The products mentioned in this article are selected or reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.

Jack Evans’ Gear of the Year 2022 | A cycling dabbler’s diverse selection

Tech for trekking across Wales and sprinting up hills

Jack Evans Porlock Toll Road hill climb

The heterogeneity of my favourite bits of kit in my first year at BikeRadar reflects a varied year on the bike.

Advertisement

It started with the Lôn Geltaidd (Celtic Trail) bikepacking trip, out and back, east to west across Wales.

It ended in delirious exhaustion on top of the Old Shoe in Llangollen, north Wales, at the 2022 UK National Hill Climb Championships.

In between, I was training for and completed the 297km Dragon Devil sportive, again in Wales (I do ride elsewhere, honest), and headed to the high mountains of Switzerland for the Haute Route Davos.

As a result, my picks are a mix of practical and performance items in keeping with my dilettantish approach to cycling.

Wizard Works Mag-Neato tool roll

Tool roll with it and clear out your jersey pockets.
Our Media
  • £28

The Mag-Neato tool roll from Wizard Works is a nifty alternative to a saddlebag, tool caddy or sagging jersey pockets.

It’s been strapped to the rails of my Fizik Antares R3 saddle for thousands of kilometres this year.

As its name suggests, a magnetic loop holds it in place – not once has it failed to securely hold my multi-tool, tyre levers and spare inner tube.

The 1000D Cordura outer has proved tough as teak, while the stretch pockets, also made from a hard-wearing Cordura fabric, have not frayed at all.

Because it doesn’t rattle or sway, I forget it’s there when riding. The same cannot be said for the saddlebags I’ve used previously.

It does trigger the bike luggage-phobic (club mates compare it to a rolled-up picnic blanket). Meanwhile, the “splatter” pattern offends the monochrome colour palette of traditional roadies.

But I think the gaudy Mag-Neato is a stylish, practical way to make carrying spares less cumbersome.

Raceware Garmin + GoPro mount for Canyon H11/H36 cockpit

Raceware 3D-prints mounts for awkwardly shaped cockpits.
Steve Sayers / Our Media
  • £39.99

While integrated cockpits look neat and aero, their jaunty angles make attaching accessories to them much harder than to an old-fashioned round road handlebar.

The one-piece bar and stem on my Canyon Ultimate CF SLX is a case in point.

No out-front bike computer mount will fit on the bars and strapping a light mount on top of them is aerodynamic blasphemy.

This is where the Raceware Garmin + GoPro mount for the Canyon H11/36 cockpit steps in.

The 3D-printed, nylon mount screws into the underside of the stem. It holds your bike computer in front of, and level with, the handlebars.

Beneath the Garmin fitting, I’ve bolted a clip to hold the Exposure Sirius MK9 front light.

For the little night riding I do on my Canyon, the light is in the ideal position. The beam hits the tarmac and illuminates the road ahead instead of dispersing into the night sky.

I’ve actually got more use out of the light mount in hill climb races where rules require you to run a front and rear light.

The Raceware mount is not fancy, but, like the Mag-Neato, it does its job satisfyingly well in training and races.

Garmin Edge 1040 Solar

The new Edge is a behemoth in terms of price and size.
Steve Sayers / Our Media
  • £630 / €750 / $750 / AU$1300

Unlike the previous two products, the Garmin Edge 1040 Solar is neither simple nor cheap.

It does rank among the best bike computers, but Garmin’s range-topper is an extravagance.

The phenomenal battery life, which the solar charging enhances, removes range anxiety not just on day-long rides but multi-day bikepacking trips.

The solar charging is highly effective, in the right conditions. A scorching imperial century ride this summer only consumed six per cent of the juice.

The massive screen is easy to read at a glance, whether you’re navigating or you train with a power meter. This really helped my pacing in my first hill climb season.

The Edge 1040 Solar automatically calculates values from FTP and threshold heart rate to VO2 max. However, if you really want to know your training zones, dedicated testing is no doubt better.

The new Power Guide feature suggests the number of watts you should produce at every stage of an uploaded route as you ride it. This helped me complete the Dragon Devil sportive at bang on my target average power.

However, in the same ride, the new Stamina feature reckoned I had nothing in the tank after 100km, which amused me for the next 197km.

Giant Surge Pro shoes

The Surge Pro proved more versatile as the year went on.
Stan Portus / Our Media
  • £299.99 / €360 / $299.99 / AU$509.95

As BikeRadar’s unofficial footwear correspondent, I’ve tested five pairs of cycling shoes this year.

Some made our list of the best road cycling shoes and others scored less well (no need to name and shame here).

The Fizik Tempo Decos goes toe-to-toe with the Giant Surge Pro in the fight to be crowned shoe of the year.

Although I gave both 4.5 out of 5, the Surge Pro is my narrow winner.

One of the only things I criticised at the time was its punchy £299.99 price tag. However, over the longer term, the Surge Pro has shown better value.

Its two Boa dials and velcro strap offer plenty of adjustability. The ventilation stopped my feet from cooking on long, hot rides, but it’s not so good they froze when autumn arrived.

The rock-solid carbon soles felt efficient, comfortable and stable on marathon rides as well as during intense efforts in hill climb races.

While it may be too flashy for some, I haven’t grown tired of the Surge Pro’s iridescent ‘Chromaflair’ colourway.

Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders

The anodised aluminium mudguards combine form and function.
Dave Caudery / Our Media
  • £109.99 / $129.99

The Portland Design Works Full Metal Fenders are a late addition to my Gear of the Year.

These super-sub mudguards warrant inclusion for keeping me and my bike cleaner and drier as summer turned into autumn.

I rode through foul Welsh weather on bikepacking expeditions in March and October, the first time without mudguards and the second occasion fully fendered.

The contrast in the condition of my bikepacking bags at the end of each week indicates the Portland Design Works’ effectiveness. In March they were caked in grime while in October they only needed a little scrub.

I also stayed much warmer in similar temperatures and intensity of rain when the mudguards were saving me from what my Welsh father calls ‘spray off the sea’.

Advertisement

What’s more, using the Portland Design Works mudguards when riding in a group this winter should partially atone for my inadequate wheel protection when splattering my club mates last year.