Runner-Up Review: The Cycling Gear That Almost Made Our 2022 Winter Buyer’s Guide

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Runner-Up Review: The Cycling Gear That Almost Made Our 2022 Winter Buyer’s Guide

Getting out the door for a bike ride when it’s snowy and cold requires a special kind of motivation. Sometimes, that motivation comes from knowing that your gear will keep you warm, dry, and safe on dusky roads or trails. We rounded up our very favorite new pieces of winter cycling equipment in our 2022 Winter Buyer’s Guide. Here are the runner-up products that you should know about.

Bontrager Flare RT and Ion Pro RT Front and Rear Lights ($180)

(Photo: Courtesy Bontrager)

Per a 2016 Clemson University study, the average cyclist believes they are 700 percent more visible to cars than they actually are. The single most effective way to be seen, especially on dark winter days, is to ride with lights. Bontrager’s rear Flare RT is visible up to 1.2 miles away, thanks to its 90-lumen flash pattern and an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the level of light for day or night conditions. Up front, the powerful 1,300-lumen Pro RT headlight makes the entire width of a street or trail visible. Both are easy to mount with the included accessories, and compatible with Garmin/ANT+ devices to track battery levels, which means there are no more excuses to not use them. These lights have been a standard for commuters and ultra racers since they debuted in 2018. —Stephanie Pearson, cycling gear test manager

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Velocio 210 LS Shirt ($119)

(Photo: Courtesy Velocio)

We love barely-there layers when temps are above freezing. But when the temps dipped into single digits, we gravitated toward this mid-weight, ultrafine merino crew-neck for maximal warmth, comfort, and breathability. The feel of its soft brush-cut interior next to the skin was motivation to take that last step out the door. The piece debuted in the fall of 2020 (it got beat out for print by newer tops), but it’s hard to improve on this perfection. —S.P.

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FlyLow Maine Line Glove ($65)

(Photo: Courtesy Flylow)

On days when our testers didn’t need to slip into their monster handlebar mitts—generally anything between 20 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit—the Maine Line was the go-to glove. A DWR treatment on the outer leather shed snow and deflected wind, while its 220 grams of insulation on the back (100 grams on the palm) kept blood flowing. The three-finger lobster design added dexterity for braking while still providing warming dead space.—S.P.

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Orange Seal Subzero Sealant (8 ounces, $16)

(Photo: Courtesy Orange Seal)

Taking the time to change a flat on a sub-zero day can be dangerous, but riding tubeless doesn’t help much in frigid temps because most sealants don’t bond. That’s where Orange Seal’s sub-zero technology saves the day. It’s chemically formulated to work in tubeless tires down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. While we generally don’t ride in that danger zone, we found Subzero kept our tires sealed and ready to roll through an entire season that ranged from serious negative temps all the way up to 40 degrees.  —S.P.

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Hammerhead Karoo 2 Cycling Computer ($399)

(Photo: Courtesy Hammerhead)

The handy Karoo 2 has won praise for its high-resolution mapping, turn-by-turn navigation with audio and visual cues (key for city streets or gravel racing), and Strava Live Segment visualizations (a carrot for KOM crushers). We also like that its screen is vivid and easy to see for aging eyes and that its exterior black shell can be swapped out for custom colors to match our kits. Ultra racers take note: the battery life currently maxes out at 15 hours. Software upgrades will improve that, but for now that’s why we put it on the runner-up list. —S.P.

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