Our favorite kit for road and mountain.
Scott Arx Helmet
You could pay more for a helmet, but after testing the Arx ($80), we’re not sure why you would. It’s every bit as comfy and ventilated as Scott’s (slightly lighter) top-end models.
Louis Garneau Mondo 2 Gloves
Even with a layer of gel padding, the Mondo 2 ($45) gives you that second-skin feel of high-quality leather on handlebars. Mesh panels on the back offer superior venting, while a finger tab lets you pull the glove off without flipping it inside out.
Rapha Women's Rain Jacket
Rain has a way of sneaking inside cycling jackets. Not this one. The snug waterproof-breathable shell ($310) has sticky silicone on the hem to prevent it from riding up, while stretchy cuffs keep dribbles from creeping into the sleeves. Packs down to avocado size.
Hincapie Chromatic Top and Shorts
Carbon-infused fabric in the top shunts moisture away from your skin to promote cooling, while compression Lycra in the shorts stabilizes muscles and staves off fatigue ($100 and $110).
Scott Road Pro Lady Shoes
With a women-specific instep and a moderately stiff fiberglass and nylon sole, this is a powerful road shoe ($150) that still manages to be comfortable. Inserts under the heel and forefoot dampen vibration, and a mesh and microfiber upper keeps your dogs from overheating.
Giro Xara Helmet
With multiple adjustment points that tilt the helmet forward and back and snug it to the head, this lid ($130) fit more testers than any other we tried. Seventeen vents kept riders cool.
Giro Xena Gloves
The Xena ($40) is padded with Poron XRD—the same stuff body armor is made from—but still feels surprisingly light. Our pair endured a summer of riding, including multiple land-on-your-hands spills.
Zoic Terra Jersey
This versatile trail jersey ($60) mixes spandex on the shoulders and polyester in the body for a fit that’s loose but not baggy. Three-quarter-length sleeves fended off both blackberry brambles and bugs, while mesh side panels on the ribs and inner arms nicely vented heat and moisture.
Specialized Andorra Comp Shorts
These highly breathable shorts ($90) pack technical features, like a Velcro- adjustable waistband and 50-plus UPF sun protection, into a casual-looking package. A spacious side cargo pocket easily fit a few Clif Bars.
Teva Pivot Shoes
The Pivot ($150) plays both ways. A midsole plate lends supports, while the flexible forefoot permits an easy stride off the bike. Cleats screw on from inside, making adjustment (and replacement) easy.