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Bike shopping is hard. It should be; a new bike is a serious investment, and wading through an industry filled to the brim with marketing jargon doesn’t make it any easier. The annual Velo Buyer’s Guide, on newsstands now, cuts through the fluff to what really matters: finding the best bikes and gear the industry has to offer.
The 2014 Buyer’s Guide features more than 80 bikes, from dozens of manufacturers and across every price point, along with more than 60 individually reviewed products. The best helmets, shoes, clothing, and more are covered, with each piece hand-selected, ridden, and reviewed on its own merits by the Velo technical team.
The goal was simple: no item would make it into the Guide that our editors wouldn’t recommend to a friend.
Of course, the Buyer’s Guide isn’t all gear reviews. The front of the issue is loaded with practical advice, from smart upgrades to avoiding bad bike fits.
With prices of cycling gear rising consistently in recent years, it’s important to keep an eye on the all-important performance-per-dollar ratio. Some upgrades are simply smarter than others — cheaper, more effective, more beautiful. With $1,000 in his pocket, tech writer Logan VonBokel walks readers through the process of tuning a $2,300 Cannondale SuperSix 5 for maximal performance benefit, and of course optimal riding pleasure.
Lennard Zinn doesn’t want you to start off 2014 with a bad bike fit; he delves into bike fit techniques across time, from computer-guided modern methods to the old tape-measure standbys, debunking a number of popular fit myths in the process.
Spencer Powlison weighs in on the mountain bike wheel size debate, and his conclusions might surprise you. We’ve built a handy (albeit slightly tongue-in-cheek) flowchart for the truly undecided — simply answer a few questions, follow its path, and your ideal wheel size will quickly present itself.
In the Guide’s cover story, Velo technical editor Caley Fretz tackles questions on the minds of many: are hydraulic road disc brakes ready for prime time? Did SRAM’s recall spell the end of the technology, before it ever even got its footing? Or will we all be riding hydraulic discs in a couple years?
Finally, keep an eye out for this year’s Horses for Courses: six bikes, each selected for its excellence in a particular category, and custom-built by our tech team to be even better.
All this and more in Velo’s 2014 Buyer’s Guide, available on newsstands or in the Apple iTunes store.