Bike Fit Review by Stort Valley Cycles

Stort Valley Cycle Shop Bike Fit

14/4/2014 4pm Bike fit booked into Stort Valley Cycle Shop

On chatting to other members on the Harlow Cycling Page Group about correct ride posture, I decided to take the plunge and have a professional bike fitting done for my Specalized Allez road bike, I had been hearing good things about Stort Valley Cycles based in Eastwick Lodge, so phoned up the shop and got it booked in.
I arrived at the shop with Bike and shoes in hand, introduced myself to Chris, who gave us a great welcome to his shop, he asked what problems I have been having, and what type of pains I was getting, I explained to him about my Knee problems and also about shoulder and lower back pains on the longer rides.
Chris set up the bike on a Turbo trainer using a sprit level with magazines under the front wheel to make sure it was completely level.
While he was doing this he asked me to put my shoes on to see the correct position for the cleats. He marked the correct position for the balls of my feet so the cleats would sit central. [I didn’t realise they were completely off set and way out], after the adjustment I found it a lot easier to walk in them straight away! The shoes no longer felt uneven, a lot better!
He asked me to get on the bike and watched me ride from front back and side, checking my ride angles……… Conclusion my hips and back were rotating and shifting quite badly!
This was due to several things………
Firstly the height of the saddle this was adjusted down so my legs were at the correct position, and no longer straining to reach lowest point on the rotation.
Next was the upper arm and elbow setting, my arms were far too straight and set in the locked position, [thus my upper body was over extended and straining, making me unable to absorb the impact of uneven roads]……….this was due to the wrongly positioned handle bars, so the handle bars were removed, and the stem was turned upside down, so the angle was pointing up wards, the handle bars were then replaced, and hey presto, my arms were set to the correct angle, and not in the locked position anymore! Chris explained that some Specalized bikes have long Stems on their frames.
Seat settings…..this was adjusted back a bit to compensate for the handle bar adjustment and leveled up using a sprit level, he again explained the correct sitting position.
At every stage Chris explained what he was doing and why, after the adjustments I got back on the bike and my body was in the correct position, my hips were no longer rotating throwing me off balance and my arms were no longer locked, so they would now be able to act as shock absorbers rather than taking the impact on my back and knees, hence my legs were now set at the correct angle when pedalling.
On a quick ride round the block when I got home, it felt like a different bike, first thing I noticed was my hands were not clenched to the handle bars, much more relaxed, and it felt like a good comfortable ride, and now will look forward to a longer ride soon.
Summing up…. well worth doing this, only regret didn’t do this sooner, would have saved a lot of aches and pains, well worth taking the time and having this done.
Stort Valley Cycles…… Excellent Customer Service, very competitive prices and a wealth of Experience mixed with genuine interest in his customers.
Will I go back… bet I will!
So, a Great Thank You to Chris from Stort Valley Cycles.

Update from this fitting, have cycled a 55 Mile ride, and the out come was, not a single bit of pain from my lower back, or shoulders, and the knee was fine, not even a ache the next day!

Also for any of you Ladies out there, who would like to have a Bike Fit done, Chris can arrange for you to have one done by a Lady, so, give Chris a call, it is well worth it! 

Review on Draper Cycle Lights

Review on Draper Front and Rear LED Bicycle Light Set

Draper Front and Rear LED Bicycle Light Set

Draper Front and Rear LED Bicycle Light Set
Draper Front and Rear LED Bicycle Light Set

Draper Front and Rear LED Bicycle Light Set

Following on from our "Bike Fit, Mudhugger and Ducksmart" review series, I thought I would look at some lights from a well known maker.    Draper Tools.

I was looking forward to the prospect of checking out the LED Bike front and rear light set by Draper Tools, as in the past the quality has been reasonably good for the price, so lets see what happened. 

Draper Front LED light

Well looking at them in the packaging, they looked a good bit of kit for the money, that was until I got it out the packet!

Looks can be deceptive! it looked solid enough as I fitted the front light onto the handle bars, but found this was not as solid as it seemed.
I found the mounting bolt to be flimsy and not very tight fitting, it was fiddly to fit, and had a Clamp lock on it that kept slacking off, so I had to position it where it was only semi tight fitting, then lock it in to place with the help of the brake cable, as unfortunately the clamp did not stay in the locked position.


As you can see from the photo above, the mount was made of very cheap plastic, it did not do the job of clamping to the handle bars at all well!
I found the slide on and off lever was hard to get to grips with, so much so it became frustrating removing the Front Light from the holder,[ a design similar to the Cat-Eye type of click on and off system] but not as good!
To gain access to the battery's, there is a small screw holding the top section in place, a quick unscrew, to see a nice neat battery tray, with a micro switch.  Fitting the battery's, was quick and simple checking they were the right way round, I screwed the cover on and pressed the ON switched which is located nicely on the top, and waited to be dazzled by the LED, and then waited, and waited, I then turned it OFF, then ON again, nothing! took the cover off, double checked the battery's were in the right position, and the right way round, put the top back on, and tried it again, Nothing! not a glimmer, so I tried some more New battery's,  still nothing, and some more, nope, not working!
So I gave up with the front LED light in the end, and went onto the back one. Lesson learned.... Never judge a book by it's cover

 Draper Rear LED light 

As with the Front light it seemed nice, solid and durable, so I had a go at fitting the battery's to this, I found this to be very tricky and confusing, I knew the cover must come off, but how? so I searched for the instructions to find that there are none! Finally I managed to get my way in to the battery compartment by pulling and clicking a press bar, to try and release the top cover, which it did eventually, so I fitted the battery, checking they were the right way, and we tested it, and it Worked! marvelous..

On offering the rear light up I decided to position it just under the rear saddle, so I removed the knob that held the light to the clamp, only to find the knob went onto a lose nut, which decided to fall on the ground! this caught me by surprise, and after 15 minute's of searching in the stones on the ground I found it! [Make a mental note....never fit when the light is bad!]  I  then fitted it to the saddle, using a spacer strip which was supplied to make up for the smaller seat post.


Front Light.

Fixing was cheap and cheerful, not too sure if it would hold up to the job of keeping the light from moving on the handle bars.
The light could not be tested, as I did not manage to get it to work!

Rear Light

Nice and bright at any angle, good flash process, and bright enough to be seen from a distance on the road,  it would be slightly too bright if you were following behind someone on a Tow path for example, in which case it would be better to just keep it on a constant red, and not pulse mode.

Personally it would have been nice to have been able to test drive [so to speak] something at the cheaper end of the market, and be able to give it a good review, as not everyone can afford expensive cycle accessories, but in this case........... Draper should stick to Tape Measures!

On a Lighter side, Have been contacted by Draper Tools, who will send out a new one, so, watch this space! 

Review on Draper LCD Cycle Lights


Thanks to Draper for getting us a New replacement light that works, it was possible to carry on with a further review on a promising light.

On Switching the Light on, I found it easy to do so, no fiddling with a small button, it was well placed on top, once on, the LCD lights had 3 setting, you press the switch for each setting, first was a Pulse light, that was a fast On/Off , and the second press made the light pulse a different speed, 3rd press of the switch made the light stay on permanently, nice and  simple.

I had the first light we tried on the Handle bars of a Trek Mountain Bike, this we were using for a test along the Tow Path, What I did not realize when I fitted the light, the clamp does not swivel, and I had the clamp set near the brake lever's, which was OK, until it got a bit darker and it was time for the switch on, I found that I had set the Clamp at a slight angle, so it was shining not straight ahead, but a bit to one side, this I have since changed to a more straighter light beam in front.

A Lot of us all have 2 bikes, and 1 set of light's, so I tested to see how easy it was to change from a small diameter mountain bike handle bars, to a Road bike handle bar set up, to do this the inner tag needed to be made larger to accept  wider handle bars, after fiddling around to make it larger, I found the retaining clamp would not  not tighten up enough to hold it solid and in place, once out on the road, I found it keep moving and I had to keep moving it.

Verdict on the Draper LCD Light Set

Good Points

Nice LCD set for the price, simple to use, gives off enough light to see most of what in front of you on a Tow Path.
Simple to switch from one setting to the next, and off again.
Easy to remove from handle bars bracket.
On the road, you feel sfe with the light on a pulse as it is nice and bright. 

Bad Points

Found the Bracket does not adjust easy enough to change from small to large handle bars (Best to keep on one bike).
The Tightening system does not allow the clamp to be tightened in small amounts.
Not easy to adjust from small to larger handle bars.
If removed from bike, and placed in a handbag, switch could be turned on by accident, and might flatten the battery if left on.

Overall Comment, small chat, do I like it, well, in a way Yes, will see how we go once the darker nights sett in, will be putting this on my bike bike to ride on a Night Ride very soon!

Duck Smart Mud Slider

Cleaned a cycle today with DuckSmart Earth Mover!

A very dirty bike, with everyday use in all weathers


 After it has been cleaned with Ducksmart 

If you want to Get your hands on a complete stock of Duck Smart Visit Lee Valley Cycles at the Stow Harlow

Mudhugger Mud Guards Review

Here at Harlow Cycling Page Group, we are always on the look out for interesting Cycling news, reviews, tip's and advice.

Last month my subject for review was BIKE FITTING, which I felt went down well with the group. 

This month I thought   MUD GUARDS !................ YES OR NO!

As the weather has returned to being damp and rainy, and the ground has become wet and muddy my attention has turned to Mud Guards! and the name of "Mudhugger" jumped out at me.
So a quick tweet to Mudhugger, to say I was going to write an article about Mud guards on the Group page, and hey presto, a few days later a set of Front and Rear Mudhugger Mudguards appear at the front door!

Enclosed in the Box!
Front and Rear Mud guards
Tie Straps
Clear Film
2 Mudhugger Stickers
A Ride Event Page


On reading the instructions, there was a recommendation to go to Youtube, this was to view how the fitting was done in real time. To be honest I found this a bit confusing! as there were so many videos on there, but none seemed to be relevant to my fitting, so after a quick re read of the institution's, I set off to fit the Mudhuggers.
The first thing it tells you, is to make sure the frame is clean and dry, so as my Trek 29er was dirty, I had to get out the DuckSmart, and a good clean was completed in no time with no hassle.


As I was in the garage out came the Blackberry and I turned to Youtube, to look at how to fix the front Mudhugger, watching intently so as not to miss anything, I watched as this chap started cutting a section out of the mud guard to clear the front cross brace on his bike, he then proceeded to heat up that part of the mudguard with a hot air gun, [this totally threw me], as all I did was just offer up the mudguard to see where it was going to be placed, and "Hey Presto" it fitted perfectly!
Feeling more confident and brimming with a great sense of achivement, I set about loosely fitting two tie straps to the bridge of the front forks, this was to hold the mud guard in place while I then got the side mounts in position. This then allowed me to find out where the correct positioning of the Velcro tape, which went through 2 holes in the guard and around the fork, I cut the Velcro to length, and repeated for the other side. Next I loosen the Velcro and placed the Clear Film onto the front forks to protect the paint work, I then tightened the two tie straps and the Velcro and.......Front Guard was Fitted.


Rear Mudhugger was offered up to the frame, just to get a sense of how it needed to be positioned, the Mudhugger fitted a treat, [no cutting, heating up or anything else!]
A strip of Clear Film was cut to size and stuck to the top frame where the mudguard would sit, this is to save the frame from being scratched, then the two tie straps were put into place either side through the fitting holes, [there are several holes for locating positions] I then fixed it into place, with just a quick check to make sure it was straight, and then the tie straps pulled tight, the job was done!  


Ease of fit....... it only took about twenty minutes, and after watching the video clips I thought this might take a lot longer and been a bit trickier.

Test had been raining persistently all day and cycle paths were quite muddy with numerous large puddles, on return I was dry and mud free from the top wheels upwards.

True Test of the Product!!!!!!! the wife never nagged me about the state of the back of my clothes, ie not a speck of wet mud on them!

Drawbacks......... the tie straps have to be cut each time you remove the Mudhugger, but they are cheap enough to buy, just remember to keep some in your spares bag for those wet and windy days ahead.

Overall Conclusion.......The appearance is very good and the performance is superb, high quality of manufacture, overall I was really impressed as I have never been a mud guard sort of person, but will be keeping these on my bike from now on.

Yogurt Tire Sealant Review by TY Bike Products

Yogurt Tire Sealant Review Yogurt Tire Sealant  Priced at £9.00 for a 150 ml and £20.00 for there 500 ml size bottle.  Also available is a S...