This year I’ve penned nearly 150 product reviews and today I would like to make mention of my favorite cycling products of 2012. It was hard for me to narrow this list down to just five items, but I did follow a couple of guidelines. This list is for cycling products that I reviewed this year, though not all of them were introduced this year. This list is in alphabetical order because I couldn’t decide which product was going to be listed first. If you click on the links below they will take you to the complete review for the product mentioned.
The Cane Creek Thudbuster ST Seatpost is one of the best cycling products I’ve ever bought! Many mountain bikes come with a telescoping suspension seatpost and when you hit a bump the saddle moves up and down—you still feel every bump, but the shock is dampened enough to make your ride tolerable. The Cane Creek Thudbuster is an advanced technology seatpost that uses a single urethane elastomer to absorb bumps and road vibration. The main market for the Thudbuster is owners of hardtail mountain bikes who want an easy upgrade for a smoother ride. However, this seatpost can also be useful for tandem bikes, folding bikes, comfort bikes, and the road bikes used by distance cyclists. When I wrote the product review back in April I owned two Thudbuster seatposts—I now own three!
After years of riding on expensive handmade Italian bike saddles I switched to the fairly inexpensive Planet Bike ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle and have now put them on all five of my bikes. The main feature of the saddle is the full length center recess that provides anatomic relief for the perineum (your “taint”). It also has comfortable (but not mushy) gel pads in the area of your sit-bones. This saddle has steel rails and a waterproof cover. Even on frequent century rides this saddle has proven itself to be extremely comfortable.
The Road Holland Hilversum jersey is the most comfortable, well-designed and stylish jersey I have ever owned! The Hilversum jersey is made of 79% superlight polyester and 21% fine gauge merino wool. Like most cycling jerseys the Hilversum has three storage pockets—the middle pocket has a small opening so you can run a headphone cord through it and the cord stays under your jersey so it won’t flap around in the wind as you ride. The pocket on the right-hand side also has an exterior stash pocket (a fourth pocket) with an angled zipper (with zipper garage) so you can keep you keys, credit card and ID secure even if you suffer an unplanned dismount (otherwise known as a crash). The bottom hem of this jersey has a silicone grip strip that helps keep the jersey in place and prevents it from moving up during your ride.
This past February I had a Shimano Alfine 11-Speed Internal Geared Hub installed on an old Trek 1200—a road bike I only use for riding in rain, light slush, and when the roads are covered with salt. Most Shimano Alfine 11-Speed hubs are put on commuter bikes to cut down on maintenance. However, I put it on a road bike because I spend so much time riding in foul weather and since this hub is sealed I don’t have to worry about road salt, sand, mud and grime fouling up the gears. I’ve put over 3,000 miles on this hub this year and haven’t had a single problem yet—it functions perfectly!
Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix was developed by Allen Lim, PhD, a sport scientist and coach for a professional cycling team. A 16-ounce serving of this mix has 80 calories and provides 20 grams of carbohydrates, along with 60mg of calcium, 45mg of magnesium, 310mg of sodium and 40mg of potassium. The ingredients list is fairly simple: Sucrose, glucose, sodium citrate, potassium citrate, calcium citrate, magnesium, and ascorbic acid. This product provides less sugar and more electrolytes than other sports drinks. When I wrote the review back in June I mentioned that I was not happy with the way this product is packaged—it is designed to make a 16-ounce serving, but I use 20-ounce bottles. After I ran out of the Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix I tried to go back to Gatorade, but just couldn’t do it! This product tastes great and leaves no aftertaste—I don’t think there is a better hydration product on the market today!