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I love biking, but I’m clueless as to what kind of gear I need to look cool and be kitted out in the best stuff to protect my head, body and feet. Can you give me some suggestions?

I love biking, but I’m clueless as to what kind of gear I need to look cool and be kitted out in the best stuff to protect my head, body and feet. Can you give me some suggestions?


First of all, bicycle tribes are distinct and antagonistic -- each wears his own colors and tricks himself out in kit most appropriate to their style of riding. Here are the best options for each:

The Roadie
This dude rides a drop-handle-barred, race-whippet bike over long distances.

Traditional roadie bike gear includes skintight Lycra clothing. It’s lightweight, sheds water, absorbs sweat well and is aerodynamic. But it is to be avoided if it makes you look like 40 pounds of meatloaf crammed into a 30-pound bag.

If you’re worried about road rash from a skid, Santini DFEND kit now includes shorts with strategically placed butt pads. They are vital shock-absorbers for your delicate derriere (Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear , $39.95).

Also, never hit the dusty trail without these essentials: Plenty of water bottles, “clipless” shoes and pedals that lock together (Shimano , $94.99); and a tool/pump/tube pack (Topeak ALiEN II , $40) slung under your saddle.

The City Cyclist
Whether you’re a hipster “fakenger” on a fixie bike, or a green-leaning commuter on a “hybrid,” your two-wheel town car’s best friend is a huge, heavy lock. The general formula is to spend 10 percent of the worth of your bike on this vital cycle gear. Check out the Kryptonite line, which ranges from $10 to $60 on REI.com .

Also, make sure you’ve got puncture-resistant tires, such as Schwalbe Marathons (SchwalbeTires.com , $14 to $72). A pannier and rack (Delta Cycle Megarack , $49) is ideal for keeping kit off your back, and a courier bag’s ideal for seamless transition from riding to walking (CourierBags.com , $69 to $165).

“Softshell” jackets will keep out all but the worst rain. For your bottom half, skinny jeans are fine (Levi’s 511 , $58 to $178) for throwing on top of a pair of padded bicycle shorts.

The Mountain Biker
Baggy shorts and tops (such as those made by Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear ) are the general rule for the dirt-riding dudes of cycling. Throw on a breathable waterproof jersey (GoreBikeWear.com Xenon Jersey , $180) if you’re riding in wet or damp weather.

A helmet is a must for mountain biking. Low-hanging branches, over-the-bars dismounts, and rock drops all mean you want to keep your head from getting cracked like an egg. HuckNRoll.com  offers a full menu of styles ranging from $35 to $250.

Other good kit to roll with? A hydration backpack to keep you watered and stow trail tools in … and grippy shoes (Five Ten Impacts  or Shimano MT53s ). Also pick up a padded case for your cell phone. It has feelings too.


About the Expert

Simon Munk is an award-winning journalist that specializes in consumer technology, video games and outdoor-product coverage for men. He's written for Stuff and Blender magazines and was launch editor in chief of Stuff Gamer. Simon's articles have previously appeared on Style and Tech for Men.

Tags: Sports , Style