The Perfect Kit: Road Biking

Start spinning with our favorite bikes, shoes, apparel and more for road cycling.


8 votes so far

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There’s no better time than the present to turn to the trusty two-wheeled machine for exercise and peace. And though many parks, forests and trailheads remain temporarily closed, the roads are wide-open. (True, there’s also less traffic.)

Whether you’re assembling your first road-cycling kit or simply upgrading a piece of it, find what you need here. We’ve gathered everything you need to make the most of the road biking that exists right outside your door.


What To Wear Cycling

Shimano RP4 Bike Shoes

Shimano RP4 Bike Shoes (Men’sWomen’s)

Road cycling shoes aren’t known for being particularly comfortable, but Shimano’s synthetic leather RP4 feels broken in out of the box. The three-part buckle system helps eliminate hot spots and the wide heel pad gives you a little more stability than a standard road shoe if you’re stopping by a coffee shop for a mid-ride espresso. $130

Bontrager Circuit Bike Shorts

Bontrager Circuit Bike Shorts – Men’s

You don’t need graduated compression and wide, clean-cut leg grippers—but once you experience the comfort of such features, it’s hard to go back to shorts without them. You get all of that, plus reflective elements, in the Bontrager Circuit, which sports a plush, dual-density chamois to boot. $100

Terry Hi-Rise Holster Bike Shorts

Terry Hi-Rise Holster Bike Shorts – Women’s

Hey, remember those features we were talking about? This offering from Terry comes with all the goods in a women’s style: compression, wide leg grippers, a Flex-Air chamois and a high waist. The Hi-Rise Holster also has deep, mesh hip pockets, which can easily swallow a smartphone. $124.95

Bontrager Anara Bike Jersey

Bontrager Anara Bike Jersey – Women’s & Bontrager Circuit LTD Bike Jersey – Men’s

For road biking, any breathable, moisture-wicking jersey will do, so beyond that, it’s all about thoughtful touches. That’s why we like the Bontrager Anara (the men’s version is called the Circuit LTD). It has five pockets, including an easy-access one on the left hip and a zippered one with audio routing, plus a drop-tail hem for full coverage when you’re in a cycling position. $100

Showers Pass Syncline CC Cycling Jacket (Men’sWomen’s)

Get bang for your buck with the Showers Pass Syncline CC, a rain jacket that’s as suited to road rides as day hikes. The lightweight shell features reflective trim, a drop-tail hem and a hood that easily fits under a helmet without bunching, but it’s durable enough for the trail (and doesn’t scream cyclist). There are lighter options out there, but none as versatile as this—or at this price. $135

Bontrager Anara Bike Gloves

Bontrager Anara Bike Gloves – Women’s & Bontrager Circuit Bike Gloves – Men’s

Long rides can leave your hands worked, especially if you’re riding gravel or rough roads. Bontrager’s combination of gel and memory-foam padding helps eliminate pressure points in your hands, while the faux leather palm provides a solid connection with the handlebar. $40

Nite Ize Wraptor Rotating Smartphone Bar Mount

Nite Ize Wraptor Rotating Smartphone Bar Mount

Keep your phone handy for Strava, maps or conference calls with the Nite Ize Wraptor, which holds standard smartphones (with or without cases). The doodad attaches to most handlebar sizes, providing you with full access to the screen. It even rotates so you can have vertical or landscape view. $20

NiteRider Lumina Micro 650 Front Sabre 80 Rear Bike Light Set

NiteRider Lumina Micro 650 Front / Sabre 80 Rear Bike Light Set

Having proper lighting is one of the top safety priorities for cyclists. This combo from NiteRider gives you a whopping 650 lumens in the front and 80 red lumens in the rear (to keep you visible). The lights are USB-rechargeable and water resistant. Nice touch: They have a lock mode, so the lights won’t accidentally run while your bike is parked. $80

Topeak Deluxe Accessory Kit

Topeak Deluxe Accessory Kit

Don’t get caught unprepared. This kit from Topeak has everything you need to fix a flat, loose handlebar or other common roadside issues inside a small pouch that easily attaches to the rear of your seat. $49.95

OTTO DesignWorks OTTOLOCK Hexband Cinch Lock - 30 in.

OTTO DesignWorks OTTOLOCK Hexband Cinch Lock – 30 in.

The Hexband isn’t a foolproof lock (give a determined thief enough time and they’ll bypass anything), but it should do the trick if you’re looking for protection during short stops. The stainless-steel band from OTTO DesignWorks is light (just 250 grams) and mounts easily to your seat post, so you can keep it on your bike and always be prepared for impromptu grocery runs or grabbing takeout. For added security, OTTO recommends using the Hexband with a redundant U-lock. $69

Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra

Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra

Looking to level up your road bike? Consider the Synapse, which has a drool-worthy mix of BallisTec carbon tubing and Ultegra components. The race-inspired bike is around 19 pounds, depending on size—plenty light if you’re looking to shave time off your regular routes (or add some KOMs to your Strava profile). But this speedster from Cannondale is also comfortable enough to handle an all-day ride thanks to the endurance-race geometry that allows you to sit more upright than a traditional race bike. $3,300

Salsa Journeyman Apex 1 700

Salsa Journeyman Apex 1 700

Less traffic, more adventure: That’s allure of riding gravel, and the Salsa Journeyman can handle the chunkiest roads while still serving as your daily roadster, giving you all-road capability at an entry-level price. A 1×11 drivetrain keeps things simple while still giving you the gears you need for steep climbs, and if you have dreams of bikepacking (or bringing home the groceries), you’re in luck: It’s ready for fenders, racks and bags. $1,499


Learn More About Road Cycling


Interested in more staff picks and kits? Find more collections here.

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