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Gear of the year: our favourite cycling tech from 2019

Gear of the Year 2019 Cannondale SuperSix EVO Disc
Gear of the Year 2019 Cannondale SuperSix EVO Disc (Image credit: Future)

It really has been a stellar year as far as new bikes, gear and kit are concerned with some amazing products and developments sprouting forth from the world's most revered brands. 

While we saw some crazy concepts - the CeramicSpeed Driven concept yet again wooed the masses - we made an effort to get our hands on as many products as possible to establish which truly are the best in a bid to offer Cyclingnews' readers best-in-class cycling buying advice.

Eurobike showcased some impressive tech highlights but throughout the year, only a few truly stood out as game-changing items. We narrowed down our search by carefully and methodically sifting through all the marketing hype and ensured we field-tested each product. That said, it's fair to say that all the items listed here have become our go-to choices when we head out of the door and represent products we'd personally buy ourselves.

We've also pulled out some of the key features of each product, photographed them beautifully and ensured we've found the best prices so that you too can get in on the action. Enjoy.

Our gear of the year

Cannondale SuperSix EVO DA Disc

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Cannondale SuperSix EVO Dura-Ace Disc

The new Cannondale SuperSix EVO is fast but also impressively compliant. It's the benchmark for lightweight road bike perfromance

Brakes: Rim and Disc | Frame: Carbon | Type: Race | Sizes: 47-62cm

Sharp handling 
Aero and comfort gains
Power meter requires a fee to unlock

On the surface, it's difficult to spot any similarities between the new SuperSix and its forebear. Save for a couple of monikers and decals, they couldn't be further apart. Despite the generic facade, however - something it shares with all of its rivals - the new SuperSix looks fast even when standing still. 

It's only once you've pedalled it and taken it through its paces do the similarities with its predecessor come to the fore. It's an agile machine; stiff and fast. Like version two, it climbs well, corners with confidence and is perceptive to directional changes, instilling in the rider assurance as well as sending dollops of feedback through the tyressaddle and bars.

The new Cannondale SuperSix EVO is fast. Undeniably so but it's also impressively compliant. It's starting to feel more and more like the SuperSix EVO it replaces every time we ride it, which is a lot.

Roval Terra CLX wheels

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Roval Terra CLX wheels

An incredibly light wheelset designed to transition effortlessly between tarmac and gravel roads

Brake: Disc | Material: Carbon | Tyre format: Tubeless and clincher (28-42mm) | Rim width (internal): 25mm

Beautifully designed wheels
Stiff and incredibly light
Compatible with tyre sizes ranging from 28-42mm (frame-clearance dependent)
Glossy decals prone to surface scratches

Roval Components, a subsidiary of Specialized, has gone all out on its new Terra wheel portfolio, pitching them squarely at the ever-growing gravel market. The range comprises a brace of options – the Terra CLX and CLX Evo – designed to cater for both speed merchants and gnar lovers of dirt-road riding, with the CLX Evo coming in both 700c and 650b guises. 

Not only are they achingly beautiful, but they're also incredibly well rounded and can be manipulated to dismiss anything you throw at them through tyre pressure experimentation, be it tarmac, gravel or even singletrack. As an all-round option, nothing we've tested thus far comes close to the value and versatility they provide in spades.

The Roval Terra CLXs, then, are neither a gravel- nor road-wheel-specific wheel option. Instead, they combine lightweight performance with an ultra-stiff chassis for use across every imaginable discipline. As a wheelset upgrade, the Terra CLX offer speed, cornering precision and a tailorable ride quality that will not just make you faster but improve the way you ride, especially on unpredictable surfaces like gravel. 

POC Aspire Solar Switch

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

POC Aspire Solar Switch sunglasses

Carl Zeiss-fettled lens and Solar Switch tech make for one serious set of sunnies

Lens type: Nylon lens by Carl Zeiss Vision, Solar Switch sensor | UV protection: Yes | Frame type: Half frame | Weight: 40g

Carl Zeiss lens
Solar Switch sensor
Exquisite design and fit
Lens needs care as it's prone to scratches

POC’s Aspire cycling sunglasses represent the brands move into a more premium and performance-focused space with an elegant colour palette comprising white, yellow, black and even tortoiseshell frame options.

The one-piece Clarity lens, developed in collaboration with Carl Zeiss Vision, provides enhanced contrast and colour definition across the spectrum. While the lens is decently sized, it doesn’t offer much of a wrap-around effect which limits peripheral vision to a certain extent. 

What it does possess in spades, however, are superior ergonomic qualities – particularly when it comes to fit and comfort thanks to the sizeable nose piece and flexibility of the Grilamid frame and arms.

This particular pair - the Aspire Solar Switch - were unveiled at EuroBike 2019 and utilise an electrochromic LCD lens that can change its tint instantly and automatically, regardless of the lighting conditions. The price? A cool £340. The regular Aspire shades are a worthy alternative should you not secure a set of Solar Switch shades.

Favero Assioma power pedals

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Favero Assioma Duo power pedals

Accurate, affordable and incredibly light. What's not to like?

Weight: 296g (actual) | Battery life: 50+ hours | Battery type: Rechargeable | Measurement: Dual-sided | Type: Pedal

Weight
Price
Accuracy
None

Favero Electronics may be a newcomer to the power-meter realm but the Italian manufacturer has taken the fight to PowerTap and Garmin by offering a lighter, cheaper and more accurate power pedal - the Assioma. In fact, they weigh just 148g per pedal, which is significantly less than the Garmin Vectors and PowerTap P2s (216g per pedal).

It's a tidy-looking package - all the sensors and strain gauges are located in a housing next to the pedal body, which measures directly at each axle. Not only does this neat little design cue ensure the Assiomas look like an ordinary pedal and not as chunky and bulky as its rivals, but it also keeps the electronics from getting damaged by falls or impacts, meaning it's easier to maintain down the line. They're also IP67 certified.

Unlike other power meters that harvest data based on the angular velocity of the crank arm through each rotation, the Assioma uses an instantaneous angular velocity (IAV) measuring technique thanks to an on-board gyroscopic sensor. According to Favero, the IAV way of harvesting data is class-leading, with accuracy to a maximum deviation of only one per cent.

Wahoo Elemnt Roam GPS

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Wahoo Elemnt Roam

The largest and most fully-featured computer from Wahoo is a genuine Garmin rival

Claimed battery life: 17 hours | Screen size (diagonal): 2.7in

Seamless app integration 
Best-in-class user experience
Larger colour screen
On-device navigation could be better

Wahoo has taken the fight to Garmin in recent years and its Wahoo Elemnt Roam cycling computer is one of the best units currently available to cyclists. It maintains all of the compatibility and connectivity of the other computers in the line-up but adds a colour screen and improved mapping capabilities.

The Roam uses colour to draw attention to specific areas on the screen, which is especially useful on the maps. Speaking of maps, Wahoo has upgraded its free worldwide maps to offer on-unit navigation and rerouting. It will also redirect you back to your route should you miss a turn, allowing you to navigate to saved locations and guide you with its 'take me to' function. 

The same functionality of the connected app is available with the Elemnt Roam, and even with the increased processing required by the routing and colour screen, it maintains its competitive 17-hour battery life. 

Elite Direto X

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Elite Direto X smart turbo trainer

In terms of pricing and reliability, the Elite Direto is hard to trump

Flywheel weight: 9.25lbs / 4.2kg | Connectivity: ANT+, Bluetooth Smart | Accuracy: +/- 1.5-percent | Max power: 2100-watts | Max simulated grade: 18 per cent

Advanced pedalling metrics
Super-quiet operation
Max power and grade simulation
Cassette not included

Elite has been producing cycling products for years, but it’s the company's crop of smart trainers that have put its name in lights recently. Take the Direto X for instance. While the original Direto brought affordability to the market, the all-new X has ironed out all the idiosyncrasies of the previous model. 

Taking the existing Direto platform, the X has ramped things up to make it more competitive against rivals such as the Wahoo Kickr Core. Elite has also beefed up the incline simulation to 18% (up from 14%), improved compatibility for longer rear derailleur cages and increased the accuracy levels of the power meter to +/- 1.5% (from 2%). Those with a keen ear will also notice it's a far quieter unit and generally more refined.

Like its predecessor it's also compatible with both road and mountain bikes – boost-equipped rigs included.

Quoc Night Mono Shoes

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Quoc Night Mono

Light, innovative shoe that favours style and fit over outright performance

Weight: 246g (actual) | Outsole: Unidirectional carbon fibre | Retention: Bolt straps | Colours: white or black

Unique retention system
Innovative use of ventilation and textural materials
Functional rather than flashy
Sizing is on the small side

Launched earlier this year, Quoc's Night Mono road shoes are one of the most stylish and sophisticated kicks we've sampled in years. 

Unlike its rivals that wax lyrical about their performance credentials, lightweight properties and Boa retention, the Night Mono shoes have adopted an approach where comfort and style are king.

While the Night Monos boast a carbon-fibre outsole, they've been tailored to deliver stiffness where it counts - particularly around the fore- and mid-foot area. Despite the sole rigidity, they're appreciably comfortable shoes but that's more a result of the EVA compound footbed which helps absorb road vibration and chatter. 

As a performance offering the Quoc Night Monos are more than capable as a road racing and crit shoe - but it all comes down to ensuring the best fit. In this respect, we suggest sizing down as they have a tendency to be sighter bigger than stated.

The biggest drawcard, however, is the tri-material, microfibre uppers that supply impressive support, drag-reducing dimples and the industry-first bolt strap retention system. Described by Quoc as 'Lego for apparel', the soft-press closure is secure, silent and supportive.

Rapha Brevet Windblock Jersey

(Image credit: Peter Haworth)

Rapha Brevet Long Sleeve Windblock Jersey

From British winter to Majorcan sunshine, one of the most versatile jackets we've tried

Fit: Regular | Available Colours: 2 | Pockets: 5 | Reflective details: Yes | Material: 89% merino wool, 11% nylon

Breathable
Windproof front panelling
Front pockets

This isn't a race jersey; it's not aerodynamically optimised and it's not going to save you 2.7 watts at 45kph. It's better than that. The Rapha Brevet long sleeve Windblock jersey is a versatile, comfortable and stylish jersey that has become the first-choice option in all but the extreme ends of the weather spectrum. 

Available in two colours - Dark Olive, or Dark Navy - the Brevet would only look out of place in your local race or time-trial. If you're a road cyclist on the Sunday club run, a gravel grinder on a bikepacking adventure, or a mountain biker hitting the trails, the Brevet is likely to become your preferred pick-me-up on your way out. 

The Brevet's versatility really comes into its own when it comes to temperature range, though. Made from 89% merino and 11% nylon, the Brevet Windblock can be paired with a winter base layer to be comfortable in -2 degrees celsius (28 Fahrenheit), or a summer base layer and suitable for 25-degree sunshine.

There are also two zipped hoodie-style pockets at the front, which make for easy phone access, quick snack grabbing, and most conveniently, somewhere to warm your hands on a chilly café stop.

Vittoria Corsa TLR Tyres

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Vittoria Corsa TLR

Vittoria’s most beautiful and versatile tyre is now tubeless

Protection: Corespun casing, graphene | Tubeless: Yes | Bead: Foldable | Format: Clincher, tubular | Width: 23, 25, 28, 30mm | Weight: 255g (700x25)

Performance
Aesthetics
Grip
A little on the pricey side

The Vittoria Corsa falls under the company’s ‘Performance Race’ range of tyres and is available in clincher and tubular guises. Using an updated four-layer Graphene 2.0 compound, Vittoria claims to have improved rolling resistance, grip, durability, braking performance and puncture protection considerably over previous models.

The qualities of Graphene 2.0 compound are also said to change depending on the load and situation: cornering, straight line or braking — it’s all very clever. They sure look fast, a notion highlighted by the contrasting tan walls.

Vittoria has also added a tubeless (TLR) version to the line-up, as is already being ridden by a few teams within the pro peloton.

Ryder Nut Cracker

(Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Ryder Nutcracker tool

The tool you never knew you needed

Size: 75x6x20mm | Weight: 8g | Features: valve-core remover, brake pad spreader, spare valve core

Diminutive and easy to store
Pad spreader
Valve-core remover (spare valve core)
Lacks a dedicated casing

While not a dedicated multi-tool by any means, we couldn't leave the Ryder Nutcracker off this list - it's that good.

The Nutcracker is one tool every cyclist - especially those who run tubeless setups - should consider keeping in their saddle bag or pouch. Overlooked by many, the Nutcracker can save you from calling an Uber should you ever experience any trail-side wheel woes such as a broken valve or blocked valve core. 

Diminutive in size the Nutcracker can be used in many ways - not only is it dual-sided in functionality, but it can also loosen and remove tubeless wheel nuts and valve cores as well as double up as a brake pad spreader. Furthermore, it also houses a spare core within the tool body - very nifty indeed.

Rapha Goretex Shakedry jacket

(Image credit: HBFilm)

Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Shakedry Jacket

Shakedry performance paired with the voguish styling of Rapha

Pockets: 0 | Colours: 1 | Fit: Race | Price: £220.00 / $295.00 / AU$385.00

Hydrophobic waterproofing
Rapha styling 
Signature Pro Team placket makes unzipping trickier

Never ones to miss a trick, Rapha joined the Gore-Tex Shakedry crowd with their Pro Team Lightweight jacket. Unmistakably Rapha by design, the Pro Team features the classic white armband and pro team strip styling.

This inclusion is particularly down to Shakedry as a technology and its quite-astounding levels of water-resistance while retaining breathability. At £220.00, we were wholly sceptical, but a solitary 20km commute from the Cyclingnews office changed our minds. On an evening where the rain had people running for cover, the first Rapha Shakedry commute had begun and there was no turning back. It turned out to be the ultimate test, and 45 minutes of downpour later, the Rapha Brevet jersey beneath remained dry. 

Despite the Shakedry membrane having little in the way of stretching qualities, Rapha has achieved a comfortable race fit. The shoulder section does opt for a bit of extra room to move, with a side-order of wind-flap, but this will only really be a problem when you're chasing John Degenkolb down a mountain into a headwind - true story.

The half elasticated cuffs sit comfortably on your wrists and play well with gloves, and a raised collar features a sweat-wicking lining. The two-way waterproof AquaGuard zip means you can zip up from the bottom to reach your pockets with ease. 

3T Exploro gravel bike

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

3T Exploro Team Force gravel bike

Capable on the road, a ripper on the trails, the 3T Exploro can do it all with ease

Frame: Carbon | Groupset: SRAM Force 1x | Sizes: S, M, L, XL | Weight: 1.58kg (frame & fork)

Lively race geometry
Can take 700c or 650b wheels
Plentiful tyre clearance
Slow on the road without 700c wheels

If the industry trend towards gravel tells us one thing, it's that road cyclists are taking themselves less seriously and are just looking to get out on the bike for the fun of it, rather than chasing goals or a target wattage. 

The 3T Exploro is the perfect partner for a roadie looking for a bit of off-road fun, or someone looking for a versatile, do-it-all bike. Compatible with both 650b and 700c wheels, the Exploro can adequately keep up with the Sunday road ride, before transforming into a singletrack-shredding superbike. 

The frame is available in LTD form, which provides a lightweight carbon layup and a 190g saving, but for such a bike, we're beyond impressed with the standard Team edition carbon. While we're happy with our 1x Sram Force setup with 650B 3T wheels, a 2x groupset and those Terra CLX wheels would make it completely capable of holding its own in your local road race. 

No longer do we feel the pull of a four-hour Sunday road ride, instead opting for a half-the-time, double-the-fun approach on the local trails. 

Giant Recon TL200

(Image credit: Future)

Giant Recon TL 200 rear light

Safety first, and the Recon TL 200 is a great balance of performance and price

Lumens: 200 | Battery: 25 hours | Flash modes: 6 (two flashing, two constant, two smart)

6 hour run time on the highest brightness
Easy use
Secure mount
Can be a fiddle to get it off

A rear light exactly the sort of product to get a cyclist all hot under the collar, but when it comes to the cost vs uses, or even number of uses full-stop, this little gem from Giant will sit at the top of the list.

We're entirely behind the argument for daytime running lights, so for every kilometre covered since we got our hands on this light, it's been along for the ride. During this time - we're talking around 3 months at the time of writing - it's not caused a single headache. The long charge time forgives you when you forget to charge it, fitment is via a simple rubber strap, with a round backing and V-shaped indent for aero seatposts, and the 270-degrees of light makes you extra visible to other road users. 

It can be mounted vertically or horizontally in its mount, which is perhaps a little over-secure if that's possible, and there's a coloured light around the button that indicates charge level.