With yet another year of riding in its legs, Telegraph Sport is able to once again present its annual round-up of cycling gear that has impressed both on and off the bike.
Aimed predominantly at road cyclists – club riders, amateur racers or simply those who like to test themselves in sportives or audaxes – and commuters, each item has been rigorously examined in the most testing conditions we could find: high mountains, freezing commutes, lashing rain into buffeting headwinds. You name it, we have ridden it.
In compiling this list, quality, aesthetics and, of course, value for money have all been taken into account while we have endeavoured to include pieces to suit both the male and female cyclist in your life.
Clemence autumn/winter jersey – Café du Cycliste
Everybody needs a little luxury in their lives, which is why Café du Cycliste’s eye-catching Clemence jersey is an ideal pick for the style-conscious rider in your life.
Designed for riding through the autumn and winter, this long-sleeved jersey from the French brand not only looks good, but performs well too. With its uniquely styled wool shoulder panels and high-collared neck, the Clemence offers a little extra protection from the elements on those rare winter days when no jacket is required. With their usual attention to detail, the designers at Café du Cycliste have included two zip-up pockets – one at the rear, one near the right chest plate – while the rear elasticated jersey pockets are lined with contrasting bright yellow material.
Café du Cycliste: £160 – women’s version available (£160)
Geo Trekking Vision pedals – Look
Aimed not so much the traditional road cyclist, but instead the commuter, the Geo Trekking Vision hybrid pedals from Look are, quite simply, the work of a genius. Or in all probability, a team of geniuses.
Made of a hard-wearing composite, these pedals can be used with flat shoes or SPD compatible cycling shoes. So far, so standard. It is the inclusion of a light that can replace the traditional reflective strip on the pedal that impresses us most. With three different light modes available – including two different flash modes – the oscillating beam created as the pedals turn, in theory, help visibility while on the road. Once charged with a USB cable, each light works for up to 30 hours.
Reusable coffee cup – Rapha
Produced in collaboration with Frank Green, this simple and sleek reusable coffee cup from Rapha is the ideal gift for the cyclist in your life who cannot get their day kick-started until they have had their early-morning caffeine fix.
Designed to fit into the bottle cage, is easily transported on the morning commute ready to take to the local barista to fill up while avoiding unnecessary single-use of plastic cups. With its double-walled outer layer that helps the contents retain heat for longer, commuters can even transport drinks to work. The perfect gift for the rider in your life who cares as much about saving the pennies as the planet.
Tempo Powerstrap R5 Reflective road shoe – Fizik
As one would expect from any fine Italian shoemaker, the Tempo Powerstrap R5 Reflective – though a bit of a mouthful – is a worthy addition to any semi-serious road cyclist’s collection. Targeted at those who ride in low light or the dark, fizik’s newest shoe is not only stylish, functional and safety-conscious but at £134.99, sensibly priced too.
May lack some of the stiffness of its more expensive cousins from the fizik range, but with carbon reinforced nylon soles these feel strong enough on longer rides to be classed as a performance shoe. Eschews the Boa locking system for a simple velcro strap that wraps around the foot to provide a comfortable and easily adjustable fit. Aesthetically pleasing on the eye while probably also having aerodynamic benefits. However, it is the reflective finish on these shoes that make them stand out from the crowd. The entire surface of the shoe has a reflective finish, giving the rider in your life more of an opportunity to be seen while out on his or her daily commutes or winter rides.
Thermos style flask – Café du Cycliste
“A bidon with a difference,” is how Café du Cycliste describe their thermos style flask. They’re not wrong. With its clean lines and engraved profile of Col de Tende – an Alpine climb a short ride away from Café du Cycliste HQ in Nice – it is a thing of beauty.
Designed to fit into most standard bottle cages, the 500ml capacity flask does what many before have attempted, but largely failed: produce a bidon in which to keep hot drinks warm. Can be used on or off bike thanks to two different caps – a traditional wooden version with a stainless steel screw cap or a plastic version with the usual drinking cap – making the thermos style flask perfect for almost anyone.
Café du Cycliste: £39
Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch Mid Gloves – Gore Wear
Though not designed specifically for cyclists, these extremely lightweight gloves are actually perfect for any type of riding: road riding, cyclo-cross, BMX or just some good old-fashioned pootling.
Tested in the wind and the rain, the Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch Mid Gloves – yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful – do exactly what they should do: keep your hands warm and dry. Ridiculously thin they may feel like a pair of liner-gloves, but thanks to the windproof and water resistant technology adopted by Gore Wear, these are an extremely impressive, and versatile, glove. Grippy details on the fingers help in changing gear while also make them smartphone friendly. Winner.
Gore Wear: £49 (unisex)
Beryl Burner Brake – Beryl
The multi-functional Burner Brake light is easy to fit – it attaches onto either traditional round seatposts or teardrop-shaped versions – easy to use and with its long-lasting battery life ideal for either long training rides or the daily commute.
It is its brake light though that sets this rear light apart from its rivals. Thanks to an internal accelerometer, when the brakes are put on the brightness of the light increases to warn other road users. Small, sleek and perfectly formed, the Burner Brake is not only an ideal gift for any cyclist in your life, but at just under £40, it’s relatively cheap, too..
Tokaido jacket – Pedal Ed
Designed in Japan and made in Italy, the Tokaido jacket from Pedal Ed is a thing of beauty. At first it simply just looks good. On closer inspection, though, there is an awful lot more to this multi-layered creation than meets the eye.
Admittedly unlikely to provide enough protection in a blizzard – it has yet to be tested in such conditions – the Tokaido, with its fleece-type lining and layered construction provides enough warmth on the coldest of most autumn and early winter days, especially when layered up with the Kino power wool long-sleeve jersey (£160). Unlike most cycling jackets – the jury is out on whether this is a jacket or a very loose fitting jersey – the Tokaido features two rear pockets which are a boon during longer rides when quick and easy access to food can make all the difference. Little details, too, such as the reflective waist strip and packable internal pocket make this not only a stylish addition to the winter wardrobe, but extremely functional.
Pedal Ed: £195
Travel backpack – Rapha
Having used an earlier iteration of this travel backpack for the best part of a decade, it was a sad day when it was finally time to bid adieu to the tired old bag. On the plus side, though, it meant it was time for an upgrade – and what an upgrade it has been. Bigger, bolder and with its reflective coating and hi-vis pink rain cover, much, much brighter.
With its 25-litre capacity, the travel backpack from Rapha is perfect for not only commuting, but also short overnight stays. Comprising two main compartments – in addition to the padded storage pocket large enough for a 13” laptop – which with its clamshell design resembles a suitcase, cycling tools and kit are easily kept away from work clothes while further pockets can carry additional accessories. However, it is the waterproof and reflective coating that sets the backpack apart from its rivals. With 360º reflectivity the backpack doubles up as a safety beacon once caught in the headlights of approaching vehicles which, in our eyes, is a safety feature that is just priceless.
Pro Aqua Zero Flicker long-sleeve jersey – Le Col
Taking its inspiration from cycling jerseys from yesteryear, the Pro Aqua Zero from Le Col – designed by Sir Bradley Wiggins – is a bright and, dare we say it, dashing little number. But there’s more to this jersey than its retro stylings may suggest.
Though probably not the go-to item for those brave enough to head out during the depths of a winter freeze, offers enough to warrant its inclusion here thanks to its all-round appeal. Along with the standard three pockets at the rear, a small waterproof security pocket and high soft lined collar, has a fleeced lining and a water repellent coating. Worth noting that Le Col kit comes slightly smaller than most brands so consider buying a size up.
Le Col: £140
Beeline for bicycles computer – Beeline
Unlike many of the market leaders in the field of bike computers, the Beeline is a piece of equipment that benefits from its simplicity.
Admittedly this may not be the ideal gift for a loved one who is training for an event, but with its long-lasting battery – 30 hours – the Beeline is the perfect companion for a weekend away when discovering a new city on two wheels is the order of the day. Once paired via its app, journeys can be plotted and followed on its basic interface that features key data, leaving the rider free to follow the compass-type directions.
Kino Power Wool bib-shorts – Pedal Ed
Aimed squarely at road cyclists, these bib-shorts from Pedal Ed are comfortable, classically styled and thanks to their iridescent motifs on the lower part of each leg, safety conscious too.
Through a collaboration with Polartec, Pedal Ed has created an innovative fabric – this is where the ‘power wool’ comes in – in which merino wool has been layered with synthetic fabrics to create a short that is both warm and breathable. After being paired with leg-warmers, the Kino Power Wool bib-short is one of the warmest tested by Telegraph Sport. The iridescent motifs on each leg are a nice touch that once caught in the headlights of nearby vehicles increase visibility.
Pedal Ed: £170
Christmas classics . . .
Taken from the archives, here are 10 perennial classics to keep the cyclist in your life happy on Christmas morning…
Impero Ultimate hand pump – Silca
Founded by Felice Sacchi just outside of Milan in northern Italy in 1917, Silca has long been a byword for quality and despite relocatiing to America, the brand remains determined to produce the best products around, be they tools, track pumps or, in this case, a hand pump.
Engineered with the road cyclist in mind, the Silca Pocket Impero Mini Pump is a solid piece of kit that is not only sleek in design, but is efficient too. With its highly insulated sleeve and tight seal ensuring that fewer strokes (200) are needed to inflate your tyres to a pressure of around 90psi, the Impero – with its 25-year warranty – will, arguably, be the last mini pump the rider in your life will ever need.
Podcast subscription – The Cycling Podcast
Whether you are new to the sport or a veteran who knows their Mandy Joness from their Beryl Burtons, then you need The Cycling Podcast.
Covering all three grand tours with daily – and free – episodes from the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España, The Cycling Podcast team also manage to find the time to produce regular subscription only ‘Friends of the Podcast’ episodes, which is where you come in. If you want to support quality journalism from a team of experts who rarely fail to deliver the stories behind the headlines, then subscribe now.
The Cycling Podcast: £15.00
Kwaremont gift pack – Brouwerij De Brabandere
Brewed in Belgium, Kwaremont is a relative newcomer to what one would imagine is an already crowded market in its homeland. However, when it comes to selling beer to wannabe Flandriens brewers De Brabandere appear to have struck gold after naming itself after the Oude Kwaremont road that features in the Tour of Flanders, the one-day race through the home of beer, frites and, of course, cobbles.
While the beer itself is eminently drinkable, it is the delightful glass, replete with a base moulded with cobbles and a cyclist climbing up the steep gradient of its stem, that sets Kwaremont apart from the hundreds, if not thousands, of other post-ride recovery drinks on the market. Packaged with four bottles of Kwaremont and glass this is the perfect gift for those with a taste for Belgium – providing they are 18!
Kwaremont via Amazon: £28.70
Clug roadie bike rack – Hornit
At roughly the size of a small box of Oxo cubes, it will come as little surprise to discover that the award winning Clug bike rack from Hornit is the smallest of its kind in the world.
Ridiculously easy to fit and with three different sizes available – road bike, hybrid and mountain bike covering tyre widths of 23mm to 62mm – the Clug is the perfect solution for those who need simple, unimposing and beautifully designed storage for their flat or home.
Cycling prints – The Handmade Cyclist
Whether your loved one, family member or friend is a fan of the spring classics, grand tours or just an all-round cycling fanatic, The Handmade Cyclist are able to provide the ideal gift with either one of their beautiful art prints, bone china mugs or T-shirts, even.
It is The Handmade Cyclist’s prints, though, that capture the eye most – even the most strident non-cyclist would find difficulty in turning his or her nose up at one of these affordable prints hanging in the hallway. Now produced in four ranges – monuments, panache, routes and the Hour – can also come framed in environmentally sound sustainably forested solid Ash. Lovely stuff.
The Handmade Cyclist: from £15 to £30; framing service £45
The Road Book
As tomes go, few will match The Road Book for sheer weightiness. Indeed, weighing in at an energy bar short of two kilograms, the second edition of this deep dive into the cycling season will more than sate the appetite of the hungriest student of the sport.
With detailed statistics – including race reports, breakaways, weather reports and stage profiles – lovingly complied by renowned cycling statistician Cillian Kelly from the men’s and women’s WorldTours, The Road Book pieces together perfectly the season that has just been. With contributions from Richard Carapaz, Annemiek van Vleuten, Philippe Gilbert and edited by Ned Boulting, the latest edition of this love letter to road cycling is a must for the discerning nerd in your life.
The Road Book: £50
Merino socks – Café du Cycliste
If you must insist on buying someone socks at Christmas, make sure they’re good ones. While a number of reputable brands – including a few on this list – produce high quality socks for keen road riders, few make them as stylish or, indeed, as festive as these by Café du Cycliste.
Designed in France, but made in Italy with fine gauge merino wool blended with elastane and synthetic fibres, these high-cuff socks marry the two key ingredients for quality cycling gear: design and performance. For those more conservative and traditional riders out there, the socks also come in simpler designs.
Café du Cycliste: £20
Merino leg warmers – Rapha
Made with 95 per cent superfine New Zealand merino wool – as are the knee (£50) and arm warmers (£45) from the same range – these leg warmers from Rapha have become my go to piece of kit when it comes to keeping the pins safe from an autumn chill through to late spring.
At £55 they may not be cheap, but who wants cheap nylons chafing your legs while out on a six-hour ride? Everybody deserves a little bit of luxury in their lives – and on their rides while grafting away on cold training rides or early mornings in the high mountains – so don’t hold back and give the rider in your life the treat they deserve at Christmas.
Biker bag – Lefrik
Though unlikely to be attached to your bike during the Tuesday 10 or a long training ride, Lefrik’s lightweight, waterproof and environmentally sound – its shell is produced with recycled polyester from PET-bottles – this is the perfect accessory for city rides.
Easily attached to the seatpost with two velcro straps with an additional strap which simply loops through the rails of the seat rails before clipping into place and doubles up as a handle when off the bike, the bag is as useful out of the saddle as it is on. Just the right size for a small jacket, wallet or purse along with all of those annoying things you need to carry while out riding or out in town, the biker bag has both function and form making it the ideal gift for the rider in your life who doesn’t take things too seriously. Mamils need not apply.
Seat roll premio – Silca
Made with heavyweight cotton canvas that that has been hot-melt waxed for water-proofing, the seat roll premio is both stylish and functional and is the world’s first on-bike storage solution to use the Boa closure system – the type usually seen on cycling shoes.
With three pockets big enough to carry an inner tube, two CO2 cartridges and a multi-tool – all available on the Silca website, including the stylish Italian army knife – riders can head out training safe in the knowledge that their tools will stay dry and protected from the elements.
Silca: $48 (approx £35)