Some of the best cycling accessories that make the biggest impact are the ones you never think of picking up. Sure, the fancy biking apparel, cargo carriers, and GPS trackers might be calling your name, but some of the cheapest, most “boring” items can truly make or break a ride.
Whether you’re a brand new cyclist or have been at it for years, here are some of the top underrated cycling accessories you might be missing out on.
What are bike accessories, and why do you need them?
First, bike accessories are any cycling gear (other than your bike) that you might buy to enhance your cycling experience. Often, bike accessories are designed with safety in mind. For instance, mirrors, reflective gear, and lights are all examples of gear that will help keep you safe while riding.
Other cycling accessories, such as layerable clothing, padded socks, and padded or special-shaped saddles, are intended to enhance your comfort while you ride.
If you want to upgrade your cycling routine for better safety, more comfort, or both, we’ve compiled this list of some of the best and most underrated ways to do it.
11 of the most underrated cycling accessories
1. Emergency tire boots
A torn tire body is a real bummer, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop cycling. Instead, throw on an emergency tire boot to get you through the remainder of your ride. These tire boots are made from strong and reinforced waterproof vinyl. It adheres to your tire with a pressure-sensitive adhesive, making it possible to keep biking until you can repair or replace your tire. And the best part? They’re only $5. Stock up now!
2. Waterproof socks
Nothing is worse than feeling cold and miserable on the bike and still having miles to go before the end of your ride. Having dry feet can go a long way to make you feel warmer and more motivated to finish! Waterproof socks like these are a small investment to make to have warm, dry, and comfortable feet while cycling in the rain. If you want to keep every bit of moisture out, you can also opt for overshoes and waterproof shoes on top of your waterproof socks, although that’s definitely not necessary.
3. Cadence sensor and ANT+ dongle
If you prefer indoor cycling, having a cadence sensor and ANT+ dongle isn’t always necessary (you can still bike with Vingo using manual mode), but it’s really nice to have! Most often, sensors and ANT+ dongles are less than $40, and they are worth every penny. With this simple and inexpensive cycling accessory, you can have the most realistic indoor cycling experience possible because your indoor bike or trainer will communicate with the Vingo app to track your speed and movement automatically. That way, you don’t have to change it manually on the screen.
4. A really loud bike horn
If you regularly commute on your bike, a loud bike horn is one of the best cycling accessories. Although a gentle horn may seem less obnoxious to you, motorists won’t be able to hear it over the sound of traffic. A louder bike horn will better alert vehicles of your presence on the road, keeping you safer during your commute. For a well-reviewed and affordable option, try this loud bike horn. Or, if you want a more traditional car-sounding horn (with a bigger price tag), try one of these options.
5. Full-length mudguards
Group cyclists can really benefit from adding full-length mudguards to their bikes. When you’re biking in the rain, a lot of the water that hits you comes up from the road, not down from the sky. And if you bike in a group without mudguards on your tires, you’ll get wetter, and the cyclist behind you will also get sprayed by your tires. Long front and rear mudguards can keep you dry and comfortable and are a common courtesy on group rides. These full mudguards are an affordable and effective option.
6. Bike pump mount
Carrying a bike pump around with you while you ride is an excellent idea, especially if you’re biking on rough terrain, but it’s not the most convenient. Instead of letting it hang off your pants or bike while you ride, consider installing a bike pump mount onto your bike’s frame. This one is only $12, is lightweight, and has hundreds of excellent reviews.
7. Rain poncho
For cyclists who don’t prefer getting soaked in the rain but don’t want to let bad weather ruin their training regimen, a rain poncho is a must-have. Unlike rain jackets, ponchos keep your entire body dry while cycling because they attach to your handlebars, offering maximum coverage and protection. They’re also much more breathable than a rain jacket, making cycling in hot, rainy weather more comfortable.
8. Handlebar bag
A handlebar bag is a small pouch that attaches to the handlebars of your pouch. (Like a fanny pack for your bike.) It’s easier than carrying a backpack or shoving all your gear into your pockets while you ride. This one features one simple pocket that’s big enough to fit snacks, repair tools, your phone, and a foldable windbreaker. It’s also easy to get into while you’re stopped or biking. It’s also ideal for commuters because it quickly turns into a wearable shoulder bag when you’re not cycling to help prevent theft.
9. Bike phone bag
If a handlebar bag isn’t your style, a bike phone bag is another excellent way to carry your phone while you ride. Although all styles and designs are different, most bike phone bags are designed to be durable, water resistant, and easy to use, with convenient features like sun visors, velcro installation, and reflective materials. Some also come with an attached pouch that’s big enough to fit your keys, snacks, a repair kit, your wallet, etc. This one has just about everything you could ever want.
10. Pants clips
We know this sounds like one of those totally unnecessary cycling accessories, but hear us out. If you’ve ever had the annoying experience of your pants hitting your chain repeatedly while biking, you know these pants clips are well worth the $9. They’ll keep your pants away from your chain, and they’re also made with reflective material for better visibility.
11. Bike fan
Whether you only do some of your cycling indoors or all, a bike fan is a must-have accessory that will make your rides much more comfortable. This one is conveniently battery-powered, and you can easily mount it to the handlebars of your indoor bike. It’s small enough that it won’t get in your way but not too small to make a difference in your comfort. It also features an LED light with three different settings.
These top underrated cycling accessories will save you in a pinch, make your ride more comfortable, and keep you chasing your goals, whether you prefer to cycle indoors or outside.