â€‹How to look pro for less: awesome road bike accessories for under Â£50
The quest for the 'pro' look is one of the hottest topics of debate in road cycling. Is it acceptable to wear replica kit? How much? What about personalised decals with your name and flag? The 'pro' look definitely splits the pack, but there are always ways to look and feel more pro without breaking the bank or risking the disdain of your buds.
Professional cyclists have access to all the accessories they could possibly need, and more. Some may seem pointless for the average amateur, useful for a couple of weeks and otherwise taking up valuable space in the lycra drawer. However these accessories can make the difference between a horrible ride, and the best of the year. Where the bike is concerned, we all know that a haemorrhaging bank account is one of the side effects of cycling, but it needn't always be that way. Just a couple of small additions or subtle alterations can make a world of difference without bleeding you dry.
You may already own a pair of arm warmers, a valuable piece of kit for spring, autumn and cool summer days. If you don't have a set, we love these ones from Specialized. Leg warmers and even knee warmers are much more likely to be absent from your arsenal. Full-length leg warmers can be a reasonable alternative to bib tights or a worthwhile pocket filler for long days in the saddle. Knee warmers on the other hand are great either side of summer when it is difficult to know how much you need to wear. And they also look like you're about to tackle one of the cobbled classics with your pro team. Shop our full selection of leg warmers and arm warmers.
A decent pair of warm and/or water resistant shoe covers like these from Giro could just be the best friend you never had. They protect your toes (and shoes) from cold, wet and windy weather and they don't look half bad when paired with bib tights or leg warmers. As we transition into spring when the sting has not quite gone from the wind, a pair of toe covers can also be a useful ally. Toe covers are popular with the pro peloton, particularly during the spring classics when the weather is notoriously changeable. Especially in Belgium!
There's a base layer for nearly every day of the year with different materials, temperatures and degrees of science and technology involved. If you could only have one, we'd suggest a short sleeve merino wool base layer like this one from Altura, which should regulate body temperature all year round, whether it is under a long-sleeved jersey and jacket in winter, or your favourite jersey on warmer days. However there are countless alternatives ranging from deep winter long-sleeved insulation, to mesh vests for the height of summer.
Otherwise known as water bottles, a set of matching 'bidons' is not only pleasing to the perfectionist's eye, but definitely ticks the 'pro look' box. Better still, you could seek out bottles which match your bike's colouring and/or brand, or the jersey of your club. Shop our full range of cycling bidons and bottles here.
Fresh bar tape
While not quite replaced after every single race, bar tape is possibly the most frequently changed component of the bikes of the pro peloton. Their tape is always glistening and never scuffed. For the pro look and feel, a fresh lick of tape is probably the cheapest upgrade available to amateur cyclists. Lucky for you, we've got enough different colours of handlebar tape to make sure yours always matches your bike!
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