CTech Product Picks

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I purchase and get a lot of products sent to me but unfortunately many don’t require a “full feature” review when they can be described in a couple hundred words. We’ve now decided on a format that’s able to showcase our a selection of our favorite products in the new regular post of “CTech Product Picks”

CamelBak Big Chill 25oz

The CamelBak CamelBak Podium Big Chill Bottle 25 oz delivers the performance you want and the cool water you need with its revolutionary “Jet Valve”. Made from medical-grade silicone and designed to flow automatically when you squeeze the bottle, the Jet Valve vents pressure and seals shut automatically when you’re done – no biting involved. So say goodbye to yanking your old pop-top bottle open with your teeth and bashing it shut on your hip, as well as bothersome drips and leaks. its double-wall keeps your water colder longer and prevents your bottle from sweating. The Podium® Chill features a unique, low-profile double-wall construction with a layer of airtight, insulating foam. Compared to other insulated bike bottles that can be stiff or bulky (or both), the Chill bottle is lightweight, easy to squeeze, and fits a lot of water volume into a small space. Made from 100% BPA-Free TruTaste™ polypropylene.

RRP: $20.95 from Cell Bikes

Podium Big Chill Website

CTech’s Take:

[ct_blockquote quote=”I never paid much attention to these Camelbak waterbottles when they first came out. I mean, how complicated do you want to make a simple bidon? Then I started asking around getting people’s opinions on this bottle. I was surprised at the rave reviews it was getting so I had to try one myself. I never thought such a trivial item could be improved by so much. The grip feels great in the hand, the insulation actually works (not miraculous, but does work on those hot days), and the nozzle and valve is the best part about it. No leakage and it actually has a pleasant feel to it. Well done Camelbak. Awesome product, but at $21 per bidon these will only be used on special ocassions. The uninsulated bottles at $13 are much better value in my opinion.”]

Lezyne MiniDrive LED Front Light

A compact 150 lumen light built for night riding. Uniform Power Beam reflector and lens assembly produces a dual purpose beam pattern that illuminates both near and far terrain without sacrificing visibility in either field of vision. 100% CNC-machined aluminum housing. High-capacity Li-ion battery is rechargeable and replaceable. Programmed with three steady modes and two high-visibility blinking modes. Comes with two durable Composite Matrix handlebar mounts (31.8mm, 25.4mm) with thumb screw for easy installation and secure attachment. USB charging cable included. RUN TIME:High – 1hr, Medium – 1.5hr, Low – 3hr, Flash 1 – 4hr, Flash 2 – 4.5hr.

RRP: $75

Lezyne LED Lights Website

CTech’s Take:

[ct_blockquote quote=”This small LED light is bright enough to see with on a dark road but wouldn’t be enough to do some night riding on the mountain bike trails. I’ve used this for a week and the only fault I can find is that it’s a little cumbersome to switch modes with the one button (i.e. blinking, high beam, low beam, etc). The form factor of this light is nice as it doesn’t sit too high on the bars and is quite easy to mount without any tools. Being USB rechargeable is fantastic, but realistically I don’t really want to think about charing my light after every second or third ride. However, this is the price you pay for a light this bright.”]

Exposure Flare Light – Rear

Choose from disposable or rechargable battery options and an optional charger pack for those rechargeable batteries. Simple to use, simply rotate the head to turn on and off. 75 lumens, 1 x Seoul P4 LED, Continuous 9 hrs / Flash 22 hrs (disposable batteries), Continuous 3 hrs / Flash 8 hrs (re-chargeable batteries). Supplied with one bracket with silicon band and one Li-ion disposable battery.

RRP: $80

Exposure Flare website

CTech’s Take:

[ct_blockquote quote=”These Exposure lights have been popular item in the bunches lately so I thought I’d give one a try. It’s dead easy to turn off and on and shines very brightly (you won’t want to be on my wheel when it’s dark out!). The mount is easy to install and I’m quite happy this stage. However, the bikeshop where I bought this told me that about one in six of these lights get returned and replaced on warranty. That’s not good at the price of $80. You might want to keep your receipt. Actually, now that I look at the receipt, I can’t believe I paid $80 for a rear tail light.”]

Bontrager RXL Road Shoes

Available in Gold, Silver and Bronze models, Bontrager’s InForm shoes are said to fit more people better, right out of the box. Every Bontrager cycling shoe is designed with their proprietary inForm, a unique 3D shape developed over years of research, testing, and collaboration with riders at the highest level of professional cycling. Carefully designed uppers, insoles, and outsoles work in harmony with the inForm last to give you unbeatable support, comfort, and performance. Every pair of inForm shoes includes a set of customizable eSoles footbeds.

RRP: $275 (approx)

Bongrager InForm Shoes Website

CTech’s Take:

[ct_blockquote quote=”Shoes are a tough one for me to build up the motivation to test out. Changing my meticulously positioned cleats over from my other shoes is no small task. It took me a while to do this but I was surprised at the comfortable fit these shoes took to my feet. I have a wide food and the size 44 that were sent to me fit nicely. They’re light, stiff and comfortable. That ticks all the boxes for me. They’re a little plasticy for my liking, but that’s just aesthetics. I haven’t worn these for long enough to see how they wear in, but so far I’m loving them.”]

Fizik Kurve Saddle

The Fizik Kurve is a saddle which claims to adapt to your every twist and turn. One that interfaces with the rider by working with the rider not against it. Their Mobius Rail is a circular rail construction eliminating pressure points and providing flex. The new Tunable Nose is Fi’zi:k’s newest innovation. This interchangeable tension system allow the rider to customize their flex.

RRP: $300

Fizik Kurve Website

CTech’s Take:

[ct_blockquote quote=”According to Fizik, deciding on a saddle shape for road cycling is as simple as touching your toes. If you can reach your toes easily, then Fizik’s “spine concept” classifies you as a snake; if your toes are out of reach, you’re a bull; andin between, there’s the chameleon. Fizik’s new Kurve range of saddles provides a model for each type of rider and named them accordingly–Snake, Bull and Chameleon–to avoid any confusion. For those already familiar with Fizik saddles, the Kurve Snake resembles the Arione (a flat saddle), the Kurve Bull resembles the Alliante (a dipped saddle), and the Kurve Chameleon resembles the Antares (a slightly dipped saddle).

Fizik are marketing its Kurve range on the strength of a new design that allows substantially more movement in the shell of the saddle. A unique one-piece cradle serves as the rails rather than a conventional set of prongs, and is held in place by an elastomer at the nose of the saddle, which can be swapped from soft to hard, to stiffen the saddle shell. The outcome is a saddle that weighs 220-230 grams and retails near $300.

Fizik provides some interesting graphics in support of the spine concept on their website– an eye-watering depiction of testicles bouncing on a saddle–where comfort for bulls, snakes and chameleons becomes a matter of protecting your boys. I can’t argue with this strategy, but finding a saddle that suits the unique shape of your pelvis has little to do with the flexibility of your hamstrings. Rather than reaching for your toes, sit on each model and let your bum decide whether you’re a bull, snake, chameleon or otherwise. Regarding the rail design, I found the Kurve delivered on its promise of more shell movement than my Alliante, and while I wasn’t able to compare the effects of swapping the soft elastomer for a hard one, I like that Fizik provides an option for tuning the saddle. The surface of the Kurve is quite slick, so I found myself moving around on the saddle a lot, but according to other riders, this soon disappears. I’m sure some riders will find the extra shell movement of the Kurve comfortable on long rides, but given the price, I’d recommend finding a shop that can provide a demo model, so you can decide for yourself. “]

Arundel ‘Dual’ Saddle Bag

A simple one-strap, one-zipper design makes it easy to attach to your seat rails and then access the contents of the Dual. Inside is room for all your cycling essentials and yet it still fits snugly and smoothly underneath your saddle. The leather label isn’t just for looks; it’s intended to go underneath your seatpost’s seat clamp to prevent wear on the bag.  Also, a good description of the Arundel Dual on Competitive Cyclist.

Arundel Dual Website (can be purchased in Melbourne at Artisan Cycles)

CTech’s Take:

[ct_blockquote quote=”When Dan from Artisan Cycles asked me if I wanted to test one of these Arundel bags out I brushed it off thinking that there can’t be much to say about a saddle bag. Then I saw a mate of mine using one and I asked him about it. I couldn’t shut him up. He’s been using his for 5 years and besides being a little dirty, it looked brand new. The leather patch does it’s job while giving it a touch of elegance. It’s large enough to put a couple tubes, CO2 canister, and a multitool but is narrowly shaped in such a way that it doesn’t rub against the legs. And for those who think that riding with a saddle bag isn’t PRO:”]

Cycling Inquisition Socks and Colombian Culinary Delights

Cycling Inquisition Colombian inspired socks and nutritional products are guaranteed to improve your climbing abilities through the power of its patented Placebo Technology™.

Cycling Inquisition Website

CTech’s Take:

[ct_blockquote quote=”Cycling Inquisition is one of cycling’s best blogs and Klaus educates, entertains, and makes me laugh on a daily basis. Mostly about his native country Colombia, Cycling Inquisition is an extremely well written journal that pays tribute to Colombian cyclists as well as many others. As he says, ‘The blog’s tone is decidedly schizophrenic, with one post focusing on Colombia’s cycling history, and the next being about Johan Museeuw’s hair plugs.’ The socks that Klaus sent me have miniman aero advantage as they are pure climbing socks. They do in fact make me soar like an eagle and I’ll be wearing them at the 3 Peaks this weekend.

The Panela is a basically a solid piece of sucrose and fructose obtained from the boiling and evaporation of sugarcane juice. It’s pretty sweet. The Bocadillo is a delicious guava paste snack which is popular in Colombia; very different from a ‘sandwich’ in Spain. The Cafe de Colombia team brought bocadillo with them to the TdF in the 80’s. Giovanni Jimenez Ocampo remembers his first race by saying, ‘My mom sewed my race number to a t-shirt making it into a pocket. She put a few bocadillos in the pocket and wished me good luck!’

Sorry that it took me 6 months to post this Klaus…”]

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