9 Bike-Commuter Gear Essentials

If you're among the nearly one million bicycle commuters in America, ears up: There are some easy ways to seriously upgrade your ride. From the purely stylish to the purely functional, these are your best bets. Ride on.

Breadwinner Cycles B-Road

Breadwinner Cycles B-Road photo

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Breadwinners may cost some pretty serious dough, but that's because each one is handmade in a small Portland, Oregon, workshop by partners Ira and Tony, and guaranteed for life. Designed as a touring bike, the B-Road also makes for a rugged, fully featured commuter, with Columbus Spirit steel frame, fender mounts, clearance for chunky 40c tires (32c w/fenders) and optional disc brakes. You work directly with them to customize and build up your dream ride and, within 8 to 12 weeks, you'll be the envy of the bike lanes. (From $4,050; breadwinnercycles.com)

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TiGr mini+ U-lock

TiGr mini+ U-lock photo

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Ditch the over-heavy U-lock in favor of this lightweight, elegant little lock. Made in New Jersey from a solid, 1.25-inch-wide titanium bar and a sturdy lock cylinder, it weighs in at only a pound, but resists attacks—by bolt cutter, angle grinder, and even hacksaw—better than competitors that are five times as heavy. A clear PVC coating keeps the bow from scratching your paint, and a rattle-free mounting clip attaches to your frame in place of a water bottle cage, keeping the TiGr handy but out of your way. ($135; tigrlock.com)

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Light + Motion Vibe Pro Commuter Combo

Light + Motion Vibe Pro Commuter Combo photo

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This compact head- and taillight pair incorporates smart tech for effortless safety on the streets. There are no buttons to push; instead, built-in sensors automatically turn on when the lights are inserted into their mounts (with a simple, secure 1/4-turn twist), and turn off when the bike is parked or the lights removed. The 200-lumen headlight also detects ambient light and adjusts accordingly—pulsing in daylight for safety and steady at night for visibility. Each light weighs just an ounce and easily shoves into your laptop bag for workday charging via direct USB. ($100; lightandmotion.com)

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Thousand Epoch Collection Helmet

Thousand Epoch Collection Helmet photo

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This classic-looking lid was designed to make daily commuters look sharp while staying safe. The Epoch eschews the swooping angles and massive air vents of racing helmets in favor of cleaner, moto-inspired styling and high-quality materials like vegan leather straps and a one-handed, magnetic chin strap closure. Seven vents send the wind through your hair, and a circular logo in back pops out, so you can lock the helmet to your bike. ($115; explorethousand.com)

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Chrome Urban EX Rolltop 28L Backpack

Chrome Urban EX Rolltop 28L Backpack photo

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It'd be hard to find a bag better suited to the rigors of the daily commute than the updated Urban EX. Its heavy-duty, 600-denier poly and nylon upper uses radio-frequency welds for a lightweight construction that's tough-as-nails and 100 percent waterproof. Down below, a durable synthetic rubber bottom panel offers added protection and provides a stable surface to stand on. Inside, tablet and laptop sleeves keep your gizmos safe, and organizational pockets keep everything squared away. With 10 more liters of storage than its cult favorite sibling, this pack gives you the versatility—and, yes, space—to extend your day post-work. ($140; chromeindustries.com)

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Betabrand Best Travel Shirt

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At last, a handsome Oxford that goes through the ringer without a wrinkle. Made from a comfy cotton-spandex blend, the Best Travel Shirt is subtly stretchy and quick-drying, which means it moves with you on the commute and helps keep you cool. A chest pocket and button-down collar are classy touches, and a wide variety of sharp designs means you can buy a perfect shirt for every single day of the week. ($98; betabrand.com)

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Mountain Hardwear AP Pant

Mountain Hardwear AP Pant photo

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The "AP" stands for all-purpose, and that's exactly what you're getting with this versatile, do-anything pant. The soft hand feel of cotton combines with hardwearing nylon and ample stretch to move with you through your entire day, from the two-wheeled commute—where articulated knees and roll-up cuffs with reflective hits really shine—to after-work drinks. The stylishly slim silhouette looks as good in the office as it does on a date and, unlike your other pants, these ones don't get stretched-out and sloppy after a single wear. ($90; mountainhardwear.com)

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DZR Strasse

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Named after the German word for "street" and made with a mix of full-grain leather and classic herringbone fabric, the Strasse has street-ready styling that belies its built-in performance tech. The natural gum rubber soles conceal SPD-compatible cleats—for clipless pedals, which let riders lock their feet to the pedals for a more powerful and efficient stroke—and full-length nylon shanks make them stiffer than Chucks, plus an otherwise low-key heel badge reflects light like a disco ball. Easy on the eyes, easy on the ride. ($129; dzrshoes.com)

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Showers Pass Odyssey Jacket

Showers Pass Odyssey Jacket photo

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This 3-layer waterproof softshell keeps the weather out and—with its highly reflective, design-forward map fabric, visible from 200-plus meters—cars at a safe distance, even on low-light commutes. Additional bike-friendly features include a helmet-compatible hood and moisture-wicking collar liner, plus handed hem cinches and easy-grip zipper pulls that can be operated even with gloves on. ($189; showerspass.com)

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