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Now retired but busy still living..

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


I thought that I would report back to you on some of the cycling gear that I have recently been testing out.

I will start with the Pro-Lite Bracciano wheelset that I have been using on my Tifosi Training/Audax bike. When I took delivery of them they were both true and perfectly round.  These wheels have now been used on the bike for well over a thousand miles and are still round and true.
They have 27mm V section 6066 Aluminium rims.  In the front there are 20 evenly tensioned aero spokes and in the rear there are 24 spokes laced in a 2 cross pattern.
The freewheel makes a quite distinctive and loud noise.....but I have to say I like the sound.

These wheels have a real turn of speed as well as giving a very comfortable ride. They really are a light and fast wheelset at 1482grms.
Responsive and stiff these wheels are superb and have proved great when ascending and also on the descent. Finally they are fantastic value for money and I would say that they are almost as good as the Fulcrum Racing Zeros that I have on the Felt and those wheels are almost four times the price..!!
A great buy and a wheelset that I really do recommend.
This item I have used on two trips now. A weekend cycle camping trip...and a longer trip (11 days) to Northern France.

This neat looking bit of kit can be charged from the mains or from your computer via a USB cable or it can be charged on the bike by the wind generated by forward motion.
When fully charged it had no problems in charging my phone and my Garmin GPS cycle computer.

One drawback for a lot of people is that this charger is not compatible for charging an i-phone.

On the trip to France, most of the campsites we stayed at had facilities for charging from the mains power......because of this I am still uncertain of the units ability to charge sufficiently from wind power alone. It has proved fine when using a mix of both mains and wind and I get the feeling that you would need a full days cycling ( 6-8 hours) at reasonable speeds to charge the unit from just wind power only.
I do intend using the Hy Mini charger on my trip back from Gibraltar starting mid August and I think that will prove it's worth one way or the other.
On that trip I will also have the back up of a Solar Panel charger and a Power Monkey just in case the Hy Mini charger fails to do it's job.........
This light unit has proved a total success......
Once fitted to the rack on my touring bike I could just forget about it. Because it is actually screwed on to the rack, there is no need to have to remove it from the bike when you park up and leave your bike.
The unit has 3 LEDs and can be used in either of two flashing modes or a non flashing mode.

Peter Calcutt has one of these lights fitted on his bike and on our return from France I cycled behind him from the ferry port at Poole.
I  found that if I was in line with him while cycling along an unlit area I could see nothing past him as this light is so bright. In order to reduce the glare of this light I needed to cycle slightly to one side of him.
From behind you would have no idea of the size of the 'vehicle' in front displaying this light. Believe me this light is BRIGHT.
In my opinion there is no way that a driver would NOT see you if you were using the Tourlite.
If you look at the photo above you can see how bright the light is in daylight. Along an unlit road it is unmissable and on a lit road it appears as bright as the best costing a lot more money.

Yes, this really is a first class and top value light....I paid only £12.95 for it and I think that is really cheap for such a powerful light,
There is nothing that I can say about the Ortlieb Panniers that has not been said before. I love them.
The way that they just drop onto the racks and are instantly secure and the ease of removing them is fantastic.

I was a bit concerned before I had used them, that they might upset the steering on the bike. I need not have had any concerns.....the bikes steering was not affected at all.....indeed I had no problems on descents in France of just under 40mph.
I certainly felt that the bike was MORE stable using both front and rear panniers than it has been in the past whilst using rear panniers only.

The Blackburn Lowrider front racks are as fitted to the Ridgeback Panorama bikes that Mike and Chris used on the French trip...Peter also had fitted the same racks to his Revolution Tourer.

Now I am a bit of a perfectionist and when I fit something I like to ensure that everything lines up with equal distances etc. One thing that I found an irritation, was that after fitting I noticed that the rack on the right side of the bike sat closer to the wheel than the one on the left of the bike. No matter how I tried I could not get them to match perfectly.
 I happened to mention this to Peter and he said that he had found the same problem when he had fitted his.........on speaking to Mike he told me that he had noticed the same on the bikes that he and Chris had and remember their racks were fitted at the factory.

Anyway it seems that when Blackburn manufacture these racks...the machine that drills the hole for fitting to the front fork is very slightly out of line and that's why this misalignment is repeated on all of our front racks.....
Having said all of the above the racks perform just as they should....were easy to fit....and look good on the bike.



Steve A said...

Might the charger company have plans to add an iPhone charger in the future? A unit that could keep my iPhone charge would allow me to listen to London traffic reports over internet radio as I cycle to work in Texas. It'd also allow me to use the iPhone as a Garmin substitute.

limom said...

Great reviews, I'll have to have a look at those wheels.
Hope all is well in pupleland.

GreenComotion said...

We will miss ya, during your hiatus, Trevor!

Be well!!

Peace :)

PS. I need air-conditioning on my cycle in Texas :)

MrDaveyGie said...

Great hardware report. Thanks. I will be checking your charging system out.

jeff said...

Thanks for the gear reviews as well as all the pictures and stories from your French excursion.

Dan O said...

Nice write up. That little fan charger is pretty cool.

Jason said...

I just finished reading all of your posts from France, after being on a bit of a blogging hiatus myself. What a great trip! Thanks for all the beautiful photos, descriptions, and hardware reviews. Was so interesting and fun to read. Hope your preparations for Gibralter are going well.

Unknown said...

Always good reviews on those panniers. Whenever I decide to get a pair I will be buying Ortlieb.

I am looking for a wheelset myself. I currently have the stock wheelset my bike came with. It is really the only upgrade I really want for the bike itself. Everything else I have been very happy with. I will add this wheelset to the list I am considering.

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...