This week’s pick of the best reviews that have appeared on all the best cycling websites. It’s a bumper crop this week.
Burly bike drivetrains, virtual reality racing apps, lightweight helmets, fascinating books, power gels, turbo trainers, bib tights and techno shoes.
Shimano Zee M640 mountain bike transmission – BikeRadar
“Shimano’s Zee is a cunning crossbreed of SLX and Saint that deserves to be used a lot more widely than it is. For a start, it’s a dedicated single-ring system so there’s no left-hand/front shifter. While the triggers aren’t longer than normal as they are on Saint, you do get a dimple-gripped thumb lever.
“Tough, no nonsense and great value single-ring gearset. Business-like single-ring setup.”
SRAM XX1 mountain bike transmission – BikeRadar
“SRAM’s XX1 was the first groupset that threw away the extra weight, cost and complexities of the front shifter and front derailleur without losing usable gear range and it’s still a fantastic set-up if you can afford it.
“XX1 offers accurate shifting and good chain security, even on downhill runs. A fantastic transmission set-up if you can afford it.”
TrainerRoad review – Cycling Tips
“I’m not a guy who gets excited by riding on the indoor trainer. However, I do understand the massive benefits and efficiencies that you can get in a short amount of time by doing ergo sessions. It’s not easy though. You need to go into each session with a plan. Personally, if I have a plan I’ll have motivation. This is where TrainerRoad hits the nail on the head.”
Limar 778 Superlight helmet – BikeRadar
“Italian helmet brand Limar is well known for its airy lids. The range topping Ultralight claims to be the “worlds lightest helmet”, but without the premium cost that normally accompanies such weight weenie items.
“The 778 Superlight sits just below the Ultralight in Limar’s range. It’s almost as airy as the Ultralight, and weighs a respectable 200g in a size medium. Lowly priced, crazy light lid.”
Lanterne Rouge by Max Leonard – Road.cc
“Shows that the race for the lead is not the only contest to provide interest and controversy.
“There is drama and intrigue to be found throughout the Tour de France, and this book opens our eyes to the end of the race that is often ignored: the cameras are rarely there, and the commentators are focussed on the battle for the lead. It “flips the Tour de France on its head and examines what these stories tell us about ourselves, the 99% who don’t win the trophy, and forces us to re-examine the meaning of success, failure, and the very nature of sport.”
PowerBar PowerGel – Cycling Weekly
“Whilst they contain a similar amount or carbohydrate to High 5 or SiS gels we have reviewed, the PowerGels contain a higher proportion of ‘which sugars.’ We found these gels to be noticeably sweeter than other gels on the market, with some testers finding them a little too sickly. Fear not though, if gels of this type are not to your taste, PowerBar also make Hyrdo gels, which are designed to be consumed without the need for additional water.
“PowerBar supply the BMC team with their sports nutrition needs, but how do their PowerGels taste?”
Kurt Kinetic Road Machine – BikeRumor
“Overall, the trainer is great, and it’s a fraction of the cost of a connected trainer and doesn’t require a wall plug to get all the features. The price is on high end of competing fluid trainers, but it comes with a larger stock flywheel than most, seemed a bit quieter than others I’ve tested and a good brand history to back it up. It has a road-like feel and has held up to multiple users over the past 8 months with nary a scratch on it. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a premium unit that’s quiet, stable and durable.
“Looking for a high end fluid trainer that keeps it simple? Spin on in and check out the details…”
Sportful R&D bib tights – Road.cc
“Sportful make these new R&D bib tights using three fabrics. They’re mostly ThermoDrytex Double, a 3-layer fleece with hollow-core polyester liner, with ThermoDrytex PL+ fabric on the thighs and knees, and ThermoDrytex Plus on the back panels to provide more stretch.
“Sounds complex, but the use of the different materials provide maximum insulation and protection from the wind and rain where you need it most, and extra stretch and breathability where it’s needed to ensure there is absolutely no restriction on freedom of movement when you’re pedalling.
“Exemplary warmth and excellent fit; very effective winter leg warmers.”
Shimano R171 shoe review – Cycling Tips
“A good cycling shoe is meant to be something that isn’t felt or noticed. It’s easy to think about your shoes during a ride when there’s discomfort, and even easier to forget about them when they fit perfectly and do the job they’re meant to.
“Shoes are a highly individual piece of kit and as the saying goes, one size doesn’t fit all. I’m fortunate that I can enjoy many different types of shoes and am not overly particular. However, some the most fussy cyclists I know all wear Shimano shoes.”