Category Archives: Product Review

MMT’s gotta a new bike…woo hoo!!

Dear Rouleurs,

After many frustrating hours of window shopping MMT has finally purchased a new bike. Woo hoo!!! MMT has joined the ranks of cyclists that now own something loosely referred to as a gravel bike. MMT will revisit that theme later. The new bike is a 2021 Giant Content AR1. The AR bit stands for ‘All Road’.

Essentially was looking for a better quality commuter road bike that could handle more sedate offroad paths like railtrails. The other key requirement to The Giant Contend provides this via its relaxed geometry aluminium frame that can fit tyres up 38mm on 700c rims. The Contend comes with 32mm tubeless tyres, which MMT is having to get used to. MMT is struggling with the idea of running tyres at 50-65psi and not being able to easily fix punctures.

The other main requirement was for the bike have a drive train compatible with MMT’s Tacx Neo 2 trainer. MMT has Shimano Ultegra (50-34 and 11-32) on his Domane and trainer and wanted similiar groupset for reasons of compatibility. Happily, the Giant Contend is equipped with 105 (50-34 and 11-34) and not the more gravel popular GRX. Its also has hydraulic disc brakes…hooray.

Here’s the spec details plundered from Bikeradar.com

  • Shimano 105 11-speed groupset with a non-series RS510 chainset
  • Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Giant P-R2 Disc wheelset
  • Giant Gavia Fondo 2 32mm tyres
  • Giant D-Fuse carbon seatpost
  • Giant D-Fuse D-shaped handlebars for increased comfort
  • 9.62kg claimed weight (medium)
  • note: that that its also has carbon fibre forks
  • £1,499 / $US1,550 / $AUD $2,499

It took MMT a long time to track down this bike. It first appeared on MMT’s radar late last year and has had generally favourable reviews. This one by Dave Rome at CyclingTips was one that convinced MMT, this was the correct choice.

Independant reviewers of the Contend have had consistent gripes.

a) The 105 shifters seem to rattle quite loudly on uneven surfaces – this is completely true. In fact, after riding super quiet and smooth Ultegra, its quite unnerving. MMT felt like that some bit of the bike was going to fall off.

b) The standard Giant tyres are a bit crap – the Gavia Fondo 2 tubeless aren’t very supple/grippy. Not sure about that one, they look more like commuter tyres than out and out gravel. So as long as they last and don’t puncture MMT can live with them.

c) The standard Giant rims are heavy – this is also true, the rims are heavy and the spokes are steel. A quick Google search suggests they weight just over 2.1 kgs. Hopefully this means they are indestructible and if broken cheap and easy to fix.

MMT’s other two gripes are that:

d) The Approach saddle just feels weird. Its quite hard and wide compared to the Selle C2 or quite firm Trek Montrose that MMT has placed his posterior on recently. If MMT could find a replacement Selle that was sub-$150 he would have bought it by now, and

e) The Shimano 105 shifter hoods are significantly bigger than the Ultegra hoods and feel quite bulbous to grip.

However this is all part and parcel of deciding which compromises you can live with on a sub-$2,500 bike. Coming back to Dave Rome’s review, fundamentally the bike is sound, has great quality running gear, a few minor quirks and is a bit heavy. It also only comes in a single colour…midnight blue. That sounds like a fair trade to MMT.

Until next time, ride safe, stay safe

MMT

Product Review: Loffi Cycling Gloves

Dear Rouleurs,

Melbourne’s seemingly endless run of cool sunny days has continued well in June. MMT has been out and about on his beloved Domane, most days, cruising around the bayside suburbs. Melbourne hasn’t returned to pre-COVID 19 normal yet, but it is noticeable that traffic has increased. So with that in mind its been with some pleasure that MMT has been riding around in Loffi gloves.

MMT thinks he first saw Loffi gloves in an edition of Treadlie, one of the more enjoyable Gen-Y/Hipster magazines available in Australia. Treadlie has a reputation for being a ‘cool hunter’ magazine for cycling afficiandos in Radelaide. MMT has even visited the original shop back in 2010. MMT digresses.

So back to Loffi gloves. The supplier Loffi, is based in the UK, which means that if you live in somewhere like Australia, the exchange rate doesn’t work in your favour. MMT purchased one pair of the Glove 2.0 for 35 UK quid. The picture shows what the gloves are like. So quite apart from being ‘cute’ they are also extremely warm and comfortable. They are perfect for cool winter rides and seem to handle bad weather very well. So far MMT rates them 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 out of five smiliey marvs.

Happy, happy clappy gloves that are warm and soft on the hands.

They took a few weeks to arrive not helped by Fedex needing MMT’s mobile number in Australia. MMT received a somewhat embarassed email from the owner of Loffi, Jack Hudspith. Personal email from the owner…whoah that did happen ;-)!!! The owner included a pair of thermal inners at no extra expense to make up for the slight shipping SNAFU.

The origin story for the goves can be found here in the company’s mission statement. here’s a chunk of it liberated for your edification and education:

And so the idea for Glove was born – with the hope that a friendly, human interaction such as a simple wave could be the answer – and a step in the right direction at least. Ever since, our aim has been to help prevent negative interactions, spread some goodwill and encourage more people to cycle and create a friendlier environment on the roads.

The wave and the smile on our gloves are basic and positive tools for social interaction, have no language barriers and are universally understood, which we think has made them so popular around the world – we’re up to 43 countries and counting!

MMT is seriously considering buying a second pair and hopes that Loffi is working on a fingerless version of the glove for the warmer months.

Until next time, ride safe and be safe

MMT

Product Review: Fausto Coppi Mug

Dear Rouleurs,

It has been a long, long, long time since MMT did a product review. However, something special popped up, that was just too cool. MMT felt compelled to share with all those digital citizens, who quite sensibly, pay no attention to this blog.

Originally, MMT found it on the https://shop.rouleur.cc/collections/mugs-coffee, where, distressingly, it was sold out. MMT then googled the maker and found it available at https://thehandmadecyclist.com/collections/mugs. A few weeks later MMT was drinking coffee out of his new favourite mug. Sadly, they are, now, out of stock.

This bit of blurb is stolen directly from the ‘Handmade Cyclist’ website.

“Fausto Coppi ‘Il Campionissimo’ is one of the true legends of cycling. Idolised in Italy, his reputation lives on as one of the classiest riders of all time. Twice winner of the Tour de France and five-time winner of the Giro d’Italia, Coppi was famed for his effortless pedaling style and climbing ability. But Coppi was also a master of cycling’s dark arts, never more succinctly put than in this classic quote.”

“The design pays homage to the classic Bianchi jersey Coppi wore in his heyday – when jerseys and bikes were simple and beautiful.”

Now due to the current state of the UK Pound vs Aussie Dollar, roughly $AUD30 + freight, this was a rather expensive mug. But just look at it. Its sooooo….beautiful. Also, MMT secretly hopes that when he reappears back at work post-COVID-19 planning, that the quote will freak out the FIGJAM Gen Y, MMT works with.

Tempus Fugit…or how MMT learned to love ZWIFT

Dear Rouleurs

Where does the time go?? August has zipped past and MMT has done almost no work on this blog.  Last blog, MMT was willing Julian Alaphillipe on to win the TDF 2019.  Then a couple of really interesting and unexpected events occurred.  Alaphilippe finally cracked at altitude, many days after the pundits predicted.  He finished a highly credible fifth in the GC.   Geraint Thomas passed the baton of team leader to a hitherto unknown 22 year old Colombian Egan Bernal wrote himself into the history books.  In between there was the landslide on stage 18 that caused the stage to be abandoned and stage 19 to be shortened. MMT is still seeking to source a copy of Procycling to read the event summary.  This race was one for the ages.

MMT has shamelessly stolen the GC and Sprinter’s results from the letour.fr  I’m sure that the UCI and ASO lawyers have better things to do than sue MMT for breach of copyright 😉

Here’s the GC Top 10 rankings

Probably the two biggest disappointments where Richie Porte failing to fire a single shot in the race and seeing the emotional abandonment of Roman Bardet.

Here’s the Sprinter’s Top 10 rankings

Isn’t it great that 2 former Orica/GreenEdge and Aussies, Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews finished in the top ten.  Caleb Ewan’s 3 stage wins means that Robbie McEwan’s record of 12 is now on notice.

Now the other big thing going on in MMT’s life is ZWIFT….yes that’s right MMT bought a very expensive but really good TACX Neo 2 trainer.  Clearly the ZWIFT advertising in the TDF got to MMT.  MMT has done almost 500 km and 3600m of climbing.  In short, MMT was surprised at how tough some ZWIFT courses were.  Doing a 9km lap round virtual Central Park NY contains about 150m of climbing some which is 12%+.  MMT is knackered after 3 laps.  Similarly London has some nasty punchy hills.  There’s a Strava segment called Tempus Fugit, which consists of boards laid over the top of a stairwell coming up from a tunnel running under the Thames, is 15%.

Doing ZWIFT at night, after the junior members of Team MMT have gone to bed, has been a tough ask.  Nevertheless, MMT has done a minimum of 2 sessions a week and generally enjoyed the experience.  The TACX trainer has all manner of tricks, being able simulate running over rough ground, like cobbles and being able to free wheel down virtual hills.  As it give fairly accurate power readings, MMT was greatly disappointed to discover how few watts he was actually generating.

So that’s it from MMT. It’s time to start listening to la Vuelta podcasts.  Until next, ride safe.

MMT