While there’s more daylight and sunshine, the summer months also mean hotter temperatures. Breathable helmets, sunglasses and lightweight jerseys make it a bit easier to ride in the heat, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the best new summer cycling gear at every price point, so you can stay cool and enjoy your time on the road as much as possible.
While Rapha won’t be in everyone’s price range, the high-end Pro Team lineup is as good as you’ll find if you’re looking for lightweight racing gear. The new jersey is made with fabrics optimized for ventilation on the front, while the back of the jersey focuses on protection from the sun. It also has a second-skin feel that is as close to riding without a jersey as you can get, making it easy to forget about during long, intense efforts.
The new fabrics of the Pro Team training bibs is perfect for racing and racking up the mileage too, as it is one of the most comfortable, breathable and compressive options available. Our favorite feature is the updated Pro Team chamois pad, which is denser and provides more cushion than previous iterations.
Long-sleeve jerseys aren’t just for keeping you warm on cool mornings. For those of us looking for extra protection from the sun, the new lightweight Attack jersey keeps you cool and dry thanks to its high-performance, moisture-wicking fabric. We also like the tailored fit that isn’t too baggy and the comfort of the material, making it an excellent choice for long distances.
While the updates of the high-end Pro Air bib shorts from Pearl Izumi are good, the Attack bib shorts are excellent in their own right — particularly for the price point. Taking some of the technology from the more expensive options, these shorts feature raw-edge bib straps that won’t irritate the skin when worn without a base layer, and the new nylon yarn fabric creates an excellent fit that improves comfort with fewer seams and better stretch.
For versatility, the women’s Meteora jersey from LIV is stylish and suitable for both road and adventure cycling. Besides the redesigned color gradient, the TransTextura fabric dries quickly, keeps sweat from weighing you down and keeps the collar from feeling restrictive when zipped all the way up.
When paired with the BeLiv shorts, which feature the same moisture-wicking fabric and compressive qualities, you’ve got a kit that’s capable of handling long rides as well as short, race-like efforts. The Core Comfor chamois pad is also really comfortable and a great buy for anyone looking for quality gear on a budget.
POC’s Ventral lineup of helmets have long been a favorite of road cyclists for their aerodynamic shapes, generous ventilation and superb fit. New for 2020, the Air Spin NFC includes these well-known features with the NFC medical I.D. chip to take your safety to the next level. This technology allows you to store your medical profile in the helmet, allowing first responders to read your medical information on the spot should it be needed. The Air Spin NFC is also made with a nod toward gravel riding, making it ideal for your road and off-road adventures.
If you’re going to splurge on cycling gear, protecting your head is a good investment. The Smith Trace, featuring MIPS technology, is not only comfortable and designed to protect against side impacts common during falls off the bike, but the new Viz collection also provides high visibility in all directions even during daylight hours. During early morning and evening hours, when there’s less light, the reflective colors do a great job of helping motorists see you. The helmet also has an attachment for an additional light when needed, and the Aerocore in-mold construction and AirVac ventilation provides excellent breathability.
With claims to be the safest helmet on the market, Bontrager has created a splash with its new WaveCel technology. This collapsible structure inside the helmet works to absorb impact forces and collapse before any damage can make its way to your head should an accident occur. While we didn’t get to put this to the test (thankfully), we can attest to its stylish, eye-popping design that should be a hit with commuters and recreational cyclists looking for a do it all helmet. The BOA fit system makes it easy to secure the perfect fit with one hand, and the Rear Blendr mount system that allows you to attach Bontrager lights is a feature you’ll definitely appreciate.
If there’s one piece of gear that offers the best bang for your buck on this list, it’s the new Align helmet. Equipped with MIPS technology for next-level protection, good ventilation, and an in-mold shell to reduce weight, it’s got everything you could ask for in a solid road helmet. And for just $60, what’s not to like?
The Powerstrap velcro closure ranks high above more traditional straps for its ability to customize fit and relieve pressure on the top of the foot. The Tempo R5 also shines for anyone looking for a durable and easy to clean upper. When you include the nylon outsole built for long miles, you’ve got as solid a shoe as you’re going to find in this price range. The Reflective model also adds a level of safety for early morning or evening cyclists looking for gear that makes you more visible on the road.
This women’s model from Bontrager is a cycling shoe that would have been twice the price a decade ago. The inform race upper is surprisingly roomy while offering a dialed-in fit thanks to the BOA L6 dial system. A PowerTruss sole design is stiff enough to be efficient, and it’s plenty light, making the miles fly by. Multiple colorways are a great way to add pop to your on-the-bike style
Shield-style sunglasses continue to be a popular option among cyclists, and rightfully so. Providing maximum field of vision that’s also high on style, the new Aim from POC is a top option if lens clarity and contrast are at the top of your priorities, providing clear vision in a variety of road and off-road environments. We’re also fans of the minimal frame design to keep the overall weight to a minimum and how easily these can be stored in POC’s lineup of helmets when you don’t need them on the bike.
While the 100% brand is known for being as loud as Peter Sagan’s riding style, the new HyperCraft sunglasses are toned down just a touch and should appeal to a wider range of cyclists. The lens coverage is excellent, and the low weight of these glasses and superb fit are two of its top features. While the lenses aren’t the easiest to change, it is an option and comes with a clear set for those early morning or evening rides when all you need is protection. As for the looks, they’re still on the flashy side but are, in our opinion, one of the best the company has produced to date. Those who seek minimalism in a pair of shades made for racing won’t be disappointed.
Until you try them, you might assume that because the price point is only half that of similar models, these glasses aren’t in the same performance category. While it’s true the lens clarity might be slightly less than those $200 options, these sunglasses feel expensive and offer the same style and durability as higher-end options. They’re also moderately adjustable, fit comfortably with no issues under a helmet, and come with three lens choices to provide excellent value for performance shades.
If you’d rather not look like a storm trooper on the bike, the new Konnor sunglasses from 100% feature a mix of modern performance with ‘50s-era style. The hydrophobic and oleophobic lens treatment repels water, dirt and oil while you’re riding, and the ultra-grip rubber nose and temple tips provide a secure fit. Off the bike, you won’t feel out of place wearing them around town, as the shape and lens clarity are perfect for just about any occasion.
For versatility, the UA Assist sunglasses are a top option. Whether you’re on the bike, running, hiking or at a coffee shop, these sunglasses provide excellent protection, coverage and durability. The multiflection coating resists scratches and smudges, and in intense sunlight, they do an excellent job of reducing glare and lowering strain on the eyes. They’re also sturdy and lightweight and provide the kind of classic style that’ll make you want to wear them just about any time you leave the house.
While not bike specific, the Swank from Tifosi is technical enough to use while cycling and casual enough to wear while lounging at the pool. Similar to the Goodr glasses that have become popular with runners, we like these because of the quality of the lens and the uptick in style. The no-slip rubber on the nose helps secure the fit and keeps them in place when you start to sweat, and the frame feels much sturdier and higher quality than the price suggests. There are also a ton of color options available if you’re the kind of person who likes to have multiple options to match your kit
Easily connecting to your bike’s front wheel hub to display data on most bike computers or smartphones, the Wahoo speed sensor is a great way to capture speed data on the bike. It’s more accurate than GPS commuters and is really light at only 7 grams. If you’re looking for cadence data to relay to a smartphone, the Wahoo cadence sensor is another option worth trying.
Even though wearing more clothing might not sound like a good idea, a lightweight base layer in the summer can actually help keep you cooler by wicking away sweat and keeping you dry. This compression shirt from Under Armour can be worn under your jersey for slightly cooler mornings and evenings and can also be used for cross-training workouts or gym sessions. The four-way construction ensures a comfortable fit and the flatlock seams do a good job of preventing chafing or irritation while you exercise.
When it comes to keeping your beverages cold as the weather heats up, Polar’s insulated cycling bottles are a must. While the bottle itself hasn’t changed much, the self-sealing Surge cap is a welcome update. It’s easier to drink from when riding at higher speeds and doesn’t leak when not in use, all while requiring very little on your end.