I talk through my top five favourite bits of kit from the last few years, which, of course, includes some typically daft choices
I find it hard to believe myself, but it’s been two and a half fun- and nonsense-packed years since I started working for BikeRadar.
In that time, I’ve had the pleasure of using, testing and abusing a tonne of cycling kit — some of it great, some of it not so great.
With this in mind, and as my shockingly handsome colleagues Joe, Tom and the recently-departed Reuben have just done, I plonked myself down in the studio to look back at my top five bits of kit since I started at the good ship BikeRadar.
Of course, it’s not all sunshine, roses and easy Instagram likes. Cecil is a pig on the climbs and storing it is a complete nightmare, but if I measure him up on a cost-to-fun ratio, he comes out streaks ahead of anything else.
2. Brynje baselayers
I will also make any excuse to talk about how good these baselayers are
Second on my list is another thing I can’t help but hark on about. It’s something that I’m sure the thought of using is as offensive to many of you as the idea of owning a tandem.
Brynje baselayers have revolutionised my cycling wardrobe. They are made of a loose and totally non-absorbent polypropylene weave that does a better job of wicking away my copious amounts of perspiration than any other baselayer I’ve used.
But how can a non-absorbent fabric wick away sweat? Well, rather than the fibres themselves absorbing any moisture, sweat is attracted to the space between these loosely weaved fibres, effectively transporting it to your outer layers.
Sweat is the only thing that is attracted to the baselayers because there is absolutely no denying that they are among the ugliest things I own. Nonetheless, it’s no exaggeration to say that you’ll find me wearing one of these on nine out of ten rides these days and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
3. Surly Steamroller
Oh Steamroller, how I miss you so
I’ve had the pleasure of testing some very, very fancy bikes for BikeRadar, but the £850 Surly Steamroller stands out as one of my all-time favourites.
I make no secret of my love for fixies, but the do-it-all capability, ride quality and sheer fun of the Steamroller quickly won it a special place in my heart.
I’ve been using insulated gilets for about a year and a half now and, like the Brynje baselayer, they have changed how I dress on the bike.
While they obviously do a good job of keeping you warm on the bike, their versatility throughout the seasons is what has earned them a place on this list.
In particular, I found that on hard rides of a summer evening (yes, I do ride hard sometimes) where you would inevitably get sweaty, being able to don the gilet as the sun went down and temperatures dropped was invaluable.
What do you think of my choices? Are they all terrible and should I waste no more of my time scrolling through Instagram or am I the enlightened messiah of the fringes of cycling tech? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!
Jack has been riding and fettling bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork, fixie-botherer, tandem-evangelist, hill-climbing try hard, and thinks nothing of taking on a daft challenge for the BikeRadar YouTube channel. With a near encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling tech — from the most esoteric niche nonsense to the most cutting edge modern kit — Jack takes pride in his ability to seek out tech and stories that would otherwise go unreported. Jack has been at BikeRadar for three years now and is currently testing an All-City Mr Pink as his long term test bike.