At Bicycling, we don’t believe in bad reviews: we see no value in reviewing a product if it’s rubbish and doesn’t add any value to you, our readers. In the last 12 months there has been an explosion of must-have stuff in cycling – everything from new bikes to gearing, helmets, micro-tools, and the best cycling bling for the most pimp-focused rider. These are the 12 standouts – the best of the best we tested this year. – By Oli Munnik, Gear Editor
1. Cervélo C5, from R63 250
If one word could describe the character of the new C5 endurance road bike, it would have to be ‘versatile’. The C5 blends speed, agility and responsiveness with superb ride quality – so good, in fact, that we feel it’s the best all-round road bike we’ve ridden this year.
2. Cannondale Scalpel-Si, from R40 000
Three years in development, Cannondale’s new Scalpel Si race weapon is designed specifically to meet the needs of the typical competitive South African mountain biker. Over the course of a few weeks, the variety of terrain in the Cape proved ideal for experiencing first-hand the Scalpel’s capability and (most importantly) versatility. Not to mention its speed – like a thoroughbred horse, the Scalpel Si just wants to blast out of the starting gates.
3. Vicenzo Nibali’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac, unobtainable
In May, with three stages remaining, Italian Vicenzo Nibali seemingly had no chance of winning his second Giro d’Italia. However, after two incredible performances in the mountains, Nibali woke up on the final stage wearing the leader’s pink jersey. And in doing so, earned himself the honour of riding victoriously into Torino aboard this unique, shimmering-pink S-Works Tarmac, fit for a two-time champion.
4. Giro VR90, R4 150
When the retro lace-up Giro VR90 shoes first came to market, the Bicycling staff immediately added them to our list of ‘must-haves’. From the first ride the sleek, breathable one-piece upper offers a supple fit, while the rigid Easton EC90 sole provides direct power transfer – it’s a racer’s shoe with a healthy dash of panache!
5. Giro Synthe, R4 495
Giro named this particular helmet the Synthe because they believe it’s the perfect synthesis between the four key elements of a helmet: super-low weight, at 208g for our size small test lid; 26 vents and internal channelling for plenty of ventilation; a Roc Loc Air retention system that ensures a comfy, stable fit; and wind-tunnel-tested aero slipperiness make this a brilliant all-round buy.
6. adidas Zonyk Pro, R3 390
Lunched in July, the Zonyk – adidas’s latest eyewear – was debuted at the Rio Olympic Games, shielding sponsored athletes’ faces from wind, the sun’s glare, and any airborne debris that threatened to jeopardised a medal-winning performance.
7. SRAM XX1 Eagle, POA
By squeezing 12 cogs into the same space as 11, engineers created a 500% range (your most difficult gear is five times the ratio of your easiest) that’s close to that of some 2x setups, and much wider than the 420% gear range of an 11-speed, 10-42 cassette. The XX1 features a gold-coloured titanium nitride finish, while the X01 comes in traditional silver.
8. Spurcycle Bicycle Bell, from R499
Bells are not simply a warning mechanism… we reckon the best characteristic of the Spurcycle is its ability to make any cyclist you’re passing wave, smile or shout ‘Howzit!’ when they hear its distinct sound. Piiing!
9. Versus Socks, R110
The guys from Stellies have been hard at work dreaming up a host of original designs: ‘Watermelons’, ‘Pineapples’, ‘Liquorice’, limited-edition ‘Ice-Creams’, and a few other crisp, stripped-clean classics. Their designs are so rad, we’ve voted them into pole position for a second year running!
10. IMBI Bike Saver, R299
Forget the pool noodle – Bicycling has been using locally-invented IMBI bike savers to stamp out any chance of the dreaded metal-on-metal friction that dings or otherwise damages your frame or fork’s paintwork. Velcro straps make them easy to attach to any part of your bike, and their durable silicon foam does a great job of keeping the peace on your bike rack.
We found Extreme Lights’ Endurance Cycle Light the perfect night companion, with a beam reach of over 250m and enough battery life for the entire ride.
12. Specialized S-Works Turbo & Challenge Paris Roubaix, from R660 We love the plush, confidence-inspiring ride of the 700x28C Specialized S-Works Turbo tyres. We also quite enjoyed the tan sidewalls – a retro trend that hasn’t won every rider over.