The Perfect Kit: Road Biking

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

There’s no better time than the present to turn to the trusty two-wheeled machine for exercise and peace. 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 road biking.

What To Wear Cycling

Shimano RC3 Road Cycling Shoes (Women’s & Men’s)

Shimano focused on creating a superior-fitting road shoe with the RC3. With an integrated midsole and upper that is essentially one piece, it’s a slipper-like fit for roadies. The breathable, synthetic upper wraps around your foot while the Boa lacing system makes on-the-fly tightening easy. The shoes are just as efficient as they are comfortable, thanks to the glass-fiber-reinforced sole, which has a slim stack height. The women’s version has a female-specific that dials in the fit. $125

Rapha Core Cycling Bib Shorts (Women’s & Men’s)

There’s nothing overtly fancy about the Core bib shorts. But Rapha’s attention to detail creates next-level comfort. The base material, a mix of polyamide and elastane, creates a super stretchy layer that comfortably fits different body types. Grippy seams around the legs keep the bib in place while strategically placed flatlock seams reduce chafing. The dense black fabric isn’t transparent like some bike shorts, so you don’t have to worry about showing too much. But the star of the show is Rapha’s patented chamois, which is specifically designed to reduce pressure on the sit bones during long days in the saddle. $130

blue cycling shorts

PEARL iZUMi Expedition Bike Shorts – Men’s

Your shorts can make or break a road ride, which is why the Expedition is a smart choice for road and other adventures. The moisture-wicking fabric is highly breathable and virtually seam-free for ultimate comfort, and it’s given BioViz reflective elements for low-light visibility. Leg openings stay put with silicone-printed grippers to keep you comfortable on all terrain. $105

Terry Touring Bike Shorts (Women’s S-XL & Women’s 1X-3X)

The Touring bike shorts are built for long summer rides. Stave off heat and humidity with a nylon/poly/spandex outer that moves moisture and dries fast and Flex Air Tour chamois that’s perforated to promote ventilation where you need it most. The waistband is extra wide and elastic-free at the front for a more flattering cut that also helps prevent pinching when you’re in the saddle. A phone, cash and cards stash conveniently in the zippered side pocket. The Touring shorts range in size from S to XL; a similar version is available from XL to 3XL. From $119  

Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey (Women’s & Men’s)

The Rapha Core Lightweight Jersey is two jerseys in one: The front panel is made from a lightweight mesh material to help boost airflow; the shoulders and back are made from a denser material that’s rated UPF 40 for ultimate sun protection. The dual construction means you get the protection from the elements you need and the breathability you want. A full-zip front allows you to add “air-conditioning” on hot climbs, and three back pockets offer plenty of storage for tools and goodies. $90

Showers Pass Syncline CC Cycling Jacket (Women’s & Men’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 are as versatile as this—or at this price. $145

PEARL iZUMi Elite Gel Cycling Gloves (Women’s & Men’s)

Gloves are easy to overlook, but the connection point between your hand and your bars is key, especially on long rides where fatigue can set in. The Elite is built to maximize comfort and feel with an Ax Suede synthetic leather palm that stretches and breathes. A series of 3D-shaped gel pads help reduce pressure points, while mesh backing and a fingerless design promote airflow on hot days. $38

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 a vertical or landscape view. $22.50

Knog Plug Front and Rear Bike Light Twinpack

Lights are an essential part of bike safety because they help drivers see you better. Knog’s Plug is an affordable twin pack of lights consisting of a front torch with 250 lumens (bright enough to get you home at the tail end of long rides) and a rear 10-lumen red light. The lights are easy to attach, thanks to the multiple silicone band options included in the kit. And they’re micro-USB rechargeable so you can plug them in at home or the office for a quick charge. $49.95

REI Co-op Cycle Essentials Accessory Bundle

Don’t get caught unprepared. Find everything you need to fix a flat or tweak your saddle; the bundle wraps around a spare tube (not included) in a compact package. Attach it to your saddle rails—or toss it into your bike bag. $44.95

Learn More About Road Cycling

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

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