Over the past year, the pandemic has resulted in a worldwide cycling boom of an unprecedented scale, with many bike manufacturers facing shortages as they try to address the increased demand. As such, more and more people have been looking at their current bicycles with kinder eyes, seeing them as something other than a dusty relic once-forgotten in the corner of the garage. Now, that’s all well and good, but what they don’t realize is that the experience could be made a hell of a lot better provided they had the right accessories.
Because there’s no avoiding it — regardless of your particular riding discipline or experience level, cycling is an activity that’s incredibly dependent on gear. In fact, from the moment you try to pump up those deflated tires, you’ll quickly come to find that there’s much more required to get moving on your merry way. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up 20 of the best cycling accessories on the market, looking to areas like storage, maintenance, and safety to ensure that you’ve taken care of the basics. Of course, some of these items aren’t absolutely necessary, per se, but they’ll vastly improve your time riding and keep you pedaling for years to come.
The Bare Necessities
While there’s no denying the freedom of going by bike, you are a bit limited insofar as available carrying capacity. With one of these handy storage setups, however, it’s never been easier to bring your essentials along for the ride.
Syncros Matchbox Tailor Cage 2.0
Any time you’re out on a bike, staying sufficiently hydrated is critical to avoiding the dreaded bonk. At the very least, you should keep a couple of cages mounted to your frame, as they’re easily the most convenient way to carry your bottles. In the case of this option from Syncros, you’re getting a lightweight nylon construction with a left/right-specific design that makes loading and unloading a breeze.
Silca Mattone Seat Bag
Seat packs are crucial carry because they enable you to store all of your roadside repair essentials. We like Silca’s option in particular because it comes with a convenient BOA closure system, allowing for easy installation with worry-free security. And while it’s markedly more compact than similar setups, it still has plenty of room for an inner tube, a CO2 cartridge and regulator, a tire lever set, a credit card, and a multi-tool. Oh, and it even comes with reflective detailing for an added dose of low-light visibility.
Blackburn Local Basket
Baskets are easily one of the best ways to equip your bicycle with some extra utility. Case in point: the ‘Local’ from Blackburn. Mounting to the front or rear of your ride via a set of universal swivel hardware, it’s compatible with practically any adult-sized bike. What’s more, it ships with a host of handy accessories, including a light mount, a U-lock holster, a strap hook, and a cargo net to keep everything secure. At 5lbs, it’s definitely on the heavier side, but that’s a small weight penalty when you consider its impressive 45-lb carrying capacity.
Ortlieb Three Rear Rack
Ortlieb is ubiquitous amongst everyone from college students and commuters to bikepackers and professional vagabonds. And it’s for good reason: the brand makes some of the most robust, long-lasting racks on the market, with this one being no exception. Between the hard-wearing aluminum construction and the sturdy double-railed design, it can hold up to 66lbs of cargo — even despite weighing just a little over 1lb. Assuming you pair it with one of Ortlieb’s many bags, it also comes with some mounting options to keep your carry in place and off your mind.
Handle With Care
Staying on top of your maintenance is essential to keeping your bike riding like new. When building out a toolkit for yourself, it’s important to consider both at-home jobs as well as roadside emergencies.
Lezyne Pocket Drive Hand Pump
Without some sort of inflation device in your contingency carry, you’ll be SOL come time to fix a flat. We’d recommend picking up a hand pump like this one from Lezyne because you don’t have to fumble with frustrating C02 cartridges or worry about overfilling tubes. Sure, they may take a little more time and effort, but you’ll appreciate the added peace of mind. And besides, with its high-pressure output, CNC aluminum body, and Presta/Schrader compatibility, this is one option that’s a clear cut above the rest.
Muc-Off 5-Piece Brush Set
Keeping your bicycle clean is an integral part of routine maintenance, as it ensures that your drivetrain will perform at its best and last for many miles down the road. Ever the authority when it comes to all things dirt, Muc-Off makes a 5-piece brush set that’s perfect for tackling the toughest of grime. In addition to a soft washing brush, it also comes with a heavy-duty two-prong bristle, as well as an aggressive claw, a brake cleaner, and even a detailer to have your ride looking factory-fresh.
Pedros Micro-20 Multi-tool
Ask any seasoned bike mechanic for their tire lever of choice, and nine times out of ten it’ll be one from Pedro’s — they’re the best in the game, bar none. Along with those same legendary levers, this nifty 20-function multi-tool also comes with six different hex wrenches, three drivers, a 1-12 speed chain tool, a host of wrenches, a Shimano Crank Cap tool, and a Presta Valve Corer. Put another way, it gives you pretty much everything you need to get out of most garden-variety repairs. And when you consider that it comes backed by a lifetime warranty and a rust-free guarantee, this is one option that can’t be beaten.
Topeak JoeBlow Sport III Bike Floor Pump
Okay, so even though we’ve included the above hand pump, you’re going to want something a bit more efficient come time for at-home inflation. Topeak’s JoeBlow Sport III is the cream of the crop insofar as floor pumps are concerned, combining a durable steel barrel and base, an ergonomic handle, and an extra-long pivot hose to make filling your tires a breeze. Above all else, though, it’s the compatibility that won us over, as its TwinHead DX fitting works with Presta, Schrader, and Dunlop valves, providing up to 317.5cc of air per stroke.
Staying Seen And Secure
Drivers are more distracted than ever these days, with their eyes often on their smartphones rather than the road ahead. By rocking one of these lighting setups, you’re increasing the likelihood that they’ll see you before it’s too late.
RydeSafe Reflective Stickers
Staying safe on your bike starts with being noticed, and there’s no better way to add some extra see-me factor than with these reflective rim strips. For even though your front and rear lights will go a long way towards keeping cars aware of your presence, they’re not much good when it comes to side visibility. Armed with this kit of stick-on pinstripes, strips, and hexagons, however, you’ll be ablaze any time light hits their microscopic glass bead surface.
Knog Oi Bike Bell
And, by the same token, we’d say that being heard is almost equally as important. Because let’s face it — when you’re pedaling away down busy paths, you need to be able to make pedestrians aware of your presence. Out of all of the many bike bells on the market, Knog’s Oi offering is easily our favorite because of its premium 7075 aluminum construction, intuitive mounting, and clever cable management system. It’s also simple and understated, making it an ideal choice for those concerned about the cleanliness of their handlebars.
Kryptonite Evolution Mini 7 U-Lock
By the end of last year, there were an estimated 96,583 bikes reported stolen across the United States, so, needless to say, theft is a very real issue. Rather than locking up your ride and leaving things to chance, go with one of Kryptonite’s many offerings. With the bundle we have here, you get a 13mm hardened steel shackle and a 10mm looped cable, a combination that’s resistant to hand tools, bolt cutters, and even leverage attacks. In fact, Kryptonite is so confident in its setup that they offer one year of $2,500 reimbursement coverage should your bike be nicked.
Bontrager Ion Comp R/Flare R City Bike Light Set
Whenever you’re riding in the dark, it’s not enough to be seen — you also have to be able to scan the road in front of you. This all-in-one light setup from Bontrager includes their award-winning Ion Comp R and Flare R lights, allowing you to alert drivers to your location whilst illuminating the ground ahead. USB-rechargeable, you get an assortment of different blinking modes and up to 700 lumens and 35 lumens of light-emitting power, respectively.
Electronic Ride Optimization
No matter if you’re a casual commuter or a performance-focused roadie, adding some tech to your setup will go a long way towards optimizing your ride. Granted, not everyone will need a full-on GPS unit or an indoor trainer, but they’re certainly worthy of your consideration.
Wahoo Blue SC Speed & Cadence Sensor
Cycling is a sport in which data reigns supreme, as marginal gains can mean the difference between a podium finish and a rear-of-the-pack result. With this Wahoo sensor, you can keep an eye on your speed, cadence, and distance in real-time, allowing you to fine-tune your pedaling for improved efficiency. Connecting wirelessly to both Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ channels, it’s compatible with bike computers, indoor trainers, and even Apple and Android devices. Trust us when we say that the two-in-one design makes installation a hell of a lot easier.
Quad Lock iPhone Bike Kit
Though most cyclists tend to favor dedicated GPS units like the below option from Gamin, they’re far from your only course of action. Pop one of these Quad Lock iPhone mounts on your handlebars, for instance, and you’ve got a sleek smartphone setup at the tip of your fingers. Between the brand’s suite of accessories and the lock’s quick-release capability, it makes for a super convenient setup that can be specifically catered to your personal needs.
Garmin Edge 530 Cycling Computer
Admittedly, you can’t go wrong with any of Garmin’s many cycling computers — the tech specialist has a whole host of options that are sure to serve you well. That said, we’d recommend the Edge 530 in particular because it offers the most bang for your buck. In addition to displaying various metrics like cadence, speed, and distance, it also provides detailed performance insights such as training status and cycling dynamics. What’s more, the GPS functionality is impressively robust, offering you ride-specific mapping, turn-by-turn directions, as well as back to start navigation.
Tacx Flow Smart Trainer
Indoor trainers are one of the best ways to take your riding to the next level, as they provide a safe, isolated environment where you can really put the pedal to the metal. At $370, Tacx’s Flow Smart Trainer is an excellent value proposition, because it offers full wireless connectivity, quiet magnetic resistance, and a realistic road feel. Pair one of these with a training app like Zwift or TrainerRoad and you’ll be hammering out engaging indoor sessions in no time.
Staving Off Showers
If you count yourself amongst the few who are bold enough brave the rain, it helps to have some gear to weatherproof your bike. At the very least, we recommend a minimalist fender, but you can also add overshoes and saddle covers to make the ride even drier.
Brooks Nylon Saddle Cover
There’s nothing worse than locking up your bike only to come outside and find the seat soaked with rain. Rather than playing the odds and hoping for an enduring dry spell, just get this nylon cover from Brooks instead. Widely compatible with a range of saddle sizes, it comes with an elastic cinch cord to ensure a perfect fit.
MSW Splash Pad Rear Fender
These clip-on fenders are a game-changer in the event of an unexpected shower. Keep one on you in a jersey pocket or saddle pack and you can throw it under your saddle in a matter of seconds. After all, when you’re rocking expensive riding gear, the last thing you want is for it to get ruined by a splatter of road spray.
SKS Raceblade Long Fenders
For those who are after more extensive coverage, however, these SKS Raceblade fenders offer an excellent alternative. Mounting to your fork and frame via a hassle-free doubled-hinged quick-release system, they’ll work with everything from easy-going hybrids to high-performance aero bikes — no matter the brake type. And because of their adjustable stays, they can be tailored to fit 700c wheels with tires up to 25mm in width.
Gorewear GORE-TEX Overshoes
When the weather starts to worsen and frigid temperatures fill the air, overshoes will save your feet from a world of discomfort. This pair from Gorewear is crafted using the brand’s trademark GORE-TEX fabric, meaning they’re waterproof and windproof whilst still being exceptionally light and breathable. Better still, they’re plenty packable for a jersey pocket and they even come with some integrated reflective elements to keep you safely seen. Believe us when we say that you need a pair of these in your winter wardrobe — they’re next-level.
Road Warrior: 13 Bike Commuter Essentials
Now that you have a handle on some of the accessories required for cycling, it’s time to optimize your setup for transportation duty. Be sure to head on over to our guide to bike commuter essentials, where you’ll find everything that’s needed for a worry-free ride to work.