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:
- Sahmurai Sword v2 tubeless tire plugs
- Fox Racing Enduro D30 Knee Guard
- Proviz Reflect 360 CRS+ jacket
- Specialized Trail-Series D30 Gloves
Sahmurai Sword v2 updated bar end tubeless tire repair
Three years ago, I reviewed the original Sahmurai Sword tubeless tire repair tool that tucks inside your bar ends. Composed of a stabby reamer sword on one side and a stabby needle sword to push a tire plug noodle into your puncture on the other end of your handlebar. That setup repaired a number of tubeless punctures over the years, having always been conveniently in the bar when needed. (And while I routinely knock out regular press-in bar ends by roughly handing my poor all-road/gravel bike, the Sahmurai Swords stayed firmly in place.)
In the years since, Sahmurai rolled out an update to their Swords, with a rubber spiral to make it easier to get in & out of your bar vs. the more-finicky old expander, plus some rubberized grip on the end of the plug itself. So I recently dropped into local distributor & bike shop Future Cycling here in Prague, which just so happens to be run by Canyon marathon mountain bike pro Kristian Hynek, to check out the updates.
The result, is a new Sahmurai Sword v2 that’s as easy to fix tires as before, still always in the bar when you need it. In fact, the first generation expander was a tricky to secure into place depending on your bar tape wrap job, and apparently more prone to rattle free from MTB bars. Now, these new Swords require no brain activity to get in, securely spinning into place – both in drops & MTB bar ends. The rubberized end cap is a tiny bonus, offering a bit of extra grip and apparently some impact protection.
The two bar end plug setup still weighs just 22g, and sells for $30 / 30€ including a set of five tire plugs. They’ve moved to simple, environmentally-friendly recycled cardboard packaging, also adding a 14-pack option for bikeshops to keep in stock & display. Find where to buy yours via Sahmurai.com -Cory Benson
Fox Racing Enduro D30 Knee Guard
The Enduro D30 Knee Guard is Fox Racing’s “highest level of protection in an ultra-light, pedal-friendly design”. Are they ultra-light? Yes. These are some of the slimmest, lightest, breathable knee pads with D30 level protection we’ve tested.
And, putting them on is completely hassle-free; no velcro to get clogged up with mud, no zippers to fiddle with, just a simple elastic material that hugs the thigh, knee, and lower leg securely.
Are they pedal-friendly? Not quite. While the thin D30 pad flexes wonderfully, molding to the shape of your knee as it bends throughout the pedal stroke, the elasticated material that holds the pad in place has a tendency to bunch up at the back of the knee, causing undesirable friction. Everyone is unique of course, so while I experienced rubbing, it may not necessarily mean every rider will.
What we do like about these knee pads is the length of the pad. For me, the D30 pad extends over my knee offering decent coverage side-to-side, but also considerable coverage down the shin too – which will undoubtedly come as a bonus for flat pedal riders whose shins live in fear of pedal-pin wrath.
Pick up the Fox Racing Enduro D30 Knee Guard for £75 in sizes S through to XL direct from Fox Racing. – Jessie-May Morgan
Proviz Reflect 360 CRS+ reflective cycling jacket in color
Five years ago I reviewed Proviz’s first real performance cycling & commuter jacket, the shiny silver Reflect 360+. Literally, brighter visibility than any other cycling kit I had ever worn, it became my go-to for autumn, winter & spring bike commutes (also protecting me from wind, rain & snow). And it’s made sure I’ve been seen those entire years since.
Eventually, after considerable rough use, I tore the rear pocket which I routinely over loaded. And looking to replace it, I found a new version… in color! So decided to give the old jacket a rest, and see if the new one was even better…
And it is! First off, the red color (bright green & blue also available) is much lower-key than the all-silver one. It still shimmers a bit in any light, but you can almost look like a normal human off-the-bike. Yet still, it packs the same retina-searing reflectivity – with headlights or a camera flash turning it bright white.
Second, fit is also improved, sitting closer around your core (true-to size), but still with extra space in the chest & sleeves to allow movement since the bright, waterproof fabric has no stretch (and extra room for layering up in the cold). It has the same decent breathability as the last generation, with large pit zip vents & rear shoulder vent. It’s plenty for commuting and easy rides, but not quite performance enough for high intensity efforts.
The updated jacket also changes pocket layout a bit, with chest pocket/vents a tad higher, and new side hand warmer pockets that boost day-to-day usability (yet are mentioned, but not really visible on the Proviz website for some reason.) The £150 / $200 / 180€ Reflect360 CRS Plus cycling jacket is available in men & women-specific cuts, and three vibrant solid colors each. Plus, it’s actually on sale for men right now. -Cory Benson
Specialized Trail-Series D30 Gloves
The all-new Trail-Series D30 Gloves are part of the Specialized Spring ’21 Apparel Collection. As the name suggests, these gloves pack some serious knuckle protection in the form of sewn-in D30. This is a great feature that will keep your hands that little bit safer next time you clip a tree.
If like mine, the trails in your local woods are very narrow, you might see the benefits of investing in a pair of protective gloves like these. Especially if you’re a rider who likes to hold the handlebar grips at the very end.
The Specialized Trail-Series D30 Gloves are a very comfortable fit. You can feel the stitching underneath the D30 area a little bit, if you get the right fit as I did, you shouldn’t experience any friction or discomfort. The palm is very thin, providing good feedback for bike control through the grips. Silicone patches on the thumb, index, and middle fingers add extra grip for the brake lever and handlebar grip. I can definitely recommend these gloves without reservation. They are available in men’s and women’s sizes XS-XL in Dove Grey, Black, and Redwood colorways. Pricing TBC! – Jessie-May Morgan
That’s it for this week. Tune in each weekend for more mini reviews!
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