Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Kit reviews from my LEJOG ride

 Kona Honky Tonk 2009 model

As an overall package this is fantastic all round bike. It held up without any real problems through rough road, high speed riding, light off road riding, hill climbing and riding in torrential rain on flooded roads. The gearing is a little high, and I found myself envious of Dan’s Charge Juicer with 3 front rings and mudguards, on a number of occasions. As complaints go that’s not really much is it. The bar tape and seat feel cheap, but do you know what, they work and are comfortable and hardwearing. I only needed to change the pedals and mount extras (pump, cages, saddlebag) to turn this into a proper lightweight tourer.

Shutt VR – Merino Cycling Jersey

I ended up wearing this for about 12 of the 17 days we were out. In the rain it kept me warm, in the sun it kept me cool. I had a backpack’s worth of stuff in the pockets, yet it still kept it’s shape. Mine was a gift from Shutt (we asked for kit and they kindly gave us a selection of samples as they were between seasons) and would have cost the same as my other shirts put together...however... In the end I could have managed with just this and a long sleeved top.

Bontrager Hard Case All Weather tyres 700x28

I pulled six shards of glass out of these the day before we left, numerous stones and thorns on the trip and not one puncture. Quite a hard ride but I had as much grip as I could ever expect in all conditions, on and off road. 1400 miles without a puncture. Enough said

Bontrager Classic Caps

A black technical one to wick the sweat from my head and keep the sun out of my eyes. A white merino one to keep my head warm in the rain. Both worked a treat. My trip would have been less comfortable by far without these.

Shimano – Sora Drive train, Pedals, Shoes

The only components I had problems with were all Shimano. The rear derailleur bent and the cleats in my right shoe broke when the pedal release mechanism seized. All fixable, nothing permanently broken. I was very unhappy at the time, but this is all entry level kit asked to do a 1,000 mile tour. Things break

B-twin bib shorts

£29.99 and the reason I still have a working bottom. A head and shoulders above the other shorts at this price, and the cheapest bibs I found.