Workshop Focus - Disc Brake Pads and Rotors

The disc brake pads and disc brake rotors fitted to your bike play a significant role in braking power, modulation, and reliability. The pads supplied with your bike on purchase will only last around 5000 kilometres at most, so there comes a time when you will be shopping for after-market disc pads and considering replacing the disc rotors. In this 'Workshop Focus' post, I look at the things to consider in this selection.

Understanding Disc Brakes Disc brakes use a caliper mounted near the dropouts of the frame or fork of a bicycle. Two pads are housed inside the caliper, and pistons force these onto the rotating rotor; the resulting friction is what slows and stops the wheel. Pistons can be cable actuated or hydraulic powered.

For a disc brake to be effective, the friction between the pad and the rotor needs to be strong enough; this is negatively affected by contaminants like grit, oil and mud — so it is vital to remove these to ensure consistent braking performance, and to…

Review - 361 Degrees Strata 3 Running Shoes

I cannot claim to be an expert runner. Nor can I claim to be an expert on running shoes. However, I can tell you that the new Strata 3 shoes from 361 Degrees are the fastest running shoes I have worn to date.

The 361˚ Strata 3 Running Shoes are a mid-to-high mileage moderate stability trainer, designed to provide protective comfort and support mile after mile. As I launched into my New Year cross training spree, they have been an incredible asset for my feet.

These shoes are comfortable, light, springy, fast, and seem to be lasting impressively well in the tough winter conditions of January. Their strength in these areas is down to a number of design features that set them apart from the majority of running shoes on the market.

The first of these is the way that the shoe's sole is designed: with a full length QU!KFOAM midsole, and a QU!K Flex 4Foot at the front of the sole. The QU!K FOAM midsole is unique to 361 Degrees, and consists of an EVA rubber sole that is sculpted to sup…

Review - Swrve Cordura Combat Wool Button-Up Casual Shirt

I rarely wear office shirts these days, but casual shirts are something I still definitely appreciate. The Swrve CORDURA® Combat Wool Button-Up Shirt is a luxurious and smart, yet incredibly practical piece of smart-casual wear, which looks at home both on and off the bike.

The Swrve Combat Wool shirts are part of the brand's Capsule collection "designed to do anything, anywhere, anytime" — which means that they should be as capable on an outdoor expedition as they are in the urban environment. That is a tough demand, but the brand seems to have delivered it through fabric choices and subtle design features...

The Combat Wool shirt is made from CORDURA® combat wool™. This fabric blend claims to be ten times more abrasion resistant, have two times better tensile strength, and also have significantly better tear resistance (it is a ripstop fabric) than a pure Merino wool. It delivers this though, while still retaining the sought-after characteristics of wool; such as the …

Review - Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro Evolution Winter MTB Tyre

There are few things that stop me from riding my bike. Icy roads though, instil fear into my mind. Cycling with spiked tyres on a bicycle is something that I have never explored before; but on realising they could provide the solution to the risk and fear associated with ice covered roads and trails, I was interested to test them out. I have been riding the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro MTB tyres in some challenging conditions, to see if they deliver…

I decided that the roads of the Isle of Wight did not provide enough of a testing ground to explore the capabilities of the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro. So, to find out what they were able to offer, I headed to the frozen land of Norway, in January.

Three days of 'Ice Biking' started from the city of Oslo. It wasn't long after rolling (noisily) off the ferry from Denmark that we found our first ice rink bike paths. Normally, the sheet ice spread across these paths would have me wincing in fear; but, miraculously, I had traction…

If I …

Review - Overboard Bags Velodry 20 Hi-Vis Waterproof Cycling Backpack

Commuting by bike shouldn't be stressful, but an easy way to make it so, is getting your valuables soaked whilst riding. A fully waterproof cycling backpack is the simple solution — the Overboard Bags Velodry 20 is an innovative and well made example.

I have tested a number of products from Overboard over the last year; including their superb 60L Pro-Sports Waterproof Duffel Bag and their very useful Waterproof Accessory Bags. The quality has always been high, and with the Pro-Sports Duffel bag in particular I was very impressed by the attention to detail in areas such as pocketing and reflective elements.

The new Velodry 20 Waterproof Backpack is part of the brand's new 'Technical' line-up; it is an advanced product, showcasing a lot of R&D into the features demanded by an all-weather commuting cyclist.

This is not just a water-resistant backpack, or a backpack with a waterproof cover; it is a fully submersible capsule bag, which is completely watertight when clo…