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Bicycling Australia’s 2022/23 Bike Of The Year

We showcase the finalists and reveal our pick as Bicycling Australia’s inaugural Bike Of The Year.

Bike reviews, both in print and online, are typically the most popular content created by the wider Bicycling Australia team. And understandably so … a new bike is a big investment, often coming with a high four to low five figure price tag. Obviously you don’t need to always spend five figures to ride a memorable machine – one of my all-time favourites was a $120 Ricardo from the good old Trading Post many years ago. 

But nowadays, bike tech has come ahead by leaps and bounds and we are light years ahead of say the ‘80s or early ’90s. Manufacturers invest heavily in research, development, and of course, marketing.

To technology, and advancements seem to be incessant! In the past few months alone we have seen the new Specialized Diverge gravel bike with 30mm of rear suspension, the latest Bianchi Oltre with air scoops in the head tube, and a Canyon MTB with self-centring steering!

Separating the wheat from the chaff, cutting through the marketing hype, and getting a real feel of the ride, handling, fit, finish and unique characteristics of a particular bike is the key focus for each of our bike reviews. 

And, with that in mind, here we present the cream of the crop, the top three review bikes our writers have ridden over the past six or so months. Before doing so, it’s no secret that bike availability has been a big problem over the past couple of years.

Just like many of you, we’ve had trouble getting our hands on bikes from several of the major manufacturers. That means many bikes don’t feature in this year’s BOTY. 2023 availability has already improved vastly and we will have a wider range of finalists – with bikes from the likes of Cervelo, BMC, Focus, Officine Mattio, 3T and more, in the next BOTY feature.

Bicycling Australia’s 2023 BOTY Top 3 Finalists 

Trek Domane SLR7

The fourth generation Trek Domane – an impressive allrounder and a worthy ‘one bike’ solution.

Bicycling Australia has recently enjoyed an extended test period with the fourth generation Trek Domane, the endurance offering from one of the world’s biggest bike manufacturers.

With the luxury of having the bike for considerably longer than usual, we were able to ride it on a wide variety of roads in various regions – from urban to country, and even under fully closed race conditions at the World Championships! 

Part of the print and online review reads “Taking just one bike anywhere will always be a compromise. So, to get around that, the obvious option is to select the best possible all-rounder. A bike light enough to chew up the road at a decent pace. A bike that is not too heavy and will sail up serious six to 10km climbs efficiently. A bike that will comfortably handle rough country roads and have a slightly more relaxed geometry for all-day comfort. And would it be too much to ask for a frameset that will take decent sized gravel tyres – even up to 40mm?

“Quite surprisingly, all of the above are packed into the new generation four Domane.

Unlike it’s predecessor, the ‘23 Domane does not feature front IsoSpeed – the rubber decoupler located at the top of the headset that helped smooth out the ride by adding vertical compliance. 

We found the latest Domane to climb well, unlike it’s heavier and more cumbersome predecessor.

Thinking about this, we came to the conclusion it wasn’t missed at all. My three in-built elastometers – two elbows and a curved back – do a great job at comforting shock.”

“The other fundamental difference between this and the last Domane is related to the above, and that’s a considerable weight saving. The entry-level SL model, and the pricier SLR that we tested, are 300g lighter than the previous model. The test bike weighed in at a shade over 8kg which made for sprightly and snappy performance, far removed from previous Domanes which were always considered a little on the heavy side.”

A very surprising all-rounder. This can be a climbing bike, a big-day mile eater or a light gravel bike. It does it all with speed, efficiency and ease.


Some say the matt-black finished test bike was “unimaginative”, but we loved it. Fit and finish are second to none, and the inclusion of the downtube storage compartment is a great idea. The integrated stem and cabling were also impressive – a very slick machine.

We summed the bike up by stating the latest Domane is a genuine ‘do it all’ machine. 

“Trek’s Domane has come of age with the Mark IV. Yes, it’s a little on the pricey side when compared to the competition, but it’s a lot better value than buying a road, gravel and endurance bike.”

And the price? The bike we tested has a RRP of  $12,299. But similar to the Giant Propel range, several other models in various other spec (and carbon) levels are available with prices ranging from reasonable $4,999 through to a whopping $17,499. More at

Giant Propel Advanced SL-0

Up there as one of his all-time favourite review bikes, Peter Maniaty was reluctant to hand back this stunning ‘23 Giant Propel.

Long-time Bicycling Australia journalist and specialist bike reviewer Peter Maniaty recently tested one of the BOTY finalists. Taking temporary ownership of the ‘23 Propel from Giant, Pete simply did not want to give the bike back.

He described the bike as “slimmer and more nuanced to look at than the previous model, it was also increasingly more comfortable to ride.”

Slick and stylish from every angle – the latest Propel.

“The focus is less a myopic pursuit of speed and more about maximising all-round efficiency through enhanced stiffness-to-weight ratios,” he wrote.

“Leading the charge is the superbly spec’d – and just as keenly priced – 2023 Giant Propel Advanced SL 0.”

“As tends to be de rigueur these days, the 2023 Propel made its unofficial debut at this year’s Tour de France. Success came quickly and spectacularly for Team BikeExchange-Jayco with a pair of very different victories by Dylan Groenewegen and Michael Matthews.”

Pete went on to explain that the Propel was first launched back in 2012, and while its stablemate, the TCR, still remains a more obvious all-round option for the majority of us mere mortals, the gap is closing. 

“The 2023 Propel, now into its third generation, is certainly no one trick pony,” he wrote.

“Whichever way you look at it, the 2023 Propel has been on a diet. Straight out of the box, it struck me this is one of the least ‘aero looking’ aero bikes I’ve seen, blurring design lines that were previously stark and unmistakable. Closer inspection reveals most of the classic hallmarks of an aero build are still present – compact front end, deep headtube, aggressive ride position, truncated airfoil tubing, blade-style forks and handlebars, lowered seat stays – but they’ve been delivered with a refreshing new level of finesse.”

Aero form every angle – the latest Giant Propel would have to be the slickest yet.

Describing the Advanced SL O as “everything we’ve come to expect from Giant – with a refreshing twist,” Pete explained how the bike has a RRP in the vicinity of $13,999.

“It’s still the price of a small car,” he continued. “Yet compared to many of its high-end aero peers with similar levels of engineering, the value on offer is compelling. If you want maximum bang for your aero buck and a super-fast road bike that’s already claimed two Tour de France stages, you’ll be hard pressed to find better.”

“Aero bikes sure aren’t what they used to be – and I, for one, am very glad about that,” he concluded.

The bike Peter Maniaty rode has a RRP of $13,999. The Propel Advanced Pro with Shimano Ultegra Di2 is also available for $7,799. More at

Chapter2 TOA

The finish on Chapter2’s TOA is phenomenal. Not only does the bike ride exceptionally well, the framesets are a work of art.

A relatively young bike company, and considerably smaller than the big two finalists, Chapter2 is a New Zealand based frameset company that is becoming increasingly popular in Australia, New Zealand and overseas. 

Being a frameset company, one of the key positives with the TOA, and all other Chapter 2s, is the fact you can spend as little or as much as you want on the spec and build. While the bike we tested was ‘fully pimped’ with the latest and greatest – including some of the world’s best wheels from Princeton Carbonworks – the reality is you could complete a TOA for well under $10,000.

Attention to detail is one of the key features of not only the TOA but all Chapter 2 models.

The frameset is constructed of top-quality Toray carbon fibre, and is aero through and through. The design features Kamm tail tube shaping that is fared neatly into the seat tube. Up front there’s a smooth fork crown that’s trailed by beautifully sculpted downtube shaping. Following current design trends, the seat stays are dropped to around 1/3 of the way down the seat tube to help dampen vibration. To the bottom bracket area, and it’s beefy and designed for the all internal (and trouble free) T47 standard.

Paintwork is the feature that sets Chapter2 bikes apart from the pack and the TOA is certainly no exception.

Not only is the TOA a beautiful handling bike, it’s artwork and overall finish is simply stunning.

“The eye-catching design, particularly the attention to detail of the graphics on top of the top tube, have to be closely seen to be believed,” we wrote. 

Out on the road, and the TOA was a dream to ride around Brisbane, up and down Mount Coot-tha, and over several laps of the city’s magnificent River Loop. It climbed well, braked beautifully, cornered like it was on rails and attracted looks, comments and attention wherever it went. Top marks Chapter 2, a truly impressive offering.

In summary, it’s quite a big deal for Chapter2 to be up there with Trek and Giant as BOTY finalists – full kudos to the company for that. And if you do have the opportunity to take a closer look at a TOA in the flesh, or indeed ride one, you’ll see why it made the cut.

Chapter2 TOA frameset RRP: $5,199

More at

And The Winner Is

One of the above impressive bikes genuinely left us with the feeling that it could very easily be two bikes in one. With a simple change of tyres it morphed from a highly capable road and endurance machine into an impressive and accomplished gravel steed.

That bike? The 2023 Trek Domane

Proving it’s credentials well before its release, this endurance platform won the 2022 Women’s Paris-Roubaix. Sure, much of that was the calibre of the Trek-Segafredo rider, Elisa Longho Borhini, but it does also say a lot about the bike.

The Domane was comfortable from the get go, truly capable on and off the road, and an absolute pleasure to ride. It exceeded our expectations as a climbing bike, was incredibly comfortable on long, flat to undulating rides, and handled rough country gravel roads as capably as a dedicated gravel bike. Within a few short weeks it felt as familiar as an old friend, and was a bike we could have very easily kept forever. Five stars Trek! 

The latest Trek Domane – the same frameset was used by both the Trek-Segafredo Men’s & Women’s teams at the 2022 Paris-Roubaix.

A Note About Our Final Selection

Ongoing supply and availability issues has led to several new models being difficult to obtain. Sadly that means less bikes for us to test. With the supply issues behind us, this year we’ve already tested bikes from Cervelo, BMC, Chapter 2, Officine Mattio and Trek, and will have most major brands represented in the 2023 /24 Bike Of The Year.


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