Cyclingnews tech: How we test

Canyon Ultimate Gen 5
(Image credit: Future)

Here at Cyclingnews our work contracts say 'writer', but in reality we're all cyclists first and foremost. Collectively we've got expertise in almost every cycling discipline you can think of, as well as workshop experience, shop floor sales and even framebuilding. We pour this experience into our testing, leveraging our knowledge to really tease out the pros and cons of each product so that, ultimately, you can make the right decision as to where to spend your hard-earned cash.

Testing bike products isn't as simple as just going for a ride, so we've highlighted some of the key parts of the process down below to give you a clearer insight into how we test.

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5 Stars95% and aboveClass leader, very close to flawless
4.5 Stars85 - 94%Exceptional
4 Stars75 - 84%One of the best you can buy, a leader in the segment
3.5 Stars65 - 74%Good but could be better
3 Stars55 - 64%It will do the job but with a few flaws
2.5 Stars45 - 54%Mediocre, could definitely improve
2 Stars35 - 44%Below average
1.5 Stars25 - 34%Poor
1 Stars15 - 24%Extremely poor
0.5 Stars5 - 14%Run for the hills
Josh Croxton, Cyclingnews
Joshua Croxton

Josh has been with Cyclingnews since summer 2019, after joining from a bike shop where he managed the business's eCommerce store, but his time on two wheels is instilled from a young age after first racing cross-country mountain biking aged 13. 

Nearly two decades later, Josh's riding preferences are more geared towards road and gravel, and his keen eye for detail and analytical mindset help to form fast, yet fair opinions on product performance.

He seeks a data-driven approach to testing, and will regularly be found riding the same route back-to-back with different products in order to test for speed, comfort, any other comparable metric, or simply in order to try to put his finger on exactly what makes one product better - or worse - than another. He'll ride with three computers to compare the GPS drift, multiple heart rate monitors to compare connectivity, multiple power meters to test accuracy, and odd shoes, warmers and gloves to directly compare their performance. 

However, in a bid to put products through their paces, he'll also regularly use them in a competitive setting, too. For Josh, racing has been integral to cycling from the very beginning. In those early days, it was the Soggy Bottom winter series at Newnham Park in Devon where, in his very first race, he wore a rash vest - as in, for surfing - and three jumpers to keep warm, before having to stop mid-race to remove a few (not before he'd covered them in mud, of course). 

He quickly learned that equipment is an important part of performance and nowadays, he will happily spend way too much money on marginal gains in a bid to offset his lack of genetic capabilities. 

A white man in a yellow t shirt stands behind a heavily laden tandem at the top of a large hill
Will Jones

Will has been riding only slightly less time than he's been able to walk, and has tried his hand at the majority of cycling disciplines over the years. Previously an industrial geologist, Will has been putting tech and gear through its paces for a number of years and has a discerning eye for what is a gimmick and what will stand the test of time.

When testing he aims to find the useable limit of products; frozen water bottles are not out of the ordinary while testing the battery life of lights in the winter, and emergency bags of ice have been needed on particularly hot summer rides. Having spent several seasons racing cross he has a particular affection for the benefits good tyres can bring to your riding, whether racing or otherwise.

Not content with off the shelf builds, Will has also learnt to design and build his own bikes. This gives him a deep appreciation for the subtle changes in geometry that can set one frame apart from its competitors, and for those elements of bike design that often fly under the radar.

Though he doesn't race bikes regularly his claim to fame is that he was lapped four times by Tom Pidcock while racing 'cross in Yorkshire, and also is the only ever recipient of a 'Missing In Action' in leu of a time in his local TT after getting lost (a marshalling error, he claims).

tech writer
Tom Wieckowski

Tom joined the Cyclingews test team in September 2022. A qualified mechanic, Tom previously ran an independent workshop for several years. Tom joined his local cycling club at age 10 which kick-started his love affair with the bicycle, and he has raced and ridden across several disciplines from an early age.

Tom is passionate about all things mechanical and has a keen eye for technical details. He loves a perfectly working bike covered in trick components but never at the expense of longevity or performance. 

When testing Tom likes to put the hard yards in, to really understand a product's strong and weak points in real-world conditions. Whether that be heading out into the rain to test overshoes or testing a new groupset over many hundreds of miles. Striving to service bikes to a high standard for years means he's not happy when something isn't quite right, and will happily strip a bike or hub to ensure everything is just so and to really understand the product he's tasked with talking about. 

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Will Jones
Senior Tech Writer

Will joined the Cyclingnews team as a reviews writer in 2022, having previously written for Cyclist, BikeRadar and Advntr. He’s tried his hand at most cycling disciplines, from the standard mix of road, gravel, and mountain bike, to the more unusual like bike polo and tracklocross. He’s made his own bike frames, covered tech news from the biggest races on the planet, and published countless premium galleries thanks to his excellent photographic eye. Also, given he doesn’t ever ride indoors he’s become a real expert on foul-weather riding gear. His collection of bikes is a real smorgasbord, with everything from vintage-style steel tourers through to superlight flat bar hill climb machines.

With contributions from