Category Archives: Product Review

Oh no, oh no, oh no….my Zonda rims are cracked

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT had a dreadful trip to his friendly neighbourhood bike shop, Good Bikes’ last week.  MMT’s venerable Wilier was making a few awful noises from the vicinity of the bottom bracket.  May be it needed replacing as it had been ridden on for nearly six years.  Similarly the left pedal was behaving very weirdly under power.  All in all, it seemed high time for a service.

So MMT rode his Wilier to work and dropped the bike off.  A few minutes of explanation ensured.  The mechanic, Nathan, was advised to ring me if the price of repairs was exceeding $300.  Nathan called MMT a few hours later and his news left MMT aghast.  Apparently the rear rim was showing signs of cracking and needed replacing…..crap….Keep in mind that these were the $800 Campagnolo Zondas, bought just over 2 and half years ago.

Fortunately, MMT had kept the original Fulcrum rims.  MMT had spent a frustrating Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago, fitting spoke reflectors and had intended to use these as his winter wheels.  So the Wilier stayed at the shop, until the old rims were retrieved and fitted. Nathan showed MMT the cracks and MMT was horrified at what he saw.

MMT reckons he’s done about 15,000km on these rims and can’t believe how these stress fractures have occurred. For starters, they are all on non-cassette side of the rim. One of them has cracked clean through, with clear daylight visible. MMT can only shudder at the thought of what may have happened had the spokes given way entirely.

MMT is not a happy camper…

Until next time, ride safe.

MMT

Product Review: Bontrager Velocis Helmet

Dear Roulers,

Its been awhile since MMT has put together a product review. MMT has bought literally hundreds if not thousands of dollars of new kit for his cycling addiction since his last review. Lazy, lazy, lazy…however, one of the pieces he did buy, that really stood out was his new helmet.

First spied on the heads of the Trek-Segafredo racers in the 2017 Tour de France, it obvious that the Bontrager Velocis MIPs helmet looks very different from the previous model. The new model has received something of an aerodynamic facelift – and in MMT’s opinion, it looks awesome.

     
 Back View  Side View  Front View

According to some reviews that MTT read, the new version Bontrager Velocis MIPS now:

  • looks rounder than previous ones but has kept the same teardrop shape at the rear, and
  • the cluttered venting of the previous model has been replaced with a more sophisticated and uniform pattern of vents.

Three sizeable channels help push airflow through and out the back help keep the rider cool when riding. In fact, when the helmet is on the rider’s head the space for air is visibly large.  It is impressive to see an aero helmet that doesn’t compromise heat management. In fact, MMT wonders if he’ll need to wear a woollen cap under this helmet in winter given the effectiveness of the vents.  MMT digresses..

The fit of the helmet has also been reworked, and the Velocis now comes with a two-way Boa Dial, for a greater degree of fit flexibility. It brings the same minute adjustment as it does on shoes and minimises pressure points – although these do vary depending on the shape of your head.

MMT has read reviews that the fit may be an issue for smaller heads or those that split the sizing gaps (54cm, 56cm, 58cm). Fortunately, MMT’s ‘moon’-sized head didn’t suffer from this issue.  He has found the length of the straps a bit irritating, with the ‘leftover’ chin strapping requiring  a careful pre-ride tucking in.

MMT’s biggest gripe… and honestly its pretty minor in the scheme of things…, with the helmet, is that given its price, $AUD 265, its  weight of 284g, is really heavy.  There are much cheaper and lighter helmets on the market.

That aside MMT luurrvvves his new helmet. Now that winter is coming and daylight savings has ended, he’s a bit annoyed that it really dark on his evening commute.  He’ll have to swap back to his old Specialized helmet that has a 650  lumen spotlight fitted.  MMT give this helmet 4 and half Marvs.

Until next time, ride safely.

Marv

Merry Christmas from MMT

Dear Rouleurs,

November and December have vanished in the blink of an eye, and MMT has not posted anything for over three weeks. MMT is way behind on updating his bike log.  A quick look at MMT’s Strava account reveals a grand total of almost 7,500 Km.  MMT has averaged 5 rides  and 160 Km a week all year.  Damn….thats not bad.  When MMT returns to work next year he’ll have to do the math and see where he ended up.

Santa came early for MMT.  He took delivery of a very cool and fast pair of Aeolus 5 wheels for his beloved Domane.  Whilst his wallet will hurt for a few months, the wheels have been absolutely superb and worth the $4,000 they cost.

The other nifty addition, to MMT’s never ending collection of bike paraphernalia, has been a Topeak bike seat.  This has been installed on Marv’s old Canondale F4, for the specific purpose of doing Sunday morning rides to the park with gorgeous half-pint daughter.  Here she is locked into the seat and enjoying being the centre of attention.

Change of topic, MMT scanned an article on Richie Porte a few months ago.  He’s Tasmania’s (er…Australia’s as well) best chance to win the Tour de France next year.  He had a horrific stack this year breaking his pelvis among other things.  You can see the screen capture of this incident, that I posted a few months ago.  The good news is that he is back training.  Another interesting development was the departure of Simon Gerrans to Porte’s Team BMC Racing.  That could make for a very interesting combination on the road next year.  Anyhow here’s blatant breach of copyright from Herald Sun a few months ago.

So finally, MMT and famil would like to wish any that may have accidently stumbled across this blog, a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2018.

Until next time, ride safe.

Marv

 

 

 

Product Review: Livelo Bicycle Hire Sydney and the Swift Ultravox

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Dear Rouleurs,

A few weeks ago MMT hired a roadbike through Livelo in Sydney.  MMT has been threatening to hire a bike in Sydney for years.  He last attempted this at Easter time this year, but had his cunning plan foiled by YAFF.  MMT tried, at short notice and in vain, to book a zippy Canyon via RCC in Sydney.  So rather than give up on the idea, MMT tried Livelo.  Here’s their pretty logo.

Livelo have been around awhile.  MMT can first remember seeing a flyer for this company a few years ago.  The service seems to have experienced impressive growth, as its now possible to to hire a road bike in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Gold Coast. They also hire bikes out overseas, in London, Singapore, Geneva and Auckland. Its interesting how their booking site is now listed with a .co.uk domain now.

The company encourages prospective clients to sign up and create profile.  The profile contains your personal details, but more usefully, your fitting measurements for the bike.  The company also has an app.  MMT downloaded and installed it.  The app is basically a container for presenting the website and honestly seemed pretty slow to render pages.  However, Livelo get lots of credit for at least making the effort.

The great thing about Livelo is that they deliver and collect from your door.  As MMT was staying close the CBD in Sydney, there wasn’t a delivery charge.  The delivery guy turned up in van with the bike right on time. And when MMT writes ‘the delivery guy’, he means the company owner/founder Peter Barnes. Unfortunately MMT’s Sydney address was literally just the wrong side of Camperdown, which meant a small $20 fee.  MMT rented the bike for the weekend, which meant a Friday evening drop-off and Sunday afternoon collection.

Unfortunately, MMT didn’t get to ride a top of the line Colnago, but rather a zippy SWIFT.  Now stupidly, MMT managed not to take a photo of the bike…epic fail to quote a nearby Gen-Y co-worker. However it looked a lot this one. Apparently this bike is called a Swift Carbon Di2 Ultravox.  Which makes me wonder how SWIFT didn’t get sued by the management company of 1980’s glam-pop band Ultravox.

After riding on a Trek Domane for nearly 8 months, the Swift was an absolute bone rattler by comparison.  It had a super stiff frame, accelerated very quickly and cornered beautifully, but MMT felt every bump through the saddle, from his Coccyx to up to his jaw bone. This wasn’t helped by bike being fitted with some rather worn 23 mm tyres.  MMT would have have preferred 25 mm or 28 mm.

MMT learned later that these could have been fitted, on request….D’oh.  Oh well, next rental  MMT will remember to request them.  Also the handlebar tape was the really thin stuff that the pros prefer, rather than some spongy 2.5 mm tape.  This would have kept some of the road vibration out of MMT’s hands.

This aside, it was super quick.  OMG, MMT was drafting triathletes doing circle work in Centennial Park.  MMT loves the look of shock one of these guys has, when they realise a) they have wheelsucker and b) they can’t shake MMT off.  Superb 🙂  On MMT’s second ride, the route took in some hills around Clovelly.  The Swift loves hills, it felt so much more responsive and easier to pedal than the Domane.

The other big positive experience from this rental experience was the shifting.  MMT has and is very ‘old school’ about drive trains.  MMT’s Domane is fitted with cable driven Shimano Ultegra shifters and these work just fine thanks very much.  However, the same group set with Di2 technology is so ridiculously smooth.  The only catch being that the shifting is the opposite way round and takes a little neuro-rewiring in your brain to get used to it.

So what’s MMT’s score?  Well for Livelo MMT awards 4 and 1/2 happy Marvs out of 5 and for the Swift Carbon Ultravox 4 happy Marvs out of 5.

Until next time, ride safe

Marv