Helping You Select The Best Gear
Having bought a fair amount of cycling gear over the years I know what a minefield it can be at times. Especially if the jargon and equipment is all new it can feel a little overwhelming deciding what to go with.
Some of the kit is not cheap either so the investment when buying this new gear can be quite daunting if it isn't what you hoped for.
This is why I have started doing product reviews on our website and over on our YouTube channel, in a hope to make the whole process a little easier. To weed through the rubbish and just get simple honest advice on which cycling equipment and which bikes are actually any good.
I try and keep them as practical as possible where my real-life long-term experience can hopefully help you make a decision whether that piece of equipment or that bike is going to be appropriate for you.
It may be the case that what is important for me, and what I find practical is the complete opposite for you. Which is also great, as then at least you can discount that product and instead focus on another make or model for your needs.
Two of the more recent product reviews were for the Wahoo ELEMNT cycle computer and the other for the Shimano Cycling shoes and pedals we use. Both of these can be found on our Cycling Accessories section.
A fully loaded Marin Gestalt in Brighton
One of the questions I get asked frequently is how I navigate on the bike. A lot of people presume it would be a phone but for a number of reasons this would have it's limitations.
Firstly the drain navigating would have on the battery would be quicker than a cycle computer and wouldn't last all day. I don't have hub charging on my bike so I have to take this into consideration as I will need to look for cafes to recharge or perhaps take extra batter packs.
Another limit with a phone is the glare from the sun. With the Wahoo the screen doesn't get effected by the sun, it also doesn't overheat, which would limit a phone.
If you were to have an accident and the phone detached from your bike and was damaged. Your lifeline out of the situation may have broke. I appreciate if the accident is bad enough to break your phone you may not be in a situation to phone for help anyway, but it's another risk factor to consider.
I know many people who do use phones, and with the Quad Lock the security of attaching it to your bike is taken care of.
I've had my Wahoo ELEMNT now for over 3 years. It shows no sign of slowing down and as I explain on the review; "it will be the last cycle computer you will need to buy".
So yeah - it's pretty good.
Another piece of kit that I feel gets forgotten by many, but especially by beginners, and is one of the first upgrades I think you should get as it makes you more efficient is your pedal choice.
With each discipline of cycling they each have a different type of pedal depending on what their specific environment is. Road cycling will have a big focus on weight with no concern on mud accumulation. MTB pedals need to take into consideration the mud, along with size and grip material on the pedals. Touring is a mix of the two, with the type of shoe you use a big factor to consider as you may be in it for both cycling and walking.
If you can avoid it, do not use road bike shoes for touring. The smooth sole will be a nightmare when you enter any town and attempt to do some sightseeing or walking around.
This is why I used the Shimano MT3 shoes and the PD-A530 pedals. The shoes have enough stiffness to remain efficient when cycling, yet enough flexibility and sole to allow easy walking in towns. They are comfortable and durable allowing for 12 hour days not to limit you. The pedals are dual use with clip-in SPD on one side and a nice large flat pedal on the other. So that you can still push through and generate enough power to get away at the lights quickly and safely without needing to clip in. You can also use the bike with other shoes when you are at home without any issues.
Hopefully these in-depth review on all three of these products is helpful in your decision making. As I said you don't necessarily have to go for the same product, but hopefully it flags up some questions you should be asking when you look at buying some new kit, and perhaps highlights some features you may not have considered with your purchase.
So keep an eye on the product reviews page for more updates as they are released. Let me know if you have any questions on any other kit and then I can tailor any releases to answer these questions.