It’s that time of year again, with many keen cyclists filing their taxes and eagerly awaiting their refunds. The team at BikeRoar have put together a list of essential, practical, and possibly gratuitous bikes and kit that your reclaimed money can buy.
Let's start big, as in you've got a phat refund and aren't messing around.
The new disc-brake version of the S-Works Venge ViAS is, apparently, the fastest bike the esteemed manufacturer has ever built. It’s quite a claim, but with a 30 percent increase in front-end stiffness, a two-minute advantage over the Specialized Tarmac in a 40km time trial, a wireless SRAM eTap groupset, and tubeless Roval CLX 64 disc wheels, you’ve got a bike that’s ready to destroy the competition.
Regardless of your refund size, a workstand is a practical investment.
This is the stand originally designed for the mechanics of the Tour de France-winning U.S. Postal pro cycling team. There were, admittedly, a few problems surrounding the team but none of them involved the mechanics or their equipment! Now available to professional and home mechanics everywhere, this compact, Euro-style work stand holds the bike securely without clamping the frame tubes or seatpost. Ideal for ultra lightweight frame tubes or seatposts and for bikes with tight access areas that can't be clamped, the Park PRS-20 workstand folds to 33 inches in length for easy transport and storage. The quick-release mounts hold your bike securely by the front or rear dropouts and the stable tripod base ensures it will stay secure. A welcome addition to any workshop or garage.
The best way to improve your cycling skills and pedaling technique is to train on rollers, and the best rollers, in our opinion, are the Arion from Elite. They feature a handy instep to make it easier to mount and dismount, parabolic-shaped drums to keep the bike centered, and durable sealed bearings quiet enough to avoid drawing abuse from housemates. The foldable, low-profile frame makes storage easy, and there is no maintenance whatsoever required.
If you're a little more flush and want extra features, consider the Arion Mag ($380) that adds 3 levels of magnetic resistance, or the Arion Digital Smart B+ ($599), "smart" rollers that combine traditional rollers with electronic features such as power, speed, and cadence data transmission, and electromagnetic resistance that can be manually controlled or interactively adjusted via ANT+ through software like Zwift or Training Peaks.
As light as a climbing wheelset, faster than TT wheels, and stronger than a training set! The all-new EC90 Aero 55 clincher is an absolutely dominant wheelset, combining the most aerodynamic road rim ever with the durable new Echo hubs to deliver a truly great set of all-round wheels without any compromise.
Tipping the scales at just 1690 grams (3.7 lbs), this wheelset offers exceptional performance, efficiency, and unrivaled stopping power, coupled with certified road tubeless compatibility without rim strips. Wrap these qualities around a 55mm-deep carbon clincher rim with a luxuriously wide 19mm internal rim width and you have a wheelset that delivers speed and reliability in any condition.
British outfitters Rapha are at the absolute top of the game when it comes to cycling kit. Lash out with your reclaimed tax dollars and get outfitted with their Brevet collection — not cheap, but built to surpass the tough demands of long-distance rides while looking uber cool and all with hi-vis details.
The Brevet bib shorts are built for adventure. They feature a new fabric chosen to provide greater support and durability, an open-stripe bib strap for added moisture wicking, and a multi-density foam chamois pad for longer-lasting comfort.
The Brevet gilet (a fancy name for a wind vest) is crafted for those longer rides when you don’t want to carry much with you, but need to cover yourself for changeable weather. With mesh and windproof fabrics, it's a lightweight and packable outer layer.
Finally, grab a 3-pair bundle of Rapha Brevet socks (short or regular). Developed with long-distance riding in mind, they are medium weight in thickness, made of an innovative blend of merino wool for moisture-wicking, breathability and anti-bacterial qualities, and PrimaLoft® for a soft, smooth feel and quicker drying.
The Cobalt 11 from Crank Brothers are pro-level cross-country (XC) carbon wheels, featuring a unique wheel design that is based around principles of strength, stiffness, and acceleration, distributing mass closer to the hub for faster acceleration and deceleration.
They are designed using the strongest shape in construction — the triangle — to maximize strength and stiffness, and come tubeless-ready straight out of the box. They are a worthwhile investment for any serious MTB racer.
When you can afford style and function, you get a road cockpit like the Vision Metron 5D, a stiff, integrated aero handlebar and stem system with an ergonomic shape. The top bar is wing-like aero and the 'Aero-Ergo' central section allows the rider to position arms more naturally and comfortably. The Metron 5D has internal cable routing and an easy-to-access hideaway compartment to stow a Di2 junction box, keeping it aero and clean. For further sleekness, the Metron 5D includes two 'Control Center' brackets to put center forward either a Garmin or a standard mount device.
With a claimed weight of just 270 grams (just over half a pound), the Vertigo 2.0 is an incredibly light helmet designed to keep your head cool, boasting a precise fit and super compact shape. The Vertigo has a unique hinged adjustment system that allows for both size and up/down adjustment, which together comfortably cradle the nape of the neck. The helmet size can be adjusted using either the dial or finger push system. This system also includes ventilated, non-stick pads. Working together, these features give the helmet a superior fit and deliver a feeling of improved safety and security covered by a manufacturer's lifetime warranty.
Having dominated the bicycle market for decades, the Giant / Liv brand is steadily expanding into other categories, including apparel and footwear. In its women’s Liv line, the top-shelf off-road Tesca features a carbon sole with a stiff crossed-beam construction called 'ExoBeam' that improves torsional rigidity, and a flex zone at the toe for walkability. The soft, comfy microfiber upper features mesh panels for ventilation, a roomy toebox with a reinforced bumper, and dual Boa reel closures that make it quick and easy to dial in fit.
Still have funds for more and racing against the clock is your thing? Then the all-new 2017 BMC Timemachine TM01 eTap is tailor-made for you. The culmination of four years of studying the needs of time-trial riders, a three-year aerodynamics partnership with Sauber Engineering and two years of final product development, the Timemachine is the new benchmark for TT equipment. With Full SRAM eTap electronic groupset, a BMC V-Cockpit / Profile T4+ carbon extensions, Zipp 404 or 808 Firecrest wheelset and Fizik Tritone manganese saddle, this futuristic time traveler is a dream come true.