Here at BikeRadar, we all have our favourite bike-related bits and pieces — the kit that’s first out of the drawer, fitted to a new bike or is with us wherever we may ride. This week it’s the turn of staff writer Ed Thomsett to spill the beans on his choice of most-loved gear.
Troy Lee Designs A1 helmetEd Thomsett / Immediate Media
£110 / $139 / AU$230
I’ve got a stack of trail lids on the shelf at home, but it’s my much-used Troy Lee A1, which I bought back in 2013, that’s still my go-to.
The reason I like this helmet so much is that it just feels much more solid than anything else I’ve tried. The fit is bang on, it never moves around or rattles loose when I’m riding and it offers excellent coverage for an open face.
Sure, it can get sweaty on hot days, but I’m happy to put up with that for the extra confidence it gives me.
The old lid has seen better days now — it’s very scuffed, the paint is chipping off the peak and the liner is hanging apart — but since I don’t think Troy Lee is going to custom-paint me a new lid anytime soon, I’m just gonna keep using this one!
Nukeproof Horizon Pro Sam Hill pedalsEd Thomsett / Immediate Media
I’m really particular about the contact points on my bike and, as a flat-pedal rider, nothing ruins a ride more quickly than having bad pedals. However, since I got my feet on a pair of these, I’m yet to find anything that compares and I fit them to nearly every test bike I ride.
The platform is well sized and the 10 big replaceable pins protruding from each side are aggressively grippy (as my shins can vouch for). After a year or so of being hit into rocks and blasted with pressured washers, the Horizons aren’t in their best shape, with a few pins missing and plenty of battle scars, but I reckon with a new set of bearings and they’ve easily got another year in them.
If they’re good enough for Sambo, they’re good enough for me.
Saddle choice is a personal thing and I prefer a fairly flat shape. I bought this saddle about five years ago and since then it’s been transferred to nearly every bike I’ve owned, plus it’s been sat on solidly for a full-summer roadtripping around Canada.
There’s nothing particularly fancy or lightweight about the cro-mo railed Comp model, but it does the trick. It’s slim, but padded enough for big days out. Meanwhile, the wide nose is good for climbing and the central cut-out keeps me comfy.
It’s been crashed on a fair bit too and although the side protection panels are peeling off a bit, it’s still looking good.
Race Face SixC 35mm bar and Atlas DM 35mm stemEd Thomsett / Immediate Media
Bar £125, Stem £85 / Bar $170, Stem $100 / Bar AU$199, Stem AU$139
As I’ve already mentioned, I’m picky about contact points and that includes handlebars, but I find the 8-degree rearward and 5-degree upward sweep of these RaceFace’s bars to be just right.
I like the small amount of flex that a carbon bar gives, so I’ve opted for the SixC model in a fairly middle-of-the-road 20mm rise. Cut down to 790mm, they’ve been my bar of choice for the last few years.
There’s not much to say about the stem. It holds the bars tight without needing to over torque (like some other popular direct-mount stems I’ve tried). It’s lightweight and looks cool with its minimal design and the subtle Whistler contour-map graphics.
I’m not a fan of low-profile tyres or semi-slicks. I like to have the most traction I can, even if it means I need to sweat it a bit more up the hills.
The Minion DHF is one of my favourite treads, for both front and rear, closely followed by Schwalbe’s Magic Mary for softer, wetter conditions, where the Minion clogs up.
I find the tread patterns predictably grippy, and there’s enough of a shoulder on them to hook up round corners well. However, they’re not so square in profile that once they start drifting there’s no recovering it. Oh and we’re riding proper bikes here, so 2.5inch is the width to go for.