Posted on

Field testing in Wales – Tom

We recently took ourselves off for a trip to the Afan valley in Wales for a bit of field testing (well, holiday) where we tried out many items that we sell now or were consideration stocking.


The trip was a mountain biking based one from the various trail centres in the area, with the weather being well on the toasty side!56


Photos courtesy of


Tom’s reviews:


iXS protection

I’d never worn any protection for mountain biking but as we were tackling table tops and steep berms in the Afan bike park I thought it sensible to try some.  I have been wearing the iXS Carve knee pads and the Flow elbow guards.  The knee pads were pretty irritating to wear at first, until Becci pointed out the tiniest label under a velcro flap showing which was left and which was right!  From that point on the knee pads have been incredibly comfortable.  The extra length down the shin is a nice idea to protect from pedal strikes, it has prevented a couple of these so far! The elbow guards are very lightweight virtually all highly breathable mesh apart from protection on the elbow and down the back of the forearm.  Becci’s had a couple of crashes and the elbow pads have definitely saved her from more serious injury, whilst I slid on a large slab of rock and my knee pads prevented grazing etc.  So all in all they have been a hit, if not adding a bit of extra warmth in this mini heatwave but surprisingly not to an unpleasant level.  In the shop we have the slightly cheaper version of the knee and elbow pads these are the Hack elbow guards and the Slope Series Evo Knee pads, if the pricier ones are what you want they can be ordered in.  We’d certainly recommend trying these on as the mediums which the iXS size guide recommended for me are right on the cusp of just about too small for me!

iXS protection

Madison Zenith shorts

I had to buy some new shorts this year as my previous 4 year old shorts were pretty worn.  Luckily Madison have a new range of shorts out this year, and the Zenith shorts have been the first to come into the shop.  The material is really soft and whilst this seems a bit odd for a mountain bike short I can guarantee that having crashed and slid in them twice they are very hardwearing.  The nice thing about the soft material is it stretches when pedalling, under the thighs and above the backside. The short has four large pockets which can be left open as venting and a small water resistant pocket.  They come in bright blue which makes a change from boring black!

Colourful Zenith shorts

Madison Zenith and Flux tops

These two tops were great in this mini heatwave, very breathable and they did not get damp even when riding quite hard.  They felt great worn under a backpack, no bunching or riding up.  They are very well priced too at only £26.99 so they’re pretty much a bargain. They come in a range of bright colours with contrasting zips which is funky, but they both come in black if you’re more stealthy

Tru flo mini track pump

I needed a larger volume pump for inflating the mountain bike tyres, as my minipump would just take too long to inflate the tyre.  TheTruflo mini track pump seemed ideal as it has a ‘telescoping’ barrel, effectively doubling the stroke of the pump but keeping the whole package down to a manageable size for carrying in a backpack.  I have used the pump quite a lot, even to inflate a tubeless tyre onto a rim, and it has worked amazingly well.  One of the best features is the valve attachment.  The valve head presses on firstly and then you screw it on to the final bit of the valve to secure it in place.  Its easy to use and a bit quicker than the Lezyne equivalent it seems, also I’ve had no issues with the pump unscrewing the valve core – although recently I have discovered this tool which ‘sets tight’ valve cores in the valve stem by hand, a job which is impossible to achieve with finger power alone!