My first product review, which I’m sure will be well received. Three products to look at;
Bontrager RXL Thermal Gloves, Endura Zipless Overshores, and Specialized Armadillo Tires.
First up, the gloves, and what a pair of gloves they are. Absolutely brilliant. Perfect for when the weather is cold, but not freezing, probably good down to 4 or 5 degrees. Incredibly comfortable, grippy and very bright, although they are available in black as well.
I’ve had mine for a few months and have used them almost every day, hence why they are a little mucky. They were also not expensive at only £15. Without doubt the best pair of – cold/but not freezing – pair of gloves that I own.
Overshoes are unfortunately a necessary evil in the winter. The zips had broken on my last pair, which had done me two winters, so it was time for some new ones. At The Edge Cycleworks in Lancaster they had the winter’s selection in, and the zipless pair caught my eye. The idea being that most returns that Endura get for overshoes are from broken zips.
I wasn’t sure how easy they would be to get on and off, so one of the guys in the shop tried them on, and they seemed to be OK. When I went out for my first ride with them, this didn’t prove to be the case, especially with Shimano road cleats. There appears to be a knack to getting them on where you roll them half way inside out, although I have found it to still be a struggle. Once on, they perform as to be expected, keeping the worst of the cold and rain at bay, but after only a few rides I do have a small hole in one of them, so I’m not sure how long they will last.
Finally, some tires from Specialized. For many years now I have used Continetal GP 4000’s on my road bikes, but back in May I cycled over a bottle, and put a huge gash in my front tire. I had a big race coming up and my usual bike shop was closed due to flooding, so I went to ‘the other’ bike shop in Lancaster, as I didn’t want to wait a few days from buying online. They don’t sell Conti’s, so I bought a Specialized Armadillo. When I was checking my rear tire I noticed that there were loads of small cuts, so I decided to replace it, also with an Armadillo, that way the bike would be in symmetry. I wasn’t expecting much from them, but I was told that they would be good against punctures, and with a 300+ mile ride coming up I thought they might do alright. I’m not a speed merchant, so for me a tire that is grippy in the wet and puncture proof is exactly what I’m looking for. It also helps if the tire isn’t impossible to get on with cold hands.
It is now 6 months later, and the tires have done over 3,000 miles, and I haven’t had a single puncture, front or rear. Not only that, but they really do grip in the wet. A good test for a tire is a steep climb, on a smooth road surface, in the wet. I used to find that Conti Gatorskins would slip under those conditions, although they were seemingly bomb proof. Yesterday I was climbing up the steep side of the Trough of Bowland, in the wet, and not even the slightest slippage. I am genuinely sold on these tires.
But, I have got hold of a Bontrager AW3 Hard-case road tire.
The AW3 is an all weather, low rolling resistant, puncture proof tire. I will be replacing the rear Armadillo soon, and this will go on, and it will be interesting to see how they compare, especially as it has received mixed reviews.
That is the end of my first product review, and if Colnago want to send me a C60 to review I will be more than happy, as well as being not in the slightest bit impartial.
More nonsense soon.