CTech February Product Picks
In the February edition of CTech Product Picks we feature cycling kit from Fyxo and Morvelo, the Fly6 tail-light and HD camera, Baller’s Ride NFS chain lube, some casual apparel and other items from Fyxo, the Easy Bike Repair app for iOS and Android and some odds and ends from Bicycle Age. Enjoy!
Fyxo can be relied on for unique cycling kit. His Café Racer jersey is a good example: inspired by Faema’s E61 coffee machine, it serves as a classy nod to a bygone era without looking old-fashioned.
The materials are all familiar to the modern market though: the jersey features a full-length zipper, lightweight side panels, and a silicone gripper for the waist.
The Café Racer jersey pairs well with Fyxo’s classic bibshort. These shorts feature Cytech’s elastic padding while silicone grippers are added to the leg cuffs to stop them from creeping up. Both pieces of clothing are made by Pedla and are available in sizes ranging from S-XL for the jersey and XS-XL for the bibs
For more information visit Fyxo’s web store.
RRP: Café Racer jersey, $119; Classic bib, $159.
The bold white Fyxo logos may evoke a premium brand that also uses Cytech padding but these bibs don’t have the same asking price. Great value, size medium provided a great fit too, and Goldilocks would be very happy with the thickness of the padding.
The waist is fairly high but the material offers plenty of stretch when needed. I’d like to see the leg elastic/grippers updated with a wide strip of compressive material though, because they really start to bite into the skin after an hour of wear.
The jersey has a race fit, there’s no sag and the length of the size medium was ideal, coming to rest on top of the hips. The material is light, perfect for spring, summer and autumn temperatures.
Keep an eye on Fyxo’s shop — he likes to keep his jersey runs small so he can move on to a fresh design every month or so.
by Matt Wikstrom
Fly6 tail-light and HD camera
Andrew Hagen and Kingsley Fiegert invented the Fly6 tail-light and camera after Kingsley was struck from behind, while cycling, by a projectile hurled from a car. There was nothing that could be done to prevent the incident, but a rear-mounted camera would have helped identify the driver of the vehicle.
The device is now nearing the end of its prototype phase and the recent success of their Kickstarter campaign will see them heading into production by the middle of the year. The fifth generation prototype combines a tail-light that pumps out 9.8 lumens while continuously recording at 30 frames/second with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
Power is supplied by a USB-rechargeable lithium ion battery that is built into the light and provides five hours of run time. An 8GB micro-SD card is included which allows two hours of uninterrupted recording before it loops back to the beginning.
Two sets of mounting hardware are provided so the device can be shared between a couple of bikes along with an extra set of longer straps and an adaptor for aero seatposts.
RRP: $169 AUD
I’ll be doing a comprehensive review of the fifth generation prototype in the coming weeks, but I’m already impressed with the quality of this prototype. Andrew and Kingsley have obviously done a lot of work to refine the device and develop the packaging; better yet, they’re aiming to further improve and refine the Fly6 before they go into production.
The price is a real attention-grabber and the value gets better when you consider that a 8GB card and two sets of mounting hardware are all included in the box.
The Fly6 was designed to protect your back while you’re out on the bike, but Andrew and Kingsley have developed a recording device that promises to compete with GoPro as a recreational video camera.
by Matt Wikstrom
Morvelo Flandrien kit
Established in the UK in 2009, Morvelo was created by a couple of graphic designers, Oli Pepper and Dave Marcar, that also share a deep passion for all things bike. The two started out with t-shirts but now the company offers a diverse range of apparel for all types of bike riding.
Morvelo’s cycling shorts are designed as a compression garment and use Power Lycra made by MITI, a well-known supplier to the cycling apparel industry. A dual layer chamois provides both shock absorption and ventilation and is designed with long rides (two to six hours) in mind. The jersey is a light polyester weave and features a full-length zip, three rear pockets plus a fourth concealed pocket for valuables.
The Flandrien kit is one of the company’s current design themes that comprises a jersey with matching shorts and cap. Morvelo provides a lot of detail on the company’s manufacturing process, but in short, they spend a lot of time on each step of the process.
All garments are made in Europe. The cycling shorts are available in sizes S-XXL, while the jersey ranges from S-XXXL. The cap comes in one size.
For more information visit Morvelo.
RRP: Jersey, $110; bibs, $147; cap, $26.
Morvelo’s design aesthetic is simple and pleasing, and so it goes with the Flandrien kit. Underneath it, Morvelo have designed a quality product. Both the shorts and the jersey benefit from little touches that suggest careful deliberation. For example, the arm and leg cuffs are near perfect — they hug the limbs without ever being constrictive.
The padding in the shorts is thick while the compression is subtle and most obvious around the pelvis. The jersey is light and comfortable, though the fit (size medium) was quite generous for my small build.
The jersey was also much longer than other brands, suggesting I’d be better off going down a size. In contrast, the medium size shorts were a perfect fit. Let this kit hang in the wardrobe until the weekend when you have the time for a long ride and can enjoy the benefits of a great piece of kit.
by Matt Wikstrom
Baller’s Ride NFS Chain Lube
We introduced Baller’s Ride NFS chain lube in the October edition of Product Picks last year. In that time nothing has changed regarding its formulation, price or availability, though enthusiasm for it has probably grown. NFS remains a high-performance wet lube that only needs to be used lightly to serve hundreds of kilometres of riding in any conditions.
For more information visit Baller’s Ride.
RRP: US$15 plus $US10 for Australia-wide delivery.
In my initial post, I stressed the importance of using this lube sparingly, and after four months of use, I can assure you there’s no need for excess. One light application serves the chain for weeks at a time, keeps it running smoothly and quietly without attracting much grit.
I’ve yet to test performance in the wet, but spraying the bike with water and leaving it until the next day had no effect — the chain remained squeak-free.
After a few months of riding, the cassette and jockey wheels are bound to collect grit (or in the case of dry lubes, the cast-off wax) and this applies to the NFS lube. However, it doesn’t take much effort to clean — a dry cloth and a couple of minutes were all I needed to wipe away a few months of grime.
The creators would rather that the side plates of the chain be wiped down after every ride but I doubt most riders will ever bother. All told, I’m a believer. NFS chain lube is quick and easy to use, it performs well for a remarkably long period, and the residue is very easy to clean up.
by Matt Wikstrom
Fyxo apparel and swag
Fyxo’s take on cycling is coloured by his adoration of an earlier era when Merckx ruled the road, then distorted by a wicked sense of humour. Campagnolo’s iconic delta brake is featured on one of Fyxo’s t-shirts — only a connoisseur would appreciate its value — but the Campy logo is corrupted by a wry comment (or is it an assertion?), “Don’t stop me”.
RRP: Baby suits $40-55; Don’t Stop Me tee $30; Fyxo bidons $19; Gelati Mama jersey $119.
Fyxo’s apparel achieves its appeal effortlessly. Every piece of gear always manages to surprise me with its wry humour and cool authenticity. The baby suits are a standout in this selection — haute couture for the babyset.
This gear is a great reminder that there is more to cycling than Strava leaderboards and high-priced carbon hardware, that there’s a good reason to have a laugh at ourselves, and life is too short to ride a shit bike or wear dull clothing.
by Matt Wikstrom
Easy Bike Repair app
Jacob Obarzanek claims that his Easy Bike Repair app is the “most detailed bike repair manual” for iOS and Android. It features step-by-step instructions for 50 aspects of bike maintenance, from adjusting brakes to setting up rear derailleurs to fixing buckled wheels, many of which include photos.
The app has a “Problem” section where you can select your issue from a list of 26 common hassles, from “My chain is dirty” to “When should I replace my chain” to “My knee hurts”.
The app also features sections on routine maintenance (such as the safety checks you should do after 1,000km), a guide to proper bike fitting and a handy guide to bike anatomy.
RRP: AUD $1.99 for iOS; AUD $2.67 for Android
For more information, visit the Easy Bike Repair website which has links through to the iOS and Android app stores.
Easy Bike Repair certainly won’t turn you into a fully-fledged bike mechanic overnight, nor will it eliminate the need to visit your local bike shop every now and again. But if you’re the sort of cyclist that wants to start dabbling in your own home repairs, this is a great place to start.
The text instructions and diagrams are easy enough to follow but the addition of instructional videos would make this app even more accessible for a lot of users.
The app deals mainly with the basics of bike repairs so advanced users will be probably need to trawl the web for information about more specific or advanced repair jobs.
The app’s white font was a little garish and hard to read at times, and some of the text could have done with a closer proofread. But minor criticisms aside, this is a handy little guide with a lot of information in one place that’s well worth the $2 price tag.
by Matt de Neef
Bicycle Age odds and ends
BicycleAge is a Sydney-based online store that sells a range of cycling-related accessories and gifts, from jewellery, to cleaning products to home decor. We were sent four cycling figurines, a pair of bike chain cufflinks and a set of vintage cycling coasters to review.
RRP: Figurines $11.95 each; Cufflinks $49.95 for a pair; Coasters $19.95.
For more information, visit the Bicycle Age website.
Bicycle Age’s die cast, zinc alloy figurines have reportedly been made in the same family-owned factory in France for more than 60 years. Each figurine is handpainted which makes them all “unique and slightly different to the rest”.
We noticed that the painting on a couple of the figurines was a little sloppy in parts, but these figurines certainly have charm. They’re perfect for bookshelves, for your desk at work or for illustrating stories about proper cycling technique.
These cufflinks are handmade in Oregon using old bike chains which are reportedly put through a “rigorous cleaning process” before being shaped. We found that each cufflink had a tiny bit of residual grease on them and if you buy these we would certainly recommend given them a clean before pinning to your $300 shirt.
But these cufflinks are certainly smart-looking and can help you say “I’m a cyclist” even when you’re nowhere near your bike.
This set of four vintage cycling coasters features some great imagery from cycling’s long and rich history. Legendary figures such as Fausto Coppi and Charly Gaul are featured, as are some epic landscapes that highlight just how hard the racing of yesteryear really was. Each coaster has text on the back explaining what the photo on the front shows.
These coasters are a great gift idea for a cycling-obsessed mate, or if you want to bring a bit of cycling into your home or office.
by Matt de Neef