Welcome to our weekly roundup of parts, gear & accessory reviews. Quick, and to the point, these mini reviews are distilled down to the most important elements. Does it work? Should you buy it? This week, we put the following products to the test:
- Shimano RX8 Gravel Shoes
- All-In-Multitool V2
- Velo Senso Wilson MTB saddle
- Muc-Off Equipment Cleaner
Shimano RX8 Gravel Shoes
While they might look like XC race shoes, the Shimano RX8 gravel shoes are uniquely gravel oriented. They’re quite a bit lighter than Shimano’s top end XC race shoe, but still offer an off-road oriented tread. Think ‘road shoe that you’re not afraid to walk around in gravel with’.
Overall, the RX8s have been really good – quite typical of high end Shimano shoes. But there are two things that bug me. First, a shoe at this price ($250) should be offered in half sizes. I’m almost always a 41.5, and the 42 in these works OK, but it would be better in my actual size.
Second, with these shoes, it’s weirdly easy to roll your ankle. Compared to my older Shimano XC shoe (above, right), the tread blocks surrounding the cleat do not extend as far to the outside of the shoe on the RX8. This makes it a little less stable when walking around on uneven surfaces, and easier to roll your ankle outward.
This hasn’t stopped me from using the RX8s on a regular basis because otherwise, they’re a great shoe. The single BOA IP1 dial is easy to adjust into a snug yet comfortable fit, and they’re great for long days of pedaling on mixed surfaces. But I’d like to see a wider tread surface, as it seems like it would improve the walkability of these – even though it may add more weight. Which is probably why it was done this way in the first place. – Zach Overholt
The All-In-Multitool stows the following tools neatly, silently and securely inside your crankset’s hollow spindle:
- 3mm, 4mm, 5mm & 6mm Allen bits
- T25 Torx
- #1 Philips Screw Bit
- Chain breaker
My first concern about the All-In-Multitool was the possibility of it falling out while riding. I’m pleased to say this is yet to happen, even after riding some rough DH tracks at pace. The magnet seems strong enough to hold it securely, and it doesn’t rattle about.
The 1/4 inch Allen bits slot into an articulated driver head. It can be used like a screwdriver or turned to 45° or just over 90° for decent leverage. A 2.5mm Allen head is sorely missed however, you can customize the bits your All-In-Multitool carries – replace any of them with the Allen bit you need (up to 6mm).
It’s kinda clever how they’ve designed a chain breaker tool into such a small discrete package. Unfortunately, I’ve tried and failed to get it to work with a Shimano XT 12 speed chain.
It’s almost like the chain can’t sit low enough in the cavity to allow the pin to line up exactly with the exit hole. I have pushed it down into the cavity as far as it will go, then tried to force the driver pin through.
Alas, to no avail. The tool bits of the chain breaker side just dig painfully into the palms of my hands. Perhaps I’m just being a wuss? We haven’t tried the chain breaker with any other chains yet but have inquired with the guys at All-In-Multitool about compatibility…
The All-In-Multitool V2 (tested here) was limited in its compatibility with some crank options. The newer V3 has rectified that, now compatible with SRAM DUB, almost all Shimano offerings, BB30, and GXP. Of course, the All-In-Multitool relies on magnets for secure storage so it will only work with steel. Pick one up for €67.90. – Jessie-May Morgan
Velo Senso Wilson MTB Saddle
The Senso Wilson is Velo’s first dedicated off-road saddle. It’s designed with a short length (242mm), a small relief channel, and a textured grip zone on the rear.
The ride is balanced and similar to many modern short nose saddles I’ve ridden. The nose of the saddle has a nice shape for smooth thigh glide and enough dense padding to perch on without bouncing. The narrow width allows for easy movement between the legs when the dropper goes down. Plus the Wilsons’ “Buzz Zone” cut-out helps keep the saddle clear of the rear tire when big travel bikes are fully compressed, with the dropper engaged.
I like the textured nodes on the rear, they kept me planted and prevented sliding around while pedaling.
The Velo Senso Wilson weighs in at a respectable 227g, especially considering the Cr-Mo rails. The real breakthrough is the price, at $65.00 the Senso is defiantly worth a try if you’re looking for a new saddle this season. – Jordan Villela
Muc-Off Equipment Cleaner
The Muc-Off Equipment Cleaner aims to help those logging more indoor miles than ever this year with an antibacterial spray that’s safe on gym and bike gear.
I first tried the spray on my trainer mat after a long Zwift session. The smell is pleasant (though I don’t detect the claimed Apple fragrance) and helped dissipate that “I just rode in this room” scent that accompanies a hard trainer ride. Eventually, I started to use the Equipment Cleaner on my helmet, shoes, bag, and sweat-covered bike frame – nearly everything in my trainer space.
The spray finishes with a clean look, without residue, and the anti-bacterial element gives me peace of mind knowing that my gear is germ-free. The price tag is larger than what you’d find for a similar product at the grocery store, but I wouldn’t trust that on my bikes paint job.
At $12.00 for a 16.9 oz. bottle Muc-Off Equipment Cleaner isn’t cheap, but I say it’s worth keeping near your gear as a way to maintain a clean, smell-free (or less smelly) training area. – Jordan Villela
That’s it for this week. Tune in each weekend for more mini reviews!
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