So you’ve decided to take up road cycling? Excellent choice! We might be a little bias here at Stolen Goat HQ… but if you ask us, there’s no better way to spend time than out exploring on two wheels.
When it comes to knowing what kit you need, getting started can feel a bit overwhelming. Particularly with so much kit out there and a whole bunch of jargon. What’s a must have and what’s a nice to have? What on earth are “bib shorts”? And what do you need to take with you in case you get a puncture?
Whether you’ve just got your first road bike and you want to know the real bare necessities for getting started, or if you’ve got a bit of a taste for the bike life and you want to know what kit to buy next – keep reading for our beginners guide to essential bike gear. Plus, check out our capsule cycling wardrobe kit builder so you can find the kit you need depending on when and where you like to ride.
The Bike Necessities: Essential Gear to Get Started
Your road bike has arrived, it’s all shiny and set up ready to go! Now what? It can feel a bit like you need to buy a thousand different bits of kit and accessories, but what are the real essentials for these first few rides? We’ve put our heads together at SG HQ and here’s what we think you’ll need:
If you ask us, a helmet is one of those no compromise things. You only have one noggin so it’s best to take care of it. Besides, helmet hair is basically a badge of honour in the cycling world. There are plenty of entry-level helmets out there that not only do the trick but look great too, so you haven’t got to break the bank. This guide to budget cycling helmets from Cyclist gives a great break down of some of the options out there. We particularly like the extra peace of mind of helmets with MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) technology, which works to offer extra protection for your head should the worst happen.
Trust us when we say that your undercarriage will thank you for investing in a good pair of padded cycling shorts. The saddles on road bikes can be notoriously unforgiving on the old hindquarters, and once you add in bumpy road surfaces and the odd pothole here and there – a few rides without padded shorts will soon have you sporting quite the sore backside.
There are two types of cycling shorts: bib shorts and well… non bib shorts. Bib shorts just means they have straps which go over your shoulders (creating a sort of “bib” across your torso). These straps mean you don’t have to worry about your shorts slipping down or a waistband digging in. Once they’re on, they’re on. Of course, bibs aren’t for everyone – you typically would wear the straps underneath whatever top or jacket you’re wearing so if you need a quick comfort break things can get awkward. That’s why we also offer some non-bib shorts, particularly great for commuting or if you’re riding somewhere remote where you’re likely to have to wing it if nature calls.
It’s important to know that not all cycling shorts are created equal. You really want a pad (or a ‘chamois’) that’s designed to give you support where you need it without unnecessary bulk that might rub or chafe. The same goes for seams and stitching – anything remotely scratchy is going to get pretty uncomfortable a few miles down the road.
Our Ibex Bodyline bib shorts offer comfort without compromise on performance or style. Made from premium fabric, which is 2-way breathable and offers 4-way stretch, these cycling shorts have been carefully designed to keep irritation and chafe at bay. The premium Vapour pad has been created to offer ride-all-day comfort and support where you need it, without any unnecessary bulk. Anti-bacterial and fast-drying, we’ve developed this pad alongside top level pro riders – with the everyday cycling hero in mind – to ensure it offers the ultimate comfort and support on the bike. We also offer our shorts in both a male and female-specific cut for to ensure the perfect fit and positioning for all riders.
Nothing spoils a ride like a sore bottom, so if you’re wondering what kit is worth investing in – it’s definitely your shorts!
You don’t need a cycling jersey to get out and ride, but it’s a great bit of kit when it comes to both comfort and convenience. It fits closely to your body, so it’s not going to flap around in the wind and make you work harder while you’re riding. Our Ibex Bodyline cycling jerseys are made with 4-way stretch so that while they’re close-fitting, they’re also super comfortable. A good cycling jersey will also be breathable, wick away sweat and dry quickly to help keep you at the optimal temperature when you’re riding. Because nothing spoils a ride like overheating or that horrible t-shirt stuck to your back feeling! And finally, a cycling jersey has pockets for all your essentials. Our Bodyline jerseys have three easy-to-reach rear pockets, plus an extra zipped water-resistant 4th pocket. So you can head out on a ride with your phone, keys and your café stop pennies (the most important thing if you ask us!) without having to negotiate riding with a rucksack.
Check out our Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Cycling Jersey to discover which Stolen Goat cycling jersey is right for you.
Water bottle and bottle cage
Heading out on an adventure on two wheels is thirsty work! Even if you’re just off for a short spin around the block, it’s always a good idea to take some water with you so that you can stay hydrated. Your local bike shop will be able to help you out with a bottle cage for your bike (check out our list of lovely Stolen Goat stockists) and we’ve got some awesome-looking new Stolen Goat bottles to go with your kit too.
You can have all sorts of fun with your cycling accessories once you’ve got your basic kit sorted: socks, neck warmers, arm warmers. Match them to your kit, add a pop of colour or go full rebel and clash your prints – anything goes! But when you’re just getting started, the key accessory you’ll want to get is a pair of cycling gloves or mitts. With padding and anti-slip palm features, cycling gloves help to protect your hands from ‘road rumble’ and keep you feeling comfortable and in control throughout your ride. Ours are lightweight and super stretchy for a comfortable fit, with no pesky Velcro cuff to scratch at your wrists. We also offer a full finger version for spring/autumn riding, and our ultra-cosy Climb and Conquer winter gloves for when the temperatures plummet.
Basic tools and puncture repair supplies
As someone who sometimes struggles to operate a tin opener without getting into mischief, it’s safe to say I’m no bike mechanic. But learning to be able to do some basic maintenance and adjustments on your bike yourself can really come in handy – particularly when it comes to things like adjusting your saddle height or changing an inner tube should you get a puncture when you’re riding. At home, you’ll want to have things like allen keys, and a foot pump to inflate your tyres. When you’re heading out, always take at least one spare inner tube and either a hand pump or gas canisters to inflate the tyres. Tyre levers are also really handy to help you get your tyres on and off without hurting your hands – especially when it’s cold outside and you might have chilly fingers. If, like me, tinkering with your bike isn’t your forte – don’t be afraid to ask for advice from fellow riders, or pop into your local bike shop for help. Check out this article from Road.CC for a beginners guide to bike tools.
The Cycling Wardrobe Kit Builder
You’ve got the basics covered, you’ve been out on a few rides and you’re pretty sure you’re a fan of this cycling malarkey. Welcome to the rabbit hole my friend (or should that be the goat cave?), it’s time to start building your kit collection! Below we’ve included a few guides of the bits and pieces you might want to treat yourself to, depending on when and where you like to ride.
“I like my rides warm and weekend-y” – Capsule cycling wardrobe for weekend warriors
There’s nothing quite like a long Sunday ride when the sun is shining and the café stop can last as long as you want it to. Weekend warriors – we’re right there with you!
If you’re heading out when the weather is fine, we’d recommend:
Ibex Bodyline bib shorts
– breathable, comfortable and at a great price point. Add a pair of Kiko knee warmers to your collection and you’ve got the versatility to layer up for those spring and autumn rides.
Ibex Bodyline jersey
– striking the perfect balance of eye-catching designs, ride all day comfort and ride your way performance. These jerseys are aerodynamic, without being restrictive and offer plenty of pockets for all of your essentials. The long-sleeved versions are still lightweight and breathable, so they can be worn in warm weather to protect your arms from the sun.
Women’s Ibex Bodyline Jerseys
Men’s Ibex Bodyline Jerseys
Kiko gilet and arm warmers
– for layering on autumn and spring days. A Kiko gilet is a water-resistant layer that offers extra warmth. Paired with some arm warmers, you can layer up if it’s a bit chilly, and then simply take them off and pop them in your jersey pocket if the ride warms up.
“I’m switching four wheels for two” – Go-to kit for cycle commuters
It’s hard to think of a better way to start the working day than hopping on your bike and getting some fresh air in your lungs before a long day in the office. If you’re commuting by bike you’ll want versatile kit that means you can arrive at work warm and dry, whatever the weather.
In addition to your bib shorts and cycling jersey, we’d recommend:
– our waterproof jackets are ultra-waterproof while remaining breathable, with a YKK Aquaguard zip and a fleece-lined collar to keep you warm and dry when the rain pours. An essential to make those rainy commutes downright enjoyable!
Kiko bib tights
– perfect for those spring and autumn commutes when the weather can’t quite make up it’s mind and you need your kit to adapt to changeable conditions. Our Kiko tights feature a soft Roubaix lining which keeps you warm, but not too warm. The wind resistant, water-repellent fabric keeps the elements at bay, while remaining lightweight and breathable. Plus, these tights also small but mighty reflective details, optimally placed for extra visibility in low lighting.
Mesh base layer
– designed to keep your body at the optimal temperature while you’re riding, our base layers are quick-wicking and fast-drying to help draw moisture away from your body so you can arrive at work feeling fresh and ready for the day ahead.
– while you might have all your stuff in a backpack, an Adventure Caddy is a small, compact and waterproof case that allows you to easily store your phone, keys, cards and work pass safely in your back pocket, so you haven’t got to root around in the depths of your backpack.
“Winter? Bring it on!” – Cold weather kit for all year round riders
Mother Nature can do her worst, because nothing is going to stop you getting those miles in! Winter riders, we salute you. And we’ve got all the kit you need to keep the rides rolling, whatever the weather. Just a few additions to your warm weather kit from our Alpine range, and you’re ready to rock and roll.
Alpine bib tights –
ideal for when the temperatures drop below 6 degrees, our Alpine winter tights feature an insulating windproof and water-resistant fabric, with reflective details and a luxuriously soft Roubaix lining to keep you cosy.
Alpine winter cycling jackets
– keep your spirits high when the temperature drops. Our Alpine jackets are windproof and water-resistant, with a close but comfortable fit, reflective detailing and a soft fleece lining to regulate your body temperature.
Climb and Conquer winter gloves
– wave goodbye to frozen fingers. Our best-selling waterproof, windproof cycling gloves offer all the protection you need against wintery conditions, without being excessively bulky.
“I want to ride the routes less travelled” – Off-road kit for off the beaten track explores
Riding on the road not your thing? We’ve got you covered! Our MTB range is specifically designed to help you make the most of your off road adventures. Combining casual style with comfort and technical performance for no limits riding.
MTB jerseys – made from a lightweight, breathable fabric with UV protection our MTB jerseys come in a range of designs to help you stand out from the crowd when you’re exploring the trails. Available in long and short-sleeved options, our MTB jerseys offer a casual fit for ultimate freedom when you’re riding. Wear them alone on warmer days and layer up with a Kiko base layer and hoodie when the weather turns.
MTB shorts – our MTB shorts offer all the comfort and technical features you need, with a casual look you’ll love. Featuring two front zipped pockets, an adjustable waistband and 4-way stretch.
MTB socks and gloves – put the finishing touches to your off road look with our MTB socks and full finger gloves. With a slightly thicker construction than our road cycling socks, the MTB-specific socks are still quick-drying and breathable. Meanwhile, our lightweight full finger gloves are perfect for keeping the chill at bay on cooler days and protecting your hands from any rogue brambles. Made from a microfibre and cotton blend, these gloves feature a stretchy upper for a perfect fit, with anti-slip material and optimally placed padding.
So there we have it, our cycling gear starter kit for those new to the sport, and a few capsule cycling wardrobe ideas if you’re starting to build up your kit collection and need a bit of guidance.
If you’re new to cycling and want some tips from friendly, supportive fellow riders why not join the Stolen Goat Facebook group? Our community (or ‘The Herd’ as we like to call them) are always more than happy for an excuse to chat all things cycling!