off.road.cc's Best Bikes of 2018 - introducing the awards
Welcome to the very first off-road.cc mountain and gravel bike awards! We've tested a huge number of bikes over the course of the past year and as 2018 draws to a close, we've picked out our favourites from the world of gravel and mountain biking with three very different awards for each discipline - Benchmark Bike, Best Buy and Bargain Buy. We then crowned a drop bar and a flat bar bike with an 'off-road.cc Mountain Bike of the Year' award and a 'off-road.cc Gravel Mountain Bike of the Year' award, lastly the best bike received our 'Bike of the Year' accolade. You can read all about the winners here...
- Buyer's guide to kid's mountain bikes - get the best MTB for your child
- Buying your first mountain bike: the complete guide
- The best mountain bikes you can buy for under £1,500 - full sus and hardtails
Mountain bikes are getting better, more versatile, faster and with noticeable improvements in geometry, as well as being more affordable than ever too. At the same, gravel riding has grown hugely, with a vast number of different bikes allowing riders to define what they want from a gravel bike. If you are in the market for a new bike it can be an exciting, yet daunting place and that's where we step in with these awards.
We've put in the miles testing lots of bikes this year and have whittled down the many bikes to just six per discipline, placed into the three distinct categories of Benchmark Bike, Best Buy and Bargain Bike, plus the additional and overall award, for the king of 2018 test bikes, the 'off-road.cc Bike of the Year' title.
What do the categories mean?
Our Benchmark Bike is the one that offered the highest level of performance outright - it's a bike that sets the technical and performance standards against which all the rest are judged and price didn’t even come into it. Think of it as the money-no-object dream bike.
The Bargain Buy is the bike that we feel gives the biggest bang for the least buck; basically picking a superb riding bike but with an emphasis on value for money.
The bike that won The Best Buy is the bike that, in our opinion, gives the best combination of performance and value for money.
How we picked the category winners
We first rounded up all the best-reviewed bikes (that’s bikes that have scored highest in our stand-alone tests) from the world of mountain and gravel and from there we grouped them into the three categories. From those we argued and bickered until we'd picked the winners from each, with a runner-up in each category too.
What does it take to be the off-road.cc Bike of the Year?
The 'off-road.cc Bike of the Year' is quite simply the best bike of the six, whether it's a gravel machine or a mountain bike. We can safely say this bike is the best due to its great performance and good value for money. With this bike you don't just get a cheap bike, you get a proper bang for your buck and a shed load of trail prowess too. It's a bike that we reckon, should you drop the dollar on buying one, will last you a lifetime and will be easily upgradable when and if the time comes. That said, this bike is good to go, out of the shop (or should we say box?) and we'd be more than happy to have one in our stable.
The first bike was revealed just before Christmas with the 'Bike of the Year' crowned on New Year's day, we spent a lot of time deliberating and 'discussing' the merits and pitfalls of each bike and are now proud to reveal the off-road.cc best bikes. Here's a roundup of the category winners:
- Bargain Buy Mountain Bike - Calibre Two Cubed
- Benchmark Mountain Bike - Mondraker Foxy
- Best Buy Mountain Bike - Boardman MTR 8.9
- Mountain Bike of the Year - Boardman MTR
- Bargain Buy Gravel Bike - Calibre Dark Peak
- Benchmark Gravel Bike - Lauf True Grit
- Best Buy Gravel Bike - Sonder Camino
Gravel Bike of the Year - Calibre Dark Peak