A Perfect Ride

Damon Miller
Can the laws of physics be bent? I could see that the road was rising and I was aware that I was pedaling into a headwind, but my test bike seemed to sail and churn and sing all at once. I’d been riding Wilier’s Zero.7 for the previous two weeks and I was trying to get my head around the way the bike could be so light, nimble, stiff, and comfortable—and still give me feedback so precise I could feel the nubs on the pavement. That Wilier was one of four or five bikes I’d ridden in the past year that, through some feat of technical wizardry, seem to do everything well (if you can swallow pricing that can charitably be called aspirational) in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago.


In this vein, consumers ultimately want everything, whether they’re thinking about bicycles or about BICYCLING. This has been made clear to me after ­asking readers what they want from our annual Buyer’s Guide special issue, and getting consistent answers. More bikes—way more bikes. Meatier reviews that capture the qualities of the bikes tested and deliver insight into the categories they represent. And bigger, bolder photography.


Even a year or two ago, we could not have delivered on some of these requests without compromising somewhere else. But just as technology has revolutionized carbon tubing, it has also transformed what magazines like ours can deliver to its readers. Suddenly, it seems, we can do it all.


This issue is a testimonial that print is far from dead. When you flip through these pages you’ll see breathtaking images that capture beautiful details on our featured bikes, reviews with more ­perspective and depth than in past years, and new coverage of an emerging category: aero road.


Then there’s our iPad Buyer’s Guide. It contains reviews of 64 bikes that aren’t in our print issue and blown-out coverage of more than 50 that are. We redesigned most of the issue, adding far more photography, including images that you can zoom in on to study the teeth on a chainring, to take advantage of the interactive strengths of this tablet. Remember, if you’re a subscriber you can download and read the issue at no cost—how often are you offered something this cool for free? And if you’re not a subscriber, you can buy this special issue for the price of an inner tube.


Of course, the Buyer’s Guide will also live online. We’ll post expanded content every week in March at Bicycling.com/buyersguide12, including comprehensive reviews of 10 triathlon/time-trial bikes, an expanded photo essay to complement our fascinating story on carbon-bike-frame repair, and ultimately, long-form reviews of every bike in every category­ that appears in print or on the iPad.


So while I can’t promise you that this ­issue of BICYCLING can actually defy gravity or help you blow your friends’ doors off or transmit the wondrous ­nuances of asphalt to your fingertips, it can do something miraculous—it can help you find the bike that’s absolutely right for you. This is true whether you ride on the road or on the trail, whether your destination is your hometown farmers’ market or your weekly world championship, whether your budget is rational or aspirational.


Your perfect bike is in here somewhere. Have fun finding it—and riding it.