Category Archives: Reviews

Park Tool CM5.2 Cyclone Chain Cleaner

To make sure I always have a constant supply of Haribo I buy a cycle tool once a month from the obvious mail-order bike retailer, last month that meant I finally got round to buying a Chain Cleaner.

Park Tool CM5.2 Chain Cleaner

Park Tool CM5.2 Chain Cleaner

I had something similar many years ago, but a cheaper, none branded version, and it wasn’t very good, I think it lasted one or two uses before I broke it. Ever since I have been a bit old-school and tend to split the chain and clean it in a jar of degreaser before rinsing it, replacing it and lubing up. That’s not a quick job though, so in winter, when the commutes are long and the available bike fettling time is short it tends to mean I can go a couple of weeks before cleaning the drivetrain, not good for chain and chainring life.

This time the chain cleaner is way better than I had hoped, it’s a job of 5 minutes to get the chain cleaned from start to finish. It might not be as perfect a deep clean as I get when I do it manually but I’m more likely to do it at least once a week which is really necessary with all these dirty, wet, rides.

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It’s a simple matter of filling the cleaner with degreaser to the fill-line, fitting it to the chain and fastening the clips, then giving it a few spins backwards. I’m not one for following instructions so I tend to pedal it forwards too, no idea why, I reckon if one direction is good then both directions is better!
After a few spins it’s a case of wiping the chain and drivetrain with a rag, a quick spray with WD40/GT85 and then leaving it for 20 minutes or so before lubing up.
I’m converted, I’ll still give it a ‘proper’ clean when I have a spare hour or so, but this is something I can do once a week without any hassle at all.
I got it from Wiggle for £14.99, I reckon that’s a bargain if I get a bit more life out of my chains and the rest of the drivetrain.

Genesis Croix de Fer 2014 Model

Genesis Croix de Fer after two years of commuting

Genesis Croix de Fer after two years of commuting

What is it?
Its a Genesis Croix de Fer 2014
What sort of bike is that?
Reynolds 725 steel adventure bike
How old is it?
It’s a 2014 model, I got it in November 2014 and have commuted on it since.
How much does it cost?
About £1050 pounds, although the specs have changed since, there is more choice
Why did you choose it?
I like the feeling of a steel frame, I like that I can crash it in the dark winter nights without worrying that it might break, and I think it is a great looking bike. At the time it was the best choice for a steel disc brake adventure bike under about £2000.
What is the best thing about it?
It rolls beautifully, it’s not the lightest bike but when you get it up to speed it is great.
What is the worst thing about it?
I don’t know that I can think of anything that is ‘worst’ about it. The cable disc brake at the rear can ice up in the worst weather, that’s not great when it first happens, but that’s not the bike’s fault – I probably don’t look after the cables well enough.
What have you changed?
I changed the saddle to a nice leather Bill Amberg studio model from Charge, and I changed the big chainwheel when it wore out. I put an older model Tiagra one on, one that looks less like a dinner plate.
I have gone through plenty of tyres, currently it has huge heavy 37mm Vittoria tractor tyres on, great for the commute.
What would you change if you could?
If I was going to spend any money on it I would go to hydraulic discs to prevent the one or two times a year that the cables freeze up. If I was going to spend lots of money I’d be tempted to go to Di2.

Spec:
Frame:
Reynolds 725, disc-specific, w/ rack & mudguard eyelets
Fork:
Double Butted Cr-Mo Unicrown w/ double eyelets & lowrider bosses
Front Derailleur:
Shimano Tiagra 4600 10sp
Rear Derailleur:
Shimano Tiagra 4601 10sp
Number of Gears:
20
Shifters:
Shimano Tiagra 4600 10sp
Chainset:
Shimano Tiagra FC-4650
Chainrings:
50/34T
Bottom Bracket:
Shimano HollowTech II
Cassette:
Shimano CS-4600 12-30T 10sp
Chain:
Shimano CN-4601 10sp
Pedals:
VP-363S w/ Toeclip
Brakeset:
Hayes CX Expert w/ L1 160mm Lightweight Rotor
Brake Levers:
Shimano Tiagra 4600
Handlebars:
Genesis Road 0.3 Compact, 125mm drop x 70mm reach
Stem:
Genesis Road 0.2, 31.8mm, +/-7 degrees Rise
Headset:
M:Part Elite 1-1/8” Sealed Cartridge
Grips:
Microfiber Anti-Slip w/ Silicon Gel
Rims:
Alex XD-Lite, Disc, 32H
Front Hub:
Shimano Deore M525, 6-Bolt, 32H
Rear Hub:
Shimano Deore M525, 6-Bolt, 32H
Spokes:
Double Butted Stainless Silver w/ Brass Nipples
Front Tyre:
Continental Cyclocross Speed 700 × 35c
Rear Tyre:
Continental Cyclocross Speed 700 × 35c
Saddle:
Madison Prime
Seatpost:
Genesis Road 0.2, 27.2 × 350mm
Weight:
Not Supplied

Bianchi Vigorelli 2015 Bike Review

Is steel the real deal?

bianchi-vigorelli-105-11-sp-steel-road-bike

During the last club run as the sun started to disappear behind the hills the conversation turned to a good winter trainer for a +1. Having really enjoyed my Carbon bike over the last few weeks on Sportives and club rides I am seriously considering going back to steel. With that in mind I popped into my local Bike shop and immediately fell in love with the look of the new Vigorelli from Bianchi. Before I could say 0% finance the pedals were on and the test ride was underway! The Shimano 105 groupset is concise as you would expect and the Kevlar reinforced carbon forks made for a smooth ride.There’s a connection there that entices you to just sit and spin, as that’s what the frame seems to want. You can bang in a big gear – or stand up and sprint – but acceleration is more of a firm waft than an explosion. It does still cover ground efficiently, climbs keenly and descends with assuredness. The Vigorelli takes its name from the famous velodrome in Milan steeped in history and tradition. The bike straight from the factory falls short of that tradition with the finishing kit. If I were to consider buying this bike at £1500 a budget for a wheel upgrade would need to be considered. To summarise it looks great with that celeste paint and rides as well a steel bike should. 8 out of 10

Technical features

Product code
YKBE4IKR
Chain
Shimano 105 11sp
Product name
Vigorelli Shimano 105 11sp Compact
Sprocket
Shimano 105 11sp
Color
KR – Ck Celeste
Brakes
Fsa Gossamer
Sizes
49-51-53-55-57-59-61
Brake levers
included
Frame
Full Cr-Mo tig welded, forged dropouts
Wheels
Fulcrum Racing Sport black
Fork
K-Vid Alu/Carbon 1.1/8″
Tire
Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick 700 x 25
Headset
1.1/8″ Threadless
Stem
Spectra JD-ST58A
Shifters
Shimano 105 11sp
Handlebar
Reparto Corse JD-RA35A Compact, alloy
Rear derailleur
Shimano 105 11sp
Tape handlebar
Bianchi embossed logo
Front derailleur
Shimano 105 11sp
Seatpost
Tec Sport Edition SP-222
Crankset
Shimano FC-RS500, 50X34T
Saddle
San Marco Era Startup Power
BB
BSA included in the crankset