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chrisradband

chrisradband

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Reviews written

since 20/10/2004

27

Freewheel Bike Shop, Reading, Norwich, Northampton & Peterborough 27/10/2004

Friendly good value bike shop servce

Freewheel Bike Shop, Reading, Norwich, Northampton & Peterborough Well, as far as I'm aware the Norwich branch doesn't even exist any more! (If it has just moved then I'd really appreciate it if someone could let me know where to…). So, only had a few experiences with Freewheel in their various shops across the country but those which I have had have always been of good friendly service, knowledgeable staff and a good range of stock usually reasonably priced. What more cold you want from a bike shop? Having also experienced many other shops throughout the UK I think its fair to say that the service etc which they offer is above average but at the end of the day everyone has their local shop which they prefer and would choose given the choice. Freewheel, recommended… If you don't like my review please message me so I can uopdate it for you...

Kona Stinky 26/10/2004

My first 'proper' downhill bike

Kona Stinky A Stinky was my first 'proper' downhill bike although not necessarily my first choice, I would much rather have had an Orange Patriot but the five month waiting list deterred me. I wouldn’t say I regret having bought the Kona with its reasonable weight and specification, it certainly seemed to perform pretty well off-road. My Stinky is now a couple of years old and this is the model which I will review although I can say that the newer model does strike me as being of a much higher spec and better value for money. So, I bought my Kona and the first thing I did was upgrade it from v-brakes to disk brakes (come as standard now) and the bike rode fantastically, especially once the Marzocchi forks had bedded in, no complaints whatsoever. For the next few months the bike rode beautifully and I was more than happy, no problems whatsoever but then one day quite surprisingly my rear triangle snapped, shocking when I'd only had the bike around three months. Becoming increasingly more frustrated I waited almost three months for a replacement part, gutted… Once this was replaced, the bike rode perfectly again and still, a couple of years on, most the parts are in full working order and it’s certainly fair to say that I did some things which could have broken plenty of other bikes! Please note, I haven’t reviewed the specification as it has changed on the newer models, rather I would say that in my opinion the quality but budget hardcore accessories were good value ...

Selle Italia Flite Alpes FKS full Kevlar 26/10/2004

Flite kevlar, better than the standard leather?

Selle Italia Flite Alpes FKS full Kevlar The Flite titanium saddle and its previous incarnations have been my choice of saddle for around the last eight years on some of my mountain bikes. Lets be clear, the differences between Selle Italia's range of Flite asddles is pretty small in general. You pick your material; leather or kevlar and then you pick the standard shape or the Alpe which is a little more cut off at the back which makes it fractionally lighter and a little easier to move your weight over the back of the wheel when on steep descents etc. There is one obvious disadvantage to this saddle and that is that the shape might not be to everyone’s liking, its pretty small and does take some getting used to. Another disadvantage which I've discovered through use was that some of my shorts (including lycra) seemed to bobble a little which became rally annoying and made the shorts look cheap and almost 'naff' whilst I don’t think the kevlar pannels actually gained me any grip or helped the longevity of the saddle over the standard leather versions. On the other hand, there are many advantages to this saddle, one of which is the fact that now I’m used to it I find it perfectly comfortable. Main advantages have to include the fact that it is so light weight at just about 200g, the fact that it is really long lasting even when used in the foulest of conditions and also the fact that it looks so sleek and would look fantastic on any bike. I’d recommend this saddle but please do consider the problems that ...

Tioga Factory DH Kevlar 22/10/2004

Tioga Factory DH - great all-round hardcore tyre

Tioga Factory DH Kevlar I’ve used the Tioga Factory DH's (26’ x 2.3’) for quiet some time now and I've been pretty pleased with the performance in most conditions. Admittedly, perhaps not king of anything but nevertheless a great 'all rounder' at least competent in all conditions as far as I have experienced and I've done a lot of riding in different places and weather conditions. The knobbles are nice and meaty to ensure plenty of traction both on straights and through the corners. The side knobbles also insure cornering stability and if you do push too hard they are nicely predictable as they slide. Relatively hard wearing so long as you get the good versions rather than the cheap grey market ones... Highly recommended for all round hardcore riding...

Tioga Factory XC 22/10/2004

Tioga XC - great all off-road round tyre

Tioga Factory XC As a long-time keen mountain biker I've used many different tyres but for the last couple of years I’ve decided to stick with the Tioga XC's (26’ x 1.95’) as I've been pretty pleased with the performance in all conditions. Admittedly perhaps not king of anything but nevertheless at least competent in all conditions as far as I have experienced and I've done a lot of riding in different places and weather conditions. The knobbles are just the right size teat there isn't too much rolling resistance whilst maintaining plenty of grip on all kinds of surface including lose, wet and dry. The side knobbles also insure cornering stability and if you do push too hard they are quite predictable as they slide. Relatively hard wearing so long as you get the good versions rather than the cheap grey market ones... Highly recommended for all round riding...

Evil Twin Slalom 22/10/2004

Specialized Evil Twin Slalom

Evil Twin Slalom In my opinion, a fantastic tyre and one which I have used several times in the past... Specialized make a superb range of tyres and there are very few that will disappoint and the Evil Twin has to be one of my favourites. The name, 'slalom' suggests the tyres potential use but I cannot comment on this as I've not really used it at all for slalom purposes, nevertheless, what I have used the tyre for is hardcore off road riding in gloopy mud, they’re fantastic in my opinion. The 'spikey' well spaced nobbles mean that they cut through nicely on to the harder surface beneath the mud, the well spaced nobbles mean that the mud clears relatively easily and the narrow (ish) 1.9' carcass means that there’s not too much resistance when mud plugging. Not great for use on the road as they'll wear down fairly quickly and 'buzz' a lot but when used puerly/mainly off-road they last well... As I say, no experience of slalom but the tyres can be fantastic in muddy conditions I have found... Recommended...

Nokia 7250i 22/10/2004

Nokia 7250i, good or bad?

Nokia 7250i Hmm, the Nokia 7250i was pretty much state of the art as far as Nokia were concerned earlier in the year when I decided to buy mine. The camera is unfortunately quite a let down, its rubbish basically, poor quality to say the least! Also, the other disappointment was that the battery life isn’t fantastic (around 3 days ish…) as seems to be the way with colour screened phones. The third problem I've found is that the cover and screen aren't quite as hard wearing as I’d like, they seem to scratch and scuff quite easily. Advantages of this are also many fold, I personally think one of the biggest of which I believe is the calendar function, I think its really useful indeed. Obviously, you can use the phone to make phone calls and all the usual SMS, MMS and gaming functions etc too... Basically though, there are other reviews explaining all of this and these days the features are fairly standard but I Just wanted to illustrate some of the problems which I have also experienced... Recommended but not necessarily at the top of the list of my choices for my next phone...

Selle Italia Flite Kevlar 22/10/2004

Flite kevlar, better than the standard leather?

Selle Italia Flite Kevlar The Flite titanium saddle and its previous incarnations have been my choice of saddle for around the last eight years on some of my mountain bikes. There is one obvious disadvantage to this saddle and that is that the shape might not be to everyone’s liking, its pretty small and does take some getting used to. Another disadvantage which I've discovered through use was that some of my shorts (including lycra) seemed to bobble a little which became rally annoying and made teh shorts look cheap and almost 'naff' whilst I don;t think the kevlar pannels actually gained me any grip or helped teh longevity of the saddle over the standard leather versions. On the other hand, there are many advantages to this saddle, one of which is the fact that now I’m used to it I find it perfectly comfortable. Main advantages have to include the fact that it is so light weight at just about 200g, the fact that it is really long lasting even when used in the foulest of conditions and also the fact that it looks so sleek and would look fantastic on any bike. I’d recommend this saddle but please do consider the problems that I've experienced with the kevlar before buying......

Selle Italia Flite 22/10/2004

Flite Saddle - a real beauty

Selle Italia Flite The Flite titanium saddle and its previous incarnations have been my choice of saddle for around the last eight years on some of my mountain bikes. There is one obvious disadvantage to this saddle and that is that the shape might not be to everyone’s liking, its pretty small and does take some getting used to. On the other hand, there are many advantages to this saddle, one of which is the fact that now I’m used to it I find it perfectly comfortable. Main advantages have to include the fact that it is so light weight at just about 200g, the fact that it is really long lasting even when used in the foulest of conditions and also the fact that it looks so sleek and would look fantastic on any bike. I’d would definetely highly recommend this saddle to anyone...

Selle Italia Flite 22/10/2004

Flite Saddle - a real beauty

Selle Italia Flite The Flite titanium saddle and its previous incarnations have been my choice of saddle for around the last eight years on some of my mountain bikes. There is one obvious disadvantage to this saddle and that is that the shape might not be to everyone’s liking, its pretty small and does take some getting used to. On the other hand, there are many advantages to this saddle, one of which is the fact that now I’m used to it I find it perfectly comfortable. Main advantages have to include the fact that it is so light weight at just about 200g, the fact that it is really long lasting even when used in the foulest of conditions and also the fact that it looks so sleek and would look fantastic on any bike. I’d highly recommend this saddle to anyone so long as they’re prepared to give it some time to mould to your body!

Shimano Alivio 22/10/2004

Great value gear shifting from Shimano

Shimano Alivio My girlfriend has just bought her first mountain bike; a Kona Lana'i . I've been riding and racing for many years and have been very impressed by the shifting performance of her Alivio gear set up. I’ve been using Shimano XT gears for years but having now ridden this Alivio shifter for some time I’m really impressed with the crispness of shifting, ease of set up and maintenance. It perhaps doesn’t look quite so good or work quite as perfectly as Shimano’s higher priced offerings but at the end of the day this is a budget mechanism designed appropriately and priced and marketed in the same fashion. As a budget shifter this can’t be beaten in my opinion, set up properly it works as well as a shifter more than twice the price and is a great first budget buy before upgrading in the future to more expensive kit. I can’t comment on how long the mech has lasted yet but its been going quite a while now with no signs of deterioration as yet. Impressed…

Shimano XT 99 Style 22/10/2004

XT rear mech - great performance and value

Shimano XT 99 Style I've been biking for a long time and have been using XT shifting gear for years now so I've seen several changes in design over the years... This shifter has to be one of the best available as it brings together great looks, excellent performance and pretty good value for money and durability not to mention ease of set up and maintenance. With competition increasing year on year from SRAM (the original manufacturers of the GripShift shifting system) it’s a good job Shaman aren't resting on their laurels. On the contrary, not only do Shimano mange to offer value and excellent shifting but they’ve also managed to design the unit so that it looks sleek and stylish on the bike. Overall, highly recommended on both performance and value for money…

Shimano PD M535 LX 22/10/2004

Shimano M535 - SPD - Bargain...

Shimano PD M535 LX The Shimano M535 pedals are my pedal of choice these days, I’ve used other pedals and even other manufacturers but I have found that for value for money and ease of use these cannot be beaten. At first, using clipless pedals can be daunting but its not really an option when riding cross country as the added power and control are more than worth the effort of overcoming the fear and the odd bumps and bruises that you might get during the learning process. Obviously using these pedals you also need to have shoes which are compatible, mind are the top of the range Shimano units (which I would highly recommend) at a cost of around £120 but these are by no means the only option as compatible shoes can be picked up for as little as £20 to £30. Back to the pedals, they’re reasonably light, easy to maintain, set up and use and even manage to look pretty good. At a price like this I don’t think they can be beaten. Highly recommended…

Camelbak Cleaning Brush Set 22/10/2004

Camelbak Classic, absolutely fantastic

Camelbak Cleaning Brush Set As a fan of Camelbak and its range of products I currently have three different bags, the Classic, MULE and HAWG. I've used most of them for years and have never been disappointed by their performance... The Classic is great if you’re just riding for a couple of hours and need nothing much more than a multi-tool, car keys, phone and a drink and would be my choice if this was all I needed in preference to a water bottle and saddle bag or one of the larger Camelbak’s such as the MULE or HAWG. Water reservoir capacity is 2l which is just about rie for all but the hottest days when you’re just out for a relatively short ride or walk in the countryside. The new 'L' shaped mouth piece which also has an 'on/off' switch to avoid leaking when not riding is great as it means that not only is the valve very comfortable and natural to drink from but also when in the car or in storage etc there is no leakage over other kit. The simplest way I'm aware of to keep the water reservoir nice and clean is to keep it in the freezer and know many people who have done this and never grown any mould whatsoever. I have also cleaned mine with very hot water in the past but have never actually used boiling water. At the end of the day, even if you have to replace the reservoir every year or so the use of the Camelbak is still really worthwhile and very useful when riding or doing any other outdoor activity for that matter. The Classic’s storage space consists of pretty much just one small ...

CamelBak H.A.W.G 100oz 22/10/2004

Camelbak HAWG, absolutely fantastic

CamelBak H.A.W.G 100oz As a fan of Camelbak and its range of products I currently have three different bags, the Classic, MULE and HAWG. I've used most of them for years and have never been disappointed by their performance... The HAWG is great if you need to Hold A lot of Water and Gear, hence the name! For long day rides or in bad conditions this is definitely my favourite and the one which I would choose to use both for riding and days out in the countryside or anywhere else where you may need a lot of kit in addition to a good amount of water (3l). Not only is it great for carrying water and kit but it also manages to look fantastic and be very very comfortable. The new 'L' shaped mouth piece which also has an 'on/off' switch to avoid leaking when not riding is great as it means that not only is the valve very comfortable and natural to drink from but also when in the car or in storage etc there is no leakage over other kit. The simplest way I'm aware of to keep the water reservoir nice and clean is to keep it in the freezer and know many people who have done this and never grown any mould whatsoever. I have also cleaned mine with very hot water in the past but have never actually used boiling water. At the end of the day, even if you have to replace the reservoir every year or so the use of the Camelbak is still really worthwhile and very useful when riding or doing any other outdoor activity for that matter. The HAWG’s storage space and consists of a couple of large pockets, one ...
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