A lot of gear and clothing comes and goes in the course of testing at BikeRadar, so it’s quite the compliment when a garment or accessory gets pressed into regular service. Here’s a list of gear that Russell trusts to see him through the mountains on both the roads and trails.
- Matthew Allen’s go-to gear and kit: 6 favourites
- Aoife Glass' go-to gear and kit: 4 favourites
- Josh Evans' go-to gear and kit: 5 favourites
Birzman Aluminium Feexman 12 multi-tool
This little guy has nearly everything I need for on-the-go adjustments. Although that isn't unique, what is unique is that the oddly named Feexman 12 remains solid with no lose pivots and has Allen keys that have yet to be rounded off at the ends.
The chain tool is also surprisingly adept at its job, making the arduous task of pushing pins seemingly easier than it should be.
I did add a rubber collar around it primarily to keep the pointy tool ends from puncturing tubes when stashed in a bag or pack. Outside of that addition, it's seen zero maintenance and is up there with a helmet as something I never ride without.
- £22.09 / $30.49 / AU$37.99
- Buy the updated version from Probikekit.com
Giro Terraduro Mid shoes
To be honest, it wasn't love at first ride with the Terraduro Mids. I wanted the blue version instead of the orange, and initially thought they were a bit too narrow for my big feet. Any reservations soon faded after a few rides; I found myself reaching for the orange kicks no matter what bike was on the docket.
Only after wearing my other riding shoes did I realise how well the Terraduros work for me. The fit only got better, sole stiffness is more than adequate, the lace cover makes a lot of sense on wet rides, and the orange color is welcome when rolling around the woods during hunting season.
On top of all that, the cleat recess seems better placed than on other shoes. And since it's a typical occurrence on nearly all my rides, the ease of walking and hiking needs to be mentioned.
- £159 / $190 / AU$279
- Buy now with free shipping at Backcountry.com
Sombrio Highline shorts
Some things just work. Take for instance Sombrio's Highline shorts. The fit and material is on point with the right amount of stretch. The pockets are useful and don't inhibit pedalling when you stash stuff in them, and the shorts' durability has proven to be fine for all types of off-road adventures.
Most importantly however is the waist closure features popper studs, Velcro and a zippered fly, which ensures it stays closed. Last but not least, my wife says I look good in the bright blue color.
- £79.99 / $110 / AU$ TBD
- Purchase the Sombrio Highline shorts at its online store
Oveja Negra Snack Pack top tube bag
Last December I was lucky enough to do a 5-day stage race in Cuba. In preparation and at the race I used a top-tube bag from Oveja Negra. Since the race I've found the little, bombproof Snack Pack to be ideal on any road or gravel ride. Stuffing my jersey pockets just doesn't feel right, so in the bag goes a tube, tyre lever, multi-tool, energy bar and CO2 head and canister.
I've come to greatly appreciate the build quality as well. The waterproof zipper, long Velcro straps and waterproof fabric continue to hold up very well – they've shown zero issues no matter how many times I transfer the bag from one bike to another.
It's one piece of gear that I can forgot about until I need it; that's about the highest praise I can give something.
- $50, international pricing TBD
- Buy direct from Oveja Negra
Park Tool Heavy Duty Shop apron
To be honest, I've never looked at the retail price of Park Tool's Heavy Duty shop apron before. And to be even more honest, at around £29.99 / $24.50 / AU$55, it's likely the best deal in all of cycling.
I've had this apron for nearly as long I can remember, which realistically is around 14 years. In that time, I've built, tuned and overhauled countless bikes and suspension units. I've wiped and spilled more oil and grease on it than I care to admit and it's never been anywhere near a washing machine.
While I enjoy the three huge pockets down low and the long length to keep my clothes underneath clean, the real highlight is the crossed back straps that move the weight of the apron off your neck and onto your shoulders. I can, and have, worn this thing for 10+ hours a day; it's a comfortable design.
Over all my years of riding and wrenching, one constant remains: If a bike goes in the work stand, the Park Tool apron goes on.
- £29.99 / $24.50 / AU$55
- Buy the Park Tools Heavy Duty shop apron from Chain Reaction
Shimano M540 SPD pedals
Shimano makes a wide range of SPD pedals from weekend-touring versions to full-on downhill-racing pedals. Falling right in the middle are the M540s. I bought them thinking they'd reside on my cyclocross bike mostly, but have found them transferred to almost every bike in the stable.
Sure they add a few grams over XT or XTR clipless pedals, but despite four years of use and no maintenance to speak of, they're still spinning smoothly with zero play and the mechanism for clipping in and out feels just fine.
The cleats on my shoes have been replaced a few times, but the M540s just keep on keeping on.
£32.30 / $44.99 / AU$54.87