Review – IRC Tires Boken Tubeless Gravel Tyres

A gravel biking tyre is distinctly different from a mountain bike or a cyclocross tyre – it should be at least 40c in volume and have a tread pattern that is capable of handling both rock strewn trails as well as gravel and sand. The IRC Boken Tubeless Tyres are a great example.

I fitted the IRC Boken Tyres to my Kona Private Jake – set up tubeless on a set of Stan's NoTubes S1 Crest wheels. They were quick relatively easy to mount up, although I did have to put an extra wrap of rim tape on the rim to create a tighter seal. The tyres felt robust and well made from first inspection.

The tread pattern on the Boken is a fine 'micro-diamond' design, and not as aggressive as some gravel tyres that I have tested, such as the Vee Tire T-CX, or the WTB Nano. The clear virtue of this is that the tyres are notably faster rolling and better for asphalt and light gravel sections than many, though predictably it does mean traction is slightly lower on slippery and loose surfaces compa…

Explore – 5 Best Gravel Cycling Routes on the Isle of Wight

I ride a gravel bike on the Isle of Wight more than I ride any other; it is the perfect way to explore the vast network of quiet roads and exciting open trails. In this 'Explore' blog post I have tailor-made five of the best gravel cycling routes on the Isle of Wight; with suggested pit-stops and highlights.

The Isle of Wight roads, trails, and tracks are my home. I have toured all over the world, but whenever I come back to this small island off the South Coast of the UK I am amazed at how diverse and beautiful the riding is here.

The Island is very easy to get to with a bike — use one of the three car ferry routes from Portsmouth, Lymington or Southampton; or come as a foot passenger and bring your bike for free on the Wightlink FastCat from Portsmouth Harbour train station. You can get to the Island from Central London in just a little over three hours.

Once you are here, there is a plethora of bike-friendly accommodation: from hotels and B&B's, to campsites and Ec…

Making Plans – The #CelticCrossTrail Tour

Earlier this year I pulled up a heat-map of where in Europe my riding has taken me to date. It shows a spider's web of routes spanning most of the major European countries; from Denmark and Norway, to Spain and Portugal. An area right on my doorstep that is inexcusably poorly explored though, is the collective Celtic trio of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.

I have previously made some attempt at Wales: riding the trail centres, MTB endurance races, the Ras de Cymru road stage race, and the 300 kilometre Dragon Ride in the Welsh hills. I have by no means explored its full beauty though and have yet to venture out onto the Pembrokeshire coastline, or into the heart of the Brecon Beacons.

I have ridden even less in Scotland. The most recent time was along the Scottish border during the Dirty Reiver gravel race. I have barely touched the beauty and wilderness of the Scottish Highlands— not yet venturing north of Fort William.

Ireland is completely untouched. Despite reading about and …

Review – Goodyear Eagle All-Season Tubeless Road Tyres

Road bike tyres are getting bigger, and better. The new 30c Eagle All-Season Tubeless Tyres from Goodyear Bicycle Tires are a superb endurance riding option. I have been testing them out over the last month, here is my review...

I remember being one of the first riders in Team Wiggle (back in 2013) to make the switch from 23c to 25c tyres. The added comfort and grip was an obvious benefit, and has very little penalty in terms of added weight; as well as even some suggestions of lower rolling resistance from the larger diameter tyre [read this past post for some insights].

In the following years I switched from 25c to 28c on my road bike and moved from 33c up to 40c diameter tyres on my gravel bike. The benefits of larger volume tyres when riding long hours on mixed surface terrain are huge, and far outweigh the downsides (in my opinion). With this progression in mind, I was keen to test out the 30c diameter road-focussed Eagle tyres from Goodyear; an even larger volume of road tyre t…

Workshop Focus – SwissStop Disc Brake Pads Review

There is a plethora of bicycle disc brake pads on the market, but ask professional bike mechanics what their preferred option is, and SwissStop is often the popular choice. The brand produces disc brake pads for all kinds of bicycle; from road to cyclocross, and mountain bike. In this blog post I report back on my review findings after testing the complete range of SwissStop disc pads both off-road and on-road over the last year, with close to 25,000 kilometres of riding.

SwissStop make four different models of disc brake pads: Green Organic, Yellow RS Racing, ExoTherm, and Silver Endurance. All of these pads are organic (not sintered) formula pads; providing a low noise and rotor-friendly contact with the disc brake rotor. All the pads are also designed to be stable at extremely high temperatures, such as those encountered on long mountain descents. The pads differ in the composition of the organic formula though, and also in the case of ExoTherm there is a different back panel.