The Bike List

Components & Accessories

Performance
Value

There's something eminently pleasing about carbon fibre. The fact that it's so smooth and warm to the touch makes it something you want to have. Add to that the fact that it's strong and light and you're onto a winner. Exotic's Full Carbon Riser uses the material to full effect. It is smooth and when the light catches the fibres it screams...

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"Drop my chain?!" I said with suprise, when asked about my chainring at the local trails. "Never!" I happily replied! The line of questioning had begun after a few of the chaps noticed my chainring, run without a chain guide or device. They had also noticed it was a brand they hadn't heard of before. I was running an elecric blue coloured Narrow...

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Sometimes the simplest things make life much easier. How often have you gone to remove a pedal and found that the flats on the pedal's spindle leave your spanner in line with the crack arm, making it a pain to remove? It's certainly something that has irritated me with Shimano and Wellgo pedals - the makes I normally use - but it was only when...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Well who on earth would go back to using a regular mono-prong saddle after one of these? Not me! I am fully converted to the double-pronged saddle, it's so much comfier, and I'm not even a bloke. I used to feel saddle sore after 4 hours of riding, think 'Ah, that's just the sign of a long ride' and put up with it, but the Adamo Century has solved...

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Are you sitting comfortably? Then you can stop reading now. But if you find yourself constantly shuffling your position on the bike or you finish rides with, ahem, numb nuts or even a numbness that means you can't match your passion for cycling with passion in the bedroom, then you need to find a solution. Sitting on a chair you distribute...

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Bike theft is a big problem where I live. And, although the police are doing their best to warn cyclists about the problem, more bikes are stolen every day. I don't want to become a victim, so one of the anti-theft products I've fitted is a set of Pinhead locking skewers: even if the bike is stolen, it will cause problems for the thief....

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Mudguards are ugly things, capable of turning the hippest of steeds into something as sexy as a sink plunger. The trouble is, if you ride through a UK winter and don’t want a dirty streak up your back, you need one. The Full Windsor is made in the style of a mountain bike rear guard, being wide and high off the rear wheel. It’s a style...

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For my road pedals I must admit I’ve never strayed from the market leading Look brand and was even deeply unsettled when they changed wholesale to the Keo platform. Despite being a reluctant stick in the mud and buying up a stash of old style Delta cleats, eventually I was forced to change and have since run either Look Keo Classics or Look Keo...

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I’ve never been a massive fan of saddle packs. I’ve always adhered to Rule no 29 of www.velominati.com “No European Posterior Man-Satchels: Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.” This has never been a sartorial statement on my part, I’ve just never got on...

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If you have a 10-speed road bike with stock gearing and are after a wider range of gears to help you spin up hills a little easier and fly down the other side a little quicker, then switching out your cassette sprockets for a different set is the easiest way to achieve this. You’ll typically have two chainrings on the front sporting 34 teeth...

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As we all know, the cycling world is one where it’s possible to drown in high-tech anagrams and gobble-de-gook. Trademarks and patents are all painstakingly researched and developed in an effort to extract the maximum wallets from pockets as well as Kilojoules from legs. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to saddles. A saddle is one of...

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Here's a salutary lesson not to judge a book by its cover. A first glance at the Saris Bones 3 creates the impression of a cheap, plasticky, rather unsatisfying bike carrier. Pick it up though and such prejudice immediately evaporates. The Bones has a reassuring weight to it, a solid feel and an impressively engineered build - so why it's a garish...

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In their black, foam padded box the alloy TRP EuroX cantilevers look every penny of their £100. The rich and glossy black finish (red and silver versions are also available) is contrasted by the bronze boss mounts, the stainless mounting bolts sparkle alongside the black straddle cable bridge and spare soft pads intended for carbon rims. Altogether...

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I'm a cycling luddite. In my view, the pinnacle of bicycle innovation was when double-butted tubing was invented by Reynolds in 1934. Just about everything since is just window dressing. Sometimes it's nice, desirable window dressing but real, genuine innovation is, in my humble opinion, pretty rare. It's not that I shun technology because I'm...

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Whether zooming along a country road or hammering down a fast section of singletrack there’s one thing we all dread. It’s a moment that can bring anyone to a complete halt and have you in tears quicker than a finely chopped onion. Yes, you guessed it - a fly in the eye. Having cried too many times in front of my mates thanks to a UFI (unidentified...

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With just four years in the business, Ideal Saddle Modification or ISM is a relative newcomer to the bicycle trade. The company claims that they make the world’s most comfortable bike seat and that in their relatively short existence their saddles have become the perch of choice for Olympians, Ironmen Triathlon athletes and Pro European bike...

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Ergon offers a range of neat handlebar grips that are cleverly sculpted to place and support a rider’s hands in the most comfortable position. Anyone suffering from wrist pain, numb fingers or other irritating hand problems would be wise to investigate these, as they offer a tremendous level of comfort without sacrificing too much in the control...

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Enjoying a cycle ride with your toddler is a wonderful privilege – the look of wonder on their face makes the extra weight on the bike a small price to pay. The only problem is, with most cycle seats it's everyone else who gets to enjoy that gummy smile. A very good friend of ours was kind enough to give us a rear-mounted cycle seat to take...

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If you're looking to invest in a pair of off-road SPD pedals or upgrade the set that came with your bike, then the Shimano M540 is a great mid-range buy. For the pair, they're only 25g heavier than the top-of-the-range XTR M970 pedals, and they pretty much share the design and spec of the XT M770 model. At 352g, they're light and the adjustable...

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Cycling in a suit is so often a recipe for disaster - and even if you can avoid the general road filth on a city commute, the gravitational pull of a fast-turning front ring on a trouser leg is undeniable. A length of steel wrapped in leather, the Brooks Trouser Strap is a chic and handsome alternative to traditional clips (or tucking your...

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While building up my dream cyclo-cross/touring bike (with a Yeti ARC-X frame) I decided to break the mould a little. I opted for a front disc brake ( the Avid BB5 mechanical disc brake ) rather than the more traditional cantilever brake to avoid brake shudder, get more braking power, better modulation and lastly because it would look pretty...

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I opted for a front disc brake set up on my Yeti ARC-X cyclo-cross / tourer build rather than the more traditional cantilever brake. This was to avoid brake shudder, get more braking power, better modulation and also, because I thought it would look pretty cool. Due to my light bodyweight and the limited contact area of a cyclo-cross tyre on...

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What do you do after the initial heady excitement of watching your kids pedalling without stabilisers? It's going to be a good ten years before you can race against them flat out over a 40-mile road route. Or manically tear round a section of single track and expect them to keep up. Or consider teaming up with them to challenge Mark Beaumont's...

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Are you sitting comfortably? If the answer is yes then you can stop reading now (although I'd appreciate it if you stuck with me to the end of the sentence). But if you suffer from a sore butt, chafing, numb nuts and all the other grievances that can afflict cyclists then please read on. Finding the perfect saddle has become a personal quest...

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It's always surprising how much water hits you from underneath when riding during or just after a rain shower, and the bad news is, this water is much muckier than the stuff falling out of the sky. We've all had the familiar murky stripe from the back tyre up our backs, and though for weekend warriors, the grime may add to the fun of a good...

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Compared to other outdoor activities, cycling is pretty gear-intensive. There's the bike itself for starters, but by the time you've added the specialist clothing, shoes, helmet, lights, backpack, water bottles, spares and tools, you'll have built up a pretty sizeable pile of kit. Add this to the other gear you're already taking, and it's very...

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Saddles are very much a personal thing and few components inspire such fierce brand loyalty in cyclists. All of our backsides are different so what's comfy for your mate might be akin to sitting on a barbed wire coated razor blade for you. Once you've found one that works for you though, no matter what else comes on the market, you'll stick...

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In any selection of eyewear it's hard to separate fact from fashion. The fact is that there are many good brands making lenses that will look after your eyes. The fashion dictates that some of us will pay hundreds for a stylish design and a neat little logo.  The BLOC Stealth fall into the former category, where function allied to...

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Brooks saddles are something of a paradox. To the uninitiated they appear both old fashioned and uncomfortable in equal measure but talk to anyone who's ridden any distance on one and you'll hear praise that occasionally approaches the evangelical. I count myself as a Brooks apostle and this B17 Standard initiated my conversion. Before...

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At some stage, every cyclist needs to transport their pride and joy by car, and finding the best solution can be quite a head-scratcher. Other than dropping the back seats, whipping off the front wheel and throwing it inside the vehicle, there are three options: the strap-on rear carrier, the towbar carrier, or the roof carrier. The first can...

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The most significant performance improvement I have ever achieved through buying new kit was an upgrade to clip-in pedals and cleats. Forget the four-figure sums splashed out on a new bike, or the hundreds on new forks and wheels, the £25 invested in my first set of base-specification Shimano SPD pedals delivered a genuine transformation in both...

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There is an art to dislodging an insect from your cornea at 21mph. It requires you to use your one good eye to keep check on your progress as you maintain a steady cadence and turn your other eyeball skywards in and attempt to prod and flush it out of your eye socket. Alternatively, as the majority of us have already realised, you can...

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On every pedal stroke, power from your legs is transferred through your shoes and pedals into the cranks which propel you forward. Given that you'll typically rotate the cranks several thousand times per hour you want each pedal stroke to be super efficient to transfer as much power as possible and minimise fatigue or discomfort. I've been...

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A friend from work told me they were going to buy a bike and start cycling for the health benefits, and asked me for some advice on any gear that's essential. Right after the usual "get a helmet" came the recommendation for a pair of shades, and with good reason. Getting some decent eye protection is vitally important for cyclists, and anyone...

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The look of horror on my friend's face forced an immediate scrounge for gear. Apparently riding an audax without mudguards is as inconceivable as riding it without shorts. Or pants. Not only does the rear wheel spray enrage the rider behind you, but more importantly your wet, muddy backside risks getting the peloton barred from the all-important...

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Now this is a great idea. If your trusty bicycle repair kit is rattling around in a bum bag or bouncing around in a pannier, then it'd be a good idea to stick your multi-tool, tyre levers, spare tube, puncture kit and pair of pin-nose pliers elsewhere. But where do they go? In a barbag, so they can scratch your phone and bruise your banana, or in a...

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A bottle's a bottle, isn't it? Nope, not anymore. Camelbak have created a hybrid flask-water bottle combo. The 620ml ChilliJacket is a two-layer version of Camelbak's popular BPA-free Podium bottle, with a permanent silver-ion anti-bacterial treatment inside. The idea is that this double layer, filled with foam and air, insulates whatever's...

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This trailer is great for both getting away from it all and getting all your gear to work. For cross-country mountain bike treks the Ibex's rugged, fully adjustable suspension system performs excellently, and sort of like a very small caravan with no smelly chemical toilet to empty, you can stuff your life inside and tow it to your next exciting...