Monthly Archives: May 2012

Road Cycling Overshoes Review

 

February usually brings the hardiest of triathletes out on their bike attempting to battle the winter cold and get outside for a ride. However, along with thermal gloves and socks, an essential piece of winter gear is the overshoe. The RMT team waited for a rainy day to review the top brands in the market that aim to keep your toes warm whilst not interfering with comfort and peddling; Endura, Mavic, Pro & Northwave.

 

Endura Road Overshoe 2012- £23.99

 

The Endura overshoe looks like a wetsuit, and provides water resistance like one. Not a drop of water entered the shoe in this snug fit. Your feet do start to get hot after a while due to the thickness of the Neoprene but a thin pair of socked sorted this out.  The new abrasion resistant sole is as hard wearing as you will get meaning you can reuse these shoes for lots of winters to come!

At a very reasonable price, the Endura overshoes don’t look great but provide great value for money for a waterproof overshoes that will last you a long time.

Value for money – 10

Functionality -8

Comfort – 8

Performance – 7

RMT Rank – 8.5

 Avaliable at Chain Reaction Cycles

 Mavic 2012 Toe Warmers 2012 – £15.99

 

RMT are a big fan of the Mavic style shoes and the overshoes looks pretty good too. This take on the full overshoe is best in the mid-season or crisp sunny winter mornings. Wind and water resistant, the Toe Warmer doesn’t lack in quality and is a reasonable price.

Mavic use their Exi Grip technology, a lightweight elatic mesh contruction here which works well making it feel like you don’t have any overshoes on. It really does give a great fit. If you are looking for a cheap accesseory to keep your toes warm in the cold, then this ticks all the boxes.

Mavic also offer a knit sock alternative for when it gets warmer, worth a look for this great design.

 Value for money – 9

Functionality -7

Comfort – 9

Performance – 7

RMT Rank – 8

 Avaliable at Chain Reaction Cycles

Pro Endure NPU Tarmac Overshoes – £36.99

 

One above the H20s, the NPU range is waterproof keeping the rain out completely leaving very dry feet!  Pro, part of the Shimano umbrella means they easily fit with the brands cleats. The toe area is reinforced with Kevlar giving some extra sturdiness when you walk, something that we found I problem with other products. The inner lining is Bamboo fleece which is very warm (range of -5˚ / +10˚C) and with an anti bacterial properties provides a novel, but effective interior.

Most of the waterproof overshoes suffer from a bland black neoprene look, but the NPU tarmac looks stylish and incorporates some reflective strips for safety.  Overall, the NPU tarmac is a very good overshoe with lots of useful features.

Value for money – 7

Functionality -9

Comfort – 9

Performance – 8

RMT Rank – 8.5

 Avaliable at Chain Reaction Cycles

Northwave NRG X-Lite Pro Shoe Covers Winter – £34.99

 

Northwave’s product has attempted to bring style to the table, but we are more impressed with Mavic’s and Pro’s look.  The X-Lite material does give a lighter advantage and X-Lite membrane material does seem to give more breathability to this overshoe.  Perhaps a little more stretch in the material would make it easier to get on but this gives increases durability.

Overall, this offering is a good product with no real faults. But for the price, there are better in the range.

Value for money – 6

Functionality -8

Comfort – 8

Performance – 8

RMT Rank – 7

 Avaliable at Chain Reaction Cycles

 

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Shimano Cycling & Triathlon Shoe Review – R087 & TR31

 

As we move into the new season, it is about this time that triathletes start trawling through the web for that new bit of kit that could gain that extra couple of seconds, conformability or style.  One piece of kit that extends to all three of these elements is your cycling shoes. There is a vast array of different types in the market, but the RMT Team have focused their minds on two offering from Shimano, one tri shoe and one standard road bike shoe.  We are also a great fan of the cleats that Shimano make, which are a huge aspect of the power transfer from shoe to bike:

Shimano R087 SPD SL Road Shoes

One up from the standard entry level road shoe, the R087s are a great looking piece of kit. They look very stylish with a great balance of black/white and breathing holes.

Instead of the entry level, three strapped Velcro shoe, the R087s use a micro adjust buckle which when in direct comparison with a standard strap really comes out top. It feels like it makes the shoes wrap round your feet with a snug fit. The dual off-set feature gives another opportunity to make the fit as best as possible and reduce any pressure points. It gives you the option to subtly adjust the tightness of the shoe instead of re-strapping your Velcro endlessly meaning your feet stay firmly in place, so important on those big hills. It the cheapest shoe around that includes this great feature which is always a plus! Being able to adjust your shoe easily on the move saves so much time.

One key element of a good road shoe is whether they get too hot after a long ride. Vent holes at the bottom of the shoes mean your feat will not sweat during the summer season. The upper part of the shoe features a mesh to help provide a snug, breathable and comfortable fit. The synthetic leather upper is stretch resistant, tough and durable.  The sole feels sturdy due to lightweight glass fibre reinforced-polyamide material.

Overall these shoes have some great features and will look good. A very great option if you are starting to get serious about triathlon but don’t want to break the bank.

The Shimano R087 SPD SL Road Shoes are availiable on Chain Reaction Cycles

Shimano TR31 SPD SL Triathlon Shoes

The TR31s are one of the cheapest offering in the market for a Triathlon type shoe. With only one single strap, the shoe comes off and on very easily. The front large strap allows you to tighten and adjusts the pressure enough around the whole foot. When opening the straps, your foot almost pops out of the shoe, ready to change into your running trainers. This shoe is also no-socks friendly (non-chaffing) although more expensive products would be the best option if you were planning a 100km+ rides.  The single loop on the back of the shoes means you won’t really get a shoe that you can take off faster than the TR31. A quick comparison in a mock transition with the R087 was no contest!

The shoes feel tough and sturdy, which your can instantly feel when you clip on and get out on the bike.  Fibreglass reinforced nylon outer soles give an excellent stiffness providing effective peddling. There is also tough rubber protection on the heel which looks as it if will make this product last for many seasons. The reverse strap is also a clever feature meaning it won’t ever get caught up in the chain during rapid transitions.

On the sweat font, this tri shoe does not have as many vents as a lot of tri shoes but has plenty of mesh panels on the sides ensure there is no issue here.

Overall, the RMT team are great fans of Tri shoes and the TR31 is a very good option for a small price, designed for fast performance.

The Shimano TR31 SPD SL Road Shoes are availiable on Chain Reaction Cycles

 

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Triathlon Trisuit Review – Start your summer!

 

An essential bit of kit for any triathlete is your tri suit. The tri suit is unlike all other kit in that you will be wearing it throughout the whole of your triathlon. If you race Iron distances, then this is a long time to wear one bit of kit! A tri suit has to have many features in order to make it good. It needs adequate compression, little water retention, conformability, storage for nutrition, enough breathability and style of course! The RMT team got their hands on three of the best and put the suits through their paces.

2XU Mens Endurance Tri Suit

2XU are known for their great aesthetics and this suit is no different. It looks the best out the three suits with its subtle and fast style.  There are a lot of trisuits on the market but the RMT team are all agree that this product is the best looking. All the 2XU tri suits come with their special SMD MESH fabric, but the endurance suit has the additional SMD Cool fabric adding a lightweight finish and high UV performance.  This all seemed a bit unnecessary but you can really feel the lightness in the suit.  It also boast great stretch memory feature which means the more you wear it, the more comfortable it becomes.

Unlike some of the tri suits we have used in the past, the 2XU gives an adequate amount of compression, not too much and not too little, reducing the onset of muscle fatigue. This is a great feature and usually underrated when trying on a tri suit.

One thing that is a must in our eyes is to have three pockets at the back of the tri suit. This gives you flexibility and means you aren’t searching around for that bar instead of the gel! This 2XU has three pockets of decent size, another little annoyance in other tri suits that only have two pockets.

The other mean feature of a tri suit is the chamois. Using an Italian chamois optimised for short and long courses (not sure how) it is said to provide support on the bike and on the run. I would say it needed a little more support for those long rides, but I like a lot of cycle support at the backend of a long 100km+ cycles! During the run, it excelled with hardly noticing the chamois.

Overall a great looking product that is top of the tri suits. Special feature includes the MESH fabric keeping core temperature optimised.

Buy 2XU Mens Tri Suits from Chain Reaction Cycles

Skins Compression Tri Suit - TRI400

The tri suit offering from Skins provides gradient compression, strategically placed throughout the suit. Now, to add some context here, compression helps to give more oxygen to the blood on race day. It inhibits muscle vibration and restricts muscle vibration.  This might pose the question of whether this suit is too tight; it is not. It tightens in the right muscle areas leaving you feeling great to breathe, saving a nightmare on race day!

We all find that some compression gear in the market is too tight, but this offering from Skins is perfect, how does it do this? The new Skins TRI400 uses in-motion measurement to define the correct levels of compression on the right muscles, just when you need it. A Memory MX Triweb panel down the spine and around the obliques helps prove unrestricted movement.

Apparently 1000’s of hour of testing has gone into the triathlon-specific Elastic Interface chamois which gives excellent support of the ride, however, you can feel its presence on the run which is little off putting.

The RMT team did a drying test to see which trisuit dried quickest out the water and onto a bike. The Skins kit came first, which is down the non-absorbent foam technology. It also boasts all-way stretch technology meaning great movement allowance when in the transition zones for a compression suit.

Buy the Skins Tri Suit Chain Reaction Cycles

 

 

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