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What Amazon did for books, Leopard is doing for bicycles. By sticking with Web-only distribution, this small Bay Area–based bike manufacturer is offering teched-out, full-carbon race bikes at unheard-of prices. The CL1 is constructed of uniquely ribbed carbon tubing and has radically shaped carbon seat- and chainstays, resulting in…

You think titanium bottle cages are a bit, um, extravagant. Your shorts: the Classic Pro, with solid construction, trim fit, and a workhorse chamois—all at a bargain price. descenteathletic.com…

If the thought of spending more for a quality bike than a decent used car makes you want to take up jogging, the Dakar will keep you on two wheels. The aluminum frame is stiff and responsive, and can take a lot of abuse. (We crashed ours into both…

With help from the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, Specialized has overhauled this shoe with a newly contoured last, orthopedic footbeds, and a foot-hugging closure. “The most comfortable cleat I’ve ever worn,” raved one tester. specialized.com…

Unlike most cycling gear, which is either solid black or blue (thrilling!) or garish enough to offend your dog, Twin Six’s line of high-performance, retro-hip jerseys won’t make your partner cringe. www.twinsix.com…

Black Diamond’s Aspect harness has intelligently designed seams that don’t dig or chafe, while the three speed buckles provide maximum safety and flexibility in a light, affordable package. bdel.com…

Not everyone wants to race, so why are so many bikes constructed with aggressive angles and knee-wrecking gears? Schwinn felt your pain and responded with the Fastback Comp, a roadie with concessions to comfort that hardly sacrifice performance. The proprietary aluminum is rigid enough for effective power transfer, while…

The price promises a lot, and these shorts deliver. The bib is cut away in front to reduce binding and overheating, the fabric is impeccably sculpted to a riding position, and the chamois feels custom-fit. castelli-us.com…

As many manufacturers pare down their bikes, Ventana goes gleefully big. Bouncing into the growing 29er fray—these mountain bikes sport XXL wheels for higher clearance and better momentum than you get with their 26-inch counterparts—the El Cap is a handcrafted, dual-suspension aluminum rig that soaks up bumps like an…

1. The Virtue Two debuts a radical new suspension system (dubbed Equilink) that offers more than five inches of active travel but has none of the drawbacks—no pedal feedback, no bob, and no extra weight—that plague most long-travel systems. It’s super-plush and, amazingly, still handles like a hardtail. 2.

Articulated sleeves don’t bunch or restrict mobility while you’re riding, making this one of the year’s most comfortable jerseys. Bummer: The Transformers-inspired graphics may not suit all tastes. www.sugoi.com…

Sterling’s 70-meter, 10.1-millimeter Marathon Pro rope strikes a good balance between lightness and durability. sterlingrope.com…

The Ghisallo is a wake-up call for weight-freak roadies dutifully switching everything (even water-bottle-cage spacers!) to carbon: There’s another gravity-defying game in town. Weighing less than a box of Clif Bars, this all-titanium frame is not only the wispiest factory model available; it’s the lightest complete bike we tested.

BIKE TO WORK Modeled after classic Dutch commuter bikes, the Amsterdam gives you everything you need for jetting around a city—and strips away everything you don’t. Its steel frame can handle the bumps and grinds of crowded bike racks and won’t buck you off when you hit potholes. And its…

Meet the Houdini of bikes: On the trail, the Anthem is so smooth it feels as if the bike has disappeared beneath you. Giant brings Maestro, 2005’s award-winning suspension, to 3.5 inches of travel, creating a lightweight ride that thrives on all manner of terrain—especially fast, technical, roller-coaster singletrack.

1. The Mojo SL won this year’s award for one simple reason: It defies all categories and excels in every condition. It’s light enough to race cross-country, but with 5.5 inches of front and rear travel, it’s cushy enough for anything a sane rider would ever descend. 2. In…

The ultimate summer jersey: The soft MicroSensor fabric wicked sweat well, and the mesh panels kept air circulating—even at high noon in Tucson. www.pearlizumi.com…

We also like Black Diamond HotWire Quickdraws. The key-lock gate on the top ‘biner won’t catch on bolt hangers, while the wire gate saves weight. bdel.com…

kona zing deluxe $2,000 Better known for its rock-bashing, mud-splashing models, Kona gussied itself up for 2006 with a series of new road bikes, including the Zing Deluxe. The teardrop-shaped 7005 aluminum tubing has more crackle than a box of Pringles, which made us grin on the uphills, where…

A SMARTER WAY TO RIDE You know those glorious and rare outings when you think only about riding—and not about your bike? That’s what every ride is like on the carbon-fiber Epic. This year Specialized became the first major bike company to manufacture its own rear shocks, and their redesigned…

Attention, bicycle junkies: Whether you replace that quiver of bikes clogging your garage or just add to it, the Zirkel is for people who maintain a bike fund the way others stock a 401(k). This three-inch-travel cross-country cruiser picks up where Moots’s now retired Smoothie left off, with a…

CROSS-COUNTRY REVELATION The Mach 4 is the first cross-country offering from MTB-design legend Chris Cocalis’s newly launched Pivot brand. It’s built around the same dw-link platform as the Gear of the Year–winning Ibis but tuned a bit firmer to stay active while eliminating energy-sapping pedal bob. The bike blasted up…

These beautifully crafted workhorse shorts are a good bet for cyclists on a budget who want plush comfort that won’t fall apart after a season or three. www.descenteathletic.com…

Mammut’s Smart belay device provides autolocking belay action at a fraction of the price and weight of other devices. mammut.ch…

Produced by a Basque collective in the heart of Spain’s Pyrenees and raced by Iban Mayo’s Euskaltel-Euskadi team, Orbea bikes are like cask-aged single-malt: They’re all about small-batch quality. With the Mitis you get classic European geometry — a stretched-out cockpit and a glute-engaging position — freshened up with…

ALL-MOUNTAIN LIGHTWEIGHT Maverick is to the mountain bike what Apple is to the personal computer: the underdog that insists it knows a better way. And we’re not arguing with a Mac Pro, or the Durance. Designed by Paul Turner, creator of the suspension fork, the Durance combines Maverick’s brilliantly simple…

Why pack 27 gears when you can crush your friends with just one? The Diesel’s list of features reads like a single-speed mantra: slick Formula Oro Puro disc brakes, dual rear cogs (16 and 18) on back for gearing options if the terrain turns testy, and Paragon’s trick slider…

ALL-AROUND PERFORMER After each ride, we had to check the price tag—could a bike this good cost this little? Not only did Mongoose equip this four-inch ride with a plush Fox RP2 rear shock and smooth RockShox Recon Race fork; they also threw in a complete Shimano XT group, a…

Shorts and crabs is usually a frightening combination, but not here: The cushy AirGel chamois is infused with Crabyon (made from crab shells), which has antibacterial properties. Bonus: Durable knit between the legs prevents premature wear. www.louisgarneau.com…

Pick up a couple of Petzl Attache 3D lockers, which are great utility ‘biners for anchors and slings and can also be used for attaching your belay device to your harness. petzl.com…

Road This value-priced lid kept testers cool (28 vents!) on even the most sweltering days. www.louisgarneau.com Bummer: Not everyone will love the exposed-foam look.

ONE-GEAR WONDER If you think a four-bar linkage is a night on the town, the Lewis is for you. This aluminum-framed single-speed hardtail is all about simplicity, with one gear, a smooth, quiet trail manner, and no complicated rear suspension to maintain. But it’s not a complete Luddite. You still…

The features justify the price. You get a carbon sole, Boa ratcheting system, and thermomoldable footbed that can be custom-shaped for the ultimate fit, providing long-haul comfort for epic days. 9 oz; www.lakecycling.com…

BIG-WHEELED HARDTAIL In the age of compression rates and leverage ratios, Bianchi continues to produce refreshingly simple bikes. This aluminum hardtail is tough enough for the roughest trails but doesn’t need the constant tweaking of a full-suspension rig. The 29-inch wheels roll so smoothly, you can forget you don’t have…

You get Swiss precision detailing (incredible fit, impeccable flat stitching) with a price tag to match. This bib isn’t cheap, but the full-coverage design and chamois are the most comfortable we’ve tried for long days in the saddle. www.assos.com…

You can cram all your climbing gear in Mountain Hardwear’s Trad pack. The alloy-reinforced framesheet gives plenty of support for a 30-some-pound load, and the full-length daisy chain makes lashing on extra gear easy. mountainhardwear.com…

Road The Haxial’s mesh liner conforms to every head shape, and you get Italian panache to boot. www.trialtir-usa.com Bonus: The aerator plate blows cool air onto your noggin.

Thanks to a supple kangaroo-leather upper and this season’s best application of the wrap-around Boa lacing system, this cleat is comfy as a slipper but still stable and responsive. lakecycling.com…

When minister and aid specialist James Gulley came home alive from the Haitian earthquake—barely, after an incredible survival ordeal in Port-au-Prince—he turned right around and went back. His son went, too, discovering the true power of a faith he'd never shared.

1. MT. BORAH CUSTOM With seven-week turnarounds and minimum orders of just six pieces, Mt. Borah makes customcycling gear easier than ever. Jerseys from $83; mtborahcustom.com 2. VITTORIA OPEN CORSA EVO CX The handmade CX can handle pressures up to 200 psi and is…

This year’s trail bikes are lighter and more forgiving than ever. We tested the best.

1. SHELL MontBell's Mistral Parka is a hooded squall shield that vents well enough for sweaty runs and packs down to a softball-size bundle. $110; montbell.com Trail-Running Gear Essentials   2. SUNGLASSES The new VR50 lenses in Oakley's Flak Jackets block blue light to make trail details…

1. BROOKS INFINITI JACKET The billboard-size logo on the back will make you feel like a pro during warm-ups, while reflective touches make it great for chilly dusk workouts. $100; brooksrunning.com The Goods: Road-Race Day 2. TRIGGER POINT PLANTAR FASCIITIS KIT The antidote to…

Mysteries of the mind-body connection: Why does Willie Nelson make me run faster than the White Stripes? And why do both sound so much better coming out of the Thump Pro? I don't have answers, but I do know that after several trail runs I fell shamelessly in love with…

Strange but true: It feels good to run all day. Prep yourself with this go-far gear.

In the Store: Don’t know what kind of arches you have? Dunk your foot lightly in some water and then step on a paper bag. See almost your entire foot? You’re an overpronator. See very little? You’re an underpronator (this is less common). »…

From low prices to high comfort, the best new road bikes share one basic feature: fun

A legendary bike builder unretires to deliver the slickest new all-mountain ride on the planet

Rethinking the classic game expedition on a winged voyage over Namibia, where wildlife is only part of the landscape of vast deserts and empty coastlines

Searching for travel treasure in Cape Town, the epicenter of African cool

An exclusive conversation with Floyd Landis's training adviser

Go-fast gear for your next adrenaline-fueled run-climb-bike-hike-paddle through the woods

From sleek and sexy road machines to mountain-taming single-speeds, the big news about this year's best bikes is trickle-down technology that makes cutting-edge performance accessible for every rider and any budget

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