19 pieces of near-indestructible road kit

Our community reveal their best long-term buys to date

Many members of the BikeRadar forum community ride miles and miles (or km upon km, if you prefer metric accuracy over traditional idiom). Just like us staffers, they love their bikes and kit.


Rather than just having us blather on about the bits of kit that we love the most and use day in-day out, we thought we’d ask the community about their fave componentry, bikes and more.

Here are the items that have impressed our readers after many, many hours in the saddle. Think they’re right? Disagree? Why not join in the debate by heading here and adding your opinion?

1. “Assos 851 jacket… awesome, sadly they no longer make it; Campagnolo Veloce nine-speed group set… low to mid range, but incredible quality and very very durable” – from Ugo Santalucia.

2. “The Trek OCLV frame: I think it’s fair to say that it showed the way for carbon frames when ridden by USPS and the like. I bought one in 1999 so have ridden it for 16 years. Few crashes, original fork de-bonded, but the frame goes on” – from crikey.

3. “I’d second the Assos 851 jacket. I’ve had it about 10 years and despite having a bit of a jacket addiction, it’s still my favourite winter jacket even if I do look like an extra from Star Trek in it” – from SRC1.

4. “+1 on the Assos 851, Look 595 frame and Campagnolo Carbon Ultra Torque chainsets. Love the Look frame, mine is getting on a bit now and I keep getting an itch for something different but can’t think how it would be bettered” – from bjl.

5. “Gore Bike Wear Phantom 2 Windstopper Jacket with its removable arms – use it for my commute, best bit of cycling kit I’ve ever bought” – from OL9.

The Dork Knight has nominated this 1998 Castelli jersey
The dork knight has nominated this 1998 castelli jersey:
Dork Knight/Immediate Media

The Dork Knight has nominated his 1998 Castelli jersey

6. “Louis Garneau Tri-Lite shoes. Easily the best shoes I’ve ever worn and have proven more comfortable, versatile and durable than Specialized, Northwave and Fizik. They’ve served me through around 20,000km of commuting, crits, 25 mile TTs, 10 mile TTs, two trips to Flanders and two years of club runs and training rides.

“I’ll be heartbroken when they finally give up the ghost and I am currently scouring the internet looking for another pair. May give the Tri X-lites a try” – from hstiles.

7. “One of the first Rapha Belgian style winter hats. Made in Italy. Has become an old friend over many years and rides, to the extent that heading out in the recent warmer weather without it felt strange. A couple of bobbles on the inside but otherwise good for a few years yet” – from Monty Zoncolan.

8. “I’ve been amazed by Dura-Ace 7801 series (I think that’s the reference), which came with my Spesh Roubaix Pro of 2006 vintage. I’ve used the bike every day when possible for my daily commute in central London. So lots of stopping and starting for lights and traffic and loads and loads of gear changes. I’ve just this month retired the wheels due to rim wear but the hubs remain fab; the DA ergos continue to work after all this time. Oh and a mention for the frame – not the best fit for me but it still seems to be tip top condition.

“Love my Assos 851 Airjack, albeit I have taken a shining this winter to the Castelli Alpha jacket. Will reconsider next winter! Assos f5.13 bib shorts have been ace too – perfect fit for me.

“I think though, that my all time favourites are my Oakley Jawbone prescription transition lensed glasses. They absolutely transformed my enjoyment of cycling providing a superb view; protection from the sun; and great protection from the breeze, particularly in icy winter winds” – from northpole.

9. “Campag original Athena cartridge bottom bracket from late 1990s still running smoothly on my tourer. Campag Euclid cantilever brakes from late 80s still working fine on my tourer. Campag Veloce nine-speed ergo levers from around 2000, again still working fine on tourer. Contrast with Shimano RSX STI seven-speed shifters and Dura-Ace nine-speed bar end levers on which indexing broke and were unrepairable. Assos 851 jacket (the original type with windproof panels in black) which I guess I bought around 2000” – from Mercia Man.

10. “Rapha Essentials case. I picked one up for about £10 at a sample sale (the Paul Smith purple one) and it has been everywhere with me and I wouldn’t do without it. Bloody ace. Lezyne road drive pump. Puts air in tyres. Good kit. Cycle caps – no brand in particular. Keep water off your glasses, sweat off the helmet pads and cheap as chips. Love ’em” – from mroli.

11. “A wee mention for Schwalbe Durano. Easily fit for 8000 miles and do everything really well” – from MisterMuncher.

12. “+1 on the Look, my Look 585 is the best ever. It’s used as a race bike, tourer, winter hack, turbo steed… can’t see me ever replacing it– from mamba80.

13. “Gore contest fingerless gloves. Bought them in 2011, hundreds of hours on the bars yet the palms are still fine” – from pastryboy.

14. “I have a pair of Gore long fingered gloves that are 17 years old and are still serviceable. I took them back to the shop after 15 years to complain that they had a hole in one finger ( in a humorous way…) and got told by the shop owner to ‘bugger off and stop being silly’…” – from crikey.

Specialized helmet highly recommended by forum member crikey: specialized helmet highly recommended by forum member crikey

Specialized helmet highly recommended by forum member Crikey

15.”…aaaaaand a Specialized Sub Six helmet from about 1991. Lighter, more aero and much better looking than most modern helmets” – from crikey.

16. “A Castelli jacket purchased in about 1998” – from Dork Knight.

17. “Four years’ all year use from an Icebreaker merino base layer, and don’t see any need to replace it for some time… does that count?” – from deswahriff.

18. “Not strictly cycling gear, but the classic has to be the Helly Hansen base layer. Turn up at any fell race and you’ll see the old timers modelling examples that are clearly decades old” – from MrB123.


19. “I have the predecessor to the 851 (called Airjack) and it’s easily the best bit of kit I have. Immaculate condition except for a small nick where I had an off and fell on my keys. Super comfy, perfect race fit, lots of pocket space, excellent temp range” – from coriordan.