State of the Art

Bikes aren't the only things that got leaner and stronger this year. Say hello to four superlight ride boosters.

Bell Sweep XC, Shimano M225, Blackburn Framepump CF, RXS Titan Carbon from Time     Photo: Clay Ellis

1. The BELL SWEEP XC helmet is the trail-tweaked version of the road lid that protected two Tour de France squads last year. The difference between road and mountain models? The XC's visor bumps up the weight to a still-feathery 11 ounces. Thus knobbie fans enjoy the same 20 air vents and a one-hand ratcheting system that lets you adjust fit on the fly. $130; 800-456-2355, www.bellbikehelmets.com

2. SHIMANO built its top-end M225 mountain-bike shoe around a rigid carbon sole to make sure all the leg strength you've worked to build goes into turning the crank, not flexing the shoe. Grippy treads and a wraparound plastic outsole protect the carbon from debris and help stabilize your stride, while tough heel and toe caps save your pedalers from dings and dents. $170; 800-423-2420, bike.shimano.com

3. Carbon fiber's traits—superior strength in a lithe package—can now be found in a portable pump. The BLACKBURN FRAMEPUMP CF shaves an ounce off the company's lightest aluminum-chassis inflator, yet it can handle pressures of up to 160 psi—meaning your tire will blow before the pump ever does. The long tube allows for faster inflation. $50; 800-456-2355, www.blackburndesign.com

4. The RXS TITAN CARBON road pedals from TIME weigh a scant seven ounces—thanks to carbon-and-titanium guts—yet they perform like beefier units, with an oversize platform and ten degrees of lateral wiggle room to keep knees happy. The sleek design creates a more efficient pedal stroke by narrowing the gap between foot and pedal axle to eight millimeters. $295; 877-727-7661, www.timesportusa.com

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