Welcome to 2022. While I hope we see a return to some sort of normalcy this year, I expect that ’22—the early months, at least—will test our collective resolve as we bounce from crisis to dread and back to crisis. We ride bikes, in part, not to avoid challenging times, but to bring out our best so we can get ourselves and those we love through times of difficulty.

While I’ll be thinking of the health and safety of myself and of those around me foremost, I will steal a few moments to escape into the wonderful world of cycling gear and fantasize about the bikes I want to ride in my quest to bring out my best self. I’ve already started my list, which you’ll find below, but I want to hear about the bikes you most want to ride. If cost (and logistics) were no object, what bikes would you want to ride? Let me know by sending an email to gear@bicycling.com!

mason definition sram rival axs
Mason Definition SRAM Rival AXS

1. Mason Definition

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Three of my five bikes are all-road bikes of some form. At its best, this kind of bike is an amalgam that offers the speed of a road bike and the practicality and some of the versatility of a gravel bike. Mason, located in the south of England near the English Channel, specializes in bikes that are hard to define, but are practical and functional in ways that speak to me. The Definition has an Italian-made aluminum frame (the steel Resolution is almost identical), fits up to 35mm tires, and has all the little things I look for in a do-everything bike: mudguard mounts, 27.2mm post (for compliance), threaded BB (for my sanity), internal routing with convertible chips (future-proofness), and clearance for up to 52/36 chainrings. The geometry is sporty and comfortable without being absurdly upright. The company leans into user friendliness and provides lots of service parts and information—and the bikes look great, too.

rondo mutt st
Rondo Mutt ST

2. Rondo Mutt ST

The Mutt ST is a steel frame, 650b (47mm tires fitted) all-road bike. It comes with mudguards—and mudguards, as I’ve stated before, are badass—and is painted a lovely metallic blue-green that looks awesome with the tan-wall tires. One cool thing about this bike is that it has a Hi/Lo flip-chip in the fork to fine-tune the fit and handling. In high position, the fit is a little higher and shorter and the handling a bit more steady. In low, the fit gets more aggressive and the handling is a bit sharper. It’s a concept used by a lot of mountain bikes and occasionally deployed to road bikes. How does it work? That’s what I want to find out. Other things I like about this bike is the tight geometry (415mm stays) with fat tires—thanks to the smaller 650b wheel size, external hose and housing routing, threaded bb, and zero integration to the bar and stem. The price seems right, too: €2,699 ($3,046 USD) for a nicely kitted boutique-ish bike with Shimano 105 wide-range drivetrain.

bridge bike works surveyor
Bridge Surveyor

3. Bridge Bike Works Surveyor

The third bike in my all-road trio is so new that the frames hardly exist. I know one of the principals of this company fairly well (Mike Yakubowicz, founder and owner of the Toronto boutique shop Blacksmith Cycles), and I met Frank, the other half of the company, at Sea Otter this year. They took me through the concepts and showed me some renderings, and as they talked, I got more and more excited. I love a sleek, fast bike, and I love a comfortable, versatile bike. And that’s exactly what the Surveyor is—on paper, anyway.

The frame and fork will be made in Canada, keeping production and jobs close to home. It should be light (target frame weight is 900 grams). This one has lots of integration in the front end, which can be a nightmare for some repair or maintenance duties, but there’s no doubt it looks amazing. Designed around a 28 to 38mm tire, the Surveyor should handle awesome with my sweet-spot 35mm tire. It’s backed by a lifetime warranty, and the frameset price (about $3,900 USD) isn’t even absurd for a boutique frame made in North America.

yuba supercargo cl
Yuba Supercargo CL

4. Yuba Supercargo CL

I’ve had a few mid- to long-tail e-cargo bikes in for review. While they’re practical, I always run into the same issue: they don’t carry enough for the errands I want to run with them. Whether it’s a grocery store run (I do a week’s worth of shopping at a time), or other errands around town, I’m always finding long bikes not big enough, and their bags frustrating to load. So, I wind up going back to my car, which I don’t want to do. That has me wantonly eyeing a Bakfiets-style cargo bike with a honkin’ big box in front. I had a brief opportunity to ride a Riese & Muller Load 75 ($9,000 and up) a few years ago and loved the thing. But I want to live with one for a bit to see if it has the cargo capacity to leave the car at home. At about $6,000, Yuba’s Supercargo CL has all the features I’m looking for, and it’s significantly cheaper than many of the boutique cargo haulers.

otso fenrir drop bar
Otso Fenrir Drop Bar

5. Otso Fenrir

I like clever and practical bikes. Otso, the bike brand run by the wizards at Wolf Tooth components, specializes in bikes that are just that. Most of Otso’s bikes don’t fit into a tidy category, but are more like blank canvases for the user to turn into a uniquely weird and wonderful bike not offered by big brands. Otso’s newest bike, the Fenrir, carries the motto “Ride Anywhere.” Which is exactly what I want to do.

It’s kind of a mountain bike, but one designed for long distance riding, adventure riding and touring, or bikepacking. You can get it with drop or flat bars. It’s suspension-fork corrected, dropper-post ready, single-speed-able, fits fat tires (29x2.6 or 27.5x2.8), and has a zillion mounts for cargo. Plus, it’s made of the most delightful of all materials: stainless steel. It’s a good-looking, durable, adaptable bike that I want to ride into the woods, to the tops of mountains, and far away from mobile phone service.

Headshot of Matt Phillips
Matt Phillips
Senior Test Editor, Bicycling

A gear editor for his entire career, Matt’s journey to becoming a leading cycling tech journalist started in 1995, and he’s been at it ever since; likely riding more cycling equipment than anyone on the planet along the way. Previous to his time with Bicycling, Matt worked in bike shops as a service manager, mechanic, and sales person. Based in Durango, Colorado, he enjoys riding and testing any and all kinds of bikes, so you’re just as likely to see him on a road bike dressed in Lycra at a Tuesday night worlds ride as you are to find him dressed in a full face helmet and pads riding a bike park on an enduro bike. He doesn’t race often, but he’s game for anything; having entered road races, criteriums, trials competitions, dual slalom, downhill races, enduros, stage races, short track, time trials, and gran fondos. Next up on his to-do list: a multi day bikepacking trip, and an e-bike race.