The Solstice Backpack

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The Solstice is the new womens specific backpack from CamelBak new MTB low rider range. It’s designed to move your load down towards your waist. This change gives you a lower centre of gravity and a wider range of movements so essentially it should be easier to manoeuvre when you are descending!

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I used to often take large backpacks out on rides but often find that because I had a bigger space I would just fill it with unnecessary stuff. So when I first saw the Solstice on first impressions I thought it looked far too small and was sceptical about  being able to fit all the essentials into the backpack, but the bag has ample storage and a place for everything:

  • Fleece-lined Sunglass/ media pocket
  • Magnetic catch for tube
  • Stretch overflow storage (also fits goggles perfectly)
  • Helmet holder
  • Armor Carry Straps
  • Lumbar compression straps
  • Blinker tab
  • Waist belt pockets
  • tool roll

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The Backpack design means that the majority of the weight is focused on your waist rather than back, this aids stability during descents. The focus of the weight on your back is also design to reduce the strain on your back therefore preventing lower back pain from occurring.

In Use

I couldn’t believe how much comfier this backpack felt in comparison to other  hydration packs I have used in the past. During descents it was extremely stable and at times almost unnoticeable. I often develop a sore lower back pain if I ride with a backpack on for long periods of time, but the smart design of the soltice definitely helped combat this. With all the benefits of this bag it is definitely my go to bag now for a trail rides and even on a hike. Retailing from as low as £60 this backpack is an absolute bargain.

This backpack was provided FOC from Zyro Distribution for product testing.

 

Bluegrass Brave Helmet

Safe, Secure & Stylish 

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Safety is key with the Bluegrass Brave helmet. The design and construction of this helmet has been carefully developed to ensure optimum protection for your head. The  Brave helmet has the capability to withstand double the impact of most helmets this is because it is the first helmet on the market that uses D30 inserts. The D30 inserts are the result of highly innovative technology. They are made from a tactile polymer material which is composed of intelligent molecules. These are free flowing when at rest but stiffen on impact.

It is the smallest features of this helmet from the air vents on chin guard which prevent over heating on the warmest days to the easy use of goggles with the helmet. Giving maximum field of vision.

For me the comfort level of a helmet is crucial. Most of the time you have a helmet on for a significant amount of time and even after long days of chairlift and gondola runs this helmet still felt extremely comfortable. The padding in the helmet was perfectly position for optimum comfort. For this Bluegrass used an  anti-allergenic fabric varying the thickness according to the position in the helmet. The interior pads are also removable and can be hand washed.

No hearing loss – Definitely my favourite feature of this helmet. Bluegrass recognise that an accident is more likely with loss of hearing. This often isn’t recognised by many brands.  Bluegrass have taken steps in the development of this helmet to ensure minimum hearing loss.

Overall I loved this Helmet. I wore it consistently for over a month when I was over in the Alps this Summer and never once did I find the helmet uncomfortable, it is exceptionally light for all the features that are built into it. The helmet is also available in 4 vibrant colour combinations.

The helmet is available in 4 sizes, XS/S, M & L/XL.

Weight: 1015g (XS/S), 1035g (M), 1085g (L/XL

This helmet is available in 4 different colours

Helmet is available for £153 from Chain Reaction Cycles

Looking for a new trail Helmet then why not check out our review of the New MET Lupo helmet.

 

Bluegrass Brave Helmet was provided FOC from Bluegrass Eagle

 

 

Lupo MET Helmet Review

Lupo

I’ve spent the last month trying out the new trail helmet from MET. The Lupo helmet is new to the MET/Bluegrass trail range for 2016. The helmet is claimed to be the perfect balance between aggressive styling, ventilation and comfort. The helmet weighs in at only 270 Grams making it one of the lightest all-mountain helmets in the market. Making it the ideal choice for long days on the saddle.

 

It is clear that METs main design objective for this helmet was to provide maximum comfort & protection to the rider. The helmet has multiple features that are designed to keep comfort levels high! Even down to the anti pinch buckle on the chin strap.

With 20 vents in the helmet your not going to over heat with this helmet on. The large centred vents provide that much needed ventilation when you are working hard on the bike.

The Safe-T Advanced Fit System was easy to adjust and really made the helmet feel fitted and secure to my head. The contact points have a larger cradle surface which also significantly increases the comfort of the helmet.

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The Gel 02 pads at the front of the helmet are designed to keep your head cooler on those long trail riders where you are pushing the limits. The gel pads also don’t absorb perspiration like the regular foam pads in most helmets. The only downside of the pads is that when the helmet is on a tight setting the pads press into your forehead and can become slightly uncomfortable after wearing the helmet for a significant period of time. The theme of light, breathable & strong also continued onto the Kevlar straps.

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The helmet overall has a great secure, light feel and is extremely comfortable. It comes in 5 dynamic colours and in 2 sizes M & L.

Overall

The helmet fits extremely well, it provides increased protection without any increased weight. The only niggles I had with this helmet was that the Gel O2 pads at the front of the helmet could become slightly uncomfortable after wearing the helmet for long period of time.

 

 

 

Dude What Are Those Gloves

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These ION Dude gloves dropped through our letter box recently so we thought we had better give them a try. The gloves aren’t female specific but I didn’t find that to be a problem. Made with a mixture of light and durable materials the gloves are extremely well fitted & comfortable. I was wearing a size Small, I also have really small fingers & they fitted really well.

The gloves come in 5 different sizes & 3 different colours. They definitely aren’t an all year round glove but they are perfect for summer riding. They’re completely animal lover friendly, with no real leather insight, instead they use a high-quality synthetic leather that is in fact three times stronger than real leather. There is also a silicone_print on the fore & middle finger for precise and safe brake lever control (this was my favourite feature of the gloves). The upper material on the gloves is thin and stretchy enough that the heat can escape yet still durable enough not to rip or fray at the smallest amount of contact.

Overall I loved these gloves, they look good & feel good!

The gloves retail at £19.99

This product was provided to us FOC from ION Bike UK

 

Reverse Components Escape Pedals – Review

Reverse Components Escape Pedals – Review

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Over the last few weeks I have been riding around on Reverse Component Escape Pedals read down to see what I thought of them.

Reverse Bike Components are the sister company of bike brand Solid. But if I am being truthful before I tried these Escape pedals it would never have crossed my mind to buy them! In comparison to some of the more popular component brands, Reverse aren’t as well known in the UK. However after trying these pedals I don’t see why they shouldn’t be. They offer a good quality cheaper alternative to some of the leading component brands.

The first thing that caught my eye with these pedals was how bright they are! I was testing the Candy Red colour & between them and my bright yellow Vitus bike I could be seen from the summit of any mountain.

Performance

The last few weeks I have been testing out these Escape Reverse Component pedals. The pedals retail for around £55. Each pedal comes with 16 Hex Pins & 8 Grub Pins.

The pedals were tested in a range of different conditions. I found they offered a good amount of grip in all the conditions they were tested in, although they definitely aren’t the grippiest pedals I have ridden on. However there was still sufficient enough grip and I definitely felt comfortable & in control of the bike. These Reverse pedals were also the first flats that I had ridden in a long time that didn’t lose any pins within the first few rides. The pedals are a lot thicker than some of the leading competitors so I found they were more susceptible to hitting off the ground and low lying debris & rocks underneath the pedals.

The pedals weigh in at around 406 grams per pair so they are fairly light and won’t add much weight to your bike.

Verdict

Overall I am really impressed with these pedals, when comparing them with pedals in the same price category they rank pretty high. They are a great starter pedal, the grip is sufficient enough that you will feel you have descent contact with the bike and they aren’t going to break the bank either. Reverse component do offer a higher priced pedal range these include the Black One & Escape Pro, I suspect these pedals would be much more capable of competing with the likes of Vaults & Spikes.

Website: http://www.reverse-components.com

Price: Approximately £55

Weight: 406 Grams (per pair)

 

These Pedals Were Provided by http://www.reverse-components.com F.O.C for testing

Amplifi Atlas 18 Review

 

Amplifi Atlas 18 Comes in a Range of Different Colours

Amplifi Atlas 18 Comes in a Range of Different Colours

Amplifi have really come up trump with this backpack! The Atlas 18 should be called the illusion bag! Its looks so small and compact from the outside however inside there is an ample amount of room for you to fit all your gear in for a day in the mountains!

Amplifi research team carried out all the correct tests when coming up with this product! Its streamline design makes it really comfortable when riding. The adjustable oversized waist belt allows you to adjust the fitting of the bag to whatever is most comfortable for you as well as giving some pocket space round the front of the bag where you can store some refueling snack to keep going throughout the ride without having to stock and go into the back of the bag.

The bag has all the required compartments, from a secure helmet holder on the front of the bag, to a pull out tool pack and a soft pocket for your phone and music player.

The one thing missing from this bag is that it doesn’t have is a built in hydration pack, however for me I personally prefer to ride with a bottle rather than a hydration pack.  The pack also comes with a rain cover that is very much needed living in the highlands. 

As I mentioned above this bag should be referred to as the illusion bag! It looks so small and compact however holds all the necessary equipment! We used the bag for all day trail rides so had to store all our food, extra clothing, spares and tools and it all fitted in really well without making me feel like a tortoise.  

The bag retails for around £95 which put in middle of the road price wise for a top quality backpack. Personally I don’t see any point breaking the bank going for a more expensive backpack brand when Amplifi delivers it all bar the kitchen sink.

Only drawback with this bag was when I was wearing a full face I felt like it was pushing up against the back of my helmet.


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Bag Provided for Review By – www.Paligap.cc

 

Spank Spike Pedal Review

Spank Spike Pedals – Review

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A good set of flat pedals is definitely top of my list when it comes to required gear! I have never ridden clipped and with how clumsy I am it’s probably best for everyone that it stays that way. Once I find a good set of flat pedal I find it hard to see past them so switching from my usual trusted flats to Spank Spike Pedals I was a wee bit hesitant!

But anyway sometimes change is good! When packing for Whistler I took my favourite pedals off and left them at home and instead packed a pair of Spank Spike Pedals into my bike bag.

The Pedal

The first thing that caught my eye with these pedal was how slim they were, I thought my old pedals had a pretty slender look but these were on another level at just 12mm (not including pin height). However it may be skinny but it is strong! The thinness of the pedal means it doesn’t get in the way as much when riding and are less likely to hit off rocks! Each Spike pedal sports 20 pins (4 grub pins and 16 hex head pins). Each pin is clearly positioned very carefully in order to ensure maximum grip between foot and pedal. The flat wide based pedals offered a secure riding platform that gave me confidence that my foot wouldn’t slip off.

If you are looking to reduce weight as well on your bike the pedals are pretty light with each pair weighing in at 420g (all pins in)!

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Performance

One of the first things I noticed when riding these pedals was that you really need to use pedal washers with these pedals. Otherwise the pedal goes right up to the crankarm and won’t spin freely. However even with the pedal washer the pedals still doesn’t spin as freely as many of the other brands on the market. Spank see this as a bonus stating that their inboard friction seal reduces unwanted spin! I have to say I am with Spank on this one! I think by reducing unwanted spin the pedal becomes sturdier and allows me to be more confident in my riding.

I like to run my pedal supper grippy and with all 10 pins perfectly positioned on either side the traction offered by the pedals was excellent! However 5 rides in and I had already lost at least 4 pins and without all pins in place I found the grippiness of the pedals significantly reduced! Just make sure you have pin replacements.

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Verdict

Market competitors have their work cut out for them if they want to offer a pedal as stylish and as good a performer as the spike!  The grippiness offered by the pedals was excellent and the reduced spin on the pedals was suited exactly to my style of riding! The pedals retail at around £99 which is about middle of the road price! But in terms of value for money they are definitely worth it! The slender design means they don’t interfere with your riding as much. So when going through any kind of techy terrain you are less likely to clip anything on the ground! The pedals also come in an array of colours!

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Features:

Platform: 12mm Thin

Weight: 420g per pair (with full pin compliment)

Material: Cold Forged Alloy Pedal Body

Axle: Hollow Taper Scandium Enriched Steel

Pins: 20 Adjustable Pins per Pedal

Chamfered Leading Edges for Improved Clearance and Reduced Impact Forces

Chamfered Side Edges for Improved Cornering Clearance

Oversized Sealed Full Compliment Inboard Industrial Bearing

Sealed Outboard IGUS Bushing

Full Sized Hex Head Pins Improve Durability and Maintenance

Inboard Friction Seal Prevents Contamination and Reduces Unwanted Pedal Spin

Distributor : Hotlines UK

Torc1 Racing – Defy Lock on Grips Review!

Torc1 Racing – Defy Lock on Grips!

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You only really have two main contact points with your bike when you are riding! That is your pedals and your grips! So it is important that they are right for you!

The guys over at Torc1 racing sent us over a set of their Defy Lock on Grips for us to put to the test!

The defy lock on grips are super lightweight and come with an oversized clamp and bolt to ensure that they won’t rotate when you are riding. We’d been pretty sceptical about the single clamp as they are often more likely to twist round when riding but these grips weren’t moving anywhere, the single lock on grip also gave more room and comfort to hold onto the grip.

The grips comes with quite a unique block pattern design that I haven’t seen on any other grips before, they have a large amount of tractions. The shock absorbing material in the grips was obvious! We first rode them in a very dry and dusty Whistler with a shed load of breaking bumps and the arm pump was near enough non-existent!

The grips were tested to there limit in Whistler with all the Braking Bumps!

The grips were tested to there limit in Whistler with all the Braking Bumps!

One downfall of that grips was that they were so tacky which was great for riding however it meant that the grips became easily discoloured. Within the first 5 days of riding the grips the bright pink had faded significantly.

Retailing at for £22 they are a fair bit more expensive than most other grips in the market but they are worth the extra cost! The grips are super tacky so your hand are unlikely to slide off, even in the wet (making them ideal for UK winter riders), they are comfy on your hands with and without gloves & they come in a wide variety of colours! A month on from when we first started riding thse grips they still feel like news so we have no doubt that they will last the distance making them worth the extra few £! If they only complaint we have is that they discoloured slight well that really isn’t a complaint at all! The Grips are great you’d be mad not give them a try!

 

Product Info

  • Soft and Durable Super Tacky Compound.
  • Overall Length 130mm.
  • Weight: 90g Per Set.
  • Unique Shock Absorbing Material.
  • Oversized Clamping Bolts and Side Specific Clamps Make for Easy Installation.
  • Retail Cost £22
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Slightly discoulored but that isn’t a reason to be put off these grips!

Available from www.torc1racing.co.uk

 

Polaris Axial Pod

 

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We travel a lot with our bike so are always looking for solutions to make lugging a bike around that bit simpler. So on our recent trip to Whistler we tried out the Polaris Axial Pod Bike Bag. The Polaris Axial Pod is soft shell bike bag. Having only really travelled on flights around Europe with my bike before I was a bit apprehensive about putting my most treasured possession through a connecting long haul flight and rough Heathrow baggage handlers.

Packing the bike in the bag was really simple it was pretty clear exactly where everything was supposed to be strapped in and it all felt pretty secure.

We arrived at Edinburgh Airport and the Axial had it first proper test it had to make it to the check in desk and it had to weigh under 23Kg.  After a 3 hour car journey down from Fort William at 2 am the last thing we wanted to be doing was lifting heavy boxes around the airport so I was delighted to have wheels attached to the bike bag. The straight alignment of the wheels meant that the bag did however have a tendency to drop over to the side when you lifted any sort of height off the ground with the front handle. The handle was pretty tough on your hands as well with such a heavy load in the bag.

However I did discover that if you lifted the bag slightly higher with the two handles on the either and dragged it along it was so much simpler to carry and also made it easier to carry it for longer periods of time rather than having  to pull in for a pit stop every 10 metres.

As soon as we reached the terminal in Edinburgh Airport we headed straight for the check in desk to get rid of the heavy load.

With a 12 and a half hour in transit I was slightly worried about my bike getting damaged in transit but there was a sufficient amount of padding in the case, so I had a fair amount of confidence in it.

12 and a half hours later we touched down in Vancouver…. Unfortunately our bikes didn’t! They missed the flight! So the bikes (and the bag) were going to be in transit for 36 hours in total!

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After being thrown about airports for so long I was convinced that there would be some damage to the bike or very minimally the bag! The bikes arrived in Whistler delivered straight to the door. Looking at the bag no damage was visible (always a bonus). I opened the bag and the bike looked absolutely fine the true test would be when it was built up.

The padding worked!!! I built my bike up and it was fine! The Polaris Axial Pod really provided the necessary protection!

One other major benefit of the Polaris Axial Pod is how easy it is to store! There were 4 of us sharing a studio so all floor space was require.., no room for bike bags. So thankfully the plastic reinforcement strips that give the bag it shape and structure simply slip out allowing you to fold the bag up and store it away easily!

I really rated this bag! It’s not without its flaws and could do with some adjustments. If the bag were easier to lift it would make the transportation of the bike a whole lot simpler. The general weight of the bag is fairly heavy, and  with airlines like BA only offering 23kg you aren’t going to be able to carry anything else in the bag bar your bike and if you have a heavy DH rig you’re probably going to be overweight! Despite those adjustments that could be made the bag did the job! The bike was undamaged during travel, the bag was simple to pack everything had its place, the easy fold away design makes the bag ideal to travel with! The bag also comes with a pouch that you can put your pedals and tools in, which you then put into the netted pouch inside the bike bag! This bag is definitely worth a look at if you are in the market for a new one! It can withstand anything PROVED by the fact it survived the Heathrow Baggage handlers!

 

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Price: £299.99

Brand: Polaris Bikewear

Colours: Black/Greeen, Blue Print, Green Print

Weight: 8.8kg

www.polaris-bikewear.com

 

ODI Troy Lee Lock-On Bonus Pack Grips Review

ODI Troy Lee Grips – We’ve Been Testing & Reviewing These Grips For The Last Month Or So, Find Out What We Thought!

Rating – 4.5/5

Price – £17.49 

Features:  Undercut grip surface to give slim comfortable feel with great traction

Colours Available: Blue, Black Orange, Red, White & Yellow

With a collaboration between ODI & Troy Lee we didn’t expect any less than excellent!

The grips are available in an array of bright colours …. Perfect for us girls that love bright riding gear!

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From my own personal riding preference I can’t fault these grips they give me everything I require in a grip. The Price is pretty reasonable as well.

The installation of the grips is pretty simple just make sure you get your left and rights correct, before you press the clamps on, this is due to unique unidirectional feature of these grips. So despite being easy to install take your time make sure they are set up correct so you can ensure maximum benefit from them.

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The ODI Troy Lee Signature uses a unique pattern, stumpy flanges at both ends, to prevents your hands from coming into contact with the clamp on the end.

The unique undercut pads provide a comfy feel also the supper tacky feel to the grips makes them great to use in any kind of conditions whether you’re in muddy and wet conditions or super dry and dusty, your hands will stay on those bars giving you amazing control of the bike whatever the conditions. The grove channels do an excellent job in preventing mud and water build up on the grips which is exactly what we need for the typical Scottish conditions.

The grips appear to wear well too. We have used them most days for the last month in a range of conditions from thunder storms to over 30 degrees of sunshine and they still look pretty new!

Saying that tho grips are a personal choice but if you don’t wear gloves these probably aren’t the grips for you.

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