Posts

Review - ZOKU Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Image
I was touting the benefits of stainless water bottles long before the 'war on plastic'; read posts from 2016, and you will note praise for better taste, sustainability and hygiene. My latest carry is the ZOKU Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle.

The 18oz ZOKU Stainless Steel Bottle is a vacuum insulated water bottle that promises to keep cold drinks cool for up to 40 hours, and hot beverages warm for up to 12 hours. It is made from high quality (heavy gauge) stainless steel, and has a super solid drop proof feel to it.

I have adopted the ZOKU as my every day carry for the last month; taking it in bike bottle cages and clipped to my rucksack using the integrated (but removable) paracord lanyard. It has stood the use and abuse very well, and does indeed do a great job of keeping hot things hot, and cold things cold, without a hint of leakage.

I opted for the plain black colour way, but you can get an array of ten different colours.

The ZOKU Insulted Bottle is well made, dura…

Review - Smith Optics Overtake MIPS Helmet – Smith Optics Attack Sunglasses

Image
The Smith Optics Overtake Helmet and Attack Sunglasses were my headwear of choice for the #RoadsFromRome tour, and they surpassed all my expectations.

With Italian styling, and a superb build quality; this helmet and pair of sunglasses have a unique look, but equally exceptional performance.



Smith Optics Overtake Helmet Review Most people will recognise the Smith Optics Overtake Helmet from the distinctive horizontal vents on the front of the helmet, as well as the pointed rear section, and the honeycomb like internal structure. All of these are unique design features, but they are also features that help to explain the great performance of this helmet.

The Overtake helmet is constructed in a complex five layer system, illustrated in the image below. This includes a skeletal outer shell, carbon fibre reinforcements, high volume EPS foam, and Smith's  Koroyd material. Labelled the AEROCORE™ construction, it is designed to improve airflow, while also providing far greater impact …

Review - Thule RoundTrip Pro XT Bike Case Bag

Image
There is no doubt that the Swedish brand Thule are innovators: whether it be their bike carriers, travel bagsrucksacks, panniers, or this semi-rigid bike bag; their products push the boundaries in terms of functionality and design. The quality level is also impeccably high, and the Scandinavian influence is clear in their attitude and implementation. The Thule RoundTrip Pro XT Bike Case/Bag is a great piece of kit...

I have tested a lot of bike bags and boxes, from many well known manufacturers; many of them have excelled, and done the job of transporting my rides to far-flung destinations. Many of them have had faults or niggling downsides though... anything from wheels that have fallen off, to being unable to take recent 'Gravel' bike axles and wheel sizes. The new Thule RoundTrip Pro XT Bike Case / Bag, is a semi-rigid option, which seems to tick many of the boxes, without a lot of the downfalls of its competitors.


Hard case protection with soft case packability Bike bag…

Review - Rapha Brevet Flyweight Wind Jacket [Polartec]

Image
Can you really fit your whole life into a seat-pack the size of a small rucksack? When you do, it calls for specialist lightweight kit; the Rapha Brevet Flyweight Wind Cycling Jacket features super-light Polartec insulation, and has a tiny pack-size, making it ideal for cooler temperatures on your bike explorations.
Let us get straight to the point... this jacket is ludicrously lightweight; weighing in at just 74 grams for the Medium sample I have on test. That weight is thanks to a super-light weight Nylon windproof outer, and high level Polartec Alpha insulation; combined together, these create an impressively protective and insulating layer, with absolute minimal bulk. Polartec Alpha is a unique market-leading insulation fibre, which provides both great breathability when you are working hard, as well as effective insulation when you are more sedate in your movements. 
I used the jacket on my recent #XPDTN3Dolomites bikepacking trip, and for the early morning ride-outs up above 20…

Review - Victorinox Bike Multi Tool

Image
I have a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife that has featured in my 'every day carry' for almost a decade; it still performs like new, and in an invaluable asset. I recently discovered that the Swiss brand makes a bike tool, and I was keen to see if it lives up to the same exacting Swiss standards.

The Victorinox Bike Tool is effectively a mini socket set: the magnetic 5mm hex key detaches from the tool holder and then you fit any bit piece to it: the range includes 2-6mm hex keys, a T25 Torx key, and flat and cross-head screwdriver bits. All the bit pieces are made from high tensile stainless steel, and have a very good fit in bolt heads; promising not to round off fittings if used correctly.

The body of the tool also features two clip-in tyre levers, which are made from strong plastic composite, and do a good job of levering stubborn tubeless tyres from wheel rims, as well as having a nice rounded profile to protect the tube.

The whole bike tool weighs just 92 grams, and is 100mm …