Spring Gear for Road Cyclists
Here are eight new products that will give your riding experience a boost so you can enjoy warmer weather and the sunny skies ahead.
POC Gran Fondo Kit1 of 17
The new Gran Fondo line from POC is a slightly more affordable version of its top-end racing apparel. The jersey is made of quality, durable materials and new eye-catching color schemes. The tailoring is a bit more relaxed than what you'll find with some of POC's other race jerseys, which improves overall comfort and won't restrict your movement.
POC Gran Fondo Kit Cont'd$140/$150 2 of 17
The bibs, like the jersey, are well made and plenty comfortable. They breathe well during hot-weather rides and are cut long on the leg for more modest styling. The VPDS inserts used in the chamois also do an excellent job of dampening road vibration, which can help relieve pressure points. Both the jersey and the bibs are excellent options if you're looking for a reasonably priced racing kit that you'll be comfortable wearing through all-day efforts.
Rudy Project Tralyx3 of 17
The Tralyx is perhaps Rudy Project's most adjustable pair of sunglasses to date. Featuring Adaptive Tips, you can adjust the front portion of the frame near the temples for a nice, secure fit. The rear portion behind the ears and the Erognose IX are also fully adjustable, which make the frames less awkward on certain head shapes.
Rudy Project Tralyx Cont'd$635 4 of 17
This also allows the glasses to fit inside your helmet's air vents comfortably without irritating the top of the head when you aren't using them. The distinct design incorporates Rudy's new PowerFlow system, which takes away portions of the frame to increase airflow and reduce fogging. I also found the Tralyx to be the perfect-sized lens, with excellent peripheral vision and extended coverage above the eye for aggressive riding positions.
Fizik R1B Uomo5 of 17
Last year's R3B made a big splash in the pro peloton. This year, Fizik upgraded its high-end R1 model to the R1B. Utilizing two boa dials instead of the single boa dial on the R3B, the R1B's closure is one of the best of any cycling shoe you'll find. Placing the dials further down and extending the inside of the upper to come over the top of the foot makes it easy to get a nice tight fit that doesn't place any unnecessary pressure while you're riding. And for a racing shoe, it's also extremely durable and plenty comfortable.
Fizik R1B Uomo Cont'd$399 6 of 17
While a lot of other high-end models sacrifice these two aspects to reduce weight, the R1B does not. The result is a shoe you can wear every day and a shoe that will last through heavy use. The UD carbon-vented outsole is as stiff as they come and provides superior power transfer during hard efforts. Overall, if you can afford it, you won't find another racing shoe that combines comfort and performance as seamlessly as the R1B.
Bolle One7 of 17
Aero road helmets are an excellent choice once you decide to go full-on race mode. But for training or miserably hot days, all those covered vents aren't such a cool choice. The Bolle One not only solves this problem with two removable panels that opens up the vents but also converts into a mountain bike helmet with an attachable visor.
Bolle One Cont'd8 of 17
Add in the other neat extras such as a rear light for increased visibility, a sunglass garage on the front vents and a thermal helmet liner for winter use, and you've got a single helmet that can do it all. And if you're expecting all those extras to feel like a brick on your head, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the One's very reasonable 280-gram weight.
Endura Classics SL Jersey9 of 17
It's difficult to plan your training rides around the erratic spring weather—especially when the rain begins to fall. A jacket may not be an option depending on the temperature and humidity, and getting soaked isn't a good idea either. The new Classics jersey from Scotland-based Endura will provide you plenty of options when things start to get Roubaix messy.
Endura Classics SL Jersey Cont'd$214 10 of 17
The jersey is short-sleeved but comes with separate arm warmers if you need extra protection against the wind or rain. The softshell outer fabric, while keeping you dry, does an excellent job of letting heat evaporate due to its light weight. The tail of the jersey is also slightly longer to provide more coverage from wheel splash. Overall, this is a great option for riders who are expecting unpleasant racing conditions and would rather not risk overheating from more traditional rain jackets.
Specialized Stix Sport Combo11 of 17
If you're looking for a basic headlight/taillight combo that's lightweight and can be installed just about anywhere, the Stix Sport combo is a great value. Featuring a 70-lumen headlight and a 14-lumen taillight, you'll get six different modes suitable for day or nighttime cycling.
Specialized Stix Sport Combo Cont'd$55 12 of 17
Using separate attachments, the rear taillight will work on a seatpost, saddle rail, on the back of a helmet or as a leg band. You can charge the battery through a USB connection, and the battery will last anywhere from 2.8 hours to 18 hours depending on how bright you want the setting. Overall, the set is surprisingly bright for such a small package, and should work as a lightweight set for training on your race bike.
Stans Alpha 340 Comp13 of 17
While known more for their tubeless tire sealant, Stan's lineup of wheels is equally impressive. The Alpha 340 Comp falls right in the middle range of the company's road wheelset offerings and—like all of their other wheels—comes tubeless ready. The pre-fitted yellow tape and installed tubeless valve makes the initial setup about as easy as it's going to get. All you'll need to do is slap on a pair of tires, add the Stan's sealant, and you'll be ready to go.
Stans Alpha 340 Comp Cont'd$250 14 of 17
What's most impressive, though, is the performance of the Alpha 340 at the $635 price point. Coming in at an impressive 1,445 grams, I found these wheels to be solid and extremely durable on rough surfaces. They're also responsive on climbs and are tough enough to stand up to stress from larger riders (up to a 250-pound weight restriction). And when set up with the right tubeless tire, you'll eliminate pinch flats and make a puncture from other sharp objects much less likely. This budget buy is a good choice for anyone seeking a wheelset they can train and race on without breaking the bank.
Challenge Paris-Roubaix15 of 17
With the inclusion of disc brakes on more and more models of road bikes, wider tires are also becoming the norm. Besides providing better rolling resistance, handling and a more comfortable overall ride, wider tires also allow you to ride on rougher roads and dirt more comfortably by using a lower psi.
Challenge Paris-Roubaix Cont'd$79 16 of 17
Though the 27mm Challenge Roubaix clincher can be difficult to install, it is a very comfy tire once you're out and about. Where the tire really shines is over dirt and gravel, where the tire absorbs minor bumps nicely and side-to-side movement won't make you nervous. On the road, cornering on descents was a real treat.
If you've experienced the increased handling benefits of a wider road tire, you definitely will not be disappointed by the Roubaix. On the downside, flat protection isn't great and the tires will wear quicker than other options.