Thursday, 30 October 2014

Review: Bagaboo Macbook Case

Some things are really worth looking after well; your bike and your computer are two of those. Unfortunately, often the two don't always mix that well, and travelling on a bike can lead to you knocking and bouncing your laptop around a lot. I recommend investing in a good case.

If you want something just so, then it is worth going bespoke; that's what the Bagaboo Macbook Sleeve is all about. Yes, you could buy a standard neoprene sleeve and it would work all right, but it wouldn't look as cool, last as long or perform as well as something like this case.

I had the case made in the same colours as my Workhorse Messenger Bag (Link), it's also the same ultra durable Cordura outer material, which is water resistant and stain resistant. It's padded on all six sides and it has a strong Velcro closure, so it's not going to suddenly open and let your laptop fall to the ground.

As is the trend with all the Bagaboo kit I've tested, it is superbly made. Because it is a custom case, it fits a 13" MacBook perfectly, and has enough room for a few sheets of A4 paper in the case as well. It's got a lovely feel and look about it, and I am sure it will last for years.

Another bombproof and ultra cool product from the Hungarian brand.

View the range of Bagaboo products at Bagaboo.hu (Link)




Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Review: Primal HiVis Fusion Jacket

Summer seems like it is long in the past now, and the short days of autumn and winter are here for a while. Temperatures are dropping and the weather is becoming even more unpredictable. With the racing season behind us too, your riding is more likely to be about training miles rather than race days. All of the above should be reflected in your kit, and autumn typically demands more warmth, protection from the elements and safety in the low light conditions. Conditions that the Primal HiVis Fusion Jacket is designed to cater for exactly...

Whether you're saying that neon fabrics are "back in fashion" or "still in fashion", there is one thing that is obvious, they're in the cycling industry in abundance in 2014/2015. In my mind, that's a great thing; anything you can do with reflective detailing and high visibility colours is a significant bonus when you're riding in traffic.

As the temperatures fell this last week, I pulled on the Fusion jacket and took off on my commute. 

It seems right to start the review with the most obvious thing: the design. For a long time, HiVis meant fluoro jackets that developed a muddied and grey look all too quickly; road spray and grime are not a good friends to bright colours. Primal seem to have really addressed this with the design of the Fusion though: the high visibility panels are on the front of the arms and the upper back, where drivers will see them most; whilst the areas that traditionally discolour quickly (such as the "tyre slick" rear area and the cuffs) are left in black, so they stay looking better for longer. Clever.

Reflective detailing in the design is also subtle and well integrated. There are no massive reflective stickers or straps, rather the stitching on all of the seams has reflective material integrated into it; providing a significant visibility aid. There are also two reflective bands on the left arm, and although these would probably be better suited on the right arm in the UK, they are still a benefit for following traffic and side-on visibility.

The fabric used in the Fusion Jacket is one of the nicest thermal fabrics I've tried. It is called "Strata", and has a deep-pile feel to it, whilst also having a very comfortable four way stretch. It feels luxuriously warm in sub 10 degrees, yet is breathable enough to be usable in anything up to 15. It seems to be washing well too, with no thinning or stretching in high stress areas.  

Perhaps the best highlight of the Fusion Jacket for me though, is the fit. So often winter jackets are baggy, restrictive and cumbersome, but the Fusion feels and is cut far more like a jersey. It uses Primal's "Race Cut Fit" and is very well contoured to the body. There's a full length zipper to provide easy ventilation, and there are three deep pockets on the rear - another feature that is often overlooked in winter apparel. It is like a long sleeved race jersey, with more warmth and added safety features.

Overall, a superb bit of kit. Warm, comfortable, close fitting and bright! There is little doubt in my mind that this is going to get some serious use right through to the months of spring.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Mini Review: Mulebar Salted Caramel Energy Gel

Mulebar certainly do some interesting flavours, and Salted Caramel seems like one that is particularly suited to this time of year, when you can do with a bit of comfort on the bike.

This gel has a great taste, texture and is a good size to squeeze down in one go. It provides a good energy kick, and it also contains electrolytes that should reduce the chance of muscle cramps.

If you keep your energy food mixed, and throw in a few interesting flavours like this, then it can make fuelling on the bike far more enjoyable.

Mulebar products are available from Wiggle (Link)
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