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The best upgrades for your bike from the best products we've reviewed over the past year

You’ve no doubt seen and read our annual Bike of the Year Awards features over the last couple of weeks, but now it's time to turn our attention to the best components we tested in 2017. We reviewed hundreds of products last year, but we've picked only the highest scoring reviews and gathered them into one place.

These are the very best products we've tested in 2017, the crème de la crème if you like. And there's a really interesting selection from carbon wheels to graphene-infused tyres, power measuring pedals, groupset upgrades and much more.

So if you're in the market for some choice new upgrades for your bike this year, this list is a pretty good place to start. 

 

Praxis Works Alba M30 48/32 chainset £149.99

Buy it here

Praxis Works Alba M30.jpg

The Praxis Works Alba M30 48/32 is a cleverly-designed chainset that drops your gear range a little with no discernible difference in weight, stiffness or shifting quality compared to the benchmark Shimano chainset you probably already have.

Read our review

 

Campagnolo Potenza groupset £909.68

Buy it here

Campag Potenza groupset

Campagnolo Potenza has kicked off the whole Campag vs Shimano argument all over again thanks to its precise shifting and powerful braking, with Ultegra directly in its sights. It's about £60 cheaper at RRP, plus you can have a choice of finishes – black or silver – to suit your bike. Read on for my thoughts on each component.

Campagnolo has delivered a very good groupset here, offering great performance at a sensible price. At full RRP (which is what all the quoted prices are), it comes in at about £60 cheaper than the groupset Campag has aimed it at – Ultegra – although the Potenza is 100g heavier.

Read our review

 

Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 SPD-SL pedals £224.99

Buy it here

Shimano Dura-Ace Pedal R9100 SPD-SL.jpg

Shimano's top-level Dura-Ace R9100 pedals offer loads of security and stability and they're a few grams lighter than the previous version, although still not quite as light as some of their biggest rivals.

Dura-Ace pedals aren't quite as light as top-level models from key rivals. Look's Kéo Blade Carbon Ti pedals (£249.99), for example, have a claimed weight of 180g (pair) while the much cheaper standard Kéo Blades (£99.99) is 220g. Shimano gives an official weight of 228g for its Dura-Ace pedals, although we measured ours at 239g. That compares to 248g for both previous generation Dura-Ace and new Ultegra 6800 pedals (which we've not yet tested).

That might bother weight weenies a little, but I've found the Dura-Ace 9100 pedals to be solid and reliable and there's every indication that, like their predecessors, they'll prove to be durable too. Add in a warranty of three years (you get this on Dura-Ace and XTR products) rather than the standard two, and they're a very good choice.

Read our review

 

Yokozuna Motoko Disc Brakes £129.99

Buy it here

Yokozuna Motoko Disc Brake.JPG

The Yokozuna Motoko disc brake calipers are the lightest option for cable-actuated hydraulic braking and have many benefits to consider. Easier to set up than the TRPs, lighter, better-looking, compressionless-cables included, with better tool-free adjustment and no performance drawbacks. If you can fit them to your frame with no clearance or cable routing issues they are a great choice as an all-inclusive cable-and-caliper offering.

Read our review

 

Lauf Grit fork £799.99

Buy it here

Lauf Grit Gravel Fork 2.jpg

It's one of the most unusual looking products ever to pass through the road.cc office, but get past its radical appearance and the Lauf Grit fork offers some useful bump-absorbing benefits for off-road gravel riding. There are limitations to the design, though, and it's not cheap.

Handling at speed and tackling fast descents is an area where the Lauf shines. It provides extra traction on fast fire road descents with a washboard surface that would see a regular rigid fork skipping about wildly. With the Lauf, the front tyre was able to maintain contact with the surface for a more predictable, and safer, ride.

If you can get past the looks, and the price tag, and the extra weight, and are comfortable with its limitations, there's a lot to like about the Lauf Grit fork. 

Read our review

 

Taya Onze-115 (UL) Grey 11 Speed Chain £49.99

Buy it here

Taya ONZE-115(UL) 116L 11 Speed Chain Alloy Gray.jpg

Taiwan's Taya has been producing chains since 1969 and produces a vast range of different ones, including this 11-speed 'Ultima Lite' model. Taya makes some bold claims about durability and longevity which a few weeks' testing can't hope to exceed, but early signs are that the Onze-115 (UL) is a strong, light chain that's keeping its good looks through repeated riding and washing.

Read our review

 

Pro Vibe Di2 Stem £99.99

Buy it here

Pro Vibe Stem.jpg

This incarnation of the Pro Vibe Di Stem focuses on aerodynamics and the latest technology used in electronic gear systems to turn your bike into a smooth-looking, wind-cheating work of art. Form is backed up by function, with a component that excels in stiffness without carrying any extra weight

Read our review

 

PowerTap P1S Single Side Powermeter £500.00

Buy it here

PowerTap P1S power meter pedals.jpg

PowerTap P1S pedals are the single-sided version of the popular PowerTap P1 power meter pedals. They're easy to set up and to swap between bikes and if you're not bothered about measuring power from both legs, they're well worth a look. If you want a sensibly priced power meter that can be easily swapped between bikes, and you want it right now, the PowerTap P1S pedals deserve your very serious consideration.

Read our review

 

Look Keo Classic 3 Road Clipless Pedals £39.99

Buy it here

Look Keo Classic 3 Road Clipless Pedal.jpg

The Look Keo Classic 3s are good mid-level pedals that offer a decent base for power transfer, have an easy-to-use adjustable mechanism, and are well made and robust.

This wider contact area creates a good platform for power transfer. I found I could put the power down easily, even when using a set of 9-degree cleats that were moving around fairly freely. There is a slight improvement on the previous pedals, with a claimed '400mm2 surface area which is almost 40% more than the competition'.

Read our review

 

Favero Assioma power pedals £735.00

Buy them here

Favero Assioma Power Meter Pedals.jpg

The Assioma Duo pedals represent a massive evolution of Favero's foray into cycling power meters, being vastly superior to its previous BePro pedals. They're better value than Garmin's new Vector 3s with no real compromises, so well worth the spend if you want power measurement that's easily transferred from one bike to another.

Read our review

 

Vittoria Corsa Control G+ Isotech foldable tyres £54.99

Buy it here

Vittoria Corsa Control G+ Isotech foldable tyre.jpg

The Corsa Control G+ is the beefed-up version of Vittoria's well-respected Corsa G+. They're a great alternative to many winter-specific tyres, offering levels of rolling resistance and grip seen on your summer lightweights without compromising durability.

Read our review

 

WTB Horizon TCS Road tyres £39.99

Buy it here

WTB Horizon tyres - 1.jpg

TB's Horizon TCS is a fast-rolling, super-grippy and super-comfortable tyre that excels on the road and is capable of tackling dry off-road trails to inject some adventure into your routes.

For taming rough roads and injecting some dryish off-road trails into your route, with better rolling speed than most 40mm gravel tyres, there's a lot to love about the Horizon. It's a great alternative to a wide gravel tyre if you're not intending to tackle very loose and rough tracks, but want a tyre that is faster over a wider range of surfaces, including on the road, and can provide a bit more comfort.

Read our review

 

Pirelli P Zero Velo folding tyre £39.99

Buy it here

Pirelli P Zero Velo tyres 3.jpg

The Pirelli P Zero Velo tyre marks a very impressive return to cycling for Pirelli after a half-century hiatus. This tyre is fast, comfortable and long-lasting, making for a great all-round ride experience on the road.

Read our review

 

Panaracer GravelKing SK tyre £39.99

Buy it here

Panaracer GravelKing SK tyre - 4.jpg

Japanese tyre company Panaracer has been quick to offer a range of gravel-specific tyres, becoming a significant player in the burgeoning market. Measuring 43mm wide, these GravelKing SK tyres are tubeless compatible and feature a tread pattern that excels both on and off-road, with a tough carcass that can withstand some abuse.

Read our review

 

Panaracer Race A Evo 3 Tubeless tyre £79.99

Buy it here

Panaracer Race A Evo Tubeless tyre.jpg

Panaracer's first ever tubeless road tyre puts in an excellent performance, being fast and grippy in a wide range of conditions and warding off punctures well. It's a bit on the heavy side, though, and the price is high compared to other tubeless options.

Panaracer has been quietly expanding its tyre range in recent years, most notably its choice of tyres aimed at the growing gravel and adventure bike market. But during the process of updating its flagship performance road tyre, it has added its first ever road tubeless offering. And it's an impressive debut.

Read our review

 

Hutchinson Fusion 5 Tubeless Performance Road tyres £54.95

Buy it here

Hutchinson Fusion 5 Tubeless Performance Road Tyre.jpg

Hutchinson invented the first road tubeless tyres back in 2006 in a partnership with Shimano. It has continued to evolve its tyre range in the intervening years, and the latest Fusion 5 Performance tyres are the best yet. They're fast, grippy, supple, durable and easy to fit, and a rival for any other tubeless tyre currently available.

Read our review

 

Schwalbe X-One Bite Microskin tyres £59.99

Buy it here

Schwalbe X-One Bite TLE cyclocross tyre.jpg

With a grippy tread that clears rather well and the ability to run low pressures without burping the tyre, the Schwalbe X-One Bite CX Microskin TLE tyre is a really good choice for training and racing. The tightly packed central knobs keep rolling speeds high and the tall side knobs dig in to provide very good traction.

Read our review

 

Roval CLX 50 Disc wheels £1,870.00

Buy them here

Specialized Roval CLX 50 DISC Wheelset.jpg

Since I tested the Roval Rapide CLX 40 wheels two years ago, the US wheel brand owned by Specialized has been busy, and its new CLX 50 wheels are their spiritual replacement. They're a marked improvement, too, with better aerodynamic performance and an impressively low weight for the disc brake version I've tested here.

I've tested a lot of carbon wheels over the years, but the Roval CLX 50s really impressed with their combination of outright speed and stability in strong winds. There are probably more aero wheels and there are definitely lighter wheels, but these strike a really good all-round balance that works well in every situation.

Read our review

 

DT Swiss ERC 1100 Dicut DB Endurance Road Wheels £1,999.98

Buy them here

DT Swiss ERC 1100 Dicut DB Endurance Road Wheels.jpg

The brand new DT Swiss ERC 1100 Dicut DB wheels are tubeless-ready carbon fibre deep section wheels designed for disc brakes and wide tyres aimed at meeting the demands of endurance bikes, where speed must be balanced with stability and comfort.

A disc brake specific 47mm deep tubeless-compatible carbon clincher rim is optimised for 25 to 28mm tyres with hubs based on DT's proven 240 design, but wrapped in a new aeroshell and rolling on ceramic bearings.

Read our review

 

Shimano RX31 wheelset £299.98

Buy it here

Shimano RX31 wheelset.jpg

Shimano's RX31 wheelset is perfect for those bikes that see a hard life whether that be slogging along on the commute in all weathers, a bit of light touring or even some gravel or cyclocross abuse. It's great to see this latest version come with hubs for 12mm thru axles too.

Read our review
 

Praxis Works RC21 wheels £1,549.99

Buy it here

Praxis Works RC21 wheelset.jpg

Praxis Works isn't perhaps the first name that leaps to mind when you're listing possible wheel upgrades, but the company better known for chainsets has decided to expand its product range, and its first road-focused wheelset is a gem.

The RC21 wheels are designed for everything from gravel to road riding. They're aimed at the latest breed of disc brake-equipped endurance bikes with space for wide tyres, as well as the increasing popularity of adventure and gravel bikes where big volume tyres are mandatory.

Read our review

 

Hunt 30Carbon Gravel Disc Wheelset £999.00

Buy it here

Hunt 30 Carbon Gravel Disc Wheelset.jpg

he 30Carbon Gravel wheels use a new disc brake-only rim design, developed over the last year with Hunt's rim partner, and currently exclusive to Hunt. They're built from unidirectional T24/30 carbon and are 30mm deep and 26.6mm wide, and notably lighter than most wide aluminium rims at a claimed 370g (compared to 460g for the shallower, narrower Stans ZTR Grail disc rim, for example). Using carbon helps, obviously, but Hunt has also saved weight thanks to the absence of a brake track and bead hooks.

As the name suggests, the 30Carbon Gravel Disc wheels are aimed at the fast-growing new gravel/all-road/adventure bike category. If you're in the market for a posh set of wheels for your gravel bike, I really can't think of a better option. Hunt has set a benchmark with these superb wheels.

Read our review

 

Shimano Dura-Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset £999.98

Buy it here

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset.jpg

Shimano's Dura-Ace C24 carbon laminated wheels are light, stiff and responsive, putting in an excellent all-round performance.

I've been running the C24s with 25mm Continental Grand Prix 4000 tyres (Shimano advises that you use tyres ranging from 23mm to 28mm with these wheels) and they've been very quick, accelerating fast, and the ride quality is hard to fault.

Read our review

 

Fizik Performance Bar Tape £16.99

Buy it here

Fizik Performance Classic Bar Tape.jpg

The Fizik Performance Classic Bar Tape is a good choice, being compliant and grippy. Once in place, the Fizik tape provides a very comfortable setup. It has 3mm padding and this delivers a good injection of comfort on any bike it's fitted to, and is noticeably better at cushioning your hands from smaller vibrations than some thinner tapes. It's great if you've got long rides on your radar like sportives and Audaxes.

Read our review

 

 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

9 comments

Avatar
Zermattjohn [290 posts] 9 months ago
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I have a set of Dura Ace C24 wheels from a few years back. Fantastic still, hubs very smooth and overall lightweight, ideal if you live in a hilly place like me. They were full RRP £700 then, and were widely available for less than £600 - how come the big price hike?

Avatar
kil0ran [1125 posts] 9 months ago
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Zermattjohn wrote:

I have a set of Dura Ace C24 wheels from a few years back. Fantastic still, hubs very smooth and overall lightweight, ideal if you live in a hilly place like me. They were full RRP £700 then, and were widely available for less than £600 - how come the big price hike?

Exchange rates it would seem, although it doesn't explain the whole increase. I was looking at some Hunt wheels earlier - 10% more expensive than they were when reviewed late last year.

Seems to be across the board on cycling components - meaning you're getting Tiagra for 105 money for example.

Avatar
Team EPO [155 posts] 9 months ago
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any chnace of the same but for mtn bike at off road.cc?

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ChetManley [95 posts] 9 months ago
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Gravel King SK's are the dogs dangly parts, and I'm strongly considering the Alba sub compact after trying one. If you ride a gravel bike, and don't do 1x, it's an excellent combo.

Avatar
rix [232 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes
road.cc wrote:

Lauf Grit fork £799.99

It's one of the most unusual looking products ever...

You forgot to mention ugliest...

It is so ugly that I am ready to disregard any potential benefits. I would not put it on my bike...

Avatar
fukawitribe [2577 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
ChetManley wrote:

I'm strongly considering the Alba sub compact after trying one. If you ride a gravel bike, and don't do 1x, it's an excellent combo.

 

Liking the look of the AbsoluteBlack sub-compact stuff for 4-bolt 110 BCD Shimano cranksets - 46/30 and 48/32. Not cheap, and somewhat specific but nice looking option IMO. Roll on direct mount compatible cranksets for everyone....

Avatar
ChetManley [95 posts] 9 months ago
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fukawitribe wrote:
ChetManley wrote:

I'm strongly considering the Alba sub compact after trying one. If you ride a gravel bike, and don't do 1x, it's an excellent combo.

 

Liking the look of the AbsoluteBlack sub-compact stuff for 4-bolt 110 BCD Shimano cranksets - 46/30 and 48/32. Not cheap, and somewhat specific but nice looking option IMO. Roll on direct mount compatible cranksets for everyone....

Yikes, only a bit cheaper than a new crank!

Avatar
fukawitribe [2577 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
kil0ran wrote:
Zermattjohn wrote:

I have a set of Dura Ace C24 wheels from a few years back. Fantastic still, hubs very smooth and overall lightweight, ideal if you live in a hilly place like me. They were full RRP £700 then, and were widely available for less than £600 - how come the big price hike?

Exchange rates it would seem, although it doesn't explain the whole increase. I was looking at some Hunt wheels earlier - 10% more expensive than they were when reviewed late last year.

Seems to be across the board on cycling components - meaning you're getting Tiagra for 105 money for example.

Depends how long a 'few years' is as well - 5% increase year-on-year would bring it to about a grand over 7 years, 2.5% would account for about half of the rise.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2428 posts] 8 months ago
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A 33T ring on a std 110mm 5 bolt with a 32T sprocket gives you a 28", sure it might not get you up Everest but it's only 0 .9" bigger than a 30x30. 

If you must just use Spa cycles sub compact for £60 and you can as low as a 24t ring and still be able to use normal 5 bolt chainrings in the 110/74 format and road STIs