Crank Brothers Speedier Tire Lever – review

Not every cyclist and paracyclist finds it equally easy to replace an inner tube. Believe it or not, there are still many people who therefore prefer not to cycle alone because they are afraid of having a flat tire. I always carry a few standard tire levers with me, and although I can only use one arm as a paracyclist, I have no problem changing a tire.

But if you are hesitant or are looking for an easier way to (dis)assemble an outer tire, the Crankbrothers Speedier Tire Lever might be your solution!

The Speedier has two sides. One for removing the tire and one for putting it back on.

Place the left side on the rim and just gently push along the rim to lift your tire.
Just push the Speedier along the rim. Easy does it:-)
The leftside on the picture is used to mount the tire.
Hook the left side onto the rim flange and simply push the Speedier along the rim flange and the tire will pop back on with ease.

As you can see, you only need one Speedier for both the assembly and disassembly of the tire. The Speedier is also a perfect addition to my bike tools for myself. New tires are often very stiff and the initial installation often takes a lot of effort. With the Speedier this is now a piece of cake and it saves time, painful thumbs and painful hands. It’s still not very big, but it’s a little bigger than a pair of standard tire levers.

ShoeDry Ozone – shoedryer review

When you ride all year round a shoedryer is an accessory that might enlighten your life.

It’s raining, you’re training, but what about your precious slippers?! That’s when a shoedryer might be a valuable accessory…

Here’s what I do:

1: First rub off excessive dirt with a soft brush.


2: Wash down most of the remaining dirt.


3: Soak in water, add some mild laundry detergent.


4: Clean with an old dish brush.


5: Dry excessive water with a towel.


6: Place your darlings on a shoe dryer .

The ShoeDry has a dry and a ozone function. Ozone would kill all bacteria and therefor make your shoes smell forest fresh, but I doubt this one does;-) I also have my doubts about the lifespan of the ShoeDry Ozone, because after 2 years it starts making funny noises already, that explains my rating for this specific shoedryer.

However, because I have to deal with the Belgian climate, I really like a shoedryer in general.

Cervélo Áspero – long term review

Gravel is hot and here to stay, no doubt about that! Gravel is interpreted different by each individual. Some love endless straight roads of perfect gravel, while others don’t mind riding through dirt all day, while others bring there tarp absolutely everywere. The Cervélo Áspero is the first off-road bike from the company and is a race specific gravelbike. In the design for example, they did not take into account to attach many bags to the bicycle, it’s also very stiff, and reacts on everything. Does that means you can’t use the bike for a bikepacking trip? No, but there are better options.

Despite the racy geometry I’ve enjoyed a lot of amazing bikepacking adventures on the Áspero

I ride my bikes with a fair amount of drop, but that’s not for everyone. This bike is setup with Shimano GRX DI2, has been modified for one-handed operation by applying the Outbraker booster brake splitter and Free Lock mount, and rolls on 700C 9thwave Anath rims with DT Swiss hubs and 45 mm Pirelli Cinturato Gravel tires. 45 mm is bigger than prescribed, so in foul weather sometimes they rub a little, but I love them so much I take that for granted. When you fit 650b rims, you can go bigger, but I think 650b on an Áspero is like swearing in church and I can’t think up a reason why the Áspero is equipped with a clever system where you can affect the geometry a little to make it suitable for this wheelsize. It’s a gravel race monster! Not a mountainbike!

The Áspero is such a nice bike on-road as well as off-road. Don’t think it can replace a roadbike tough. All “big tire bikes” compromise on speed and cornering on tarmac.

All Cervélo bikes come with lifetime warranty for first owners on the frameset. That’s always a requirement for me. Because I’m the kind of gravelist that enjoys endless perfect gravel rather than dirt this bike really suits me.

Perfect endless gravel

Underneath the lower tube you find a big hard plastic shield that protects your frame for rock impact, while the top tube is prepared for a little bolt on top tube bag.

The one thing I really dislike about this bike I’m in love with is that the fork takes a reasonably amount of water when you wash it down. That means I always have to remove the top cap and turn the bike upside down to pour the water out…

Love the huge square downtube
Like the bike is riding on rails on hardpack gravel

Is it likely that I stick with Cervélo? Hell yes!

This bike crosses borders
Perfect finish and details
Love those winter rides on a gravelbike

REVO LOOP Race Ultra – inner tubes review

These babies will make your bike a little lighter! They tipped 23 g on the scale, they are very easy to install and feel a lot stronger than you would expect. And who doesn’t like the black valves?

But they are so f$%#@% expensive!

But wait, maybe you can justify it to yourself, or should I say partner;-) A Schwalbe extra light inner tube for example, weighs 65 grams and costs €12,50. So you save 65 – 23 = 42 g per inner tube. Times 2 = 84 g. This 84 g comes with a cost of (€35,95 – €12,50) * 2 = €46,90. When you want to save 84 g on other parts, wheels or frameset you are likely have to spent more than €46,90…

They are so small, you can save a lot of space (and another 42 g or more) in your back pockets. But that said I prefer to bring a butyl spare inner tube instead. It’s a little more reassuring when you get a puncture and you can still replace it afterwards for a Revo Loop.

I punctured once due to Specialized Turbo Cottons (lightweight tire without puncture protection) in foul autumn weather, and tried to repair the Revo Loop with the special repair kit, but that didn’t work out as it should.

Compared to the competition, like Schwalbes Aerothan, I would prefer the Revo Loops.

Conclusion:

When you’re lean and mean, can’t save on body weight anymore and want to upgrade your bike, these innertubes might work out for you…

Kwakzalver Bal-sem – chamois crème review

The Kwakzalver Bal-sem turns out to be the best chamois crème I’ve ever experienced. I love the pump, and wonder why Kwakzalver Sports is the first company to think of this. That shows how much thought they put in their products. Two pumps is enough for a whole day in the saddle. The pump also saves you money because you never use too much, and the bottle therefor lasts longer than other products. It isn’t too sticky and I like the citrus smell. Despite other products I’ve used before, this one does the job until the end of the ride. This one is a keeper!

Eurosport Nutrition – review

Eurosport Nutrition came on the market a few years ago. An already saturated market. So the question is; does Eurosport Nutrition add something to that?

I’ll be honest, I know people behind the brand, so I hope they will be very succesful. But still I also want to be objective. Honesty is my middle name;-) so, even though I wish the people from Eurosport Nutrition all the best, I’m being as honest as always.

So here we go…

Oat Bar

The Oat Bar is a bar with slow and complex carbohydrates for short and medium term effect. So you can use them for longer days in the saddle. It’s easy to unwrap the bar, and the bar stands out in how easy it is to swallow. That’s a game changer, because that allows you to keep breathing while eating. As I’m trying to be as vegan as possible, I like the fact it’s vegan and they use real fruit in the fruit flavoured bars. The Oat Bar gives a saturated feel and they taste great.

Energy Bar

This Energy Bar is all about the clever 2:1-ratio between glucose and fructose. Glucose (also known as dextrose) is the most important source of fuel for the body. With normal nutrition you can convert a maximum of around 60 grams of sugar to energy per hour. With a 2:1-ratio between glucose and fructose the conversion rate can increase to 90 grams.

A big mistake that most cyclists (still) make is they eat as little as possible during their trainings to lose or not to gain weight. That’s such a big mistake! If your training takes more than 2 hours, it’s most important to fuel as much as your body is able to convert every hour. This makes you able to stay as fresh as possible till the end of your training. It makes your training so much more effective and it also prevents binge eating after your ride! Don’t exaggerate your intake before training, so, after the first hour, you’re ready to digest your first intake. It’s better to eat a little less the rest of the day, after your ride when you want to lose or not gain weight.

Just as the Oat Bar, the Energy Bar also consists of naturally based ingredients. This bar melts in your mouth, so swallowing is even better than the Oat Bar. I love the cherry flavoured ones.

Energy Gel + Caffeine

I didn’t use energy gels, because I thought bars would be better for my stomach. But there I was wrong, because gels are a good way to prevent your stomach is getting overfilled. This is when you find the correct ones, that your stomach holds. So nowadays I try to find a good balance between gels and bars during Cyclosportives. It’s important not to use products you’ve never used before, so during racing you can be sure that you don’t upset your stomach. So I also use gels during training.

The package is very easy to open with your teeth thanks to the tought out design. The flavour is good, and they are not too sweet. You can wash away with a sip of drink, but it’s not especially needed. It has the right amount of caffeine for me, that might be a help at the end of the day.

Isotonic Sports Drink

The Isotonic Sports Drink also uses the 2:1 ratio between glucose and fructose. Because of all the added essential minerals it’s a bit salty, but I like it and I think it might help not to make it too sweet. Like a few other brands it has a low pH value and therefor does not upset your stomach. I love the strawberry flavour. You only need one scoop per bottle, so that speeds up your preparation a little.

Spatzwear NEOZ gloves – review

Always cold? These gloves are the bomb!

For many years I’m looking for a pair of winter gloves that make me survive those foul weather winter rides. I’ve tried all kind of winter specific gloves, most very expensive, but never seemed to find a pair that prevented me from not being able to grab my keys when I arrived back home after a winter training. Many times I hoisted myself hypothermia in the shower…

Because I was satisfied with the Spatzwear THRMOZ GLOVZ till 5 degrees, and I know surfers can stay in the North See for hours in winter, wearing their neoprene suits, I decided to send an e-mail to the company asking whether the NEOZ would be a better option than the ones I allready had. Their answer was that the NEOZ would be a better choice for the Belgian winters indeed, so I decided to order a pair of them.

I rode these neoprene gloves on 4+ hours of training, around freezing point, in the rain and I absolutely love them! By far the warmest winter foul weather glove I’ve experienced! I wear them with thin merino Sealskinz liners and they by far beat the thickest winter gloves I tried, such as Assos deep winter gloves, the Sealskinz Extreme Cold Weather gloves and even various lobster gloves. At a few moments I could feel the tip of my thumb and index finger turning a bit cold, but only for a small moment, and after which they warmed up again. I guess this is caused by the sizing in combination with the extra liners, so if they make the thumb and index finger of these gloves a little longer that would be an usefull improvement. This seems to be a problem with most winter gloves though.

Can I recommend these gloves? HELL YES!

Pros

  • Good price quality
  • Neoprene gloves rock in winter, also when wet
  • First winter gloves that made me smile:-)

Cons

  • Might be to sweaty when temperatures rise, so probably only suited for winter rides below 5 degrees Celsius
  • Thumb and index finger could be longer