The Grinder: Aeroe rack, Repente saddle, Madison glasses, Shimano shoes, Sinter pads, Muc-Off tool, Hyperlocal

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Tools and tech for your convenience and comfort. Because suffering is overrated. Real-world product reviews from real-world riders.

Aeroe Spider rack and bags

  • Price: £119.99 (rack), £49.99 (bag)
  • From: Freewheel (Members deal via EZ Discounts)
  • Tested by: Benji/Ted for 4 months
  • SQUIRREL_TEXT_13050935

The basic idea with Aeroe stuff is that it’s a dry-bag luggage rack system that fits every and any bicycle. Even full-suspension mountain bikes and e-bikes. It’s not meant to be aerodynamic. Or super lightweight. Or super quick to install/remove. It’s kinda not meant for the hardcore bikepacking zealots. It’s meant for normal people who may wish to go on an adventure now and then with more stuff than a CamelBak can contain. Installation and removal were both actually pretty simple. Just a 5mm Allen key is required. The whole operation took five minutes. In use, the whole shebang has remained rock-solid and hasn’t failed to fit any bike it’s been tried with (e-bike, full sus, gravel bike, high school commuter). The dry bags have done their job and are holding up well with no signs of tears or fraying anywhere. There may be sleeker, lighter luggage systems out there but that’s not the point. This genuinely works simply with any bike.

Repente Latus M saddle

  • Price: £195.72
  • From: Repente
  • Tested by: Benji for 3 months
  • SQUIRREL_TEXT_13020885

A super light saddle with carbon rails is not something I’d typically be into. Especially one that isn’t even really intended for mountain biking (the Latus is apparently designed for gravel riding ). What attracted me to this posh perch was sort of a personal ‘proof of concept’. The Latus has a wide, yet short profile. It has a broad flat rear (where you sit) which I get along with. It has a very snub nose because… well, for my intentions… because you no longer ever sit on the nose of a saddle anymore (now that mountain bike seat angles are decently steep), so the nose is redundant. All it does is impair standover stuff and get in the way. Get rid of it. After a few months of testing, I can hereby confirm that this saddle shape is The Future. We just need a version that’s got a smidge more padding and is a heck of a lot cheaper.

Sinter brake pads

  • Price: £21.53 (Green), £26.99 (Blue), £54.99 for combo pack
  • From: ZyroFisher
  • Tested by: Benji for 4 months
  • SQUIRREL_TEXT_13050936

In one of the more confusing decisions in branding, Sinter only makes organic brake pads. And that’s fine by me. I only use organic pads if possible. Principally because they offer more feel than metallic sintered pads. They also feel more usefully powerful for most riding scenarios. Organic pads are also much less prone to annoying squealing and honking noises. I really rate these pads from Sinter. Green pads are great in the front for braking late and/or hard. The Blue pads have found a home in the rear brake as they’re a bit longer lasting – the back brake sees more dragging as well as getting more ‘trail splash’ hurled through it. Both sets of pads have been pleasingly quiet in use. I’d generally really urge you to try premium pads if you’re feeling less than impressed with your brakes. Sinter ones have really improved several initially mediocre brakes (OEM pads?) that have been on test bikes recently. Not cheap, but cheaper than new brakes.

Madison Enigma sunglasses

  • Price: £49.99
  • From: Freewheel (Members deal via EZ Discounts)
  • Tested by: Benji for 6 months
  • SQUIRREL_TEXT_13050937

Good glasses are good glasses. Sometimes they cost three figures. Sometimes they don’t. All too often the not-three-figure options aren’t much cop, either from an optical or durability point of view. This is especially true of interchangeable lens designs. I’ve worn these Enigma glasses on almost every ride since mid-October (that is a lot of rides) and they’re still pretty much like new. I’ve used the clear lens a handful of times and the dark/mirror lens er… never (UK resident init). It’s the amber lens that has seen almost exclusive use because it just works and is nice everywhere. There’s no fiddly latch mechanism if and when you do need to change lenses – the bendy frame just opens/closes apart. Simple. The posable nose piece is handy when you need to increase airflow on more humid rides but in general, the Enigmas have been very good at not misting up during exertion.

Shimano GF4 (GF400) shoes

  • Price: £119.99
  • From: Freewheel (Members deal via EZ Discounts)
  • Tested by: Benji for 6 months
  • SQUIRREL_TEXT_13050938

Let’s get to the point: are these better than the similarly priced Five Ten Freerider Pro? For me and my feet, yes. Definitely. I don’t know whether it’s my feet that have changed, or the last (the fancy word for ‘foot shape’) that Adidas-era Five Ten is using these days, but I no longer fit Five Tens. They’re too narrow now. In terms of pedal feel and traction grabbing, Shimano’s new ‘Ultread’ rubber-soled shoes are several leagues better than their previous shoes. I’d go as far as saying it’s the best all-round compound out there in fact. In terms of construction quality – and also shock-absorbing aspects – the Shimano GF4 is every bit as good as the hallowed Freerider Pro. I’d even say the asymmetrically raised ankle collar and toe cap give this shoe the edge over its rival. The one and only thing that they struggle with is style. These dark blue ones especially. The all-black ones are better, albeit boring AF. I’ll take function over form though thanks.

Muc-Off eBike Drivetrain Tool

  • Price: £20.00
  • From: Muc-Off
  • Tested by: Benji for 3 months
  • SQUIRREL_TEXT_12999353

For those who don’t know, oiling the chain of a pedal-assist bike is more complicated than on a regular bike. Essentially, you backpedal the crank arm and the chain doesn’t move because there’s a freehub in the motor as well as in the rear hub. This means you can’t do the usual backpedal-while-drizzling-oil-onto-chain lubrication method. Sure, it’s possible to jam an Allen key into the chainring bolt to get the backpedal method to work (the crank arm engages with the body of the Allen key thus making the chainring backpedal successfully) but the Allen key usually fouls the pedal body making backpedalling really awkward. It also leaves a nasty mark on your crank arm. This tool from Muc-Off does the job of the jammed-in Allen key but does it without awkwardness or marks. It’s a product that elicits celebration and ridicule in seemingly equal measure. I am glad it exists. It’s one of my favourite things in fact.  

Hyperlocal Weather App

Being a British biker means I am probably more weather-focused than 99% of people who aren’t telly weather forecasters. I like my weather served to me in two ways. A longish term overview done relatively simply. And an immediate in-depth what’s-happening-in-the-next-couple-of-hours granularity. The Hyperlocal app does both of these very, very well. It’s fast, clear and accurate. It’s a particularly good weather app if your main concern is rain. Knowing if and how much it’s likely to rain helps me prepare in the longer term (tyre changes?) and in the short term (jacket or just gilet today?). It’s the one and only weather forecast where I actually comprehend the likelihood of rain and rate of rain, due to the bar chart and trend-line graph in conjunction with the satellite radar imagery (that only displays rain cloud). The free version of the app is fine. If you get really into it you can splash out £6.99 on the full version to ditch ads, unlock a few nice-but-unnecessary features or just to support the people behind the app.

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Review Info

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Tested: by Benji & Ross for Singletrack World Magazine Issue 154

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Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • The Grinder: Aeroe rack, Repente saddle, Madison glasses, Shimano shoes, Sinter pads, Muc-Off tool, Hyperlocal
  • gazzab1955
    Full Member

    @stwbenji – What is that weather app actually called? Cannot find anything called Hyperlocal Weather on the app store.

    Full Member

    @gazzab1955 Dark Sky Tech Weather App – you can follow the Apple / Google link

    Full Member

    Thanks @lewisdeacon – Confusing having two names! 🙂 I was viewing the post on my PC, but obviously want the app on my phone, should have used the link from there instead. Cheers

    Free Member

    Just about to use my Aeroe for my first proper bike packing trip. I guess I fit the use case, in that I want to use it to carry luggage on my mountain bikes rather than having a specific bikepacking rig.

    Full Member

    @kramer, me too. We set off this (rather wet) Thursday doing the Calder divide plus minor extension.

    What are you doing?

    Full Member

    I bought the Aeroe rack for my Fatbike because I’ve a couple of specific tours in mind where I’ll want a bit more capacity than my normal seatpack.permits. I’ve only ridden with it locally and can’t really fault it. Certainly better than my original idea of buying an OMM rack and RAP axle.

    Full Member

    You do know that the chain moves if you simply rotate the wheel backwards, right? AND you can rotate the transmission with your left and drop the lube into the inside of the chain with the right when on the stand so it’s ergonomic (for righties at least).

    Saves £20.

    OR does that mot happen on an eBike? Hadn’t thought of that detail.  If so, now I don’t want one. Unless it’s a Nicolai Saturn. . . .

    Free Member

    @MadBillMcMad I’m getting the train to Aberdeen, then we’re riding up to Ballater for three days mountain biking with my buddies, then riding back down again on the fifth day. It’ll give me an idea of how feasible the Traws Eryri and Great North Trail are going to be?

    Full Member

    I subscribe to the magazine and through that grinder is possibly my favourite bit.

    I does make me question my print subscription if my favourite bit it’s on here before the magazine has got to me

    Full Member

    All magazine content is locked off and only visible to full members, but if downgrading to digital only works for you then that’s cool. We have priced our subs so that we net the same from each type so the right package for us is the right one for you.

    Free Member

    Dark Sky Tech Weather App – you can follow the Apple / Google link

    Thank mate, probably worth adding to the article if any STW are reading this.

    Full Member

    Does that weather app tell you how much rain an area has had in the preceding 2:weeks?

    That would be useful to know if you are traveling to an area and want to know what the likely ground conditions are going to be even if the day you ride is not raining.

    Full Member

    First real test of the aeroe rack. A slightly reduced Calder divide over two nights. I had two side pods keeping them as light as possible, putting heavy stuff in a role under the bars.

    Very pleased. Everything rock solid. I did double bag one of the bags as it had my sleeping gear in that I really didn’t want getting wet.

    I used the basic alpkit 13litre airlok bags that only have one entry point.

    Full Member

    Yeah – those are a good fit and the strapping loops are in the right place.

    Full Member

    First impressions of the app not great, every prediction it’s made so far has been confidently wrong but I’ll give it a chance.

    Full Member

    Yeah the aeroe racks are great if you want something with more space than a seat pack but still want to retain off road capability. Spendy though (I bought one off the CRC fire sale for about £20!)

    You can also use one of the feet and a cradle to turn it into a very stable front roll mount, attached to your bars.

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)

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