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 firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured here.
1.WESTFALIA BC 60 BIKE RACK RRP
R5 999 (excl delivery)
Westfalia is a well-known automotive company that invented the ball towbar. They are not only the biggest manufacturer of towbars globally but also claim to be the largest manufacturer of cycle racks worldwide. Well-known in Europe, the Westfalia bike rack is however new to South Africa and it is great to have another option in the local market. Assembly of the BC 60 stand-on bike rack was ridiculously easy, nothing to do besides putting on the number plate really. Putting the rack onto the towbar is a simple process but put the key in the locking mechanism and ensure its unlocked first otherwise it won’t engage – the key can only be removed once locked. I found out the hard way with me trying to fish the key out my back pocket while balancing the rack on my knee … The rack weighs around 18kg so not the lightest but by no means heavy. Immediately evident is the German engineering, solid with quality feel to every piece of the rack. Security being key, the towbar lock mechanism and the removable frame holding-arms are all lockable with the same key. Once the holding-arms are in place and tightened and locked, it should be very difficult to remove the bikes from the rack – of course an additional bike lock would still be needed. The wheel cradles will handle most tyre widths comfortably and they are easily moved backwards or forwards on a smart ratchet system so that the bikes can be kept comfortably apart. The wheels are locked into place on the cradles with an excellent, easy to use strap ratchet system. We tested the rack with two 29ers; they were easy to load and ensure they were in a position so there was no contact between handlebars and seats. We still put a piece of foam in between the rear wheel skewer and the front fork of the bikes – with a compact rack this is a good precaution. The rack has a tilt system that allows you comfortable access to your boot even with the bikes loaded. When tilted the bikes are well away from the vehicle and no part of the bikes or the rack touch the ground. It is easily controlled and does not need a lot of strength to operate. The unit folds down to a compact size and I really liked that the lights folded back and that the rack could be stored easily taking up very little space – you could keep it in a decent sized boot or back of your SUV, no problem. The rack has a modern design and will look at home on any vehicle. The Westfalia BC 60 is very well priced at R5 999. It is one of the best racks we have tested to date and at this price should be a serious consideration if you are in the market for a stand-on bike rack.
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Reviewer: Shayne Dowling
2.SQUISHY BAG TOOL
This product was created with riders like myself in mind. I used to be the oke who had all his money, cards, tyre levers, tools and Co2 bombs in my shirt pockets during a ride. They would rattle, fall out or create the sagging bulge at the back of my shirt. Not only did this make me feel stupid, it was also somewhat dangerous if your multi-tool decided to poke you in the back during a tumble. Thanks to Squishy Bag, my problems are solved. They’ve created a pouch which zips open to store all your necessities during a ride. With a burly zipper and some squishy material, it fits into your cycling shirt pocket with ease. I used mine on a couple of rides previously and even had one fall out (during a fall). Nothing was moved or damaged on the inside while the zipper was covered in dirt it still managed to open without any hassle. I should note that the Squishy Bag is not waterproof – don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Reviewer: Frans le Roux
RRP R4 499
Wearable tech has changed and morphed drastically over the past couple of years. When the time came for me to acquire a new sports watch, I did some proper digging and after months of reviews and ‘homework’ I managed to order a new Suunto Spart Sport Stainless Wrist HR. A helluva name I know, but the watch itself is a lot less complicated than that. Initially it took quite some time to track down this illusive stainlesssteel version. After not having stock, to having stock and late shipments I eventually picked it up in Hermanus while enjoying my December break. I have to admit that I don’t have the world’s biggest wrist so the 46mm width fits perfectly. The looks are subjective but for the money I can’t seem to find any other sports watch which looks half as good. With no less than seven different colour options to choose from, you are bound to find the one you like. The straps are black, and they don’t show marks or dirt, which is a good thing. Weighing only 66g you barely notice it when you wear the watch. The amount of tech and functions it has is pretty unreal. I’ve ran, swam and regularly cycled with it, and it is yet to miss a beat. Apart from the odd heart-rate spikes, it worked perfectly. During a recent mountain bike race the watch managed to track a five-hour ride faultlessly. Battery life is great too as I charge it once a week. Talking about the heart rate monitor, gone are the days of the terrible chest strap – the Spartan Sport features a new generation wrist-based monitor. The preloaded activities include gym, hiking, kayaking and much much more. You can create intervals, follow your heart rate zones and even leave breadcrumbs as you go so that you don’t get lost. According to Suunto and numerous other reviewers this watch has some of the most accurate GPS’s tracking systems on the market. The Spartan Sport is not only a training aid, but it has some activity tracking features too. You can track your sleep, steps and daily calories 24/7. The smart-features enables you to see various incoming emails, messages, calls and even calendar notifications. All in all, I’m very happy with the Suunto. If you consider that it works perfectly with my Huawei smartphone and its available for less than R5 000, it’s a bulletproof option with a superior five-year guarantee.
Reviewer: Frans le Roux