Editor’s Note: Of late, we’ve been running a regular feature – providing a rundown from RBR Contributors on our favorites across the spectrum of components, nutrition, clothing, accessories, you name it. As we do these pieces, we’ve been compiling the various reader comments and emails with your own favorites of those various pieces of gear. For the past three weeks we’ve offered your feedback in the form of recent reader favorites. (Here’s a link to the gamut of RBR Favorites.)
If you want to read all the comments on any individual article, just go back through past issues of the Newsletter. Use the Search field (upper right corner of every page) to search the term you’re looking for: pedals, seat bags, groupsets, gloves and helmets are topics we’ve done so far. We actually started with tires, in March 2016.
We will plan to run a different “favorite” each week for the next several.
We also want to hear from readers on your favorites! Join in the fun either by commenting below the Newsletter version of this article or using the form at Tell Us About Your: Favorites (you can always find it in the Talk to RBR section on every page of the site.) We’ll gather up your submissions and run them as a follow-up to this article (and future RBR Favorites pieces).
Enjoy, and keep letting us hear from you about your own Favorites. We love the feedback and find it super interesting the different way roadies go about their business!
Finally, thanks for this great comment:
Andy LaCombe wrote:
That “RBR Favorites” section is awesome – thanks for the great addition!
– John Marsh
For decades I used one type of seat bag or another. My last seat bag was the small Fizik clip on. What didn’t fit into the seat bag went into jersey pockets – which, at times were stuffed. However, there were occasions when I rode in the Southern California desert, and at those times, I began to use a small Camelback pack. After using the pack, I decided that it was just too useful. I confess that I had some personal resistance to wearing a pack, as it didn’t fit my road-bicyclist esthetic. I was also concerned about wind resistance, but I’m not racing, and I can’t discern any measureable impact. Practicality won out. When the seat bag clip broke, I didn’t replace it, but now just carry broken Fizik in the pack. The pack allows more versatility in what I can carry, especially with respect to clothing – the outcome being that I ride with measurably greater comfort. I’m also able to deal with a greater range of problems (may all our rides be “uneventful”). I typically adjust the pack’s contents to fit the ride. I did remove the Camelback’s water bladder, as I never used it. Almost everything goes in the pack, tools, pump, clothing, and anything else I may need. After getting the pack adjusted, I’m typically not aware the pack is there. It’s become an integral part of my cycling “kit”. When I found a silver Camelback pack on sale at REI, I bought two, as it’s the perfect color. I still get comments on the pack, but in my mind, form follows function.
Jack Hohag wrote:
I’ve tried various saddle bags over the years, and the Topeak Aero Wedge Pack is by far my favorite. Of all three sizes, I like the large size which even has a zippered gusset to add space if you need it, and still tucks nicely under the saddle.
Ever since I’ve been a ride leader in Minneapolis for the Twin Cities Bicycling Club, I carry a few more things in the Wedge Pack. I picked up on Jim Langley’s suggestions about carrying a chain master link and a multi-tool with chain tool, handy-wipes, and a small rag. I also carry 2 thin latex gloves, a CO2 cylinder and Portland Design inflator head, a Topeak Micro Rocket mini pump, spare tube, 2 tire levers, multi-tool, mini tweezer/pliers, eye drops (contact lens wearer,) folding reading glasses for close up work, cleat covers for walking, a few ibuprofen tablets, cell phone, car keys, and a small baggie with a copy of my iD card, health insurance card and $20 cash. All this fits into the Wedge Pack without deploying the expansion gusset.
Tom Horne wrote:
I use expanding seat wedges with the stiffeners removed so that they can be cinched up tight against the seat rails like the tool rolls of old. My current favorite is the Lone Peak Deluxe expanding wedge. It contains a spare tube, patch kit, mini tool, a few first aid items, a Cook Bros. mini pump w/ gauge, and still has room for my jacket and the leftover half of my mid-ride bakery stop scone. I really don’t like to load my jersey pockets.
As with RAH, been using a small Zefal backpack without the bladder in it.
Kerry Irons wrote:
I’ve used a variety of seat packs over the years – never want to get down the road and discover that I have no tube, etc. but I don’t carry much – two tire levers, two Allen wrenches, tube, instant patches, all wrapped in a bandana. My problem with packs that either snap over or wrap around the seat post is that they abrade the post and straps can abrade the saddle rails. Even happens with a Ti post. So now I am using a bag that snaps into a fixed clip with nothing touching the post and nothing that can move on the seat rails. (Fizik brand that of course only works with a Fizik saddle)
Greg Titus wrote:
On my road bike I attach a single spare inner tube tightly under the seat with a velcro strap. It’s easy to get at, and tucks in very nicely. In a Belroy cell phone wallet (expensive) I carry all my ride essentials (ID, cash, etc.) two tire levers and one solid piece multi-tool (has 5 hexes and a screwdriver tip). That wallet fits nicely in my middle jersey pocket, with a mini-pump. The other two pockets get fuel, electrolyte caps, etc. It’s minimalist, for sure, but works really well.
Joe Rouse wrote:
My jersey’s three pockets provide enough storage and then some (Lotsa gels, third bottle, unique roadkill, etc.), with the all-important benefit of being reachable as I ride. I suspect I do look funny from behind, but no one makes ‘man bag’ jokes!
Next Week in RBR Favorites: Our Favorite Tires (An Update)
Johan M wrote:
Expensive – but the new Silca Seat Roll Premio with the Boa closure system is my new favorite spare tube / tool carrier. Very secure center strap holds the roll together, and the Boa strap cinches everything up tight, neat and tidy under the seat rails. A wallet in my center jersy pocket holds cash, cards, an ID, and my mobile phone.
Simon S-D wrote:
I’m a skinny fellow and my jersey pockets bulge when I put all that I need in them. Plus I find it rubs. I use the Ortlieb saddle bag. It has a bracket that is permanently under the saddle and it slides on to the bracket. You can buy extra brackets so that switching between bikes is easy. It’s just the right size (I have a small one but you can get different sizes, it doesn’t rattle (a pet peeve) and it’s completely waterproof. For longer rides I have a small backpack: essential for changeable UK weather!
tony m wrote:
I find Castelli gloves, both winter and summer, to be the most comfortable and versatile. However, they are pricey (I usually buy last year’s model on clearance) and not necessarily the most durable.
I began serious cycling in 1965 when cycling gloves were leather. The leather gloves would dry stiff as cardboard after being soaked with sweat or water. I gave up wearing gloves in the summer and have never worn them since. I wear insulated, windproof gloves in the winter which I select from any outdoor-wear store. Incidentally, inexpensive, rugged, fingerless gloves can be made by cutting off the fingers of mechanics’ gloves which can be found in big-box and auto-parts stores.
Zvi Wolf wrote:
An advantage of Pearl Izumi is their lifetime warranty. I had a pair of Cyclone gloves that separated along 2 seams. I mailed them in and, no questions asked, they sent a new pair. Contrast that to Gore. I have a pair of their summer gloves that separated along the seams, apparently a theme with me. The retailer replaced them witihin the first year and the velcro closure on the new pair started delaminating from its backing fairly quickly. I glued them back together myself because the warranty is over; I won’t buy a pair of Gore gloves again.
Want to save money? Go to Home Depot and pick up a pair of Firm Grip fluorescent orange work gloves with reflective fingertips. Want fingerless? Cut the ends off with scissors (take them off before cutting). Even in hot weather the full fingered configuration seems okay. They outlast most cycling gloves and are visible day and night, especially when signalling turns. You do signal, don’t you?
I pick up this tip from a riding buddy. For wet weather I use a pair of kayak or paddling gloves. You can buy full fingers or fingerless. These gloves have great grip while keeping your hands dry. Suggest getting from a local store so that you can try on various sizes and brands before buying to see which fit you best.
In summer I prefer the crochet gloves just for the funky tan lines.
I wear Endura Mighty Mitts. Even though they’re (fingerless) MTB gloves, they breath well, don’t stain your hands, and should you come off the bike, give you some serious material between your palms and the road.
Fil Atlanta ga wrote:
Weight lifting gloves work as well if not better and my pair from Target were inexpensive.
I’m using an earlier model from Dux Helm and I’m quite impressed with the flip up visor and the manufacturer support.
I loved my Catlike Whisper helmet that my wife & son gave my for Father’s Day about 10 years ago. So comfortable, light and very well ventilated. Then in 2012 I hit a pothole, flew over the bars, landed on my head and then on my side and fractured my pelvis. My head was just fine.
Catlike was still only in Spain then and did not have a crash program. And the $250 cost was steep. I finally settled on that Giro Savant MIPS which I find comfortable, breezy and hopefully, safe!
Concerning helmets and visors. Another option exists – traditional cycling caps…. A cycling cap’s shape and size satisfies a bicyclist’s unique needs remarkably well. I am currently using a Giro Synthe MIPS, however my previous helmet lacked the MIPS function, but I wondered, if in an accident, my cycling cap might have provided a surface for the helmet to rotate and dissipate rotational energy. Thankfully, I never had the opportunity to find out.
Richard Zimmer wrote:
As far as visors go, how about the old-fashioned short-billed bicycle cap? Fits under the helmet nicely and does the job.
David Frost wrote:
I’m surely a “Fred” in so many ways, including my beloved helmet-mounted mirror and sunglasses inside the straps. I’ve found the visor on my helmet to be very helpful when riding into the sun (or the occasional oncoming headlight beam at night) and reducing rain on my glasses. But I’m also old (almost 68) and far from fast, so it hasn’t been a vision impediment. During a long fast descent in the (higher than when I was young) drops, my visor can be pivoted upward slightly to reduce that problem. I violate so many of those “rules”.
Jeff vdD wrote:
Is there any evidence yet that indicates that the MIPS technology results in a safer helmet? This article is skeptical … and so am I. That said, happy to follow the data.
John Marsh replied to Jeff:
After my crash last April in which I broke my clavicle into 5 pieces and smashed up a MIPS helmet (my head was perfectly fine), I wrote this in the Lazer Z1 MIPS helmet review:
“While I cannot say for sure that the helmet definitively kept me from suffering major head injury, and that the MIPS technology was an added benefit, I walked away without any head trauma. (I did severely fracture my clavicle.) I certainly would have suffered at a minimum a contusion and abrasions to my head, if not far worse. And I’ve reached the point in my cycling life – after suffering two significant crashes in which my helmet broke apart, but my head did not suffer at all – where I don’t need “definitive” proof of the helmet’s responsibility in the outcome. If it gives me a shot at protecting myself, and it takes the brunt of an impact that obviously would have hurt my head to any degree – I’m a proponent. A helmet is insurance, and why not insure your head to the extent of the available technology?”
What it comes down to is this: MIPS is certainly not LESS safe, and it has trickled down into most makers’ lowest level helmets. So why not? The real issue behind the lack of “evidence” is that there are no government agency tests for MIPS efficacy (that I’m aware of) — as there are for the ages-old tests on regular helmets (which only provide “evidence” that they can withstand certain impacts).
Richard Zimmer wrote:
It is true that MIPS is unproven but it also true that it can’t hurt you and may help. I also use the Giro Savant MIPS. I chose the helmet primarily because it comes it a great “see-me” color and got the MIPS version because it cost only $10. For me spending $10 on something that can’t hurt and might help is a no-brainer.
Tell us about your Favorites by commenting below the Newsletter version of this article or or using the form at Tell Us About Your: Favorites.