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road.cc 2014 Cycling Kit Staff Picks

Our reviewers name their favourite products of the year

We’ve tested about 800 products (not counting complete bikes) here on road.cc over the past year and some of them have been firm favourites with our team of reviewers. These are they.

We’re not saying that these are necessarily the most innovative products of the year, the most high-tech or the best value - we'll look at all those aspects in our upcoming 2014/15 product awards

We just asked our reviewers to tell us which of the products they tested were the ones they liked best. Which did they keep using after the test period was complete? And which did they buy or would be tempted to buy themselves ? Bear in mind that our reviewers are people who regularly have loads of new products to test, so using a product beyond the test period is a major seal of approval.

That’s it. Simple. Here’s what they said. Click on the product names to check out our original reviews.

 

Jez Ash

Cateye Rapid X rear light £39.99

This rechargeable rear light has been an ever-present on any bike I've ridden after dark this year, either on its own or as a backup if I were testing a different light. If you can stomach the price (and you can get it for a lot less than RRP now) then it's pretty hard to fault – highly visible, compact and very lightweight. Oh, and aero. Don't forget the aero benefits!
 

Castelli Thermoflex leg warmer £45.00

Castelli's Thermoflex leg warmers have seen a lot of use on cooler days. They are a simple design but made of lovely soft warm roubaix fabric, giving enough insulation to help you face days down to around zero. 
 

Shimano BR-R785 road hydraulic discs £499.99


These offer a real step-change in performance and feel over even the best mechanical disc or rim brakes.
 

Giro New Road Primaloft Insulated Vest £129.99 


This one has continued to grow on me. My first reaction was that it was a nice product at a silly price, but I've worn it loads, probably more off the bike than on. Would I buy at list price? Probably not, but others likely would.
 

Stolen Goat Bodyline Lionheart jersey £60.00


This is a breakthrough product from a fairly new brand. Partnering with Bioracer was an inspired move and resulted in a jersey which fits way better than anything else I've tried in this price range. A lovely jersey which I'll definitely still be wearing next summer.
 

Caroline Dodgson

Road Rags Holborn leggings & skirt combination £90.00

I have lived in these all year, so much so that the crotch is finally starting to wear through! The looks divided opinion amongst readers but the soft merino has been an excellent daily alternative to Lycra, and doesn't mark me out as a cyclist when I get off my bike. With padded shorts or pants underneath, the seamless construction is comfortable all day and the short skirt gives me the confidence not to have to wear a long baggy top to cover my bum.
 

Shutt VR Isobel jersey £79.00

I just love the design of this jersey. It is really flattering and represents a much needed move into larger sizes for women's technical cyclewear. The fabric is lovely to wear and this jersey took me right through the summer with its polka dot and heather colouring. The little details are all present on this jersey - subtle reflectives, mesh underarm panels and a moisture resistant back phone pocket all helped push this to a 9/10 review from me.
 

Vulpine Ultralight quilted thermal jacket £169

I bought the women's version of this new Vulpine jacket after reading Dave's review and have not taken it off since. I ride out with my dogs every morning at 6am, so it's been pretty cold out lately, but in this jacket I am toasty warm for my whole ride. As ever with Vulpine, it's the little details that make this jacket a pleasure to wear: fleece-lined pockets, soft cuffs and a superlightweight fabric and filling all come together to make a jacket that really is a cut above the rest. Look out for my full review of the women's version in the New Year.

 

Dave Atkinson

Hutchinson Sector 28c tubeless tyre £69.99

Will 2015 be the year that tubeless starts to make ground? It will be if more manufacturers come up with the goods like Hutchinson have with the Sector 28. Super-comfy and puncture resistant with the feel of a race tyre.
 

Kinesis Tripster ATR frameset £1499.00

The fact that the ATR features in no less than three of our upcoming Bike of the Year section roundups is testament to its versatility, but it's the ride quality that really makes this bike special. It's also why I bought the frameset after the test.
 

Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll 2 trainer + inRide kit £639.99 


Super high quality indoor trainer with repeatable power measurement from the inRide app. The best I've tried for ride feel.


Caven O’Hara

Birzman Weather Warrior phone protector £11.99 


It does what it says on the tin and does it simply. The tough nylon case protects your valuables keeping your phone separate from your card and money with a neat little second pocket on the inside. You can still use your phone through the clear plastic cover and the press seal is easy to use and stays shut. Five months on and it has retained its shape.
 

Spada Wheels Breva Forgiato wheelset £599.00

These wheels are strong and durable, the bright red hubs hubs spun effortlessly with a pleasing freehub sound and they’re secured with hub-matching skewers. Over some epic rides the Forgiatos were put through their paces but always proved equal to the task. Deep aluminium rims provide plenty of braking surface and they come at a decent price.

 

Steph Mann

Asgard Metal Bike Shed for 29ers £475.00

 
This still looks like new. Bikes have remained dry and rust free over the last few months. It's a shed that will be used happily for years to come.
 

Morvelo Daze Women's Short Sleeve Jersey £60.00 


This jersey is an all rounder. Coupled with a base layer, it has seen me through winter and will be a favourite over the summer too. It just looks great and wears well every single time.

 

Mat Brett

Sealskinz Waterproof Cycle Over Sock £35.00

I thought I’d be shelving these when autumn gave way to winter but they’ve performed brilliantly in the cold weather. You can catch a thread if you’re not careful, unlike with neoprene overshoes, but they’re just so comfortable. I’m sticking with them.
 

Kask Protone helmet £195

I’ve been using the Protone for a few months although we’ve been holding back the review until it’s widely available. The excellent fit system means it doesn’t so much sit on your head as envelop it.
 

Craft Active Extreme Crewneck baselayer £32.00

The best off-season base layer by miles, in my opinion. I own three so that I never need to go on a winter ride without one.
 

Lusso Windtex Aero+ Jacket £135

This is a gem of a windproof jacket for the colder weather. I gave it a score of 8 but it could easily have got 9. In fact, having used it a lot more since we published our review, I’m going to go back and update it to a 9 right now!


Stu Kerton

Bowman Palace frame and fork £650 

The Bowman Palace frameset has become the benchmark for alloy race framesets in my eyes thanks to the tubeset specification and sorted geometry. It’s an absolute blast to ride hard. 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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