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Doc on a bike. NHS, Leicester Med School, Cycling Plus Magazine. LFCC Cyclocross Champion (old gits category). Riding's the best medicine. Follow me on twitter @awkwardcyclist

Thursday, April 26, 2012

First Race, First Crash - Video

If anyone is looking for the video of my crash (as mentioned in Cycling Plus magazine), you'll find it here:


Look out for me riding past the camera on the right in a black jersey wearing number 40 at about 1:40 mins. Follow my progress, the crash is about 1:55 mins. I should point out, that despite appearances, no one else was badly hurt - I was the only one needing hospital treatment.

Knog Blinder Light Review

 



Australian company Knog first came to my attention when I bought a couple of their Frog bike lights. The silicon encased LED lights looked great and were highly practical, not relying on brackets to fix them to my handlebars or seatpost. Switching the lights between bikes or attaching them to a helmet was a doddle and if you looked at them through squinty eyes they really did look a bit like frogs. Having said that, although bright, they weren’t quite powerful enough to use on their own – I also had to use other, uglier and less amphibian lights to feel safe. Knog have corrected that somewhat with the release of their new Blinder light.

First Impressions


In common with most Knog products, this is a funky bit of kit. Unlike any other bike light I have seen, it has a flat square front with an anodised aluminium face. The 4 LEDs are arranged in a square with the aluminium forming thick go faster stripes (other patterns are available). The whole thing is about the size of a compact bike computer. There is an ingenious clip system that allows bracket-less mounting to the bike, with a metal catch – a bit like a watch strap. The whole thing feels really well made and a big step up in quality from the Frog lights.

Charge ahead


The light is powered by a lithium battery that is charged via an inbuilt USB plug that clips out of the back of the Blinder. One charge gives up to 50 hours of battery life in flashing mode, 3 hours in constant mode. If you have a computer at work, it is an ideal way to make sure you never have to ride home with a dim light.

Blinding Light


In use the light really lives up to its name, the LEDs giving off 80 lumens, visible from a claimed 800 metres.  There are 5 different flashing modes to help catch the attention of other road users. The light is 100% waterproof and survived the recent deluges with no problems at all. Bright enough to use without additional lights, it looks great on the bike, although no amount of squinting can make it look anything like a frog.

Summary

For:        Compact, lightweight, waterproof, USB charging

Surprisingly bright and looks great.

Against: Quality costs - at £30 a light it’s a bit pricey.

Score: 4/5

Friday, April 13, 2012

Knog Strongman Review



Knog make some original and good looking products and the Strongman lock is no exception. Fortunately, in this case beauty is more than skin deep - the lock boasts the prestigious Sold Secure Gold rating.

The lock arrives nicely packaged in a recycled cardboard box featuring Knog’s trademark quirky graphics. The Australian company have their own tongue-in-cheek security rating, which places the Strongman at level 9 –“Ghetto”, ahead of “Crack House” and “Slum”, but less secure than “War Zone”. The more sedate Sold Secure Gold and ART 3 star rating stickers also place this lock at the top end of bike security. The lock looks great with smooth lines and a great finish. Potential contact points, where the lock could rub against your precious paintwork are covered with tough but soft silicone, colour coded in one of three colours. The test lock was labelled red, but was actually a bit more orangey.

Included in the package are 3 keys, with a serial number to enable you to order replacements from Knog and a colour coordinated mounting bracket to fix the lock to your bike for transportation. The bracket is really easy to install with a waxed webbing strap that is tightened with a supplied allen key. The Strongman locks into the bracket – no chance of the lock flying out, no matter how big a pothole you ride into.

The lock is excellent in use, the soft touch silicone really does prevent scratches to your bike, although it can get a bit grubby after a while. The shackle is easy to engage and not as fiddly as some other locks I have used.  The main thing you look for in a lock is security of course, not having an angle grinder to put this to a full test, I can only give it the recommendation that my bike hasn’t been nicked when I’ve used the lock. The compact nature of the Strongman would make levering the lock off very difficult, and Knog’s “interesting” test of using the lock to pick up a car would suggest it is up to the job.

For:        Looks great

                Easy to transport

                High level security

Against: Small size means needs to be combined with a cable or chain to fit round lampposts/trees etc.

Rating: 4/5

RRP £74.99, but currently available at Farnham Cycles for £57.65