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Showing posts from September, 2019

Review – Pro Bike Tool Insulated Bike Water Bottle

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Not all bicycle water bottles are made equal. In my opinion, you should look for a BPA free, insulated bottle; with a soft silicone mouthpiece and an easy to use and clean valve. The Pro Bike Tool Insulated Bike Water Bottle is a great example.

A bike water bottle should not be an expensive piece of kit, but ultimately you do get what you pay for. The Pro Bike Tool Insulated Bottle retails for £14.99 (although there are multi-buy savings and discount codes at present) — that is quite a price, but then this bottle does deliver a lot more than most simple bidons.

Firstly, consider the plastic that the bottle is made from — you want it to be soft and squeezable, but crucially it should be BPA free so that it does not leach harmful chemicals into your drinks.

Second, consider the mouthpiece on the bike bottle — you want it to be soft and easy to clean; so that you do not risk chipping teeth on it when you drink, and you can also clean the nozzle to avoid bacteria build-up.

Finally, you s…

Review – Juice Lubes Matt Finish Frame Detailer Bike Polish

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Anyone that owns a matt finish bike frame will know that the surface is a bit of a pain to get an equal polish finish. Both my titanium Kona Rove and black Kona Private Jake have matte finishes, so the Matt Finish Frame Detailer from UK brand Juice Lubes was an interesting new release...

The blueberry scented bio-degradable frame polish gives a great quality finish to matt plastics, paintwork, and raw metal components and frames. It leaves a great shine, and a protective film that makes dirt slide off the surface — making the next cleaning round that bit easier.

A great product as we head into the winter months of constant bike cleaning...

>> Shop the Juice Lubes Frame Juice Matt at juicelubes.co.uk here <<

Review – NiteRider Sentinel 250 Rear Bike Light

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I am a strong advocate of daytime running lights on bicycles all year round; but with the darkness drawing in, it is even more important to invest in good bike lights. The NiteRider Sentinel 250 is an innovative and powerful rear bike light that combines lasers with LED technology to create your own 'bike lane' on the road, as well as give brilliant rear visibility.

I have been using NiteRider bike lights for a number of years, and the NiteRider Solas 150 Rear Light that I reviewed back in 2017 is still a popular choice in my arsenal. The brand produces well-made, long-lasting, and reliable lights; which is why when I saw the innovative new Sentinel 250 released, I could see it could well become a new go-to option.

The NiteRider Sentinel 250 adopts a unique dual lighting approach: first, a set of high power LEDs pump out a fierce 250 lumens (maximum) to give you great rear visibility; then, on the base of the light two lasers create an illuminated 'bike lane' on the …

Review – Smith Ignite Aero MIPS Road Cycling Helmet

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The Smith Ignite is a cycling helmet that looks fast, feels fast, and provides impressive protection for your head. The Italian brand has utilised the latest in material technologies to deliver a lightweight, exceptionally comfortable helmet, which also performs very well in wind tunnel tests.

I have become a real fan of Smith's helmets; using their Overtake helmet for both everyday wear and on my two long distance bikepacking tours in the last two years — the #CelticCrossTrail and #RoadsFromRome. The Smith helmets are uniquely styled, but also have a clear focus on safety. They remain comfortable in a variety of weather conditions, and feature a number of genuinely useful design aspects.

The Smith Ignite MIPS helmet is designed as a dedicated aero road cycling helmet. It has been shaped to provide a slippery surface, and constructed using aerodynamically efficient Aerocore technology — which maximises air through-flow to offer maximum cooling, and a minimal drag factor.

The Aer…

Explore – 5 Best Mountain Bike Routes on the Isle of Wight

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The Lonely Planet rated the Isle of Wight as one of the best places in the world to explore by mountain bike; it might not have mountains, but it has hundreds of miles of fantastic natural trails with a wide variety of terrain, and spectacular views.

I have been riding a mountain bike on the Isle of Wight trails for as long as I have been walking, and I can safely say I have explored every bridleway and bike path the Island has to offer. These five routes link up my personal favourite sections and paths; with a range of lengths and intensities to cater to different rider abilities.

For routes for Gravel Bikes and Road Cycling, check out my other Explore-IOW posts.



Wight Mountain Bike Route #1 — Red Squirrel TrailDifficulty – EasyDistance – 22.5 kilometres (14 miles)Elevation Profile – Flat (170 metres elevation gain)
The Red Squirrel Trail is a signposted family friendly mountain biking route on the Isle of Wight. The below selection of the route is a circular loop starting and fini…

Review – Smith Optics Ruckus Cycling Sunglasses

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As the darkness creeps in, a pair of cycling glasses with photochromic or light enhancing lenses is a real must; providing valuable protection from grit and spray, but not darkening or impairing your vision. The Smith Optics Ruckus glasses are an exceptional quality option from the Italian brand, featuring both lens options — for all riding conditions.

Cycling glasses do a lot more than just shield your eyes from the sun's glare — they also protect your eyes from wind, dirt, insects, and road/trail debris; making them an invaluable year-round accessory. For mountain biking in shaded forests, and when road cycling in low light conditions, you want either photochromic reactive lenses or amber tinted light-enhancing lenses.

The Smith Optics Ruckus Sunglasses are pitched as mountain biking sunglasses, but I have also found them to be a fantastic choice for road and gravel riding in all light conditions. They come with a photochromic reactive ChromoPop lens, and a high clarity amber t…

Review – NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 Front Bike Light

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A good quality high-power compact front bike light is a real asset — it can stay on your handlebars throughout the year; providing 'Be Seen' visibility as a running light, as well as helping light the way when the visibility falls. The NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 bike light is a superb example of a miniature front light that packs an impressive punch.

The Lumina Micro 850 weighs only 130 grams, yet it will put out 850 lumens on maximum output for 1.5 hours. On the most economical fixed light mode it will deliver 200 lumens for 9 hours.

I am a great fan of the simplicity of the NiteRider lights. The mount for example is just one single clamp design, which fits all sizes of handlebars and is fast and secure to attach. The light unit itself is robust, weatherproof, and has just one button that also doubles as a charge level indicator. Bike lights do not need to be super stylish — they need to work; that is the focus that NiteRider has maintained with their mount and unit designs…

Review – Pro Bike Tool Shock Pump

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A shock pump is an essential accessory for any modern mountain biker; allowing you to adjust the pressure in air-based suspension forks and rear shocks. The Pro Bike Tool Shock Pump is a smart, well-made, and affordable option.

I have been impressed by the quality of value of all the previous Pro Bike Tool products that I have tested to date: including their mini pumps, torque wrench, and Y-wrench workshop tool. Therefore, when I was on the lookout for a new shock pump to fine-tune the pressures on my Kona Hei Hei, the Pro Bike Tool offering looked like a great bet. I have not been disappointed.

The pump has a simple design; with a large analogue pressure dial, a flip-out T handle to allow for comfortable pumping, and a strong steel barrel that is capable of pumping up to 300 PSI.

The shock pump securely screws onto the Schrader valve core on a suspension fork or suspension shock, and then you simply pump to the recommended pressure for your weight. If you need to let pressure out …

Review – Giro Code Techlace Mountain Bike Cycling Shoes

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Giro have always been pioneers of interesting cycling shoe designs. Giro Empire road shoes rekindled a passion for lace-up cycling shoes, and now the Giro Code Techlace MTB shoes take things one step further; with a tri-closure system of laces, Velcro, and a BOA dial. These off-road shoes were my choice for the #CelticCrossTrail tour because of their superb comfort and performance.

I have always liked Giro shoes. Look back on my previous long distance trans-continental tours, and you will spot that I wore Giro Privateer MTB Shoes for both the #CoastsandCols tour and the #7Countries7Passes. The Giro designs always seem to fit well, and most importantly they go the distance; providing comfort and durability. The new Giro Code Techlace MTB Shoes follow the trend.

The Giro Code Techlace is a mountain biking evolution of the Giro Techlace shoe, which was launched by Giro in 2018. The Techlace concept uses laces attached to a Velcro tab for the two front closures on the shoe; this system p…

Review – Zilfer Cycling Phone Wallet

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Carrying your phone, cards, ID, and spare change with you when you cycle is essential; but storing them unprotected in your jersey pocket is asking for trouble. The Zilfer Cycling Phone Wallet is a neat solution from the Australian brand; a means to keep your valuables together and safe, both on and off the bike.

The design of the wallet is simple enough – the phone slides into one side, and on the other half there are four slots for cards, and a larger sleeve for things like receipts or paper money. The phone wallet then folds in two, and on the back panel there is a zipper compartment for coins and a house key.

The Zilfer Cycling Phone Wallet is made from a water resistant and durable material, to help protect the contents. This material is smart enough in appearance that you could use it every day, and Zilfer have consciously only implemented subtle branding to further promote this versatility. The phone wallet does also come with a protective pouch, which can be used to slip the…