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This Is My Favorite Cycling Gear for 2024

Here are the gadgets, accessories, apparel and services currently keeping me happy in the saddle.

Updated Sept. 13, 2023 5:03 a.m. PT

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Written by  Justin Jaffe
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Justin Jaffe Managing editor
Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
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  • Coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015)
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$173 at Amazon
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Stay hydrated
Camelbak Chase Protector Backpack
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$200 at Specialized
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Better bike shorts
Specialized Prime Bib Shorts
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$199 at Velocio
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Great kit for warm days
Velocio Concept Radiator Jersey
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$119 at Velocio
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Cold weather, warm hands
Velocio Alpha Glove
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$170 at Amazon
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Ride at night
NiteRider Lumina 1800 Headlight
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$240 at Artilect
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Optimal top for riding in cool weather
Artilect M-Sundown 250
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$161 at Endura
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Ride in the rain
Endura Urban Luminite Jacket and Pants
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$100 at Pearl Izumi
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Shoes for on and off the mountain
Men's X-Alp Flow
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$25 at Amazon
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Secure your bike
Hiplok Z Lok Security Tie
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$16 at Amazon
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Keep it chilled
Polar Insulated Water Bottles
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$105 at Amazon
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Sunglasses are a must
Speedtrap Hiper Sunglasses
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See at Strava
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Stay connected
Strava
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I recommitted myself to cycling when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and since then, I've tested a variety of products. This includes bike clothing, accessories, gear and apps that make my riding experience safer and more enjoyable. Though I haven't tested every available product in each of these categories, the list below represents a sampling of my personal top picks. I update this article throughout the year regularly as I test and identify new gear that proves itself worthy of space in my cycling bag. 

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$173 at Amazon

Stay hydrated

Camelbak Chase Protector Backpack

Having now tested a variety of hydration backpacks and hip-packs, I've settled on the Camelbak Chase for mountain biking. It has the right amount of storage capacity -- 70 ounces of water plus a good amount of gear -- as well as lots of handy pockets and other bells and whistles. (Literally, it has an integrated safety whistle.) It also has an integrated protective impact panel, which could come in handy should you fall off your bike and land on your back. At $150, it's not cheap. But if you're an aggressive rider, the additional protection is worth it.

That noted, if you're looking to spend less, I've been using the Osprey Syncro 12 on family hikes, and I actually prefer its water bladder to Camelbak's system. Plus, the Syncro has a nice balance of storage capacity and accessibility, an integrated rain cover and it costs a more reasonable $130. 

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$200 at Specialized

Better bike shorts

Specialized Prime Bib Shorts

After years of riding with bike shorts I switched over to bibs a few years back and I'm not going back. I appreciate Specialized's suspender design, which strikes the right balance between freedom of movement and keeping the bib where you want it. The stitching is high quality, the cuffs are grippy without being too tight and the look is refined. 

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$199 at Velocio

Great kit for warm days

Velocio Concept Radiator Jersey

On a hot day, Volocio's Radiator jersey is my top pick. There's UPF 30+ protection built into the back panel and the mesh does an incredible job of wicking moisture. The material is pleasingly lightweight -- so much so that it's a bit translucent, and you can see the straps of the bib underneath. But the rear pockets are large and sturdy, and there's a zippered pouch off to the side for your most precious cargo. 

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$119 at Velocio

Cold weather, warm hands

Velocio Alpha Glove

These have become my go-to gloves for cold fall days and milder winter ones. Windproof and water resistant, the Alpha gloves are well-insulated with Polartec fleece but aren't overly bulky. Note that the gloves run a bit small, so you may want to jump up one size.

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$170 at Amazon

Ride at night

NiteRider Lumina 1800 Headlight

I've tested a bunch of bike lights, but two of them rose above the rest. The NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 is lightweight, bright and simple to mount on a helmet or handlebar. At the second brightest setting (1,500 lumens), I was able to get nearly two hours out of the rechargeable battery. (I also like NiteRider's Omega tail light.)

That noted, if you're looking for something that's brighter or lasts longer, I highly recommend the Gloworm XS. It's expensive -- over $400 -- and requires carting around a significant battery pack, but it blasts out an incredible amount of light. When set at 2,500 lumens, it basically turns night to day, and I was able to get over two hours of light per charge. When I turned it down to just under 2,000 lumens, my legs always gave out before the light did. 

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$240 at Artilect

Optimal top for riding in cool weather

Artilect M-Sundown 250

My top choice for a ride in the cool fall air. The waffle-knit, Nuyarn merino fabric is warm, flexible and relatively lightweight -- and the hood is roomy. There's an enclosed kangaroo pouch on the front as well as a long, zippered storage pocket accessible from either side. The sturdy loop at the bottom of the hood lets you hang the top, which dries quickly, without it coming off the hook stretched and misshapen. 

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$161 at Endura

Ride in the rain

Endura Urban Luminite Jacket and Pants

Endura's Luminite lineup has become my go-to choice for wet and/or cold weather on the strength of its lightweight construction, protective waterproofing and comfortable fit. The pants -- currently on sale for $90 -- feature ankle zippers and adjustable snap-button cuffs, for making adjustments on the fly, and have four reflective panels. And the Luminite 3-in-1 jacket has proven itself in a wide variety of riding conditions. The waterproof, hooded shell and removable, reversible, insulated vest can be combined or worn separately, depending on temperature and conditions, and have pockets in all of the right places. 

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$100 at Pearl Izumi

Shoes for on and off the mountain

Men's X-Alp Flow

Comfortable, grippy, stylish kicks that are equally well-suited for mountain biking and the rest of life. The reinforced toe has saved my foot from getting crunched between a rock and my pedal several times. And though I love the new "Spruce/Berm brown" styling, I have the older navy and orange model, which is currently on sale

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$25 at Amazon

Secure your bike

Hiplok Z Lok Security Tie

This summer I added Hiplok's Z Lok security tie to my small bike bag. Weighing in at 2.5 ounces, it's almost imperceptibly light and though it's not going to deter a pro bike thief -- I wouldn't rely on it in a treacherous city like San Francisco -- the steel core is strong enough to give me peace of mind when I park my bike at the beach. 

I've also been loaning the combination-based Hiplok Spin to my kid, who finds a four-digit code easier to manage than a key. It has everything I want in a lock -- and a few things I didn't know I wanted. It's strong but not too heavy, reflective and wearable.

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$16 at Amazon

Keep it chilled

Polar Insulated Water Bottles

If you're looking for an affordable water bottle that will keep your water chilled, Polar makes excellent 20- and 24-ounce insulated squeeze water bottles in a few different color options. Just add a little ice and your water will stay cool -- even on long rides. Starting at around $16, they're BPA-free and come with a lifetime guarantee. 

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$105 at Amazon

Sunglasses are a must

Speedtrap Hiper Sunglasses

Proper shades are essential for riding in any kind of weather and in all seasons, and I've got a few to recommend. At the higher end, Speedtrap's HiPER sunglasses are really good: the adjustable frame is lightweight but sturdy and the interchangeable, scratch-resistant lenses, which are easy to swap in and out, provide 100% UV protection. And they fog up far less than most of the other glasses I've tested. 

For evening rides, I've been using the Adidas Sport SP0001, which comes with two lens options -- one of which is optimized for low light levels. And, finally, there are the Smith Optics Tempo ChromaPop, which are comfortable to wear and feel secure.

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See at Strava

Stay connected

Strava

I've been using Strava to track and share rides (and runs and hikes) for years. But in March, I upgraded to Strava's subscription service which costs $8 per month -- or $60 if you pay upfront for a full year. I did it mostly for safety purposes: the app's Beacon feature lets you choose a contact who can monitor your whereabouts during each ride. But there are other attractive features, too, including advanced training metrics and leaderboards.

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