Review - Hiplok FLX Lightweight Bicycle Cable Lock

Café rides and bikepacking / bicycle touring share a similar conundrum: what to do with your bike when you are inside getting supplies? Out of sight, your bike is vulnerable to opportunists. A lightweight cable lock like the Hiplok FLX can provide the solution.

The Hiplok FLX uses a small one metre cable, housed on a spring-loaded retractable wheel inside the unit's plastic shell. A combination code is used to open and close the locking device, and it is easy to set your preferred combination using a small button on the side of the product.

The Hiplok FLX also features a 10 lumen red light, designed to be a back-up in case of emergency. You can clip the lock to a jersey pocket, and the light provides a respectable last-resort visibility aid if you are caught out later than expected on your cafe (or pub) trip.

The unit itself is not overly robust, and the braided steel cable would be no match for a set of bolt croppers. That said, this is not meant to be a high protection lock; fo…

Review - Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench

Anyone that owns a carbon bike should have a torque wrench, and increasingly even anyone that owns an alloy bicycle. A torque wrench allows you to tighten bolts evenly and safely, without the risk of over or under tightening clamps. The Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench is my personal choice.

It is worth spending a bit on a good torque wrench, as with frequent bike maintenance it will get a good bit of use; and you want to be reassured that it is a good enough quality that it is in fact delivering the measured torque level. The Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench achieves a great quality level, and at a very good price.

Using the Pro Bike Tool Torque Wrench is super simple: you just rotate the barrel of the handle to set it to the desired torque level, and then fit your required tool bit to the ratchet head.

The unit has a nice feel and weight to it, and the extension arm is useful for reaching difficult bolts such as those on disc brake mounts, or the seat post clamp on my 3T Exploro (don't g…

Review - Thule Evo WingBar Roof Rack and K-Guard Kayak Carrier

The new year is going to signal the start of many new adventures for me; including a dive into the world of expedition sea kayaking. The change has created a demand for some new transportation kit — the Thule Evo WingBar Roof Rack and Thule K-Guard Kayak Rack are two of those investments…

I have previously reviewed the very well designed Thule ProRide 598 Bike Carrier on the blog, and praised its practical and durable design for transporting bikes on the roof of your car. Ever since owning that bike carrier I have been keen to try one of the innovative T-track slide roof racks from the Swedish brand, to see if they truly deliver on their promised fast access and ease of use when combined with Thule's roof-top rack accessories.

A change of family car meant that a new roof rack was in demand, and so it seemed a logical choice to go for the new Evo WingBar from Thule. The exceptionally strong aluminium bar is super light, but also super strong — easily capable of taking the load of …

Stocking Fillers For Cyclists 2018

For the past three years I have written quite extensive lists of stocking filler ideas for cyclists (check them out here); but this year I decided to try and narrow it down to a 'Lucky 7' picks. Here are my wheely great little gift ideas of 2018...

(1) Victorinox SwissCard Lite
After trying the Victorinox Bike Tool earlier this year I was keen to see what other gadgets the swiss brand had that would be suitable for a cyclist's jersey pocket. The SwissCard is a great little tool, which would easily slip into a rider's 'Every Ride Carry' and provide them with an extensive range of useful pocket tools: including a pen, mini knife, scissors, torch, screwdrivers, and tweezers. Of course it has the predictable faultless quality from Victorinox, which should mean that it lasts a lifetime.

>> Shop the Victorinox SwissCard Lite here <<

(2) Velopac RidePac Cyclocross
The Velopac (first reviewed on the blog here) has become my favourite ride wallet. It can c…

Review - Feedback Sports Chain Keeper Device

A chain keeper is a simple but extremely useful little gadget — designed to hold your chain tight and secure during transport and servicing; avoiding unwanted paint chips to your bike's chain stays. The new Feedback Sports Chain Keeper is a great example of the must-have accessory.

I used to have a homemade chain keeper device made from a piece of plastic tube cut to the drop-out width, with a quick release skewer through the centre. It did a decent job of holding the chain taunt when washing and transporting the bike, but it looked pretty homemade and it didn't work with bolt-thru axles.

The new Feedback Sports Chain Keeper Device is a significant improvement over my homemade bodge. You mount the device to the right hand dropout of the bike by either slotting it into a quick-release style drop-out, or with a 12 mm bolt-thru axle you use the neat adapter that expands inside the recess left when you remove the axle.

Once installed, the chain keeper device holds the chain tight…