Whether it’s a Touring Bike Buyers Guide, an email or phone conversation with a member, or just some, errr, friendly banter among staffers, we spend a lot of time searching for, recommending, and sometimes just trying to remember what bikes and parts are out there. But even when cycling ephemera is in your job description, there are just so many options in this golden age of cycling that even the most dedicated staffers need a little help from time to time.
Since we’re in the midst of a bicycle boom and it seems everyone is shopping for something, we wanted to share a few of the (totally free) resources we reach for day after day when we’re looking for reviews, lists, comparison tools, and more to help make the most of your (and our!) purchasing power.
Yeah, okay, this is a bit self-serving, but with thousands of stories, reviews, and columns, our own online archive offers a deep well of cycling info. Whether you’re looking for some advice from the late, legendary Sheldon Brown in his Mechanical Advantage column, a technical deep dive from former Tech Editor John Schubert, or a Road Test from last year, you can search by department, author, or keyword. Our recommendation: despite changing “standards,” and innovations of all types, Cycle Sense columns (written for many years by Schubert and later by Nick Legan) offer timeless advice for any traveling cyclist.
What bars, indeed? Perhaps nowhere does the golden age of bikes manifest like the bars. You want traditional drops or flats? Fine. But if you’re looking for something for comfort or style or both, there are nearly endless permutations of the humble handlebar — and likely a bunch of options from brands you’ve never heard of. Enter Whatbars.com, which, in addition to offering a database of bars, allows you to compare shapes and sizes with a handy visual overlay feature. Being able to set your existing bars as a base and then compare/contrast a new option is hugely helpful.
Not quite as easy for comparison purposes as Whatbars.com, thecyclelist.co offers a super robust database of all types of luggage from panniers to basket bags. With sorting by type, brand, country of origin, price, and more, it’s a great tool to get a quick look at what brands and models might fit your particular need. With the proliferation of smaller bag makers, a resource like this is ideal for introducing riders to companies they may not have known about who are making the precise thing they’re looking for.
A Scottish site we wish we’d discovered years ago, geometrygeeks.bike has a seemingly bottomless database of bikes across a variety of categories. Search by brand or model name, pick the right year, the right size, and voilà — geometry data! Sure, you could grab that from the manufacturer’s site (maybe … finding geo for older models is a chore), but where this website shines is the ability to compare multiple bikes and/or multiple sizes. Between a medium and a large? Wondering how your current ride stacks up against the three models you’re shopping? What used to require spreadsheet tedium (there is a sheet in my Google Drive labeled “New Bike Geo” with more tabs than I care to admit) is now as easy as a few clicks.
Sometimes you just want to see a list of bikes in a certain category — I know I want a new touring bike but all I can think of is Surly, there must be others too! Australian Alee Dunham compiles list after list (after list, after list) of bikes and gear. His perspective is decidedly global, so the odds of running across a bike or part that looks perfect but isn’t available in your country are high, which can be frustrating. But for pure volume of ideas, this site is tough to beat.
As the name suggests, Bikepacking.com’s Gear Indexes are just that, considerable lists of options in various categories (like 650b Gravel Bikes or Flared Gravel Bars). As you’d expect, the indexes are aimed at bikepackers so you won’t find road touring bikes here, but there are a huge number of options for all kinds of versatile builds. Best of all, any bikes or gear that they’ve tested is denoted as such and additional photos and info are available with a quick click to expand the listing.