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The Best Bike Products We Bought in 2023

TPC employees are constantly trying out new bikes and gear, so we asked them what gems they've discovered in the past year. These are the best bike products TPC riders bought in 2023.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Features

We test all our gear, uh... thoroughly

TPC employees live and breathe cycling, so if you want gear recommendations, this is the place to ask. With 2023 drawing to a close, I’ve continued my yearly tradition of asking the riders at TPC, “What is the best bike product you bought this year?”

We got some fun and diverse answers from racers, adventurers, and weekend warriors just like you and me. From complete bikes to components to weird junk, let’s find out what cycling products TPC riders have been loving.

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A Pen & Paper

Pen and paper

I've always taken the 'good enough for government work' approach to bike setup, but this season I decided to take a more meticulous approach to it all. Now I track front and rear tire pressures, suspension pressures, tokens, compression and rebound adjustments, and even my cockpit position. It's not a perfect science, but my bike rides better more often and there is less guesswork when adjusting things for changing trail and weather conditions. 

Charlie Madden, Fraud Prevention Specialist

Charlie is on to something here. Being meticulous about your bike setup ensures consistency, and consistency, whether that’s through your training or bike setup, builds a better foundation for improving performance.

I track my settings too, but I use the notepad on my iPhone. When I told Charlie this he said, "Pen and pad > cell phone, because you can get them dirty and it doesn't matter." Writing with pen and paper is probably a bit more tactile and satisfying for some too. 

Terrible Candy (a.k.a. Nerd’s Gummy Clusters)

Nerd's gummy clusters

I'm very much into Nerd’s Gummy Clusters after stumbling upon them earlier this year, they give me the fuel I need to power my rides and taste great to boot! 

Nick Leng, External Compliance Specialist

I’m not a fan of Nerd’s Gummy Clusters, but Nick has started a candy revolution here at TPC. He’s converted so many employees here over to eating these sugary abominations, that it was picked as our company’s favorite candy to eat while riding this Halloween. I don’t know what's going on over here. Maybe I’m getting old and out of touch…

Giro Ambient Winter Cap

Giro AmbientPhoto: Giro

This is now a must for any outdoor ride under 45 F°

Andrew Austin, Associate Category Purchasing Manager

[product-block handle="giro-ambient-winter-cap"/]

Some sort of thermal skull cap is essential for winter riding. I also wear the Giro Ambient, and it’s kept my head comfy, warm, and dry. Plus, it actually covers my ears. I find other skull caps don’t extend low enough and my ear lobes freeze. 

ESI Extra Chunky & Wolf Tooth Fat Paw Grips

Wolf Tooth mega fat paw gripsPhoto: Wolf Tooth

This year I switched all of my flat-bar bikes over to foam handlebar grips from ESI and Wolf Tooth. I had previously dismissed foam grips as something for weight weenies but was always curious about them as a solution for nerve pain on longer adventures. 

When I finally made the switch, I decided to go for the extra-long and extra-thick models. I discovered that 'normal' bike grips had always been too small for my hands. The longer and thicker options were an immediate relief to my hands, increasing comfort and control to a surprising degree. I have ridden over 3,000 miles of singletrack on foam grips this year, from freezing winter temps to wet monsoon adventures. Gloves or no gloves, these grips feel great the moment you place your hands on the bar. They have never once slipped despite having no lock-on mechanism. 

The downside of foam grips is that they are slightly more difficult to install & remove when compared to typical lock-on grips. This can make it more time-consuming to swap components from your handlebar, especially if you're wrenching in your living room without an air compressor. Additionally, the foam grips are more likely to be torn with rough handling, such as in a crash or dragging against a tree.

But, for riders willing to place comfort and control over convenience, the foam grips are a great low-tech solution with huge benefits. 

Steve Gardner, Warehouse Manager

[product-block handle="nc_wolf-tooth-fat-paw-grips-black"/]

Steve is known as a trail wizard here at TPC. He’ll disappear for days at a time, venturing deep into the backcountry with nothing but his bike, his beard, and an unmatched sense of direction. If he trusts a piece of gear on his adventures, you know it’s good stuff. 

ENVE Handlebar Tape

ENVE handlebar tapePhoto: ENVE

This tape is super comfortable, and I think white bar tape is making a comeback in 2024. You heard it here first folks.

Andrew Austin, Associate Category Purchasing Manager

[product-block handle="4829746233426-enve-handlebar-tape-3mm-thick-250cm"/]

I disagree with Andrew about white bar tape (eww), but I do agree that the ENVE tape is super comfy.

Vittoria Gravel Tire inserts  

Vittoria Gravel tire insertPhoto: Vittoria

They allow me to run 15 to 20 psi on gravel and at cyclocross races. Gives me a lot of grip and confident handling on off-camber roads. I’m thinking of getting the road version installed on my road wheels. : )

Richard Scudney, Catalog Specialist

[product-block handle="7441310679232-vittoria-air-liner-gravel-tire-insert-single"/]

I never expected Richard to convert to tubeless, let alone tubeless with inserts. The fact that he’s seen the light and is even considering putting them on his road bike brings me so much joy. 

Schwalbe Aerothan & Tubolito TPU tubes

Tubolito TPU tubesPhoto: Tubolito

Schwalbe Aerothan/Tubolito inner tubes: Don't get me wrong, Tubeless is great, but I've switched my road bike and my more casual gravel bike back to tubes. These newer tubes from brands like Schwalbe and Tubolito are lighter, offer better puncture resistance, and make tire swaps and maintenance at home a bit easier. I still have tubeless bikes, but I think tubes still work great for certain applications.

Andrew Austin, Associate Category Purchasing Manager

[product-block handle="tubolito-s-tubo-cx-gravel-tubes-700x47c"/]

Bike shops LOVE selling these things. $30-40 for a TUBE!? Ka-ching. Yes, they’re pricey, but nice to have. They’re what I stash in my flat kits because they’re so compact and lightweight. 

Bivo Trio Insulated Water Bottle

Bivo TrioPhoto: Bivo

My MVP this year — The Bivo double-wall insulated bottle has been a game changer. I'm done with plastic bottles that taste like plastic. And this keeps my drinks colder than any other insulated bottles I've used. Now I want all the colors! 

Mary Metcalf, CRM Manager

[product-block handle="7489773502656-bivo-trio-21oz-insulated-water-bottle"/]

Mary is an OG bikepacking specialist, and if she says something’s a “game changer,” I listen. I actually got one of these Bivo bottles in a swag bag last year, and I can attest to the awesome insulating capabilities. My Camelbak Insulated bottles don’t even come close. 

The Garmin Varia Radar Saddle Mount

Garmin Varia Saddle mount

Instead of having my light on my seatpost, it locks in nicely underneath the saddle instead. It also worked perfectly on my gravel bike, and it didn't move around at all on rough terrain. 

Johann Van Zyl, Catalog Supervisor

[product-block handle="garmin-varia-radar-seat-rail-mount"/]

I’ve been preaching about the brilliance of the Garmin Varia forever now. But the one thing I don’t like is the included rubber-band mount. I went for a clamp-style mount on the seatpost, but it can look awkward or rub on some people’s legs. This saddle rail mount is a very clean alternative. 

Reserve Fillmore valves  

Reserve Filmore valvesPhoto: Reserve Wheels

Like many riders, I used to simply squeeze my tires as a quick pressure check before my rides.  Over the years, I've learned the importance of proper tire pressure. A few PSI one way or the other can make a surprising difference in ride performance. With the addition of inserts and sealant, my traditional valves were clogging and becoming a headache between DH runs. The Fillmore valves provide a simple solution that works flawlessly. Now I can repeatably dial in PSI without needing a toolbox nearby.  

Travis Erwin, Head of Purchasing

As a diehard tubeless guy for all my bikes — road, gravel, and MTB — I was constantly dealing with slow or clogged Presta valve cores. While it's easy enough to just keep spare cores on hand I got a set of Fillmore valves with my Reserve 30HD wheelset and they were so great I put them on all my wheels. When setting up tubeless with a compressor the Fillmore valve flows a massive amount of air so the beads pop easily. Then when you take off the inflator the tire keeps air and is ready to go. In my experience, you can eventually clog a Fillmore valve if you inject sealant through the valve regularly, but it's much less likely to happen than with a regular Presta valve. 

Craig Wu, Receiving & Catalog Supervisor

[product-block handle="7471929229504-reserve-fillmore-tubeless-valves-pair"/]

Fillmore valves are kind of expensive, but I’ve been thinking that I should try them. I keep hearing good things, and I’ve been struggling a lot with clogged valves too.  

OneUp EDC V2 Tool with Plug Kit

OneUp EDC toolPhoto: OneUp Components

I used to carry a multitool and a Dynaplug strapped to my MTB frame. I also used to lose the occasional multitool and Dynaplug. After losing my last multitool I threaded my fork steerer and inserted an EDC Tool with the plug kit loaded with bacon strips and now am running it on both mountain bikes - swapping the tool between both threaded EDC top caps. The plug is super fast to deploy and I am always consistently prepared no matter what else or how else I'm carrying with me that ride. Threading the steerer is a fairly simple task with the EDC Tap and it can be shared amongst your riding buddies when they see how great your EDC tool is.

Craig Wu, Receiving & Catalog Supervisor

[product-block handle="7389860528320-oneup-edc-v2-tool"/]

[product-block handle="oneup-edc-plug-kit"/]

I have this exact tool, stashed inside the OneUp EDC Mini Pump and strapped to my mountain bike. I love it. I honestly don’t think there’s any better tool system on the market right now. 

Continental GP 5000 S TR tubeless tires

Tadej Pogacar Tour de france attack

Pogacar's tire. 'Nuff said. Photo: ASO/Charly Lopez

This tire receives a lot of accolades in the cycling press and for good reason. It is the best combination of durability, low rolling resistance, and most importantly, it’s the best-feeling tubeless tire I've ridden. I rave about the ride quality of my Tarmac SL7 to anyone who will listen and this year tried a different brand of tubeless tire because I couldn't get a set of Conti GP 5000 S TRs. Something was different about my bike and when I was able to get a new set of Contis I realized — maybe I like the tires more than the bike. That's saying something.

Craig Wu, Receiving & Catalog Supervisor

[product-block handle="continental-grand-prix-5000s-tire-700c-tubeless"/]

If you read then you already know that this tire is the king of fast road tires. You aren’t on GP 5000s, bro? Are you trying to get dropped!?

Shimano Dura-Ace RT-CL900 Rotors

Shimano freeza ice-tech brake rotorPhoto: Shimano

I used to run Shimano XTR rotors on my road bike which worked fine, but every now and then, especially on fast steep descents with hard late braking they would heat up and warp and start rubbing until they cooled down. As I mentioned in a different product review, I HATE BIKE NOISE. These new rotors from Shimano solve that warping problem and stay nice and straight with no rubbing on those same fast descents. *Chef's Kiss*

Craig Wu, Receiving & Catalog Supervisor

[product-block handle="shimano-rt-cl900-disc-brake-rotor"/]

Geez, this brake rotor is the fourth (and not the last) bike product Craig has added to this list. Also, it's a brake rotor. He might be a bigger bike nerd than me!

7Mesh Desperado Merino Henley Long Sleeve

7Mesh Desperado HenleyPhoto: 7Mesh

7Mesh Men's Desperado Merino Henley Long Sleeve. It’s been my go-to for MTB, gravel, and commuting. It regulates body temp very well and doesn’t stink (even after a few uses). It looks sweet as well when you need to stop at a cafe or grab something on the way home

Alan Zalewa, Intake Supervisor

I like Alan’s style. He looks really good on the bike. That’s all I have to say…

Patagonia Dirt Craft Pants

Patagonia Dirt Craft PantsPhoto: Patagonia

The Patagonia Dirt Craft Pants have been an absolute staple in my wardrobe this year. Lightweight trail pants in general are a really versatile piece of clothing, but the Patagonias get it all right for me! Comfortable enough to work in all day (ask me how I know...) and light enough for days that push into the 70s. I especially love the side pockets. Just the right size for my phone, and easy to access when you need to take pictures of your beautiful bike.

Andy Heuser, Ride Guide

[product-block handle="patagonia-dirt-craft-pants"/]

I’ve become a huge fan of Patagonia’s MTB apparel, and I really like these pants too because they’re so thin, stretchy, and breathable. They’re year-round riding pants for me.  

Revelate Spinelock Seat Bag

Revelate Spinelock 10LPhoto: Revelate Designs

The best bag for any occasion. I have fit two six-packs in it, clothes for the day, and great for bikepacking. It is easy to take on and off. It compresses well. It also doesn't sway when riding! makes my life easy to have a backpack and just have one bag on the bike.

Nik Lavrisha, Ride Guide

I like that Nik’s standard for good bag volume is fitting multiple six packs.

[product-block handle="7255295426752-revelate-terrapin-seat-bag"/]

^This^ is the Revelate Terrapin, which uses a slightly different mounts (straps only), but the Spinelock wasn’t in stock. 

Garmin Venu 2 watch

Garmin Venu 2Photo: Garmin

I've really enjoyed my Garmin Venu 2 watch. It's a general fitness-tracking watch, which is nice in its own right, but it also allows me to ditch my chest strap heart rate monitor. Instead, I just broadcast my HR from the watch (which I'm always wearing anyway) to my bike computer (or Zwift, for virtual rides) and can spare myself from having to juggle one more piece of gear. I have had some accuracy and reliability issues with it, but I also had those with my chest strap monitor now and then. Overall, it simplifies the stuff I need to rustle up for a ride and has been supremely convenient.

Ethan Martin, Product Manager

Smartwatches and GPS watches are getting more popular. Even I wear a basic Garmin Forerunner 55 at all times to track things like sleep, steps, and other health metrics.

[product-block handle="garmin-venu-watch-watch-color-black-wristband-black-silicone-010-02173-11"/]

I like that I don’t have to put a head unit on my enduro mountain bike where there’s a good chance it will get smashed up. I still use a regular bike computer for road and gravel riding, but if I didn’t own or want a head unit, using my watch would be super convenient. 

Industry Nine Hydra hubs

Industry Nine Hydra hubPhoto: Industry Nine

These bad boys have tons of engagement and are reliable.

Joey Gault, Ride Guide

If you like high-engagement hubs, the Industry Nine Hydra has 690 points of engagement (or 0.52° engagement) and it is the gold standard.

[product-block handle="7452240281792-reserve-30-sl-w-industry-nine-hydra-hubs-carbon-tubeless-29-wheelset"/]

We don’t sell the hubs on their own (currently) but do have plenty of wheels (like Reserves and ENVES) built up with Hydras. If you want the ultimate blend of bling, buzz (they are super noisy), and performance, Hydra is the way. 

Wahoo KICKR CORE Power Trainer

Kickr CorePhoto: Wahoo Fitness

This is just so much better than the old wheel-on trainer I've been using. It's basically plug-and-play with minimal setup, and the ERG mode makes hitting your intervals at the right cadence and power every time so much easier. 

Andrew Austin, Associate Category Purchasing Manager

[product-block handle="wahoo-kickr-core-power-trainer"/]

For anyone building a trainer dungeon on a budget, this is the direct-drive smart trainer that I recommend. It’s affordable and has everything you need (and nothing you don’t) to have fun on any virtual riding platform. The Zwift Hub One is another good alternative and costs about the same. 

Reserve 30 HD AL MTB Wheels

Reserve 30 HD AL wheelsPhoto: Reserve Wheels

The Reserve Alloy wheels. The price was right and the warranty is even better. I habitually destroy rear rims, and after my second one this year, I decided a new wheelset was in order. They have lasted 10 rides so far and they are still 90% true :).

Clint Hobbs, Inbound Operations Manager

[product-block handle="7452240117952-reserve-30-hd-al-w-industry-9-1-1-hubs-alloy-tubeless-29-wheelset"/]

If you’re a serial wheel smasher like Clint, then Reserve’s industry-leading warranty can make their wheels a solid investment. Bust a rim — get it replaced for free. The fact that Reserve is offering a warranty this generous on a more budget-friendly aluminum wheelset is amazing to me. 

2023 RockShox SID and Lyrik Forks

RockShox SID Ultimate 2023Photo: SRAM

Up until this year, I've always been a Fox guy, but I got a SID Ultimate because I was weight weenie-ing an XC build and the SID was lighter than the Fox 34 Step-Cast. What I wasn't prepared for was how quiet the RockShox fork is when riding. It's basically silent vs. Fox forks where I could always hear air passing between the positive and negative air chambers as the fork compressed over small bumps — hisssss hisssss hisssss. Turns out RockShox specifically worked on making their newer generation forks as quiet as possible and I LOVE a quiet bike. My riding buddies can attest that I'm basically apoplectic when my bikes make an unwarranted noise while riding. It doesn't hurt that the SID and Lyrik are both lighter than their Fox counterparts and ride amazingly well. 

Craig Wu, Receiving & Catalog Supervisor

[product-block handle="rockshox-fork-sid-ultimate-race-day-3p-remote-29-boost™15x110-120mm-gloss-black-44offset-tapered-debonair-includes-ziptie-fender-star-nut-maxle-stealthremote-sold-separate-d1"/]

[product-block handle="rockshox-lyrik-ultimate-charger-3-rc2-29-fork-15x110mm-44mm-2023-gloss-black"/]

Dang, Craig is kind of selling me on these forks. Too bad I’m still a die-hard Fox fan. #Kashimaforlife

Ohlins RXF38 Fork

Ohlins RXF38 on Orbea Rise

Game changer! So much better than its competitors. The damping properties and no volume spacers — it feels incredibly fast and it wants/needs to be pushed to the limits.

Ari Barnett, Ride Guide

[product-block handle="ohlins-rxf38-m-2-ttx18-29-fork-boost-44mm-offset"/]

Holy crap that is one expensive fork! Our co-worker Travis also recently switched to Ohlins and proceeded to win his age group in the Downhill Rockies race series. Maybe there’s something to it. If there’s a fork that could tempt me away from my trusty Fox 38, this is probably it. 

SRAM T-Type Eagle Transmission 

SRAM XXSL transmissionPhoto: SRAM

Yes, it shifts great under power (especially under the stress of XC racing) and I love the set-and-forget nature of AXS electronic shifting. But what's really amazing about Transmission is how strong that derailleur is compared to a regular derailleur hanger. I've had a few minor get-offs and one big crash at speed on my drive side and my derailleur is absolutely fine and still shifts perfectly. The only thing I had to do was loosen and retighten the derailleur mounting bolt and it snapped back into place and shifted perfectly. Before Transmission I felt I had to check my derailleur hanger alignment several times a season, sometimes just squeezing through rocks would bend the derailleur slightly. The only con of Transmission is now my favorite tool, the Abbey HAG (Hanger Alignment Gauge), is basically obsolete.

Craig Wu, Receiving & Catalog Supervisor

[product-block handle="7441087692992-sram-xxsl-t-type-eagle-transmission-axs-groupset"/]

Works great with little adjustment needed. 

Charlie Madden, Fraud Prevention Specialist

[product-block handle="sram-gx-t-type-eagle-transmission-axs-groupset-rd-w-battery-charger-cord-ec-pod-fc-gx-q174-dub-mtb-wide-175-dark-polar-w-dm-32t-cr-w-2-guards-cn-126l-cs-xs-1275-10-52t"/]

I’ve spent a lot of time this year drooling over SRAM’s new transmission and weighing the individual components, but I have yet to pull the trigger on it because I’m way too cheap. I do recognize how good it is, but I can wait. I usually lag a few years behind on my personal bikes. It’s easier on my wallet that way. 

Specialized Globe Haul ST 

Specialized Globe Haul ST

My Specialized Globe Haul ST never ceases to amaze me. I'm constantly pushing the limits of what I can haul, where I can go, how far I can go, and what kind of weather I'm willing to do it in. It's the most fun and functional e-bike I've ridden. 

Nick Leng, External Compliance Specialist

[product-block handle="7485385572544-specialized-globe-haul-st-e-bike-2023-one-size"/]

A bunch of the guys at TPC are riding and commuting on Globes now. They’re really cool, really practical, hilariously fast, and pretty well-priced in my opinion. My wife and I are thinking about getting one to replace our current cargo E-bike because the compact design will help save space in our cramped garage. 

Benno eScout

Benno escout e-bikePhoto: Benno Bikes

This one is easy for me: Benno eScout "eTility" bike! My primary motivator for purchasing the bike was that my commute to work is very short and extremely doable by bike, but the ride home involves a couple steep hills and often a headwind. You can throw the Velominati Rule #5 at me if you want but it was enough to deter me from bike commuting more often. The E-bike makes the ride home a lot less painful and also allows me to do more things by bike like going to the grocery since I've been able to add some nicely-sized pannier bags and a front basket. I've owned it for just over six months now and I've ridden nearly 1000 miles on it, mostly short trips not exceeding 5 miles one way!

Carl Sechrist, Master Technician

[product-block handle="7418734772416-benno-escout-10d-class-3-bosch-performance-line-sport-commuter-e-bike-2023-large"/]

Good on you, Carl! Reducing car dependence is a beautiful thing. The eScout doesn’t work for me since I need to haul a kid around too, but if you’re riding solo, it’s fast, practical, and unlike the Globe, it looks more like a normal bike.  

We Are One Arrival & Convergence Wheels

We Are One Arrival and Convergence


Absolutely stunning, handmade in Canada, wonderful climbing characteristics, and super boost 157 is the truth! Convergence wheels- Also stunning, handmade in Canada, noticeably wonderful ride feel.

Ari Barnett, Ride Guide

[product-block handle="we-are-one-composites-arrival-170-sp2-frame-2023"/]

[product-block handle="7457874444480-we-are-one-composites-convergence-triad-w-i9-hubs-carbon-tubeless-mx-wheelset-microspline"/]

We Are One products are absurdly nice, and I’m super jealous of Ari’s whole setup. Maybe when my kid is out of college I can treat myself to some handmade Canadian carbon too…

A Sleep Mask

Sleep maskPhoto: Mavogel

I usually like to cap off these posts with the cheapest and most esoteric product on the list, but this year Charlie has me beat with “pen and paper.” Nice one, dude. Anyway, I’m giving my product pick this year to my sleep mask. It’s not any particular sleep mask. I have a few different ones, all purchased on Amazon for around $10. 

Sleep hygiene is something I struggle with, and all my screens make falling asleep even harder. I’ve found the only way to stop myself from peeking at my smartphone/laptop/television after 10 P.M. is to blindfold myself with a sleep mask. I started trying it after coming across studies about how wearing sleep masks and earplugs at night can improve memory and alertness

It was tough (and boring) at first, but after sticking with it for a few weeks, I actually shut down and sleep once I put it on. I’ve been getting good, consistent sleep for the first time in years. It turns out that being well-rested makes you a stronger, healthier, and happier rider. Wow, magic! I combine a sleep mask with a sound machine or earplugs. 10/10, would recommend. Get enough sleep, everyone! 

Bruce Lin, Senior Writer

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