The Grinder: Zefal Bike Taxi Tow Rope, Continental Argotal, Fox Dropframe helmet, Zipp 1ZERO HiTop Wheels

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Is that creak me or the bike? Real-world product reviews from real-world riders: Zefal Bike Taxi, Continental Argotal, Fox Dropframe helmet, Zipp 1ZERO HiTop Wheelset.

Zefal Bike Taxi Tow Rope

  • Price: £49.99
  • From: Chicken CyleKit
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  • Tested by: Benji and Ted and Olive for 1 month

I’ve had a version of this towing system before (called the Kommit Zugsystem) and really rather rated it. This version from Zefal is nigh-on identical and unsurprisingly is similarly good at its job.

While mounting the unit to your saddle rails is a bit faffy – essentially threading a toe-strap through some slots and over/under rails – once it’s on, this is by far the least faffy towing system I’ve used. Pull the loop, stick it over your kid’s stem (it anchors between the two rear bolts of the stem steerer clamp), do the towing, remove loop from kid’s stem, and let it zip back into the unit. With a (cooperative) child, it’s even possible to attach/tow/remove on-the-fly.

Despite offering minimal ‘give’, the towing line hasn’t proved to be overly jerky or sketchy. In fact, I’d say the lack of stretchiness has been an advantage most of the time; there’s none of the ‘loading-up’ and subsequent recoil that can happen with a TowWhee, for example.

Continental Argotal Tyre

  • Price: £79.95 DH Supersoft, £72.99 Enduro Soft
  • From: Continental Tyres
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  • Tested by: Benji & Ross for 2 months

The Argotal is the loose conditions tyre in Continental’s recently revamped mountain bike tyre range. The Kryptotal is the all-rounder. The Hydrotal is for all-out ‘mudder’ DH racing.

Try as we might, it’s hard to avoid using Maxxis as the comparison. Because Maxxis. The Argotal is going head to head against the Maxxis Shorty. Is it better? Yes. And no. It totally depends which version Argotal you get.

Frustratingly, the Enduro casing Argotal is only available in Soft compound. Which just isn’t quite sticky enough for real filth (once you factor in rocks and roots). The Argotal tread itself is great. Amazing in fact. Loads of mechanical traction and an impressive lack of clogging-up. But it’s the Supersoft compound that is missed when you don’t have it (inferior cornering, less calm, less traction on root/rock). Which means you need to carry around the extra casing weight of the DH Argotal.

Can we have a Enduro Supersoft please Herr Conti? That would be unschlagbar!

Fox Dropframe Helmet

  • Price: £269.99
  • From: Fox Racing UK
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  • Tested by: Hannah for 1 month

To my mind this looks a little like a helmet you might wear to ride a Mobylette around Paris, though this sort of halfway house between open and full face appears to be popular among the jibbers of this world. Personally if I’m doing anything that dangerous I’m more concerned about my teeth than my ears, but each to their own.

The visor stays pleasingly put in whichever of the three possible positions you choose, the Fidlock fastener is easy to use, the ear coverage doesn’t noticeably affect your hearing, and being wrapped around your head as it is makes it feel very secure. I do find it a little tricky to get my ears and glasses all lined up comfortably with the inner cradle.

For me it’s also a touch warm on top, but at least without a chin guard it’s easy to drink as much water – or energy drink? – as is needed to keep you rolling – or flying.

Zipp 1ZERO HiTop Wheelset

  • Price: £2,000
  • From: SRAM
  • Tested by: Amanda for 5 months

This lightweight XC wheelset from SRAM features a low profile wide carbon rim, fast engaging freehub and TyreWiz 2.0 sensors front and back.

Starting with the rims, the 30mm internal width is great, giving more tyre volume and stability, plus there’s less chance of pinch flats. The wide rim also means I can run lower pressures when needed. The hookless design is marginally better for rolling resistance and much better for tyre and rim strength under impact. Technical details aside, they look snazzy! The silver Zipp logo is an acquired taste that initially I thought looked a bit cheap but they’re now the best looking component I own, and really complete my short travel trail bike.

The freehub offers 66 points of engagement without having an obnoxious high pitched buzz sound. Ignoring numbers and going by feel, engagement is super sharp. The ZM2 SL front hub is currently a mystery to me. It’s narrow, I guess for weight saving, but I haven’t had any issues with it nor have I heard of any durability issues. It’s relatively new to the market so time will tell how that stands up to the test of a high mileage trail bike in UK conditions, but the lifetime mechanical warranty on the wheels (2 years for the TyreWiz) is all the reassurance I need on that.

If you’re a weight weenie, which I guess these wheels are aimed at, the Zipp 1ZERO HiTop wheelset is comparable to Reserve 28 XC wheelset with DT 350/240 hubs, yet the Zipp set is 225g lighter than the Reserve with 350 hubs, and 125g lighter than with 240 hubs. For a smooth and compliant mountain bike wheelset they’re absurdly light at 1,325g.

Something clicked for me in terms of my riding consistency and confidence around the time I fitted these wheels. I’m not going to owe it all to a wheelset, but certain aspects of riding such as cornering and trusting my tyres to hold ground are now second nature. They offer a smooth ride with insane damping on really rough terrain, they are totally silent even on big misjudged hits, and thanks to the TyreWiz I’ve learned to pay attention to my pressures.

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Tested: by Singletrack World Magazine for Singletrack World Magazine Issue 154

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • The Grinder: Zefal Bike Taxi Tow Rope, Continental Argotal, Fox Dropframe helmet, Zipp 1ZERO HiTop Wheels
  • 5lab
    Full Member

    That bike taxi looks rubbish compared to the tirevelo which has actual flex in the line for similar money

    Full Member

    That bike taxi looks rubbish compared to the tirevelo which has actual flex in the line for similar money

    Why do you need flex? I’ve got a Trax (which this is a rip off of), that uses a thin Kevlar rope on a sprung spool and stretches not a bit. I’ve had no trouble with it at all. Me and my lad have only had a single crash using it and that was a breakdown of communications on a bumpy bit.  I’d rather have something consistent than a giant bungy cord twanging about.

    I will ask why there appears to be an offset on the exit? There’s potentially a lot of load going through this and I’d rather it wasn’t trying to twist on the mount.

    Full Member

    Why do you need flex?

    having had both setups, the flex is great – it massively reduces snatching and makes pulling away (especially uphill) a load easier (as you can tension the line and set off together, using the spring to get both of you over top-dead centre as you’re going walking pace which is the time the kids most likely to fall). it doesn’t twang about, but gives a bit (maybe growing a foot or 2 from un-stretched length) making the whole experience way smoother.

    for a more advanced passenger, or for smoother trails a static/retractable line is probably fine, but for younger kids the more you can do to make things easier for yourself the better (I tend to have one kid on the wee-ride and one being towed..)

    Full Member

    Tried all versions of the Argotal and the Endurance seems to be the best all round. Great grip at bike parks and off piste and still rolls fast.

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

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