Hit List: This week’s best road bikes, components, gear and apparel

Knight carbon wheels, Specialized Turbo tires, Polygon Bend CX and more

Apparel Cross Helmets Shoes Tires Wheels

Each week our editorial team does a lap of the proverbial test garage, making note of the best cycling gear and apparel we’ve been using lately. Some of it is brand new. Some of it is so old and beat up you can barley read the label. The common thread is that it’s all earned a place in our regular use rotation due to quality, performance, durability and/or price. Here’s this week’s hit list. What’s your go-to gear? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Knight 35 Carbon Wheels

Knight Composites 35 Carbon Wheels

We’ve only been on these wheels a few months, so it’s tough to make a call on long term durability. But thus far performance has been A-1-A. These 35mm deep carbon clinchers are reasonably light at 1530 grams (actual weight), but it’s stiffness and braking feel that have really impressed us. No matter how hard we mash up a climb or reef on the bars mid sprint, brake rub is absolutely non-existent. And when it’s time to come down, these wheels deliver the predictable and modulated braking feel of an alloy rim. No grabbing, no shrilling, no heat build up on the brake track. Tracking is also spot on, even when barreling down gravel roads, which we’ve done a few times.

Knight makes some bold claims about aero efficiency, but in a 35mm wheel I cant say it’s particularly noticeable. They don’t feel slow, but not runaway fast either. These wheels do have an interesting back story. Bend, Oregon-based Knight was formed by Beverly Lucas (who helped start ENVE) and Kevin Quan (ex-Cervélo bike designer). Now the two have put their heads together on a new project. So far, so good. | Weight: 1530 grams | Depth: 35mm | Width: 25.5mm | Spokes: 20f/24r | Price: $2500 with Aivee SR5 hubs | More info: knightcomposites.com

Bontrager XXX Road Shoes

Bontrager XXX Road Shoes

For a tidy $400 you expect light weight and high performance from a shoe. But Bontrager’s halo road slippers have also proven to be a durable and comfortable long term companion. We’ve ridden these in all types of weather, walked up rough gravel roads, and even crashed hard once. But aside from a little scuffing they’ve held up admirably, two-way micro-adjust BOA closures and all.

We especially love the no-slip lining in the heel, which helps keep your foot in place without having to over-tighten the dials or Velcro strap. And with a lightweight carbon sole that has a 14 stiffness index rating, power transfer is never in question. | Weight: 260 grams per shoe | MSRP: $400 | More info: www.bontrager.com

Shimano PD-9000 Dura Ace Pedals

Shimano PD-9000 Dura Ace Pedals

Nothing new here — and that’s the beauty. These Shimano pedals have been our go to option for several years now, and have required absolutely zero maintenance. We’ve ridden on-road and off, in the dry and in the wet, and they simply take a licking and keep on clicking. The axles spins smooth. The carbon body holds together. And the large platform makes them easy to get into and enhances power transfer. | Weight: 250 grams for the pair. | MSRP: $280 but easy to find for less | More info: www.shimano-lifestylegear.com

Specialized S-Works Turbo Tire

Specialized S-Works Turbo Tire

While it reads “For Racing Only” on the sidewall, the 26c Specialized S-Works Turbo Tire has done just fine as an everyday driver on pavement and dirt. The 220 tpi casing provides a supple, smooth ride, while the BlackBelt sidewall protection has resulted in exactly zero flats during a full summer of riding. Yes, we’re starting to see some wear along the crown, but in our mind that’s a fair trade for the low rolling resistance and superb cornering traction you get form these high performance tires. | Weight: 220 grams for 26c | Price: $55 | More info: www.specialized.com

Continue to page 2 for more of this week’s best road bike gear and apparel »
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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