Test Zone – Aug/ Sep

The FULL SUS product testing section, led by publisher SHAYNE DOWLING and editor FRANS LE ROUX is where we put MTB and related products to the test. We get to pedal, feel, touch, kick, jump, rip, slide, click, wear, stretch, ride (you get the idea) and generally test the hell out of products. So, send us your gear or email frans@integratedmedia.co.za to be featured here.

RRP R899
Reviewer: Frans le Roux
From the same folk who brought you the best sounding cycling bell we’ve ever used, comes yet another beautifully sculpted tool. I accidently stumbled across their website a while ago, and everything they make has such a premium look and feel. This small, lightweight and minimalist tool is precision machined in California. Made from ultra-tough and durable titanium, it includes no less than ten swappable chrome-coated steel bits. The tool is safely secured in a finely stitched X-Pac carrycase which also doubled as my riding wallet (for that much needed post ride coffee). I managed to get some use out of the tool after I had to tighten some bits on a new test bike. It folds up and takes up no space in your pocket. I prefer to leave it in my shirt pocket rather than inside my usual saddle bag. Yes, it is quite expensive, but you get tools, then you get tools. This is a premium product for the discerning rider.

RRP R599 Bontrager Flare R City Rear Bike Light
RRP R599 Bontrager Ion 100 R Front Bike Light
Reviewer: Shayne Dowling
These are commuter lights. So why on your mountain bike? Well quite simply most of us will spend some time on the road, either getting to the trailhead or training. Fact: the more visible you are, the less chance you have of being taken out by a motorist. These little guys, while really small, pack a big punch. 100 lumens for the front light and 35 lumens at the back, high power CreedLED’s – both feature a smart sensor that changes the light intensity between night and day. They are cracker little units that are well made and sturdy, the rubber strap connect bracket attach to bars easily and securely. The back-light’s charge lasts for ages! The front one needs charging more frequently but on flashing mode also lasts a long time. No messy batteries and USB cable makes charging a cinch. They are not meant for hitting the trails at night so don’t try! These little babies aren’t cheap but as commuter lights go they are serious quality and highly recommended.

RRP R2 120
Reviewer: Frans le Roux
cSixx is certainly no newbie to our publication and we know they produce some of the best wheels and carbon componentry on the market. Having tested a chain guide and a more affordable upgrade in the shape of a mud guard, I couldn’t wait to give one of their lightweight handlebars a go.
I opted to test the 760mm XCM Lo-Riser carbon bar. The bar has a 10mm rise, perfect for that not-so-racy setup. With a backsweep of 9° and an upsweep of 4°, the bar immediately felt at home on my bike. I used to run a 750mm with more or less the same angles, but it was made from aluminium and looked terrible after a few proper tumbles. For all the weight weenies, these bars only weight 187g, which equates to almost nothing. I have to mention the fact that cSixx offers custom stickers for your bar to match your bike’s colours. They are precision printed and wrap the handlebar to perfection. The fact that they can customise colours on all their products just adds to their appeal. I am thoroughly enjoying the feedback from the handlebars and look forward to many more miles.

RRP R1 499
Reviewer: Frans le Roux
Helmets are the most important part of riding kit. They come in all shapes, sizes and naturally their prices differ quite a lot. For me, the most important aspects I take into account before I buy a helmet are the following: fit, looks and price. When I was offered the chance to sample one of Giant’s helmets, I made sure I got my hands on a Rev. Hold on, I know what you’re thinking – why would a mountain bike publication test a road helmet? Its simple really- the Rev looks sleeker, is lighter than trail helmets and features a sportier design. Besides, who said mountain bikers and roadies can’t share gear? The Rev features 21 big vents and is equipped with a thin webbing called ‘LiteForm’. The retention system is Giant’s own Cinch Pro and a dial at the rear is available to secure the correct fit. The Rev I tested matched our blue Full Sus and it is available in 6 different colours. After testing the helmet for a few months, I was impressed by its low weight, the amount of wind it allows into the helmet to cool your head and by the general fit and feel. Considering the price, I think the Rev should be on your shopping list.

RRP R2 849
Reviewer: Frans le Roux
Back in October 2017, I tested the smaller version of this BLS racing bag and it successfully accompanied me to a few races. What that smaller bag lacked, this new premium and bigger Exclusive Racing bag makes up for. The recipe is simple, what would make packing for a race or ride easier if you were a cyclist? How about a bag with loads of space and cleverly laid out design to help you remember all your riding gear and even a place to keep your keys. Added onto our bag is an optional extra Stage-race add-on (R269) which conveniently hooks onto the bag. The Exclusive bag still has the size and features of the standard bag, but they’ve added some cool details. You can still fit your helmet, a pair of cycling shoes, two big water bottles and enough riding gear to last you for two days. The two waterproof bags for all your wet and dirty clothes are still included and is a smart touch to separate it from your clean and dry gear. Unzip the left-hand side of the bag and you’ll find a compartment with dedicated pockets for your pump, bombs, tubes and other cycling accessories. On a recent trip to Johannesburg I saw a fellow cyclist use his BLS bag as hand luggage – that is another huge bonus if you travel a lot. BLS managed to improve on an already winning recipe with this Exclusive bag. If you want an even more premium offering, BLS are offering the Exclusive in a full leather version too.

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