Category Archives: Hardware

Garmin Forerunner 920XT – What’s The Point?

I saw today that Garmin has announced a new sports watch, the Garmin Forerunner 920XT. At first I was very excited to see a shiny new Garmin Forerunner product. I’ve been expecting and anticipating some big advances in display resolution, connectivity and features in Garmin products for a while now.

My reasoning behind this is that other areas of mobile device tech are rapidly evolving and to remain competitive (or at least, interesting) Garmin would have to pull its sleeves up and make something more than a box with a GPS unit inside. Technically they have – they’ve made a box that works with the Russian GLONASS system too. But I’m my opinion it’s an underwhelming product to release in late 2014.

The Garmin Forerunner 920XT is listed on garmin.co.uk as costing a whopping £389.99. To put that into context with other mobile tec that’s more than the LG G3! Continue reading Garmin Forerunner 920XT – What’s The Point?

Alpkit Fuel Pod Review – Ultralight Bikepacking Luggage

It’s finally time for my Alpkit Fuel Pod review. I’ve been using the Alpkit Fuel Pod for the last month where it’s been invaluable on several long rides and some light touring. It’s not the first top bar mounted frame bag that I’ve used, I previously carried my essentials in a Topeak Fuel Tank, but Alpkit’s Fuel Pod it might just be the best.

Alpkit Fuel Pod Orange
My partner Ellie also has an Alpkit Fuel Pod in orange.

Alpkit Fuel Pod Review

Coming from an ultralight cycling perspective the Alpkit Fuel Pod is a promising product. The materials are strong and light, the total weight for size medium, including straps, is a mere 80 grams.

Particularly important to me is the water-resistant seal and zip dock that has kept my camera dry for the prolonged rainy days cycling from Reading to Devon. Continue reading Alpkit Fuel Pod Review – Ultralight Bikepacking Luggage

Brasher Hillmaster II GTX Review, Tested To Destruction

Brasher Hillmaster II GTX walking boots review: I’m willing to bet that a few of Cyclefar’s readers like walking. After all, to enjoy cycling is to enjoy life and there are many ways to experience the world. I have seen a fair bit of the great outdoors standing in these Brasher Hillmaster II GTX walking boots and now as I prepare to leave New Zealand (three weeks to go!) I’m also preparing to leave my beloved boots behind. I hope I don’t spoil the surprise by saying that these boots have never ever let me down in the estimated 500+ miles traveled in them.

I bought the Brasher Hillmaster walking boots on a recommendation from my dad who’s a keen walker and, whilst penniless at university, he kindly subsidised the price for me, telling me his philosophy ‘buy once buy right’. More specifically ‘buy leather’. Leather boots have the distinct advantage of being easy to clean, easier to care for and more water resistant than synthetic shoes in my opinion.

The leather is a fully waterproof layer before you even hit the Gore-Tex membrane underneath, and with so few seams, washing and waxing them is a simple and satisfying task. Leather boots tend to bounce back time and time again with a tin of wax and ten minutes of your best massaging. Continue reading Brasher Hillmaster II GTX Review, Tested To Destruction

Katadyn Mini Water Filter Review

I don’t do any marketing for Katadyn but if I did I think ‘water so good the eels want it back’ might be a winner.

Having a way to purify water, especially when you’re unfamiliar with where you’ll be travelling, is essential. The average person can survive weeks without food. You can still feel safe from mortal danger if you have to skip the odd meal or two but the same cannot be said about water. Without water you’ll be lucky to last more than 3 days.

There is a helpful rule to remember these limits called ‘The Rule of Threes’. You can survive three minutes without air, three hours without shelter (in a dangerously cold environment), three days without water and three weeks without food.

Continue reading Katadyn Mini Water Filter Review

Thorn Sherpa Review – Steel Frame Touring Bicycle

I’ve been collecting my thoughts for this Thorn Sherpa review since I first built the bike in my grandad’s shed. I built it in the middle of winter four years ago. I had attempted to build up my new Thorn Sherpa frame in my garage, but at a fun dampening -2°C I received a better offer from my grandad who told me I could use his quintessential English ‘shed at the bottom of the garden’, fitted with a cast iron multi-burner.

Thorn Sherpa review.
Thorn Sherpa attachment points.

I took my tools, stacked up in front of a small fan heater, and hauled the Thorn Sherpa frame and components up the road to a balmy 22°C Costa-del-English-Shed and had a fun couple of days tuning the gears and perfecting the cabling, sweat gently beading on my forehead. Thanks grandad! Continue reading Thorn Sherpa Review – Steel Frame Touring Bicycle

Bicycle Saddlebags – You Don’t Need Saddlebags Anymore!

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with bicycle saddlebags. I love that they can carry my tools, that they are quite light and sit out of the way when I’m cycling. But I hate that they’re too small to carry a snack or micro-sized pump, are difficult and often fiddly to access and they are very heavy in relationship to what they can hold. In other words, when you look at the overall weight of your bicycle saddlebag, complete with multi-tool, spare innertube and patches, the bag actually accounts for a significant percentage of that overall weight. How inefficient!

Until recently there wasn’t really any alternative to the bicycle saddlebag. The new innovation that I’ve come to prefer has recently trickled in from the bike-packing or mountain bike touring movement. In an effort to find ways to carry luggage on bikes that have no business carrying luggage, bicycle product designers came up with the top bar bag. Continue reading Bicycle Saddlebags – You Don’t Need Saddlebags Anymore!