Best all-round race-oriented bike: Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2

Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2, £6,199
Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2, £6,199

This fifth-generation Ultimate is a match for all road rides. At a lightweight 7.14kg (the frame is 800g), it’s a top performer for climbs but on flats — when you want to ramp up speed — the sleek integrated cockpit and 50mm-deep wheel rims offer a performance that’s not far behind that of aero-focused bikes.

The electronic-shifting 12-speed Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset is impressive (almost a match for the range-topping Dura-Ace) but also durable, offering considerable savings in terms of running repairs. Other plus points include the quality DT Swiss Wheelset and 4iiii power meter, pitched at a price point that is less than half that of other top-end models. £6,199,

Best for comfort and climbing: Specialized Aethos Comp — Rival eTap AXS

Specialized Aethos Comp – Rival eTap AXS, £5,500
Specialized Aethos Comp — Rival eTap AXS, £5,500

The simple, classic design featuring round tube profiles allows for a hugely impressive feather-light frame weighing 699g (the S-Works version is a mere 585g) — and a bike that will go faster uphill than most models (aero and top-end speed are not the priority in this model). The electronic shifting 12-speed SRAM groupset is more than adequate for most riders, and although the DT Swiss wheels could be upgraded, it makes for a hugely comfortable and precise ride — even on rougher roads. Easy maintenance and personalisation are also bonuses, as the bike is compatible with readily available industry-standard components. £5,500,

Best for durability and versatility: Fara F/All-Road

Fara F/All-Road, from £3,490
Fara F/All-Road, from £3,490 © Rad Hart-George

Thanks to road-bike geometry and a full carbon-fibre frame (that includes aero-integrated bars), there is little sacrifice in speed when riding this multi-terrain model on asphalt to that of a road-specific bike. The extra level of comfort is notable (and welcome), while a clearance for up to 38mm-wide tyres and numerous mounts on the bike means it’s just as at home on gravel as it is fully laden for multi-day cycle adventures. The bike clocks in at a respectable weight of 8.64kg (frame, 980g), and is a good all-rounder that’s well-specced and reasonably priced. From £3,490,

Best customisable all-rounder: Factor Ostro VAM

Factor Ostro VAM, £8,700
Factor Ostro VAM, £8,700

This top-end all-rounder performs brilliantly in virtually all scenarios: from flats to mountainous climbs and speedy descents. Being race-oriented, it’s a popular choice for the more competitive rider, boasting impressive aero credentials with a frame that weighs a respectable 830g. The high-grade carbon delivers exceptional stiffness — good for those intending on putting high power through the pedals — and the bike is equipped with the brand’s own Black Inc components in the form of a 45mm wheelset and one-piece bar/stem that not only perform well but look the part. It’s also highly customisable with various components, and can be made totally unique with a bespoke paint finish (for an additional cost of £386). £8,700,

Best for performance and build: BMC Teammachine SLR MPC

BMC Teammachine SLR MPC, €12,000 for frameset only
BMC Teammachine SLR MPC, €12,000 for frameset only

The brand’s Tour de France stage-winning Teammachine has been reimagined by artisans at its Swiss workshop in Grenchen: its frame, handmade from a single piece of carbon, emerges from the mould in its finished form ready for fitting with a choice of components. The construction technique allows for weight savings (the frame is just 731g) and the carbon is remarkably stiff, while the power transfer to weight ratio is superb. The hefty price tag means this is an investment piece — only a few hundred bikes are made-to-order each year. €12,000 for frameset only,

Best for those on a budget: Boardman SLR 8.9 105 Road Bike

Boardman SLR 8.9 105 Road Bike, £1,200
Boardman SLR 8.9 105 Road Bike, £1,200

If you’re on a budget, just getting into cycling or looking for a secondary bike to use alongside a more prized one, this sturdy Boardman is a good option. Featuring a full carbon frame and fork, it offers a very comfortable ride and weighs in at less than 9kg, which is more than respectable for general use. The mid-range Shimano 105 11-speed groupset is a plus for a mid-entry-level model, which performs well and is reliable. The long-drop caliper brakes allow for mudguards with greater clearance and maintenance is much simpler and cheaper than disc brake alternatives. The bike is available in versions for both women and men. £1,200,

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