Cycling is a broad spectrum sport, with dozens of little niches for every type of person. The magazine covers show road racers charging up a mountain road, MTB riders flying over spectators, middle-aged tourists visiting exotic countries, and much more. I’ve never done any of these but still read the stories inside looking for inspiration. The trick is to decide what is right for you, right now.
Take shoes for an example. I have purchased at least a dozen cycling shoes from Avocet, Reebok, Sidis, Carnac, Shimano, Specialized, and more. The Avocet were the best though they were before the era of clip-less pedals and were mainly a flat soled sneaker. This month Bicycling magazine touted on the cover, “The Best Superlight Road Shoes”. Should you follow their recommendation? At $350, probably not. Last year I went to Cycle Loft who have sales reps who focus just on bike fit and especially shoes. This guy had been trained by a manufacturer in California, however he brought out probably a dozen pairs from many companies. My problem is that the damn Italian shoes from my local bike shop were too narrow and after 100 miles my feet were numb and I had to end the ride. In the end I bought shoes by that California company (the same one who one the Bicycling test) but I bought based on comfort. The top of the line shoes had a better fit system, but the ones I bought just felt better.
Moral: don’t believe everything you read, not glossy magazines, Internet blogs, or even your favorite bike shop. Find someone with a lot of experience who spends time getting to know what you need, and can make a recommendation based on experience and training. Those shoes are exquisite, and I’m not telling you who made them, as they probably won’t be right for you. Go to a shop with well trained men and women who will listen.