The Best Bike Accessories of 2023: Staff Picks

Accessorize your ride. Here are staff favorites to keep you riding smoothly.

Lindsay Warner|Updated December 11, 2023

Gloved hand holding a palm-sized bike multi-tool

It's hard to improve on the basic joy of riding a bike: wind in your hair, freedom of the road, and the satisfaction of human-powered movement. But there are a few bike accessories that can make a good ride even better, from the tools you need to get you out of the garage to the on-the-go accessories that keep you hydrated and help prevent thieves from lifting your trusty steed. Read on for our top picks.

Staff Picks

Find quick recommendations for accessorizing your ride below or scroll down for in-depth reviews.

Get used to riding buddies asking to borrow your crankbrothers F19 Multi-Tool, because this sleek little gadget has just about everything you need to earn a reputation as the mid-ride fix-it hero. The pocket-size companion comes with hex wrenches ranging from size 2 to 8, four screwdrivers, a Torx T10 and T25, four sizes of spoke wrenches and a chain tool—all wrapped up in in a slim magnetic sleeve that doubles as a handle extension. You may even find yourself reaching for the F19 for quick fixes at home, too. "Good compromise between space, and having the right tool. Great for on the road but utilize full size tools when at home," wrote one customer reviewer. Buy here.

A GPS bike computer gives you the freedom to explore without worrying that a wrong turn will lead to an unplanned all-day adventure. So, whether you like to navigate on the fly or prefer plotting out turn-by-turn directions, the Wahoo Fitness ELEMNT ROAM GPS Cycling Computer will help guide you home. A high-contrast color display and 2.7-inch screen make it easy to page through≠ all your vital stats like speed, distance, lap time, heart rate, elevation and more. And it's compatible with several smart trainers and many data-tracking apps, too, including mountain bike trail integrations. "The user interface on the phone app is intuitive, easy to use and just works really well," says Kevin Lau, a retail specialist at the REI store in Marlton, New Jersey. With 17 hours of battery life tucked into one easy-to-use device, you may find this bike computer a highly capable stand-in for your map-savvy riding buddy—except the ROAM won't share its snacks with you, no matter how nicely you ask. Buy here.

If you prefer the all-in-one convenience of having both maps and apps at your fingertips, the Squeeze Rotating Smartphone Bar Mount from Nite Ize is a secure way to mount your phone out front for on-the-go communication. A sturdy rubber strap attaches to your bike handlebars (or to jogging strollers, wheelchairs or even grocery carts) quickly and easily, while continuous-force springs actuated by "squeeze arms" securely hold your phone in either landscape or portrait mode. "It's easy to pop your phone into the mount," says Lau, the REI retail specialist. "It works really well and is great for commuters." We like this mount because it holds gadgets from 2.3 to 3.6 inches wide (which includes most phones), though some users reported experiencing trouble fitting phones with thicker cases. The tool-free mount system is sturdy enough to handle even bumpy off-road rides and the exploits of curb-hoppers. Buy here.

A longtime customer favorite, Bontrager's best-selling Bat Cage Water Bottle Cage is back—and better than before, as it's now made from recycled ocean plastics. Each year, about 8 million metric tons of plastic makes its way to the ocean, polluting beaches and bodies of water worldwide. A significant part of that plastic waste is fishing nets. Bontrager partners with Bureo, which collects end-of-life ocean fishing nets in Chile and recycles them into plastic pellets. The pellets are used by a number of outdoor gear companies, including Bontrager, which turns them into the Bat Cage. The result: a lightweight, durable bottle cage that holds your drink securely and cuts down on plastic waste. "Perfect," says one customer reviewer, who bought the Bat Cage to replace a metal holder that was too large. "This one is pliable and hugs the bottle, keeping it rattle-free and snug." Buy here.

Flats happen—to everyone, eventually—but having a mini pump and a spare tube on you can be the difference between a short delay and game over. That said, hand pumps are finicky. The Tattico Mini Pump from Silca fixes many common mini pump gripes (It's too big to carry! It doesn't pump enough air! Help! I just sheared off my valve stem!) with a super-compact inverted design with the hose and valve hidden inside an inner chamber. That means you get up to 10% more air per pump, reducing the time it takes to get you back on the road.

Adjustable rubber cup seals expand to reduce leaks as the pump heats up from use, while the lever-actuated chuck (with Presta, Schrader or Dunlop valves) is attached via flexible hose, so you won't accidentally decapitate your valve stem with a too-vigorous pump. Sweaty-palmed users love the knurled aluminum barrel for extra grip, and the compact size (and included frame mount) means you'll be the one on the group ride boasting, "Mini pump? Oh, you know I got that thing on me!" the next time someone gets a flat. Buy here.

You won't get very far with underinflated tires, and since you should ideally check your tire pressure before every ride, a floor pump is an essential tool for your kit. If you're simply looking to get out the door as quickly as possible, the JoeBlow Sport III from Topeak is a real workhorse, with an easy-to-read pressure gauge and a double-headed pump head that fits Presta, Schrader and Dunlop valves. It's "the tried-and-true pump that does everything you'd want," says Aaron Potvin, REI's assistant category merchandiser for cycle accessories. Buy here.

If, however, you're looking for a floor pump that's a joy to use and looks good enough to store in your living room, the Pista Plus Floor Pump from Silca blows away the competition. The lathe-turned ash handle feels sturdy and luxurious underhand, while the Italian leather cup seal and full metal piston assembly pumps air with great efficiency—perhaps a little too efficiently, given the pleasure you'll derive from using this pump. Bonus: It looks so sleek there's a good chance you'll be able to pass the Silca down to your grandkids, so take that into consideration when comparing price tags. Buy here.

Don't skip buying a lock just because your budget is tight. While locks under $100 won't offer the same security as their more expensive cousins, you can still get one, like the Sold Secure Silver-rated Kryptonite Evolution Lite Mini-6 U-lock, that's suitable for short stops and lower-theft environments.

"There's an old saying when it comes to bike locks," says REI employee Jeff Schmidt. "High security, light weight, low price—pick two." Striking a balance between these three incompatible ideals, the Mini-6 weighs a surprisingly light 1 pound, 9.5 ounces while still earning a "high security" rating of 7 out of 10 on Kryptonite's scale. Such a lock might not last long in New York, but it's a great option for longer stops in other metropolitan areas and suburbs where thefts tend to be less frequent.

To keep the weight down without entirely sacrificing strength, the Mini-6 uses an 11-millimeter-thick shackle made from the same hardened steel used in the brawny New York 1210 chain lock. Plus, the bent-foot, double-bolting mechanism holds the shackle on both ends while still featuring the familiar, easy-to-use angled closure of other Kryptonite U-locks.

Another reason this lock is so light is that it's small, measuring just 6 inches by 2.75 inches. While this could make securing your bike a challenge if you can't find a suitable bike rack, there's not much room for a thief's leverage tool to work. And a smaller, lighter lock is easier to carry, so there's no reason not to toss the Evolution Lite Mini-6 in your bag.

If you're committed to getting out there on two wheels no matter the weather—or just have a knack for getting caught in the rain—a set of fenders can really save your rear, as well as the face of the rider behind you. A set of Full Metal Fenders from Portland Design Works provides coverage to help keep both you and your bike cleaner and drier. One REI staffer uses his set on a gravel bike in winter, and raves that they're easy to install, stay in position and "will hold up in nasty conditions." Best suited for gravel and road bikes with tires up to 35 millimeters wide, the fenders' full-wrap design and extra-long rubber mud flaps shed muck effortlessly, while safety release tabs mean that built-up debris between the tire and the fender won't bring you to a screeching halt. The installation is straightforward, and the kit includes the hardware you need to mount these to most frames. Buy here.

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Bike Accessories Buying Advice

Many buying decisions in the bike world boil down to simple math: Is it worth the weight? A similar concept applies when considering what accessories you might want to trick out your ride, but the proper equation to run here is: What's the enjoyment-to-weight ratio?The same concept comes into play when considering the accessories you might want to trick out your ride: What's the enjoyment-to-weight ratio? For some riders, only the basics make the cut, like the essentials you need to fix a flat tire. Other riders don't mind extra weight if it makes the ride more comfortable, enjoyable or otherwise just subjectively better. We think all the above make the cut.

Most of our picks address the needs of all riders, whether you're a diehard mountain biker, a dedicated gravel grinder, or an urban commuter. As noted above, every rider flats eventually, and everyone needs a multi-tool, water bottle cage and floor pump. That said, you may find that full fenders are overkill on a road bike, or that you're fine tucking your phone into a pocket while riding. You do you.

Our Process

We asked REI Co-op Members and staff to share their favorite bike accessories. These are their top picks—and heartfelt opinions.

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