The Bike List
       

Bikes & Frames

Performance
Value

Merida's £750 Crossway 500 is a hybrid in the truest sense. While most commuter bikes of this type are effectively road bikes with flat bars, sporting fatter tyres and more forgiving geometry, the German firm's take on the hybrid genre features all of the above with the addition of front suspension. This makes it a bike that should be able to...

Performance
Value

Most people can remember their first proper bike. Mine was a secondhand drop-handlebar tourer that I got for Christmas when I was 12. It was a steel-framed Raleigh, had metallic purple paint, five-speed rear cassette and pannier rack and I had to ride the five miles home with it as it didn't fit in the back of my parents' car. I'm not sure...

Performance
Value

Getting a bike in to review just as the ranges are about to change is always difficult. You're never sure quite what next year's model will have, or whether it will make your review obsolete. So picking up the 2014 Giant Defy 0 late in the season did cause me a bit of consternation, but I needn't have worried; the 22-speed endurance bike has...

Wheels & Tyres

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Fulcrum are a long standing favourite in the cycling industry, with a reputation for sturdy wheels built to last. Broadly speaking, they have three ranges of wheels: the Racing series which are alloy rims targeted as training wheels or budget racing wheels; the Red Wind series - carbon wheels with alloy brake tracks for racing performance in...

Performance
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Tubeless technology has been around for a good few years now, and seems to be very slowly gaining a foothold. It has yet to appear in any pro races to our knowledge, and remains a relatively rare sight at club outings too. Opinions amongst The Bike List team are mixed. Some think that it is solving a problem that doesn't exist and others think...

Performance
Value

Tubeless technology has been around for a good few years now, and seems to be very slowly gaining a foothold. It has yet to appear in any pro races to our knowledge, and remains a relatively rare sight at club outings too. Opinions amongst The Bike List team are mixed. Some think that it is solving a problem that doesn't exist and others think...

Lights, Cycle Computers & Electronic Accessories

These pedals have been a long time coming. Launch dates were put back again and again and, at times, it looked as though Garmin were never going to be ready to put them on the market. To be honest, I got pretty frustrated with the whole process. As a cyclist with a reasonably large stable of my own bikes, test bikes coming and going and taking...

Performance
Value

A few months ago I got my mitts on a Power2Max power meter and first impressions were extremely good. Fitting was extremely easy and early training sessions with power were a revelation. With a hard summer of training and racing though, how has it fared and am I now a complete power convert? The main reason I'd previously had for...

Performance
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A few years ago now, Garmin opened up a new market within cycle computers: GPS functionality. It didn't take too long for them to gain a foothold in the industry, converting even some cynics adamant that a paper map and compass are far more reliable. Admittedly, early versions of the Edge did have some poor reliability reports, but the ability...

Clothing, Protection & Bags

Performance
Value

The first thing that struck me when I pulled these booties out of the box was how absurdly shiny they were, to the extent that some might call them garish. In fact, I've had a number of comments involving the words fetish and kinky which might put off those without a sense of humour. Fortunately, I've got the bad bit out of the way early,...

Performance
Value

Insoles are a common oversight by most people, cyclists and non cyclists alike. Which is a strange phenomenon considering how many hours we spend on our feet walking, running, cycling or all of the above. Everybody's feet are formed differently, whether a bit wider and flatter, or longer with a more pronounced arch, yet we are mostly satisfied...

Performance
Value

I've landed on my head a fair few times recently. My search for a new helmet for Downhill and Free-ride duties led me to T.H.E. Industries' all-new, full-face Thirty3. And in my 15+ years of off-road riding, I've found few that offer such a decent combination of venting, style, build quality, weight and protective capabilities. The version...

Components & Accessories

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Gear cables may not be the most exciting components, but they're essential if you want to enjoy your riding to the full. Poor gear shifting can change what should be a great ride into a nightmare outing with jumping gears or imprecise shifting, causing nothing but frustration. And if you live in the UK and are happy to venture out whatever the...

Performance
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Race Face have the mountain bike market all sewn up. If you have been a dirt bike rider for any length of time, then you're bound to have heard of them - they make items across the board, ranging from backpacks, clothing, body protection and components. Their products are generally made to a high standard, and this Narrow Wide chainring is no...

Performance
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Like many good ideas the original Rotor crank began life as student project back in 1995 at the Engineering School of Madrid. Three years later and the project had become a business venture with cranks available for the public to buy, but early systems had limited compatibility and couldn't be used with conventional bottom brackets as they needed...

Tools, Maintenance & Cleaning

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I hate getting punctures. It's not the actual puncture that's the problem, it's the hassle involved in getting back on the road. And there's nothing worse than smugly riding up the cycle lane beside queuing traffic only to have to let them pass you as you fiddle and faff around swapping tubes. Like most regular cyclists I'm well versed in...

Performance
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Most people will be content with a visit to their local bike store to find some bicycle cleaning products. Others more adventurous make seek to save a few pennies by visiting online retailers. But few, I suspect, will have been lucky enough to come across Chemicals Direct Ltd. Don't be put off by the name though, these guys have been around...

Performance
Value

Polishing frames isn't for everyone, nor for every bike. If you've got a steed that takes pride of place in the household, then this polish is the right product for you. Equally, if you've got an old alloy frame that you turbo on all year round, a six monthly polish is not a bad idea to protect it from the sweat and salt of your hard labour...

Cycle Touring Equipment

Performance
Value

If you're not keen on backpacks to carry your everyday essentials like tools, spare tubes, windproofs and a bite to eat, then this barbag-sized pack may be right up your street. It mounts securely on a seatpost via a small, quick release bracket and is suspended via a metal frame that encircles the bag and keeps its contents easy to get at....

Performance
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British-made and developed through the online Kickstarter scheme, the Bridge Street Saddlebag mounts to your seatpost via a quick-release bracket, and comes in a selection of five colours and three different sizes. The Small gives 4 litres of space and costs £60, Medium offers 8 litres for £70 and Large gives a capacious 15 litres for £80. We...

Performance
Value

Altura's Aero Drop Down Rack Pack attaches to a standard rear rack and offers - at first glance - a handy, semi-rigid box with about 6 litres of space. It opens and closes with a double zip running lengthways along the top, and the flap at the end is secured by Velcro. A similar size to a medium bar bag, it's ruggedly built from durable P-Tec...

Books & DVD's

Value

We're all familiar with the story of Lance Armstrong. The Texan who battled cancer then conquered the Tour de France, winning seven times before being exposed as a drugs cheat. This is the story of the man instrumental in setting the record straight, David Walsh. David is a journalist and had a particular passion for cycling, meeting Lance...

Value

I'm a great fan of the Dummies series of books. They're written clearly and, unlike other guides, explain the jargon as you get to it, rather than leaving you to hunt down a glossary at the end of the book. Cycling for Dummies is the latest in the series and covers pretty much everything you'd want to know about cycling in the UK, from...

Value

I'm one of those people who can't help but glance into people's living rooms as I walk down a street. If the curtains are open I'll always have a nose and see what what they're watching on the telly or having for tea. Don't get me wrong, I don't stand and stare, simply cherish the half a second stocktake of peoples lives I gleen. An open...

Nutrition & Skin Care

Performance
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Like the Race Drink , CNP Hydro Gels have been developed in conjunction with British Cycling and Team Sky nutritionist Nigel Mitchell to address a specific performance issue. During a course of a race, they found that riders could handle 2-4 regular gels but, in planning for the Olympic Road Race, reckoned that the riders would need in excess...

Performance
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The importance of staying hydrated and providing your body with adequate energy on long rides is the same for weekend warrior sportive heroes as it is for top professionals. The problem with many energy drinks though is that they can be a bit syrupy, leaving your mouth feeling claggy and upsetting your stomach on a long day out. Team Sky...

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Warming balm is a useful product for those colder winter rides. Don't misunderstand their purpose though, they are NOT a replacement for clothing! If you haven't used any form of warming balm before, the easiest way to describe is it to imagine a cream version of Deep Heat. There are active ingredients that create a heating sensation on your...