Another year and another boatload of new products have passed through the road.cc office to be reviewed by our experienced team of testers.
In this article we’ve picked some of the standout products from all the reviews that scored 9 and above so when you’re in the market for an upgrade you know these products come with a big thumbs up from road.cc.
There’s everything from wheels to saddles, bar tape to groupsets, and all your key upgrade components. Start your scrolling to see the best kit we reviewed in the past year.
The latest build of the Wahoo Kickr is the best yet, and it's not like it was awful before. It's smoother and quieter, and a brilliant bit of kit if you're serious about indoor training. Which you'll need to be if you're thinking of forking out a grand.
The ride experience of the Kickr, overall, is excellent. When it's in ERG mode it does a great job of keeping your power steady, and when you're heading up and down the hills on Zwift it's quick to respond and the large flywheel means the changes in resistance are nice and progressive. Overall, the Kickr is excellent.
The Tacx Neo 2 is an expensive bit of kit, but for me, it's the benchmark indoor trainer right now. You get repeatable power, a solid platform with a bit of movement for a more realistic feel, good cadence sensing, road feel, a responsive ERG mode and the option to run independently of mains power. The pedal stroke analysis feels like a work in progress but everything else is on the money.
One of the Neo 2's unique selling points is its ability to recreate road conditions. The motor and electronics within the trainer allow the software to control what the trainer is doing 1,000 times a second, and by sending different signals to the motor Tacx can recreate the sensations of riding over different surfaces.
The Neo 2 is capable of producing 2,200W of resistance and simulating a 25% gradient. Those headline figures are a rung above the competition. Unless you have legs like tree trunks you're never going to trouble the limits of the trainer. For the range of power that we mortals are likely to use, the numbers are spot on.
The Sigma Rox 12.0 Sport Set GPS is an impressive bundle, including an easy to use head unit with fast mapping plus the addition of cadence, speed and heart rate monitors. Maps are included and you get all the possible connectivity you could need.
For many years Garmin had the lion's share of the GPS market, but recently we've seen other brands such as Wahoo, Lezyne, Hammerhead and others nibbling away at its dominance. Sigma needs to be added to list now too.
The best way to make any missing item of small bike equipment reappear is to replace it, so if you can't find the heart rate strap that came with your ANT+ or Bluetooth-compatible bike computer or watch, the Kalenji Dual heart rate strap from multi-sport superstore chain Decathlon is a relatively inexpensive way to conjure it up. It's also a comfortable unit that worked well with all the devices I tried.
GoPro's Hero7 Black sets a new standard for in-camera stabilisation, and the quality of the footage is excellent too. I didn't really have the camera long enough to get to the bottom of everything it can do, but the headline features – great quality footage and best-in-class stabilisation – are easy enough on their own to recommend it, provided you can stomach the top-end price tag.
DJI's Osmo Action is one of the top-dollar action cameras in the market and it performs well, with excellent footage, great stabilisation and lots of features. It's up there with the GoPro Hero7 Black at the top of the pile. Which of the two will suit you better will mostly depend on which features are most important to you. The Hero7 has slightly better stabilisation, the Osmo gets a front screen. In terms of video performance, they're very similar.
Tifosi's Swick sunglasses are technical enough that they work well on the bike, but not so bike-specific that they look odd off it. They're a good choice if you want a pair of sunglasses for mixed-use.
With little to no fogging, good eye coverage and an unobstructed field of vision, Rockrider's XC Race Photochromatic mountain bike glasses deliver a strong performance for their low price. The light-sensitive tinting works well too, which is good – it saves you using the flimsy lens-swapping mechanism.
Oakley's Radar EV Path glasses offer a secure, comfortable fit, excellent optics and plenty of style, all of which helps to explain their immense popularity.
The Giant Recon HL1600 is an excellent value headlight and packs some smart thinking alongside its super bright output. It's not perfect, but it's pretty damn good.
Exposure's MK13 version of its Joystick is as good as last year's MK12... in fact, it's as-near-as-makes-no-difference the same unit, aside from a slight weight increase that indicates a focus on improving build quality this time around.
ETC is cycle distributor Moore Large's brand of lighting and, if this Kochab model is anything to go by, the company could be onto a winner. It's simple, straightforward, nicely made and does the job superbly. At 1,000 lumens, there's more than enough power for every type of night-time road ride as well as being a fairly effective 'always-on' daytime running light.
If you're in the market for a track pump it's pretty hard to see beyond the Topeak Joe Blow Sport, particularly if value for money is also a big part of the buying equation. The Joe Blow Sport gives you everything you need in one well put together (and serviceable) package at a wallet-friendly price too.
Pro Bike Tool's Torque Wrench Set is easy to use with good quality bits, an extensive torque range and a handy ratchet system that makes torquing bolts easy and accurate. The price is really good, especially given the quality of construction. Highly recommended for the avid home mechanic.
Made in the UK, biodegradable and environmentally friendly, this excellent bike wash from Weldtite is an effective choice for cleaning your bike.
Safe on paintwork, carbon and so on, it leaves little to no residue when washed off (it does streak if used neat and not washed off). It even smells nice and isn’t too harsh on your skin if you use it neat either.
Fenwick's Professional Protective Coating is designed to provide a long-lasting, protective lacquer to all surfaces. Unlike most wax products, it seems genuinely invisible and therefore compatible with matt, satin and gloss finishes. Thus far, a little seems to go a long way and is performing very well
The Hiplok Spin is a fairly substantial-feeling chain lock that has the benefits of being both wearable and keyless (so won't be rendered useless in the event of a lost key) – although you will need to remember your four-digit combination, of course. Hiplok advertises it as 'medium security' and, while it is not Sold Secure certified, I was confident it provides enough of a deterrent to use it to lock a decent bike up for a few hours during daylight hours. It has 6mm hardened steel links and the lock barrel is protected by an outer case, another feature to help put off opportunist thieves.
Castelli's Undersaddle Mini is a sleek saddle bag that's big enough to hold the essentials. The water-resistant material is strong and shuts out water very effectively. I found it to be secure and easy to access when needed.
The Asgard Access E Plus Bike Storage is secure, strong and easy to assemble, ideal for e-bikes and regular bikes.
The Access E Plus Bike Storage is, as the name suggests, designed for e-bikes, from 'E-Bikes that have been designed for the road, to the larger Fat Wheel Electric Mountain Bikes'. This means there is tons of space – for instance, after I had put four road bikes in I could also fit all my tools, pumps and a lawnmower in! If you're not limited by space in your garden/backyard it makes sense as you can store other items in there securely too.
With some subtle tweaks to the classic Bones design, the new Saris Bones EX offers all the practicality of previous models but now fits even more vehicles, including those with rear spoilers. Add some upgrades, particularly to the bike tie-downs, and you've got one of the best three-bike rear-mounted cycle carriers on the market.
Alpkit is always a good stop for reasonably priced, well made and smartly designed outdoor kit and this Airo 180 sleep mat is no exception. Small and light enough for bikepacking, it made overnight bike adventures that little more comfortable.
The Airo is a full-length mat that's lightweight and compact when rolled. Built from an open-cell foam that expands when you unroll the mat, it's then topped up with the valve to your desired pressure.
BTR's Deluxe Rack Pannier Bike Bag with Shoulder Strap is ridiculously easy to put on and take off. There is plenty of space inside, which is all easily accessible, and the shoulder strap makes it easy to carry around off the bike. The best bit? It costs less than £25.
While trunk bags might be seen as rather old-school, there's no denying that BTR has something that plenty of hardened commuters, audax-riders and day-trippers will rave about. It mounts easily, there is a wide slot to clip a light to the rear of the bag, a reflective band and the bag is easily taken off and slung over the shoulder with the supplied strap.
Totally waterproof, sturdy, easy to fit and looks good, the Rapha Waterproof Frame Pack is a solid, if expensive, choice if you want to embark on some bikepacking adventures this year.
The Rapha Waterproof Frame Pack is very well made, as we’ve become accustomed to from Rapha products over the years. The pack has been constructed from a polyurethane-coated ripstop polyester fabric with welded seams and waterproof zips to ensure it lives up to its name.
If you need to carry food or essentials on your bike without resorting to large frame or seatpacks then the OrNot Bar Bag is a useful size if you want to be able to carry what you need, with a solid design that is stable over the roughest ground.
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.