All photo's are Copyright of Scott Swalling or the tagged Photographer. (Background photo Scott Swalling Photography).

About Me:

24Hr MTBike racer and general bike rider, climber and mountaineer. Good coffee drinker and cake eater (any cake, seriously, don't leave your cake laying around). Also, I like to try new things that challenge me.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

New Cervo Rosso gear to play with.......woohoo!

Recently, I renewed my Cervo Rosso Test Team membership, why?  Because their gear is just plain awesome.  Below is a short review on the Strada Lizard L2 gloves and I will write another on the Strada shoe covers, also recently tested with great success.

Strada Lizard L2 Gloves:

These can be part of a modular system when coupled with the Strada Lizard L1, which fit together brilliantly and without the feel of wearing two gloves, top marks for that marriage as most don't achieve that.

These (L2) look awesome, the right amount of bling (silver reflective palm, that wont soak the cold out of your bar tape and into the glove) and like they are made to do what you want them to, keep those fingers toasty. They do.

The quality I what I have come to expect from Cervo Rosso and they fit perfectly, which is an issue with many cycling gloves, especially winter ones.  So how are they on the bike, well one cold, but sunny spring day, I gave them (L2) a good test.  In about 0 degrees on the dry roads of Surrey, these gloves keep my hands perfectly warm, breathed very well and felt positive on the bars and the gear and brake levers.  You really can feel what you are doing in these. The extended cuff is something I am use to as a winter climber and it is great to see in a cycling glove, it really does enhance glove warmth.  The temptation to trial them off road is great, but this well just trash them as they will get covered in mud and pushed through blackberries, although I am sure the build quality they will take.  But they look far too nice for that treatment.  :)

How nice you ask?  They initially looked a bit too bling maybe, but Carlyle and the team, know what they are doing and do it for a reason and with a bit of flare.  The stitching, logos, no slip palm, touch screen fingers tips are all designed not to just make a fully functional glove that looks pretty damn pro and pimp.  See below.

What do I like best?  I genuinely don't think I can pin point one thing, the entire glove is great.  even the way the non-slip palm meets, feel a little odd, but once the gloves are on the bars, work and you don't notice it at all.  I guess if pushed, I like best is the fact they breath well and keep your hands warm, not such a simple task for a cycling glove.

What could be improved?  Well I am not sure it is something I care too much about, but some people really do.  The touch-screen finger tips don't really work, but do I care?  No, if I am honest.  However, this might not work as they are still shiny new.   Anyway, I'll quickly take a glove off to send a text or to order an advance coffee.   I have many gloves that do and don't work with a touch-screen.  Some that are meant to and some that aren't.  The one thing they have in common they where bought to do a task that did not include checking Facebook, whilst climbing or riding my bike.  ;)  If you truly want any of your gloves to be touch-screen compatible, just stitch a little bit of silver or gold thread into the fingers tip, this does work.

So overall, I would highly recommend these gloves and will throw them at a mate who gets really cold hands sometime to see how he gets on.  I am truly impressed with these and they felt a perfect fit from the first ride, no needing to soften up like many other summer and winter gloves.  Fit wise I compare them to my MTB Troy Lee and Fox Dirty Paws, gloves which I wear for up to 24hrs racing.  So that is a massive tick in the box for a thicker winter glove.

Get these for spring or next winter.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Hutchinson Toro 29 Tubeless

What can I say about Hutchinson tyres, they have always been my got to MTB tyre.  I have strayed a few times, but come back every time.  I have found some which perform as well, but don't last as long or have annoying idiosyncrasies, which on the trail end up pissing you off, if I am blunt.

After the first ride in some ordinary (see wet) conditions I decided I needed a second set for my other 29er.

The 29inch Toro tubeless do exactly what Hutchinson say on the tin (website), they shed mud well, hold-on in wet conditions very well even in fast corners and roll fast when it is not so muddy.  Even is drier conditions the Toro's don't seem to loose much in the way of traction and handling at speed.  I haven't had the chance to test them in really dry conditions, but I suspect they will give something away to my Pythons.

I was even surprised at how easily they fitted to some rims I had problems with with other tubeless tyres.  Tubeless tyres for me are the only solution for the type of riding I do and some of the areas I ride in. Plenty of flint and thorns to puncture your tyres.  So how do they perform, well evidently, very well. I have managed so far to put a few thorns through the tyres and only noticed when washing them and the sealant (Stans) sealed the holes rapid when removed.  One ride even saw a wide gauge bit of wire put a big hole in one and it sealed quickly in -3 degrees.  Very impressed.

I can't fault the Toro's and my riding style does alter from calm smooth and collected to hanging on and being quite aggressive on some descents and the Toro's transition really well and remain predictable and seem to grab that last bit grip just when you are about to lay it down.

Between Toros and Pythons, I seem to have the year and conditions covered.  I can highly recommend both.

Northwave Celsius GTX

I had a great plan to ride through winter again this year, but this time I wanted my feet to stay warm and dry without the hassle of overboots.

Enter a very short search for a winter boot, the Northwave Celsius GTX, shown below.  Arriving as a Christmas present from my long suffering and supportive Nik (I think she just wanted me out the house more) I knew what to expect to a degree as I use Northwave exclusively as they fit and support my feet very well and give great performance both for MTB and Road shoes.

The first thing you notice is that these are very light for a winter boot. Which begs the question are they warm? The answer is yes, just don't try to squeeze too many pairs of socks on your feet into the boot, it will have the adverse affect.  Just like a mountaineering boot, the best warmth is gained by having some room in the boot for the air to circulate.

So does this make the a loose fit? Not exactly, yes you will get a bit of heal lift when walking, but when clipped in I have to say I don't notice the difference and I put this down to the speed lace system gives a nice even fit and then you can pull the velcro tabs a little tighter.  So they fit really well and keep your feet toasty. I have worn them down to about -5 a few times and my feet have been fine.

Are they stiff, how do they perform? Yes and very well.  Northwave have delivered a winter boot sole that performs like your race day shoe and is nearly as light and stiff.  I have tested these extensively climbing and sprinting against my team mates and these boots give noting away in performance.

An added bonus is the rubber on the sole has the most grip I have ever used on a cycling shoe and even finds traction on icy and wet shiny surfaces, which generally have you gambling around like a fawn.  The tread is also a bit wider than normal and shed mud and frozen ground really well and manages to keep the cleat area pretty damn clean.

I have to admit I am a little bias towards Northwave shoes now days.  But when they have been consistently spot on for well over 10 years of personal use, you tend to get that way.  So if the shoe fits and performs well....

I can highly recommend these boots for winter rides.