10 Must-Haves for Road Cyclists

Road bike gear for the serious cyclist

The most important thing for a serious road cyclist is comfort. If you’re not comfortable, your riding will suffer. When I speak about comfort, I’m not talking about a tractor-sized saddle with a sheepskin cover. Instead, I’m talking about making sure everything you select fits your body and riding style.

I spent years as a sponsored rider. Yes, being given your riding essentials is a perk, but it also means you’re beholden to those sponsors and their products.

One of the best things about not being sponsored is picking and choosing the items that work best for your riding style.

The following items are all things I think are “must-haves” for the serious road cyclist. These are my suggestions based on my experience, and I am not sponsored by any companies whose products are listed below.

This list of recommended products (road cycling must-haves) from ex-professional road cyclist and former junior World Champion Cecilia Potts.

Please note that all links below are affiliate links which means Training4cyclists.com earns a small commission if you click the link and buy the product (there are no additional costs to you.)

Road bike clothing, helmet, and accessories

1. Bell Sweep Helmet
The fit system allows for a comfortable fit that feels like the helmet is “floating” on my head. I also have A LOT of hair. The Sweep has 20 vents that keep the temperature comfortable.

2. Oakley M Frame Sunglasses – Sweep

If I go riding without sunglasses, I feel naked. Sunglasses are much more than something to keep the brightness at bay. Glasses protect your eyes from flying debris, bugs, and dust. I have always appreciated the look and versatility of the M Frame. There are all types of lenses available, and at some point in my career, I believe I’ve used them all.

3. Fox Racing Dirtpaw Glove
Yes, these are mountain bike gloves, and yes, I wear them for road riding. I have a few pairs of this glove and even a pair that I “modified” for hot conditions (I cut off the fingers).

If you look at the tops of my hands, you’ll understand why I want full finger gloves that are durable. These gloves hold up to crashes. In addition, I like that they’re not overly padded and give me a good feel for the handlebar.

4. Castelli clothing

The only road cycling clothes hanging in my closet are the Castelli brand. The way Castelli cuts its clothing makes for an optimal fit on the bike. Finding good quality, comfortable pair of shorts has always been a challenge. The Castelli Kiss 3 pad is the closest I’ve ever come to complete satisfaction with a pair of bike shorts.

As for the jerseys, I have the short sleeve full zip, the long sleeve, full zip, and the Gore-Tex Windstopper vest. I’m no longer a sponsored racer and have worn everything from Canari to Pearl Izumi, and nothing has ever felt as good as Castelli clothing.

5. Arm, leg, and knee warmers
Believe it or not, California isn’t always super hot (contrary to the conditions at this year’s Tour of California). Where I’ve spent much of the past ten years riding is warmish-cool. Arm, leg, and knee warms are essential for choosing the proper attire for the temperature.

Most of my rides leave from the coast and head to the mountains, and to not be overdressed, arm and leg warmers are the tickets. Having arm, leg, and knee warmers is a must-have for any rider.

Road bike pedals, shoes, and saddles

6. Sidi Road shoes
Finding a shoe that fits your foot can be challenging. The next puzzle piece is finding a road shoe sole that won’t flex. I’ve always been a big fan of carbon soles.

I raced with them for years, and even now, I feel more confident with a stiff sole for recreational riding. Sidis feel like ballet slippers on my feet, and I can’t imagine wearing any other shoe.

7. Look Keo pedals
Combining the stiffness of a carbon-soled shoe with the platform provided by a Look Keo Pedal, you’ve got a solid setup. Remember when I talked about the importance of pedal stroke?

Combining the carbon sole with the Look Keo and using the entire pedal stroke is where you can maximize pedal stroke efficiency. Another benefit to the Keo system is that it functions well even in challenging weather conditions such as rain/snow/slush/mud.

8. Wilderness Trail Bikes, Inc. Saddles
Saddles are all about personal preference. Many people won’t even try a saddle on their road bike because they think it’s a mountain bike saddle. I ride the WTB Deva SLT on both the mountain bike AND the road bike. My theory is if you find a saddle you love, why not put it on all of your bikes?

Each WTB saddle is designed by WTB founder and owner, Mark Slate. Much thought is put into where a rider’s sit bones and soft tissue will rest on the saddle. Comfort and weight are considered, and most WTB saddles come with the option of Titanium rails, ultra-light foam padding, or even carbon rails.

Road bike tires and wheels

9. Continental Gator Skin Tires
Nothing ruins the rhythm of a training ride like getting a flat tire. The Continental Gator Skins aren’t the lightest tires on the market, but they are some of the most durable. I keep the Gator Skins on my training wheels (which are also pretty heavy). I remember going for seasons without getting a flat with the Gator Skins. When I have replaced my Gator Skins, I was blown away by how much glass was stuck in the cuts of the rubber and how not a single shard made it through the tire for thousands of miles.

10. Mavic Ksyrium Wheels
A race day wheelset is something I cherish. I love putting on the go-fast wheels. The bike feels faster and more nimble, and mentally I feel ready to hammer. I’ve always loved Mavic products. The company makes an excellent product and has always provided outstanding neutral support to racers worldwide.

The Ksyriums are a wheelset that I feel confident in using for all-around racing — road race, crit, or time trial. So if you’re going to have one extra wheelset in your arsenal, the Mavic Ksyriums are a great all-around product.