Tag Archives: product review

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

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: Shimano R107 shoes and 105-5800 SPD-SL Pedals

 

Dear Roulers,

Nearly three months ago, I purchased a shiny new pair of Shimano riding shoes and pedals. I had previously been riding around on Shimano MOV76 MTB shoes and SPD pedals. These have been awesome and I’m still using them for commuting. As beginner’s kit, they greatly assist the learning process of clicking in and out at traffic lights, whilst providing reasonable connection to the bike. SPD pedals are heavy-ish but nearly indestructible. Within 6 months of using them, I had converted every bike I own to SPDs.

However, I felt ,that in the quest to go a bit faster and a bit longer I, needed to try some new kit. I’m still procrastinating over rims but I felt an upgrade to new pedals and shoes would be a sound investment. So I bought a black and blue pair of Shimano R107s and a set of Shimano 105 SPD-SLs.

20150701-Shimano-Shoes+Pedals

I’ll start with the Shoes.

Shimano R107 Road Shoes

The shoes are fairly light weight, quite stiff and IMHO look pretty good. I got them for what I consider to be a bargain on a internet bike shop at the princely price of $120. I’ve seen them in Melbourne based bike shoes for $60-$80 more. I ordered a size 42 which was the same size as the MOV77 and noticed that the fit is smaller and narrower. In hindsight I would have purchased size 43 to allow for winter socks and a slightly less constricted feel. The good news is that shoes are very well vented and cool. The bad news, at least during the cooler months, is that the shoes are very well vented and my feet are becoming ice blocks. I’m seriously contemplating overshoes to keep my feet dry and warm.
The only annoying gripe that I have is that Shimano don’t provide additional cleat screws and plates. I managed to lose one early on and fortunately the the kind chaps at City Cycle Galleria gave me spares. Overall I’m really impressed with quality of the shoes.

Shimano 105 5800 SPD-SLs

I bought these pedals on the strength of many outstanding reviews and this one in particular convinced me that this was the right option for the type of riding that I do.
http://www.bikeradar.com/au/road/gear/category/components/pedals/product/review-shimano-pd-5700c-105-spd-sl-pedals-14-48043/

They are a little tricky to fit, you have to use an allen key to tighten them into position. I now have a useless Park Tool pedal spanner 🙂
So the SPD-SLs….oh man I had no idea how difficult it is to clip into ‘Look’-a-like pedals. My initial ‘strike rate’ was about 25% and I was losing 30 to 45 seconds of time at traffic lights trying to clip in. Also, I had to unlearn the, now unwise, habit I had of resting my not clipped-in, right foot on the pedal. The combination of new slippery carbon fibre shoe sole and beautifully smooth pedal do not allow the rider to put any power into the reverse side of the pedal.

After my first couple of rides, I developed a bruise the size of an orange on the back my right calf muscle. I would miss the clip in or attempt to rest my foot on the pedal and have the crank spin round and smack the pedal into the back of my calf….ouch!!! I’ve figured out my own method for clicking in and I’m somewhere near 75% first time contact.

Now that I’ve been riding on them about 10 weeks I think I can say they were worth buying, although I haven’t necessary achieved the increase in speed that I was hoping for. I’ve fitted the yellow cleats in a neutral setting and I’m still fiddling my fit on the bike to find the best way of using them.  I’ve read that the blue ones might be better and I’ll try these next.

Finally its 3 more sleeps to the Tour De France and I can’t wait for 3 weeks of sleep deprivation 🙂

Marv