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Whether the cyclist in your life commutes to work on a bike or trains for triathlons, having the right gear is important. But it can get expensive. In the United States, households collectively spent about $8 billion a month on bicycles and accessories, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. In the interest of cutting down on waste and gear that never gets pulled out of the closet, we’ve rounded up the best devices and accessories available to help cyclists ride safely, track performance and health metrics, and still have fun. Here’s some of what your favorite cyclist might be hoping they get to unwrap before their next century.
Best bike computer: Garmin Edge 1040 Solar
Even if the cyclist in your life isn’t focused on collecting data from their rides, a bike computer is still an important and worthwhile tool. The Edge 1040 provides nutrition and hydration alerts, a range of ride type-specific maps, turn-by-turn directions, incident detection, bike alarm functionality, and group ride features. It will help keep your rider safe, fueled up, and on course. The Garmin Edge 1040 also accurately tracks distance, provides training tools and recommendations, syncs training plans, and measures cycling dynamics. The large display is easy to see at a glance, and the solar display adds to the already impressive battery life that can last up to 45 hours in demanding use cases. If you like the idea of picking up a bike computer but want a more budget-friendly option, the Edge 530 is also a fantastic device.
Best power meter pedal: Garmin Rally RS100 or Rally RS200
Power meters are a must if the cyclist in your life is data-obsessed or serious about their performance. These devices measure the force on the bike pedals using strain gauges and convert that to power, measured in watts. The Garmin Rally series provides extremely accurate data, and lots of it. It can provide insight into power, cadence, left and right balance, pedal smoothness, and time spent standing or sitting. The Rally is very easy to swap between pedal bodies using a conversion kit, making it the best choice for those who may have a bike for mountain biking and one for road rides. It pairs seamlessly with Garmin’s bike computers as well.
You can purchase a single pedal (RS100) to save some money or a dual-sensing version (RS200) for even more precise data. Also, Garmin makes different versions of the Rally that are compatible with different types of cleats. The RK line works with Look Keo cleats, the RS line is for Shimano SPD-SL cleats, and the XC line is made for Shimano SPD cleats. Functionally, they are all the same, but the cleat compatibility differs.
Best heart rate monitor: Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor
The Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor works with many different sports watches and fitness apps, including Garmin, Apple, Strava, and Nike. It can support iOS mobile devices with iOS 13 or later, BS Android mobile devices with Bluetooth 4.0 capability, and Android 7 or later. That versatility makes this chest strap one of the best heart rate monitors for cycling. But it excels as one of the best monitors for Peloton and cycling in general, as its accurate reader and comfortable fit don’t falter at high speeds thanks to silicone dots that help it stay firmly in place. — Andrew Waite
Best indoor trainer: Wahoo KICKR Smart Trainer V6
For most of us, there are, unfortunately, days when getting outside on the bike isn’t feasible. Whether it’s because of a gnarly ice storm or nonstop rain, riding inside can unlock new training opportunities. The Wahoo KICKR Smart Trainer V6 is among the best trainers, thanks to its accurate speed, distance, cadence, and power data. It’s easy to set up and provides a smooth, realistic, yet silent ride, so your cyclist can easily watch a movie during their ride without turning the volume way up. The built-in WiFi also makes this direct drive trainer stand out from the competition, as it allows for faster data transfer and easier firmware updates.
Best indoor bike with classes: Peloton Bike Plus Indoor Stationary Bike
If the cyclist in your life is motivated by live instruction and competition, the Peloton Bike provides an unrivaled experience. Purchase of the bike and a $44 monthly membership provides access to thousands of classes, including live sessions, bike boot camps, boxing, and yoga. The 21.5-inch HD touchscreen lets you feel like you’re right in the studio, and the two stereo speakers help complete the immersive experience. With a 4-foot by 2-foot footprint, this bike can fit in a range of spaces. Peloton also tracks your heart rate, output, and cadence in real-time and you can measure your progress against other members.
Best electric bike: Ride1Up Rift
Think your favorite cyclist would appreciate a new electric bike? Consider the Ride1UP Rift for those leisurely days when they want to stretch their legs, but their calves and quads need a little rest and recovery. Almost ready to go out of the box, it provides a stupendously smooth ride whether they’re upgrading from a different electric bicycle or have always ridden an analog bike. It strikes the right balance between easy assembly, ease of use, comfort, and overall design. Learn more about our picks for the best electric bikes. — Brandt Ranj
Best phone mount: Peak Design Out Front Bike Mount
The Out Front Bike Mount easily installs onto bike handlebars, putting the phone front and center at an optimal viewing angle. Your cyclist will be able to quickly see their maps or keep an eye on the time. The mount also flips up so that they can film their ride. They will need either the Mobile Universal Mount Adapter or a Peak Design phone case, as the bike mount utilizes the company’s magnetic locking system, called SlimLink. This magnetic system is ultra secure, so they won’t need to worry about their phone falling off when they hit some bumps on the road. And it makes their phone compatible with all sorts of other Peak Design accessories like the phone tripod, wallet, and more.
Best bike bag: Rapha Bar Bag
Having a space to stow essentials like your phone, keys, and maybe a snack is important on a commute or long ride. Rapha’s sleek bike bag is made of waterproof polyester, so essentials will stay dry during an unexpected downpour. It provides a roomy 2 liters of space and comes with two durable straps cyclists can attach either to their handlebars or the frame. The buckles are quick-release, and once the rider arrives at their destination, this versatile bag easily converts into an over-the-shoulder bag.
Best multi-tool: Crankbrothers M19 Multi-Tool
A bike multi-tool is a must for every cyclist, both on rides and in a home tool kit. This Crankbrothers tool includes a range of hex wrenches, spoke wrenches, multiple screwdriver types, a t-25 drive, and a universal chain tool. All in all, there are 19 different tools in this one device. Whether you’re fixing your bike or adjusting your cleats, this multi-tool likely has the right option. Everything is encased in lightweight aluminum and only weighs 6.2 ounces. And the 3.5-inch length means that it will easily fit in a small saddle pack for rides.
Best headphones: Shokz OpenRun Pro
Bone conduction headphones are great for cyclists because they allow you to hear your music and podcasts while still staying alert to the world around you. The Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones offer a secure, lightweight fit under your helmet that’s comfortable even for long rides. They produce clear, high-quality sound with plenty of volume, even when you’re near traffic. They also feature a mic so that you can call your cyclist when they are out. And the 10 hours of battery life will keep them from needing to charge their headphones constantly.
Best tail light: Garmin Varia RTL515
A quality tail light is a crucial safety item for road cyclists, whether riding day or night. It alerts drivers to your presence long before they would otherwise see your bike. The Garmin Vari RTL515 is a bit of a splurge, but it is the best out there, thanks to the built-in radar. This light pairs with your phone, Garmin Edge bike computer, or other Garmin wearables and alerts you with both visual and audio queues that cars are approaching from up to 153 yards away. It’s super bright, providing daylight visibility up to one mile away. There are multiple modes, including a low-intensity light for group rides. And it offers up to 16 hours of battery life in day flash mode to last for your longest rides.
If you want the utmost safety for your rider, you can bundle the front light below with the Varia RTL515. Or, if the Garmin is too much of a splurge, the Bontrager Flare RT is also a great rear light with a budget-friendly price, albeit without the radar.
Best bike light: Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight
When the days are shorter, your favorite cyclist is likely getting some miles in when it’s dark. A reliable bike light is essential for safety. Garmin’s Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight is visible up to a mile away. It provides 800 lumens of light for up to 1.5 hours—about the same amount as a traditional 60-watt incandescent bulb. Cyclists can switch between five light modes: high, medium, low, night flash, and day flash. This bike light can also sync with compatible Garmin Edge computers, which can detect the ambient light to control brightness. And it’s available in versions that attach either to the handlebars or to a helmet.
Best bike lock: Kryptonite Combo Bike U-Lock
As much fun as biking can be, theft is unfortunately common. More than 200,000 bikes are stolen in the United States each year, according to the FBI. That’s why a reliable bike lock is important. Kryptonite’s Combo Bike U-Lock is designed with a 12mm steel shackle that protects against wire cutters. The U shape makes it easy to attach the lock to a variety of locations, from bike racks to fences. It features a combination lock that you register with the company website, so you don’t have to worry about lost keys. And weighing in at just a pound, it’s lighter and more affordable than many of the other bike locks on the market.
Best bib shorts: Pearl Izumi Pro Bib Shorts
A quality pair of bibs can make a surprising difference in the comfort of your bike ride. After trying numerous brands, Pearl Izumi’s bibs, including the Pro version, have firmly landed the spot as my favorite thanks to the material the company uses. It is incredibly soft, smooth, and stretchy, unlike anything from other brands. It breathes well and easily wicks away sweat, keeping me comfortable even on the hottest, most humid days. The seamless design means that there’s less chance of chafing even on long rides. And the chamois offers just enough padding in all the right places without being overly thick. They come in both men’s and women’s and are available in a handful of colors and designs.
Best water bottle: Camelbak Podium Chill
Most of us can’t have too many water bottles. They have a tendency to get scuffed and dented, start leaking, get lost, or stay filled up for far too long and start molding, needing replacement. However, weight has to be considered when it comes to a ride. The Camelbak Podium Chill is an insulated bottle that keeps drinks cool even on hot rides. It is designed to fit securely in most bottle cages and is easy to squeeze to get water out efficiently. The cap is self-sealing, so it won’t leak when it inevitably gets thrown in the backseat of the car. And it’s available in a range of colors, so you can pick something up that matches the color scheme of your cyclist’s bike.