Unless you spend some top buck on the high-end models with advanced features, most of the road bikes you’ll find in the market pack features only suitable for casual riding. On the bright side, this leaves you with a lot of room to customize them to your liking. And even better, there’s nearly an endless array of road bike accessories you can use to outfit your factory-ready rig, so it’s easier and fun to ride.
To get your outfitting journey off the ground, I compiled a list of road bike accessories you should consider. I divided the list into must-have accessories that add to your safety on the road and nice-to-have bike accessories to enhance your comfort and make cycling more enjoyable.
Must-have Bike Road Accessories
Whether you are a seasoned cyclist, a casual rider, or a beginner who just got their bike shipment off Amazon, here are road bike accessories you must have for a safe, enjoyable cycling experience
1. Cycling Helmet
A helmet is an absolute must-have road bike accessory. Standard helmets get the job done, but I recommend the Giro Aether MIPS helmet for superior head protection. As the name implies, it has MIPS spherical technology to offer additional protection during a crash.
The spherical design means that unlike other MIPS helmets featuring a MIPS liner, Giro Aether’s helmet will not overheat or get caught in your hair.
The helmet is designed for all riders and weighs only 265grams which is incredibly light for a helmet featuring MIPS technology. It has Giro’s reputed Roc Loc 5+ Air fit system to provide a snug fit while ensuring the head remains deeper within the helmet for enhanced safety.
Need to take off your sunnies during your riding break? No problem because the Giro aether has an integrated eyewear gripper to secure your sunnies. It has 11 vents to ensure proper ventilation without adding to your aerodynamic drag. The best part? It’s aesthetically pleasing and available in ten beautiful matte colors, including my favorite, the Anno green with yellow highlights.
2. Road Bike Lock
At first glance, the Abus Granit XPlus 540 bike lock may appear less secure and overpriced, but it’s one of the best and most secure bike locks on the market. It has an unconventional, patented parabolic shape, not just for aesthetics but also to protect it from expanding loads.
The XPlus 540 features a high-grade German steel build, stronger than most thicker lock shackles available on the market. The shackle is encased in a rubbery material, while the body is covered in plastic to enhance its durability and prevent it from damaging your bike’s paintwork. But that’s not all. The shackle is double bolted, so should anyone try to cut it, they’d have to do it twice.
It features an Xplus cylinder lock innovatively placed behind steel jaws to prevent lock picking and deter freeze attacks. It weighs 3.20lbs, and while that might sound heavy, it’s among the lightest U-lock design bike locks on the market. Besides, if you find it bulky, there are two other options, including a smaller, sleek Eazy KF lock that’s equally as efficient.
3. Road Bike Bell
You need a road bike bell to enhance your safety and others while on the road. Although I found countless options, Australia’s Knog Oi classic bike bell ticked all the boxes. I love its low-profile design and that, unlike most obtrusive bells, it doesn’t sit upright on your handlebars. It instead boasts a lovely, wrap-around handlebar design that’s so unique, you wouldn’t even know it’s a bike bell at first glance. Installation is hassle-free as I only had to open the back, slide it over the handlebar, and tighten it. It’s not as loud as standard bells but produces a soft, pleasing ring that pedestrians in front of you can hear clearly. The bell fits handlebars with a diameter between 23.8mm to 31.6mm.
4. Bottle Cage
Cycling bottle cages aren’t always the most aesthetically-pleasing road bike accessory, but the Sparrow water bottle cage is reversing the trend. As the name suggests, it’s shaped like a sparrow making it unique and instantly eye-catching. It comes in black if you prefer to keep things simple and stunning colors like rose gold, silver, and copper if you like accessories with some pizzazz. But it’s not just pretty; it’s also one of the most durable bottle cages you’ll come across.
The sparrow’s wings fold in to secure your bottle but still allow enough room to pick and replace it while riding. The sparrow water bottle is made from a lightweight but durable 5052 alloy, meaning it’ll survive and stay put through the miles of rugged terrain you might take it through. The most impressive bit is that the manufacturer is not just sustainable; they contribute 1% of their revenue to the planet. So, you get to own a beautiful, sparrow-themed bottle cage while simultaneously making a difference through your purchase.
5. Cycling gloves
Cycling gloves are of the essence whether you’re a pro rider or not. They cushion your palms for more comfortable riding and are textured to allow a better grip. Never bought any? Let the GripGrab progel short cycling gloves be your first pair.
They’re fingerless for seamless, sweat-free summer riding and feature gel padding to avert fatigue and numbness caused by long cycling periods.
Worried about sweaty palms? The pair is breathable, and it comes with a sweat wiper for extreme palm sweaters. Plus, they’re easy to remove, thanks to the innovative pull-off system. You need not worry about misplacing one of the gloves because each features a magnet to keep them paired whenever not in use or storage.
This also makes them easy to pack. Additionally, these gloves feature a reflective material that, when combined with other reflective road bike accessories I included in this list, significantly enhances your visibility on the road.
6. Handlebar Pouch
Source: USJ Cycles
You don’t have to leave your smartphone behind just because you are going on a ride. With the Brooks Scape handlebar pouch, you can bring your smartphone, patch kit, and other biking essentials wherever you cycle. It’s waterproof to keep all your essentials secured from the rain or water splashes while on the road.
The bag has durable aluminum buckles that easily attach to the handlebar and a Hypalon hook in case you need to attach an extra road bike accessory. It boasts an aesthetically-pleasing cylindrical shape, and despite its compact appearance, I was surprised to find out it can hold up to 3kgs.
Thanks to its reflective logo, the Brooks Scape handlebar pouch also adds to your visibility and safety on the road. Simply put, it’s among the most practical road bike accessories you’ll ever invest in.
7. Mini Pump
You need a bike pump to inflate a punctured tire or up the tire pressure whenever necessary, and you cannot go wrong with the Lezyne carbon drive lite mini pump. At only 80grams and 170mm in length, the Lezyne carbon drive is one of the most lightweight mini pumps on the market.
You can easily slip it in your pocket, but if you are rocking proper cycling gear with no pockets, it ships with a sturdy Velcro strap and plastic clips that you can easily attach to your water bottle cage.
Despite its small size, the Lezyne carbon lite minipump doesn’t skimp on performance. It has a maximum pressure of 120psi and gets you up to 100psi in only 200 strokes which is pretty impressive for a pump its size.
It is compatible with Presta and Schrader valves and ships with a flexible ABS hose and an integrated valve core tool. I also found it pretty durable, which is no surprise as it features a CNC-machined aluminum piston and an MCT composite barrel.
Technical hiccups are inevitable when you are a road bike rider. You never know when you’ll get a flat tire or a broken chain, so it’s best to brace yourself for whatever might happen with a multitool like the Blackburn Tradesman. It has a quick link tool that lets you seamlessly split quick links you’d otherwise waste time trying to undo and a complete set of hex keys, including L-shaped tools to tighten hard-to-reach bolts quickly.
Reassembling links is also a breeze, thanks to the chain assembly hook. In addition to the mentioned, the Blackburn Tradesman tool has a whopping 18 functions meaning it can solve almost all technical bike problems that may arise while you are riding.
9. Road Bike Lights
Source: Gemini Lights
Quality bike lights are a must-have whether you ride at night or not. They come in handy when visibility is poor such as during winter or fog-thick riding conditions. While there are plenty of options, I found Gemini’s radical titan 4000 pretty impressive. It has six LEDs arranged in a horizontal design to provide floodlight illumination rather than single-point illumination, ensuring you can see the path ahead.
Source: Competitive Cyclist
The horizontal design also ensures it doesn’t contribute to aerodynamic drag. It also boasts a whopping 4000 lumens, further enhancing illumination. Worried it might die out on you? Stress not because it has a battery runtime of up to two hours. Note, however, that it’s specifically a front road light. Check out the Stix Switch light. It doubles up as a head and taillight making it a cost-efficient option.
10. Biking Sunglasses
Whether they only hit the trails or explore all types of terrains, every rider needs a good pair of biking sunglasses. There are plenty of options in the market, but if you want the best bang for your buck without sacrificing quality, Tifosi jet sunglasses are a superb fit.
They’re unisex and a perfect gift for all your cycling buddies. They feature a plastic frame and come in multiple colors, including a metallic silver hue and a matte white frame with a smoke red lens that I found particularly stylish.
Tifosi jet sunglasses have polycarbonate lenses with UV protection to ensure clear vision and protect your eyes from the elements. The streamlined design, the rubber temple, and nose pads keep the pair in place regardless of how fast you’re going.
These sunnies feature Grilamid TR-90, a lightweight yet highly durable nylon material to ensure maximum daily comfort. The sunglasses come with a microfiber cleaning bag and ship in a lightweight zippered shell that comes in handy whenever you’re not wearing them on the trail or need to pack them.
11. Eflective Accessories
Reflective road bike accessories enhance your visibility to drivers in darkness and when riding in locations such as tunnels. If you always ride after dark or regularly take tunnels and other low-lit places, you need the Mizuno Breath Thermo jacket.
The jacket has a specially-designed fabric that provides 360-degree reflectivity, ensuring maximum visibility to motorists coming from in front or behind you. It has Mizuno’s proprietary thermos fabric to keep you warm, a feature I found particularly handy during cold winter days. But worry not about overheating because it has a dual filament yarn that draws moisture, keeping your body dry and comfortable.
The Thermo jacket is machine-washable and comes in green, red, and black. In addition to the jacket, equip your bike spokes with the Flectr Zero spoke reflector to boost your safety while riding in the dark. It glows when illuminated by car headlights ensuring motorists see you from miles away. And it looks pretty cool too.
12. Road Bike Puncture Repair Kit
Whether you are a pro rider, a casual one, or just a beginner, tire punctures are unavoidable. So the best you can do is be ready with a puncture repair kit like the Lezyne Lever patch kit and tire combo. It ships with a tire boot and composite matrix tire levers that make tire removal a breeze should you get a puncture in the middle of nowhere.
The kit also comes with a stainless-steel tube scuffer which, although small, does a pretty good job roughing up an inner tube. You also get nine thin glueless patches made from synthetic rubber. They have a diameter of 25mm, meaning they’ll patch up and provide enough coverage on the puncture site, so you don’t have to inflate the tire again.
And they are so durable you can use them as a permanent instead of a temporary fix. It’s safe to say Lezyne’s goal was to make everything count when manufacturing this kit because, besides all the repair bits, the instruction manual doubles up as a self-adhesive tire boot. The best part? Everything comes bundled in a compact aluminum case that can easily fit in your handlebar or saddle pouch.
Nice-to-have Bike Accessories
13. Bike Rack for cars
Love offroad cycling but skip carrying your bike because there isn’t enough space in your car? Get the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 bike hitch rack and forget your space problems. It’s easy to mount and unmount on your vehicle and even easier to mount your bike thanks to the locking arm on the front tire. You can mount and steady your bike using only one hand and lock it down using the other, thanks to the rack’s locking arm position. The pivot lever lets you lower the rack leaving enough space to access your car trunk even while the bikes are on the rack.
The Kuat Sherpa 2.0 also features a built-in cable you wrap around your rig and lock into the frame, keeping the bike securely attached to the vehicle. It accommodates up to 80 pounds and bike tires with a 3-inch diameter, but a smaller inner channel provides a snug, secure fit for skinny tires. Although I found options like the Thule Outway hanging bike rack quite remarkable, the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 took the bag for me because it accommodates all bike frames and geometries.
14. Cycling Computer
A cycling computer is a piece of hardware you attach to your bike and track your real-time speed, distance, and other important performance metrics. While it’s not necessary for every rider, the Garmin Edge 530 GPS cycling computer is an essential road bike accessory for every competitive rider. It’s incredibly compact and, unlike most cycling computers, has a color screen for easy legibility even while in direct sunlight.
The Edge 530 tracks nearly every metric, from basics like speed, distance, and time, to advanced ones like VO2 Max and recovery time. It offers up to 20 hours of runtime and boasts Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for external sensors. This cycling computer also provides turn-by-turn navigation and boasts mountain biking metrics such as jump distance. The best part? It packs a ton of features but has a relatively affordable price tag.
15. Padded Bike Shorts
Padded bike shorts are typically synonymous with pro riders but can significantly enhance your riding comfort by cushioning your bum. Pearl’s iZUMI Quest bike shorts are a pretty excellent buy. They feature a padded chamois liner that slowly wears out along the edges, leaving the shorts looking nice and sleek around the bum area while reducing chaffing.
The iZumi shorts feature a compressive, reflective fabric to keep you dry and comfortable and enhance your visibility on the road. They have an elastic waistband providing a universal fit. They’re nice to have if you ride long distances.
16. Phone Mount
Not every rider brings their smartphone to their cycling expeditions, but if you do, you need the Roam Universal phone mount. It’s designed for handlebars between 0.88-inches and 1.25 in diameter, meaning it’s compatible with most bikes and has a universal fit, meaning you can hook up any smartphone model.
It keeps your phone well-secured thanks to the plastic grip on the side and a four-point silicone net that secures the four edges of your smartphone without obstructing the screen’s view.
The Roam phone mount rotates 360 degrees meaning you can keep your phone in either landscape or portrait orientation during rides. Even better, it’s adjustable, a feature that comes in handy when the sun is up, and you need to position your screen in a way that it’s visible under direct sunlight.
Mounting it on your handlebars is also a walk in the park, thanks to its easy-to-use-screw mounting system. And it’s pretty affordable too.
17. Bike Chain Lube Applicator
The chain is one of the most integral parts of any bike. It does most of the hard work, and you must regularly lubricate it to keep it in tip-top shape. But lubricating a bike isn’t always glamorous. It can get messy quickly, so you should consider getting the Flectr green disc lube applicator. It’s both an applicator and a lube reservoir in one.
It’s green in color and features a disc shape, so applying the lubricant is easy as you only need to rotate it over the chain. The applicator conforms to the shape of your bike chain during the application. As a result, the lube gets to all chain parts, from the plates, and rollers, to the pins. And it holds enough lube to lubricate your bike chain up to ten times before another refill.
Even better, it features a woolen-like fabric that absorbs rust as you apply the lube, leaving your chain not just lubricated but cleaner and rust-free. But what I loved the most is that it’s eco-friendly. The company behind it makes road bike accessories using plant-based components and bio-degradable additives.
18. Clipless Pedals
Source: Jenson USA
If you regularly ride 10 miles, you need clipless pedals. They hold your feet in place, so it’s easier to pedal. They also keep your feet slightly floating, which in turn helps prevent knee problems.
While there are endless options in the market, I found the Cank Brothers Candy 7 clipless pedals perfect for every type of rider. They are lightweight than most clipless pedals, making them an excellent fit for first-time clipless pedal users.
At the same time, they have a smaller cage to keep the foot in place should it unexpectedly come unclipped, a feature seasoned and competitive riders will appreciate. The Cank Brothers Clipless pedals have a four-sided clipping mechanism for seamless entry and are pinless for a painless exit.
Their marquee feature is that they’re mud shedding making them ideal for riding in wet weather conditions.