Cycling Santa’s Christmas Shopping Guide 2015

Cycling Shorts unleashes Santa’s Little Helpers.
Yes the panic is setting in, so much to get organised and so little time, so we’ve all got together to give you a list of gift ideas that won’t disappoint the fussiest cyclist or cycling fan in your life.

We’ve split our choices into four perfect price packages, click on the images to be taken to the retailers website.

Wishing you a Merry Festivemas from all at CyclingShorts.cc!

 

Secret Santa – under £30

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Santa’s Little Helper – under £100

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Something Beneath The Tree – under £500

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Santa Baby – money is no object!

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Cannondale Super X Review

Cannondale Super X

What an amazing bike for a brilliant price point in 2015 specification.

I must start this review with a confession, ever since I rode my first Aluminium F600 Cannondale MTB I fell in love with the brand. The quality and design innovation they brought to the marketplace was second to none.

Cannondale brand might not carry the same romantic history of Italian brands such as Colnago, Pinarello or Bianchi but neither do they carry the over inflated prices. But in their own way they carry an engineering design beauty that exhibits itself in form and function at the cutting edge of modern materials.

Super X on the beachFrom the innovative head shock to the beautifully finished and smoothed welds their frames just shout loud and proud the attention to detail.

As some of you who follow my reviews and articles online will know I built my first CX bike a couple of years ago from spares and a few second hand parts and had a great time getting back to basics. Taking part in an Adventure X event in the Lake District proved the the CX bug had bitten and that it was time for an upgrade. The Monster event proved that cantilevers just don’t cut it in comparison to discs.

I had three simple aims for my new CX bike:-

  1. Value for money, best bang for my bucks.
  2. Full carbon frame
  3. Hydraulic discs

The final criteria left my choices rather limited to say the least, I did include the potential of a brake calliper  upgrade but was trying to avoid it.
After hunting high and low I was more then pleased to discover the great package that Cannondale had put together with the Super X and the Rival 22 hydraulic disc group set. I must also thank Richard Pascoe of Bikechain Ricci for sourcing and supplying the Super X.

Initial impressions out of the box was that everything was well put together and the bike was pretty light, but with room for improvement. The Maddux wheelset looked function but perhaps not the lightest. The standard tires, Schwable Super X St Gilles HarbourRapid Robs, looked good for off road but I was not sure about the rolling resistance for Tarmac or hard pack. The stem appeared to be a little short too (I must confess to liking to ride a short wheelbase frame with a long stem). Richard and I had had a bit of discussion over frame sizing when sourcing the bike and we decided that the 54cm might be longer on the top tube then I would like, so we plumped for the 52cm frame.

 

First ride

I was blown away by the bikes ability to soak up the bumps with minimal jarring or twitchiness on the rough stuff. The ride was very much point and go with no brown pant moments or wondering if the bike was going to take you where you wanted. The standard tires indeed rolled well with none of the expected MTB tractor type road noise or high friction. However as predicted the handlebar stem was too short and my knees where catching on the ends of the bars. This was quickly sorted with a 130mm stem.

 

Ten months on.

I am coming to the end of a months riding in France using the Super X everyday and I have to say it has never disappointed, the grin just gets wider and wider. I have even switched out the CX tires and put on some 23mm continental Ultra Sports to do some longer road rides, and while the tyre clearance might look odd, the Super X has just done what it always does and performed perfectly. It is silky smooth on or off road, it tracks its line perfectly, it has never been twitchy on any surface I throw it at, it has been as smooth as a hot knife through butter.

Super X at the Bar

What really took my breath away was riding some off-road forest trails on 23mm tires at 100psi and not feeling I was being thrown around, the Super X just put the power down allowing me to confidently cover the ground at high speed.

In fact I have come to the conclusion that a second set of wheels with road tyres would not go amiss and the Super X would be the most versatile bike I have ever ridden.

 

Rival 22 FSA 46/36 BB30 chainset

What a top flight group set, yes I know SRAM had a nightmare with production seals on their hydraulic brakes but they are sorted now and boy are they good! The hydraulic brakes have super stoping power but more importantly excellent modulation and the potential for one finger braking. The hood design is comfortable and easy on your hands after hours in the saddle, great ergonomics.

I confess to being a little unsure about the double tap shift to begin with, but it has really grown on me. In fact it is perhaps the most positive gearshift I have ever used, smoother than Shimano and more positive than Campagnolo, and I very quickly got used to the double tap system.

The FSA Chainset has been faultless, it might not have the kudos of others but it does exactly what is says on the tin, and does it very well. The 36/46 chain rings give you just what you need and I never felt under geared on the road, my only concern is if 36 is small enough for the Adventure X events, only time will tell!

 

Maddux 2.0 Disc Wheelset

This is perhaps the area for biggest potential improvement, and to be fair to Cannondale something had to give to meet the price point. In 10 months of use the wheelset has never let me down even when I took a massive high speed front wheel hit on some rocks. They have stayed true and put up with a lot of abuse and I am no lightweight! Perhaps I was too quick to judge and was being a little snobby.

However with the search for a second wheelset for road use just beginning, it is proving hard to find good light weight 700c disc wheelsets (more on this in another article).

 

Overall

From the Prologic saddle to the Maddux wheels the Super X 2015 is one hell of a bike. It’s such a shame the base full carbon model will come with Shimano 105 and not Rival 22.

JerseyCannondaleSuperXStarRatingFor my money I would aim for a Rival version, sell your road bike and get a second set of wheels and watch your Grin grow and grow. The Super X just keeps screaming, ride me, ride me!… and you know what I do.

 

Don’t forget to support your local independent bike shop!

 

CyclingShorts.cc Rating: 90% It gets our Star Buy stamp of approval.

Giro Monaco Mitts Reviewed

Giro Monaco Mitts

Giro – Monaco Mitts

I know that mitts can be somewhat of a personal thing and that is certainly true for me. I have being pursuing the perfect set of mitts ever since I bought my first pair of classic crochet backed leather palmed road mitts in the 1980’s.

To be honest not a single pair of modern gel inserted synthetic mitts have ever cut the mustard in comparison to my first pair of classic mitts, that is until I bought a pair of Giro Monaco’s from www.sportspursuit.com, the discount online sports clothing company.

The top of the Giro Monaco’s may not be the longed for crochet cotton but rather a modern nylon/polyester mix, for which I can forgive them, as the mitts are very comfortable. But the, hands down, wining feature has to be the sheepskin leather palms, with no gel inserts but slightly thicker padded areas in the key contact points of thumb, heel of hand and base of fingers.

The mitts have been comfortable from the moment I slipped my hands inside, dare I say they fit like a glove, well a fingerless glove! But seriously they have been the most comfortable pair of mitts I have owned, even twelve months on and over 2000 km of riding in mixed conditions they are providing a far superior level of comfort. As time has passed they have become just like that pair of favourite trainers or slippers the ones you know you will be gutted when they finally give up the ghost. There are some limited signs of wear on the palms but the leather is not splitting or cracking even after the soakings in the rain they have received.

I suspect that they have another 12 months or more left in them but I think it is time to buy another pair to give me time to gently say good bye to a comfortable old friend while taking time to introduce myself to my new friend.

GiroMittsCSReviewRatingWhat will I replace my old friends with? Yes you’ve guessed it another pair of Giro Monacos. They get aCyclingShorts.cc Star Buy Rating!

Rating 95%

 

Giro Monaco Mitts at Amazon

 

Review – Shutt Velo Rapide Isobel Jersey

Shutt Velo Rapide are fast become a household name in the peloton, known for their bold designs from British based designers.  The lastest to their growing portfolio of women’s clothing, the Isobel jersey is exactly what you’d expect – colourful and eye catching.

On first appearance, the jersey is very well made with a heavier lycra suitable for chillier autumnal rides. Featuring a full-length reflective zip, mesh side panels, reinforced pocket design, a zipped fourth pocket for valuables and a reflective hem trim, the Isobel packs a lot of features.

Purple spotty design of the Isobel jersey makes for a bold statement

Purple spotty design of the Isobel jersey makes for a bold statement

The bold design was well received by many a jealous rider as we set out for 100km hilly ride. If you like to hide in the middle of the peloton, then this jersey is definitely not for you. A warm purple colour with a spotty panel across the front and back, and a nifty spotty fold-down collar, the Isobel certainly helps you stand out from the standard blandness of blacks and reds of a social ride. By the end of the ride, it was the boys who were most envious of the bright and bold colours which are often not available to the the men.

As a petite (5ft2), but fairly curvy (size 8, 34/36cm bust) cyclist, I’m never surprised when a jersey doesn’t fit perfectly and unfortunately on this occasion the Isobel fell into the disappointing pool, hugging in the wrong places and baggy in the others. The length of the jersey was a little too long for me, and although the elasticated waist band is great at keeping the jersey in place whilst riding, it unfortunately gave too much fabric on the stomach creating a bulge (and if you’ve a bit of a bust like me, a white spotty panel may not be the best feature). Plus, the high foldable collar annoyed me slightly on a long hot ride, although it was pretty sharp on the eye when enjoying my cream tea.

Unlike many male cyclists with a broad back and pockets to match; packing for a ride needs military procession. The pockets on the Isobel are plentiful, with 3 open pockets across the back and an additional zipped pocket to keep the valuables in, providing many storage options. Unfortunately, the elastication on the pockets doesn’t provide a flat

IMG_4584

collar

IMG_4583

centre back zip pocket

finish which resulted in a baggy fit, especially on the middle pocket, which resulted in me leaving my pump at home and hoping one of the other riders would come to my rescue if I needed.

The weight of the lycra mentioned previously does mean you lose some heat control functionality on a hotter day, which also likes to hold on to the sweat produced on a tough ride (it also took more than one wash on my usual 30 degree kit wash to rid it of the smell too). That being said, this jersey is perfect for the ‘sunday social’ cyclist who wants to be seen at the local cycling coffee stop or out to a pub lunch; this jersey is full of style and all eyes will be on you alone.

 

As a social Sunday ride and coffee jersey Isobel scores 74%

jerseyShuttVRIsobelReviewRatingAs a race jersey Isobel scores 65%

 

Pros: 

– Fabulous bold design

– Heavy weight quality lycra for chilly days

– Zipped pocket to keep hold of valuables

– Draws attention to the bust

 

Cons:

– Slightly long in the body for shorter riders

– Lacks breathability and took more than one wash clean

– Baggy pockets

– Lumpy zipper issue

– Draws attention to the bust

 

The Shutt VR Isonel Jersey retails at £79.00 and available from the Shutt VR website.

Hayley road tested a Shutt VR women’s size XS

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

Vulpine Expands to House of Fraser Concession

Cycling apparel brand, Vulpine, are excited to announce from the weekend of 28th June they join the online roster at House of Fraser.

This is a considerable move for the brand, established two years ago with the ethos of producing fashionable yet performance ready cycling apparel. The collection features light-weight merino wool, breathable and technical Dri-Release material, the fabric is tough yet soft and wicks away moisture fast.

With the ever-increasing popularity of cycling, the desire for stylish, fit for purpose apparel for all kinds of cycling and use off the bike becomes more apparent.

Nick Hussey, Founder and CEO of Vulpine had this to say:
“This is a huge move for us. In the two years since we began we’ve always made cycling apparel that works on and off the bike. Stylish enough to be stocked by House of Fraser – home to some of the best-known brands in international fashion – after such a short period is just mind-boggling.

In addition to this we are their exclusive cycling brand as the British public readies itself for the Tour de France in the UK. The reach House of Fraser can offer us is enormous, particularly as they expand into international markets. Perhaps we are the first modern cycling brand to be accepted into the twin temples of both apparel and fashion on this scale.”

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

Review – Hiplok-D Bike Lock

Hiplok are an award winning lock company who strive to balance ergonomic design and security.

Newest to a growing portfolio of security products is the Hiplok-D. Designed on the classic, sturdy D lock that many will find heavy and bulky to carry, the Hiplok-D has been designed conveniently smaller. Plus, the unique clip feature (available in a choice of colours) allows you to easily attach the lock to a bag strap or belt making it a lot easier to transport when using your bike. 

Hiplok-D-bike-lockAlthough smaller, the 13mm hardened steel shackle, hardened steel body casing and tough nylon outer shell still delivers a Secure Silver Award, so there’s no worrying that it won’t be as secure as other bulkier locks. Delivered with 3 distinctive keys, there’s no worry of losing a key and never being able to unlock your pride and joy again!

I lent the D to a local Windsor cyclist who commutes daily to his job as a teacher. He was enthused at the idea of the size of the lock and the ability to carry it easily with his work bag. Although small, the lock is still weights in at 1kg, a factor he found limited the security of carrying the lock on his bag strap. After losing it to a number of road junctions, he eventually had to resort to carrying the lock in his bag. That aside, the 13.5cm x 7cm internal area proved big enough to secure a bike frame to something fixed; although you’d struggle if you wanted to lock your frame and wheel in the same instance (along with larger top tube bikes).

Anna’s (CS Editor) thoughts… ‘This Lock is probably not suited to smaller riders to carry on their waistband as you are carrying all the weight in one place. If you’re a smaller rider you may prefer the Hiplok V1.50, Lite or POP as they evenly distribute the weight around your waist or body. The price is slightly more than your average D lock at £59.99, but not the priciest on the market by a long way, remember when buying a lock you need to compare like with like on the Security Award ratings.’

 

You can find more out about the Hiplok range at their website: www.hiplok.com

Cycling Shorts gives the Hiplok-D 76% rating.

jerseyHiplokDReviewRatingPros:

– Small and compact

– Easy to use

– Easy to carry

– Highly secure

Cons:

– Still pretty weighty

– Clip feature isn’t 100% secure

– Limited locking space

 

 

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

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