You’re online to find advice from experts about the latest and greatest cycling gear, cutting through the marketing hype, right? Well, I can assure you that everything you’ll see here has been rigorously tested above 9,000 feet on all kinds of roads and trails and extreme weather ranging from blazing mountain sun to freezing sleet, hail and snow, and I have not been influenced by sales lackeys or swag slingers whatsoever.
The hardest part of our job? Actually coming indoors and writing? Well, you’re close; it’s not being able to include all the cool innovations we got to play with. You’ll just have to follow me on Instagram to see more.
Fresh back from the annual Interbike tradeshow in fabulous Las Vegas (seriously, what does the line item “Extra: $2” mean on a cab fare?), here’s our picks for the best gear for fall cycling. And don’t worry, these investments will carry you through many seasons to come.
Diamondback Release CarbonWe got a sneak preview ride on this beaut earlier this summer at Deer Valley Mountain Resort, and it’s finally available for purchase, allowing you to quickly and affordably upgrade to one of the best modern-class all-purpose carbon MTBs on the market. This is basically, exactly the mountain bike you want, trust us. I had so much fun riding with Eric Porter on the thing I went OTB and broke my wrist. Diamondback’s “Level Link” suspension features a short-link, four-bar design that separates drivetrain forces from the suspension, and the bike’s 66-degree head tube and short chain stays equal more balance on the up, but letting the suspension do its thing on the way down. At the neutral sag point, the upper link is perpendicular to the lower, which is parallel to the chain, further isolating pedaling from suspension. The Release (5c model) comes stock with a Fox 36 Float 150mm fork, a 130 mm Fox DPX2 rear shock, Sram X01 Eagle drivetrain, and 27.5 Raceface Arc30 rims. It also comes with SRAM Guide RS brakes, Maxxis Minon 2.5-inch front and 2.4-inch rear tires, and a KS LEV Integra dropper, which you’ll find critical for this type of riding. In addition to the stock builds, the Release Carbon is available through Diamonback’s online Custom Studio. Custom bikes can be shipped to more than 100 countries, 95 percent assembled…a feature that is revolutionizing the bike business. 5c is $4400 (4c for $3000); diamondback.com/releasecarbon (top image of this story is also courtesy of Diamondback)
The JoeBlow Twin Turbo Pump
I’ve found over the years having an awesome pump on hand makes things just so much easier. No more begging for air at the bike shop or trying to get the tire pressures on your various bikes to meticulous accuracy with a hand pump. Topeak’s TurboBoost utilizes the pull and push of every stroke, filling the double chamber on the pump, whether you need 5 psi or 110. From the universal full-metal head to the large analog gauge, this thing’s a dream and a nice compliment to your multi-thousand-dollar quiver of bikes. $199; topeak.com
Castelli Inferno Bibshorts
Another something it took me a few seasons many years ago to figure out: good bibs are worth every penny. And a pretty penny they may be, but at least with Castelli you are getting the highest Italian quality and a really cool logo on your ass that shows you know your stuff. The Inferno Bibshort from Castelli’s Rosso Corsa ultra-high-end line represent, for me, the ultimate bib short. Even though the Infernos are designed to keep you cool in hot conditions, I still wear them all the way through Fall with knee warmers, and will take them to Italy where they came from next summer as well. From the GiroAir engineered leg gripper to the Progetto X2 Air seat pad chamois, and the six fabrics mixed for fit and cooling in each specific part of the short, these are the pro-level bibs that will make you look and feel awesome. $229; castelli-cycling.com
For something a little more toned down that doesn’t scream “I’m on a team!” but still represents the highest quality and fit in cycling apparel, the ES long sleeve jersey from Velocio pairs Italian-milled denier-gradient fabrics with a performance-focused fit (i.e., size up if you like a roomier fit) and fine details. Breathable and wicking, the ES works well as a replacement for jersey-plus-arm-warmers or as a mid-layer on colder days. $179; velocio.cc
Wilier Cento10NDR Road Bike
Wilier-Triestina made a big push into U.S. retailers a half-dozen years ago and it has served a lot of people very well, becoming my favorite road bike brand hands down due to the high value-to-quality ratio they offer. The new endurance-focused Cento10NDR is my pick for riders looking to take on rougher roads and long saddle-hours in comfort, born from a three-year design process toning down the brand’s Italian racing DNA into something perfect for all-arounders in Colorado. From gravel days (or as they say in Europe, cobbles) to Ride the Rockies, the stock disc brakes and vibration damping seat tub linkage with space-age technopolymer synthetic compounds make this rather affordable carbon road bike the only steed you’ll need for years to come. Pro tip: It’s pronounced Vee’-lee-air. $3499; wilier.com
Pearl Izumi Fall/Winter ApparelYou may have seen some of my previous reviews of Pearl apparel and know I’m a fan of their fowl weather gear. The new new for Fall includes an updated Thermal Cycling Bib Tight that I wear on the worst weather days, and a super comfy, good looking P.R.O. Escape Thermal Jersey ($155) that’s become a favorite. And while the bibs put you in the ultra-hardcore bike dork category, a steal at $140, the long sleeve fleece jersey is soft and lovely and toned down enough to wear commuting to work, but absolutely retains all of its fowl weather performance qualities. The new pieces do a nice job of incorporating Scotchlite reflectivity and various proprietary waterproof-breathable treatments. pearlizumi.com
Burly Minow Bike Trailer
For those of you in the kid game like me, here’s the way to get in shape and earn brownie points with the better half at the same time. The Minnow is the entry-level single-child bike trailer from Burley. It’s easy to put together and attach to your bike, and for junior it features a 5-point harness system, full roll cage, and adjustable hammock-style seating. The 20-inch wheels roll really nicely and are super easy to get on and off. $269; burley.com
Cannondale Moterra 2 E-bike
Ah the great E-bike debate, one of the most prolific, controversial and tedious cycling world conundrums of our lifetime. Ok maybe not, but we feel obligated to include one of these machines due to the fact that the technology is so amazing. We’ve ridden a few e-MTBs like Haibike that we’ve had a blast on, and here’s something new from Cannondale as well — the Moterra — utilizing the tried and true Bosch Performance CX MTB System Motor with a proprietary System Integration that the brand says position the Bosch drive unit in the best place possible for optimal suspension performance, weight distribution and handling. Bottom line, these things are sinfully fun, but laboriously heavy if you burn too much juice and find yourself way out with a dead battery. The 27.5-plus wheels make them even funner — or is it more fun? So you tell me: Who is the ideal customer for this bike? Do you want one? $5499; cannondale.com