-wearing metal that’s much lighter than steel.

Road bike components

So you know you want a comfortable endurance bike constructed with an aluminium frame, or an aero road bike with a carbon frame. Eventually (after some furious googling and hopefully a test ride or two) you’ll select a brand and a model family.

Most bike models are available at a variety of different price points. Generally, the frame remains largely the same, and the differences between the rungs on the price ladder relate to the groupset and other components.

The vast majority of built bikes come sporting Shimano groupsets, the hierarchy starting at Shimano Claris and topping out at Dura-Ace. The more you spend, the less likely you’ll need to upgrade at a later date.

Colnago C60

Dura Ace is top of the Shimano hierarchy, with Shimano Sora the entry level choice

Disc brakes are becoming more and more common. They offer more effective braking, especially in the wet when compared to rim brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are cheaper and still use a steel cable to move the pistons, whilst the more expensive hydraulic discs are even more reliable and use a sealed, fluid filled system.

>>> How to set your saddle height

Most built road bikes come with entry level wheelsets, and these are a very common early upgrade that can make a big difference to your ride.

The road bike tyres fitted also impact the ride. Traditionally, 23mm tyres were the most popular, but wider 25mm options have become the norm due to the better cornering they offer. Endurance focused machines may even feature tyres over 28mm, and you can expect a greater volume on gravel and adventure bikes.

Top tips for choosing your first road bike

You’re making a pretty big investment, and the bike you choose could be your companion for several years – so ensure you make the right selection.

Test ride

You can get some really great deals with direct only sellers, but you can rarely test ride these as they’re not often available in bricks and mortar bike shops. However, frame geometry, material and construction make a huge difference to a bike’s ride quality. Wherever possible, get down to a store where you can test ride a bike or look for a ‘demo-day’ near you.

Leave some in the bank

The wheels on most built bikes are perfectly adequate for training and general riding, but racers will want to upgrade – so if performance is your target then you might want to factor an upgrade into your spending plan. Most bikes come without pedals, so you can choose your own option. Other commonly swapped components are the saddle, stem and handlebars.

Buy a bike that fits

It doesn’t matter how good the deal, don’t buy a bike that’s too big or too small because it’s reduced. Ideally, buy your bike at a store where they can size you up and help you to change any components (stem/handlebars/saddle) required for a comfortable ride.

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You can buy the ultra-efficient chain used by Britain’s Olympic team – but it’s not cheap

Manufacturer Renold designed the tech after British Cycling identified problems with existing chains

Historic manufacturers Renold are offering a limited number of their ultra-efficient chains used by the British Olympic team to the public – but it’s going to set you back a few quid.

British Cycling approached the Manchester-based firm in 2011 after they identified problems with their existing equipment.

Renold were tasked with creating an super-efficient and hardwearing bit of tech, fit for Britain’s Olympic track stars.

The result was the 138 Velo CT single-speed track chain.

>>> The best cycling shoes reviewed 2018: entry level models through to stiff soled race kicks

Engineering director at Renold, Detlef Ragnitz, said: “British Cycling came to us with some very interesting and specific challenges.

“Elite athletes make extreme demands on the chain. We looked at our technology portfolio to see what might be a good fit.”

The design was based on Renold synergy technology, which is widely used in the industrial sector due to its efficiency and durability.

The Renold Velo CT chain (Picture Renold/British Cycling)

Ragnitz added: “In industrial applications, greater efficiency means reduced carbon footprint.

“In cycling, it means more speed.”

The chain has a specially treated pin and bush to improve efficiency and reduce wear.

>>> How you can buy Mark Cavendish’s Cervélo S5

Its side plates are precision-formed and holed, before they are pre-stressed.

The plates are then nickel-coated before assembly to prevent corrosion.

Head of technology for the Great Britain Cycling Team, Tony Purnell, said: “Any loss of drive train efficiency means that some of the power from the riders’ legs gets wasted into heat, so it absolutely makes the bike quicker.”

The chain was used by the British track team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where they picked up six gold medals.

Purnell added: “We knew when we were on the starting gates in Rio, we had the best chain in the world.”



In 1880 engineer Hans Renold invented the bush roller chain, which  took the bicycle into a new world of efficiency and flexibility.

The basic technology is still used around the world.

Renold are selling a limited run of 138 sets of the Olymic-standard chain to mark the 138th anniversary of founder Hans Renolds invention of the bush roller chain in 1880.

But the single-speed chain will cost you, as the price is £250.

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Katusha-Alpecin’s Rick Zabel breaks collarbone in off-season crash

The German will undergo surgery after crashing on a bike path

Katusha-Alpecin rider Rick Zabel has broken his collarbone in an off-season crash.

The 24-year-old came down hard while on a training ride with friends and will need surgery to fix the break.

Zabel, son of retired sprinter Erik Zabel, crashed on a leafy bike path, landing hard on his right shoulder.

>>> Italian pro Alan Marangoni picks up maiden win in his last race before retirement 

In an Instagram post, the German said: “Bad news – broken collarbone.

“The day started so good with a cool training ride with my mates but towards the end of the training I crashed hard on a bike path with a lot of leaves on it.

“I felt the pain in my right shoulder and I knew something was wrong.

“Thanks to my training mates who helped me out after the crash.

“I’m in good hands now with Dr Dirk Tenner and his staff, tomorrow is the operation to fix my right collarbone and then I’ll know more about everything.

“It’s a big setback as I was preparing for the new cycling season.”

Zabel has also been forced to pull out of the Shanghai Critérium this weekend.

He added: “Back to zero, recover from injury and then start all over again.”



Zabel is due to undergo surgery in Cologne on Wednesday.

A key lead-out rider for fellow German Marcel Kittel, Zabel rode the Dubai and Abu Dhabi tours in the early season, before going on to the Tour de France and Tour of Britain.

His last race of the year was the Münsterland Giro.

Zabel’s Katusha-Alpecin team said: “Unfortunately Rick crashed hard today in training on a bike path.

“Diagnosis: broke collarbone.

“He will be operated on tomorrow in Cologne.

“Get well soon Rick.”

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2019 British National Road Championships confirmed for Norfolk

The 2019 British National Road Championships will take place in Norfolk, British Cycling has confirmed. The event will be run in partnership with Golazo, which organises the BinckBank Tour and the DVV-Trofee Cyclo-cross series, among other races.

The British National Championships will take place between June 27 and 30, with the time trials and road races bookending the four days. Alongside the elite events, amateur riders will be given the opportunity to ride the same course in a 100-mile closed-road sportive. The fifth round of the National Cross-country mountain bike series will also be held during what British Cycling has dubbed the Great British Cycling Festival.

“We’re thrilled to confirm the award of the 2019 HSBC UK – National Road Championships to Norfolk,” said British Cycling Commercial Director Jonathan Rigby. “The championships are the flagship event of our road racing calendar, and the list of previous winners – which includes Sir Bradley Wiggins, Laura Kenny, Geraint Thomas, Lizzie Deignan and Mark Cavendish – gives some indication of the prestige of the event.

“While these championships represent the pinnacle of domestic road racing, they are also a celebration of cycling as a whole. We’re delighted to be staging a mass participation ride alongside the elite races, and are pleased to have linked up with Golazo, Active Norfolk, Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council, all of whom share our ambition to make our communities fitter, greener and healthier through increased levels of cycling.”

No route details have been announced yet but the sportive, on the same course as the road race, is set to feature 3,358 feet of elevation. The official website also states that both men’s and women’s races will be run concurrently, for the first time, with the conclusion of the women’s race coming after the men’s.

This year’s national championships took place in Northumberland with Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) taking the time trial titles, while Jess Roberts (Team Breeze) and Connor Swift (Madison-Genesis) won the road races. The 2018 championships were a week later than usual because the start of the Tour de France was delayed for the FIFA World Cup.

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Italian pro Alan Marangoni picks up maiden win in his last race before retirement

The Nippo-Vini Fantini rider proves it’s never too late

Italian professional Alan Marangoni has picked up his maiden win during his last ever race.

The Nippo-Vini Fantini rider is calling time on his 11-year career, signing off with a bang at the Tour of Okinawa on Sunday.

At 34-years-old, the former Cannondale WorldTour pro claimed his first professional win on the day he leaves the sport.

Marangoni said: “It was the perfect day I have always looked for in my career and I found it today.

“I took the risk of attacking in the last kilometres because I wanted to play all the cards to reach this goal I chased several times during my career.

“Crossing the line first and winning on a day that was already special for me was indescribably emotional.

“It was a month of sacrifice far from home, but I wanted to close my career in the best way.

“A fairytale ending that I have dreamed of many times and that today has become a reality.”

>>> Aqua Blue Sport bosses respond after riders claim pay has been delayed

Marangoni slotted into the decisive breakaway at the Tour of Okinawa one-day race.

The escapees built up eight minutes ahead of the chasers, but only four riders remained out front in the final 10km.

Attacks went on the final climb, but Marangoni was able to follow before he countered with 4km left to ride. 



That attack stuck, leaving Marangoni free to cross the line ahead of Australian Freddy Ovett (Australia Cycling Academy). 

Marangoni joined the WorldTour with Liquigas-Cannondale in 2011, staying with the outfit until he stepped down a level in 2016.

For the last two season he has ridden for the pro continental team Nippo-Vini Fantini – his last team as a professional bike rider. 

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Aqua Blue Sport bosses respond after riders claim pay has been delayed

The collapse of the Irish team left many riders without contract, with some now claiming they haven’t been paid

The Aqua Blue Sport saga continues as bosses have responded after riders claimed they haven’t been paid following the team’s collapse.

Concerns over salary payments were raised by former team rider Andy Fenn, who said in a statement on Twitter that he still had not been paid an October wage.

But in an email to riders, Aqua Blue CEO Tom Timmerman said salaries will be covered by the UCI guarantee.

>>> ‘Day one I thought this is not a good idea’: Adam Blythe slams one-by bike for demise of Aqua Blue Sport 

In the email, Timmerman voices his “major disappointment” that some had spoken to the media about the situation.

In his open letter posted on Twitter on Saturday, former Aqua Blue rider Andy Fenn said: “I would just like to raise your attention to the fact that all Aqua Blue Sport riders’ salaries for the month of October, have still not yet been received.”

Rather than the team paying the remainder of riders’ salary, former team members are now required to apply to the UCI for money that is held as a backstop for situations like the collapse of Aqua Blue.

Fenn said that the UCI would not release funds from the bank guarantee until necessary paperwork was filed.

In his email, Timmerman says the team put €400,000 aside with the UCI to pay riders and that all salaries have been paid for September.

Timmerman also used the email to resign as CEO with immediate effect and urged riders not to contact him as he “will not be able to be of any assistance.”

He claims that the delay in pay is down to the UCI, saying paperwork was filed in September but that the governing body then asked for specific forms to be completed.

>>> ‘This lab rat thing is costing results’: Aqua Blue Sport boss decries 3T Strada mechanical problem

The Aqua Blue Sport e-commerce site, which management had hoped would fund the team, appears to have been taken down, the URL just showing a blank white screen.

After just two years racing, the team announced they would be closing this summer, with owner Rick Delaney blaming a failed merger, equipment sponsors and race organisers.

The closure left a 16-rider roster without contracts, including Brit Adam Blythe, Ireland’s Conor Dunne and American Larry Warbasse.

Cycling Weekly has approached the UCI for comment.

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Chain Reaction Cycles Black Friday deals: half price Continental GP 4000S II and Shimano Ultegra Di2 slashed

All the best deals from the Chain Reaction Cycles Black Friday deals

Chain Reaction Cycles has begun its Black Friday sales already, and we’ve pulled together the best deals.

The major online retailer is usually the first to break ranks, and this year it plans on having a month long bargain bonanza, refreshing its deals every Thursday until actually Black Friday which this year is Friday 23rd November.

>>> Black Friday deals 2018: how to pick up the best offers

The products featured have been chosen because we know they’re good quality and are an excellent offer at the price we’ve included (at the time of writing). Our tech team have unrivalled expertise and years of experience testing new products, so you can trust our recommendations – and we also know what represents a good deal.

With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay. If we’ve reviewed the product, we’ve also included a link to our review so you can read about it in more detail.

For 24-hours only deals

Both Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle are unleashing short term, 24 hour long deals – and right now there’s a couple that are well worth scooping up.

Continental GP 4000S II OEM Road Tyre was £59.99, now £29.99

Where one new tyre arrives, another tyre gets discounted – so with the arrival of the Continental GP 5000, the much loved predecessor is of course kicking around in the sales.

A 2017 Editor’s Choice award winner (review here), the GP 4000S II is renowned for offering performance across the board: grip, rolling resistance and puncture protection without major sacrifices in any one area.

Whilst the GP 5000 sees some improvements, it doesn’t take away the fact that the 4000 kept many of us rolling happily – for fourteen years.

Buy now: Continental GP 4000S II OEM Road Tyre at Chain Reaction Cycles for £29.99

Shimano Ultegra R8050 Di2 Groupset was £1,699.99 now £1,049.99

The newest iteration of Shimano Ultegra was another 2017 Editor’s Choice product. Boasting much trickle down technology from Dura Ace, it’s a sharp looking and sharp shifting set of kit.

With many frames now Di2 compatible, this could represent the perfect opportunity to move over to ‘lecky gears, too.

Right now, you can get the Di2 version at 38 per cent off.

Buy now: Shimano Ultegra R8050 Di2 Groupset at Chain Reaction Cycles for £1,049.99

Park Tool Home Mechanic Repair Stand PCS-9 was £114.99, now £79.99

Having a proper bike repair stand makes tinkering so much easier.

Park Tool is a major market leader and this folding stand has a simple screw type clamp which adjusts to suit a variety of tube shapes. The clamp itself rotates 360 degrees, and the whole unit folds to just 41 inches/104 centimetres so you can put it away when out of use.

Buy now: Park Tool Home Mechanic Repair Stand PCS-9 at Chain Reaction Cycles for £79.99

Longer term Black Friday deals at Chain Reaction Cycles

These aren’t 24 hour flash deals, but ‘when they’re gone, they’re gone’ still applies…

dhb Aeron Storm FLT Waterproof Jacket was £150, now £90

dhb Aeron Storm FLT Waterproof Jacket

dhb Aeron Storm FLT Waterproof Jacket

A waterproof jacket is essential in the winter months – as well as autumn and spring. The Aeron Storm Jacket has Flashlight Technology, to aid visibility in the dark, and the newest version comes with full waterproofing as well as ‘37.5’ fabric which aims to keep your core at precisely the ideal temperature, despite changing conditions.

Buy now: dhb Aeron Storm FLT Waterproof Jacket at Chain Reaction Cycles for £90

Vitus Razor Road Bike 2018 was £499.99, now £349.99

Vitus Razor Road Bike 2018

Vitus Razor Road Bike 2018

Looking for your first road bike? Then the Vitus Razor could be a good option. It’s an aluminium framed roadie with a comfortable but still sporty geometry, that’s between race and endurance. Road buzz is dampened out with a carbon fork and the groupset is Shimano Claris.

Buy now: Vitus Razor Road Bike 2018 at Chain Reaction Cycles for £349.99

MET Manta Helmet 2018 was £100, now £81

Met Manta helmet

Met Manta helmet

Read more: MET Manta helmet review 

An aero helmet that claims to save 10 watts at 50km/h, with a Safe-T fit system and a good amount of breathability for a lid of this kind. Airlite straps are light and comfy – and we liked this one so much it gained a place in the 2017 Editor’s Choice awards.

Buy now: MET Manta Helmet 2018 at Chain Reaction Cycles for £81

Garmin Edge 130 HR Bundle was £199, now £149

Read more: Garmin Edge 130 review

Garmin’s newest computer offering also stands up as one of there best, and now it has a 25% discount.

We really rate its compact form, great hardware and ease of use. It’s also impressively advanced for such a small unit, and it can give you Strava Live segments, follow a route and has plenty of data fields to help push your training.

Buy now: Garmin Edge 130 HR Bundle at Chain Reaction Cycles for £149

garmin edge 520 campagnolo eps gears

Garmin Edge 520 is easy to operate

It’s worth noting that you can actually get the Garmin Edge 520 for the same price, and it offers more performance features.

Buy now: Garmin Edge 520 at Chain Reaction Cycles for £149

Tacx Neo Direct Drive Smart trainer was £1199, now £879

tacx neo

The Tacx Neo smart trainer

Read more: Tacx Neo Direct Drive Smart Trainer review

Black Friday is a great time to get some brilliant discounts on cycling tech, and there’s none more technical than the Tacx Neo smart trainer. It works very smoothly with Zwift or its own training software and it has some of the best ascent and descent replication on the market, a very stable base and it can even replicate the feel of the road.

Buy now: Tacx Neo Direct Drive smart trainer at Chain Reaction Cycles for £879

Shimano Ultegra R8000 was £1099, now £549.99

Shimano groupsets Ultegra - R8000 series

Read more: Shimano Ultegra R8000 review

Shimano’s second tier Ultegra groupset is on a 50% discount at Chain Reaction Cycles. Ultegra is brilliant because it’s so similar to the top tier Dura-Ace offering that you get nearly all of the benefits (it weighs marginally more) without the Dura-Ace price tag.

This particular model is the mechanical and rim brake version and shifting is superb, especially thanks to the Shadow rear mech technology now used and the direct mount rim brakes are spectacular in the wet or dry.

Buy now: Shimano Ultegra R8000 at Chain Reaction Cycles for £549.99

Lifeline magnetic turbo was £99, now £39.99

At its essence, turbo training is just about pushing yourself as hard as you can and this Lifeline turbo will do just that. It has 6 levels or resistance, and combining your gear changes with these level changes gives you an even more realistic workout.

Buy now: Lifeline magnetic turbo at Chain Reaction Cycles for £39.99

Oakley Flight Jacket Prizm glasses were £185, now £118.40

Oakley Flight Jacket

Read more: Oakley Flight Jacket Prizm glasses review

The Flight Jacket Prizm are some of Oakley’s newest glasses, and they’re a bit different in terms of their design. For starters, they’re go no top to the rim, but they do have a bottom. This lidless design actually helps vent the glasses and you can even push the nose out to get rid of any excess heat.

Buy now: Oakley Flight Jacket Prizm at Chain Reaction Cycles for £118.40

Science in Sport Electrolyte tablets were £6.99, now £3.49

Buy now: SiS Electrolyte tablets at Chain Reaction Cycles for £3.49

Remaining hydrated on a ride is essential, and these SiS tabs make that very easy to do. They’ll help stop your muscles cramping, prevent headaches and keep you fresher on the bike.

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