Gear of the Year: Bike’s Editors Make Some Personal Picks

Apparel and accessories plucked right out of our gear bags

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A lot of gear moves through the warehouse at Bike HQ. The opportunity to test the latest helmets, apparel, bikes and various other bits related to pedaling on dirt is a part of the job that keeps us editors going when the deadlines, late production nights and the ever increasing pressure to create more content bogs us down. Inevitably, one or two pieces of gear rises to the top and wears more than the rest over the course of the year. These were a few of our personal favorites in 2013. –Nicole Formosa

TROY LEE DESIGNS WOMENS XC $30
At first, I was lured in by the bling factor of Troy Lee Designs’ XC women’s gloves. I started wearing them to add fun flair to a dull kit, but surprisingly, the quality and comfort, not the style, ended up being what my hands appreciated most. I’m hard on gloves—usually evidenced by rips at the seams—but these all-purpose protectors, with their synthetic leather palm and stretch Lycra body, stayed stitched all summer long. –NF
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CAMELBAK MULE NV $135
There are many quality hydration packs (and we tip our hats to Osprey’s rugged line of bags), but this year I was impressed with CamelBak’s upgraded MULE NV, which has expanded room in the main compartment for long-ride essentials. The redesigned back panel has individual pods that are elevated off your back, allowing for multi-directional airflow. –Brice Minnigh
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TEVA PIVOT $150
Teva’s debut clipless shoe fuses low-profile style with outstanding performance. An all-mountain shoe that makes walking as pleasurable as riding, it stands out for its comparative comfort, light weight and durable composition. The cleat attachment is compatible with all major two-bolt systems, and you can quick-adjust it through the sole from above, allowing for accurate adjustments while the shoe is on the pedal. –BM

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Editor’s Note: Unfortunately for us and other fans of the Pivot, after this year Teva will pull out of the mountain bike-shoe market for the time being. The Pivot will still be available this year. Read our full story on Teva’s exit from mountain biking.

ICEBREAKER TECH T, $65–$75
I admit that 75 bucks is a lot for something that looks like a simple T-shirt. But this simple T-shirt
is the best jersey I’ve worn in nearly 20 years of riding. The lightweight merino wool breathes well, dries quickly and naturally resists odor. Even after multiple days of riding on a recent trip, I didn’t stink up the plane on the flight home. –Ryan Palmer
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SPECIALIZED TACTIC II $75
The Tactic isn’t flashy, but it’s my favorite. It just
works. The retention system is secure: Clever brackets alleviate the need to adjust the straps around ears, and it fits. Bonus: I can actually wear glasses with this lid, unlike with most of the new ‘enduro’ helmets, which have low temple coverage that can interfere with eye protection. And it’s affordable. –RP
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TROY LEE DESIGNS SKYLINE, $68
The smart simplicity of the Skyline shorts almost made me forget about their radioactive glow. A great cut and precise seam placement creates a fit that moves with me on the bike, making these a personal favorite. Add to that a zippered pocket at the back of the waist—perfect for stashing my phone—and the Skyline has all I could ask for in a pair of shorts. –Anthony Smith
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PHOTOS BY JP VAN SWAE.

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