Extras Reviews

Cateye HL-EL530 LED Front Light

cateye HL-EL530Here at Cyclo we’ve flirted with Cateye lighting on and off for a long time. The manufacturer has a fine reputation for general reliability, innovation and price range but we can’t help thinking that there’s something with the Cateye HL-EL530 LED front light that doesn’t quite add up. There are certainly plenty of plus points to consider with the model: at around £50 it’s a good mid-level price point (downright cheap when you think of something like the NiteRider Pro 700 at ten times the price), it uses the bespoke ‘optiCUBE’ technology resulting in an almost embarrassingly bright shine for a single LED, and reportedly serves up 50% more light than it’s predecessor, the EL-500.


On the downside that spectacular brightness drops off fast (and exponentially) with time – yes, as per manufacturer’s claims you may well get close to 90hours of burn on a set of four AA batteries, but boy will you notice a drop well within the 20hour mark. Additionally the one we’ve had on test over the winter months has developed an intermittent loose connection that has a tendency to plunge us into pitch blackness just when it’s least convenient (actually, when is it convenient to be plunged into the dark?) Maybe we’ve just been unlucky…


A slightly less dramatic complaint is that the gun-metal detailing around the bulb housing that looked pretty cool to begin with has chipped and flaked making it look rather sad and cheap within a pretty small amount of time. There have also been reports of the plastic flanges that hold the bulb housing in place (and mark the point of most stress when unscrewing it to replace batteries) cracking – Cyclo’s is so far holding up well, but it is another worrying sign.


Okay, it’s not all bad news. At sub-£50 it’s robust and bright enough for some general kicking about on your bike – perhaps it’s just that we have come to expect more from Cateye…


Extras Reviews

Specialized Airtool Mini

Specialized airtool miniThe Specialized Airtool Mini is one piece of kit that Cyclo can, without question, describe as having been seriously put through its paces, mostly because it’s been our on-bike in-a-crisis pump of choice for several years and so has rarely been off our radar.


Now, at a tiny 25cm you probably wouldn’t want to use this as day a day to day pump – it takes an age to fully inflate a new inner and the flat grip end is positively blister-inducing for extended use – but weighing less than 100g it’s near faultless for roadside emergencies. With an aluminium handle shaft and chamber it ships with a bottle boss mount and can even, according to Specialized, “fit in a jersey pocket” – though to be honest we’d hate to meet anyone with a jersey quite that big.


The locking head (a good secure fit without any sign of leakage) converts from presta to schraeder valves and a neat added touch is the cap end which unscrews to reveal a glueless mini-patch and micro sandpaper. On a pedantic point the manufacturers did claim that it came supplied with mini-patches (plural) rather than the measly single patch that ours contained, but the compartment is nonetheless a fun bonus feature that could even be used for squirreling away a jelly bean or two to cheer yourself up in the event of a flat.


The newest iteration from Specialized has a very sleek carbon fibre-effect finish (Cyclo’s is brushed-metal but still, we think, pretty classy) and at less than £15 remains an utter bargain. Despite its size and weight the airtool mini is also surprisingly robust. Ours has survived more than one quite spectacular wipe-out and even remained un-dented when dropped from a third floor window. The latter not so much a controlled experiment as a freak accident, the details of which are too embarrassing to recount.


Extras Recovery Reviews

Elete Water

If you’re interested in good hydration on your ride (if not, why not? Drink up) and you have a sensible aversion to stuffing your body full of unnatural goo, then Elete Water could be just the product for you.


Sourced from the evaporation of the mineral-rich water in the Great Salt Lake in Utah and processed on its shores in an environmentally protected area, Elete is an electrolyte mix that can be added to water (or squash, juice, etc) without any noticeable “salty” taste and which provides replacement minerals – magnesium, potassium, chloride and sodium – in ionically charged form to those lost through strenuous exercise. In addition to the medically-proven fact that stabilising your salt losses from sweat benefits endurance and helps in maximising your performance, there is also anecdotal evidence that using Elete can reduce your overall quantity of liquid intake which in turn helps avoid the danger of hyper-hydration (known as “water intoxication”).


From a rider’s point of view, and aside from the natural credentials, there are two other benefits to Elete that Cyclo really rates: Firstly it comes in a tiny 25ml ‘dripper bottle’ which, despite its minuscule size, can be used to make up to 10litres of electrolyte-rich drink. Secondly at around £6.50 per bottle that equates to just 30p for a 500ml drink. Larger bottles are available in 120, 240, 480ml sizes that can be used either to make up drinks pre-ride or to refill the “dripper bottle” (it has a nifty pop-off top) with economy of scale on these larger bottles bringing the price of 500ml of refreshment down to just 8p. We love a bargain at Cyclo.


Available from


Extras Reviews

dhb VS Madison Vision

dhb and Madison glassesCow poo, gel wrappers and bees. Just some of the things that haven’t hit me in the eye recently. A pair of shades isn’t just for looking good (though it helps) but as they say that the eyes are the windows of the soul I’d rather not get stuff all over my windows thank you. Yet sunglasses – just like umbrellas – are something you never fully own, they’re just on loan to you until you leave them on a fence/train/pub table. For this reason Cyclo has been looking at two similarly priced and styled sets of budget glasses.


The dhb Triple Lens are certainly not the most technical accessory in the world but they are tough, well appointed and light on the face. The three interchangeable lenses – grey for bright sun, blue for enhanced contrast conditions and clear for when you want them to act purely as a windscreen – repel sweat/rain well and are, naturally 100% UVA and UVB absorbent. Switching one lens for another is tricky (certainly not something we’d relish doing mid-ride) and puts the kind of strain on the frame that seems likely to be the way of their final destruction. In comparison the Madison Vision d’Arcs Triples ship with three lenses (dark for sun, yellow for low-level, clear for windscreen mode) that are much easier to clip in place but we found a far greater level of image distortion here which hinted at the budget nature of the optics. Both the dhb and Madisons, which have straighter arms, fitted well and stayed put and both had good wrap-round protection – in Cyclo’s opinion the Madisons were more inclined to pinch slightly above the ear but this is, of course, open to individual experience.


Naturally try before you buy but for our money the dhb have the slight edge over the Madisons.  At around £25 for the dhbs and £30 for the Madisons clearly neither are in the league of the upper reaches of, say, Oakley but they do the job well enough and are less likely to provoke tears when you leave them in a pub garden.



Extras Featured Reviews

Giro Prolight

Giro Prolight reviewHere at Cyclo we have gone through a ridiculous number of helmets, not because we’re especially careless (honest), but because we love new kit and can’t resist. Now the Giro Prolight has become our brain-protector du jour and we have to say we’re quietly impressed. Giro have been producing quality products for more than a quarter-century – Lance Armstrong amongst others is a fan – and the Prolight, the makers claim, ‘Redefines a new generation of ultra lightweight helmets’; at a ludicrously feathery 175 grams (for the medium) that’s probably hard to argue with. Combining Italian-made webbing with Giro’s bespoke Roc Loc SL self-adjusting system, which replaces traditional plastic cradle affairs with an elastic arrangement that interlocks with the webbing, the Prolight sports no less than 25 vents to direct cool air in and actively drive hot air out.


At first glance things look a little flimsy but put your faith in the lid and remember, however light, the Prolight has had to leap through the same rigorous safety hoops as a helmet with twice the bulk and weight. In our experience the fit and feel has been fantastic and even those little (mostly unnecessary) micro-adjustments on the fly haven’t proven tricky with everything staying just where we wanted it even on our longest jaunts.


So, negatives? Well at the best part of £150 the Prolight certainly isn’t a cheap choice and if you’re looking for weight alone as a factor you could opt for the Limar Pro104 Ultralight which slips in at just 5g heavier and a good £20 saving over the Prolight. Having said that, Cyclo would argue that the Ultralight is the less comfortable choice and when it comes to looks (both your own and those jealous ones you’re likely to be on the receiving end of) the Giro Prolight wins hands down.


Available in four colour options: Black/Carbon, Blue/Black, Red/Black, White/Silver.


Extras Reviews

Crank Brothers 19 Function Multi Tool

We love shiny, pretty things at Cyclo and the Crank Brothers 19 Function Multi Tool is oh-so shiny and pretty – the kind of gadget you’d expect to win design awards or to have been invented by HR Giger if Alien needed to fix a bike on the run. But is it all style over substance?


Crank Brothers 19 Function Multi Tool

A little yes, a little no. It certainly punches well for its not inconsiderable weight (175g without the “flask” casing – more on that below), feeling reassuringly chunky rather than bloated or weighty and serving up two open, four spoke and seven hex wrenches, plus 8,9 and 10 speed compatible chain tools, one flat and two phillips-head drivers. The tools are all high-tensile steel, with the frame made from weight-saving aluminium and the carry “flask” that it can be packed in to is a polymer with steel logo. In actual fact the “flask” is something of a weak point and rather redundant; at Cyclo we have pretty much discarded it in favour of a little stuff-sack containing all our other on-the-fly bits and bobs.


Also on the down-side our 19 is showing a few rust-spots in places and the fold-outs have a tendency to loosen over time, requiring the occasional back-home maintenance if you want to avoid “floppy tool syndrome” (and who doesn’t!) No tyre levers and with a RRP of £25.00 it’s not the cheapest option out there. But if all this sounds like grumbling, let’s redress the balance a little: the Crank Brothers 19 Function Multi Tool has an almost perfect feel to it, carries a lifetime warranty, performs it intended functions peerlessly – still no sign of any “rounding” on the hex tools after prolonged use – and is (have we mentioned this already?) truly a thing of beauty…