‘You could buy a car for that!’ It’s Fresh Goods Friday 397

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This week, Amanda our designer has stepped in to write Fresh Goods Friday. Mostly because she has a story to tell… 

Two weeks ago I was on my way to Wales for a weekend of biking. I had my best and most reliable riding buddy in the van with me – the one who’s never late, always has the correct gear for the occasion, keeps her bike well maintained and is great fun to ride with. We were excited! The sun was shining and we were running ahead of schedule.

Then the engine cut out… in the third lane of the M56… with an elephant race underway in the two inside lanes. So we had to get ourselves past two lorries and into the hard shoulder in the time it takes a VW Caddy to go from 80mph to 0mph. That’s not so bad, right? WRONG. All this unfolded in-between the exit and entrance of jct14, limiting the hard shoulder to the short stretch below the bridge. Well anyway, we survived relatively unscathed, our nerves took a beating and my best riding buddy got promoted to bestfriendforever since she kept so cool about me ruining her weekend, and me almost driving her into an artic.

The two weeks that followed have seen me riding a full sus from Trawden to Todmorden, a BMX to the shops and my favourite local loop has been hammered to the point where I no longer enjoy it, but since I can’t get anywhere without pre-booking a train ticket it’s been my only option. The good news is that I’ve just got my van back. The bad news is that it cost so much the garage gave me a bottle of Merlot to drown my sorrows with. I don’t drink wine.

What’s all that got to do with Fresh Goods, you ask? Absolutely nothing, I just wanted to vent. Let’s have a look at all the goodies we’ve received this week, all delivered to us in fully functioning vans with no issues with DPF filters, cambelts, injectors… brakes… tyres…

Simplon Cirex 120

Pick and mix for the perfect set up?

If you are the kind of person that buys a bike and then promptly swaps out half the components to make it ‘just right’, then Simplon might be the brand for you. With a specialism in carbon frames – but making a whole range of e-bikes, town bikes and road bikes, as well as mountain bikes – this is a brand pitching itself at the premium buyer who wants to be able to customise their ride before it lands in their garage. This Cirex has been upgraded from the £3,600 base model (there’s a pick and mix tool so you can pick your components online or do so with the help of your local dealer) and features 120mm travel up front and 100mm at the rear. A bike for marathon riding maybe – but allegedly just as good as an all round trail bike.

Motivating or patronising?

Weighing in at 11.5kg, even the rocker link is carbon (if you play with the component picker tool on line, you’ll notice the weight of the bike changes according to your choices. Someone in the Simplon factory has actually weighed all those components for real before they were listed in the configurator). There’s a neat little pivoting cable guide on the pivot joints – patented by Simplon – so the cables run neatly and not under the bottom bracket. All very precise and exact – we’re looking forward to seeing how it performs with a bit of trail chaos.


Equivalent cost to a pair of disc brakes on Amanda’s van, but where’s the fun in those.

Back in August last year we took a look at a very intriguing product on kickstarter. Well it’s here! The ShredMate tracks your jumps, speed, G forces, distance, detects rough trails and maps the ride, all from this small yet robust waterproof sensor. It works via an app using Bluetooth so all you need is your smartphone and a couple of cable ties (included). Stay tuned for a full product review coming soon.

Park Tool 3-Way Torx® Compatible Wrench

To add to our ever-growing collection of Park Tools, we now have a 3 way Torx wrench. This handy little guy fits perfectly in your palm for good leverage, and has the tool sizes clearly marked on so you don’t need to play that guessing game.

Crankbox Gear Monthly Subscription

All this cost 2% of Amanda’s van repairs.

A box of nutrition, components, maintenance items and/or clothing delivered straight to your door once a month? Sign me up! It’s like your very own Fresh Goods Friday! With a whole bunch of brands on their books, you’ll never know exactly what’s going to turn up – which might just stop you getting in a rut eating the same things on every ride, or might help you discover some new favourites. And who doesn’t like getting a nice new bit of bike goodness? If you’re picky about your bike products, there’s a Feed box (which is nutrition products only) at £25 a month.

Kingud Cleaning Products

What a f’kingud selection of cleaning products.

Do you care about the environment as much as you care about your bike? If so, this ones for you. British brand Kingud offer a huge range of biodegradable bike cleaners, lubricants, degreasers and more. The PH neutral shampoo is super concentrated with no wax, so it’s safe to use on brakes, a little goes a long way and thanks to the aluminium bottle for life, Kingud offer eco-friendly refills when you do eventually run out. They also offer a Helmet Fresh spray to keep helmets, gloves and shoes fresh for up to 6 months, killing bacteria and getting rid of stink. I know a few people who could use some of that.

Dakine Split Roller 110l

Amanda wont be needing one of these, as she can’t afford a holiday now.

This stylish yet functional case is packed full of well considered features. There are 10 compartments, including an interior pocket to keep your dirty boots contained and see through mesh dividers to make for easy organisation within the split level design. Dakine introduce the ‘Split-Wing®’ collapsible bracket within one of the pockets, which reenforces the case and folds flat for storage. Available in 11 colour ways with matching items available, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Continental Trail King Apex Pro Tection 29 x 2.2

For £3 more you could buy an economy tyre for a 2012 VW Caddy. But you’d need four in total, so stick to riding a bike.

All you’ll have seen from Chipps’ Sea Otter story, Continental Tyres has completely revamped its mountain bike range. All sizes and treads are now optimised for the wider rims that everyone is rolling around on and the tread pattern in many cases has evolved or completely changed. This is the Mountain King – Conti’s all round mountain bike tyre. It’ll come in 2.2in by 29in here (and eventually 2.6in too) and all of the sizes. And yes, we mean 26in too.

Continental Mountain King 27.5 x 2.3

You wouldn’t even get a valet for this price, Amanda.

The Mountain King is one of the treads that has been completely re-done. Of note too, is that this is the Performance line, which is a more affordable range from Continental. Same tread patterns, but instead of Black Chili rubber and German construction, we have similarly grippy PureGrip rubber tread, made in Conti’s own Far Eastern factory. This helps bring the price range down more to the £40 a tyre range, which is a little easier on the pocket.

Finish Line e-Bike Cleaner

I wonder if this could clean a DPF filter…? Hmmmmm.

One issue that can plague e-bike owners is how to clean the things. While high-power jetwashes are never good for any bikes, what about penetrating cleaners? Some riders can worry about those getting past the motor or electric seals and causing Gremlins-style mayhem with the wiring. This cleaner from Finish Line foams on impact, lifting dirt without you having to get too violent with the brush and hose.

Finish Line Pedal & Cleat Lube

I’ll trade you 6 cans of pedal & cleat lube for one bottle of 5W30 engine oil.

Something that you won’t know you need until you use it. Finish Line’s pedal and cleat lube is designed for those dusty, summer days (remember them?) where a constant lack of lubrication (or water and mud) means that your cleats can get hard to clip in and unclip, or just squeak continuously while you’re riding. This goes on and dries as a dry, protective film on your clip-in pedals and cleats. The idea is that it stays put as a dry coating and helps lubricate cleats when the normal lubricant of mud and rain isn’t there.

Elliot Brown Canford Watch

Watch this space
Dwarfing Mr Spindly Wrists here

This rather sturdy Elliot Brown watch has just shown up in the office, destined for the rather skinny wrists of our editor, who’s also a bit of a watch fiend. But what’s the mountain biking connection? Founders Ian Elliot and Alex Brown actually learned their trade at Animal, back in the 1990s. We still know people who proudly wear their Animal watches from that era, so they were doing something right even back then. Elliot Brown’s watches have loads of hidden features to make them suitable to rugged lifestyles, like fixed watch bars (rather than spring bars) and the watch even comes with a jewellers’ screwdriver in the box for strap changes. The quartz movement is shock-protected and there’s an inner rotating bezel rather than an external one that always gums up with grit. Anyway, we’ll let you know how we get on with it.

The Art of Cycling – Cadel Evans

Yes, Chipps can read as well as write.

Published at the end of June, just in time for this year’s Tour de France, it’s a book about a road rider. However, we thought it deserved a bit more of an airing as this particular road rider got his start in mountain biking. Anyone who remembers Cadel Evans racing in the Volvo/Cannondale colours might want to put this on the summer reading list – if just to find out how you get to go from there, to the Tour.

Morphosis Jacket

Is that a pout?

Mr Stu Taylor here, purveyor of beer, is going to be doing quite a bit of pedalling soon. He’s taking on the HT550, and we’ve got him a bit of kit to test out on the trip. Here he is in this lightweight jacket with carefully positioned fleece zones for added warmth. Handy perhaps for cold days on the bike, or those pre-sleep feed stops.

Gravitas Jacket

It’s like Oasis never split up.

Super duper light – handy when you’re carrying everything you need to survive with you – this is waterproof, windproof and breathable, yet packs down into your pocket. Hopefully the weather will be fine and Stu won’t need it.

Pipedream 200

Amanda was reduced to renting out her house on Airbnb to fund the van repairs.

This is a proper piece of kit for a good night’s sleep. Ultra light, hyrophobic goose down filled and a DWR coating, with a 7°C limit (there’s a 400 and 600 if you’re going somewhere colder). Stu looks rather cosy, though he says he’s not planning on doing much sleeping – just racing.

Folds up this small.

Kraku Stove and MytiMug 650

  • Price: £24 (stove), £29 (mug)
  • From: Alpkit
Burns faster than Amanda’s credit card.

A teeny weeny stove and a mug just the right size for a can of soup – great for cooking up beans, noodles, or whatever else keeps Stu going through the HT550. The stove itself folds up small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, though obviously the gas canister takes up a little more room. The titanium mug comes with a lid, so you can use it for cooking from as well as drinking and eating out of.

Teko Reflective Adrenalin Running Socks – Light Cushion

  • Price: £11.95
  • From: Teko
Nobody ever wants to model socks. It’s a weekly struggle.

Eco-friendly socks? Teko uses nylon made from 100% regenerated consumer waste, meaning you can ride with your head held high knowing you’re reducing waste in the world one pedal stroke at a time. Lightly cushioned on the heel and ball of the foot with a seamless snug fit, these socks claim to feel like a second skin. They have reflective dots on the back of each ankle and the fine microfibres evaporate moisture quickly.

Red Red Wine

  • Price: £2,020
  • From: Amanda
Look at it, hiding in the background. Shame on you. FOR SHAME. I COULD HAVE BOUGHT A NEW BIKE YOU STUPID VAN. That’s right. Sit there under the naughty step and think about what you’ve done. No, you can’t have any VPower, it’s supermarket fuel for you now.

Exclusive, only one available! FREE DELIVERY. Please email Amanda for more details.

…Right, we’re taking Amanda off for a little quiet time in a darkened room now. Off the rest of you trot too, have a lovely weekend.

Author Profile Picture
Amanda Wishart

Art Director

Amanda is our resident pedaller, who loves the climbs as much as the descents. No genre of biking is turned down, though she is happiest when at the top of a mountain with a wild descent ahead of her. If you ever want a chat about concussion recovery, dealing with a Womb of Doom or how best to fuel an endurance XC race, she's the one to email.

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Comments (10)

    That Crankbox link is either pooped as your van was (sorry to read that) or the website has headed off into the ether, either way it is not quite all there right now.


    Don’t worry about the money spent on the van! That’s your way of accessing your smiles, so even at £2,000 it’s a bargain imo! #ridelife

    Hey James.

    We just checked and link to the Crankbox site is now working.

    We are also releasing a £15 nutrition monthly box to our line up in the next week or so

    Mo at Crankbox

    Yep, I’m still wearing my Animal watch from th 90’s.
    “Surfers Against Sewage” edition.

    Ebike specific cleaner?. Lolz…
    Ice to the Eskimos. 😉

    £63 for a tyre? Bargain!

    I still find it very funny that everyone needs to chase the Fuhrers (peoples) badge. In fact, unless you need a conversion/caravanette(UUUFFFPPPHHH) there are many better choices. But, as is fashion, mtb low and long, many people fall into a sense of lower and fat low wheels (with many taking up dental insurance)
    It’s a great pity that you pay through the nose for something with THAT badge, my experience after two peoples vans is HOW MUCH,….. ONLY a THREE YEAR WARRANTY, no discount, crap recall/known issues, crap plastics, no carpet, in fact WHY…. OOOOO I know they can fit through more width restrictions than some other common LGV, but HOWWWWWWW much….., for a jeffin van. Go and love zee sauszzauge.

    I’ve got some of the Kingud Protect, it works really well, that lag doesn’t stick to the frame half as much and hoses off much easier 🙂 But now it’s summer we’ll see how it copes with dust.

    er, “the clag” doesn’t stick… it works better than my typing!

    Do the Conti’s come in ‘straight’ yet?

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