We believe that you can’t judge a product simply by its look and feel, you have to try it out for yourself. At the Design & Innovation Award 2017 we spent 16 days in St. Vigil/Kronplatz, testing and analysing the best products, greatest innovations and most exciting trends of the upcoming season.

While sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the marketing hype around a concept, to find the path to true enlightenment we must first discern whether a product demonstrates genuine innovation. Does it add value to our cycling lives, or is it just an ingenious solution to a problem that was hitherto nonexistent? The Design & Innovation Award 2017 comprised two intense weeks of testing where the experienced test team racked up hundreds of miles in the pursuit of answers.

Our conviction that the world of road cycling is in the throes of a shake-up is still true. While the collective category of road bikes continues to become increasingly subdivided into bikes that create new niches, we have to ask if such division is the main aim. Wider tires, innovative drivetrain set-ups, hydraulic disc brakes, and ground-breaking frame designs are being created to allow riders to simultaneously indulge in the benefits of responsiveness and comfort. This holy grail of bike performance stems from one common goal: a revolution of road cycling taking place away from pristine tarmac.

Instead, it’s focused on the increased freedom of being able to explore forest fire roads, cobbled lanes, and gravel tracks. This new mindset means that ‘all-round’ and ‘endurance’ are the current buzzwords within the industry. These new concepts form a key to unlock new possibilities and a move away from the traditional limits presented to a conventional road bike user, unlocking new routes, adventures, and good times.

This year’s DI.A highlights have been cherry-picked to meet the test crew’s main criterion: is this a product you’d recommend to all your friends? What could be a better benchmark? So here they are, friends: meet the crème de la crème that we wholeheartedly and unreservedly applaud.

Design & Innovation Award 2017 Winner

3T Discus Plus C25 Pro wheelset

DI.A 2017 Winner – 3T Discus Plus C25 Pro wheelset


Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 Di2

DI.A 2017 Winner – Canyon Endurace CF SLX 9.0 Di2


Easton EC90 SL Crank

DI.A 2017 Winner – Easton EC90 SL Crank


ENVE SES 4.5 AR Disc wheelset

DI.A 2017 Winner – ENVE SES 4.5 AR Disc Wheelset


Fi’zi:k LINK Bib Shorts

DI.A 2017 Winner – Fi’zi:k LINK Bib Shorts


Lightweight WEGWEISER wheelset

DI.A 2017 Winner – Lightweight WEGWEISER wheelset


Oakley Radar Pace

DI.A 2017 Winner – Oakley Radar Pace


Polartec Alpha material

DI.A 2017 Winner – Polartec Alpha material


Santa Cruz Stigmata CX1

DI.A 2017 Winner – Santa Cruz Stigmata CX1


SIGMA BRAKELIGHT

DI.A 2017 Winner – SIGMA BRAKELIGHT


Sweet Protection Falconer Aero

DI.A 2017 Winner – Sweet Protection Falconer Aero


Trek Domane SLR Project One

DI.A 2017 Winner – Trek Domane SLR Project One


Whyte Wessex

DI.A 2017 Winner – Whyte Wessex


X-BIONIC StreamLite Vest

DI.A 2017 Winner – X-BIONIC StreamLite Vest

To check out the winners of the other categories, visit design-innovation-award.com.

PS: Readers' Survey 2017 - Give feedback, win awesome prizes: We're giving away prizes worth €10,000 among all participants of our reader's survey! Win prizes from Open, Focus and Shimano! Click here to take part now!