Islabike Luath Long Term Review

Islabikes are produced by former British national champion and medallist Isla Rowntree. With experience in all forms of cycling and extensive experience in bike design and frame building the brand is well known and respected. They offer a fantastic range of bikes from toddler to adulthood.

We have been lucky enough to have an Islabike Luath (meaning swift, quick, speedy in Gaelic) on long term test. At £549.99 the Luath is not the cheapest bike in its category so it needed to impress…..

After checking the detailed sizing chart on the website and an email exchange it was decided the small would be the best fit for both my 13 year old daughter and 11 year old son. This is an 18 inch frame with 700cc wheels. Islabikes also offer bikefits in their studio in Ludlow and tour around the country to various events (details on their website) so you can try before you buy if you are unsure of the size or model required.

The bike arrived well packaged and almost ready to ride. We all loved the beautiful red paintwork and I was delighted to find both the frame and wheels lighter than anticipated. (Official weight including pedals 9.9Kg).

The tyres were already inflated, the rear wheel in situ, brakes and gears adjusted perfectly so that all I needed to do was turn and tighten the handlebars, put on the pedals, insert the front wheel, fasten the front brake and adjust the saddle height. The brilliant instructions and good quality allen keys meant assembly was super easy and the bike ready to ride in less than 30 minutes! I am confident any parent would be able to safely follow the instructions with ease.

The frame is lightweight aluminium with proportional geometry specific to the young rider and the sloping top tube gives good stand over clearance. The fork is cro-moly with mudguard and rack eyes. This bike has been designed for both road and off road/touring use and would be more than suitable for cross racing with a change of tyres. This flexibility in a youth’s bike is fantastic and keeps their riding options open.

The Tektro cantilever brakes are ideal as they shouldn’t get as clogged up as caliper brakes and the additional top mount brakes are brilliant for safety and confidence and great for small hands.

There is good clearance for bigger cyclo-cross style tyres and mud and leaves collected on route.

 

Adjustable Shimano Claris STI levers provide the 8-speed transmission with an 11-32 cassette combined with a 46/34 crankset. The shifting is crisp and effortless, the range is great for young legs with a granny gear of 32 for the hills and the shifters can be adjusted for little hands. Flat Wellgo metal pedals are provided.

The 38cm handlebars are well proportioned with a shallow drop that is more comfortable and easy for small hands and the 60mm stem makes the reach comfortable, these are finished off with anti slip bar tape.

The quick release wheels are Islabikes-branded double-wall alloy rims, black anodised with machined sidewalls and integrated wear-indicator groove. The hubs are smooth and the wheels feel strong yet light for a child’s bike.

Lightweight 23mm Kenda Kontenders tyres are supplied; these have a light tread and are good all purpose tyres that should work all year round.  In 6 months of use, on a variety of surfaces and in all weather conditions, we only had one puncture.

 

An Islabikes-branded saddle tops the aluminium seatpost, with a well portioned racy shape it is lightweight, looks good and there were no complaints from our young testers.

Both children jumped on the bike with no hesitation and felt both stable and fast. The ride to school was significantly quicker. They quickly grasped the gear changes and had no issues reaching the brakes. It took a few minutes to gain the confidence to look over their shoulder properly and relax enough that the bars didn’t turn too much as the front end is much lighter than their current mountain bikes, but once this was cracked one handed riding quickly followed as did expertly moving from the tops to hoods to drops. Riding in the park led to smiles and whoops of joy as they confidently descended in full control.

Being not much bigger than them myself I was keen to try it too, and although not comparable to my usual steed, it certainly didn’t feel like a typical, heavy child’s bike. It felt solid yet responsive, planted yet light, comfortable over the rough road surface and the tyres feel grippy and safe in the corners. The gear changes were smooth, braking was smooth and efficient and I struggled to find fault with anything.

Delivery is free; there is a 90 day free return policy and a 5 year guarantee. Every tiny detail has been well thought out resulting in a bike that is well designed, rides beautifully, looks good, is flexible, practical and built to last. The perfect bike for under the Christmas tree!

http://www.islabikes.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/Islabikes

https://www.facebook.com/Islabikes

Tour de Yorkshire 2017 Route Announced

  • STAGE 1 on Friday 28th April will start in Bridlington and finish in Scarborough – 173km
  • STAGE 2 on Saturday 29th April will start in Tadcaster and finish in Harrogate – 122.5km
  • STAGE 3 on Sunday 30th April will start in Bradford and finish in Fox Valley, Sheffield – 194.5km

Stage One gets underway outside Bridlington Spa and heads into Pocklington for the first intermediate sprint. The classified climbs up the Côte de Garrowby Hill and
Côte de Goathland will get the legs pumping before the race hits the coastline again at Whitby, where the riders will get a great view of the Abbey as they contest the second sprint of the day. The route continues on to Robin Hood’s Bay for the third and final climb and then it’s full steam into Scarborough for the now-legendary finish along North Bay.

On Stage Two, men and women will face exactly the same stage which starts in Tadcaster. The action commences on the newly-reopened Tadcaster Bridge and ventures into Knaresborough where the first intermediate sprint points are up for grabs. The sole categorised climb comes at the Côte de Lofthouse and then it’s on to Ripon for the second intermediate sprint. The race will skirt Fountains Abbeybefore a fast approach to Harrogate, where the action will reach its crescendo along Parliament Street, just as it did on the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France.

On Stage Three the riders roll out of City Park in Bradford and take in Salts Mill before the start flag is lowered. The action then briefly joins the 2014 Tour de France route at Burley-in-Wharfedale before passing into the Yorkshire DalesSkipton is the next town on the agenda, with the first of eight categorised climbs being contested on the Côte de Silsden. The next ascent comes on the cobbled rise up Haworth’s picturesque main street and another climb at Leeming must also be tackled before they face the infamous Côte de Shibden Wall. This cobbled brute could see splits form before the final intermediate sprint in Stocksbridge. The riders then embark on a torturous 22km finishing circuit that features no less than four categorised climbs at DeepcarWigtwizzleEwden Height and Midhopestones before the race reaches its climax at Fox Valley.

View the Tour de Yorkshire routes maps:

letouryorkshire.com/stage-1/map

letouryorkshire.com/stage-2/map

letouryorkshire.com/stage-3/map

Sportive
Alongside the professional races, the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride will give amateur cyclists the chance to ride many of the same roads ridden by the pros in a newly designed sportive route, starting and finishing in Fox Valley (Sheffield) on Sunday 30 April. The sportive route will follow parts of Stage 3 of the men’s race and will take place before the pro race, allowing participants to finish their ride and get ready to watch the pro finish.

A highlight of the sportive will see the amateur riders crossing the very same finish line as the professional riders, with the same support from the waiting crowds. There will be three distances for riders to choose from; 45km, 75km and 100km (route and exact distances to be confirmed).

Those hoping to secure a place in the 2017 ride can register their interest and be the first to hear when the event opens for entries, or for those who want to beat the crowds and raise some money for charity in the process, you can enter now via one of our official charity places. Simply visit letouryorkshire.com/sportive for more details.

Stay up to date
You can keep up to date with all the latest information about the Tour de Yorkshire across our digital platforms:

Website:  letouryorkshire.com

Twitter: @LeTourYorkshire #TDY

Facebook:  Facebook.com/LeTourYorkshire

Cycliq Fly6 Rear Light & Camera Review

What can one say if your editor says to you that we have been sent some techy kit to try out, and would you like to review it? Yes please?

Cycliq Fly6 is a high powered rear LED light unit, with a difference. There is a rear facing HD cam built into the sealed all weather lamp that records what’s happening behind you as you travel along on your bike ride, daily commute or just out with friends. Got your rear covered is what it says on the box.

There’s no need to worry about anything else once you have set up the lamp on your bike and done a quick test to make sure you have a decent field of view. Just remember to switch the light-unit on EVERY time you go out!

All the factual information you need about Fly6 is on their website cycliq.com. It’s an updated design from the original, so here at Cycling Shorts, we are simply going to take it out of the box, fit it to the bike, and run it for a week or so.

Firstly, at just shy under one-hundred-pounds, it seems a lot for a rear LED. Is it worth it? Let’s see.

It comes packaged all nice and neat in a stylish black and red box, padded with shaped foam to keep all the components secure during transit to the shop, or direct to the consumer via mail order.

Once opened, there is a quick set-up guide and notes about recent improvements from your customer feedback.

The lamp feels solid, robust and of a quality build. I liked the fact there were two mounting plates and bands to accommodate a multi-bike set-up. The rubber stretch mounts are more common-place these days and means you can easily remove the lamp should you park-up and leave your bike unattended, being an expensive bit of kit.

I fitted the lamp straight onto my Trek road bike without any problem. Using the aero-seat-post adapter, I found it sat perfectly square to the ground, the body design aligned to take a standard 71.5° rake.

Not knowing what sort of view would be recorded, I positioned the lamp as high as I could without it touching my small tool pouch that was sitting tightly under the saddle.

I found the re-designed mount plate difficult to handle. I’d clipped the lamp unit into the plate slot to check the fitting prior to mounting and couldn’t remove very easily at all. It certainly wasn’t going to come loose, which isn’t a bad thing. But it made me realise that fitting the two mount plates to my two bikes, probably wasn’t going to work as well as I imagined. Maybe they would free off slightly over time if I separate them from time-to-time.

To run the test, I first had to fully charge the built-in Lithium battery. Although it comes pre-charged I wanted to see how long it would take to re-charge and how long it would last, running at full LED power. You can reduce the out-put level several times to conserve energy, or reduce the glare that the main LED emits. [Via the Courtesy Dimmer, opposite the power button].

I plugged the unit into my laptop with the provided USB lead early afternoon. I’d read that the charge LED would go off once charged. Having used re-chargeable lights this Winter gone, I knew that they took a while to fully charge up at work plugged into the USB slot on my PC, and I was right. It was late evening before the LED extinguished. Ok, I’ll test the unit tomorrow then!

Setting off on my Sunday morning bike ride, I’d set the lamp to full power and off I went. Three and a-quarter hours later, back home I switched the unit off. The unit had created a folder on the media card and sliced the ride into ten-minute videos. So they were twelve time indexed files created. I’d noticed that the first hour or so files had already been deleted, not a problem as the unit is there to safeguard any footage of an incident an hour prior to an incident and an hour after the trigger has been set through the bike laying on the ground.

Aimed as a safety back-up device designed to tell a story of what you were doing prior to any incident, then this lamp is a great way of providing additional evidence after the event. You simply must use it on every occasion that you jump on your bike, especially if commuting through town where things can sometimes get a bit more demanding.

The footage the camera produced was of a decent quality to see how the bike ride unfolded. Coming in ten-minute bite size pieces, it provides great footage that can easily be shared amongst friends and family. The file sizes produced are around four-hundred and fifty megabits each, and on the supplied card will hold around eighteen full files.

The recommend free Video Editing software worked a treat too. I found it reasonably easy to cut a couple of pieces from two files and join them to make a short demo.

On my first full power test, I achieved five-and-three-quarter hours recording before the video switched off leaving only the light working. This should last for another hour before being fully depleted.

I would imagine a normal user would need to re-charge the unit twice a week to keep the video camera working on the loop.

On the whole, having used the Cycliq Fly6 for the past four weeks, I would recommend it for my main rear light. Although a bit pricey on my initial glance, considering the beneficial footage that this device records and stores, then it’s a price worth paying.

It may not be something that you would consider buying yourself when looking for a lamp for your bike. But it would make a great gift for someone, for those who are looking for additional safety for their loved ones when out riding the bike.

RRP: £99.00

For more information on the Fly6 visit: www.Cycliq.com

Best price we can find online: www.amazon.co.uk

All Images, Video and text ©www.CyclingShorts.cc / www.chrismaher.co.uk

Jon Carver – Favourite Ride – Four Counties Ride

With no particular place to go…

Sometimes, your favourite rides just happen out of the blue.
I don’t normally go in for favourites as I don’t like that kind of rigidity. This route though, that came out of a rough idea of where to go coloured with, “If I turn here, I can always turn the opposite way later… there are road signs after all” is a beaut.

When I do that, I find little gems of hills both up and down that go on my list of favoured (not favourite) I don’t live in a particularly hilly area, but when you find one it’s usually spiteful. This has the lot. Fast flat runs, long uphill drags, hills and throw caution to the wind descents. It’s actually a tad longer than recorded. I forgot to start Strava until I was around 4 miles in.

The scenery on this ride, crossing Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntindonshire and Northamptonshire; is wide, woody and rolls from tranquility to tranquility.

Click the VeloViewer link below for the route.

Enjoy

Jon

with no particular place to go – VeloViewer

93.23 kmroutes with 424 m of climbing. Check it out!

Teaching your child to ride a bike with Isla Rowntree

With the summer finally arriving and the long school holidays on the horizon we asked Isla Rowntree, ex-national
cyclocross champion and founder of Islabikes how to approach teaching you child to ride a bike.

What are your thoughts on stabilisers?

For years children’s bikes have come fitted with stabilisers, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right thing to use. We encourage parents to avoid stabilisers as they prevent children from learning to balance naturally and actually make the process of learning to ride a bike trickier.
Far better is to let your child use a balance bike before starting to learn a pedal bike. A balance bike will teach them the basics of balancing on two wheels and make the transition to first pedal bike much easier.

 

How old should my child be?

Most children learn to ride their first pedal bike unaided between the ages of 3 1/2 and 4 1/2. But children develop their cycling skills at different times. If it seems that your child isn’t quite get the hang of it, don’t worry, let them keep enjoying their balance bike for a few more weeks and try again later.

How do I teach my child to ride?

Find a large, safe, flat open space to use as your learning zone. Something with tarmac or a fairly firm surface is perfect. Long grass is too tricky for new riders to pedal on.

Now adjust the height of your child’s saddle so they can get the balls of their feet on the floor.

Put your child on their bike and stand behind them, holding them under their armpits. Don’t hold any part of the bike. We want the new rider to feel how their bike naturally moves underneath them.

Push your child along and let the bike wander in any direction. You can help steer the bike by leaning your child right and left. Doing this will let your child learn that leaning is part of the steering process.

If your children have learnt to balance on a balance bike, they may take a little while to grasp the concept of forward pedalling. Encourage them while they practise pedalling forwards.

If your child is ready to cycle unaided they should quickly get a feel for balance and you can gradually let go, but stay close by to catch them if anything goes wrong.

For nervous riders, you may need to stay with them a bit longer. That’s fine. Just let them know that you’re there, but you’re very gradually going to loosen your hold on them. Eventually they’ll be cycling unaided without even knowing it. The look of delight when they realise you’re no longer holding them and they’re cycling all by themselves is a moment to treasure.

 

The final part of the jigsaw is learning how to set off from stationary unaided. For this, have your child put one of their pedals just past the top most part of the pedal circle. That means around the ‘5 to the hour’ position with the left leg, or ‘5 past the hour’ position with the right leg.

Now ask them to give a good push on this leg. With enough forward momentum they should be able to transfer both feet to the pedals, start pedalling and be a completely independent rider.

Islabikes build quality lightweight bikes that are gender neutral in their aesthetics, CyclingShorts.cc will be reviewing them shortly – so watch this space.

You can find more information at:

http://www.islabikes.co.uk/

@islabikes

https://www.facebook.com/Islabikes

https://www.youtube.com/user/Islabikes

Fred Bamforth – Favourite Ride – Yorkshire & The Peak District From Oldham

 

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In our new series we look at our writers and friends favourite rides and routes around the UK and worldwide, first up is Fred Bamforth.

 

Oldham-Mottram-Glossop-Snake Pass- Strines-Holmfirth-Saddleworth Moor-Oldham

The Maxim ‘Quality not Quantity’ is often over used, but in cycling terms a good ride in hilly terrain can very quickly prove it….

Oldham is set within the foothills of the Pennines and over the years has been an amazing base for rides in the Saddleworth area, a hidden gem with a myriad of routes and styles of climbs that means you can never get bored.

In the modern era of cycling numbers matter so long climbs that offer ‘meters gained’ appeal to the climbers out there. One of my fave rides delivers in this respect, with long climbs, steep climbs and some amazing scenery.

image1-2 2Heading South-east from Oldham gentle undulations give way to the day’s first long climb from Stalybridge to Mottram Cutting, providing a great warm up for what is to come later. Within the cutting is a retaining wall where a ‘fossilised frog’ was found and is marked, so as you begin the gentle descent to Mottram village try to spot it on your left!

 

The road here goes downhill for a few miles, but in traffic, this means that once you’ve got towards Glossop following the A57 on the flat valley road the glory of hitting the base of the Snake pass is all the better. One of the classic northern climbs and a staple of the legendary old Tour of the Peak race the Snake delivers the challenge that its reputation has built over the decades. 

 

snakepass1What goes up must come down, and how! The twists and turns as you cross from Derbyshire into Yorkshire are what cyclists dream of and as you skirt the edge of Ladybower reservoir (of Dambusters fame) you begin to rise again before turning left onto Strines Moor. This next section of road gives a roller coaster reversing some of the route that le Tour de Yorkshire took. With steep descents and equally steep climbs, this is a test for you and your bike, good braking and swift gear changes are needed to ensure a smooth passage through this section.

Arriving at the A616 after this rural fairly quiet piece of road can be a shock as the next few miles heading North can be very busy with traffic, once past the Flouch roundabout and back into the lanes towards Holmfirth sees less vehicles and some splendid terrain.

After passing though Holmfirth and heading west on the A635 the climb over Saddleworth Moor beckons to its lofty height on the ‘Isle o’Skye’ road. This is usually a gritty head/cross wind fest but the sense of achievement of cresting the lip of the summit and dropping into Saddleworth towards Greenfield, and seeing the amazing view down the Chew Valley and over Dovestones Reservoir is something you will never tire of. 

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After some of the monster climbs the day has already thrown at you the mere couple of miles climbing out from Greenfield over Lydgate back towards Oldham on the A669 will not faze you, giving one last classic view over the Cheshire Plain and Manchester as you look down from this last big rise and the roll back in.

If you’ve got a favourite ride you’d like to share with us please get in touch.

3 Roe Cross Rd, Mottram in Longdendale, Hyde SK14 6SD, UK

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