16th June 2017 The MALESTROM

Road test: Review of the best new cycling kit

Bike Week rolls on here at The MALESTROM. Today we bring you some of the newest kit and cycling based products on the market. Now we know our way around a bike, we can pump up our tyres at least, but we needed a bit of superior knowledge to properly evaluate this gear, so we got in touch with a man who knows his onions and more importantly his bikes, our resident cycle expert Rory Buckingham, owner of Spinwell Cycleworks. He’s road tested all the kit so you don’t have to. First up some quality looking tubeless ready tyres.

MAXXIS PADRONE TR ROAD TYRE – £49.99

This is Maxxis Tubeless version of the Padrone. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression and the initial thing I notice is how well the tyres are packaged; the box is clear, highly informative, with key specifications. We even get that often forgotten helpful thing called a set of instructions, so often missing with products these days. These give key info about the tyre’s technology, and general mounting and riding advice, all with easy to follow pictures. The tyre itself is folded neatly and the free pair of Maxxis tyre-levers included are a nice bonus, especially as they bear a resemblance to the Park Tools TL-1.2.

Claimed weight for the 28mm wide tyre is 300g, impressively accurate: ours weighed in at 302g. Anything within 10g is good, 2g is excellent. The tyre itself is pretty tech, featuring a nicely flexible carbon folding bead, dual-compound rubber and SilkShield, a flexible layer of puncture protection that covers the whole tyre (the top and sidewalls). The tread is completely slick and in the hand they feel soft, light and grippy – all good things! The tyres boast a high TPI (170 Threads Per Inch) construction which is responsible for the supple qualities of the tyre and excellent ride quality. I mounted the tyres tubeless on a pair of converted OEM wheels, and after adding an extra layer of tape to create a more snug fit they sealed easily.

Ride quality: excellent, no complaints about grip in the dry or wet, dual compound definitely works. Rolling resistance was good, the tyres certainly feel fast on the road. In terms of style and quality they remind me of the Panaracer Race D Evo 3, again, a good thing.

The tyre finds a good compromise between weight, puncture protection and ride quality. It’s hard to comment on durability without a long-term test. But lets face it, all tyres wear out sooner or later, the ride quality of the Padrone TR would easily compensate for any lack of durability. They’re a premium tyre and you’re paying for that, but there’s that old adage you buy cheap, you buy twice, and that holds weight here, the product is quality through and through.

Road Test Verdict: *****

Buy MAXXIS Padrone TR HERE

L’EROICA WATER BOTTLES – £8.23

5 L'Eroica Water Bottles on a shelf in a cycling shop

These retro reproduction bottles are based on original L’Eroica designs. Personally I think they’re a thing of beauty. 500ml, dishwasher safe, BPA free (big tick). They come in a range of classic team colours like the black and white check of Peugeot and the red, white and blue of Italian cycling team Brooklyn Chewing Gum. Put it this way, they look cool on your bike, cool on your mantelpiece, and are just plain cool.

Road Test Verdict: ****

Buy an L’Eroica Water Bottle HERE

TILE MATE – from £23 

Don’t get me started on bike thieves, they’re not my favourite people! I had my Charge ‘Mixer’ taken from the side of my house last year and I wish I’d have had a Tile Mate then. The product is a neat little Bluetooth tracker that fits under your saddle. It means you can track your bike for up to 100ft or if it’s out of range find it’s nearest last location. You also have the option to enlist the help of any other Tile users who might be in range of the bike to help you find it. I wouldn’t say it’s just for bike theft, it’s certainly something that would be useful after a few pints in town when it’s easy to become absent minded about where the hell you locked your bike up. The battery runs for a year and then you have to get your tile upgraded with the newest tech. You can also buy an additional zip strap to attach to the saddle that you slot the Tile into, that helps camouflage it nicely so it won’t be easily detected. Nice bit of kit.

Road Test Verdict: ****

Buy Tile Mate HERE

ULTRA-DISTANCE CYCLING: An Expert Guide to Endurance Cycling by Simon Jobson & Dominic Irvine – £18.99

First off props to the publishers Bloomsbury, they’re dedicated to bringing out classy publications on cycling and this title seems no exception. Ultra-distance cycling is hot right now, it’s the new kid on the block in terms of disciplines and is growing massively in popularity. It used to be an elite thing but has become much more commonplace. UDC is defined as endurance performances of at least six hours in duration and 160km, but they can go over days and thousands of kilometres, that’s a lot of time in the saddle! This book romanticises the ideal of this slightly sadistic but ultimately extremely satisfying sport, it’s certainly made me think about putting in an extra 20km this weekend.

Credit: Dominic Irvine

There’s some highly specific practical advice here, it tells you about preparation, riding technique, nutrition, bike set-up, terrain, logistics, recovery, a mass of clear material that would appeal to enthusiasts. It’s essentially high-spec advice for your serious cyclist. On top of all the info there are some stunning photos of the vistas and terrain, many highlighting the ongoing battle against the elements. For these alone the book would appeal to riders across the board. It’s co-written by record-breaking ultra-distance cyclist, Dominic Irvine and leading sports scientist, Professor Simon Jobson, a couple of authorities on the matter, who clearly know what their doing. A fascinating insight into a ever-growing pastime.

Road Test Verdict: ****

Get your copy of Ultra-Distance Cycling: An Expert Guide to Endurance Cycling by Bloomsbury Sport HERE

 

Rory is owner of Spinwell Cycleworks in Southport UK. If you own a bike and live in the North West, be sure to drop by, you’ll struggle to get a better service. Follow Spinwell on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter 

 

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