1. CIOVITA MENS CORSA BIB
RRP R1 499
REVIEWER: SHAYNE DOWLING
Ciovita are the new kids on the block when it comes to high-end quality cycling gear. In a very short time they have outgrown their original premises and have staked their claim in the burgeoning cycling market which is not an easy task considering the number of established brands available as well as a plethora of companies dealing in custom apparel. Ciovita have quickly become a common sight at races and on the trails due to funky and fresh design and styling, quick and reliable turnaround and a firm policy of not compromising on quality. This becomes quite apparent in their men’s bibs: the garment is all about quality, functionality and comfort. Lycra imported from Italy is the mainstay of the bib, great shoulder straps that are comfortable and wide, so they don’t dig into your skin. There are wide elastic bands that have great grip to keep the bibs in place.
Of course, the main component of any bib is the chamois, this is the bit that really counts, frankly.
It’s where your bod makes contact
with the bike and it’s what you will be sitting on for potentially long periods of time. It’s not just about a comfortable seat but also modern material allows for moisture absorption and “moulding” to your butt – less friction and less movement. The Ciovita bib has an excellent chamois and is damn comfortable.
Durability? I haven’t had the bib for long enough, but I have ridden it in a number of different conditions and particularly in real heat it’s been brilliant. A highly recommended product. www.ciovita.com
2. SPECIALIZED GROUND CONTROL GRID 2BLISS READY TYRES
REVIEWER: FRANS LE ROUX
Yes, it’s a mouth full, but in practice it’s a lot easier to explain. When the time came to replace my mountain bike’s tyres, I jumped onto Google to see what’s available. Riding a more trail orientated bike, I was not interested in skinny 2.0” or 2.1” tyres. Instead I was leaning more towards the 2.3-2.4” versions. I opted for Specialized’s Ground Control 2.3” Grid 2Bliss tyres. Let me break it down for you. Ground Control is the brands remarkably versatile trail tyre. In 29er iteration you could have them in 2.1” and the beefier 2.3” ones I opted for. The tyres also feature something called GRIPTON which is the sticky compound of which its made of. This compound ensures better traction in any condition. Then we get to the GRID part. Grid is what Specialized call their sidewall protection which means less pinch flats and sidewall cuts when the going gets rough. What Grid allowed me to do whether I was riding, or racing was lower my pressure to improve my level of grip and handlebar feedback. For my weight (84kg) I kept the pressure between 1.6-1.8bar. I found this worked for my application. I used the Ground Control’s on my recent Wines2Whales race and over the three days and more than 200km they performed faultlessly. During Day One I noticed that my feedback from the bike was a bit numb and harsh- after I stopped to deflate them all was well once more. Although I haven’t used these tyres in any rainy or muddy conditions (due to the ongoing drought), my dry and dusty experiences have been very good. The Ground Control’s are not a low rolling resistance or lightweight tyre. They are for the rider who seeks a near bulletproof tyre that they can ride anywhere. They are available in various 650b’s sizes too. http://www.specialized.com
REVIEWER: FRANS LE ROUX
We’ve all been there, stranded next to the road or on your favourite trail with a dreaded flat tyre. Tyre puncture repair kits have come along way in the last five years. You hardly see anyone riding with a spare tube because the latest tyres are way tougher. If you’re a keen mountain biker, chances are that you’ve used a plug and Co2 bomb (canister) before. Dynaplug are well known for their various tyre repair solutions and their new Racer unit is no exception. It’s lighter, faster to use and made from durable billet aluminium materials. Weighing in at a scarcely believable 23g, the Racer features two different pre-loaded plugs. If you have a big hole in your tyre, you can use the Megaplug which is three times thicker than a standard plug. If you have a smaller puncture you can pull on the other side to reveal a standard plug which is also ready to go. The Dynaplug Racer is made in the USA and it feels like a premium product. I found it so small and lightweight that I actually forgot about it completely during my rides. Luckily for me I haven’t had the need to test it during the past few months races or rides. A plug refill kit can be purchased for R159. Unfortunately, this type of quality product comes in at a premium. http://www.bikalot.com
REVIEWER: FRANS LE ROUX
A bicycle chain attracts loads of dirt and grime during your ride and cleaning it is usually a time-consuming mess. There are plenty of quick fixes and old “boererate” like using some petrol or diesel and a used toothbrush to clean your chain. This Muc-Off product is a 2-1 combo which uses a can of biodegradable chain cleaner with a chain brush attached to the nozzle. All you need to do is place the chain within the chain bath, make sure the bath is closed and press the nozzle on top of the can. While turning your crank backwards, the high pressure solvent is sprayed onto the dirty chain while the chain bath’s brushes do their thing. After a couple of rotations, you will notice your chain will appear cleaner. A word of warning though, make sure you clean your chain outside as some of the chain cleaner tends to spill. I found the Chain Doc easy to operate and very effective even on a severely dirty chain. http://www.adventureinc.co.za