Tips / Top Five Bicycle Accessories for Summer 2014

By Steve Woodfield:

With the improved weather, now is the time to use your account to get your hands on some of the best bicycling accessories and gear of 2014. We’ve compiled a list of what you need to enjoy the warm months on two wheels:

1. Bell Array Helmet, $100
The Array compares favorably with helmets that cost twice as much. Its Twin Axis Gear fit system adjusts with a one-handed twist of a small wheel at the back of the helmet. Properly tightened, the helmet feels snug but not restricting, on your head. The 22 vents, the same number found on Bell’s top-end Volt, are arranged to allow air to enter through the front, pass over your head and flush out of the back, a system Bell calls Channeled Ventilation. The Array’s low profile cuts down on the mushroom-head effect, too.

2. Planet Bike Protege 8.0 Computer, $35
The 8.0 lets you scroll or reset by pushing the whole unit forward on the mount–easy, even with gloved hands. It’s an improvement over the small, hard-to-manipulate buttons on some other computers. The big display always shows speed, ride time and distance while alternating between the odometer, clock, and average and max speeds. The harness has a solid handlebar bracket and a heavy-duty wire. It’s all sleek and slim, except for the huge magnet on the wheel-speed sensor. Setup is simple, making the 8.0 a home-run choice with great features, even without the bonus of a low price.

3. Shimano RT80 Shoes, $120
Shimano calls the RT80 a touring shoe. The sole is designed for recessed, two-bolt, SPD cleats and has rubber bumpers on the toe and heel, which let you walk normally. Other features that contribute to all-day comfort: A roomy toe box, offset straps that keep pressure away from the top of your foot and a breathable mesh panel on the upper. The cleat setup is a little complicated—you have to insert a nut under the insole and hold it in place while you screw in the cleat.

4. Shimano RS20 Wheelset, $300
Alloy rims with a slight aero profile are laced to high-polish hubs via double-butted bladed spokes (16 straight-laced in front and 20 2-cross out back) with alloy nipples and offset drilling. The RS20s track a straight line. They’re not light and wispy, but dependability and predictability at speed are more important.

5. Park BCB-4 Brush Set, $20
Park’s brushes are designed to make cleaning all the nooks and crannies on your bike fast and easy: You can wipe down all sides of your down tube at once and scrub deep between the cassette cogs.

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