Christmas is just around the corner, but here at Cyclist we’ve been keeping the content wheels rolling to ensure that you have some good stuff to read while you munch on mince pies and sup mulled wine.
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Rudy Project Astroloop and Croze sunglasses
With cycling being such an expensive hobby, I’m always on the lookout for kit than can serve double duty by being functional off the bike as well as on it.
My wife’s protestations have finally sunk in and I’ve come to the conclusion that Oakley’s Sutro glasses aren’t really appropriate in social situations that aren’t cycling related, so I’ve turned to Rudy Project to see how a couple of its performance lifestyle models work out.
Italian brand’s Astroloop and Croze sunglasses both cut similarly casual appearances thanks to their dual, regular-sized lenses (as opposed to the oversized, shield designs on trend in road and gravel cycling), yet both models contain many features found in Rudy’s sports-specific designs.
The Croze glasses use soft-touch, adjustable temple tips on their arms in an attempt to improve retention and comfort, while the smaller Astroloop are particularly lightweight, at just 24.7g.
It goes without saying that both models use Rudy Project’s ‘RP Optics’ lenses, which are well-regarded in terms of clarity, protection and contrast-boosting features.
Both models’ combination of features are a promising prospect in theory for both cycling and daily use, so here’s to hoping my wife gives them the nod.
Silca Terra floor pump
Silca’s floor pumps are considered to be some of the best on the market so when the brand releases a new design it has to be measured to a high bar (that’s a pressure joke), even against the designs it sits alongside in Silca’s range.
What’s more, in the Terra’s case the pump has the weight of history on its shoulders, being a derivation of Silca’s original Terra pump from 1988.
The original Terra was the first ever high-volume pump with a low-pressure gauge to serve the bigger air volume of mountain bike tyres.
The new Terra builds on that concept by incorporating an asymmetrical, non-linear gauge to accommodate accurate inflation duties for both high volume, low pressure gravel tyres and low volume, high pressure road tyres.
It shows 0-30psi in finer scale, offering a claimed +/-0.5psi precision, then displays 30-120psi in a broader scale at a claimed +/-1psi precision.
It’s an ingenious solution for those that ride more than one type of bike – this pump should make achieving accurate pressures an easy task at both ends of the riding spectrum.
As per usual for Silca, build quality is said to be top notch. Aluminium is used at the barrel, shaft and base (where plastic is a more common material choice), while the handle is made from solid ash wood. The head uses a reversible chuck to fit both Presta and Shrader valves.
Its ?180 retail price puts it at the upper end of the market (although in Silca’s range, this Terra is actually one of the more accessible models), but with its promised longevity and valid claim to do the job of two separate pumps, the price is more easily understandable.
Buy the Silca Terra floor pump from saddleback.co.uk (?180)
Vittoria Barzo 27.5 x 2.1in tyres
I’m currently undergoing a small existential crisis surrounding the validity of 650b wheels and tyres for gravel bikes.
While at the beginning of modern gravel they were unequivocally necessary to maximise the otherwise limited space available in early gravel bike frames, the comparatively gargantuan 700c tyre clearance offered by the smart design of contemporary gravel bikes may make 650b unnecessary, are at least a good deal less relevant.
I’ve been a fan of the 650b concept historically, but this latest train of thought has given me pause and I’m currently on the fence, so Vittoria’s Barzo tyres are going to help inform which side of the debate I end up joining.
Their 27.5 x 2.1in size is mountain bike-speak for 650b x 53mm. Ostensibly, this is around the widest gravel bike tyres tend to get before the argument that a mountain bike will do a better job on the terrain you’re looking to ride becomes too compelling to ignore.
I’m hoping the Barzo’s width and aggressive tread is going to provide the ultimate example of characteristic comfort, grip and acceleration that 650b could once uniquely boast, and that will be enough to convince me the size is still valid for gravel bikes.
If there’s any 650b tyre that can do it, the Barzo should be the one. It has an alternating ridge pattern for its centre tread, with blockier side knobs laid out in a V-formation that suggests both speed and grip.
What we’re into this week: Christmas
Image credit: Theo Crazzolara from Pixabay
Given this is being published the day before Christmas Eve, even if I was into something else this week it would have to cede its place to everyone’s favourite holiday.
We’re ostensibly at peak festiveness at this exact moment too, the excitement of the big day being so near combined with the anticipation of it not having happened yet. Right not it’s hard not to feel like it isn’t indeed the most wonderful time of the year.
The reason for my level of enthusiasm – which is unusually high among my thirty-something peer group – is my children. At three and seven, they are both caught up in the holiday’s magic and for the last few years I’ve found it impossible not to be swept along with them: their joy and excitement in the week before Christmas is infectious.
Therefore, I’m using the In the Drops platform to do my bit in spreading some Christmas cheer. If you still don’t have that festive feeling though, take heart in the fact that the Festive 500 starts tomorrow. Merry Christmas!
We’ve partnered up with the Cycle Show to give away 2 VIP tickets to the UK’s biggest cycling show next spring.
The winner will receive 2 VIP tickets for a day of their choice. Worth ?70 each, VIP tickets come with the following benefits:
Get in first with fast-track entry to the show and take advantage of the complimentary cloakroom
Access the private VIP Lounge where you can rub shoulders with the stars of cycling
Receive a Cycle Show gift bag stuffed with goodies from leading brands
Enjoy complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks
Be the first to book your time on a test track
One lucky winner will be picked at random and contacted by 6/02/23. T&Cs apply.
Product images credit: Sam Challis