Jamis Aurora Elite
The stout chromoly tubing on Jamis’s Aurora Elite (27 lbs) gave us confidence, even on circuitous descents with full loads; the included rack and fenders ensured full integration (no jury-rigging to fit); and the disc brakes made for much easier stopping than the rim variety. The saddle was comfy out of the box, and the bike looks great, too.
Gore Bike Wear Fusion GT AS
The Gore Fusion GT AS jacket weighs just 8.5 ounces and packs smaller than a water bottle, but the combination of smart tailoring (formfitting cuffs, long adjustable waistline, weatherproof zips) and highly breathable Gore-Tex Active Shell kept us bone dry inside, even when pedaling hard in an Arizona thunderstorm.
Shimano’s PD-A600 pedals pair wide-platform Ultegra cages (so your feet don’t tire) with SPD cleats, which tuck neatly into a recessed sole for easier walking.
Shimano SPD-compatible SH-RT82
We love the Shimano SPD-compatible SH-RT82 shoe. Though it performs like a road kick (board-stiff midsole, micro buckle for adjustability), the rubberized sole and cleat recess made it as easy to get around off the bike as on it.
Garmin eTrex 30
With a hi-res color screen, a wider satellite network than ever before (including Russia’s Glonass system), and a microSD card slot for uploading maps, the Garmin eTrex 30 is your best bet for not getting lost. Smart: runs on easy-to-find AA batteries.
The understated styling and generous cut of the Giordana Sport jersey and bibs ($195) are classy enough for restaurant stops, but the kit has all the tech (breathable back panel, plush chamois) for a full day in the saddle.
We didn’t think we needed another helmet purveyor, but the Cannondale Teramo won us over with a stack of features (23 vents, sweat-resistant EVA padding, relatively light weight) at a very reasonable price.