1. Chamois Cream1 of 12
Saddle sores hurt like hell, but they're entirely preventable.
-Peter Flax, editor-in-chief
2. Wide Road Tires2 of 12
Rubber that's 25mm (or wider) lets me run lower pressure and gives me more control.
-Joe Lindsey, contributor
3. Base Layer3 of 12
I ride more in winter now that I know how to layer.
-David Howard, executive editor
4. Floor Pump4 of 12
A durable pump with a stable base makes that mandatory pre-ride tire-pressure check fast and easy.
5. Bib Shorts5 of 12
These address one of my pet peeves: ill-fitting waistbands.
-Christine Bucher, managing editor
6. Dropper Post6 of 12
Lowering my saddle on tricky mountain bike trails gives me more confidence.
-Louis Mazzante, articles editor
6 Smart Splurges7 of 12
Where to invest—and where to save—when accessorizing yourself and your bike. Splurge on Saddle, Save on Saddle Bag A seat bag's job is pretty basic, but a saddle can make or break your ride—and sometimes the saddle that comes with a new bike might not be the ideal choice for you. "A good bike shop will work with you to try different ones," says Davitt. Splurge on Shoes, Save on Pedals All the retailers we talked to stressed the importance of contact points—any place the body touches gear. Compared with pedals, which vary in weight but work similarly across all prices, shoes differ more in quality and fit—and you feel them with every pedal stroke.
Splurge on Shorts, Save on Jersey8 of 12
When it comes to shorts, a higher price almost always means a superior chamois (the padding that provides a buffer between you and the saddle) and better construction, which translates to greater comfort and a more pleasant ride experience.
Splurge on Bottles, Save on Bottle Cages9 of 12
Standard alloy cages are nearly as light as their carbon counterparts and get the job done with no fuss. Pay a few extra bucks for your water bottle, on the other hand, and you'll get practical upgrades or, even better, fun graphics that inspire you to get out and ride.
Splurge on Frame Pump, Save on Tubes10 of 12
Although they are a few grams heavier, lower-priced tubes are often better able to resist flats than premium options. More expensive pumps, however, will fill your tires faster and require less pumping effort than basic models.
Splurge on Lights, Save on Helmet11 of 12
Both are designed to protect you. But every cycling helmet sold in the US has to satisfy the same regulations regardless of how much it costs. Spend more on lights, however, and you'll get brighter, more effective illumination with longer battery life.