The different types of cycling equipment vary from one type of cycling to another, but there are a few key pieces of cycling equipment that anyone who throws a leg over a bike seat should own. The most important piece of cycling equipment is the helmet, which can range from lightweight and vented to inexpensive without vents. In either case, the helmet should fit properly and should be worn correctly to prevent injuries in the event of a crash. A good helmet is the most important piece of cycling equipment one can buy, and investing in a good helmet will provide the user with comfort and safety.
Other important pieces of cycling equipment generally fall into three categories: components, accessories, and apparel. Special cycling clothes are available, and they are designed to cling close to the body for aerodynamics. They are made from wicking material that keeps moisture away from the skin for comfort and heat control, and specially designed shorts come with padding in the crotch to provide a more comfortable sitting surface while sitting on narrow and sometimes hard bicycle seats. Cycling gloves are another important piece of apparel that can help prevent blisters on the hands when riding longer distances or over rough terrain.
Cycling shoes come in a variety of designs. Many now come with special cleats that work in conjunction with a certain type of pedal called the clipless pedal. When the cleat is attached to the pedal, the rider's foot is ostensibly attached to the bike. This aids in the transfer of power and helps the rider achieve a more powerful pedal stroke.
Components on a bicycle are pieces of cycling equipment that help the bicycle run properly. Wheels, cranks, handlebars, saddles, and derailleurs all fall into the category of components. These pieces of equipment are replaceable if they break or become worn out, but many work only with other specific components. A chain, for example, only works with a cassette and derailleur/shifting system that is compatible. A 9-speed chain only works on a 9-speed cassette and with a 9-speed derailleur and shifter set.
Accessories run the gamut from water bottles to patch kits, from sunglasses to cycling computers. The cycling computer is a compact unit that mounts on the handlebar. A magnet attached to a spoke on the front wheel interacts with a sensor mounted on the fork. The sensor sends information to the computer, which tells the rider the current speed, distance ridden, and other valuable information. Computers are a relatively inexpensive accessory that can be very useful to the rider who is training for racing.