the setback post

Category: Kit

Shimano 105 5800 11 speed

What was here, is no longer here.

If you’re looking for news about Shimano’s new 105 5800 groupset, I recommend Bikeradar’s excellent coverage.

Things that I don’t hate: Knog Blinder

Around three years ago I bought a Knog Skink rear light, because it looked sort of cool and could be swapped between bikes with a minimum of hassle, requiring no separate mounting parts:

knog-skink-rearPhoto: Knog

It worked flawlessly – for about two rides.

A sniff of moisture had it behaving erratically and it expired completely in short order. Being highly organised, I never did get around to returning it, but I did swear that I would never again allow one of Knog’s cheerfully marketed rubber appendages to darken my portal, or enlighten my bicycle.

Come Christmas 2012, my ever-interfering family had other ideas, and amongst the trinkets and baubles of holiday cheer lurked a Knog Blinder rear light.

blinder500 (2 of 2)The giant misshapen hand was a gift from my parents too.

The main appeal of these is that in addition to the rubber strap mounting system, they are charged via USB, meaning that even the most resolutely forgetful cyclist need only remember to unhook the light from his ’pede and ram it into the nearest computing device. Given that most cyclists spend more time blogging about their bikes than actually riding them, this turns out to be eminently practical.

blinder500 (1 of 2)It also saves countless trips to Poundland in search of toxic triple-As.

I liked the Blinder enough that I bought the Geophysicist one. And she bought me a front to match the rear, so I’ve forgiven Knog for the aberration that was the ill-fated Skink.

Is this one light to rule them all? No, it is not. The Blinders are lights for being seen, not to see by, and while battery life is perfectly adequate, it is better suited to rides spanning cities rather than counties.

For the lazy urban cyclist in need of reasonably priced, convenient illumination however, they are hard to beat.

From Russia with glove, sort of

I’m predisposed to like Canadian things because I’m half Canadian and because being able to tell people this at parties makes me marginally more interesting than that guy over there who’s just British or something.

In this spirit I assumed that a pair of bona fide (that’s Latin for “fuck a dog”) Canadian cycling gloves from a suspiciously French sounding company, named after a Russian city, had to be good. I was so confident of this that I paid a popular killer of local bike shops ten of my pounds that I earned by working for a pair of Louis Garneau Sotchi gloves, a smug saving of thirty five pounds over the retail price.

As it turns out, I pretty much got what I paid for. Despite their stylish and vaguely expensive appearance, these gloves manage the rare feat of being both incredibly sweaty and quite cold, even in relatively mild weather. Added to this, they have some of that ridiculous mega-velcro on the cuff that is guaranteed to ruin everything it touches, including the gloves themselves.

Perhaps I’m unusual in this respect, but I normally dress myself for cycling. Having put one glove on [glove A], I then need to use the freshly gloved hand to put the other glove on [glove B]. With the Sotchis, the velcro of [glove B] invariably snags [glove A], so as a result the thumb and forefinger areas are ‘bobbled’ all over after a couple of months of occasional use.

sotchi (1 of 1)

Note ‘bobbling’. That’s not a photographic background, it’s the cell wall I paw in frustration.

I say occasional use, because every few weeks I forget how much these gloves suck and I give them another chance. That, or the ones I like wearing are in the wash or the dog ate my homework et cetera, et cetera.

In conclusion, meh.