We use and wear a huge variety of kit in the course of our testing at BikeRadar, so it’s quite the compliment when a garment or accessory gets pressed into regular service. Here’s a sample of the gear that keeps senior writer Matthew happy on the road and trail.
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I love new stuff, but above all I appreciate things that do the job well. Apart from the Tacx bottle cages and the Castelli jacket, the products on this list all pre-date my time as a bike journalist.
They’re still in regular use because despite lacking the shine and allure of newness, they’re extremely good at what they do.
Oakley Radar Path sunglasses
The lens coverage is perfect for road cycling, but not ideal for mountain biking where in wet conditions I’ve had spray off the front tyre Karchered straight into my eyeballs.
In really, really bright conditions (e.g. snow), they let a little too much daylight in below the lens, but they’re spot-on for 99 percent of my riding using either the Jade Iridium (green!) or orange lenses.
Of course, the bigger Pitch or Range lenses would help with coverage, but they’d look stupid on my skinny face, and I’m extremely vain.
After around six or seven years of abuse, my Radars are showing their age: the original ear socks (those rubbery bits on the arms) went gooey over time as soft-touch plastics are wont to, becoming a magnet for filth.
I finally caved and bought new socks (with my own money, I should point out) this year, as they were pretty disgusting despite frequent washing.
While I’m complaining, changing lenses is a fiddlier process than it needs to be and I occasionally yearn for something less scratched, but until I break these properly they’re staying my go-to.
- These old-ass glasses aren’t available any more, but the latest Radar EV Path starts at £145 / $163 / AU$234.95
- Buy the Oakley Radar EV Path from Chain Reaction Cycles
Castelli Idro jacket
It manages to be properly waterproof without suffering from the heat build-up you get with conventional jackets when you exert yourself.
In the summer I’ll typically grab a very lightweight gilet or a pair of arm warmers to stuff in my back pocket, but for changeable weather the Idro is my number one choice every time.
I keep it for road riding only however — it’s a very thin jacket and I’m pretty sure even a minor spill on the trail would wreck it, which would break my tiny, delicate heart.
- £260 / $350 / AU$380
- Buy the Castelli Idro from Wiggle
Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite multi-tool
I was completely wrong. It’s a really nicely engineered little thing that does a far better job than most Swiss army knife-style multi-tools.
I carry the Ratchet Rocket on most rides, with a Michelin tyre lever and a spare Speedplay cleat spring slipped inside the case.
The latest version of this tool (the Ratchet Rocket Lite DX) actual includes two tyre levers as standard, as well as an extension for added reach. I want one…
- £27.99 / $34.99 / AU$44.49
- Buy the latest Ratchet Rocket Lite DX now from Tweeks Cycles
Tacx Deva bottle cages
I’ve used Deva cages on countless test bikes both on and off road, and they just… work.
- £11.99 / $16.49 / AU$20.49
- Buy the Tacx Deva now from Chain Reaction Cycles
Lazer O2 helmet
Being otherwise diminutive, big lids make me look comically top heavy, and I really like the O2 because the M–L size looks more like a medium but somehow fits over my disproportionately immense noggin.
If it’s exceptionally hot I’ll choose a helmet with slightly better venting, but the rest of the time the O2 is my favourite for road riding, so much so that I’ve worn through two sets of pads in the time I’ve owned it.
The O2 has been on the market for the better part of a decade and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s about to disappear, but right now there are still bargains to be had on this fine piece of headgear.
- £99.99 / $137.99 / AU$173
- Buy now from Evans Cycles
Altura Nightvision gloves with liners
I bought these beauties in a bricks-and-mortar bike shop in Edinburgh around 2010 because the weather is crap in Scotland approximately all of the time.
The Nightvisions are not particularly sexy, but they’ve served me well through the depths of many a winter.
Mine are on the verge of falling apart now (a recent repair has delayed the inevitable) and they definitely need re-waterproofing, but these remain one of the best pairs of gloves I’ve ever used, offering loads of insulation and adequate dexterity with a side order of visibility.
They’re completely out of date now and it looks like Altura has stopped doing these with a separate liner, but the current Nightvision 3 looks rather promising. Do you think it’s time?
- £39.99 / $58 / AU$79
- Buy the latest Altura Nightvision 3 waterproof gloves now from Wiggle