Gear of the year: Oli Woodman’s 2017 picks

Featuring fast road tyres, a stylish e-bike and an acrylic rod

2017 has been another great year of testing bikes and kit for BikeRadar and here’s my chance to share with you the stuff that I really rate.


Pirelli PZero Velo tyre

The PZero Velo is an excellent tyre.
The PZero Velo is an excellent tyre
Oli Woodman / Immediate Media

When I got to try Pirelli’s PZero road bike tyres at its media launch, they seriously impressed me, but I held off passing full judgment until they were in the hands of a couple of my more experienced colleagues.

Thankfully my thoughts were then echoed by those of Reuben and Colin as these quick rolling, comfortable and puncture resistant tyres went on to an impressive 4.5-star rating. We’ll have some wider and tubeless ones next, please.

Gore One 1985 jacket

This jacket costs an absolute fortune so I won't go ahead and say it's good value but there's no denying its effectiveness
This jacket costs an absolute fortune so I won’t go ahead and say it’s good value but it sure is effective
Sergio Iglesias Photo / Bultaco

I simply didn’t realise that rain jackets could be this good. The laughably light, totally waterproof and amazingly breathable Gore performs so well that it makes pretty much anything else I’ve tried feel terrible.

It’s a shame that it totals about as much as what I normally spend on clothes in a year and I’m not totally sold on the finish of this limited-edition version but have received a few compliments on it too.

Our favourite road/gravel products of 2017

Trek Super Commuter+ 9

Riding Trek's Super Commuter means I had to eat less curry but it sure made my commute enjoyable
Riding Trek’s Super Commuter means I had to eat less curry but it sure made my commute enjoyable
Oli Woodman / Immediate Media

I’ll always be fond of the Trek Super Commuter — it’s the bike that truly changed my mind on e-bikes.

I had an incredible amount of fun while commuting with it for a couple of months, during which time some of my closest friends got totally bored of hearing about it — that was until I allowed them a go themselves.

Its smooth yet torquey Bosch motor matches up perfectly with Nuvinci’s CVT drivetrain for a near-silent wafting experience that no electric bike I’ve ridden before or since has equalled.

The Super Commuter did present one problem though and that was that my cycling was no longer offsetting my affection for curry in quite the same way. You can’t have it all.

  • £4,000

Bike-propping acrylic rod

Here's my most helpful assistant to date
Here’s my most helpful assistant to date
Oli Woodman / Immediate Media

Ever wonder how our bikes seem to levitate in photographs? Well, when we are without the trustworthy hands of fellow colleagues it usually falls down to a device as simple as this one.

Clear acrylic rods have helped us poise everything from dainty carbon road rides to hefty downhill bikes before our cameras.

I recently had to wave an emotional goodbye to my original trusty acrylic rod following a press trip earlier this month. It now resides with the Spanish authorities after it mistakenly found its way into my hand luggage where it was not permitted for travel.

I’ve experimented with versions as narrow as 6mm and as wide as 24mm, and our latest prototype also incorporates a rubber foot. Its length has been finely tuned to a figure that will remain secret… (or not — it’s 39cm/15.35in).

  • Around £10 / €11 / $13
  • You can buy your own acrylic bike prop here

Garmin Vivosport

Garmin's Vivosport includes in-built GPS and a heart rate monitor
Garmin’s Vivosport includes in-built GPS and a heart rate monitor
Oli Woodman / Immediate Media

The Garmin Vivosport fitness tracker isn’t the best looking thing to have on your wrist but I’ve found it particularly useful and easy to live with.

Switching across from a Fitbit Blaze, I was initially disappointed at the Vivosport’s relatively pixelated and small screen, but its waterproofing, integrated GPS and heart rate monitor more than make up for it.

Conveniently it's also fully waterproof
Conveniently it’s also fully waterproof
Oli Woodman / Immediate Media

When I’m not eating curry or car spotting I do like to run as well as cycle, and the Vivosport on my wrist means I can do both of those things without having to necessarily carry a chunky smartphone that bounces around.