We tested a lot of cycling gear over the past year, and there’s plenty more piled on our desks. So, to keep it all straight, we picked up some of our favorite things from 2015 that you just might want to add to your own bike kit.
Heck, if you’re still debating what to do with that end-of-year bonus or extra Christmas cash lining your wallet, well, here are a few ideas. And maybe they’ll even motivate you to put in a few extra miles this year.
Thera Bee Lip Goo & Healing Honey Stick
Price: Starts at $4.25
The Thera Bee Healing Stick and its lip-balm-sized sibling is a super healing honey salve that helps with knicks, cuts and abrasions. This, of course, includes dreaded road rash. If you’re on a ride and miles away from home, the healing stick can coat minor abrasions to aide in healing and prevent infections thanks to its antibiotic properties.
If you’ve heard us talk up Action Wipes, you’ll understand why we’re big on their sister company, TheraBee. This stuff is quality. We combined the small tube and an action wipe into our flat kits for an on-the-go first aid set. Clean up cuts with the wipe and then apply some healing honey. Once it dries, you can even use the Action Wipe as a make-shift gauze bandage. Small price, small package: perfect road rash kit. Head over to therabeehoney.com for more info.
Cycle Snap Bike Mounts
Price: About $15.00
Simple and sleek, Cycle Snaps are a secure and cool way to store your bike vertically or horizontally. Just two screws fasten the mount to any wall (or fence for easy bike washing) to make an ingenious pop in, pop out bike rack. We did a full review on Cycle Snaps a few months back, and we were super impressed with these minimalist mounts. A variety of colors and types fit a wide variety of tire sizes and decors. Head over to CycleSnap.com to pick up your own.
We ran into the brain behind Sticky Pod at Interbike, and there are plenty of smarts in the design of this organizer. It fits everything you need for flat repair plus cash, cards, and keys. The Sticky Pod comes in a few different designs and sizes to fit your particular jersey pocket (we tested the large size). Soft neoprene material provides a padded barrier to protect your gear and keep your stuff dry. Zippers allow for easy and secure storage options, and a clear pocket fits smaller smart phones (think iPhone 5 . . . maybe a 6) while allowing for use of the touch screen.
Most riders will likely find the smaller size has enough room to fit all the necessities for a road ride (we had plenty of space left over in the large pod). But if you’d like to stick a mini-pump in there instead of CO2 cartridges, you’ll have plenty of room in the large pod. Overall, simple, smart and super useful. Grab your own at miles-wide.com. While you’re there, check out the other seriously cool stuff that the folks behind Miles Wide have come up with–especially for those of you who also mountain bike.
Nite Ize’s GripLit LED Handlebar Lights
I know this one isn’t necessarily for the hardcore roadies among us, but good times for commuters and those who want an added touch of visibility during night riding. Plus, they’re just kind of cool.
The GripLit lights come in a 2-pack, one light for each end of your handlebars. The push button LEDs work in glow and flash modes to provide side visibility while riding at night. If you’re commuting or just want a fun accessories for the little cyclist in your life the GripLit is a fun, affordable, and great way to stay safer this winter. Find GripLit at niteize.com.
Ultimate Bike Solution
Ultimate Bike Solution (UBS) keeps your bike running smoothly no matter what conditions you’re spinning through. This all-in-one miracle cleaner, lubricant, and general magic trick is water based. Now I know what you’re thinking–magic isn’t real. Well, UBS is something of a surprise to us too.
Water-based, so it will clean up easily in case you’ve accidentally applied it to your brakes, UBS makes bike maintenance simple by acting as a degreaser, cleaner, lubricant, polisher and protector in just one spray. Built for city, road, cyclocross, and mountain bikes, this is perfect for those of us who have more to do on a Saturday than a complete bike wash (like taking 5-hour rides). We found that a liberal dousing on the drivetrain keeps chains from collecting that black grime you’re all familiar with, and it definitely reduces noise.
Protect your frame and components by simply spraying your bike down with UBS. After each ride, a simple rinse down with water and a re-spray gets you ready for your next ride. It couldn’t get more lazy. But it’s not lazy at all, because you’re actually taking care of your bike. We’re impressed with the usability and versatility of UBS.
Head to ultimatebikesolution.com for more info.
BioMaxa Chamois Cream
Price: About $25
Formulated from Lanolin, Manuka Oil and Manuka Honey, BioMaxa chamois creams are designed to prevent chafing and saddle sores. We especially like this product because it’s made from non-synthetic ingredients and is 100% biodegradable. We tried two variations of the BioMaxa formula–the Pro-Ride and the Ultra-Ride–and both lived up to our expectations. The Pro-Ride formula was definitely more popular for our more endurance-minded tester, but both creams stood up quite well to multi-hour rides. We were surprised by the smooth, non-greasy texture that didn’t smell like a medicine cabinet.
And, hey, here’s to finding a chamois cream that can be used by both male and female cyclists without worrying about biological sensitivities. Well done, BioMaxa. Check out biomaxa.com to pick up some for yourself.
Delta Mini Tablet Holder
For the indoor cyclist, or, more accurately, the cyclist who would rather ride a trainer than suffer through those winter road miles (code for temps below 50 degrees, right?), Delta’s Mini Tablet holder affixes to your handlebars to offer a heads-up display for your iPad.
We like this tablet holder because its telescoping design allows for quick insertion and removal of our iPads. Although the mounting process leaves a little something to be desired because the angle and orientation are not easily adjusted without unscrewing the bracket, it wasn’t really an issue for us because we didn’t feel the need to move it once we set it to a comfortable position on the handlebars. For us, the pluses of the holder and its secure grip on both the tablet and bars set it apart from other designs we’ve tried in the past.
So if you’re like us, and you like to multi-task while you’re reaching maximum physical condition, Delta’s mount gives you the flexibility to ride while you type or surf–or maybe even follow along with a HIIT video. Grab your own at deltacycling.com.
Lizard Skins Camo DSP Tape
Price: About $40
Hands down (pun definitely intended) our favorite bar tape, Lizard Skins DSP handlebar tape has the grip and shock absorption power to match any road conditions. Slightly sticky to the touch, you won’t need to worry about your hands slipping off the bars, and we’ve noticed that one set still looks clean even after a full year of riding–not bad for red. The DSP tape is highly durable, absorbs shock, and it looks cool.
But to achieve all of these things, we definitely recommend going with the 2.5mm tape. We like the 2.5 because it offers all the benefits and cushiness without being too bulky. But you can also go minimalist with the 1.8mm or super cushy with the 3.2mm. It’s up to you. We’ll think you’re cool regardless.
Check out lizardskins.com for more colors and options.
Jet Roll II Boxed Gift Set
We’re shameless about this one. We love every iteration of the Jet Roll we’ve ever tested. And the folks at Just Enough Tools came up with a sweet box set to turn our like for the Jet Roll into love. Custom colors to match your bike, a high quality custom t-shirt, and coordinating bar tape set you up with class. If you’re not sure why we love the Jet Roll so much, check out our reviews of the Supersonic, Jet Roll II, and Phantom to see why we’ve nicknamed it the un-saddlebag.
There’s really not much more to say about this one other than to tell you that every one of us here at SLO Cyclist rides with a Jet Roll. We love them, and the custom colors of this box set factor into something of a holy grail for us. Pick one up for yourself at justenoughtools.com and let us know what colors you chose.
TiGr Lock Mini
We previewed the TiGr Lock Mini last year before its release, and were stoked to get one into our office to test. Based on our previous impressions of the larger TiGr Lock, we figured this had to be every bit as cool. And this u-lock reinvention didn’t disappoint.
With a much lighter heft than other u-locks (it’s feather-light at 0.9 lb) and a flexible bow design, the TiGr Mini is versatile and easy to carry. The included mount (that black piece in the picture) affixes to your frame, or you can easily toss it in a backpack without it weighing you down. We especially like the coating that covers the entire bow to keep your frame scratch-free when it comes in contact with the lock. Simply stated, we were impressed with the TiGr Mini. Check it out at tigrlock.com.
Lazer Z1 Helmet
I’ve been through a few helmets in the past two years. Several, in fact, that were pretty nice. But then the folks at Lazer sent over the Z1. Impressed isn’t really the word. Infatuated might be closer. Everything from the fit to the style seems perfect on the Z1, and the ponytail compatibility ain’t such a bad thing either.
In fact, I’m pretty certain the “Z” in Z1 stands for “zero.” Zero pressure points, zero mushroom head, and zero hassle with the Rollsyss dial system. With a weight of just 190 grams, this is one of the lightest helmets out there that still offers an excess of ventilation and protection. Lazer’s recently announced compatibility with the LifeBeam system also lets you integrate your HRM with your Z1, so you can permanently lose your heart rate strap.
Of course, the price tag might scare a few folks off who aren’t interested in the lighter, fancier helmets. For those of you who want a more wallet-conscious choice, Lazer’s Blade offers many of the same fit features for just $100. I’ve tried those on, and they’re almost as comfy as the Z1–just a little more bulky. Either way, you can’t make a losing choice here. Head over to LazerSport.com to check out their full line.