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  1. Darkhorse are no strangers to the South African market having made a name for themselves offering well priced, good quality carbon wheels. Recently the brand made the leap to bikes with the Eclipse range of electric bikes. View full article
  2. We tested the Darkhorse Eclipse AL-D1 model. It is a drop bar configuration fitted with SRAM's Apex1 1x11 HRD groupset, Darkhorse alloy wheels, Kenda Flintridge 700x40c tyres and an Easton/RaceFace bar and stem combination. The alloy frame is available in two sizes Small/Medium and Large/Extra-Large. The frame features sliding rear dropouts making it single-speed and belt-drive ready while cabling is internally routed. And yes, it’s an e-bike. Darkhorse opted for the popular Mahle ebikemotion X35 system. The system uses a 250W rear hub motor and 248Wh battery which is tucked neatly away in the down tube. If (like me) you turned your nose up at the idea of a rear hub drive, the X35 system is far more refined than anything you might have encountered on early ebikes. A quick look across the catalogues of the most major brands and you’ll notice the X35 on just about every road and gravel electric bike. To power on the bike there is a single LED lined button on the top tube which also functions as the mode selector and battery level indicator. The X35 has three modes: green, orange, and red; from least to most motor assistance. While riding, the LED remains illuminated, signalling battery levels and giving a subtle clue to others that you might be packing some assisted power. At the base of the seat tube, you’ll find the charge port for the battery when you need to top up or to attach a range extender. Battery level indicator: White means 75% or more remaining, green 50-75%, orange 25-50%, red 15-25%, slow red flash 10 -15% and fast red flash is 10% or less remaining. All in the motor, battery and other ebike bits add about 3.5 kilograms to the bike. On the bike Out on the road, the Eclipse feels largely like an ordinary bike with the motor off. You quickly forget about the extra few kilograms until the climbs in the road remind you, but there is no noticeable drag from the motor. Powering up into the lowest assistance level, the extra push is subtle but enough to begin pulling away from your analogue riding mates. Moving up into the mid or high modes the assistance is obvious and the slight whine from the motor more audible. The ebikemotion app lets you connect to the bike via Bluetooth to check battery levels, record rides or even customise the level of assistance in each mode. You can also connect up to your Garmin or other devices supporting Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. The motor provides assistance up to 32 km/h after which it is all up to you. On a group road ride, this can be a little limiting for fast flat sections, if you had been relying on the extra watts to keep up. On inclines, the Eclipse really comes into its own. Like any pedal-assist ebike you still need to put in effort but the 250W motor does well to take the edge off. Keeping up with my quicker mates was a lot less of an effort but still a workout. The impact of the assistance is quite nicely illustrated by a very unscientific look at my average heart rate on a regular route. At roughly the same average speed my average heart rate was 20-24 beats per minute lower than on an analogue bike. Taking things off-road the Eclipse soaks up the rolling gravel stretches with ease. The geometry is comfortable and there is room for up to 45 mm tyres. The motor's power delivery is steady and aside from the wind rushing by a little faster, you don’t really know that it is on. Heading up longer, steeper climbs, I found the 250W motor began to strain and battery levels depleted faster. Below 10% gradient was no problem but in the 12-15% range both my power and the motors power were a little lacking. Range When it comes to range, Darkhorse say you can expect up to 75 km depending on road conditions and rider behaviour. There are so many factors that will influence this but on a moderately hilly road ride, I found that the claim was easily achievable. Extended use of the highest assistance mode on longer climbs will cut that down significantly though. You can purchase a ebikemotion range extender to add an extra 250Wh but it does come at a price (R 7,950) and occupies a bottle cage spot. Conclusion The Darkhorse Eclipse AL-D1 is a well equipped, versatile electric road and gravel bike. It feels at home on tar and gravel with some welcome assistance on any surface. Priced at R55,000 the Eclipse sits below the ebike entry point of many other brands while still offering a quality build.
  3. Hi, I have been looking to replace my current saddle. Previous saddle got a bit damaged in a crash and due to stock shortage, I am not able to find the exact one which was damaged in the crash, I settled for the Pro Turnix AF 142MM. The Pro Turnix AF isn't bad by any standard, it just doesn't offer the same level of comfort I had on my Selle Italia. Especially on longer rides; > 4 hours. I mate recommended I look at the Ergon SM Comp Saddle. Does anyone own one? What is your experience with the saddle?What is the saddle stack height?-- Bit about my riding. I ride mostly XC / Marathon. +- 4. Areas I mostly ride: Botties, Jonkers.
  4. Hi all, Does anyone have any first hand experience or views on Giant's e-bikes? For some background, my wife had a stroke a couple of years ago, so she is not allowed to do any strenuous exercise as a result of the medication she is on. So we go for the occasional ride, but as an example a 5k trail ride would take between 30-35mins so we keep heart rate in check. This weekend rented an e-bike and we could do the same ride in like 22 mins keeping heart rate in check and do the trail twice. So I am looking at the Giant Stance, based on online specs, some reviews and the brand itself. But at the price point, I want to make sure I get the best bang for my buck in terms of performance, reliability, backup and obviously current stock availability of bikes in general. Much appreciated.
  5. Meet the Onza Canis which I’ve been testing out over a good few rides. The Canis is somewhat of a crossover tyre, classed by Onza as “Cross country / All mountain” it is said to give a combination of low rolling resistance and good grip. Specifications I tested the Onza Canis 29 x 2.25 C3 RC2 Tubeless Ready. And yes those numbers all mean something. C3 is Onza’s Cross Country Casing with 60TPI - sturdier, thicker sidewalls for a little more puncture resistance vs. the thinner and lighter 120TPI. RC2 denotes the dual compound rubber materials used in the tyre makeup: harder 65a in the center for durability and good rolling and softer 55a on the outsides for grip. Weight750gSize29 x 2.25TPI60BeadKevlar / foldableCompounds65a/55aPriceRRP R 650.00 At 750g per tyre they're on par with other similarly specced all rounders. Price wise they are also competitive considering the price tags on some top end tubeless tyres are in the neighbourhood of R 700-800.00 Fitment The tyres were first fitted to a set of Easton EA70 XCTs and later to a pair of ZTR Crests and both were no trouble at all. Although I opted for some assistance from a tyre lever for that last little bit, getting the tyre onto the rim was possible completely by hand on either wheel. I ran them tubeless and when it came to inflation (which can be a pain without a compressor) a standard floor pump did the trick for both wheels. On the trails My first few outings on these tyres were to a very wet and muddy Tokai. I was impressed by the grip even in the soggy conditions which Onza don't really class these tyres for. Thanks to the open tread pattern on the outer edges mud and dirt cleared well and they held on impressively well. In the really sticky clay-like stuff though, traction was limited as they struggled to dislodge the gunk.In drier conditions I was quickly impressed with the rolling performance. What was first just a feeling of “woah, these are fast” was reinforced on the extended gravel roads of the Baviaans Kloof. On the open dirt roads they were fast rolling with good acceleration and none of the sluggishness slightly grippier tyres can add. Through windy singletrack I found myself increasingly pushing the traction limits and confidently so. On a mixture of hard packed soil, slippery pine needles and roots, loose and sharp rocky sections they performed well and predictably. Only in very loose sand and very wet conditions did I find they began to lose contact. For general trail and singletrack riding I found I got the best traction performance running them at lower pressures: usually 1.6-1.8 bar front and back depending on the terrain. Any higher and they tended to get overly slippery over rocks and roots (for reference I weigh in at around 73kg). Durability Having ridden close on 600km with these tyres over varied terrain so far they've held up well, but they have still got a lot of life in them. In terms of puncture resistance I’ve not had a single issue to date. So far I am very happy with the durability, but I’ll report back after a few thousand kilometers. In the end In a short space of time I’ve become a big fan of these tyres. They are well suited to my riding habits delivering on the combination of grip and low rolling resistance Onza speak of. Those looking for more grip might opt for the beefier Ibex up front, but for my riding the Canis front and rear does the job well. Given the more wallet-friendly price and the impressive performance the Onza Canis delivers excellent value in an all-rounder tyre.I won't be taking these off until they need replacing! Onza tyres are distributed by Rush Sports in SA. The following versions are currently available in leading bike stores:Onza Citius 27.5x2.4 60TPI Onza Ibex 26x2.25 60TPI & Onza Ibex 27.5x2.25 60 TPI Onza Canis 26x2.25 60TPI; Onza Canis 27.5x2.25 120TPI & Onza Canis 29x2.25 60TPI
  6. Though a little before my mountain biking time, Onza (or OnZa) was one of the big brands in mountain bike tyres and other components in the late nineties. While the brand faded away in the early 2000’s more recently a swiss-based company relaunched the Onza brand and range of tyres. Click here to view the article
  7. The "Cyclists with a "Running" Problem" thread has so much valuable info in it, but it's hitting 500 pages now. Since we chat about running shoes so often, I thought it would be better to split these posts out into its own thread so others can find this info easily. I'll start. Found this interesting for the Asics fans: https://www.runningshoesguru.com/content/best-asics-running-shoes/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=asics_running_shoes_the_2018_updated_guide&utm_term=2018-04-06 Some reviews on the shoes I have used: New Balance Fresh Foam Lazr (Neutral Shoe) Terrible long distance running shoe. Ate the back of my feet and made my feet numb. The store assistant admitted that they are having issues with these shoes. Didn't play around with new lacing techniques as I returned them (got a full refund towards another set of New Balance). A nice looking shoe, and would work well in the gym and for cross fit style training as it feels flatter. They did feel nimble and fast though. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v6 (Neutral Shoe) My very first pair of real running shoes. They didn't give me a single issue, not even a blister. Have 1000km on them and they still have some life left. No tears in the fabric and slight wear on the soles. I suspect I will get 1300km out of them. They do feel big and "boat" like as they have a wide toe box. They are also quite pricey though (around R2,500). New Balance Fresh Foam 880s (Neutral Shoe) This shoe is very comfortable, feels faster and smaller than the 1080s. Also looks nicer than the 1080s. These shoes however make my feet numb 20 minutes into a run, no matter which lacing pattern I use, or how loose they are. The tongue of this shoe seems to have more padding in it, which I think is what is causing the issue. I do have high arches, but not overly high, so I would be cautious.
  8. A comfortable, well-organised backpack is essential for anyone on the move. If your lifestyle demands mobility or you simply need to arrange your clutter, the Thule Crossover may be the ideal backpack for you. Click here to view the article
  9. While not explicitly marketed as such, I had this backpack marked as a do-it-all commuter backpack. By that I mean protected compartments for all your electronic devices, enough room to fit a clean set of clothes, shoes and lunch, durable construction, some rain protection, as well as comfort and stability. So everything really. Materials The Crossover is made from good quality materials. Giving the impression that it may just outlast the wearer. The outer layer is water resistant nylon. The plastic clips are far from flimsy while the pockets, made from the same tough fabric as the rest of the backpack, are firmly attached. On top of this, Thule back their workmanship with a 25 year warranty. Compartments The Crossover has 4 zipped compartments, each aiming to cater for a specific purpose. The rear compartment houses your laptop (up to 15" size) and tablet or ereader in padded sleeves. The padding is adequate and the sleeves hug the devices well. I was more than happy to toss this backpack over my shoulder without concern. There is also an unpadded sleeve where you can squeeze in some flat items, like note pads or books. The largest compartment in the centre of the backpack is deceptively roomy. Here I comfortably stowed my work clothes, including shoes, soap and lunch box, and just about anything else I needed for the day. Basically, the type of compartment every working commuter needs to keep themselves fresh in the office. There are also two netted pockets which are handy for holding charging adaptors. The front most compartment is where the OCD organiser will rejoice. There are numerous sleeves and pockets to snugly fit and organise smaller items. The SafeZone is the most compact compartment. The Safezone features a removeable crush-proof shell to protect fragile items such as electronic devices and sunglasses. I used this compartment to protect my sunglasses and cell phone during the test with complete confidence. Pockets There are three convenient shove-it pockets on the outside of the backpack. The central and largest pocket, which features a compression strap, was useful for quick storage and access. You simply shove things in there and tighten the strap and off you go. I used this pocket for everything, from stuffing in dirty riding gear to storing my cellphone and wallet. The outer two pockets are are useful for quick access. They work well with water bottles and tools but the smaller size and lack of compression strap or zip put me off using them for valuable items which, I felt, could potentially drop out. Handles There there are handles on the top and bottom of the backpack. While this might not sound too exciting, I found it to be invaluable when moving the backpack short distances. So much so that I will never get another backpack without similar handles. The handles were also useful to attach my helmet when the backpack was already full. Like the rest of the backpack, the material used to make these straps gave the impression of quality. Video demonstration For a better understanding of the layout and construction of the Crossover, watch the video below by Thule. Unfortunately we had no say on the soundtrack. Colours The Thule Crossover is available in two colour options: black or cobalt. The cobalt is a striking colour and probably not to everyone's tastes, especially if going for a professional look. I decided on the cobalt option in the hope that it would catch the attention of motorists better than a black backpack. The clips and zip linings all come in a matching colours while the zip handles are plasma green for easy identification. Comfort The build quality, design and storage of the Thule Crossover is excellent but how does it feel when worn? The shoulder straps are made from a firm but flexible foam and are covered in a rugged netting. Trying the backpack on for the first time, I was concerned that the straps were too rigid but after a few weeks of use the straps bedded in and became supple. Even with a full backpack, I felt no strain on my shoulders or back. The padding features a ridge down the middle to assist with cooling. This padding extends into the backpack to form part of the laptop sleeve protection. This means that you can feel the flat rigidity of the laptop through the padding but it was only a brief concern as it didn't seem to impact on comfort or stability of the backpack. A very important feature, for anyone wanting to use the Thule Crossover on a bicycle, is the chest strap. The chest strap goes a long way in reducing lateral movement of the backpack while riding. With the strap, I felt comfortable making sharp turns and looking over my shoulder. To ensure a good fit, the strap is adjustable in length and vertically using a rail system. Overall, using the Thule Crossover was a comfortable experience on and off the bike. Flaws Firstly, the SafeZone is not supported, so when the middle compartment is open it tends to fold into the backpack making it tricky to access this compartment. If you aren’t using the SafeZone, you can remedy this problem by removing the protective shell. The aluminium clip used for the compression strap of the stash pocket unclipped itself without warning a number of times. While the pocket remained relatively taut it is something worth keeping an eye on. Confusing compartments, sleeves and pockets. This is more of a indication of my own disorganisation but I struggled to find my stuff in the backpack. Either unzipping the wrong compartment or simply missing a sleeve or pocket. However, after a few weeks, I managed to get my head around it and started finding regular homes for my possessions. Pricing and Availability The recommend retail price for the Crossover is R1,899, making the purchasing of this backpack somewhat of an investment. If you're likely to use the backpack daily and want something that will last, you'll probably get your money's worth with the Crossover. Stockists of Thule bags can be found through the Thule dealer locator here. In the end The seemingly endless compartments, sleeves and pockets work very well once you get your head around their arrangement and designed purposes. In addition, the Crossover is comfortable to wear on and off a bicycle. I found the Thule Crossover to be a superb backpack that covers all your needs for daily commuting and other adventures.
  10. Matt

    Review: Momsen VIPA

    Now while stage and marathon races are somewhat of a happy place for me, I also enjoy bombing down a trail and thrashing my bike about, just a bit. My hard tail is a solid bike and stands up well, but it has its limits in terms of forgiveness and comfort when the going gets rough. My ideal is a lightweight and fairly aggressive dual suspension bike. One with the versatility to see me through a multi-day stage race and freedom to hit some gnarlier trails (relatively) worry free. Is that too much to ask? The BuildAs Victor Momsen himself put it, Iwan’s VIPA build is particularly “unique". First off you may notice the dropper post. "On a cross country bike?" I hear you ask. Then we have the longer 120mm fork upfront (a factory VIPA and most bikes in this class will typically come with 100mm). And lastly the American Classic Wide Lightning wheels, which feature a wider rim profile claimed to offer more lateral stability and putting more rubber in contact with the ground.Throw in a VIPA frame, a few other vital bits and these unique choices combine to create a mildly schizophrenic, yet strangely ideal bike. For my tastes at least. SpecificationsPrice: R26,150.00 (suggested retail on the frameset)Frame: Momsen VIPA - Carbon Front Triangle, Carbon Rear Triangle, 80mm Rear Wheel Travel Rear shock: Rock Shox Monarch Fork: Rockshox SID XX 120mm, 51mm offset Brakes: Avid Elixer 5 Shifter: SRAM X0 Grip Shift Cassette: SRAM X0 2X10 Crankset: SRAM X0 2X10 Front derailleur: SRAM X0 Rear derailleur: SRAM X0 Chain: SRAM X0 Handlebar: Momsen Design Up / Down Stem: Momsen Design Downer 60mm Grips: ODI Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb 100mm dropper Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Pedals: Shimano XT Trail Wheels: American Classic Wide Lightning Tyres: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.2 (F&R) The FrameA result of collaboration between Victor Momsen and Patrick Morewood, by now the VIPA is no stranger to the SA market. The full carbon frame features 80mm travel with a low-leverage suspension design courtesy of Mr. Morewood (or is that Mr. PYGA) himself. I’m not going to pretend to know what all that means, but basically it is designed pedal well, give good small bump compliance and feel like it’s got a bit more travel than it really does.I’m not the biggest fan of the standard colour way on the VIPA, that’s not to say I wouldn’t have one. The frame itself has a matte black carbon finish, with red and gold checkered decals up front. The rear triangle has a gloss raw carbon finish and features gold caps on the suspension pivot points. In an interview earlier this year Victor Momsen hinted at more colour options on the way and we’ve already seen the white version doing the rounds. Personally I wouldn’t be opposed to a stealth black or black/blue variation. Off the shelf the frame offers internal routing for dropper posts - perhaps an early hint at this bike's "other" personality. Gear and brake cables are routed externally via some neat dual cable clips on the downtube. Weighing in at around 2.2kg for the large frameset (including rear shock and hardware) it's no slouch. And close on half the cost of some of the big brand competitors it's a highly attractive option given the racing pedigree the VIPA has shown. ComponentsAmerican Classic Wide lightning wheels: I was initially skeptical about the real benefit of the wider rim profile and the various marketing claims, but this turned out to be one of the big winners for me – mostly due to how well the tires performed as a result.Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.2: At first glance the tire profile is noticeably wider than on a standard width rim. Conveniently at the time I had the same spec Racing Ralph’s on my personal bike, albeit with a standard width rim. Beyond the visual differences, the performance was impressive. The usually skittish tires I knew now had more grip in loose sand and stone. The wider profile also provided a greater degree of comfort (and confidence) floating through rock gardens which were ordinarily a bit “grabby”. Avid Elixer 5: Despite all the bad press the Avids get I had no issues with them performance wise. Though not as precise as the likes of XT, the light lever action and progressive brake force made for confident, assured braking. SRAM XO Groupset: The SRAM XO 2x10 setup was smooth, precise and dependable. What I didn’t enjoy was the grip shifters. The ODI grips have been cut to about 60% of their length to neatly fit the grip shift without too much excess grip space. In theory it means the gears are easily accessible without the need for too much hand movement. In practice I found my primary contact point became the shifter itself, which resulted in unexpected mid-bump gear changes. Momsen UP/DOWN bar and Momsen DOWNer Stem: Another of my highlights on this bike was the pairing of the Momsen UP/DOWN bar and Momsen DOWNer Stem. The handlebar was set in the UP mode meaning it had a +5mm rise (it can also be set with a -5mm drop when placed in DOWN mode). The width at 715mm and rearward bend (9 degree) made for an incredibly comfortable riding position and feel when compared to my standard narrower, flatter aluminium bar. RockShox Reverb Dropper Post: While quite out of place given the bike’s purpose, the convenience and effect of the dropper post significantly upped the fun factor and versatility of the bike for everyday riding. For the weight conscious marathon or cross-country racer though, the added heft with limited use is unnecessary. RockShox SID XX 120mm: It’s difficult to fault this fork. It’s light, stiff and performed flawlessly through the rough stuff, small bumps and when it wasn’t needed in the climbs. The added 20mm versus the typical spec added an everyday versatility to the bike while maintaining it’s race-ready stature and adding some serious trail capability. ClimbingThe wide bars, super stiff frame and cockpit made for an aggressive, confident feel in the climbs. Although packing a few extra grams than a factory spec, the bike still felt light and responsive when the road turned up.The negative drop stem seemed to compensate for the added height of the 120mm fork. And although the added travel meant for a slightly slacker head angle, the low forward set climbing position I’m used to was maintained. With the rear shock fully locked out it felt like a hardtail with no pedal bob and direct, efficient power transfer. In “Pedal” mode there was some noticeable bob during a standing climb, but while seated almost none at all. In either scenario the added compliance meant for better traction in anything from loose sand to rooted climbs. In the wet however the skimpy tires made for limited traction on slicker surfaces, regardless of suspension settings. DescendingBeing a race bred marathon / cross-country bike I was asking a lot of this bike in pointing it down the rootiest, rockiest semi-downhill tracks I could find. Although with it’s added attitude the bike would certainly be more capable, the 80mm rear travel was a concern.Immediately the low front end meant I was aware of getting my weight distribution right to avoid any OTB nasties, but even when I thought it had all gone wrong the bike was firmly planted. The slacker head angle thanks to the added travel and larger offset was very useful in these situations. While I wouldn’t attempt any mega drops - even with the limited rear travel - the bike handled the bigger rocks, roots and drops comfortably. There was enough forgiveness to save you (and your derrière) if you get a landing a touch wrong, but it's by no means unlimited - nor is it meant to be. Through mid-range trails the bike showed its forte. The already low stand over height coupled with the dropper post made for a bike that thrived in being thrown about in the corners. Along with the shorter stem and low cockpit it made for a super agile and playful bike with a sure-footedness that made me feel like a mountain bike video rock star, minus the sound track. When the going got bumpy and a bit pedally the rear suspension again proved its worth. Coming from a jarring hardtail the ability to comfortably remain seated through rutted bumps or stand and retain contact with the earth was welcome. In the endAside from the Grip Shifters and the dropper post for any stage or marathon race, there isn't much about this bike I'd want to change. Perhaps the frame colour, but even so as-is it's understated enough to not phase me.As it turned out the odd mash up of bike and components suited my riding needs almost perfectly. So much so that I held onto it for as long as possible before Iwan got suspicious. Built to be something of an all-in-one bike it proved great fun for an everyday muck-about trail ride while still light, stiff and aggressive enough for any stage race I might have thrown at it.
  11. I have been toying with the idea of switching to a dual suspension bike for some time and when Iwan Kemp, aka The Crow, offered me his Momsen VIPA for a test ride I jumped at the opportunity. Touted as a “Super Bike” the Momsen VIPA is purpose built for cross country and marathon riding, though this particular one had a few twists in its tail. Click here to view the article
  12. The Santa Cruz and Juliana Demo fleet tours the country putting on demo events for anyone wanting to ride a Santa Cruz bike. Working with our Santa Cruz Dealers at each stop, we do our best to seek out the best possible venues for these demos to allow you to get a true experience of the quality, performance and unique ride characteristic of the Santa Cruz bikes. What is a Santa Cruz demo? Well, its a truly unique experience; our team will spend time running you through the product range, they will ensure that the best suited model is made available for the trails and / or your riding preference, and from there work with you to set the bike up from riding position to suspension and general ergonomics. For us a demo is not a ride up and down a parking lot, but rather a true experience of what its like to own a Santa Cruz and ride it on your favourite trails. Models change from stop-to-stop, so contact the organizers well in advance to make sure the frame you want to try will be available. And don't forget to bring your pedals, some photo ID and a credit-card (for a damage deposit). View the Demo Tour HERE Demo Calendar: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=rushsportscycling.com_9ad03thd3jj2c25nrc79voabio%40group.calendar.google.com
  13. If you’re anything like me indoor training can be a bit of a chore, but often the sensible option to supplement training through winter. Even with a decent trainer and the distraction of TVs or iPads, I quickly get bored and uncomfortable. Enter the CycleOps PowerSync and their Virtual Training software. Click here to view the article
  14. The CycleOps PowerSync is an electronically controlled resistance trainer. It’s able to simulate changes in gradient, yep, it can ‘make’ hills. And is programmable to create workouts or just increase / decrease resistance at the touch of a button or the tap of a screen. The PowerSync incorporates a power meter accurate to +-5% using the same technology found in the famed PowerTap variety. Coupled with the CycleOps Virtual Training (CVT) software your virtual cycling world expands. CVT allows you to choose from a multitude of interval, profile (hill) and heart rate based workouts, participate in realtime (or delayed) online races and go “out” on virtual video-based rides. Given my predisposition to avoiding indoor training I was keen to put these new tools to the test. Initial ImpressionsThe CycleOps PowerSync is a sturdy looking unit. Although I was testing on a very smooth surface, it has eccentric levelling feet which allow it to be stable on uneven surfaces. The mounting and operation is much the same as other trainers I’ve encountered. The bike is fixed to the trainer via the rear axle using a specially shaped steel quick release skewer. Adjustments can be made to suit the specific rear axle width The solid bolt-action fixing lever secures the bike in place The good news for mountain bikers is that there is a thru-axle adapter available, however it only supports 120, 130, and 135mm axle spacing and unfortunately no 29" wheels. For that you’d need to look at it’s bigger brother, the PowerBeam Pro, although you'd still be limited to a maximum axle width of 135mm. I tested the PowerSync with a standard 700c road bike and a 26" mountain bike (with a semi-slick tire). Both were easy to mount and had ample space on the rolling surface. The roller should fit tyres up to 2.25" depending on the profile and tread, although I'd opt for a smooth tire on the back from a noise reduction perspective. Models: ANT+ vs. BluetoothOur test unit is the ANT+ version and arrived with an ANT+ iPad dongle. This you’d have to purchase separately if the device you’ll be connecting to doesn’t natively support ANT+. There is also a Bluetooth model available, which although you would have an easier time connecting to, wouldn’t be as widely compatible with the majority of current sensors which are ANT+ based. Accessory: Climbing Riser BlockAmong the various accessories available from CycleOps is a Climbing Riser Block which our unit arrived with. This provides both stability and 3-levels of incline with the option to stack multiple blocks for greater inclines. Mounting a bike Mounting your bike on the PowerSync is pretty straightforward. You’ll first need to swop out your snazzy proprietary skewers or thru-axles for the relevant trainer compatible version. In the box you’ll find a standard quick release skewer included, but the thru-axle adapter would need to be purchased separately. The roller contact surface is smooth and visibly wider than most trainers I’ve used. It’ll comfortably support a wide mountain bike tyre, although for any bike a smooth, trainer specific tyre is recommended. With the bike mounted and power connected we’re just about ready to go. On the bikeGetting on the bike I first noticed the sturdiness of the setup. Although in part this was thanks to the climbing block, even without this accessory the PowerSync felt impressively stable thanks to it’s wide stance. The climbing block added noticeable stability upfront, to the point that I was more than comfortable to get out of the saddle and put a far more pressure on the bars than I'd dare to before. When the wheels start turning you’ll notice a blue led below the roller which lets you know you’re powered up and ready to connect to the app or another device. CycleOps Virtual Training Installing and setting up the CycleOps Virtual Training app was quite simple and intuitive. The app is available for IOS, Android and PC. For testing we used the IOS version on an iPad with the ANT+ iPad dongle. Although the app is a free download there is a $6 monthly subscription fee to maintain full access to all features, but you can start off with a free trial. Once you’ve registered with CVT and entered your profile details you’re good to go. You can then choose from various options for your indoor workout: Free Ride As the name implies in this mode you can decide how you want to ride. You get to adjust your target resistance as you’d like to either structure your own ad-lib workout or just ride. Profile Training If you’re keen to test your legs on a specific routes or just get some simulated hill training this mode will let you follow a real-world route virtually. The app adjusts the resistance automatically to simulate the ups and downs of the actual route. When I first jumped on the PowerSync I was sceptical about how this would feel. I chose my route, the Col d’Izoard, pressed go and hit the Pyrenees. This route is one of many that includes a video feed. When the video mode is enabled a video of the actual route will play based on your speed. You can either stream the video if you have a decently fast connection or download it beforehand. Sure enough as the road kicked up the going got tough. There is a slight delay between the on screen gradient change and what you feel as the resistance gets applied progressively. I was impressed by the difference. The uphills really do make you work and quickly had me searching for more gears as if on a real-world climb. Virtual Partner If you want a bit of company or some added incentive you can enable Virtual Partner. This feature allows you to select a previous ride from other users and compare your efforts. I did a ride around Gordon's Bay with Dipslick using a ride he'd recorded in 2014. You’re also able to quickly create your own routes based on your own GPS files, however this must either be done via the Virtual Training website or the Desktop version of the software. You can also create your own video routes via the desktop, but this is a little more complex. Workouts Power based training is said to be the most efficient and effective and the CycleOps PowerSync makes this easy for you. The Virtual Trainer allows you to select from various existing workouts or create your own. Each workout is based on a specific metric, either: Power, Power / Weight, % FTP or Gradient %. While you could do the same with a standard indoor trainer and power meter, the visual representation of the workout and on-screen cues thanks to the app take a lot of the thought out of it, allowing you to just ride. For anyone serious about their training or just wanting to make the most out of typically limited training time this is a most valuable feature. You can choose from various pre-existing workouts from other users The onscreen graphs and cues make interval training "easy". Or you can quickly craft your own workouts. Online Race Real time online races are one of the cool-factor features of the PowerSync and CVT app. Perhaps it’s a bit of nostalgia back to my misspent youth playing multiplayer computer games, but for me this is a great way to not only make indoor training more interesting, but create added incentive and commitment. Much like entering a real-world race it becomes all the more difficult to back out once you’ve put your name down. The races take place in real time on a predetermined course and use the data from your trainer to pit you against the other participants. You can compete with real people on the same course, at the same time from anywhere in the world. A group of Hubbers have been avidly running weekly races for some time now. FTP Test Thanks to the PowerSync’s built in power meter you're also able to perform a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test. This test will allow you to establish your capability and then tailor your workouts based on the results. It also lets you benchmark performances and track progress. Be warned though - an FTP test is not for the faint hearted! The on-screen display mid-test Results from my somewhat feeble first attempt. Without the app: Connecting to a head unitIf you just want to ride or forgot to charge your iPad you can also simply connect to a compatible head unit. Most power meter compatible units will allow you to read power-data from the PowerSync, but wouldn’t allow you to set resistance as you could from the app. For this you’d need the PowerTap Joule GPS head unit which can control resistance. My Garmin Edge 510 had no issues connecting to the PowerSync and pulling in the available of power specific data. ConclusionThe CycleOps PowerSync indoor trainer is certainly not an entry-level trainer nor does it come with an entry-level price tag. Thanks to the workout tools and virtual riding / racing capabilities the CycleOps Virtual Trainer app makes riding indoors a pleasure, until the road kicks up that is. If you’re wanting to be a little more focussed and efficient with power-based training or you’re simply looking to spice up your indoor riding it might be worth stretching the budget for. The CycleOps PowerSync is available from Bicycle Power Trading either via their dealers in your area or direct on their website. Retail price: R11,595 Manufacturer's specificationsANT+ (Model 9912) or Bluetooth Smart (Model 9913) compatible. PowerTap power meter equipped for +/- 5% accurate power readings. Some assembly required. Features clutch knob for perfect roller to tire tension each ride. 2" resistance unit roller allows for 650b, 700c, 26", and 27" wheel sizes. Does not fit 29ers or 650c wheel sizes. Precision-machined alloy roller reduces tire wear and slippage. Noise level at 20 mph is a quiet 69-70 decibels. Electronic resistance unit allows for programmable workouts. Controlled resistance lets you set your slope, power, and other metrics. Eccentric leveling feet allow for easy adjustment on uneven surfaces. Comes on the CycleOps foldable Classic frame with spring loaded, bolt-action lever. This trainer is designed to fit common road and mountain bike frames with included steel quick release skewer and has three settings for rear dropout spacing: 120mm, 130mm and 135mm. Trainer tire recommended. CycleOps VirtualTraining compatible. The PowerSync is intended to be used with an iPad or Android tablet running the CycleOps VirtualTraining application and does not come with a computer. Cadence sensor and ANT+ stick sold separately
  15. As a purely unselfish initiative I have created a quick web-based bike shop survey. http://www.buildabikesa.com/bike-shop-review/ Please take 2 minutes to fill this in. This is the first step in improving service in the industry. I'll never share your details, so don't stress about that. This is an effort to gauge / snapshot the current service levels at South African bike shops. Thanks in advance.
  16. As mentioned in Part 1, I decided to split the shootout in two parts. The first had a focus on the more all mountain helmets that feature more coverage at the expense of some extra weight. Part 2 here is all about the lighter trail lids. While they may not feature quite as much protection as the AM variety, the trail oriented helmets are lighter weight and will usually be better on a long day's ride or even stage events. The candidates Fox Flux The Flux hasn't seen many changes over the years. It has been a stable choice for riders that are looking for a reasonably priced helmet that offers more than your typical XC coverage. It's relatively light weight also makes it a choice for some XC riders too, along with its huge vents that provide ample ventilation. Manufacturer's specs Deep rear EPS profile for additional coverage 20 large vents for maximum airflow and temperature control Detox™ retention system to dial in the perfect fit Removable visor Weight: 360g (claimed) Price: RRP R999 Giro Xar The Xar is Giro's top of the line trail helmet. It was first conceived to offer the all mountain scene a Giro option with more rear and side coverage. That torch has been taken up by the new Giro Feature (though at a lower price point) and the Xar now sits firmly in the trail side of things. It is light enough to be used by XC and marathon racers and gives enough coverage to use on any trails that don't require a full face. Manufacturer's specs P.O.V.™ adjustable visor w/ 15° vertical adjustment In-mold - EPS liner, polycarbonate shell Roc Loc® 5 Fit System 17 Wind Tunnel™ vents, internal channeling Weight: 340g (claimed) Price: RRP R2490 Bontrager Lithos Perhaps not the first name that comes to mind when searching for your next helmet, but Bontrager has steadily being producing helmets for a variety of cycling applications. The Lithos is their entry into the trail/all mountain segment. As with all the helmets featured in the shootout, it has further coverage in the back and sides and keeps the weight down so you can comfortably ride all day with it. Manufacturer's specs In-mold composite skeleton Micro-Manager - Fully-adjustable fit system AgION fit pads - Moisture-wicking antimicrobial pads LockDown strap dividers Internal, recessed channels manage airflow for 19 vents Removable visor with 10° of adjustability Weight: 310g (claimed) Price: RRP R1599 AestheticsIn contrast to Part 1 of this shootout, these three helmet are not as district in their design as the first three. They certainly have a more traditional look to them, possibly making them more accessible to the majority of riders. While it has been around for a number of years, I still think that the Fox Flux just beats the Giro to the aesthetic win. It's the big purposeful vents and more distinguished rear and side coverage that makes it look more built for performance. Now, if it just weren't for that rear spoiler at the top of the Flux; it'd be great if it was a removable feature, because it's a bit garish. Unfortunately with the Giro, we narrowly missed out on getting the much better looking blue colour, and instead got the matte black with green and white decals. It detracts a bit from the shape of the helmet, making it look less solid than it is. I would suggest looking at the solid blue option if you feel the same. There is a fairly clear runner-up in the aesthetics here. The Bontrager Lithos is not a looker. The clear coat exposing the foam beneath looks a bit unfinished, like they didn't add the shell to the outside. It is by far the most understated too, which isn't a bad thing. But the squarish shape isn't the most appealing. The Lithos tends to sit fairly high on the head too, where the Giro has more of an XC fit and the Fox makes strides to be more all mountain. I prefer more aggressive designs, and because of that the Flux takes the win. ComfortIt was here that the three helmets were most closely matched as all three offered all day riding comfort. The Bontrager grabbed some points here for the most comfort. The padding was the most supportive and had the least hard spots on the head. It was a bit heavier than the others, but the padding more than made up for it. It also sat very comfortably, even if the aesthetics of it weren't that great.I found the Flux to be a bit of a mission with the straps. It's great that they are not fixed at the back so the clamp can be centred, but you had to make sure the strap was flat before you put the helmet on. If you didn't then it felt like there was something stuck at the top, which quickly got irritating. The Xar was a bit more comfortable than the Flux, with the Fox exposing more hard spots on the head. The Xar did have pretty thin padding, though, which wasn't ideal None of the helmets offered any padding for the retainer systems at back, but the Lithos does have a softer plastic that actually helps quite a bit. The retailer on the Flux was particularly hard, not offering the comfort you would like. FeaturesThere's nothing fancy about these three helmets like GoPro mounts or magnetic do-hickies. They all feature removable padding and retainers system at the back. Stuff you would expect. Only the Bontrager and Giro have adjustable visors, with the Fox only having a removable one.Let's take a look at those visors. While the Flux may not have the adjustability of the others, it doesn't detract too much from the ride. It was never in the way, and worked well shading the sun. The Xar's visor was adjustable, but wasn't as accurate as the Lithos. Bontrager was smart with this, and instead of making the visor have freedom to move up and down, it uses a guided fixed position system with 4 options. This means that it will stay in places better than most other designs, and that you can feel it moving up to where you want it from the clicks. There are two different types of retainer systems used in these lids, a ratchet style and a twist style. The Giro's is the most accurate and offers the most adjustment, but the knob is quite small and the twist is pretty hard. Tightening it with gloves on could be fiddly at times. The Bontrager Lithos' system was much larger, but not quite as accurate. I found that it never quite got tight enough so the helmet was totally secure and wouldn't move on my head. Unfortunately for the Flux, these twist-type systems completely outshone the ratchet system it uses. It was difficult to get the ratchet to evenly use space from both sides, as it usually would take up all the slack from one side, then from the other. It made for a fairly uneven adjustment at the back. In the endThis matchup was far more closely contested than Part 1. The Flux, Xar and Lithos are all very good helmets and each holds its own. Styling wise, it was a close call between the Xar and the Flux, with the Flux just beating the Xar to it, though other testers thought otherwise. In the comfort department the Lithos took the cake. It's padding sits a lot better on the head with minimal hard spots to be felt. There wasn't any one feature that stood-out against the rest for these helmets, but the Giro's retainer system worked the best, even if it was a bit fiddly to use.All in all, it's quite difficult to make a solid decision on a winner. All of these helmets suit their purpose quite well and it really comes down to personal preference to make a decision. That the Fox Flux is less than half the cost of the Giro Xar and a whole lot less than the Bontrager too, makes for a very tempting proposal. The retaining system and straps may change your mind though. If comfort is your main priority then the Lithos is your choice. While, if you're looking for a more XC oriented lid and price isn't a factor, the Xar should be high on your list. Take a look at Part 1 - Bell Super, POC Trabec Race, 661 EVO AM
  17. When I go into most bike shops it's seldom I will see a helmet that is not suited to the road or XC purposes. There's countless options of them out there. It's not often you see something with some rear and side support – more focused on the trail and all mountain side of things. I set out to see what I could find that is readily available in South Africa. This is Part 2 of our helmet shootout, focussing on trail lids. Click here to view the article
  18. Matt

    Review: Garmin fenix 3

    It’s not all just good looks too. The feature packed fenix 3 was a daunting prospect when I first put my hand up to review it. The list of features and natively supported activities is vast. The obvious successor to the fenix 2 and very much an all round, active outdoors, adventure focussed product, the fenix 3 also steps into the territory of the highly regarded Forerunner multisport watches. It includes all the multi sport capabilities of the Forerunner 920XT, and more, in a business-like package. As you’ll see from the feature list below the fenix 3 is an incredibly capable unit. For the purposes of this review though, we’re keeping the focus on it’s use for a cyclist or multiports athlete. Key SpecificationsStainless Steel EXO™ antenna with GPS + GLONASS support for fast fix and accuracy 3.1 cm (1.2-inch) sunlight readable colour Chroma™ display Altimeter, barometer and 3-axis compass with auto calibration Support of a broad selection of sports and activities with dedicated user profiles like trail running, swimming, hiking, skiing and more Advanced fitness training features including VO2 Max and Recovery Advisor and classic Garmin navigation features like TracBack Smart features like Smart Notification and Connect IQ™ App support for further customisation See the full specifications at the bottom of this review. Watch modeWhen first fitting the fenix 3 my initial impression was that it was quite big, especially on my “aerodynamic” wrists. But within the same day I hardly noticed the size or weight. At just 82g (spot on with the claimed weight) it’s not a particularly hefty unit and incredibly comfortable on your arm. In terms of general look n’ feel it could pass as an “ordinary” watch, one you might wear to that business meeting or dinner out. While my test unit featured a somewhat louder red rubber strap, you do get a black version and, if you opt for the Sapphire version of the fenix 3, it sports a snazzy looking metal link strap. The fenix 3 arrives with two default watch faces: analog and digital. Each face has some standard configuration options to set the background colour, hand style and additional information like day / date. But the real fun is in the Garmin Connect IQ store where you can choose from hundreds of different faces. Screen and battery lifeThe screen itself is very sharp, clear and easy to read. Although it’s a colour screen, I wouldn’t call it colourful and can be a bit dull in low light. The technology behind the display is similar to that of an e-reader which lends itself to low power consumption and the fenix 3’s impressive battery life. With the backlight illuminated however, the display livens up and is very easy to read in any light conditions. One of my initial concerns was the battery life considering that devices labelled “smart” these days require a full recharge daily. Thankfully the fenix 3 doesn’t fit into that category. Garmin claim a battery life of up to 6 weeks in watch mode and up to 20 hours in GPS tracking mode. Charging for me wasn’t ever an issue which I think is a good sign. The quicker battery depletion is noticeable when in GPS mode and in the summer months I can see that you’d have to charge the device more frequently with more usage in full GPS mode. ConnectivityThe fenix 3 features Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ANT+ and USB connectivity. The unit can pair to your smartphone via Bluetooth and make use of your phone’s internet connection to upload activities, download software updates and interface with the Garmin Connect mobile app. The fenix 3 also supports Wi-Fi, but this needs to first be set up via Garmin Express (PC or Mac). Using the charging cradle you’re able to connect the watch via USB and once set up the watch will automatically use the configured Wi-Fi network to upload & download as required. ANT+ allows the fenix 3 connectivity with a large range of sensors from various manufacturers. Garmin Connect AppAside from setting up a WiFi connection I was able to do just about everything I needed via the Garmin Connect Smartphone App or via the watch itself. The app is simple and intuitive and along with the standard activity sync, tracking and review it allows you to add or remove Connect IQ apps, watch faces and data fields all from the app. The ease of interface with no cables needed for most tasks is an absolute pleasure. Smart Features and NotificationsWhen connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth the fenix 3 becomes a bit of a smart watch. I say “a bit” as although it does have apps and connectivity, it’s still a sports centric smart watch and for me that’s a good thing. The fenix 3 can be set up to deliver alerts for for incoming calls, text messages and alerts for configured smartphone apps. You can also view your calendar, the weather, control music, and read text messages and other app alerts via the watch interface. During active use it’s handy to see incoming calls and messages at a glance without having to fumble in a pocket or backpack, but at the same time I felt I was a little too connected at times. It is an easy enough feature to disable though, should you want an interruption-free ride. Activity TrackingEven in standard watch mode the fenix 3 can track your day-to-day activity reminding you to keep active. I found myself sucked into the Auto Goal feature which sets a daily steps goal based on your previous activity. And when you reach that goal you're treated to a fireworks display, on screen of course. For those keyboard / desk jockeys like me you might often find yourself seated for long periods of time during the day. When inactive for an hour the “Move bar” on the fenix will remind you to move via a gentle vibration and on screen icon which clears once you’ve moved about. Although seemingly innocuous features I found these had an unexpected positive impact on my work day. ApplicationsOut of the box the fenix 3 has various pre-programmed modes or “applications” for different sports and activities. Each one with a tailored display showing standard metrics relevant to that activity, e.g. Run, Swim, Bike and indoor options for each. You can add & remove activity profiles so if XC snow skiing isn’t your cuppa tea it’s easy enough to remove. Garmin also let you further customise the displays for each, choosing exactly which metrics you want displayed on which screen (page) and in what order. The Connect IQ Store opens up a whole new world of options with various first and third party applications and data fields to further customise your watch. So if you wanted a Graphical Elevation or Heart Rate view or an idea of how many beers your current workout has earned you can do it. Thanks to the Connect IQ platform the fenix 3 is incredibly customisable and as with time this extensibility should only improve as the user and developer community grows. Bike Mode Already owning a Garmin Edge 510 I wasn’t quite sure how the fenix 3 would fit into my biking life. The fenix includes all the features of my Edge 510 and even surpasses it to include connectivity features only found on the Edge 810 upwards. Garmin do offer a bike mount to strap the watch to your handlebar, for easily viewing and allowing one-handed operation. I happened to have a mount for an older watch lying around which worked just fine. The fenix interfaces with various ANT+ accessories and during testing it happily spoke to my existing Garmin HRM and Cadence/Speed sensors and a MIO wrist based heart rate monitor. On the bike the display is nice and clear and the numbers big (depending on how you have the screens set up). At times I did find the screen a bit prone to glares due to the shiny glass, but a slight reposition quickly sorted this out. While the fenix 3 covers all the features I’d use in the 510 and more, given the choice I still prefer interfacing with the Edge while on the bike. The fenix’s smaller screen and more tricky button operation mean it’s a little less user friendly, but perfectly capable as a primary unit if you didn’t have the choice. Indoor Bike The fenix 3 really won me over when it came to indoor riding. Testing through winter in the Cape meant I did fair bit of stationary riding. In Indoor bike mode the fenix 3 automatically shuts off the GPS, relying on speed and cadence sensors instead. At home on my basic indoor trainer it performed as expected with the same Garmin sensors I’d use outdoors. On the more advanced CycleOps PowerSync indoor trainer I’ve also been testing, it also picked up the power data from the trainer via ANT+. In the gym the fenix 3 was able to connect to a WattBike via ANT+. Talking to the WattBike the fenix 3 is able to monitor speed, cadence and power data for the session. Although I could do the same with my Edge, the beauty of the fenix 3 is that it’s always on your wrist so there’s no forgetting it on the bike or in a bag. Workout data including power stats from the CycleOps indoor trainer Other activity modesAlthough I was predominantly focussed on the bike related function, the fenix 3 is a real do-it-all device and I’d say proves it’s worth in the crossover capabilities. As mentioned it packs all the features you’ll see in a Forerunner 920XT. So for runners, swimmers and, naturally, triathletes it makes for an even more attractive device. Running In running mode the fenix 3 can again track your outdoor and indoor activities. Outside using the GPS and on a treadmill via the device’s accelerometer. Indoors though the tracking can be inaccurate without the use of a foot pod. Swimming Whether doing an open water swim or in a pool, the fenix 3 can track your workout. In open water it uses GPS to track you while in the pool using an accelerometer and the pool length to calculate pace and distance. Triathlon / Multisport The fenix 3 arrives with a preset ‘Triathlon’ mode which allows you to track each leg (including transitions) in one workout using the lap button. In each stage it knows what you’re doing (swim / cycle / run / transition) and will display the relevant data for that activity. As with other modes you’re also able to customise the screens for each, add / remove or change order of the activities and enable or disable tracking of transitions. ConclusionThe fenix 3 is a beautifully designed, solidly built and ultra connective smart sports watch. The impressive list of features deliver seamlessly across the range activity modes. A premium build quality and endless list of features do come with a high end price tag though. For those who take part in a range of sporting activities the fenix 3 is the ultimate cross-over device. And don’t forget it’s a good looking watch too. Pricing:fenix 3 Silver / Gray - Watch only: R 7,599.00 fenix 3 Silver / Gray - Performer Bundle: R 8,449.00 fenix 3 Sapphire: R 9,999.00 Find out more here: fenix3.garmin.com Full Specifications Physical dimensions2.0” x 2.0” x 0.6” (51.0 x 51.0 x 16.0 mm)Display size, WxH1.2” (30.4 mm)Display resolution, WxH218 x 218 pixels; transflective MIP colorWeightSilver/Dark: 82 gBatteryRechargeable 300 mAh lithium-ionBattery lifeUp to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 20 hours in GPS training mode; up to 6 weeks in watch modeWater rating10 ATMGPS / trackingGPS-enabled, GLONASSABCBarometric altimeterElectronic compass Notificaiton & controlSmart notificationsVibration alert Music control VIRB® control Watch functionsTime of day (12/24h), calendar (day/date), daily alarmMaps & MemoryBuilt-in memory: 32 MB; available 23 MBWaypoints/favorites/locations: 1,000 Routes: 50 Cycling FeaturesCompatible with Vector™Multiple bike profiles Bike speed/cadence sensor Running FeaturesVirtual Pacer™ (compares current pace to target)V02 max estimate Recovery advisor Race predictor Running dynamics Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod) Personal records Swimming FeaturesPool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories)Stroke type identification (e.g. freestyle) Open water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories) Heart rate / preformance FeaturesHeart rate monitor (Some versions)Virtual Partner® (train against a digital person) Virtual Racer™ (compete against other activities) Auto Pause® (pauses and resumes timer based on speed) Multi-sport (changes sport mode with a press of a button) Auto multisport (switch sport modes with 1 button press) Advanced workouts (create custom, goal-oriented workouts) Pace alert (triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace) Interval training (set up exercise and rest intervals) Heart rate-based calorie computation Calculates calories burned Training Effect (measures impact of an activity on your aerobic fitness) Activity TrackingStep counterAuto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal) Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it) Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep) Garmin ConnectGarmin Connect™ compatible (online community where you analyze, categorize and share data)Automatic sync (automatically transfers data to your computer) AdditionalConnect IQ™ app support: Yes (watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)EXO™ antenna (GPS/GLONASS): Yes Wi-Fi®: Yes ANT+®: Yes Bluetooth® 4.0 LE: Yes Weather Alerts: Yes UltraTrac: Yes tempe™ sensor support: Yes TracBack: Yes Ski features: Yes
  19. Most sports watches I’ve owned have always shared a few common traits: they’re bulky, plasticy and generally a bit nerdy looking. Garmin’s fenix range of GPS multi-sport watches have changed all that. Their latest edition, the fenix 3, has been strapped to my wrist for the last month and as far as watches go, never mind sports watches, it’s a looker. Click here to view the article
  20. The Attack Q4 shorts are Fox's trail/all mountain offering and come in two pieces: the outer shorts as you see them, and the inner mesh with chamois and elastic thigh grabbers. Out the box (bag?) you have to cut the inners out of the outers, and from there you can choose to use them separately or together. It's a neat system. The actual shorts are a mixture of polyester and spandex with a 4-way stretch main body. They have two solid buttons holding them together with two elasticated and velcroed waste bands that adjust the waste width. There's also mesh venting to keep things cool and zipper pockets to keep the valuables from flying about the trail. If the shorts fitI found myself pulling the inners quite high up so the chamois wasn't hanging low and making me look a fool. However, if I was topless you would see the tops of the inners sitting at about belly button height, which isn't very flattering, I'll tell you. But keep your shirt on and you have no worries. It tended to slip a bit, but that was mostly when riding, so aesthetics are out the window already.The shorts feel akin to boardshorts – though the fancy stretchy kind that last more than two swims. So I don't see these being dismantled any time soon. I can't say too much about overall durability because I haven't had them for ages, but I have yet to pull a thread or see so much as a indication that there's trouble on the horizon. I was particularly surprised at how warm the Attacks were. Having a ride in the Cape winter rain with only the shorts to keep my legs warm, they did a commendable job at keeping the heat in. I think it was mostly to do with the mesh inner liner, surprisingly enough. The mesh isn't too closely knit, but the extra layer certainly does a good job of retaining heat. The straps could be a bit pesky to get tight because they are on the inside of the waist, but once set they didn't let loose. If you're coming from a lycra background you may find that the chamois padding is insufficient compared to other bib shorts, but for someone looking for a bit more comfort for their ride, the padding is plenty. It's less of a support padding and more a softening for your hard-as-nails saddle. In the endIt didn't take long with the Fox Attack Q4 shorts to realise that my usual cargo shorts with their holes and absolute ragged nature are just not cutting it anymore. I have seen the light. I've also realised that my arse doesn't need to get used to the saddle I sit on, it can actually be comfortable for once. I guess my only gripe would be the colour of the shorts. Army green can only go with so many other colours - like black, and some shades of grey. That isn't a problem on the trail, but these shorts are comfortable, so I want to use them elsewhere too. Just maybe without the chamois.RRP: R 1,149.00
  21. Baggies are all the rage these days, didn't you know? Actually, uh, no I didn't. These days? I've been wearing shorts, jeans – anything over and above underpants, really – for as long as I've been on two wheels. Lycra? No, never, not even once. When Fox sent over this pair of shorts, I was pretty surprised and a bit uneasy when I saw the detachable inner lining with chamois padding. Do these make me look like I'm wearing a nappy? Click here to view the article
  22. The Impact Low features what Five Ten coins an action leather upper, mesh venting in the sides & tongue and their trade mark S1 Stealth Rubber sole. To eliminate heel lift, keep your feet secure in the shoe and eliminate hot spots & blistering they employ slingshot construction at the heel. All leather and mesh panels are double stitched, and the rubber parts are glued in place. Further proof of their attention to detail is the fact that the tongue is actually a half-tongue; meaning that it is only separate from the rest of the shoe on the outer side, the inner side being a continuation of the shoe, wrapping across the instep. This further helps to keep your feet in place while out on the bike. In addition, the soles feature a compression-molded polyurethane midsole to absorb vibration and impact to reduce fatigue. On the bikeThe grip of the Stealth rubber sole is astonishing. So much so that I've found that I can use pedals with less grip or shorter, fewer pins. Paired with super grippy pedals it is almost impossible to move your feet around on the pedal and trails-slips are just about unheard of. You really have to experience it to fully understand just how much grip there is. The fit is spot on and they are extremely comfortable. I'm sure the mesh helps, but on summer days wearing these shoes can get hot. The heat has reached uncomfortably levels but they're definitely not breezy. The soles have just enough flex to give feedback through the pedals and to make hike-a-bike sessions comfortable, but are stiff enough not to hamper pedaling. The burly, abrasion-resistant leather upper offers decent protection. This does, however, come at the expense of weight and, as mentioned earlier, ventilation. I don't see this as a deal-breaker as Five Ten have other options available to suit those with these needs. If you're looking for a lighter version, go for their Impact VXi or Freerider. If it's more protection you're after try the Impact High and if you're after a more casual look the Dirtbag or Spitfire would be the way to go. 2015 will also see the launch of the clipless Kestrel complete with a BOA closure system and stiffer sole. The one thing you can be sure of regardless of the model you choose is all of them will provide excellent grip levels and quality. With the likes of Giro, Specialized, 661 and Shimano entering the market, it is good to see Five Ten are not resting on their laurels. Grip when it's wet and muddy seems even better than in the dry which aids confidence as you can focus on riding your bike and enjoying the trails. The Impacts do get heavy when riding in the rain due to the tongue and sides retaining water. It is easy to squeeze it out and they dry out fairly quickly, but it is something worth considering. VerdictI have had my pair since 2009 and they have only recently started to show signs of wear with some of the glued parts loosening. Nothing that a bit of super glue can't fix though. Comparison of Five Ten's Spitfire, Impact VXi and Impact Low (from top to bottom). When I bought my Impact Lows, I did so after months of reading reviews and wondering whether the investment would be worth it. Considering how long they've lasted and the fact that they should last another year or two, the cost was more than worth it. They have never let me down and not once did I have to battle trail-side with a fancy closure system that bombed on me. Product SpecsAction leather upper for lightweight, all-season durability. Light and cushioned PU midsole. Barrel lace-up closure. Redefined patterns on the collar and Raptor tongue. Slingshot construction on the heel locks the foot down for a comfortable and secure fit. Reflective silver accents. Stealth® S1 rubber outsole technology for friction and durability. Available in sizes 7-13 and run pretty true to fit. Weight 510.29g (Claimed for Size 9) From the manufacturerPerhaps the most talked-about shoe in bike history, the Impact is burly enough for the most hardcore riders, yet comfortable enough to wear around your local bike shop. Breathability is enhanced through the lateral mesh panel while the Slingshot construction at the heel locks the foot down for a secure and comfortable fit from heel to toe. http://fiveten.com/
  23. Five Ten and their Impact Low flat pedal shoes need little introduction. They have been the benchmark flat pedal shoe since 2005, when the Impacts returned to the market. In the 9 years since then, they have expanded their line to include grippy sole shoes for just about any mountain bike application. Click here to view the article
  24. I promised a while ago that I'd write a full review of the PYGA OneTen29, having given my first thoughts here. What follows are my opinions after about 150km of varied riding. Click here to view the article
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