As the end of 2019 heaves into view, we've cast our collective minds back over the heaps of gear we've used and selected our individual ‘Gear of the Year Top Picks’. It's where we choose our favourite products that we've used this year, both large and small. This time around, it's our resident gravel groveller Dave Arthur...
Dave Arthur's Gear of the Year 2019
Teravail Rutland gravel tyre
Finally, a gravel tyre that lets you ride in the mud without sliding about everywhere! The new Rutland from Teravail with its aggressive tread design is ideal for UK gravel riding, which around my parts equates to muddy bridleways and forest tracks carpeted with leaves and hidden roots. It lets you plough through just about everything, and when you hit the road it’s not unreasonably draggy. It’s a touch price at £60 per wheel though.
Rapha Waterproof Frame Pack
Not because it’s better than its main rivals in this category, but just because the Rapha Waterproof Frame Pack does everything asked of it with no fuss. It’s easy to fit to the frame, stays put when you’re rattling down rocky tracks, and easily holds enough food and essentials without bulging out of the sides. It’s also properly waterproof and durability has been very good.
Zipp Service Course SL 70 XPLR handlebar
Just in case you think I only have eyes for expensive products, this reasonably priced handlebar from Zipp, representing its first foray into the gravel handlebar market, impressed with a great shape and a weight that isn’t far off much more expensive carbon handlebars. Better yet, choose the cheaper non-SL version for £54 and you’ve got yourself an absolute bargain. What I really like about the handlebar is the shape. It’s a slightly flared shape that provides a comfortable position on long rides and gives extra control on loose and technical terrain. Terrific.
Can't live without - Specialized S-Works Recon Shoes
XC habits die hard, and I’m a sucka for a light and stiff carbon shoe that maximises my efficiency and makes up for my lack of power. These new S-Works Recon Shoes not only duly provide said stiffness, but they are jolly comfortable, easy to adjust on the move and the durability has been very impressive - I’ve logged thousands of miles in them this year and they’re still going strong which is why I've chosen them for to be my "can't live without winner. Bloody expensive mind.
You might also like: