Why Don't We Do It in the Road?

Blacktop Optional, Part II

Photograph by Eric Swanson    

Speedplay Zero pedals ($195; 800-468-6694, www.speedplay.com)
Speedplay's Zeros feature a dual-sided design that lets you click in without hunting around and unclip with a gentle twist. But it's their unique retention mechanism that makes them special: No matter how hard you pull up on the pedals, you can't pop out. This year's model also lets you adjust float—turn two screws, and your heel can go from fixed to 15 degrees of wiggle.

Easton EC90 handlebars ($160; 831-394-7114, www.eastonbike.com)
Easton's carbon-fiber bars are astonishingly light—at 185 grams, they weigh about 35 grams less than most aluminum bars. But gram shaving isn't the entire point: These bars eat chatter. Thanks to carbon's natural vibration-damping properties, hands and shoulders feel noticeably fresher after two hours of coarse state-highway riding.
Reynolds Ouzo Pro FORK ($335; 760-798-8008, www.reynoldscomposites.com)
Road forks need to be stiff for precise handling, yet pliant so the road doesn't shake the fillings out of your teeth. Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork strikes that elusive balance. Unlike metal, which can be a full pound heavier, carbon-fiber lets designers change the orientation of the material to make a fork that's laterally rigid (for cornering) but forgiving fore and aft (for absorbing bumps)

Oakley Magnesium M-frame ($225; 800-336-3994, www.oakley.com)
An incredible step forward in eyewear craftsmanship, the M-Frames unfold like the blades of a Swiss Army knife—they pop open with a precise, dutiful feel. The magnesium frame is lighter than titanium or aluminum, and stronger than plastic. On your face, the fit is firm but comfortable, the optics amazingly crisp.

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