This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
We've given you a good look at the bikes ridden this year at Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix but what about the rest of the riders' gear? Here's a peek of some of the shoes and helmets used during the Belgian cobbled classics.
Two trends stood out for us this April: for one, riders love customized footwear. Whether it's a company providing special colors for an entire team or a particularly high-profile rider getting their own individual colors, the split between stock and bespoke versions was roughly 50-50. Standouts include Marcel Kittel's (Giant-Shimano) Shimano SH-R320 shoes with the colors of the German flag and his name on the strap, David Millar's (Garmin-Sharp) wild Roubaix-inspired fi'z:k shoes, lots of Sidis in team livery, and day-glo footwear from Giro, Bont, and others.
Secondly, aero is king – at least when it comes to helmets, where fully covered models and/or drag-reducing models seemed to roughly match the number conventional options. One might argue that the wet and chilly conditions at Tour of Flanders would explain the prevalence of fully covered models there, as riders certainly would have been seeking any extra warmth (and dryness) available but we noticed similar distributions at Paris-Roubaix, too, where the conditions were comparatively balmy.
Teams reported to us that there's a simple reason why such helmets are taking over in the pro peloton: verifiable speed. Moreover, many riders feel that there is adequate airflow on aero models in all but the hottest conditions, especially at typical race pace.
Click through the image gallery at top right for a look at what many of your favorite teams and riders used this year.