Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Cycling

Specialized S-Works Tarmac

94

2016

Specialized S-Works Tarmac

Specialized’s top-of-the-line Road Race bike, the S-Works Tarmac, is a purpose-built speed machine that is extremely stiff and responsive, super light and offers a surprisingly compliant ride and premium components top to bottom. It’s best for open road and/or criterium races and sprinting.

Diamondback Podium Equipe

90

2016

Diamondback Podium Equipe

Diamondback’s top-of-the-line Road Race bike, the band new Podium Equipe is a pure road racing machine with some aero features built in, perfect for breakaways, sprinting and pretty much any fast day in the saddle. 

Fuji SL 1.3

89

2016

Fuji SL 1.3

SL stands for Super Light, and the Fuji SL 1.3 is indeed an extremely lightweight Road Race bike with electronic shifting. It features a fairly traditional (for modern carbon bikes), geometry, high-end carbon post and bars, and an all-purpose, ultralight wheelset. It’s a pure climbing machine and also good for long, sustained efforts.

Merckx San Remo 76

88

2016

Merckx San Remo 76

The Merckx San Remo 76 is a pure Road Race bike with disc brakes and some aerodynamic features, including tubing, wheels, seatpost, etc.. It is built for powerful attacks, holding high speeds over long, flatter roads, and of course sprinting. It features a top-of-the-line components, a full-carbon frame, and alloy, semi-aero wheels. 

Kestrel Legend SL

85

2016

Kestrel Legend SL

The Kestrel Legend SL is a Road Race bike with a comfort level similar to an Endurance frame, but it remains fairly quick and agile like it’s Race brethren. The bike features a top-end drivetrain, a high-modulus full-carbon frame and fork, and an ultralight all-purpose wheelset. 

Timbuk2 Lux Pannier

79

2016

Timbuk2 Lux Pannier

The Timbuk2 Lux pannier is a 22-liter roll-top cycling pannier with excellent organizational features. 

Thule Pack n’ Pedal Shield Pannier

81

2016

Thule Pack n’ Pedal Shield Pannier

The Thule Pack n’ Pedal Shield Pannier Large set is a pair of highly reflective 24 liter roll-top cycling panniers.

Ortlieb Vario QL2.1

85

2016

Ortlieb Vario QL2.1

The Ortlieb Vario QL2.1 is a 20 liter cycling pannier that can convert from bike pannier to backpack. 

Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack Pannier

81

2016

Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack Pannier

The Green Guru High Roller 36L Backpack pannier is a 36 liter cycling pannier that can convert from bike pannier to backpack. 

Brooks England Suffolk

82

2016

Brooks England Suffolk

The Brooks England Suffolk pannier is a waterproof 22 liter roll-top cycling pannier that is made in Europe. 

North St. Morrison Backpack Pannier

87

2016

North St. Morrison Backpack Pannier

The North St. Morrison is an 18 liter cycling pannier that converts from bike pannier to backpack.

Arkel Signature V Urban Pannier

83

2016

Arkel Signature V Urban Pannier

The Arkel Signature V Urban pannier is a 28 liter roll-top cycling pannier that is hand-made in Canada. 

Garmin Edge 1000

96

2016

Garmin Edge 1000

The Garmin Edge 1000 is an advanced GPS cycling computer with a huge array of functions, bright full-color touchscreen, and full-service turn-by-turn navigation.

Magellan Cyclo 505

93

2016

Magellan Cyclo 505

The Magellan Cyclo 505 is a feature-packed GPS cycling computer with an outstanding color touchscreen and among the best navigation available.

Wahoo Elemnt

92

2016

Wahoo Elemnt

The Wahoo Elemnt is a full-featured and highly user friendly GPS cycling computer, with turn-by-turn directions, LED notifications and excellent connectivity. 

Polar V650

89

2016

Polar V650

The Polar V650 is a GPS cycling computer, compatible exclusively with Bluetooth sensors, with decent functionality, excellent online support and a full-color touchscreen.

Sigma ROX 10.0

85

2016

Sigma ROX 10.0

The Sigma ROX 10.0 is a compact GPS cycling computer for the budget-minded cyclist, with an impressive array of cycling functions and basic route guidance.

Bryton Rider 530

84

2016

Bryton Rider 530

The Bryton 530 is a budget-friendly, ultralight GPS computer with a solid array of functions, a long-lasting battery and rudimentary route guidance.

Club Ride Joy Ride

80

2016

Club Ride Joy Ride

The Club Ride Joy Ride is a mountain bike short that works equally well on singletrack as it does for the urban rides for which it was designed.

 Shredly Jana Short

85

2016

Shredly Jana Short

The Shredly Jana is an all-mountain/cross-country mountain bike short that is made in the U.S.A..

Troy Lee Designs Skyline Short

77

2016

Troy Lee Designs Skyline Short

The Troy Lee Designs Skyline short is an enduro/all-mountain mountain bike short.

ZOIC Navaeh Shorts

80

2016

ZOIC Navaeh Shorts

The ZOIC Naveah is a cross-country/all-mountain mountain bike short.

Pearl Izumi Elevate Short

86

2016

Pearl Izumi Elevate Short

The Pearl Izumi Elevate is an enduro/all-mountain mountain bike short.

Thule Chariot Chinook 1

90

2016

Thule Chariot Chinook 1

The Thule Chariot Chinook 1 is designed to be the only stroller you need with the car seat adaptor rack for infants.

Joovy CocoonX2 Double Stroller

81

2016

Joovy CocoonX2 Double Stroller

The Joovy Cocoon X2 Double Stroller is a durable but bare bones enclosed stroller with a bike trailer conversion kit sold separately.

Croozer Kid Plus For 1

91

2016

Croozer Kid Plus For 1

The Croozer Kid Plus for 1 is a durable and sleek, all inclusive stroller, jogger and bike trailer.

Burley Solo

92

2016

Burley Solo

The Burley Solo is an intuitive full featured and durable bike trailer that can convert to a stroller or jogger.

Specialized Ambush

84

2016

Specialized Ambush

The Specialized Ambush is a cycling helmet with an Aramid-Reinforced Skeleton for internal EPS support and Energy Optimized Multi-Density EPS construction to manage impact energy.

POC Trabec Race MIPs

76

2016

POC Trabec Race MIPs

The POC Trabec Race MIPS is a cycling helmet with a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) liner to provide additional impact protection.

Smith Forefront

80

2016

Smith Forefront

The Smith Forefront is a lightweight cycling helmet with Koroyd technology to provide additional impact protection.

 Sweet Protection Bushwhacker MIPS

81

2016

Sweet Protection Bushwhacker MIPS

The Sweet Bushwhacker MIPS is a cycling helmet with a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) liner to provide additional impact protection.

Troy Lee Designs A1 Reflex

82

2016

Troy Lee Designs A1 Reflex

The Troy Lee Designs A1 Reflex is a cycling helmet with a reinforced polycarbonate shell in-molded with an EPS liner.

Niner RKT 9 RDO

84

2016

Niner RKT 9 RDO

The Niner RKT 9 RDO is really fast. Niner used their original race design and made it a little more aggressive and responsive, while a bit less technical-trail-friendly, to create this pure speed machine. 

Fuji Rakan 1.1

83

2016

Fuji Rakan 1.1

The Fuji Rakan 1.1 is a mid-to-high end premium aluminum bike featuring Fuji’s M-Link suspension and sits somewhere between a Trail and true Cross-Country bike, as a great option for riders who tend to lean toward more aggressive trails and faster descending, and away from major climbs or racing. 

BMC Fourstroke 02

83

2016

BMC Fourstroke 02

BMC’s flagship, full-suspension, racing XC family, the Fourstroke, is a platform designed for raw speed and snappy handling: The Fourstroke 02 model certainly lives up to that, however the highly aggressive geometry is not the best option for more technical courses with large and/or steep-faced bumps. 

Bulls Wild Edge

85

2016

Bulls Wild Edge

The Bulls Wild Edge is a mid- to top-end XC racing-focused bike from this German brand which has a major presence in Europe but only recently came to the States.

Scott Solace Premium

93

2016

Scott Solace Premium

Scott’s top-of-the-line Endurance Road option is the Solace Premium with the Dura Ace Di2 Disc 11-speed group and a high-end Syncros carbon aero wheelset. The Solace adds highly shaped tubing and a slightly narrow seatpost to add compliance, and a beefy bottom bracket area and downtube for responsiveness. It also feature a full carbon build, including saddle rails, seatpost and bars.

Moots Vamoots DR, Build 2

91

2016

Moots Vamoots DR, Build 2

The Vamoots DR, Build 2features Moots' flagship Endurance Road Disc frame, handcrafted from Titanium, with Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed group and Ksyrium's Pro Disc alloy wheelset. There are also other build options in the line. Titanium frames, though slightly heavier and more flexible than carbon, also provide a far superior ride feel, and Moots knows how to build them as well as anyone, making this by far the smoothest ride in the group.

Trek Domane 6.9 Disc

92

2016

Trek Domane 6.9 Disc

The Trek Domane 6.9 Disc bike with Dura Ace’s Di2 Disc 11-speed group and Bontrager's Affinity Elite wheelset is Trek’s top-of-the-line Endurance Road offering. Trek adds compliance to the already Endurance-focused geometry by using a "decoupler" which in essence creates a bushing between the seatstays/top tube junction and the seatpost, while an adjustable carbon seat mast keeps it from being too bouncy. The full carbon build includes saddle rails, seat tube and bars.  

Eddie Merckx Mourenx 69 Black Anthracite Red

91

2016

Eddie Merckx Mourenx 69 Black Anthracite Red

Eddy Merckx's Mourenx69 Black Anthracite Red model is the top-of-the-line build, featuring Shimano's Ultegra Di2 11-speed electronic shifting, and the Fulcrum Race 5 wheelset. The distinctive squared-off tubing adds aero benefits while also combining compliance and torsional stiffness. While the frame is more compliant and slightly more upright than some of Merckx's more traditional race bikes, this is clearly the most race-oriented bike in this group.  

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Red

90

2016

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Red

The Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Red isCannondale's top-of-the-line Endurance Road frame featuring SRAM's flagship Red Disc 11-speed group and Cannondale's house brand CZero carbon wheelset. The line is also available with multiple other build options. Highly manipulated tubing along with an ultra-thin seat tube are said to further improve the combination of vertical compliance and torsional stiffness, and it's the lightest full build in the group.

Sugoi Versa

85

2016

Sugoi Versa

The Sugoi Versa is a cycling jacket, vest and shrug/sleeves in one modular garment. 

Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible

83

2016

Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible

The Pearl Izumi ELITE Barrier Convertible is one of the lightest jackets in the test with a minimal degree of water- and weather-resistance and high degree of visibility. It has a sleek, trim fit and removing the sleeves is fast and simple.

Louis Garneau Spire Convertible

84

2016

Louis Garneau Spire Convertible

The Louis Garneau Spire Convertible is the warmest and most wind-proof cycling jacket in the test. It has a very high degree of breathability and visibility. However, reattaching the detached sleeves cannot be done while wearing the jacket.

Canari Optima

81

2016

Canari Optima

The Canari Optima is the lightest jacket in the test with a very high-degree of breathability. Magnetic snaps make interchangeability between jacket, vest and arm sleeves/shrug fast and precise. However, it offers very minimal wind- and water-resistance. 

Gore Element Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady

86

2016

Gore Element Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady

The Gore ELEMENT Windstopper Active Shell Zip-Off Lady is the lightest jacket in the test with the highest degree of wind resistance and breathability. It has a sleek, trim fit with enough stretch in the arms and shoulders to accommodate the cyclist in any position. 

Louis Garneau Granite

87

2015

Louis Garneau Granite

The first thing riders will notice about the Louis Garneau Granite is the surprisingly supple upper. The fit is glove like, hugging every curve of the foot, whether wide or narrow.

Pearl Izumi Men’s X-Project 2.0 MTB

95

2015

Pearl Izumi Men’s X-Project 2.0 MTB

The Pearl Izumi X-Project 2.0 MTB shoe is for serious riders who don’t want to sacrifice off-bike comfort and performance just to save some weight. Serious racers should consider this shoe as a day-to-day training shoe they can beat up without sacrificing performance.

Specialized Rime Expert

91

2015

Specialized Rime Expert

While the stiffness of the Specialized Rime Expert is certainly not sufficient for serious XC racing, or even hardcore enthusiasts, the shoe remains efficient enough for most riders, even while climbing, due to the majority of the flex occurring away from the foot/pedal interface.

Giro Code VR70

89

2015

Giro Code VR70

The Code is a high-performing, even race-ready, XC shoe that can also handle some more aggressive riding, with its tough, highly water-resistant upper and sticky Vibram lugs. 

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