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Buying Guide Featured News Parts And Accessories

A beginner’s guide to bike pedals

As one of your three main contact points on a bike, pedals are a vital part to consider when building your dream machine. But with many different types out there, all designed for different disciplines, choosing the ones most suited to you can get a little complicated.

Do you opt for flats or clipless? Shimano or DMR? The pedal market can be an absolute nightmare for newcomers. Fear not, however, for we’ve put together this handy beginner’s guide to teach you the art of selecting the perfect pair of pedals.

Step 1: Choosing the right type of pedals

Many of you may have clicked on this guide to learn which pedals are the best for saving weight, improving performance or generating more grip against your shoe, but before we get into all that technical jargon we first need to identify – quite simply – what type of pedal is best suited to your kind of riding.

If you’re focused on doing lots of climbing or you feel like you want to race your bike, then you’re going to want to dive straight into the clipless pedal market. These pedals, sometimes referred to as ‘clip-ins’, securely attach your feet to the pedals, offering increased control over the bike and better power transfer. It’s a confusing name, so try to remember that in this case, ‘clipless’ actually means ‘clipped in’. And if you’re wondering why this is the case, it’s all thanks to the traditional old-fashioned toe-clips – they’re ‘clipless’ in reference to the lack of toe-clips rather than the clipping together of cleat and pedal.

Clipless pedals will also ensure that your feet are always aligned in the correct position over the pedal axle, enabling more effective power transfer through the pedals and helping you go faster.

Clipless pedals work via a spring mechanism in the pedal that allows you to ‘clip’ the cleats – handy bits of plastic or aluminium securely fastened to the base of your shoe – in and out of the pedals. Most clipless pedal systems are simple to master, just push your toe forward into the pedal and then press down with the ball of your foot until you hear an ever-so-satisfying ‘click’. To take your foot out, simply twist your heel outwards (away from the bike) until the cleat releases. 

MTB-specific clipless pedals look a little different to road-specific clipless pedals – they’re more compact and often not as aerodynamic. One of their main advantages over road-specific clipless pedals, however, is that they’re double-sided, allowing you to clip straight back in with ease.

Flat pedals, or ‘flats’ as they’re more commonly known in the industry, are the kind you most likely had on your first bike. These are the perfect pedals for the more chilled out riders among you, those who aren’t worried about efficient power transfer or perfect ‘above-pedal-axle’ positioning.

Flats are especially good for those MTBers who regularly find themselves riding dicey downhill trails. Flats give you what most clipless MTB pedals cannot: a large stable platform that allows you to move your feet around. Moving your feet helps you to shift your weight around the bike, an essential skill when it comes to riding technical downhill terrain. There may also be moments when knowing you can put your foot down without warning can prove immensely reassuring, for instance, to steady yourself over leaf-strewn trails or on particularly sketchy corners. All that being said, while traditionally, elite downhill racers might not have used clipless (because the amount of pedalling in DH is minimal), even they are moving onto clipless now in pursuit of more speed and stability.

If you really want to nerd out, check this video from Pinkbike where some of the Enduro World Series’ professional riders talk through their own pedal/shoe setups.

Step 2: Key features to look out for

When it comes to MTB-specific clipless pedals most riders opt for sturdier and more robust materials, like aluminium. Pedals with a large degree of mud-clearance are also preferable because you’re going to be throwing up a lot of dirt as you rag your bike around the trails, particularly in the wetter winter months. The DMR V-Twin offers a really nice ‘goldilocks zone’ between the wide platform of a flat pedal and the security and control of a clipless. Ideal, particularly if you accidentally unclip, then struggle to clip back in. You’ll still have plenty of pedal to play with as you push through the technical stuff.

For flat pedals, the more contact area the better. Look for low-profile broad platforms with lots of little pins which will really help you secure your shoes against the surface of the pedal and maintain traction. The Shimano Saint M828 is a truly epic flat MTB pedal that’ll give you loads of grip and control over the bike. 

Step 3: Don’t forget the cleats

If you’ve chosen to go down the clipless route, you’re going to need a pair of cleats. These are pieces of plastic, or aluminium, that attach to the base of your shoe and allow you to clip into your clipless pedals.

You can purchase cleats with differing degrees of ‘float’. Float refers to the amount of lateral rotation you can make once the cleat is clipped into the pedal. For a super-tight and power-efficient bond, go for a small degree of float. If you’re worried about clipping in and out, or just need to give your joints a little bit of wiggle room, opt for a larger degree of float. 

One last thing to remember: Most MTB-specific clipless pedals use a two-bolt system, while road-specific ones us a three-bolt system, so make sure you select the right ones for the pedals you’ve chosen!

Be sure to check out our full range of pedals by clicking here.

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Bikes Buying Guide

Best 2020​ ​Gravel​ ​Bikes​ ​for​ ​up​ ​to​ ​£2,000

Gravel​ ​riding​ ​is​ ​an​ ​exciting​ ​discipline​ ​of​ ​off-road​ ​cycling​ ​– it’s​ ​about​ ​fun​ ​and​ ​freedom,​ ​adventure​ ​and  even​ ​racing.​ ​Gravel​ ​originates​ ​from​ ​the​ ​USA,​ ​where​ ​rugged​ ​drop-handlebarred​ ​road​ ​bikes​ ​specified​ ​for  the​ ​tough​ ​challenges​ ​of​ ​touring​ ​and​ ​exploring​ ​bumpy,​ ​dusty,​ ​unsurfaced​ ​roads​ ​developed​ ​a​ ​great  following​ ​and​ ​spawned​ ​its​ ​own​ ​unique​ ​race​ ​scene.​ ​British​ ​bikers​ ​are​ ​more​ ​than​ ​ready​ ​for​ ​gravel’s​ ​fat,  treaded​ ​road​ ​tyres,​ ​low,​ ​close​ ​gears,​ ​weatherproof​ ​disc​ ​brakes​ ​and​ ​bulletproof​ ​builds.

Like​ ​its​ ​cousin​ ​cyclocross,​ ​gravel​ ​has​ ​caught​ ​on​ ​fast​ ​here​ ​in​ ​the​ ​UK,​ ​with​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​British​ ​race​ ​series  emerging​ ​–​ ​from​ ​the​ ​north,​ ​Dirty​ ​Reiver​ ​in​ ​Northumberland​ ​and​ ​Grinduro’s​ ​amazing​ ​loop​ ​round​ ​the​ ​Isle  of​ ​Arran,​ ​way​ ​down​ ​south​ ​to​ ​the​ ​CW​ ​Century​ ​on​ ​the​ ​South​ ​Downs​ ​Way,​ ​with​ ​many​ ​in​ ​between.

But​ ​gravel’s​ ​far​ ​more​ ​than​ ​racing;​ ​the​ ​sheer​ ​versatility​ ​of​ ​these​ ​all-year-round​ ​bikes​ ​mean​ ​they’ll​ ​tackle  muddy​ ​off-road​ ​trails​ ​yet​ ​will​ ​also​ ​serve​ ​you​ ​well​ ​on​ ​the​ ​weekend​ ​club​ ​run.​ ​Most​ ​gravel​ ​bikes​ ​boast  mounts​ ​for​ ​racks​ ​and​ ​mudguards​ ​equipping​ ​them​ ​for​ ​commuting,​ ​while​ ​multiple​ ​bottle​ ​mount​ ​lugs​ ​lend  themselves​ ​to​ ​adventure​ ​set-ups,​ ​endurance​ ​events​ ​and​ ​bike​ ​packing​ ​machines.​ ​A​ ​gravel​ ​bike​ ​can​ ​truly  do​ ​it​ ​all,​ ​and​ ​for​ ​£2k,​ ​you​ ​get​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​gravel​ ​bike​ ​at​ ​Hargroves​ ​Cycles.​ ​Here’s​ ​what​ ​to​ ​look​ ​out​ ​for…

Geometry, Tyres & Clearance

Tyre​ ​clearance​ ​is​ ​an​ ​important​ ​consideration.​ ​Most​ ​gravel​ ​bikes​ ​run​ ​the​ ​same​ ​700c​ ​diameter​ ​as​ ​their  road​ ​bike​ ​cousins,​ ​but​ ​they’re​ ​specified​ ​with​ ​more​ ​robust,​ ​wider-rimmed​ ​wheelsets​ ​to​ ​accommodate  much​ ​wider​ ​rubber.

While​ ​road​ ​bikes​ ​generally​ ​run​ ​25​ ​or​ ​28mm,​ ​gravel​ ​bikes​ ​could​ ​go​ ​from​ ​32​ ​to​ ​46mm.​ ​Wider​ ​tyres​ ​with​ ​a  deeper​ ​tread​ ​pattern​ ​are​ ​crucial​ ​for​ ​control​ ​on​ ​mud​ ​or​ ​gravel,​ ​and​ ​fuss-free​ ​tubeless​ ​tyre​ ​systems​ ​are  becoming​ ​more​ ​commonplace.

Room​ ​for​ ​mud​ ​clearance​ ​between​ ​the​ ​tyre​ ​and​ ​the​ ​frame​ ​is​ ​also​ ​important,​ ​so​ ​you​ ​don’t​ ​get​ ​clogged​ ​in  the​ ​worst​ ​of​ ​Britain’s​ ​winter​ ​quagmires!

Off-road​ ​demands​ ​mean​ ​gravel​ ​bikes​ ​need​ ​slightly​ ​different​ ​frame​ ​geometries​ ​to​ ​traditional​ ​road​ ​bikes.  Their​ ​relatively​ ​long​ ​wheelbase​ ​and​ ​more​ ​relaxed​ ​headtube​ ​angle​ ​ensure​ ​stability​ ​and​ ​steadier,​ ​more  assured​ ​steering.​ ​Gravel​ ​bikes​ ​have​ ​a​ ​taller​ ​headtube​ ​for​ ​‘sit-up’​ ​comfort​ ​over​ ​long​ ​days​ ​in​ ​the​ ​saddle​ ​–  referencing​ ​the​ ​controlled​ ​poise​ ​of​ ​MTB​ ​position​ ​–​ ​while​ ​a​ ​low​ ​bottom​ ​bracket​ ​is​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​‘strong​ ​and  stable’​ ​package.

Materials & Components

As​ ​gravel​ ​bikes​ ​are​ ​intended​ ​to​ ​take​ ​on​ ​many​ ​forms​ ​of​ ​riding,​ ​manufacturers​ ​approach​ ​their​ ​designs​ ​in  different​ ​ways,​ ​so​ ​when​ ​considering​ ​the​ ​material​ ​its​ ​frame​ ​and​ ​fork​ ​are​ ​made​ ​from,​ ​think​ ​about​ ​what  exactly​ ​you’d​ ​like​ ​to​ ​get​ ​from​ ​your​ ​bike.

If​ ​you​ ​plan​ ​to​ ​load​ ​up​ ​with​ ​luggage​ ​for​ ​long​ ​bike​ ​packing​ ​trips,​ ​look​ ​to​ ​the​ ​capability​ ​of​ ​steel.​ ​If​ ​you prefer​ ​a​ ​lightweight​ ​whip​ ​round​ ​your​ ​local​ ​trails,​ ​then​ ​consider​ ​a​ ​CX-style​ ​carbon​ ​build.​ ​For​ ​something  in​ ​between,​ ​aluminium​ ​is​ ​your​ ​likely​ ​choice.​ ​As​ ​with​ ​road​ ​bikes​​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​unusual​ ​for​ ​an alloy​ ​frame​ ​to​ ​find​ ​a​ ​‘best​ ​of​ ​both​ ​worlds’​ ​partnership​ ​with​ ​a​ ​carbon​ ​fork. It’s​ ​important​ ​to​ ​consider​ ​the​ ​components​ ​that​ ​best​ ​suit​ ​your​ ​riding.​ ​First​ ​select​ ​the​ ​right​ ​types,​ ​then  match​ ​their​ ​level​ ​of​ ​specification​ ​to​ ​suit​ ​your​ ​budget.

While​ ​gravel​ ​bikes​ ​are​ ​available​ ​with​ ​cantilever​ ​brakes​ ​born​ ​from​ ​’cross,​ ​disc​ ​brakes​ ​are​ ​de​ ​rigeur  – and​ ​hydraulic​ ​systems,​ ​more​ ​powerful​ ​than​ ​lighter,​ ​cheaper​ ​mechanical​ ​disc​ ​brake​ ​systems,​ ​are  becoming​ ​more​ ​prevalent.

Gravel​ ​bikes​ ​have​ ​lower​ ​gearing​ ​than​ ​road​ ​bikes,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​varies,​ ​so​ ​match​ ​to​ ​your​ ​intended​ ​use​ ​and  preference.​ ​MTB-style​ ​1x​ ​systems​ ​avoid​ ​the​ ​mud-catching​ ​complexity​ ​and​ ​weight​ ​of​ ​a​ ​front​ ​mech,​ ​while  compact​ ​doubles​ ​–​ ​typically​ ​50/34-tooth​ ​front​ ​chainrings​ ​and​ ​a​ ​cassette​ ​with​ ​11/28​ ​teeth​ ​– give​ ​you  range​ ​and​ ​climbing​ ​ability.​ ​Super-compacts​ ​(48/32​ ​or​ ​46/30​ ​front​ ​rings)​ ​push​ ​that​ ​further.

Meet the Contenders

The​ ​2020 Bergamont Grandurance 5​ ​(£899),​​ ​is your golden ticket to gravel adventures.

The​ ​full​ ​Shimano​ ​Sora​ ​groupset​ ​provides​ ​reliable​ ​shifting​ ​on​ ​a​ ​18-speed​ ​compact​ ​double.​ ​Shimano’s BR-RS305​ ​mechanical​ ​disc​ ​system​ ​provides​ ​predictable​ ​braking​ ​power​ ​to​ ​tackle descents​ ​with​ ​confidence.

A redesigned ultra lite alloy frame finished off with high-grade Syncros components make this a top contender for a more budget conscious rider.

Stepping​ ​up​ ​the​ ​gravel​ ​food​ ​chain,​ ​the 2020 Saracen Levarg SL​ ​(£1,399.99)​ takes Saracen’s MTB dna and moulds it into a true gravel machine.

2020 Saracen Levarg SL

650b wheels & WTB Byway 47c tyres come as standard but the frame can accommodate 700c wheels as well if you wish to change, with a recommended maximum tyre size of 50mm in 650b and 44mm in 700c respectfully.

High quality SRAM/Saracen Custom components deliver a 1x 11 Speed drivetrain featuring an 11-42T ratio cassette and 42T narrow wide chain ring.

Mounts for 3 bottle cages and eyelets for easy mounting of mudguards make this a very versatile bike for any adventure you can throw at it.

Now, to push the budget right to the line with the 2020 Specialized Diverge Comp E5 (£1,949)

“One bike that shreds flowy singletrack gravel and traditional roads with equal authority”

Specialized

2020 Specialized Diverge Comp E5

So what sets this bike apart from the other contenders and why should you spend the extra? Two words. Future Shock.

The Future Shock features up to 20mm of travel, and it’s positioned above the head tube in order to move in a vertical path. So when the front wheel encounters rough terrain, the bike moves up towards your hands and preserves your forward momentum without slowing you down. Another important fact is that, because the Future Shock is positioned above the stem, the bike’s wheels are held together rigidly by the frame. In other words, because the wheelbase isn’t changing throughout the suspension’s travel, like with traditional system, you get the added benefit of extremely predictable handling.

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Bikes Cyclocross

Cyclocross Bikes Explained

So, what is a Cyclocross bike? In it’s purest form, it’s an out and out race bike, essentially a road bike for the mud. If your still confused then you may want to continue reading.

To understand why a cross bike looks the way it does, you will need to know a little about the racing it’s designed for. Cyclocross is a form of racing that typically takes place in the cold, dark, winter months. It’s a predominantly off road discipline with courses often involving obstacles such as stair sets, sand pits, hurdles and many other joys.

 

 

Of course, many of these obstacles cannot be passed whilst mounted which is why many riders will dismount, chuck their bike on their shoulder and run like the clappers. This is why cyclocross bikes have a “boxy” appearance. They have a large front triangle to enable the rider to easily carry their bike on their shoulder, this also gives the  bike a taller standover height, something to bare in mind when purchasing a cross bike.

Riding off road in winter also means mud and lots of it. This is why cross bikes have huge amounts of clearance around the fork and chain stays. In addition to this, they tend to have a higher bottom bracket for ground clearance.

Although disc brakes are only just becoming acceptable to the roadie crowd, the guys and girls riding cross have been using them for years now. As well as providing better tyre clearance, they are also a lot more powerful than traditional caliper brakes, giving more consistent braking in the poorest conditions without chewing up your lovely new wheels.

When it comes to geometry and sizing the best thing to do is chuck a leg over one of these beasts and allow our expert staff to help you find the best fit. For most brands, the sizing is similar to their road bikes. For example, if you normally ride a 52 Specialized Tarmac you will most likely be a 52 on a Specialized Crux. Of course there are exceptions to this and it will vary depending on the individual, so don’t hold on to that statement too tightly.

The fit on a cyclocross bike is quite different to most road bikes. Typically cross bikes have a taller head tube, shorter top tube and a higher bottom bracket. You can of course set it up as close as you can to your road bike. However, a lot of cyclocross riders tend to run a slightly taller front end and shorter reach in comparison with their road bike. This allows the rider to have more control out of the saddle and man handle the bike especially around the many obstacles that they will be fronted with on course.

So you’re not looking to race and you don’t like riding through sand pits? Well you still shouldn’t rule out a cross bike. They make great all rounders and if your spouse doesn’t conform to the N+1 rule, it could be the one bike to do it all. Being born from the mud, cross bikes come equipped with relatively wide tyres with low gearing which enables them to complete most trails with ease. Swap those knobbly tyres out for some smoother road tyres and you’ve basically got a burly road bike. The only potential disadvantage can be gearing, with most brands opting for a 1×11 SRAM setup, they can suffer at higher speeds on the road but given this bike is designed for racing offroad, it still proves itself to be incredibly versatile.

Cyclocross has never been more accessible with more and more races, plenty of local cycling clubs involved and our full range of 2018 Cannondale CX bikes currently on sale, grab yourself a bargain and get cross.

 

“Jack Explains”

Jack works in our Chichester store, is a fully qualified Retul Bike Fitter and whilst he rides all disciplines, it’s safe to say his heart belongs to mountain biking.

Check out Jack’s Instagram for more inspiration to get out on your bike.

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Buying Guide Electric Bikes

E-Bikes Explained

 

E-Bikes, love them or hate them. They’re here to stay. Electronically assisted bikes are probably the most misunderstood topic within the cycling industry.

Why do people buy them? Who is buying them? How long does the battery last? Isn’t the weight an issue? How fast do they go?

Truth is there is no stereotypical E-biker. They are just like any other cyclist. Young, old. Experienced or inexperienced. Everyone can and does enjoy them which is part of their beauty!

E-bikes can broaden the horizon for you and smash your limitations to allow you to boldly go where you have never ridden before. For less experienced riders, it can allow them to go further. For more experienced riders, it also allows them to go further… Basically, you can ride further with less effort. That doesn’t mean it’s a free ride. You still have to pedal, all the E-bikes have a varying amount of assistance in which the ride can choose how much assistance they have. This can range from “off” to what some call “turbo”.

The battery life is a huge variable. Terrain, gear selection, rider effort, tyre choice and pressure, mode selection, rider weight and effort are just a few things that will effect the range of an E-Bike. Some brands like Shimano have got around this so called “range anxiety” by creating apps like their E-Tube Project which helps you fine tune what the motor is doing, much like a map for a car or motorcycle.

Another useful resource is the range Calculator on Bosch’s website. It enables you to input information regarding your weight, riding style, terrain and riding mode and gives you an idea to how long the battery will last. This of course, is only really applicable to Bosch powered bikes.

The bikes vary in weight a lot, especially when looking at various disciplines. For example a full suspension mountain bike in comparison to a hard tail city type bike. Once you are riding the bike with any kind of assistance on the weight pretty much disappears and only becomes apparent during slow tight manoeuvres or super steep technical off-road terrain. The only time the weight can become an issue is lifting the bike over fences or putting it in or on your car. Some brands such as Thule, have remedied this issue by producing mini ramps to load your bike easier. Avoiding roof type racks would be good move for most people.

So enough of the boring stuff, how fast do these bad boys go? Well in the UK they are restricted to 15.9mph. Which off-road, is plenty. E-bikes must also be pedal assist to avoid being classed as a motor vehicle. This means the motor only kicks in whilst the rider is pedalling. Now do you see how it’s not cheating? Inevitably, some riders will be able to ride faster than this off their own steam. That’s fine too, you can ride beyond the speed restriction of the bike. You just won’t receive any more assistance from the bike. This is why so many brands are bragging about “zero drag” systems. Because once the motor cuts out, it’s beneficial to have as little friction as possible to help you push harder.

Still confused? Why not drop us an email, call us or visit one of our stores in the south. Visit our store locator for contact details.

Here’s some inspo for you courtesy of Specialized and World Champ Peter Sagan.

“Jack Explains”

Jack works in our Chichester store, is a fully qualified Retul Bike Fitter and whilst he rides all disciplines, it’s safe to say his heart belongs to mountain biking.

Check out Jack’s Instagram for more inspiration to get out on your bike.

Categories
Bikes Electric Electric Bikes Mountain News

Turbo Levo – Next gen eMTB tech from Specialized.

So, here it is. The E-bike that you’ve all been waiting for. Its lighter, more efficient and looks even more like a “normal” bike.

Specialized have made some dramatic changes to the bike this year. For starters, they are now using the new Brose 2.1 motor which is a dramatic 400 grams lighter and a fair whack more powerful than the previous unit. Specialized worked very closely with Brose to help develop this new unit. So much so that other manufacturers are having to work their bikes around Specialized’s preferred bottom bracket placement.

The new motor is now the most powerful on the market. Whatever the situation. Whatever the cadence. It either betters or equals the competition. Another change for this year is the mounting method of the motor within the bike. It now bolts straight into the frame of the bike instead of into a cradle which then bolts into the bike. The most obvious benefit of this is a weight saving but it could also help eliminate unwanted creaks by reducing the amount of hardware and points of contact.

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Along with a new motor is of course a new battery, or two. The expert and S-Works models with be specced with a 700wh unit and everything else will have a 500wh version. And of course batteries are available to purchase aftermarket should you want to upgrade or just need more range. That’s not the only change to the battery, its now fully encased within the downtube of the frame giving better protection and allows for a stiffer, lighter frame design.

The brain of the bike is now situated on the top tube just behind the stem. Making quick glances at battery life and mode selection a lot easier. It now features a classy blue light system but in principal does exactly what the previous version did. This new unit also helps with updates and eliminates the need for a specific diagnostics tool as it has a port within it too.

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Although Specialized have insisted that a heads up display type computer is not essential on this type of bike. They have now brought an aftermarket screen to the line up. It provides stats including speed, cadence, power and also battery life.

The first thing that strikes you about the new Levo isn’t whats lying beneath but the aesthetics of it. It looks amazing. It incorporates the asymmetric “sidearm” of the latest Stumpjumper and reaps all the same rewards. Enabling Specialized to make the bike stiffer and lighter, thus giving a better riding and more efficient bike. The downtube diameter has also shrunk lending itself to a more traditional look. The new frame has made some huge advances in weight saving too. A massive 800 grams has been saved on the S-Works level frame and 600 grams on the alloy version.

The geometry of the new bike is also, well, new. Its now 20mm longer and 0.5 degree slacker. Making the Levo very much its own bike. Although it does borrow a lot of tech from the stumpy, Specialized have said the bike sits between the Stumpjumper and Enduro in terms of geometry.

6Fattie wheels are out and the humble 29er is in. Its hard to avoid it these days. But in most situations the wagons wheels are the best option. Most of the bikes we were able to see were running the in house Butcher tyres in a 2.6 with grid casing. A burley tyre for a burley bike. The bike is still 6fattie compatible for all you plus tyre lovers. And because the new Levo has the same flip chip as the stumpy you can adjust the bottom bracket height to help avoid pedal strikes.

Along with plenty of new hardware comes new software in the form of a new mode and app. The new mode is dubbed “Uplift mode”. As the name implies its for them boring, gruelling fire roads that give little reward. Putting the bike in uplift mode reduces the torque the motor puts out and gets it to focus on just pulling you up the hill with a very low amount of effort from the rider. The drawback is of course this drains the battery a lot quicker so its not a mode you’ll want to be using too often. The app is an updated version of mission control which is also backwards compatible with older Turbo models.

A bike is the sum of its parts. Lots of changes to the Turbo Levo, big and small have made it a completely different beast to what it was last year. This is what happens when the best gets better.

Available online now, click and collect in your nearest Hargroves store or have it delivered to your door. 

Words: Jack Ingram (Insta @jack.ingram4)

Categories
Accessories Featured Hot Products News Parts And Accessories Reviews

Garmin Edge 1030 Rider Review

  • I’m going to cover some of the main things that stood out about the Edge 1030 but there are so many more features that I haven’t touched upon. It’s just got too many features to feasibly talk about in a short(ish) review!

Size

It took me some time to get used to the size of the Edge 1030. I had previously been using an Edge 820 and an Edge 500 before that so the increase in size seemed like quite a lot at first. However, after a few uses I got used to the size of it and actually found the bigger screen size to be useful. Data screens were clearer and also, I could see the time at the top of the screen without having to bend forwards and squint whilst riding along. This also has benefits for when you are using the unit for mapping. I would say that I wouldn’t use the unit for racing as I feel it would be a bit too big and look a bit out of place on a race bike but for someone who doesn’t race and wants to be able to see lots of data screens and big maps it’s a great size.

Touchscreen

The touchscreen on this device is very good and very responsive. It is also much clearer than the Edge 820 I had previously been using. It’s a known fact that the touchscreen on the Edge 820 can be at times be a little slow to respond. With the Edge 1030 however, this wasn’t the case. Each press is responded to very quickly and moving around the menus and between screens is very quick. It also doesn’t require a hard press, just a gentle press or flick. With auto brightness on the visibility of the screen is great no matter what conditions you are riding in. I have ridden with it on dreary winter daysand hot blue-sky days and anything in between and I have always been able to see the screen perfectly.

Battery

One of my disappointments with my previous smaller Garmin devices has been battery life. Often if I head out for a day and require maps on to follow a route I will be crossing my fingers by the end of the ride hoping that the battery isn’t going to go. The battery life on the Edge 1030 is amazing, Obviously the unit is bigger but the increase in amount of battery life is far greater than the increase in size from the smaller Garmin units. I took this unit on a cycling holiday to Monaco where we were out from 9am until 7pm, each day I had a route on the go and the device connected to my phone via Bluetooth. I don’t think the battery was on anything less than 45%. For people who do a lot of touring or maybe go away cycling for a weekend without the ability to charge things, this device will comfortably see you through two days of riding if not more! There is also a battery pack which can be piggybacked on to the Edge 1030 which will give you battery life in the region of 24+ hours!

Maps

As you would expect the maps on the Edge 1030 are the best across all the Garmin devices. The maps on my Edge 820 are very good and it’s one of the reasons I bought the unit in the first place as it provided detailed maps but on a compact unit. On the Edge 1030 you just get extra details like off road trails and footpaths. This would be great for people who ride off road or do rides which are both on and off road as tracks are clear to see coming off roads and then rejoining. The navigation is also very good and turn by turn is very accurate. The increase in size of screen coupled with the extra detail also mean it is very easy to follow a route. I often come across sections of rides where there are lots of roads coming off a main road, in a town centre for example. With the Edge 1030 it is very easy to see which turn you need to take without having to bend forwards to get closer to the unit. The unit comes loaded with full European maps at the same detail as the roads on the UK maps. This was great when I used the unit in France on unfamiliar roads riding through the outskirts of Nice not really knowing where I was going. The maps were clear enough for me to be able to focus on the traffic around me and still be able to navigate with a brief glance every now and then. The Edge 1030 effectively is as good as a satnav; addresses can be put in and navigated to if you find yourself lost or just want the device to plot a route to a friend’s house for you. The type of roads used and route plotting options can be customised to suit your needs. When scrolling around the map to check to see ahead on a route you have plotted, the map loads very quickly if not instantly. Some previous units took a while for the tiles to load but on the Edge 1030 there is no delay.

Performance Data

Along with all the usual data fields that most GPS units record these days, the Edge 1030 takes this to another level. It’s the ultimate training device. When coupled with a HR monitor and power meter it’s the perfect training partner and will no doubt help you to achieve those long-term training goals. At the end of each ride you are informed of various stats to do with your performance. One of these is a number on a scale of 1 to 5 of how much you are improving/working aerobic and anaerobic systems. This can be really handy depending on what type of session you are aiming to do and also helps you to understand your sessions. It will also inform you if you are overreaching which is good for preventing injuries or fatiguing yourself preventing sustained periods of training. It will also suggest a recovery time from the session, however I have found this to be more a recovery time to fully recover from that session or if back to back sessions the past two sessions.

“a virtual coach guiding you to greater things on the bike”

The device can also auto calculate your FTP if used with a power meter. This may take a few sessions for it to gather the data. This can be helpful if you don’t often do/don’t want to do a specific FTP test but have done a hard ride. Power is then combined with HR (make sure to set max HR) to give you an estimated FTP. At the start of rides the device will also give you a performance conditions number, again out of 5. This is an indication of how fit/fresh you are based on HR and power from previous rides and how that compares to the current ride. This is great on long rides as this is tracked for the duration of the ride and can be seen on a graph in the Garmin Connect app. I found that generally performance condition decreases as the ride went on which is what you would expect as you got more fatigued. This can be useful if you head out to do a hard interval session but have done quite a few back to back sessions and can see your performance condition is bad. In this case it would probably be more useful to do an easier ride. Without the performance condition feature you may over-train which is obviously detrimental in the long run.

These are just a few examples of what this unit can do with performance data and statistics but the list goes on and on. It really is a fantastic device for aiding training and could be regarded as a virtual coach guiding you to greater things on the bike.

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