Upgrades for cycling in style this summer
From go-faster shorts to the latest bike computer, treat yourself to some new biking gear, says Abi Jackson
In the market for some new cycling kit this summer? Whether it's a pat on the back for all that sportive training you've been doing, a much-needed shorts upgrade or taking your tech up a notch before tackling a big touring holiday, shop wisely and a good investment can last years.
We've scoured the latest lines to find some of this season's best buys...
1. Men's C7 long distance bib shorts, £179.99, C7 race jersey, £159.99, Gore Wear (gorewear.com)
Considering how popular cycling's become, it's still surprisingly easy to find kit that's either downright garish or just uninspired. If those don't appeal, you can't go wrong with something classic that lets comfort and technicality do the talking. Gore's race kit looks chic and understated, but oozes quality, with every detail - from the flat seams to the narrow cut hems/collar - nailed. The 3D pockets on the jersey (including a zipped compartment) promise extra space, while the dropped tail saves any awkward riding up. Silicone grippers keep the bib shorts in place, with wide central torso panelling, designed to ensure the chamois doesn't slip around either.
2. Active commute backpack, £189, Motionlab (motionlab-bags.com)
If you cycle everywhere or you're a fan of a two-wheeled commute, you'll know the importance of a good backpack - but even the best options out there can rub or chafe in the heat, and lead to uncomfortable shoulder strain. Motionlab have designed a series of backpacks for cyclists, runners and commuters that promise to take the weight entirely off your shoulders. Instead, the sturdy straps sit above your shoulders, with an innovative strap/belt system that means the weight is carried through the hips - which means it's generally more back-friendly with less risk of shoulder injury. Plus, it boasts greater comfort, and no bouncing around when you're on the move. The 22L-capacity bags feature a padded laptop compartment and lots of handy pockets, and you can switch it quickly between cycling and running mode too.
3. Women's pro jersey, £120, pro bib shorts, £150, Le Col (lecol.cc)
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
If you're splashing out on some top-notch kit, sure you want flawless detailing, chamois that won't have your eyes watering after an hour or so and seams and hems that don't rub/chafe/ride up (tick, tick, tick). But sometimes the ultimate quality test is the simplest: does it feel good on? And Le Col's Italian-designed Pro range feels simply sublime. The super light fabric - made with brand new 'cold touch' material for enhanced breathability - is silky soft and won't let you down after a string of wears and washes. From the wide silicone grippers on the legs to the tapered dropped back on the jersey, it all just fits like a dream.
4. ELEMNT ROAM GPS bike computer, £299, Wahoo (uk.wahoofitness.com)
New to the Wahoo range, the ELEMNT ROAM boasts practically everything you could wish for in a bike computer.
First comes the basics - a high-quality 2.7in colour screen that mounts nicely in view and reach, and adjusts automatically to suit the light conditions, with easy-use buttons and 17 hours' battery life. Next, the ROAM promises to be even better on the navigation front with a range of settings, whether you want to pre-save specific routes, find the fastest way home or get turn-by-turn directions - there's also speedy 'Back on Track' rerouting, if you veer off course or just want to cruise and explore. On the fitness front, the ROAM makes monitoring your performance easy and you can sync with Wahoo's app for a ton of info and workout support, to keep on top of your progress and fitness goals.
5. C5 light cap, £24.99, Gore Wear (gorewear.com)
Planning on clocking up some serious miles in the saddle, but wish you could skip getting sweat in your eyes? A lightweight cap under your helmet could transform your cycling comfort - this Gore one has an elastic back to keep it from sliding out of place and will help wick away sweat while also providing some extra shade when the sun's out. Super light and breathable for a barely-there feel, it comes in black, grey or cloudy light blue.
6. Brompton tour bag, £115, Halfords
The right baggage is vital when you're touring. This is Brompton's largest bag, which has a generous 31l capacity. Sitting on the front of the bike, it'll help even out the weight of the load (it comes with a carrier frame but carrier block not included) and there are handy outer pockets and a bottle pouch at the back for quick access to essentials. Meanwhile, the roll-top system and clips will keep your stowed away items snug and dry in transit, and there's a hi-vis rain cover for when drizzle strikes.
7. Helmet, £349, Hexr (hexr.com)
Yes it's pricey - but a lot goes into making a Hexr helmet just right. Each one is custom-made to specifically fit the individual dimensions and shape of your head, for a helmet that 'fits like a glove and offers elite aerodynamics'. You order it online and then you can either visit Hexr's London HQ or receive a scanning kit in the post to produce a 30,000-point 3D scan of your skull. The honeycomb structure of the finished product is said to be 68% better at controlling impact than foam helmets, and the aerodynamic design claims to help shave seconds off speed times too. Probably a stretch for the average cyclist, but if you're into innovative kit and smashing PBs, Hexr might make for an exciting upgrade.
8. Triban RC 500 women's showerproof cycling jacket, £24.99, Decathlon
Sunny weather might not be guaranteed, but you can still brighten up your summer rides - and guard from those showers - with a vibrant jacket. For the price, this one has a great quality feel and can be tucked away into its own pocket for compact storage when not needed. There's a longer back for catching pesky puddle spray, reflective detailing for extra visibility and ventilation panels near the shoulders to minimise overheating.
9. Boardman men's removable sleeve jacket, £55, Halfords
If you're heading out on multi-day rides this summer, unless you're off somewhere more tropical, chances are you'll encounter a range of weather. This lightweight-but-thermal jacket will keep you warm when temperatures drop or winds hit, and removable sleeves mean it quickly turns into a gilet. There's a second set of hi-vis sleeves to switch in when the sun goes in too, plus deep pockets and a zipped compartment at the back.