Gear of the year: Oli Woodman’s 2016 picks

Trusty kit plus a few surprises from BikeRadar's Section Editor

Once again the months have flown by and I can’t quite believe I’m writing this article. Like the rest of the authors in this series, I’ve taken the time to pull out some of the bikes and bits that’ve contributed to another great year on two wheels. Including everything from a five year old rental bike to the latest GoPro, the list is somewhat random.

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2016 Pinnacle Dolomite Six

Pinnacle’s Dolomite Six is a no-nonsense disc road bike at a brilliant price
Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media

I bought this Pinnacle Dolomite Six at the start of the year after my much loved Norco Search long-term test bike went back to Evans Cycles. At the time, trying to find a road bike with hydraulic discs and a decent groupset was hard enough, yet finding one that cost just £1300 was almost unheard of. The Dolomite frame doesn’t have any fancy shapes, it doesn’t have beautiful welds or funky graphics. Look at it at a distance and it’s basically two black circles at either end of two black triangles. But that’s good, it means I can string it up to a lamp post or prop it up outside a village shop while I pop inside. Other riders tend not to look twice too.

I’ve swapped out the original tyres, stem and saddle for parts to my preference but other than that it’s proven to be a fast, fun and reliable way to get about. Sadly the derailleur hanger on my frame was one affected by a recall earlier this year from Evans (if you’ve got a 2015/6 Pinnacle/HOY bicycle then I couldn’t recommend enough that you read this!), and I’m currently in the process of getting that sorted out. To read more on the Pinnacle Dolomite Six have a read of this article.

This 2012 Cannondale Flash 29er

Somewhere in Northern Italy you should be able to rent this very bike
Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media

This particular Cannondale Flash and I came to meet under the strangest of circumstances but sparked a relationship that I didn’t want to end. Truth be told, it was more of a dirty one night stand but that didn’t stop me from including it in this list.Having blindly accepted an invite to my first marathon race a few months before, I was fortunate enough to be provided with a bike for the occasion. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect as the bike was provided by a local rental firm and I’d not get to see it until just hours before the race.

I needn’t have worried though, as my partner for this bizarre pre-arrangement turned out to be this trusty Cannondale Flash 29er. With a frame dating back to around 2012, Cannondale’s signature Lefty fork and a somewhat bizarre build sheet this was miles from your usual rental bike.

To cut a long story short (longer version available to read here), the Flash performed almost without fault and helped me to come away from the event with nothing but a big grin and plenty of lactic acid.

In this kit obsessed little world of ours, it’s sometimes too easy to forget that bikes from a few years back are still bloody excellent.

Fizik Tundra

Fizik’s Tundra has been about for a long time but it’s new to me and we get along well
Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media

Here we have a seat that quite literally saved my ass. Spending six or so hours on an unknown saddle without any chamois cream might sound like a bad idea and that’s because it is. It’s also exactly what I did at the Dolomiti Superbike. Thankfully, on the end of my seatpost was Fizik’s Tundra, a long-standing part of Fizik’s range that seems to have been designed to meet the exact needs of my behind. On my mountain bike and my road bike, it’s a new favourite.

Vulpine commuter backpack

The Vulpine Commuter Backpack has proven itself to be particularly useful this year
Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media
This pack was sent to me a little over a year ago, and I still use it daily – on and off the bike. Originally, I was unimpressed with the bag’s large, undivided main compartment and annoyed by its fiddly buckle. You know what, though, I was too harsh on this one. 
Having scored the bag with just two stars the first time around, I’ve since found its rather unusual layout to be ideal for carrying my camera kit. It has also held up really well despite use in all-weather. Now, with Christmas spirit in the air, I’ve bumped its original score up by a star and recognised it as a piece of kit I’d rather not be without. 

GoPro Hero 5

I’m looking forward to making the most of my new GoPro 5 action cam
Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media

I’m lucky enough to have BikeRadar’s video team sit directly behind me in the office. Near enough every day I see these boys chopping through minute upon minute of footage, much of which is captured with GoPros. 

Up until now I’ve not taken the plunge into the world of action cameras, bar occasionally loaning a GoPro from the team here, but after watching BikeRadar’s Reuben spill his heart about just how good the latest GoPro Hero 5 (here’s his  GoPro Hero 5 Black review) is I knew I couldn’t miss out on the action. 

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Soon you’ll be able to upvote, dislike, share or troll plenty of my own high definition recordings, and I can’t wait.

Brompton S2L

Brompton’s classic folder remains one of my favourite bicycles
Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media
I’ve owned a Brompton for more than ten years already but was curious to see if the nation’s favourite folder had changed much in the past decade or so. 
I ended up calling in this blue 2016 example to work it out for myself. As it turns out, the Brompton certainly hasn’t changed a lot, it simply hasn’t had to. The small changes Brompton has made do make a big difference, though. You can read all about it in the full Brompton S2L review I posted earlier this year.