So you’ve read the road.cc Bike of the Year 2017-18 awards, now it’s time to turn our attention to smaller things in life, the best cycling accessories we’ve tested in the past 12 months.
We’re talking about all those essentials like lights, tools, trainers, pumps and all sorts of other products that, while you can live without them, can go some way to enhancing your enjoyment of cycling.
To be even considered for this list a product had to review 9 or above. Yes, we set our standards pretty high. Then it was the challenging job of picking 31 products that really stand out above the rest. We haven't ranked these products, as individually they have all ranked highly in their own categories.
We've linked to retailers where you can buy the product in the heading but we've used RRP prices - it's worth shopping around as many of these products are available for a bit less
Elite Direto Trainer £749.99
Elite is on a roll. Last winter it launched the £1,200 top-end Drivo smart trainer, this winter it has added the £750 Direto to its range. And it's a top quality direct-drive smart trainer. It offers a smooth and realistic road feel, massive stability for your hardest interval sprints, easy compatibility with a host of training apps, and works with disc brake bikes. It's a good pick if you want to make a serious investment into indoor training this winter but can't stomach the £1,000+ price tags associated with the likes of the Elite Drivo, Wahoo Kickr and Tacx Neo.
RooDol Compact Rollers £195
The RooDol Compact Rollers make excellent sense for transporting to an event for a pre-race warm-up, or for those of you whose space is limited at home for indoor training. With easy setup, use and quick disassembly, the RooDols are the perfect companion for the rider who needs to train anywhere.
Wahoo Kickr Smart Turbo Trainer £999
Now in its third generation, the Wahoo Kickr continues to be one of the best direct-mount smart trainers on the market, providing easy resistance control, superb realism, rock-solid stability, massive 2,000 watt capacity, and easy connectivity to a range of apps from Zwift to TrainerRoad. Yes, it's expensive, but as an investment for serious winter indoor training, it doesn't get much better than this.
CycleOps Hammer Direct Drive SMART Trainer £1,000
If you're planning to buy a fully-featured indoor trainer to use with Zwift and similar apps, then the excellent CycleOps Hammer should be on your shortlist. It has a smooth, realistic pedalling feel, accurate power measurement, high maximum resistance, and an air of reassuring solidity. It even folds away for more compact storage.
Tacx Booster Ultra High Power Folding Magnetic Trainer £209.99
Tacx's Booster Turbo Trainer is stable, easy to set up and folds away for convenient storage or to pop in the car to take to races. Its main features are that it can provide a very high level of resistance and its fan and magnetic resistance unit are surrounded by a plastic housing, so you can't burn yourself on them when they get hot. It's compatible with Zwift, so it's a relatively inexpensive way to get into connected training.
Restrap Bar Bag Holster & Dry Bag & Food Bag £84.98
The Restrap Bar Bag Holster, Dry Bag and new, larger Food Bag are an excellent choice for carrying luggage on your road or mountain bike. On or off-road, this rugged, made-in-the-UK solution is practical, looks good and should last you a lifetime.
Ortlieb Barista Urban Line bar bag
The Barista handlebar bag, from Ortlieb's Urban Line range, promises to be 'admired in cafes, offices and boutiques'. The Barista is supplied with the Ultimate 6 mounting system, Ortlieb's standard bar bag bracket, making life simple for owners of more than one Ortlieb bar bag. With the bag's 6 litre capacity I was never short of space. It is possible to pack in a phone, wallet, sandwiches, snacks, paperwork (A4 isn't really possible, but anything just slightly smaller is), a tablet, plus a book or two, and have space left over. I've frequently crammed a lightweight jacket in as well, to go to a fitness class.
Restrap Saddle Bag Holster and Dry Bag £99.99
If you need to carry up to 14 litres of luggage but don't want to use a rack, the Restrap Saddle Bag Holster is an excellent choice. Unconstrained by frame design or bottle cage placement, it will work for just about any bike.
Assuming black is the new black (again), the Holster is bang on the minimalist, pseudo-military-utility trend in adventure kit. Made from 1000D Cordura wrapped over a plastic hardshell to maintain its shape, swathed in nylon webbing and held together not by stitching but instead tough cord through metal eyelets, the Holster looks like it will take a real beating year after year.
Restrap Top Tube Bag £29.99
Made in Yorkshire in a practical, hardwearing design, the Restrap Top Tube Bag takes what is one of the simplest bits of cycling luggage and makes an instant classic of it. The compartment comfortably measures 20cm at the base internally and will take a pretty decent mini pump such as the 22cm Birzman Apogee with a bit of pushing. All but the silliest-sized of phones will fit comfortably, screen outermost to protect from damage.
Elite Vico Carbon bottle cage £24.99
For most of you reading this, the most important function of a bottle cage is that it holds your bottles securely, without making it too hard to actually release them. I tested the Elite Vico Carbon cage with a number of bottles, and with Elite's own it's brilliant.
Whispbar WBT31 3 bike tow bar carrier £550
The Whispbar WBT31 Bike Carrier is a premium rack packed full of features to make transporting bikes a breeze. You definitely get what you pay for. If you're after a towball-mounted carrier, it's one of the best-possible three-bike (four if you buy the adapter) options.
Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS cycling computer £199.99
The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is a compact and aero GPS bike computer that offers a vast amount of useable information, navigational capability and an excellent battery life at a reasonable price.
NRC X1 RR Blackshadow glasses £109.99
The NRC X1RR Blackshadow glasses certainly look the business with their gold details and lenses, and thankfully they deliver top drawer performance and comfort too.
Really good sunglasses are a must for any cyclist, and while you can go down the cheap and cheerful supermarket specials or safety-glass routes to protect your eyes, you aren't going to get the kind of clarity and perfect field of vision that you get here.
Specialized Prevail II helmet £174.99
The Specialized Prevail helmet has long been a popular helmet with performance-focused cyclists because it's comfortable, well ventilated and seriously lightweight. This new version retains everything that was good about original but has a much lower profile. It not only looks better but offers better ventilation and sweat management as well as reducing the wind noise of the original.
Met Strale Helmet £79.99
Met's Strale helmet strikes a balance between aerodynamics, cooling and comfort that makes you wonder whether you really need to spend any more on a polystyrene lid.
Oxford Raven helmet £39.99
If you asked me how much I'd be prepared to pay for a comfortable, well-ventilated helmet, with a good dial retention system and modern construction techniques, that weighs about 250g, I'd probably say that was about sixty quid's worth of hat or more. So the fact that the Oxford Raven is just £39.99 makes it a bargain if the performance lives up to the spec on paper. Which it does.
Bell Zephyr Mips helmet £199.99
The Bell Zephyr MIPS helmet might be one of the more expensive options out there but it's well ventilated, fairly low profile, and it boasts an excellent new MIPS-integrated fit system.
Moon Meteor-X Auto Pro £39.99
The Moon Meteor-X Pro is a brilliant light that packs way more punch than its price tag would suggest. It's easily capable of acting as a primary light for night commuting and the day flash is perfect for an anytime blinker.
Exposure Joystick MK12 £159.95
The Exposure Joystick MK12 is an excellent option for both day and nighttime riding, on and off-road. It's not cheap, but as with all Exposure products, you definitely get what you pay for.
NiteRider Lumina OLED 1100 Boost £140
If a single button operation with a multi-tiered light has ever confused and frustrated you (it has me on occasion), then Niterider might have the solution for you: an OLED screen that displays battery life and mode setting, while offering a slightly more intuitive three-button interface to select a mode.
Ravemen PR1200 USB Rechargeable DuaLens Front Light £99.99
I never thought I'd find a worthy replacement for my fantastic Cateye Volt 1200, which has given me three years of near-faultless service. But crikey, this Ravemen PR1200 is a cracking bit of kit. It would be getting a perfect 10 if the mount was a bit better and the display told you the charge state when you're using the USB port to charge stuff. But apart from that, full marks.
Exposure TraceR DayBright £39.95
We tested the Exposure TraceR's fancier stablemate and really rated it, and the TraceR MK1 DayBright is a slightly simpler version that's every bit as good but more affordable.
Exposure Blaze Mk2 ReAKT £109.96
The Exposure Blaze Mk2 ReAKT is certainly expensive as rear lights go, but it's bright and durable with a very good run-time, and it varies in intensity according to how and where you're riding.
Moon Alcor rear light £15.99
Here's a great little rear light that you will find very useful. The Moon Alcor is simple, bright and has a nifty magnetic mount. It's a great price too, and overall definitely a light to consider if you want an all-rounder for improved visibility and simple functions.
Brightside Bright, Amber and Sideways £29.99
Brightside's Bright, Amber and Sideways is a well-built double-ended side light at a good price that attaches easily to your frame, and gives you an extra dimension of visibility to other road users approaching you from the side. Bright 15-lumen Cree LEDs at each end attract attention.
Beto CJA-001S Tubeless Air Tank Inflator £49.99
The Beto CJA-001S Tubeless Air Tank Inflator is a workshop-quality tubeless air tank with well-thought-out features and excellent performance. It should last you a lifetime of tubeless setup, road or mountain. As tubeless becomes a feature of many road as well as mountain bikes, the need to seat and inflate tyres without resorting to a bike shop trip will become more and more common. For the price of an average track pump the Beto Tubeless Air Tank gives you the ability to DIY with workshop-grade speed and quality.
Rock'n'Roll Cable Magic £5.95
Changing or even cleaning cables is a job many people fear or just be bothered to do, but you are happy stripping them out then this little bottle of Rock'n'Roll Cable Magic could be well worth investing in. For riders that do look after their own cables, Rock'n'Roll Cable Magic is definitely recommended.
Smoove Universal Chain Lube £13.99
When a company claims to make 'probably the hardest-wearing wax-based chain lube on the market,' which 'allows you to ride hundreds of miles between applications,' I'd expect to see some results. Well, I did. I tried the Smoove Universal Chain Lube, and it's true.
Pedros Syn Lube £8.99
Without employing hyper-accurate testing machinery and regimes, it is of course highly anecdotal, but based on eyeballs and ears, Pedro's Syn Lube keeps things clean and quiet for a long time riding in poor conditions.
Silca T-Ratchet Kit + Ti-Torque Kit £100
The Silca T-Ratchet and Ti-Torque kit is a beautifully made, superlight, and multi-functional set of tools, made to the highest quality. The Australian brand is renowned for making tools of the highest quality, with expertly finished components that are aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing. The type of things you might give as a gift, or treat yourself to, and keep in the cleanest part of your workspace, far away from the greasy rags and lubes that perform the grunt work on your drivetrain. The T-Ratchet and Ti-Torque kit very much continues this trend.
Feedback Sports Ride Prep Tool Kit £149.99
The Feedback Sports Ride Prep Tool Kit is a comprehensive set for modern bikes. It includes tools to cover both disc and rim brakes, a very solid chain tool, and brilliant tyre levers for when your thumbs just aren't enough. A chain-whip and lockring tool would have rounded this set out for me.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.