As 2012 draws to a close, the staff of BikeRadar have been looking back at what we most enjoyed this year. James Huang, Ben Delaney and Josh Patterson have already weighed, and I list my top five here.
As a committed time trialist myself, my favourite gear skews toward products that help me go fast.
I’ve long had a tyre fetish and am always interested in testing new tyres that are either faster or grippier or both. I was most impressed by the Continental Grand Prix TT clinchers that Tony Martin used to good effect to win the world time trial championship in 2011. After testing them in training I started using one on the front in races and never regretted it. They’re very quick tyres and I’ve no doubt they’re as good as the best tubulars I’ve ridden.
In 2013 I’ll be trying out the Zipp Super 9 clincher disc wheel and will almost certainly be using a Continental GP TT on it. Until I’m convinced there’s an even faster tyre out there…
2. PowerTap Pro+ wheel
I train with power so I want something that measures it reliably. I do have several PowerTap wheels — only one of which has had ‘issues’ — but my favourite is the PowerTap Pro+. It’s done sterling service for the last two years in all weathers, giving me an accurate gauge of my fitness. For 2013 I’ll be trying out the PowerTap G3 and Joule GPS – can’t wait!
I’ve raced one of the original Specialized Shivs for the past two seasons and am pretty confident that it’s still one of the best time trial bikes out there. Not UCI legal any more, which is a pity, but it’s very quick, stiff and handles unbelievably well. It doesn’t like deluges as it retains water in the frame and it’s not easy to get out.
I’ve not tried the newer Shiv TT frameset – which is very similar to this one, the main difference being that it doesn’t have a nosecone. At least it makes the front brake easier to work on.
I started using this towards the end of 2011 on long training rides and so far it’s the best energy drink I’ve come across. You can mix it strong but it’s still easy to get down and doesn’t taste too sickly. That means you can take in more calories when it matters. Our sister publication Cycling Plus also voted High5 the ‘best energy drink.’
5. BikeRadar Capo kit
BikeRadar staff had a bunch of clothing made by Capo and I have to say it’s brilliant. Shorts, short and long sleeve jerseys, skinsuits, winter jackets and a gilet that doesn’t double as a parachute. I wear it most days because it’s comfortable, well suited to whatever conditions I ride in and is as durable as any other top level kit I’ve used.
US editor-in-chief Ben Delaney rockin’ the BikeRadar Capo kit