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Featured Indoor Training News

What is Zwift?

Looking for a way to make those indoor training sessions more engaging? Feel like time stands still when putting in the winter hours? Or simply looking for a year round training platform that will give you extra motivation to go the extra mile? Zwift was created to tackle all of these issues. Here is everything you need to know if you are thinking of giving Zwift a go.

So What’s it All About?

Zwift is an online interactive training and racing platform that links your turbo trainer up to your computer (PC or Mac), iPad, iPhone, Apple TV or an Android smartphone or Tablet. This allows you to ride with others cyclist in multiple virtual worlds often based on real life places. As well as just riding with others you can also complete specific training sessions that have been designed by professional coaches. These can be completed on your own but also with others. This is done by signing up to group workouts via the app or the companion app. The benefits of this over completing these sessions outdoors is there are no external factors that will impact your session. For example, weather, traffic and the terrain around you. It is also great for those that have time constraints as you can get in a high impact session in a small amount on time.

There are seven different worlds to ride with two worlds available to ride each day. The worlds available to ride depend on what day of the week it is and is published on a calendar each month by Zwift.

For those looking for some competition, there are also races you can enter over varying distances and terrain to suit the length of session you want to do and the time that you have available. These are split in to categories based on your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) in w/kg (Watts per Kilogram), so you will always be able to find a race and level that suits you.

There are multiple gamified elements to Zwift which include unlocking bikes and clothing to encourage you to ride for longer and harder and over hillier terrain. There are also challenges often based around total distance ridden and metres climbed which give you access to some of the fastest equipment in the game once completed.

How does Zwift work?

Zwift uses ANT+ or Bluetooth to connect to your devices. These can be either a power meter, a smart turbo trainer (such as the Wahoo KICKR and Tacx Neo 2T) or just a speed/cadence sensor as well as heart rate monitors. To connect via ANT+ you will need to purchase an ANT+ dongle for your computer so the information can be sent between your devices and the computer. For Apple TV and other phone/tablet based devices connection is via Bluetooth which is usually built in. This data is then used by Zwift which is translated in to speed on the virtual course. It takes in to account your weight, power or calculated power, the road gradient and the draft, or lack of, from other riders.

Below is more on the various ways you can get started on Zwift.

  • A dedicated indoor trainer bike, such as the Tacx Neo Bike and Wahoo KICKR Bike – this is the most expensive option and one for those really committed (and have the cash lying around).
  • A smart trainer – these require you to use your existing bike and can be wheel on (Wahoo KICKR Snap) using the resistance of your rear wheel on a drive unit or a wheel off trainer (Wahoo KICKR/Tacx Neo 2T) that require you to remove your rear wheel and place your bike on to the trainer. These measure power and sometimes cadence and transmit this directly to Zwift.
  • A power meter – with a power meter you can use any indoor trainer or rollers and data will be taken from your power meter and transmitted to Zwift. With this option you won’t get the simulated gradient changes and controlled workouts that you get with the indoor training bike or smart trainer.
  • A speed/cadence sensor – this is the most basic option and allows you to use a regular bike with no power meter and a standard wheel on trainer. Zwift will then use the numbers (cadence and wheel speed) to estimate your power. This is not the most accurate or realistic option but it is the cheapest and is a great way to get started on Zwift.

How much does Zwift cost?

Some indoor trainers come with a free trail period, for example 30-days, for Zwift so you can give it a go without having to commit to start with. You do get a free 7-day trial when you first sign up for Zwift if you haven’t got a longer trial period with a trainer purchase. After the free trail it costs £12.99 a month but you can cancel and re-join anytime and you will keep your progress and unlocks that you have achieved so far.

How do I get started?

To get started first you need to sign up for an account. On a Mac or PC you can do it online at Here On a phone or tablet device you can download the Zwift app from the relevant app store and sign up through there.

If you are using a computer or Apple TV to use Zwift it is highly recommended to download the Zwift Companion app. This adds a number of convenient features such as being able to message other Zwifters, enter events and changing the direction of your avatar.

Once this has been done you just need to pair your devices and choose the world you want to ride in. You are then ready to experience next level indoor training!

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Bikes Buying Guide Featured News Protection

MTB Helmets 101: What’s the differences and why you should care

We all know that a helmet is one of the most crucial bits of kit to remember for any ride. If you have been involved in an incident that meant your lid was used for its intended purpose, at whatever level of collision, you will know all too well the importance of this often lifesaving bit of kit.

It is widely regarded that a helmet – without a collision – should be replaced every five years, as the spongy protective EPS layer gradually loses its volume. At Hargroves Cycles, we stock a large number of helmets, but what is the difference between them? And why should you care about wearing the right helmet for the right discipline?

Mountain biking, in particular, is a broad church. There’s a huge gulf in requirements between easy trail riding and breakneck DH racing, and as such there are a wealth of helmet options than sometimes be a little bit bewildering. First, let’s look at the technology underpinning MTB helmets.

MTB helmet tech explained – MIPS

MIPS is the industry leader in helmet technology. They’re not a manufacturer of helmets, so much as a third-party technology supplier used by other brands to make their products safer. Like how The North Face and Berghaus use Gore Tex in their waterproof jackets.

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. The way we crash on bicycles is not a simple case of linear impacts, we crash in all sorts of unpredictable ways and thus, the impacts to our noggins can come in at all sorts of angles. MIPS helmets reflect that and protect you from it in a way that older helmets that just use foam do not.

Having MIPS in a helmet often adds a little bit to the price tag, with some major brands releasing their top-end lids in a ‘with MIPS’ and regular version. Look out for MIPS’ bright yellow branding if you’re ever unsure as to whether a helmet is equipped with this brain-saving tech.

ANGI

From an industry-wide technology to one pioneered exclusively by a single brand, ANGI is Specialized’s way of measuring the linear and rotational forces that typically occur during a bicycle crash. Big S is putting ANGI (Angular and G-Force indicator) into its top-end bike helmets as a sort of extra safety system. The sensors communicate with an app on your phone and, should the worst happen and you end up eating some dirt, the app will notify your emergency contacts that you’ve taken a tumble. The benefits of this when you’re out riding solo away from civilisation are obvious. For more, visit this FAQ on Specialized’s site.

Another emerging safety tech is the rise of better helmets with detachable chin bars. The first full-face helmets were pretty uncomfortable to ride for any length of time at any level of intensity because they didn’t really breathe well and ended up feeling like riding with a swampy bucket on your head. Many riders opted to have two different helmets, only wearing the full-face when they absolutely had to – and for only short periods of time – and favouring their open-face option for any sort of all-mountain riding.

A detachable chin bar eliminates some of that rigidity by allowing you to switch your full-face lid to an open-face one when you don’t need that maximum level of protection. It adds massive versatility to helmets offering full-face protection, without compromise on the safety aspects.

The MET Parachute MCR is a perfect example of this growing sector.

Best helmets for MTB

So which are the best MTB helmets for different disciplines?

For enduro, we’d recommend the aforementioned MET Parachute. It sits at the top of the category with its magnetic chin bar removal system, MIPS protection and – like all MET helmets, it’s beautifully styled with that Italian flair for design.

Looking to save some cash but still get maximum protection? Look no further than the Giro Switchblade. It’s also packing MIPS protection and comes with 20 vents around the helmet body to keep you cool. The chin bar is removable.

Looking to explore some trails without the competitive element or extreme speeds of enduro? We love the Specialized Ambush for trail riding and all-mountain exploration. It comes with the ANGI technology discussed above as well as a really clever integrated fit system.

Similar in performance and protection offered is the MET Roam, winner of a 2018 Design & Innovation award. The Italian brand describes it as an all-mountain helmet and it really is versatile – we’ve seen it used in everything from trail-riding to gravel racing.

Looking for the thrill that only comes from pelting full-tilt downhill? You’ll be wanting a proper full-face helmet to do that, and you could do much worse than the category-leading Specialized Dissident. Present in the range for almost a decade, the Dissident has had a lot of facelifts in its time, but has preserved that essential commitment to being “the lightest, most-ventilated and technically advanced carbon fibre full-face mountain bike helmet out there.” 

Now that you know everything there is to know about the types of MTB helmet we stock, why not come down to one of our shops and try one for size? Our friendly staff will help you find the right style, size, make and design for the type of cycling you do.

Categories
Featured News Reviews

Pinarello Prince Disk Review

Looking for a slightly tamer Dogma? Then the Prince Disk might be just the thing.

Since the Prince’s return to the Pinarello roster it’s pitched as a more approachable all-rounder. Compared to the more race focused Dogma F10  the Prince offers a more comfortable ride, better suited to most riders needs. That’s not to say the Prince is a slouch in anyway. When rubber meets the road the Prince performs incredibly well. When you dig in the Prince is articulate and nimble. The transfer of power is also very efficient, making the Prince super responsive. The ride is nice and stiff but never obviously jarring.  Once you ease up the everything smoothes out and the Prince becomes a fairly comfortable cruiser perfect for more leisurely rides.

 

 

The Prince shares a lot of its DNA with the Dogma f10. If fact from a distance they look very similar, both sharing the concave downtube for reducing drag when a water bottle is in situ.The forks also feature a nifty “Fork Flap” designed to smooth airflow over the dropouts.

 

 

To bring the cost down the guys Pinarello use T700 carbon  as opposed to the T1100 carbon lay-up featured on the Dogma F10. While slightly heavier the T700 makes the Prince the more durable of the two which helps solidify its position as a the go to model in the Pinarello range for people looking for a more versatile option.

 

 

The fine balancing act the Prince performs between race ready and everyday day use makes the bike definitely one to consider. Combined with the pedigree of the Pinarello brand and race proven design we highly recommend the Prince to anyone looking for an upper mid-range setup that offers a race oriented ride but isn’t a one trick pony.

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Clothing Featured News

Summer Clothing – Road Essentials

Summer cycle clothing, simple right? Short sleeve jersey, shorts, done. Not so fast…
While dressing for the summer months seems easy at first, the unpredictable nature of British weather may call for a few shrewd choices. In this guide, we’ll run through a few things to consider when picking some summer cycle clothing essentials.

To Bib or not to Bib

While it may seem counterintuitive a bib short is often a better choice for summer riding. Although shorts offer less coverage this quite often come at the expense of comfort. During a long ride in the heat, comfort should come high up the priority list.
The trick is finding a high quality, summer specific bib-short. A quality
bib short will often not make you feel any hotter, whilst offering superior moisture management. Also, keep an eye out for breathable lightweight fabrics.The  Castelli Evoluzione 2 Bibshorts are a strong contender featuring all the elements that make up a great summer bib-short.

Suns out guns out

A true measure of any cyclist is how sharply defined and wildly contrasting their tan lines are. In order to develop a rich mahogany forearm to form the Yin to your biceps Yang, you’re going to need the right short sleeve jersey.
A recurrent theme in this piece is going to be “moisture management” also referred to as “wicking” along with a whole host of other technical sounding names. All this really means is how a fabric deals with sweat. An engineered fabric of this type will transfer moisture away from the skin, aid quick evaporation and have superior breathability. Perfect for hotter conditions.

It’s also worth looking for a bit of ventilation when considering a jersey. A good example that covers all the bases is the Castelli FLUSSO JERSEY FZ – Moisture wicking, mesh side panels, breathability and a super fresh summer colourway that will make you the envy of your fellow cyclists.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

The British weather is a fickle mistress ready to turn on you at a moments notice, so it’s important to be prepared.
Most clothing brands offer some sort of “pac-a-mac” style lightweight jacket. These are somewhat wind & rainproof and can be stowed in a jersey pocket or saddle bag. Perfect for whipping out at a moments notice should the weather take a turn for the worse. the Castelli Castelli Squadra ER Jacket is a good shout, being well priced and available in a choice of colours.

Much like the lightweight jacket, Arm and knee warmers can be stuffed in a pocket or bag just in case temperatures drop. So it’s always worth having some available to you.

Accessorize

Although a fairly obvious suggestion, keeping your peepers protected is often overlooked. UV damage to the eyes is a very real threat, so taking precautions makes sense. there’s plenty of options available when it comes
to sunglasses so go with whichever ones tickle your fancy. Just keep an eye out for UV protection guarantees.

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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Featured News Reviews

Bargain hybrid bikes: Cube Hyde review

PRICE: £679

PRODUCT LINK: https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/nsearch/?q=cube+hyde
SOURCE: http://www.cyclist.co.uk/reviews/4309/bargain-hybrid-bikes-cube-hyde-review

Anyone contemplating the switch from car to bike will benefit from a machine geared towards the demands of the urban environment..

Having given it a revised frame for 2018, Cube bills the Hyde as the ideal companion for tackling mean city streets.

From the powerful hydraulic disc brakes providing all-weather stopping power, to the fast-rolling tyres, and slick Shimano 27-speed transmission – could the Hyde be all the bike you need to beat the traffic?

The Frame

Slickly presented, the Hyde’s frame features a tapered head tube, along with hydroformed main tubes and cast dropouts.

Composed of quality heat-treated 7005 aluminium, it’s stiff, lightweight, and being German also features an integrated kickstand mount.

With tubes joined by smooth, double-welded seams these supposedly increase strength, and certainly look nice.

Cable management is equally winsome, with integrated gearing lines piercing the frame behind the head tube.

For ease of servicing, the rear hydraulic brake cable is left exposed along the down tube, while the front is pinned inside the fork.

With straight, slender, tapering legs this is similarly lovely looking. Even with huge tyres fitted, both it and the frame include space for mudguards, along with both front and rear racks.

A lot longer than most rigid options, its additional length means it’d be possible to swap in a suspension model later if you so wished.

Groupset

The Deore rear derailleur isn’t quite the newest model available. With nine gears instead of 10, we missed the extra sprocket less than the clutch mechanism featured on the latest design.

This stops the chain flapping around over bumpy ground, although its loss won’t be felt by those who stick purely to the tarmac.

Elsewhere the more budget Acera groupset provides the shifters and front mech, with both working nicely.

With many makers swapping in a cheaper chainset it’s good to see a more durable Shimano triple bolted to the Cube.

Allowing you to replace individual chainrings as they wear out it’ll save money on servicing over time.

Stopping the Hyde are Shimano BR-M315 hydraulic disc brakes, always good to see given their solid performance.

Finishing kit

The silver tabs on the saddle are a little silly. Aping the appearance of rivets on a traditional leather saddle they don’t actually serve any purpose beyond looking nice.

Still, they do at least pull that trick off. We were less keen on the actual shape of the saddle which we found a little narrow for such an upright bike.

Of a better width are the bars. At 660mm they’re wide enough to be stable, but not so expansive as to risk hitting wing mirrors when filtering through traffic.

Wheels

Rotating around bombproof Shimano hubs, the Hyde’s wheels are stiff, tough, and should in all fairness last a long time.

Easily adjustable, the availability of Shimano spares is unbeatable, while their centre lock system also makes swapping disc rotors easier. Laced to them with 32 spokes, the Alex rims are eyeleted for strength.

While they’re tubeless-compatible the fitted Schwalbe Big Apple tyres aren’t. Still, regardless of only working with conventional inner tubes we’re big fans.

Part of the Schwalbe’s Balloonbike range, their huge volume allows them to work at low pressure to provide a high degree of natural suspension.

Key to the bike’s ride characteristics, they’re certainly worth giving a try.

On the road

We were expecting a lot from the Hyde. Good looking and with a solid spec, it got off to a promising start.

Uniquely it employs huge 2.35in tyres of the kind more frequently found on mountain bikes, except denuded of their knobbly tread.

Despite a stiff aluminium frame these oversize wheels take a while to get going, although with a head of steam built up, it feels as if they’ll plough through anything.

Wrapped in those enormous tyres, the outer diameter of the Hyde’s wheels is bigger than most 700c bikes.

This huge volume of air allows the Hyde to float along. Key to its handling characteristics, they’re surprisingly fast rolling, while the cushion-like suspension allows the rider to smash over obstacles without getting too shaken up.

They also impart almost comical levels of grip, meaning you can rip around corners with little risk of sliding out.

On the flip side, we don’t reckon these big wheels are quite as easy to start up or keep rolling as more regularly sized alternatives, yet it might be a trade worth making given their ability to soften the ride, along with the fact that they’re unlikely to get caught out by potholes or uneven drain covers.

Less prone to being railroaded from under you than slimmer models, they make the Hyde feel like a very safe place to perch.

Shimano brakes are a perfect match, providing a similar level of quick-stopping security.

Combined with excellent shifting performance, and slick looking own-brand finishing kit, there’s no obvious weak link in the Cube’s well-balanced spec.

Surprisingly upright, the Hyde creates a riding position that’s easy on the back and shoulders. With space to accommodate huge tyres the fork crown itself is very tall.

Slotting into a decent length head tube, and finished with a sizable top cap, the result is a handlebar position that towers above the other bikes.

Twinned with this is a rangy top tube, meaning all in the Cube comes up bigger than expected. As it doesn’t have a huge amount of standover this makes getting a good fit especially important.

Assuming you do the Hyde is a fun bike to ride. Light and stiff, it’s more than happy to be thrown about, with the fork being staunch enough to carve turns, while the tyres trample over obstacles with alacrity.

Rumbling along happily on tarmac, they’re bulbous enough to survive off road, too. However, while grippy in the dry, a slick tread means they soon meet their match in wet and slimy conditions.

Getting too wild on the trails will also highlight the lack of standover, increasing the risk of whacking your person on the top tube in the event of a crash – not usually relevant on the road.

Full specifications and more details: https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/nsearch/?q=cube+hyde

Source: http://www.cyclist.co.uk/reviews/4309/bargain-hybrid-bikes-cube-hyde-review