1. If there's one thing you need, it's a nice pair of bibs. Whether or not the contoured fit of Sugoi's RSE bibs ($200; sugoi.ca) helped lessen muscle fatigue, as advertised, was hard to gauge. But both the moisture-wicking interior and quick-drying chamois received rave reviews.
Road biking apparel
2. Up top, Minneapolis-based Twin Six's soft poly Miss and Out ($75; twinsix.com) has a comfy cut (read: not Euro tight), three big back pockets, and a deep front zip.
3. Hincapie Sportswear (yes, as in George and his brother, Rich) makes some of the best jackets and vests we've tested recently. The Tour LT ($100; hincapie.com) has it allmesh back, reflective trim, a high collar, and two back pocketsin a stretchy and water-resistant package.
4. With gloves, it's the little things, like the sewn-in pull-tabs between the fingers on Nalini's lightweight Colombo gloves ($78; nalini.com), which makes removal a much less annoying procedure.
5. Because they're plenty stiff and well-priced, Specialized's BG Comp Shoes ($170; specialized.com) have long been a tester favorite.
6. Bollé's photochromic Vitesse sunglasses ($160; bolle.com)that's them on the helmetprovided big-time coverage and quickly adjusted to changing light conditions.
7. Rudy Project's Sterling ($225; rudyproject.com) is a pretty trick helmet. A Boa-like knob dials fit with a few quick turns, and the bug-net lining is a great idea (and removable on hot days). Plus, because it comes with a visor for mountain biking, it goes both ways.