Crud Roadracer Mk2

•August 31, 2010 • 6 Comments

A quick look at the new Crud Roadracer Mk2 mud guards – designed to offer full mudguard coverage for race bikes with no mudguard eyelets.

RRP £29.99

Best web price £24.99

Last year I decided to trade up my duff winter training bike that had full mudguards for a nice shiny titanium Litespeed Siena. The Siena was to be used for the same purpose, winter/training, however it didn’t have any mudguard eyelets. I had already decided I wouyld be fine with SKS raceblades so I got a set, used them about 3 times and realised they were hopeless. They provided virtually no coverage, were a bugger to fit and made a racket.

At around the same time I was dejectedly removing my Race Blades, Crud revealed the Road Racer. The answer to my prayers!

The Mk1s were aimed at those people who wanted some coverage on their fancy race bikes (or just had one bike with no mudguard eyelets) so I ordered a set and fitted them rather sharpish, much better! They were easy to fit and provided better coverage than the Race Blades. However they weren’t perfect. They didn’t provide enough coverage behind to count as a full mudguard. Not a problem for me riding alone but when my club stipulates mudguards on wet group rides they didn’t really count, no one wanted my wheel as they still got covered in crap. As did my legs and the drivetrain due to the fact that the rear mudguard stopped someway short of the seat tube.

These issues were universally recognised by friends and forumites, some of whom tried makeshift solutions. Importantly though, Crud took note.

Cue the Mk2 Road Racers!

Easily fit on most race bikes

The Mk 2s offer full coverage at the rear and have been strengthened in key areas, particularly around the brake bridge. One big improvement is the addition of a cowl that protects the front derailleur and drive train.

I got them fitted and found them just as easy as the Mk1s, Crud have added some little pads to help protect the frame and forks. Right, time for the first ride and I didn’t have to wait long for the right conditions to test them in!

First ride – just over 2 hours in a torrent.

It started chucking it down 5 mins into the ride and didn’t stop. The latter half of the ride included some narrow, muddy country lanes so perfect for trying them out.

I thought the Mk1s were good but these raise the bar significantly, the drivetrain remained clean as did my legs. They are as good as the full mudguards I used to run on my old winter bike.

Stops the front getting all covered in gunk.

Time to try the extra coverage on a group ride…

There were approximately 15 of us, the weather was promising when we started so I was actually quite miffed but the heavens soon opened. The ride took in all the peaks had to offer, all sorts of crap and mud adorned the lanes including freshly laid cow shite. Not one complaint from behind all day. Some very poorly maintained roads put the secureness of the guards to the test and again they passed with flying colours. I checked all the bolts at the end of the ride and all remained tight. Furthermore the guards had remained firmly in place, no rubbing!

Full coverage assists those riding behind.

The biggest test was the tremendous 76 mile CycleStore Sportive in the Peak district. Some of the smaller roads were smothered in mud and gravel. Guess what? No problems. The front guard got a bit caked between the guard and the tyre but this was easily cleared and is a problem for any mudguard.
Furthermore, they were barely noticeable throughout the 5hrs 30 mins ride, needing no adjusting, any rattling or deficiencies would have driven me mad over that length of time.

They get a full NapD official Seal of Awesomeness!

Have bike box, will travel…..

•July 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a while since either of us posted anything on here, sadly for me it’s not due to an intense training plan or racing schedule, but in fact down to it being the lead in to the school summer holidays and fatigue. Excuses over and done, time to talk about something bike related.

One of the bonuses of being a poorly paid Teaching Assistant is the summer holiday. I have looked forward to this for months and I don’t actually get paid for it either. In the darkest depths of the “The Big Freeze” we endured here in the UK at the start of the year all my wife and I could think about were warmer climes and clear blue skies.

I spend most of my web browsing time reading articles and images from  Michael Robertson’s http://www.velodramatic.com and Rapha’s Continental adventures http://www.rapha.cc/rapha-continental. These let me peek through a window into an alternative cycling reality that is both what and where I wish I was riding everyday. Fortunately for me this summer both the fantasy and reality will come together.

Having visited California in 2008 with my wife, we travelled around the state over three weeks, during which time I entered every bike shop we passed (17 I think), woke up at 5am every morning to watch Le Tour in the first week of the holiday, but sadly never turned a pedal while we were there. This time it is different, I’m taking a bike with me.

After much research and many hours learning about the various bags and boxes that are on the market to carry your trusted steed overseas with there was only one option in my mind, a hard flight case.

Many people use heavily padded and cardboard packed soft bags or Wiggle’s bargain DHB hard case for the bargain price of £150, but both of these methods and products appeared to have equally as many cons as pros and many horror stories. The one case that honestly looked, and was reviewed as being, up to managing 4 flights and 3000+ miles of in car transport without damage to case or bike is from http://www.bikeboxalan.com. Safe transportation for either of my bikes with an easy unpack and re-pack time were the criteria for my search.

I called Alan on Thursday last week, he was very helpful and informed me of the various options and liveries available and asked about the types and sizes of bikes I would be using in the case to ensure everything would be fine. I placed my order there and then.

Yesterday’s trip to Rotherham saw me return with what I believe at first impression is a fantastic product (in a former life I worked as an Engineering Design Estimator; in my opinion I know a thing or two about manufacturing, design and testing). The attention to detail and the amount of features are fantastic, surface mounted bosses to ensure the case does not slip off a baggage conveyor, the internal velcro fixing straps not only for your bike but track pump or helmet… The list could go on.

This is merely an intro, I’ll be abusing this case until the end of August and will update with photos and thoughts as I use it. Until then have a look at my slideshow, Alan’s website and the video of his box (containing his Colnago) being kicked out of the back of his Range Rover  at 30 mph.

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http://www.bikeboxalan.com Prices start at £397, hire is also available direct from Alan or from here: www.Bikeboxonline.co.uk

Shutt Pro Bib Shorts revisited

•June 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I think NapD hit the nail on the head with his comments about Shutt’s top of line shorts. I had, coincidentally, ordered a pair the same day as his had arrived.

I’ve been using a pair of Rapha’s team issue bib’s for the last 12 months (I’m a big fan of Rapha) and found them to be very comfortable and hard wearing. After a few thousand miles they show no signs of wear or deterioration whatsoever.  Rapha’s team bib shorts, therefore, are my benchmark here….

The thing that led me to buy the Shutt’s was the claimed quality for the price (£79). I’ve bought a few pairs of cheaper shorts from other brands that have been poor, to say the least, so for the extra few pounds required I placed my order for a medium sized pair.

I’m 5’8”, 36” chest and 30” waist and the fit is fantastic. The Pro bib’s shorter leg is easily noticeable (perhaps 40mm shorter than the Rapha’s) and the fit is comfy all round. The other major differences are: the shoulder straps are marginally longer, the chamois is made from a denser, thicker material than Cytech’s chamois and the shorts are made from a slightly heavier weight lycra material.

The first time I used the shorts was for the one-day induction at Manchester Velodrome, potentially a stupid move having never worn them before (and without any chamois cream). The induction takes place over 5 hours with an interval of one hour, the icing on the cake being the indoor temperature of 30°C!

The best word to use to describe my sweltering 5 hours in Shutt’s Pro bib is faultless. I didn’t give any thought at all to the shorts or saddle comfort during my track marathon. No adjustment or pulling to get the shorts into place or any comfort issues whatsoever.

Shutt’s Pro bib quality was reassured to me on Friday afternoon during another high temperature ride, this time on the road. Again they were worn for 4 hours and just short of 60 hilly miles, the performance was, once more, fantastic.  No complaints, just compliments.

Following a few weeks substantial use of Shutt’s shorts I’ve realised they are a serious contender against already popular brands used by NapD and myself. To take the garment on function alone, without consideration to cost at all, Shutt’s shorts are the best I have used to date. To add the massive price difference in the cost of these shorts, compared to Rapha or Assos, it really is a no brainer as to which brand and model of shorts I’ll be buying next – Shutt.

http://www.shuttvr.com/

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Coming soon…

•June 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Powertap SL+ and Ergomo Pro power meters
Tifosi Bike Bag
Wheelsmith.co.uk front wheel
Tacx Satori vs Cycleops Fluid Pro trainers

New pretender to the Bibshorts throne.

•May 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Shutt VR Pro Bibshorts

£79

www.shuttvr.com

Thats not me modelling them by the way...

First review here, and first up are these offerings from the cheery folk in Yorkshire…

I’ll make no bones about it, I am a big fan of Assos shorts. I love the cut, the material, the pad and the appearance. I don’t like the price. I have a pair of Uno S5 (about 120 quid) and F1 Mille S5 (about 150 quid).

They just work. They are the shorts I routinely reach for when I’m going out on a ride, I’m always disappointed when both pairs are still in the wash and have to make do with ‘lesser shorts’. I’m always on the lookout for something that can do the job of the Assos shorts for a lot less cash. I have offerings from Gore, Giordana, Specialized, Nalini, Pearl Izumi and Castelli. All good. Just, well, not as good as my Assos shorts.

I was hoping the Shutt VR Pro bibshorts would fit the bill…

Upon arrival of the shorts I was initially impressed, the seams and pad were very well stitched and the material was of an excellent quality. Packaging not as fancy though, no box with wash bag, washing liquid, sample of chamois cream and telephone directory sized catalogue. It was, well, a plastic bag. Not even a sample of Haribo! For the record I’m 6’2″ and weigh 87.5kg, I opted for the ‘large’ size.

Cue the trying on…

Height wise they are perfect for me, they feel bob on when leant forward in the ‘riding position’ but they are quite tight, not for the faint hearted. I would describe the sizing as ‘aspirational’… However, since my new nutrition regime the weight is falling off so this should just encourage me to keep following the plan! The material appears to have some sort of brushed sheen to it, the shape the seams follow looks good, yet you can’t feel them on your (enormous) quads.

The straps feel good (probably better than my Assos shorts) as they are nice and wide and oooh, lovely and soft. There is a mesh panel around the kidney area to allow, I assume, a bit of cooling to go on.The legs are held in place with little silicone blobs which are far better than tight elastic and are barely noticeable, which is a good thing indeed.Their style is classic and subtle, just a small logo on the right leg which I like, but they would work well with the Euro Gimp look, the Retro Hipster ‘Can’t come out, I’m reading issue 13 of Rouleur today’ look and the, erm, normal look. They will, in fact, go with anything, I suppose the cycling equivalent of the little black dress…

My favourite bit about the aesthetic, however, is the short cut of the leg. Being a tart I like the fact that I will get a proper tan in these as opposed to the ‘just above the knee’ I’m used to, which tended to make me look even more of a tool in summer when wearing shorts. I’ll never bring myself to wear a sleeveless cycling vest though for fear of looking like a TriBore… Ever. Furthermore they pleasantly reveal the monster quads you’ve been beasting yourself all winter to obtain…

I have ridden in these several times now and I am more than happy with their performance. They really aren’t that far off my Assos shorts in terms of on bike comfort. It’s very close indeed on a ride of a couple of hours or so.There are a couple of things the Assos shorts do better, the pad is slightly more comfortable (ever so slightly though) and they seem to keep me a little cooler, possibly as the front of the Shutts is a little higher with no mesh (particularly compared to the F1 Milles). This high front can make it quite interesting when you need a quick leak. You have to adopt the same position you do when when you were a kid and you were, erm, ‘excited’ (Or so I’m told!) Heh heh, it’s not a problem in the least though really as I find that with most bibshorts. I don’t think the Assos shorts  look as good as the Shutts though…

They are also nearly twice the price of the Shutts.

That last sentence is rather important…

Verdict – Well, what do you think? They are freakin’ ace! When the time comes that my Assos tights are so worn you can see my backside, I’ll be buying more of these. Quality stuff.

Cheers, NapD

 
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