Showing posts from April, 2018

Review - Chapeau Cycling Short Sleeve Club Jersey

Chapeau is a new arrival on Life In The Saddle, and the Chapeau Club Jersey has proven to be an impressive introduction to the UK brand. Lightweight, form-fitting, and with a great colour scheme, it certainly looks and feels the part.

Chapeau cycling kit is designed by a small team in the south-west of England; they aren't as well known as lot of the brands, but their output is impressive...

The Club jersey is the mid-range offering from Chapeau. Taking inspiration from a classic cycling jersey, but with a modern lightweight wicking fabric, it is both stylish and practical.

The fit is slim and flattering, and the wide smooth arm grippers provide a great look and feel. The hem gripper is good quality, and keeps three full-size back pockets in check. Then stylish details like the reflective logo badge add a definite touch of class.

For £69.99 RRP, the Chapeau Club Jersey seems like great value, with a higher quality fabric, zipper, and fit than you will find on many jerseys at this…

Review - Veloforte Energy Bars

I have always been a huge fan of taking slices of Christmas cake as festive ride fuel: that mix of candid fruit, dates, nuts, honey and spices; it is sublime, and one of the best things about the Festive 500. UK brand Veloforte have taken those ingredients, and made individual 100% natural energy bars with a similarly superb taste and texture. They were always going to win me over...

Veloforte Di Bosco - a mix of red berries, almonds and pistachio nuts
Veloforte Classico - a mix of citrus fruits, almonds and honey
Veloforte Ciocco - a mix of dates, almonds and cocoa

Three flavours, all delicious in their own right. All made from simple, natural whole-foods.

Most of the bars have less than a dozen ingredients, and all of those I can pronounce and have heard of; that's not something that I can say for a lot of energy bars out there. It is both reassuring to the mind, and far better for your health. Pumping yourself full of preservatives was never how our ancestors did it.

This is na…

Review - Darn Tough Socks

Who doesn't like nice socks?! There is nothing quite like pulling on a pair of soft packet-fresh socks, whether for cycling, running, or general everyday wear. How long does that new sock feeling last though? Darn Tough Socks suggest it could last a lifetime...

Handmade in Vermont, USA, Darn Tough Socks are guaranteed for life. That means if you are not happy with the fit, comfort, or durability of your Darn Tough Socks, you can return them for a free replacement. That is some accolade.

The Darn Tough collection includes a sock for every eventuality; from running to skiing, and hunting to office wear. I have tested out their Vertex No-Show Ultralight Tab Running Socks, their Breakaway Micro Crew Ultra-light Cycling Socks, and their Warlock Crew Light Lifestyle Socks. All have been very comfortable, very durable, and a great fit.

They are just socks. But socks make a massive difference to foot comfort, and these are comfortable socks that last.

>> View the range at darntough…

Review - Primal Shape Up Evo SS Cycling Jersey

Summer has arrived *touch wood*. Time to Shape Up and get the short sleeve cycling jerseys in action. This cool and quirky design from Primal Europe is a sure fire winner.

The Primal Europe brand was first introduced to me because of their custom team kit; we chose it as our kit for the Isle of Wight Cycling Team and at the Island Games. Our kit for the Island Games was in fact the Evo jersey, so I knew well before pulling this new design on that it would be a quality jersey, with a great fit and feel.

As well as their custom kit, which is high-end race-ready apparel, Primal also produce a fantastic range of fun and cheerful cycling kit, such as the Shape Up jersey. It is always great to have a few light-hearted designs in your cycling wardrobe, and you will find a great selection at Primal Europe.

The design of the short sleeve jersey is certainly fun and different, but the Shape Up jersey is also very well made. The fabric is thicker than some jersey materials, but that means it la…

Review - Rock N Roll Chain Lubes and Bike Cleaner

I have been testing out a collection of lubricants from Rock N Roll Lubrication: The Extreme LV, Gold LV and Absolute Dry Lubes, as well as the Cable Magic lubricant. To help clean up post-ride, I have also been using the Rock N Roll Miracle Red Cleaner. Here's the low-down...

Rock N Roll Chain Lubes
First, it is worth saying that Rock N Roll lubes are quite specific about how you apply them to the chain: You put the chain in the big chainring, and the smallest sprocket on the cassette; then you apply the lube as a flow (not a drip) to the chain on the point of curvature on the cassette. You can't put too much on. The point of application, and the unique 'carrier' within the lubricant allows it to penetrate deep into the chain links.

The Rock N Roll lubes are also branded as a chain 'cleaner' as well as a lubricant: so when you then come to wipe the chain off (to get rid of excess lube), you are cleaning the links without removing the lubricant deep inside the r…

Review - VintVelo Casual Clothing

Good quality cycling inspired tees and jumpers can be hard to come by. There are a plethora of brands producing cool designs, but the quality of the materials is also important. VintVelo, a local UK brand, produces some great quality kit.

Made from 100% cotton, recycled cotton, or bamboo, their selection of tees and jumpers are soft, luxurious, well fitted, and long lasting.

The designs printed onto the t-shirts and sweaters are fun and interesting too. 'Contre La Montre' (against the clock), and 'Allez Allez Allez' (go go go) are two of my favourites. The print quality seems to be good, with little deterioration after multiple washes and wear.

Life In The Saddle is about more than just time in the saddle, and kit like this from VintVelo is great après-ride wear.

 >> View the range at <<

Review - Blaze Burner Rear Light

Rear lights for long distance cycling are tricky: you want power to provide visibility on unfamiliar roads; a long durable battery life; but also something that won't add too much bulk to your ride. The Blaze Burner was my rear light of choice for the #BlackForest400.

The Black Forest 400 was 400 miles, non-stop and unsupported. 32 hours from start to finish. Finding a rear light that will give a decent output for that time is really pushing it, but the Blaze Burner did seriously well at trying. Using a clever mix of sensors and back-up power, it ran for almost the entire journey.

Not everyone is going to ride 32 hours non-stop, but considering I am also a strong advocate of 'daytime running lights', it makes a lot of sense to have a light that is bright enough to be seen in bright daylight, and that will also last a good few hours of riding. The Blaze Burner does both, very well.

The Blaze Burner rear light is instantly different from other lights: it mounts up using a f…

Review - Gore C5 Gore-Tex SHAKEDRY 1985 Waterproof Jacket

We all know Gore-Tex, but the new Gore Shakedry fabric is an incredible innovation. The unique super-thin fabric has 'constant beading technology', which means even after being bombarded with spray for hours on end, it stays waterproof. This is a game changing waterproof cycling jacket.

The Gore-Tex Shakedry technology is used in a number of the jackets within the Gore cycling range. The C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry 1985 Jacket is a super packable, highly breathable, 100 percent waterproof cycling jacket.

The Shakedry material, first used in the Gore ONE range in 2017, has an incredibly thin single-layer profile. The thin profile, and the fabric lay-up help to make the jacket super breathable - easily the most breathable jacket I have tested to date. The Shakedry coating also makes the garment incredibly protective though; both from wind and rain, despite its featherweight feel and tiny pack size.

The unique mix of attributes found in this jacket could mean this the only truly 'p…

Review - Solid State Cologne

Gifts for cyclists are a tricky thing to gauge. The peloton can be a fussy bunch, and buying bike components and clothing for a rider can often turn out to be a mistake. Perhaps an outdoor adventurer's cologne, like those from Solid State, could be a sensible choice.

I never used to be a huge wearer of cologne; I found it was just another thing to remember when travelling, and just another thing to squeeze into those airport security liquid sacks. Solid State has changed that.

The Australian brand Solid State produces a range of colognes that are wax based, rather than liquid. Using raw natural products such as shea butter, jojoba oil and beeswax, the scents are subtle and will be familiar to outdoor adventurers.

Because the Solid State colognes are not liquid based, they also don't contain irritants like alcohol or artificial chemicals. It also means that their size is a lot more compact and transportable.

The wide selection of different varieties within the range, from seas…

New Revolutions - Campagnolo Launch New 12 Speed Movement12 Groupset

I have always been a fan of Campagnolo. Today, they announced the arrival of a technological advancement that deserves serious merit: a 12-speed road bike groupset, with disc brake options. The new Campagnolo Movement12 is too exciting not to write home about…

The 11-speed Campagnolo Record groupset was my choice for my Neil Pryde Bura SL road bike build. Having visited the Campagnolo headquarters in Vicenza, I know the care and attention that goes into the production of every Campagnolo product; it is an attention to detail that explains why the Italian brand's parts out-last most others, and which also makes them ideal for an endurance road bike build.

The introduction of the new Movement12 12 speed groupset is exciting to me for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides a wider range of gears, which makes it more suitable for endurance riding. Secondly, it combines that with disc brakes, which makes it more suitable to a gravel or adventure bike. Finally, it improves a number o…

Review - Peaty's Tubeless Tyre Sealant

A change of season demands a change of tyres, and with a recent switch from winter treads to summer treads on my CX bike, I needed some more tubeless sealant. I decided Peaty's Tubeless Tyre Sealant would be interesting to test.

Testing tubeless tyre sealant is a real 'hit or miss' game. If it works, then the often-laboured efforts seating the tubeless tyre in the first place (read my Top Tips for Tubeless Tyres piece) are worth it, and the puncture seals itself with a satisfying clog. When it doesn't work though, you are left standing at the trailside cursing the test product's manufacturer, and wishing you had stuck with your normal reliable brand… Thankfully, my experience with Peaty's Tubeless Tyre Sealant is very much the first of these two.

On springtime trails strewn with freshly cut hedge debris and washed out flints, my cyclocross bike equipped with 40c tyres has been up against a minefield of potential punctures. A few times this month I have heard t…

Review - Rapha Brevet Windblock Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey

The Rapha Brevet collection is designed with distance in mind. Providing comfort and performance, for many hours of adventure. The Brevet Long Sleeve Windblock Jersey is a highlight of the collection, and provides a superb outer layer for riding in mixed weather conditions.

The Windblock Long Sleeved Jersey uses merino wool throughout the garment, to provide breathability, stretch, insulation, and comfort. The technical wind-proof fabric is then overlaid as a second layer on the front facing edges of the sleeves and the chest panel, to provide notable protection from wind-chill and light precipitation.

The merino wool used within the garment is a unique quick-drying variety. The logical thinking behind this selection is that the jersey could be washed and dried in a matter of hours; perfect for overnight stops mid-way through a long distance bike tour.

Bikepacking and bicycle touring always place a premium on stowage space. Storage in the Brevet Long Sleeve Jersey comes in the form o…