Category Archives: Product Review

Can a bike really be worth $AUD 51,000….WTF?

Dear Rouleurs,

A friend of MMT’s wife sent through an MMS with a link to what could be the most outrageously expensive flatbar, carbon fibre, single speed bike of all time.  Apparently, its for the man  who has everything.  Supercar giant Bugatti has created what is possibly the world’s lightest, most expensive bicycle.  MMT will ignore the inherent sexism of the original article, although its quite possible that only someone loaded with cash and testosterone would buy this.  However it is quite striking in design.

MMT was particularly taken with the black and yellow colour scheme.  As its early in the 2017 AFL season, MMT still clings to the delusion shared by 70,000 members of the Richmond Football Club, that this year is the year.  MMT wrote about the symptoms of Richmonditis, way back in 2015.

Carrying the rather bland name of “PG Bugatti Bike”, the bicycle is estimated to cost a staggering $51,000 and weighs a feather-light 5kg.  Dear God that’s more combined cost of of the last two cars MMT has purchased…..  Both the cost – and the weight – of the bike comes down to its frame, which Bugatti claims is made from 95 percent carbon fibre.  Producing the bike in partnership with German bike manufacturer Pimp Garage, Bugatti says that every component on the bicycle has been engineered to be as light and wind-resistant as possible.

From the “numerous types of leather” to the “handcrafted carbon components”, the bicycle’s spec sheet reads like the wet dream of every mid-level executive who squeezes himself into lycra and joins the peloton.  The ride has been described as “firm and rigid”, which no doubt helps when you’re hurtling down a main arterial road on a bike that could very well send you broke.  MMT thinks that ‘firm and rigid’ is code for ‘bollock bruising’.

A primary feature of the bike is that most customers will be able to customise their bike to have the same fit and finish as their Bugatti – because only someone capable of owning a $1.7 million supercar would consider buying a bicycle that’s worth more than many make in a year. “We had the vision of building the ultimate bicycle to go with the ultimate car,” says Pimp Garage’s CEO Manuel Ostner. “It’s the ultimate in design, in workmanship and in performance.” MMT dares to suggest wankerism…

Of course, if you’re interested in impressing your MAMIL mates (for those not in the loop, that’s the semi-discriminatory term of Middle-Aged-Men-In-Lycra) at the coffee shop, you’ll have to get in quick: Bugatti has limited production to just 667 bikes, no doubt most of which will be heading to the garages of tech billionaires and Saudi princes.  Ah ha… that would be wanker thing again.

Any how, you can see more pictures and and the un-annotated version of this article at:

Bugatti creates a $50,000 bicycle that weighs less than 5kg

Until next time, ride safe

Marv

 

Product Review: 2XU Ignition Top & Proviz Reflect360 Gillet

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Dear Rouleurs,

MMT realised that the MarvMadeThis blog passed its second birthday.  Wow, who would have thought that something that started as a means to break up the monotony of work, would last this long.  I guess its fair representation of how much cycling has taken over MMT’s life.  Given the that the world wide web is littered with dead websites and blogs, its remarkable that MMT has survived this long.  Anyhow…enough ego stoking on with this blog entry.

MMT is back doing longer commutes.  Melbourne’s winter weather seems to have started its gradual move towards less windy and warmer days.  The days are noticeably longer with sunrise and sunset bookending increasing periods of daylight.  This has meant some reconsideration of suitable commuter gear.  The two pieces of kit that I have consistently used over the last 12 months have been 2XU’s long sleeve Ignition ¼  Zip Top in bright orange and Proviz’s cycling gillet.

 2XU Ignition Top

20160823-2XU-Ignition-Top MMT gives the 2XU Ignition Top 4 ½ Marvs 🙂 out of 5.  Its a very comfortable high visibility top if you can find the original orange version.

I bought my bright orange version mine from an outlet shop on Southbank about 18 months ago.  So readers you can treat this as a long term review.  I bought the top going into winter 2015, as I realised that I needed something warm and bright for my daily commute.  Most of the high visibility gear I owned left me shivering in the morning leg.  Happily this top fit my requirements by being relatively thick enough to keep out the wind and bright enough to really stand out in traffic.The Ignition top has a good quality ¼ zip, some reflective trim and thumb holes in the sleeves to enable them to be hitched over my riding gloves.

Unlike most of 2XU’s gear which is designed for ridiculously skinny tri-athletes, this top was a regular fit.  I purchased the XL version and it fits comfortably and is stretchy enough to fit over other undershirts.  At $65 dollars, heavily reduced, I suspect, it was fantastic value. The good news is that it’s been cold-washed repeatedly and not lost its brightness.  The bad news is that I suspect that 2XU don’t make/stock them anymore.  The closest match I can find is this in the outlet section of 2XU’s website.

http://www.2xu.com/au/p/ignition-1%2F4-zip-top/MR3465a-cto.html?dwvar_MR3465a-cto_color=INK_INK&lang=en_AU

 Proviz Reflect360 Gillet20160823-Proviz-Relect360-Gillet

MMT gives the Proviz Reflect360 5 Marvs 🙂 out of 5 – its an outstanding piece of commuter kit.

The other piece of kit I’ve made extensive use of when commuting and for the occasional early morning ride has been Proviz’s ultra-reflective gillet.  I bought mine about 12 months ago in Clarence Street Cyclery for $90.  They are more expensive now but is worth the increased price.  It wasn’t until a few months ago when I started noticing other riders with Proviz gear on that I realised how effective the clothing is at reflecting light.  Riders wearing this kit are literally a bright shining light when ever car or truck lights are directed at them.  My initial reaction was ‘whoa…that’s bright’.  The Youtube adverts don’t the reflective properties, of the clothing, justice.

However, its not like other gillets.  It isn’t cut as a ‘racing fit’ and it doesn’t have pockets.  The reflective fabric is very weather proof, able to keep out all but the heaviest downpour.  But the waterproofing comes at a cost, it’s not particularly breathable.  It has a ‘mesh’ of small holes cut through on the fabric on the lower back to encourage air flow.    As an aside MMT has been too scared to put the gillet in the washing machine and preferred to give the top a quick rinse under basin taps.

Final commentary, Proviz have released a couple of new variations on this top that, I suspect, address the feedback back about the original gillet that MMT has. These a dedicated cycling gillet, presumably with a tighter fit and the new 360+ which has a improved fabric.

http://www.provizsports.com/en_au/reflect360/gilets-vests/reflect360-gilet-reflective-gilet

Until next blog, ride safe

Marv

Product Review: Bontrager Velocis and Bellweather Windstorm winter gloves

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Dear Rouleurs,

This time it’s a proper blog…Without breaking out into GOT-mode the Melbourne winter that has been coming for a while has arrived.  Whilst this makes ski-bunnies very happy, it’s the start 3 months of of cold, wet and generally crappy weather. My wife reckoned I was as cold as an ice block after last Tuesday’s ride, the wind chill factor the westerly or northerly is pretty significant this time of year.  Its particularly tough on the hands as my old gloves just weren’t warm enough.  So a few weeks ago I bought 2 new sets of long finger ‘winter’ style gloves from local bike shops in Port Melbourne.  They are:

BONTRAGER VELOCIS WINDSHELL GLOVE

Bontrager’s blurb describes these gloves as being lightweight, windproof and water-resistant.  The main material being something called “Profila Windshell fabric” which weirdly looks a lot like vinyl but is highly wind and water resistant.

Bontrager Velocis gloves, the silicon grip is clearly evident on the fingers and thumb.

Bontrager Velocis gloves, the silicon grip is clearly evident on the fingers and thumb.

The inner glove surfaces are fleece lined which does a great job of keeping your hands warm.  Whilst they are thick and will take time to wear in, they are not really padded except for the palm. The gloves cover the wrist and have velcro clasp and elastic banding to provide a snug fit.  The silicon grip is placed on the palm side of the thumb and first two fingers.  This seems to work. Overall they are very well made and after about 20 hours of use haven’t shown any signs of splitting at the seams.  Mind you at the $70-$80 price point you would be greatly annoyed if that occurred.  Bontrager does have a 30 day unconditional warranty, provided you’ve got the receipt.

The main issue I have with these gloves is the fit.  People in the US must have long thin hands.  A medium gave me a tight fit over the back of my hand and through the the palm, but came with ridiculously long fingers.  The small size wouldn’t even fit on my hand.  I’ve been trying to mould the medium size glove into the shape of hands ever since I bought them.  I think this will come with use over time. This is one of the reasons that I don’t buy gloves online.  You really have to  try them on.  I’m giving them 3 and 1/2 Marvs.

BELLWEATHER WINDSTORM  GLOVE

Bellwether’s blurb describes the Windstorm glove as a mid-weight, full finger cycling glove, offering protection from windchill.  They are also supposed to be breathable thus preventing overheating leading to sweaty hands.

Bellweather WindStorm gloves are soft and comfortable but are not water resistant. I think the distribution of silicon grip is a bit suspect as well.

Bellweather WindStorm gloves are soft and comfortable but are not water resistant. I think the distribution of silicon grip is a bit suspect as well.

The key feature being that the gloves are predominately composed of softshell neoprene.  The inner glove is fleece lined.  This is comfortable, very warm  and stretchy but offers minimal water resistance.  I’ve worn the gloves for about 2 weeks in cold, windy conditions and they have been very effective in reducing windchill.  The gloves are also cut with a high elastic wrist and have a velcro clasp to secure them.  The big plus in these gloves is that Bellweather seems to offer a greater range of sizing.  I found the size 8 to be a perfect fit.  They were also approximately $15 cheaper than the Bontrangers.  Overall, I would say they are well made.  None of the stitching has split and the material of glove has held up well.

They are very warm, but I’ve found that I’m getting very sweaty wrists.  So I think the breathability is also limited.  They have some reflective decals on the back of the wrist.  I’m starting to this material crack and lift on the fingers. I also found the positioning of the silicon grip on exclusively on the palm a bit surprising.  I’m not sure whether the gloves would become slippy on break levels in the rain.  They do not have any padding of any kind.  I’m giving them 4 Marvs.

So hopefully that’s useful information if you are considering purchasing gloves soon. Its only a couple of weeks until Le Tour.

Until next time, safe cycling

Marv

Product Review: Ritchey Carbon Pro Seatpost Upgrade

Dear Roulers,

Before I get started, Merry Christmas I hope you were on Santa’s nice list and received many cycling goodies.  I certainly did 😉

I own an oldish 2010 Wilier Lavaredo. I’m slowly been replacing the original bits of it, with hopefully, better bits. Yes, I’ve succumbed to that expensive disease that plagues cyclists, upgraditis. Of all the items that I’ve that I’ve considered replacing, it has been the seat post that’s caused me the most angst.

After purchasing shiny new Campagnolo Zonda wheels and Gatorskin tyres, I discovered that my newly shod steed was providing a fairly harsh ride. Later I discovered that almost all of this experience was due to excessive tyre pressure. However in the 3 or so weeks I endured that skittish, jittery ride, it made me ponder whether it was worth replacing the alloy seat post, handlebar and stem with carbon versions. Most of what I read seemed to indicate that other than reduced weight, vibration damping was a major benefit. So I started to assess replacement seat posts.

What I discovered was that there are literally hundreds of different types of seat posts, the main variables being composition (eg carbon or alloy), diameter, aerodynamic qualities, saddle position (straight or setback) and in-built dampening technology. It’s the fifth category that attracted my attention. It’s this one that seems to separate the vast majority of what’s available. The two stand out examples of this are the Specialized CG-R and the Canyon VCLS 2.0. Both have radically different approaches to improve ride comfort.

 2014-SpeciaizedCGR-Seatpost The CG-R seatpost post features 18mm of vertical compliance, Zertz vibration damping, and FACT carbon construction. Cylindrical aluminium head assembly adjusts fore-aft and tilt via a single bolt. Some online reviews suggest that the one bolt design meant fiddly fitting. However, testing by Velonews back in 2012 provided evidence that Zertz inserts reduce vibration greatly. Bikeradar provided a more recent review in mid-2014
 2012-Canyon-VCLS-Seatpost VCLS 2.0 uses two D-shaped carbon shafts placed back to back to form the post’s cylinder. Just above the maximum insert mark the two shafts split apart, with the Flip Head saddle clamp pivoting on their tops. A bolt at the base secures the shafts together and lets you slide them up and down in relation to each other to change the angle of the saddle. Unfortunately I can’t find any published testing on this but Bikeradar reviewed it in mid-2013. 

Now I would have happily parted with a few hundred dollars for one of these except for one small problem. They didn’t fit my bike. At a diameter of 27.2mm both seat posts required a shim to fit the 31.6mm diameter seat tube. Bother. I researched and couldn’t find anything conclusive about the merits of shims, carbon fibre seat posts and alloy frames.

That was deeply frustrating which is why I decided to KISS it and buy like for like replacing the Ritchey alloy post with its carbon cousin. They are pretty much identical except for the carbon fibre post. The saddle clamp and head work in the exactly the same way, providing me with a pretty simple swap over.

Ritchey Compo Alloy Ritchey Carbon Pro
 2010-Ritchey-Alloy-Seatpost  2015-Ritchey-Carbon-Seatpost

Fortunately I was armed with this 2012 Velonews Article written by Lennard Zinn   which indicated I should expect damping and flex from both the carbon construction and from the setback design. Happily I can say that Ritchey Pro Carbon Seatpost is the real deal and for the $75 I paid for it an absolute steal.

Until next time

Marv