Extras Reviews

Orao Griffith Sunglasses

Orao Griffith SunglassesCyclo loves a good surprise (unless it involves clowns) and testing out the Orao Griffith sunglasses, costing an almost embarrassingly cheap £19.99, has proven one of the biggest surprises of the year.


To be found in the aisles of sporting megastore Decathlon, the Orao Griffith sunglasses could – like a lot of lower-priced apparel and accessories – be easily overlooked as being too cheap to possibly be of quality. Let’s not make that mistake – the Orao brand is growing in popularity and those in the know are tipping a nod at the Griffith.


Whilst you might expect sunglasses costing sub-£20 to be a one-piece affair with little in the way of personalisation the Orao Griffith ship not only with interchangeable nose pieces, but three interchangeable polycarbonate lenses. Switching between the lenses is a relatively simple affair – circumventing all of that fiddly tech solution you find on the likes of Oakley in favour of pulling up gently on the top frame or pressing a finger nail into the small hole to release the one-piece lens and clipping in its replacement. Absolute simplicity and it doesn’t appear to apply excess pressure on either the frame or lens and because the fingers are really only in contact with the centre it doesn’t leave smudges all over the place.


Orao Griffith SunglassesThe three lenses that ship with the Orao Griffith sunglasses are smoked, filtering 18% to 43% of light, orange which does a good job of increasing contrast and filters 8% to 18% of light and clear which filter up to 8% of light and are ideal for simple ‘windscreen’ protection from the environment. All, of course, provide full UV protect and the optics, whilst basic, deliver decent clarity without distortion.


Comfort level is good with soft rubberised tips to the arms adding grip without pressure and the substantial nose piece holding the wrap lens far enough away from the face to help reduce fogging.


Of course there is always some degree of getting what you pay for and those upper end glasses are probably more likely to last you a lifetime – or at least until you leave them at a feed station – but don’t be fooled into thinking that a £200 pair of sunnies are going to be ten times as good as a £20 pair. The Orao Griffith sunglasses – which even ship with a soft carry pouch – look set to give even Wiggle’s similarly pitched dhb range a run for their money.


The Orao Griffith Sunglasses RRP £19.99 are available online at and instore. For an even more bargain spare pair of sunglasses Orao also have the Arenberg glasses for a mere £4.99 – details here.



Wind Blox

Wind BloxBike, shorts, jersey, shoes. Good to go, right? Of course not there’s a host of extras and gadgets out there just waiting to be purchased and the latest to cross the Cyclo desk is the dinky, slightly mysterious, Wind Blox.


Put simply Wind Blox help to eliminate the rushing sound of air as you cycle and whilst you may not have considered this a particular problem that needed solving, the difference they make is both very noticeable and potentially hugely beneficial to safety. To be reductive the Wind Blox (they come in pairs so Wind Bloxes?) are little padded cuffs that attach with Velcro around the front straps of a cycle helmet and partially shield the ears; the manufacturers claim that: ‘Tests have measured a reduction of well over half of the perceived wind noise and often much more…’


Hard to disagree – though not precisely measure – on test. Even at relatively slow speeds the Wind Blox did make a really noticeable difference in how audible vehicles approaching from behind were as well as how far in advance they were audible. As a really low-tech impromptu test we tried riding with only one of the pair in place – the things we do for you…


The Wind Blox fit quickly and stay pretty much in place; they do sit slightly in the peripheral vision, which is noticeable on the first few rides but quickly becomes part of the norm. Their relative bulk against the straps, whilst perfectly comfortable, doesn’t do much for the aesthetic of a helmet but when all things are considered safety has to trump looks and Wind Blox certainly tick that box.


Wind Blox are American and you’ll have to make contact via their website to discuss shipping outside of the States until a UK distributor picks these up, which in Cyclo’s opinion won’t be long. They retail at $15 (£9) for a pair and are available in black, grey, pink and neon green.

Extras Featured Reviews

Secret Training

Secret TrainingSkincare products probably seem like a secondary consideration for most cyclists and by secondary we’re probably being generous with our priorities. But the recently launch Secret Training range of products comes with some impressive credentials, not least of which is the fact that they are the brainchild of Tim Lawson, European Champion Track Cyclist and founder of nutrition brand Science in Sport. Has that got your attention? Time to clean up.


The range is really all encompassing from Anti-Chaffing Cream at £7.99, to Lip Balm at £2.99 and Hygiene Wipes, a snip at £2.50. There’s great attention to detail across the range and a distinct feel of designed by athletes for athletes – although we’re pretty sure that strapline has already been snagged by others. The use of quality ingredients and the idea of keeping things simple when they don’t need complicating seems to be at the heart of the range and the branding and packaging has clearly been thought through to appeal to the more discerning cyclist, although the affordable prices suggest something more egalitarian.


To get a feel for the Secret Training range Cyclo looked at the Race Day Personal Care Kit (£49.99) which contains Anti-Chafing cream, Start Oil, Micro Fibre Body Cloths, Post Race Wash, Lip Balm, Pins in a Tin, Sun Screen, Hand Sanitiser and Hygiene Wipes. In all honesty if you turned up a sportive or, heaven forbid a race, carrying this you would probably be on the receiving end of some odd looks (or deserved comments) but the individual products all stack up well and collectively make a good gift for the ‘cyclist who has everything’.


The Lip Balm and Sun Screen (SPF 30) really impressed, both being jersey pocket friendly, non-greasy and without noticeable scent, whilst the Hand Sanitiser (£3.69 if bought individually), Post-Race Wash (£5.99) in a 250ml spray that looks suitably like you should apply liberally to the bike and the Micro-Fibre Body Cloth (£4.99) make good sense for the end of a long ride. The only thing that disappoint was the Pins in a Tin, but only because we were expecting mini-mints to be inside.


The Secret Training products have clearly been developed and launched with some passion and here at Cyclo we’re more than happy to add them to our race-day bag.


Further details of the Secret Training product range and online purchase at


Extras Featured Reviews

Oakley Radarlock Pitch

oakley radarlock pitchTo our eye there often seems something aggressively angular about Oakley sunglasses – whilst the bulkier Jawbone or Racing Jacket may look good on the hunched over form of a pro cyclist we’ve never found anything quite to our liking; that was until putting the Oakley Radarlock Pitch to the test…


The Oakley Radarlock Pitch manage to perfectly combine both aesthetic desirability and outstanding performance (the latter no great surprise from Oakley) and their stripped back design and lightweight construction – a mere 30g – make them ideal for rides of any length.


Using their bespoke ‘Switchlock Technology’, which makes swapping lenses effortless and ridiculously quick, the Radarlock Pitch – unlike both the Jawbones and Racing Jackets – are frameless below the lens, making them both lighter and less intimidating-looking. The lack of weight also improves comfort; there are no pressure points around the ears as, instead of hooking the ear, they simply rest above them gripping the sides of the head with sleeves made from brilliantly named ‘Unobtainium’ – we hate to be reductive, but suspect ‘Unobtainium’ is basically rubber.


On test with Cyclo the Radarlock Pitch fitted perfectly, stayed absolutely put and remained comfortable for extended periods. There are plenty of options for fine-tuning the fit too including changeable nose pads, a nicety you won’t find in £10 bargain sunnies.


When it comes to lenses Oakley are, quite rightly, considered second-to-none. The Radarlock Pitch ship with two standard lenses, in the case of the ones RunningMonkey were testing: Jade Iridium and the VR28. The former used for medium to bright light with a neutral lens tint for truer colour perception and an Iridium coating to reduce glare and the latter for less harsh conditions and when greater contrast is required.


Jade Iridium option proved outstanding in dazzling conditions and when the sun was low and the double venting to the top, outer edge (also featured on the VR28s) prevented all fogging. Despite the generous wrap of the single piece lens there wasn’t even a hint of distortion, even at the very periphery of vision and it goes without saying that they filter out 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays…


The Oakley Radarlock Pitch will set you back a mighty £195 but are, by far, one of the best pairs on sunglasses we have come across.


Further details of the Oakley Radarlock Pitch at


Extras Featured Reviews

Scicon Phantom 230 Pro Carbon

Scicon Phantom 230It’s fair to say that Scicon know a thing or two about cycle bags and accessories. With thirty-plus years of design experience behind them the Phantom 230 Saddle Bag is the latest offering to impress Cyclo. In every way the epitome of a well-designed and constructed saddle bag it uses the unique ‘roller 2.1’ saddle fixing, making attaching and removal (or switching to the larger Compact 430 or Vortex 480 options) absolute simplicity.


The 2.1 fixing is effectively a two-part clamp – it attaches to any size seat rails without the need for tools and, once in place, allows attachment with a simple ‘twist and click’. However, Cyclo found that it was important to tighten it almost beyond the point that felt component-safe to do so to stop the loaded bag from slipping along the length of the rail.


Despite being the smallest of the bags in the range the 0.23L capacity of the Phantom 230 Saddle Bag is more than enough for the essentials: a spare inner, keys, gels, even a phone and the fact that two tyre levels are integrated means that’s one less thing to remember.


The Phantom 230 is uses a combination of DuPont’s legendarily tough Cordula and carbon fibre, which makes it both light, at 123g, and incredibly durable. Whilst the ruggedness is to be admired, the relative inflexibility of the material does make stuffing that little extra inside problematic – perhaps this is an object lesson in not over-packing for the ride though… The bag closure is a simple zip for easy access, the rubberised zip tag is cold-finger-friendly, and the reflective detailing is an always-welcome addition.


SciCon Mini ToolIf you are also looking for tool options to stash inside the Phantom 230, then the Scicon Mini Tool is a good place to start; a folding combination that includes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm allen heads, a Phillips and flat head screwdriver, and a T25 torx bit, it weighs in at a mere 60g and measures barely 3cm by 3cm. Of course the miniscule size doesn’t allow for a huge amount of either grip or control, but as an emergency roadside option it ticks all of the right boxes.


The SciCon Phantom 230 Saddle Bag retails at around the £24 mark and the Scicon Micro Tool circa £23 – further details and online purchase at


Extras Featured Reviews

Brodie Recovery Phase Cycle Face Moisturiser

Brodie Recovery Phase Cycle Face MoisturiserCycling can certainly punish the body, but whilst most of us take care to hone and recover our muscles and fuel our body how many can honestly say we pay much attention to our skin? Hours on the bike take their toll on the skin with extended exposure to the elements, airborne toxins and sweat which is potentially where the specially formulated Brodie Recovery Phase Cycle Face Moisturiser may come in…


Recommend for use both before and after cycling, Recovery Phase Cycle contains zinc oxide, a natural UVA&B block, as well as shea butter which has natural sun protection properties, although you should note that the cream does not have a measured Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Vitamin B3, which helps to improve the skins moisture levels and helps reduce ‘trans epidermal water loss’ (TEWL) whilst strengthening its barrier function, is also present, as are vitamins C, E, B5 which all act as antioxidants and help promote cell renewal. These are all bolstered by additional botanicals including avocado, evening primrose and rosehip.


The cream does feel a little viscous and takes longer to massage in than other moisturisers we have tried (probably largely due to the relatively ‘thick’ zinc oxide) but the end result – both before and, importantly, after time in the saddle – was noticeably softer skin that improved with an extended period of use. Of particular note was the freshness that came from the soothing aloe vera and cucumber extracts, which almost made us forget we had been on long training rides and had us reaching for a quenching cup of herbal tea…


Here at Cyclo we are as probably guilty as anyone when it comes to neglecting our skin, but Brodie Recovery Phase Cycle Face Moisturiser has done an impressive job of making us sit up and take notice of how important it can be.


Brodie Recovery Phase Cycle Face Moisturiser retails at £17.95 for either fragrance-free or green tea-fragranced 50g pumps – further details and online purchase at


Apparel Extras Featured Reviews

See Me More

See Me MoreAt Cyclo we have often said that the safest approach to cycling in poor visibility or at night is to light up like a Christmas tree. Well the See Me More jacket, which we have been testing through these early spring evenings, seems to have taken that almost literally.


A first glance it looks not unlike most hi-viz slip-over solutions – it’s partway between a tabard and an extensive strap, which slips over the head and can then be fastened and adjusted with the Velcro waistband. The build quality is both substantial and of high quality – the stitching (the quality of which you don’t generally notice until it’s all coming undone) appears particularly robust. But, here’s where the good bit starts: click the switch at the front and eight super-bright white LEDs on the front and a further eight red on the rear illuminate the whole thing.


Yes, we’ve seen LED enhanced hi-viz before and some of it’s pretty good, but the See Me More takes things to another level with exceptionally crisp brightness that can be set to one of two strobe modes or to constant on. The red/white difference is a nice touch too…


It’s not all good news though. Whilst the tabard is really well constructed the battery pack, containing three bulky AAAs, needs some serious though. The flimsy plastic certainly won’t stand up to much wear and tear, the wiring looks like it was put together at a kitchen table and the flap-over pocket which holds everything in supposedly waterproof conditions leaked water when we got caught out in a downpour. All of which is a shame because so much attention has been paid elsewhere.


If the makers – who are potentially on to a very good thing, certainly as a commuter solution – can address the quality of the battery housing and wiring we wouldn’t hesitate in sending you straight out to buy one. With enough feedback Cyclo is pretty sure things will get sorted, so we’ll keep you posted and hopefully the See Me More will make our unequivocal recommendation list pretty soon.


The See Me More retails at £29.99 with further details and online purchase at


Extras Featured Reviews

Scicon AeroComfort 2.0 Bike Bag

scicon_aeroComfort_smallScicon have been creating beautifully constructed bike bags for more than three decades and the high-spec, high-tech AeroComfort 2.0 Bike Bag looks like the kind of pinnacle at which other companies might dust their hands, mutter ‘job done’, and retire. Scicon, of course, will keep on refining and producing ever-greater bags, but in the mean time let’s admire the mighty AeroComfort 2.0 …


If you have ever had to cross your fingers and entrust your beloved bike to the darkness of an aeroplane’s cargo hold you will know what a tense time stretches ahead. The AeroComfort 2.0 removes the stress and, being (essentially) a soft bag, does so at the fraction of a cost of some hardshell options. The AeroComfort unzips along three sides, the frameset drops into the aluminium frame via the included skewers, the wheels are stashed in the padded and reinforced side pockets, then it’s just a case of tightening a couple of straps, zipping the zips and you’re good to go. And because the bag is wider at the front end there isn’t even the need to remove your handlebars.


Okay, we have perhaps over simplified a little – we did need to drop the saddle slightly (but that will depend on your bike set-up anyway) and on first use, when things were unfamiliar, using the AeroComfort was slightly daunting but with practice we got an initial pack time of 15 minutes down to a much more respectable 5.


Scicon AeroComfort 2.0 And it’s not just the relative ease of use and the reassuringly solid construction that impresses here; as much as anything it’s all the added niceties and incredible attention to detail. The rear derailleur is targeted for padding against side shock, the wheel pouches include solid hub protection, the straps and webbing are well thought through and fully adjustable for customisation and the bag even shipped with foam shock tubes to prevent frame scratches. Add to this as saddle cover and even a TSA (Transport Security Administration) approved combination lock which allows airport security (but no one else) access, and the AeroComfort really begins to add up.


If we had one slight criticism it would sit with the external shoulder strap clips which felt like the weakest link and were incredibly stiff to clip into place. That said in transit they have little or no load-bearing responsibility and their resistance to fastening did ease with use.


The Scicon AeroComfort 2.0 Bike Bag is made from heavy-duty Ripstop nylon, weighs in at 8.9kg and is designed for road, tri bikes and MTBs under 29” – it retails at £475, not cheap but given the level of detail and the peace of mind that such well thought through construction brings Cyclo considers it worth every penny.


Further details of the AeroComfort at and take a look at the video below for instructions on how to use.