The 50 Best cycling gear
Got a puncture? Bike gathering dust? Simon Usborne has all you need to get back in the saddle
This week's panel:
Simon Usborne is a features writer at The Independent. A keen roadbiker, he also writes the Cyclotherapy column;
Chipps Chippendale is a bike messenger turned bike journalist and now editor of Singletrack Magazine
1. Giro Xar
Giro's Xar helmet offers tons of vents, more protection for the back of the head and has a one-handed Roc Loc adjustment to dial it in for steep descents and loosen it off for the climbs.
How much £115
2. Cateye computer
It's worth paying a tiny bit more for a wireless speedo to avoid the tangled coil down your brake cable. This records speed, distance and more, can be back-lit and sets up in minutes.
How much: £36
3. Rapha Country Jersey
Team GB's cycling strip is hard to come by for now – and not to all tastes. This patriotic jersey in red allows you to wear the country's colours in style. Also available: Italy; Ireland.
How much: £105
4. Topeak Joe Blow track pump
Regularly topping up tyres (check for correct pressure) makes such a difference. Easily the quickest way is to invest in an upright track pump.
How much: £34.99
5. Cyclepedia: A Tour of Iconic Bicycle Designs
This sumptuous photographic anthology of bicycle design covers 90 years of strange and beautiful cycle shapes. Includes foreword by Sir Paul Smith.
How much: £12.96
6. Specialized mini wedgie bag
Discreet and close-fitting, this pouch tucks up under your saddle, providing just enough space for a couple of spare tubes and a pair of tyre levers.
How much: £12
7. Josephine bibshorts
These premium shorts from Belgian firm, Cafe du Cycliste, come at less-than-premium prices, offering excellent ergonomics and top-notch padding.
How much: £116
8. Garmin Edge 200
The smaller sister to Garmin's Edge 800, the 200 comes with full satnav-style mapping and will do everything a speedo can do, as well as guide you along courses you can download.
How much: £130
9. Kask K10 Sky helmet
As worn by Mark Cavendish and the rest of the Sky Pro team, this road helmet includes a unique adjustment system for a perfect fit on wonky heads and a leather-effect chinstrap.
How much: £130
10. Topeak Race Rocket mini pump
This sleek, lightweight rocket pump almost disappears into your jersey pocket and will make quick work of roadside puncture repairs.
How much: £26.99
11. Continental Grand Prix 4 Season
These Kevlar tyres puncture so infrequently you'll get out of practice changing tubes. I can count on one hand the number of times they've let me down.
How much: £33.98
12. Ortlieb Zip City
This waterproof shoulder bag will never let you down. Impermeable and compact when lightly filled yet cavernous when you've got stuff to lug, it comes with a chest strap.
How much: £72
13. Endura MT 500 Spray Baggy Shorts
Scottish-based Endura know a fair amount about designing clothes for the wet. In shorts and ¾ length for a British 'summer' near you.
How much: £64.99
14. GoPro HD Hero 2
Loads of helmet cameras look smarter than the GoPro, Chipps says, but none have the variety of mounts – for handlebars, forks, arms and chest, to show your trail-riding prowess.
How much: £300
15. Fox Flux
Fox has always made great looking mountain bike gear, Chipps says. The fit of the Flux is spot-on at the first attempt. It has a peak and a rear spoiler too! What more do you need?
How much: £45
16. Muc Off C3 Ceramic
It goes on thin and pink but as it dries, the clever chemicals bond to the chain and keep it moving through the murk, Chipps says. It's non-sticky so doesn't collect gunk.
How much: £6.99
17. Lifecycles DVD
There are a few mountain bike moments that survive playing on your jumbo HD TV when your friends say "So what is it about mountain biking that you like?" Chipps says. Here's one.
How much: £25
18. Camelbak Asset
There are many great hydration packs out there these days, Chipps says. The new Camelbak Asset is a very sleek, but rugged pack that will take all your tools and spares.
How much: £71.99
19. Mavic Stratos jersey
Some cycling jerseys remind you of where you've been. The Stratos is a long-sleeved, soft and breathable jersey you'll be happy to wear all day in summer or under a shell in winter.
How much: £69.99
20. Muxu Ride polo shirt
This slim-cut, smart T from Spanish lifestyle cycling firm Muxu is designed for riding to work, made of a fast-drying wool mix, as much as it is for off-the-bike sorties.
How much: £50
21. Bern Watts helmet
Skater-style helmet for those who'd prefer not to look like a mountain biker or a Tour de France nut. Its shape means you risk looking like a bowling ball if you have a fat head.
How much: £34.99
22. Muc-Off Bike Degreaser
The more regularly you clean your chain and gears, the smoother your rides, and the longer the parts last. Use degreaser and a rag to remove grime, allow to dry, apply oil.
How much: £6.99
23. Abus Granit 53
Good locks don't come cheap, but it's worth making the investment. Abus's award-winning D-locks are almost indestructible and boast the highest Sold Secure gold rating.
How much: £60
24. Bobbin pannier
Understated, classic pannier that clips easily to a rear rack and serves perfectly well as an over-size handbag off the bike. Deceptively spacious. Zips up and includes an internal pocket.
How much: £55
25. Howies NBL Classic LS
Everyone needs a merino wool base layer, Chipps says. You can get short-sleeved ones to run under a summer jersey, but I like this long-sleeved version. Great in the cold or off the bike.
How much: £59
26. Shutt VR sportive jersey
Founded three years ago in Yorkshire, Shutt Velo Rapide quietly produces some stylish garments. Its women's sportive jacket comes with the firm's signature stripes.
How much: £69
27. Respro Hi-Viz Sticker Sheet
Get creative, and cut shapes from this sheet of reflective vinyl to make your bag, bike or helmet more visible.
How much: £6
28. Lezyne Stainless 12 Multi Tool
This multi-tool has hex keys to suit most minor jobs, as well as a screw driver and a chain-breaker.
How much: £28
29. Zefal Swan road mudguard
Mudguards can be an eyesore but this quick-fix offering for skinny tyres is more elegant than most. Thicker models available.
How much: £10
30. Knog Boomer lights set
I swear by my Knogs, which knock out just enough light for well-lit urban roads yet are small and easily detachable via their silicon straps.
How much: £34.99
31. Specialized XC Lite Gloves
Most mountain bikers need long fingers all year round, Chipps says. These breathable gloves offer scuff and crash protection plus snot-wiping capabilities.
How much: £20
32. Rapha rain jacket
I hesitate to include such a pricey garment, but I would never be separated from this ultra-lightweight, yet breathable and impenetrable, lovely-looking jacket.
How much: £190
33. 661 soft knee pads
Once the preserve of downhill racers, body armour has also become popular with trail riders, Chipps says. 661's knee pads are comfy enough to wear all day and they'll stay put.
How much: £81.99
34. Fibre Flare Micro Duo
After a bulky, fragile start Fibre Flares have come into their own, producing unmatched visibility with light that's channeled through a silicon rod via fibre optics.
How much: £29.99
Helen Pidd's entertaining, practical guide for the ordinary or would-be cyclist offers lessons in everything from staying upright to pedalling in high heels.
How much: £9.74
36. Teva Links Flat MTB
Many mountain bikers are switching from clip-in shoes to flat pedals. They give you good grip and freedom and these new Teva Links shoes wear like a trainer, yet grip like Velcro.
How much: £85
37. Gore Contest mitts
Simple, understated and affordable mitts with enough padding to avoid rattle-hands on all but the longest rides, and handy finger loops to help pull them off afterwards.
How much: £20
38. Gore shell vest
A gilet is an essential piece of kit for chilly mornings or long descents even when its warm. Light enough to pack away into a jersey pocket, Gore's vest is nicely understated.
How much: £70
39. I love my bike bell
Love your bike with a bell that says you do. Fits easily to the handlebars (you'll need a screwdriver, though) and emits a ding ding! that means you'll be heard as well as seen.
How much: £5.99
40. Rapha GT Shoes
Rapha has finally delivered its first attempt at a high-end road shoe. No expense has been spared so they have soft yak leather uppers and carbon soles. Available soon.
How much: £350
41. Maxxis High Roller II tyres
Once downhill-only, now adopted by trail riders, this tyre gives plenty of traction and grip, Chipps says. The Mk II version has even more of both.
How much: from £40
42. Cateye spokelights
These work like reflectors except they produce bright light via LEDs to turn your wheels into shining rings while riding and improve side-on visibility even when stationary.
How much: £20 (for two)
43. 2XU Tri Suit
This one piece tri-suit, worn under your wetsuit and by itself on the bike and run, is a worthwhile purchase even for the occasional triathlete. Includes thin bottom padding.
How much: £75
44. Herschel Settlement Bag
You could get a hi-tech waterproof backback with a sleeve for a drinking bladder. Or, if you're only dashing about town, get something with style, like this classic Herschel.
How much: £55
45. Cycleaware Reflex helmet mirror
This mirror on a flexible stalk gives you another angle on what's behind. Sticks easily on to your helmet via a handy detachable bracket.
How much: £14.95
46. Specialized BG Sport Road
Perfect for beginner roadies in search of a casual look. Mine have taken four years of abuse and won't die. Also available in mountain bike form.
How much: £70
47. DHB Esteld bike bag
Some say hard bike boxes are better; others that baggage handlers are less likely to abuse soft bags. This wheeled model has a tough shell, padded interior and separate wheel bags
How much: £70
48. Tacx Sirius turbo trainer
Turning your roadbike into a stationary ride can work if you can't afford to skip training in rain or if you need extra spins. This Tacx is solid and has ten speeds.
How much: £162
49. dhb Pace Roubaix bibshorts
Bibshorts are a must for road bikers doing decent distances. To be worn with shoulder straps under a jersey, never over.
How much: £41.99
50. Velodrome taster session
Even beginners can find their inner Chris Hoy at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.
How much: from £10.20 per hour, plus bike hire
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