Gravel racing or just trying to break your personal best on your local route? Regardless of what you’re doing it for, if you want to be fast, you need the right gear. From the bag setup and low-friction lube to the right fuel for your body, speed is the sum of its parts. These 8 products are practical, effective, and they’ll make you faster.
Restrap Adventure Race bikepacking bags
Light and robust, the Restrap Adventure Race bikepacking bags are taking the gravel racing world by storm. The set of bags has been specially developed for long-distance races and brevets. To this end, Restrap focused on keeping the weight down, but not at the cost of functionality. What they came up with is 9 different bags, each differing in size, where they get attached to the bike, and their function. They’re all made of robust X21 material, and feature YKK AquaGuard zips and a DWR coating to keep them waterproof. From the classic saddle bag to frame bags and long top tube bags, they’ve got it all. Restrap also make a bag specifically for time-trial bars, which a lot of ultra-endurance gravel racers use. This gives a luggage capacity of 20 litres and up.
Price: € 497.96
Albion Zoa Burner musette
The Zoa Burner musette from Albion is small, light, and incredibly practical. With this lightweight bag, you can easily transport your shopping and access it while riding. Whether that’s because your eyes were bigger than your stomach or you aim to race through the night and require large fuel reserves. Moreover, the shoulder bag packs down small enough to take along on every ride. The Zoa Burner musette is made of 100 % recycled nylon, and it can do more than just carry your sustenance. You can also wear it across your chest for an added layer of insulation, fighting off an icy headwind on the descents. To do so, you can tuck it under the shoulder straps of your bibs or use the robust strap mechanism of the bag itself. The practical windbreaker bag is available in three colours and can be yours for € 62.
Price: € 62
Ride Farr Carbon Aero Bolt-On V3
The Farr Carbon Aero Bolt-On V3 is a mini time-trial bar, allowing you to get into a more aerodynamic position on your road, gravel, or mountain bike. In contrast to classic time-trial bars, however, you don’t rest on your elbows. Instead, you rest your hands on the Bolt-On V3, bringing them forward and close together. The advantage they offer over standard time-trial bars is their compact size. The Farr Carbon Aero Bolt-On V3 is so small that you’ll hardly notice it’s there, and, weighing in at under 100 g, its effect on the bike’s handling is insignificant. It’s compatible with both drop bars and flat mountain bike bars, relying on a31.8 mm clamp diameter. The latest version has been upgraded with anti-slip surfaces and a clamping area for your headlight and GPS.
Price: € 189.90
Ryder Innovation Luberetta
The longer a gravel race, the dustier and dryer your chain gets. And since you must reapply lube to keep it performing at optimal efficiency, Ryder Innovation have developed the perfect applicator to do so when you’re in a hurry. The Luberetta is small, light, and easy to use. It can hold 15 ml of oil or wax based lubricant, which you apply to the chain with the help of a specially developed silicone dispenser. The unique part about it is that the chain guide keeps the dispenser perfectly aligned so that you don’t miss any links, while the integrated fins remove dirt as you lubricate the chain. When you’re done, the applicator is easy to clean with any degreaser or detergent. The Ryder Luberetta comes with Ryder’s house-brand Wax Lube included, but it works just as well with oil-based lubricant. To prevent it from leaking, you must be careful not to place any pressure on the container when transporting the Luberetta on your bike.
USWE MTB Hydro 3L hydration pack
Hydration packs are popular amongst trail runners and riders, but thanks to the increasing number of gravel races in remote locations, they’re also gaining a foothold in the drop bar world. The USWE MTB Hydro hydration pack offers 3 litres of total storage capacity, accommodating a 2-litre bladder as well as snacks and tools. It’s got two compartments to keep everything organised. Conveniently, the front pocket is removable. The No Dancing Monkey (NDM) strap system makes sure that the pack stays in place when things get rough. This is largely thanks to the central buckle up front, providing a secure fit and making it easy to release or close the straps. Moreover, the straps are elastic so that your breathing doesn’t get restricted when everything’s cinched down. There’s a bladder and drinking tube included in the scope of delivery, featuring the in-house Plug-n-Play tube coupling.
Price: from € 129
MAAP Alt_Road LS jersey
Gravel racing performance doesn’t stop at your cycling kit. The right jersey with good moisture regulation, a sporty, and a comfortable fit will help you deliver your best performance. The long sleeve MAAP Alt_Road LS jersey promises to tick all these boxes. A clever combination of natural Merino wool and synthetic Polyamide and Elastane fibres predestines the MAAP Alt_Road LS jersey for long rides. It dries quickly, is antibacterial, and offers SPF 50+ UV protection. The riding jersey also scores for its excellent thermos-regulation, it’s available in three sizes, has a small back pocket, and it looks good, too.
Price: € 185
SILCA Secret Chain Blend hot melt wax
Wax is the new oil, at least when it comes to lubricating bicycle chains. When you’re racing, the efficiency of your drivetrain is paramount. SILCA Secret Chain Blend hot melt wax offers several advantages over standard chain lube, reducing friction when you shift, reducing wear, and it doesn’t collect as much dirt. The special thing about this wax is its blend, consisting of refined lab-quality paraffin and 3 different sizes of added Tungsten disulphide nanoparticles. As such, you get a wax that doesn’t just lubricate the chain but also fills out crevices with low-friction Tungsten disulphide particles. It’s easy to apply, too. All you’ve got to do is place the cleaned and degreased chain into the packet and add hot water, like preparing instant noodles. Once it’s dried, the chain is ready to race.
Price: from € 49.95
Chimpanzee Salty Bars
The Chimpanzee Salty Bars are no monkey business, allowing you to replenish your body with vital nutrients during a gravel race. Those would be long-chain carbohydrates, protein, and salt. Unlike quickly available and just quickly depleted simple sugars, the oats in the Chimpanzee Salty bars provide a source of slowly released complex carbohydrates, preventing your blood sugar levels from spiking and crashing back down. Moreover, when you sweat, you lose minerals, which can lead to cramping, and these salty energy bars should help prevent that from happening. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re vegan, and are free of gluten, lactose, and palm oil. We all have different tastes and preferences, but the pizza, spicey, and olive flavour options should cater to most of them.
Price: from € 2.50
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Words: Martin Staffa Photos: Manufacturer’s