Saturday, 13 February 2016

Review: Thule Vectros Bumper Macbook Case

Thule are probably best known for their bike carriers and roof racks, but they also produce an equally high-quality range of everyday accessories; including bags, phone cases and computer cases. In the past, I have reviewed the Thule Atmos X3 phone case, the Thule Pack 'n' Pedal Commuter luggage series, as well as their famous 598 Roof Carrier. In this review, I thought it was worth highlighting another product from the Swedish brand's range, which could be ideal for the active cycle commuter... a good quality computer case.

Depending on how you look at it, you could either be lucky enough, or unlucky enough, in having the need to take a laptop into work with you by bike each day. Either way, the same holds true that your laptop will not respond well to the knocks and bumps that typically bombard your commuting luggage. Take it from me, I have written-off a laptop in an unfortunate commuting collision. With this in mind, there seems a real argument for cyclists to consider a robust, solid case for their laptops; it could be seen as 'insurance', for this normally very valuable accessory. The Vectros case from Thule is just that, and it promises to protect your MacBook against significant knocks and bumps, during its everyday life.



Fit and Forget Functionality

Of course, the most obvious solution to protect a laptop in transit, is a good quality bag. The Thule Pack 'n' Pedal Commuter Rucksack, for example, contains a dedicated padded sleeve, which sits inside the bag. However, for a real belt-and-braces approach, a hard case is the way forward; especially one that remains fitted to the laptop, and can't be forgotten or misplaced.

The Vectros case clips around the MacBook, and creates a 365 degree protective bumper for all sides. It also features an optional protective scratch shield, for the top and bottom of the computer whose surfaces remains exposed in-part. On the base, there are rubberised feet, too; helping to avoid your Mac going sliding across the table, and also helping to increase airflow around the device, for better performance. It is an all-encompassing design.

Thule put the Vectros case through a 1 metre drop test, and it is shown to protect the Macbook inside very well. Whilst I didn't dare try this myself, I am sure that from the quality of the design, and from previous (multi-drop) experiences with the Atmos phone case, that the protective claims are very truthful.



Overall - Great Look and Feel

Whilst some bumper cases undoubtedly look cumbersome and cheap, the Vectros is far from that; it adds bulk and weight, sure, but it is minimalist in doing so. In fact, I have come to really like the added strength and security that the case adds to my Mac, especially features like the click-shut lid, and the rubber non-slip feet; it has proven fantastic for rough ferry journeys and sailing trips, as well as everyday use.

Overall, this is a true Thule product. It is well engineered, sleek, and stylish; it also looks like it will last a lifetime (at least the lifetime of your MacBook). If you throw your Mac in your pack on a daily basis, this is a superb way of adding peace-of-mind. Mine isn't coming off in a hurry.

View the Thule Vectros MacBook Bumper Case at Thule.com (Link)





Sunday, 7 February 2016

Photos: Sunshine, Squalls and Summits - Primal HiVis Ride

Sunshine, gales and lots of hill climbing featured on today's ride. A chance for a few photos, too.

This is the latest kit from Primal Europe, which I have been testing for the last few weeks. It includes the HiVis Rain Cape, Onyx Wind Vest and Onyx Bib Knickers, as well as the Primal HiVis Fusion Jacket.

The Primal HiVis Rain Cape has been invaluable with the frequent squalls


A shadow! That means sunshine!


I am impressed by the features and quality of this latest Primal Wear kit


Fluorescent visibility


Warm enough for three quarters, just.


The Kask Infinity featured in my 'Top Winter Cycling Kit for 2016' post


I have become a fan of the HiVis pink bar tape. I was dubious at first.


Crosswinds!


A great day in the saddle. #HappyTrails #NeverLoseYourGrip


Sunday, 31 January 2016

Review: Swrve Softshell Belgian Cap

A warm piece of headwear is vital to staying comfortable on the bike in the winter months. Your head acts a bit like a heat dissipater, because of the significant blood flow close to the skin; as a result, it becomes essential to protect it from the wind, water and cold temperatures.

My normal choice of headwear for winter riding is a simple skull cap, which fits neatly and snugly underneath your helmet. However, a skull cap does little to shield your forehead from driving rain or (if you're lucky) sunshine; this is where the Belgian style cycling cap comes in...

Featuring a brimmed peak like a traditional casquette, as well as fold down ear flaps; the Belgian cap is a belt-and-braces approach. Swrve, an American brand that should be familiar to blog readers (read previous review here), has taken the protective design one step further, and produced this rather luxurious softshell version.

Last month, I reviewed the Swrve Winter Softshell Trousers, and praised them for their practicality, comfort and durability. With the same three layer softshell fabric being used for this winter cap, as well as a beautifully soft fleece on the fold-down ear flaps, this looked to be a winner from the moment I set eyes on it.

Indeed, the Swrve Winter Softshell Belgian Cap hasn't failed to disappoint. It is warm, water-resistant and windproof, and yet highly breathable. I have worn it on winter commutes; in temperatures from -4°C right up to +12°C; in wind and rain, and it has been superbly comfortable throughout.

In typical Swrve fashion, even after hours of use, it still looks like new, too. It has put up with the daily wear and abuse, and there is no sign of the robust flat-lock seams coming loose any time soon.

Fantastically comfortable; this has to be one of the best winter riding accessories on the market.

View the Swrve Softshell Belgian Cap at swrve.co.uk (Link)