Adrian's Mountain Biking Blog

Adrian's Mountain Biking Blog

Adrian's Mountain Biking Blog

REVIEW: Specialized Purgatory Control Tyre

Purgatory Control

Specialized have a tyre amnesty event on at the moment, and the Purgatory Control is one of the tyres available. It has reviewed well in the press, so I thought I’d give it a go as a replacement to my ageing WTB Weirwolf.

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Specialized have a tyre amnesty event on at the moment, and the Purgatory Control is one of the tyres available. It has reviewed well in the press, so I thought I'd give it a go as a replacement to my ageing WTB Weirwolf. Construction The Purgatory Control is part of Specialized's All Mountain range and can be used on front or rear, but is more commonly used for the front. It's 2.3" wide and in the 26" version weighs 685g. The bead is foldable and is tubeless compatible as well. It's a chunky tyre, but the tread is well spaced out for mud shedding and huge side lugs for cornering grip. Those side lugs are made from softer 50a compound, compared to the harder 60a for the centre lugs; enabling a good balance between rolling and grip. In Use I managed to get some varied conditions to test the tyre, from reasonably dry to plenty of puddles and surface mud. My old Weirwolf really needed a little bit of give in the trail to grip - it didn't suit dry, so I was really pleased to immediately notice an improvement with the Purgatory. Although those side lugs are large, they really gripped even on the hard packed surfaces, giving me more grip and confidence leaning into corners. A bit too much confidence as it turned out as I banked too hard in a tight chicane and clipped a tree! I can't blame the tyre for that though! There is a nice rock garden on Croft Trail, and it is somewhere I had struggled for grip previously, with my elderly tyres going as much sideways as forwards. The Purgatory kept its line perfectly though, at the same time as the old rear continued to skid out, which was very impressive. Even on another day when both tyre and rocks were wet, it still held its line. In fact, on the wetter day I didn't notice any change in grip at all - I got the same predictable cornering performance. Overall The grip of the tyre is very impressive, as is its predictability in different conditions. Although it is a little heavy, it's not too bad and certainly sturdy. The price is excellent, even before the amnesty, making its current discount a bargain. The Specialized Tyre Amnesty is on till 30th April, so if you're after a new trail tyre for the front, I would definitely recommend checking out the Purgatory Control. Link - Specialized.com

Specialized Purgatory Control

Construction - 7.3
Grip - 9.2
Weight - 6.5
Price - 7.5

7.6

Recommended

Excellent front tyre in many conditions. Could be a little lighter, but great value.

8

REVIEW: MuckyNutz Bender Fender

MuckyNutz

Mudguards. They’re not very exciting, and some look plain hideous, but they can be pretty essential in the UK for stopping mud, pebbles and other debris hitting your face and body. So simple effective solutions that don’t deface or weigh down your bike are always welcome.

Ticking all of the above boxes, step forward the Bender Fender from MuckyNutz.

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Mudguards. They're not very exciting, and some look plain hideous, but they can be pretty essential in the UK for stopping mud, pebbles and other debris hitting your face and body. So simple effective solutions that don't deface or weigh down your bike are always welcome. Ticking all of the above boxes, step forward the Bender Fender from MuckyNutz. The guard is cut from one thin sheet of plastic, which is very lightweight and flexible. It takes its shape when attached to your forks, so always fits perfectly. Being a fork mounted guard, it is also shorter than say a Crud Catcher, as the guard turns with your wheel. Fitting is pretty simple, although don't try and be lazy like I was - take the wheel off first and you'll preserve some sanity and your fingers! Basically you just tie on the guard using the Velcro tape provided. There was plenty for me, including a discarded piece I incorrectly measured. By using the velcro, the guard is removable, although at 22g it's so light and small I'd just leave it on. You can also use zip ties (but you'll have to source your own) for a more permanent fixing. I'll admit I was worried about clearance on my bike. I run a 2.3" tyre, and my bike, being an antique by modern standards, still has V-brakes. As you can see in the photo below, it looks a bit tight, but I had no problems in use. On my test ride I had no problems with clogging, although I encountered patches of thick gloop, rather than sustained mud. The guard did a fine job of stopping grit and mud pinging up and hitting me, and most importantly, my face, which is exactly what I wanted. Personally, I use mudguards as a safety feature to protect my eyes and the Bender Fender certainly did the trick. Although the guard is quite small, nothing got through and it made my old Crud Catcher suddenly feel excessive and heavy. So, whilst a mudguard is never going to be the most exciting thing in the world, this one is very good. Effective, light weight and at £8.99 well priced - great product. Available direct from MuckyNutz website.   Link - MuckyNutz.com

MuckyNutz Bender Fender

Features - 8
Function - 9
Weight - 9.5
Pricing - 8.5

8.8

Recommended

Simple idea, slightly fiddly to fit, but cheap and very effective.

9

REVIEW: Shimano XT M785 Trail SPD Pedals

M785 XT Trail SPDs

I have been a happy user of SPDs for years, but there are some times when I want to be unclipped – such as steep technical climbs at slow speeds. Conventional SPD pedals don’t allow for anything other than being clipped in, so step forward the Trail SPD pedal, which feature a cage around the normal SPD pedal.

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I have been a happy user of SPDs for years, but there are some times when I want to be unclipped - such as steep technical climbs at slow speeds. Conventional SPD pedals don't allow for anything other than being clipped in, so step forward the Trail SPD pedal, which feature a cage around the normal SPD pedal. I had been using Shimano M520 pedals for a few years, which were basic, but functional SPDs - they worked well and were cheap. However, they only worked clipped in and if I ever tried to just balance my feet on the pedals unclipped, I regretted it pretty quickly. So I wanted something that gave me the best of both worlds, but with being clipped in still the main use. Shimano have made a number of different SPD pedals with cages over the years, from the original DX metal monsters (yes I had some of those too!) with an SPD pedal stuck in the middle of a DX flat pedal, to the other end of the scale with a flat pedal on one side and SPD on the other, aimed at commuters. Trail pedals are somewhere in between, with a thin light cage around a standard SPD. So I decided to try the XT M785 variant, which I got for what I considered the bargain price of £47 from Merlin Cycles - retail price is £75. In the box you get the pedals and a set of SH51 cleats. The pedals are based on the XT cross country pedal, with the same lightweight alloy axle and cartridge bearings. Weight is actually less than my old SPD pedals at 408g, which is very impressive with the addition of the cage. That cage gives additional support for your foot when pedalling and acts as a guide when engaging the cleat, as well as making it quicker to flatten the pedal ready for engagement. The key benefit I was looking for, was some grip when clipped out. My favourite local track has a set of rock steps built into a short steep slope, and it's normally 1st gear & a real knack to getting all the way up - being clipped in is brave! So I gave it a go unclipped and I had all the contact I needed with the pedals (wearing Shimano MT41 shoes) - a great success. Riding round the rest of the trail it was indeed much quicker to stabilise the pedal ready for clipping in, making the transitions out of tight corners quicker. Considering there is barely a weight penalty, with the extra advantages these pedals give, I'd say they would be a vital bit of kit for most people. Definitely recommended.   Link - M785 Pedals at MerlinCycles Link - Technical details at Shimano.com

Shimano XT M785 Trail SPD Pedals

Features - 8
Function - 8.5
Weight - 8.5
Pricing - 9

8.5

Recommended

Excellent pedals for those who want to stayed unclipped every once in a while with little weight penalty.

9

New Kind of Helmet

Komplett-CC-mr_1

Cycling helmets can be a divisive subject and even those that do think they have benefits, aren’t necessarily comfortable wearing them. This is particularly true for casual or “urban” cyclists and short distance commuters.

Two young designers in Sweden shared a dislike of cycle helmets, but still wanted head protection. This led them to invent something they think will revolutionise how we protect our heads on a bike.

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MTB in Madeira

trippinmadpink

I went hiking in Madeira a few years ago and fondly remember the strikingly beautiful island. Essentially a single volcano sticking out of the middle of the ocean, there is massive variety of terrain and climate in one small area. The main feature of the terrain of course is the hills, with some of the most terrifying roads I’ve ever been on! Although I went there hiking, I could instantly see it would be great for mountain biking and was very pleased to stumble across some excellent video and purpose built trails on Madeira from the Trippin guys.

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Review – Specialized BG Ridge Wiretap long finger gloves

Palm

It’s officially winter now, although the temperature is still pretty up and down, it’s definitely time for gloves not mitts. With that in mind, I’ve got a pair of Specialized Body Geometry Ridge Wiretap long finger gloves that I’ve been testing.

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It's officially winter now, although the temperature is still pretty up and down, it's definitely time for gloves not mitts. With that in mind, I've got a pair of Specialized Body Geometry Ridge Wiretap long finger gloves that I've been testing. Aside from competing for a longest product name award, the Ridge's are fairly lightweight full finger gloves from Specialized, with some good technical features. Being part of Specialized's Body Geometry range, the palm/heel of the glove has gel padding to protect your ulnar nerve. The rest of the padding is actually quite minimal, using reinforced synthetic leather. This gives great feel of the grip, but still blister and graze protection. The price for that increased feel is no real damping of trail buzz, but if that's what you want, there is a fully padded version as well. On the other side of the glove, the back is nylon/spandex mesh, with towelling down the thumb for sweat wiping. Finally we have the "Wiretap" feature - this is metallic thread in the thumb and index finger tip, which allow the use of touchscreen devices without having to remove your gloves. In Use The gloves are very comfortable off and on the bike, with terrific feel of the grips and controls. They aren't at all restrictive, especially considering they are full finger and became like a second skin very quickly. Trail buzz was certainly noticeable compared to my fully padded BG mitts, but that's a choice rather than a defect - if it's an issue for you, definitely go with the fully padded version. The Wiretap feature worked - more or less! It does require your finger or thumb to be fully filling the glove to the tip, which didn't quite without pulling them down. But once in the right place I could happily use my phone and reset Endomondo. Lengthy texting would probably be more of an issue, but you're supposed to be riding your bike, not texting! In terms of keeping your hands warm, they worked well down to a few degrees centigrade. I'll be honest that we just haven't had conditions colder than that in the last few months, so I don't yet know how low they really go, although I suffer from cold hands at the best of times, so I reckon they're fine above freezing. The mesh design also kept my hands fairly comfortable in warmer conditions too - I was happy using them at 12 degrees on one of the wildly varied days we've had recently. Overall In all I have been very impressed with the gloves and I've been very happy using them this winter. I can even see myself using them through spring and then we will have to see how high a temperature they will be comfortable in. I think it will probably be summer before they come off though, and I won't mind that at all.   Link - Specialized.com

Specialized BG Ridge Wiretap long finger gloves

Features - 7.5
Function - 8
Comfort - 8.3
Pricing - 8

8

Recommended

Impressive, comfortable gloves that actually work in wide range of temperatures.

8

Research your trail before you ride it!

Alps crash

It should go without saying that you should either scope a trail before riding it, or at the very least take it easy on your first run, so that you are prepared for what is coming up.

We all get a bit over excited sometimes though, and these guys did just that! They are very lucky though, as this happened in the Alps, and they’re lucky only one of them got hurt.

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REVIEW: Halfords Double Buggy Child Bike Trailer

halfordsdoubletrailer
I have 2 year old twin boys, and whilst they're not old enough to cycle yet, that doesn't mean they can't be involved. I had seen quite a few people riding round our neighbourhood with trailers pulling their kids and thought it was a great idea. After a bit of research I decided to give Halford's Double Buggy Child Bike Trailer a go. Currently £130, the Double Buggy holds two children up to 22.5kg each (or 50 lbs). Constructed from steel frame with a fabric child compartment, it's a sturdy contraption. It folds away nearly flat (once the wheels are removed) or if you've a bit more room you can leave them attached like I do. Everything clips together with steel pins (with safety locks), so you don't need any tools to put it up or down. The Trailer attaches to the bike with a universal clip that goes over the axle or quick release. I was initially a little worried about this as I have cheap alloy quick releases on my bike, but I experienced no issues. There is also a secondary safety clip, just in case. The children sit on the fabric seat/floor, with safety harnesses to secure the children. Although the steel frame forms a cage around them, they should still definitely where cycle helmets - its a good time to get them used to them as well. It looks as though there isn't quite room for two children, and they are close together, but not uncomfortably so. In fact my two didn't complain at all - and that's rare! You should just about be able to see them inside. The front cover is mesh, with a clear plastic screen that can go over the front, or be rolled up out of the way. I think the whole trailer is best described as splash, rather than waterproof. You will be able to stop water spraying in the children's faces, but other than that there's going to get a bit wet if it rains. So you could get home with them, but don't start off in the rain, unless they're in waterproofs inside. Riding with the trailer Once connected up, its time to ride. There is a small amount of adjustment you need to make to your normal cycling technique - essentially slow and smooth. This is purely for your children's comfort - if you accelerate away suddenly you'll give them whiplash! You also need to be aware of the weight you're pulling. It's unmistakable when you pull away, but it also adds push and momentum that you don't normally have, so remember to brake early. Other than that though, its great - you pedal, and the kids come with you. My boys weren't sure about going in it initially, although that could have been mainly down to the helmets, but once moving they absolutely loved it and I had no problems getting the back in the second time. In fact the only issue I had was when I…

Halfords Double Buggy Child Bike Trailer

Features - 6.5
Function - 8
Weight - 6
Pricing - 9

7.4

Well priced and easy to use trailer. A hit with rider & passengers.

7

I have 2 year old twin boys, and whilst they’re not old enough to cycle yet, that doesn’t mean they can’t be involved. I had seen quite a few people riding round our neighbourhood with trailers pulling their kids and thought it was a great idea. After a bit of research I decided to give Halford’s Double Buggy Child Bike Trailer a go.

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