First Impression Uves Quatro Pro Helmet Review

Uvex Quatro Pro All Mountain Helmet: First Impressions

The UVEX Quatro Pro is the German company’s new top line mountain bike helmet. Designed to fill the needs of both the XC and Enduro crowd the Quatro Pro comes packed with cool features.

Drag to spin the image!

Finding the right fitting helmet is a different experience for everyone. We found the Quatro Pro fit some of our review team better than others, but on the whole we were very happy with the level of comfort it provides. Compared to some of the other helmets we’ve looked at recently we found the UVEX used notably less padding. This might be part of why the helmet is much lighter than most of it’s competitors, however while it is still comfortable we would like to see a bit more padding, especially in the centre.

The most noticeable feature when first looking at the Quatro Pro is the rear spoiler. While we are unsure of what purpose this spoiler actually serves we found it did a brilliant job of keeping your goggles in place when not in use. Other features of this helmet include an adjustable visor, a one handed clasp adjustment (called the Monomatic button-press adjustment clasp) and bug nets. We were actually very happy to see bug nets being included by UVEX, most high end helmets have stopped including them even though they serve a real purpose. Kudos to UVEX for keeping them part of this helmet.

The Quatro Pro model also comes with a built in mounting system for your GoPro camera and light sets. According to the UVEX description the light mountings are designed specifically for Lupine brand lights, although looking at the attachment we are fairly certain other brands will attach fine. These light and camera mounts comes standard on all UVEX Quatro Pro helmets, and are an option you can purchase for the standard UVEX Quatro.

Overall the UVEX Quatro Pro represents a strong offering from the German helmet designer. It’s cool style and super light weight makes it a strong contender for XC racing while it’s durability and built in light mounts will make it very appealing for the All-Mountain and Enduro riders. Although slightly let down by it’s lightwieght and some what sparse padding, we feel the Quatro Pro will hold it’s own against any of the bigger brands currently out on the trails.

Weight Comparisons

UVEX Quatro Pro 295g

661 EVO AM 336.1g – Read the full review HERE

Troy Lee A1 345.4g

Bluegrass Golden Eyes 360.5g

Review by Matt Newman

Photographs by Nathan Bawden

Read More

661 Evo Am Enduro Helmet

The SixSixOne Evo AM Helmet: First Impressions

Launched at Sea Otter this past season the 661 / SixSixOne EVO AM helmet has been around for a while now. Giving us plenty of time to get it out on the trails and test it out.

The first thing we noticed when trying on the EVO AM is the incredible fit. Easily one of the most comfortable trail lids we’ve tested this season, SixSixOne is using some cool features to really make this helmet stand out. The use of a 360 BOA retention system is a big plus, instead of clamping down at the back and pushing your head forward the BOA system tightens down all around your head (hence the name) keeping everything centred properly. The result is a super comfortable fit that is completely secure for all day trail shredding.

Check out the 360 image of the helmet below!

Drag to spin the image!

Coverage on the 661 EVO AM is excellent; in particular we were very happy to see nice low cover on the back of the helmet. Ventilation is also great, with fifteen huge vents handling the air flow while the visor up front is positioned to help channel the air into those vents. One additional feature that is worth mentioning is the magnetic chin clasp. Called the Fidlock (because you’ll never stop playing with it), this clasp is a cool little addition that allows you to clip your helmet up with one hand. We’ve found it works just as well as the old school clip system, and magnets are cool.

It’s not all fancy features and fun clips though, SixSixOne has really stepped forward to improve the actual safety of their helmet over all previous models. Not only did they use Contigo Foam which is proven to reduce concussive force by %30 compared to standard EPS, but they have also launched a MIPS version. The MIPS Brain Protection System represents the very cutting edge of helmet safety and while it will set you back an extra £30 over top the standard 661 EVO AM price (£129.99 RRP instead of £99.99 RRP), we feel it’s worth every penny. You can read more about MIPS HERE.

Wrapping up we’re very pleased with the 661 EVO AM, it is a fine addition to SixSixOne’s range and a great replacement for the venerable old 661 Recon. One thing we found took some getting use too was the unique visor position. We would like to see 661 add some extra options for adjusting it, beyond the two current visor pin holes.  Overall all though we think SixSixOne has really done their homework with this one, and the result is one of the best helmets we’ve ever tested.

Helmet Weight Shootout (All size Medium)

661 EVO AM 336.1g
Troy Lee A1 345.4g
Bluegrass Golden Eyes 360.5g

 

Review by Matt Newman

Photographs by Nathan Bawden

Read More

banner-switching-mtb-to-commuter-tyres

Switching My MTB To Commuting Friendly Tyres

Or: Help! I’m becoming a roadie!

Or: The 6 weeks later affair…

Why?:

Though an "enthusiastic amateur" when it came to biking matters, when I joined Koo Bikes just over a year ago, I went from occasional bike-based commuting, to full-on daily cycling commuting whatever the weather.

The last 12 months has seen just about every type of weather occur here in Koo’s home city of Plymouth: snow, ice, flooding, tropical storms (without the heat) and full on heatwaves. Each day, I’ve (sort of) dressed accordingly, stepped out with my trusty (ish) Trek 4300, and headed off to work.

And since almost the first day, a number of my colleagues have nagged me about riding on the Bontrager XR2 tyres that came with the bike. "You’ll roll much faster", said one. "It will take some much less effort to get here", another claimed. "You will wonder why you didn’t switch earlier!" was a recent comment. "JOIN US!", was the most scary thing I heard…

Bontrager XR2s
Bontrager XR2s

A few months ago with the start of the unexpectedly good weather I began to ponder if changing my faithful 26 x 2.20 inch tyres to something a bit more road-friendly might be worth at least a try. With much encouragement, I looked at a whole range of tyre sizes, tread patterns and puncture protection tech before deciding to give a set Schwalbe Marathon tyres a bash. They came highly recommended and were very well priced here at Koo Bikes and I thought if they don’t work for me they won’t have cost me much. If they do, I can always push the boat out a bit more when looking for the next set.

Selecting the Tyre:

So, why did I select these particular tyres? I wanted to try this experiment for minimal cost. It would have been great to swap tyres, wheels, even forks; everything for a more road-centric set, but by the time I’d paid for all that I would be well on the way to paying for a completely new ride! Plus this was a test of what the tyre change itself would do – the rest of the bike staying the same would act as the control (a little bit of scientific method there for you science fans). So tyre size was dictated by my current wheels at 26 inch.

Schwalbe Marathon - designed for commuting
Schwalbe Marathon – designed for commuting

The choice of tyre width was a tricky one. I didn’t want to take the mickey and fit tyres that were much thinner than the original tyres – that would be silly and asking for trouble in my view. But I wanted a sizeable reduction so that any perceived difference would be as significant as possible (and not all in my mind). So in the end I settled on 1.5 inch as a good compromise and by selecting wired versions I felt confident on compatibility with my wheels.

The next was the type of tread. The XR2 are knobbly incarnate and have excellent on and off-road cornering: switching to a set of full slicks would be a culture-shock and I hoped to do the occasional bike trail with the kids at the weekends without having to swap tyres twice a week. Sure, if I’m going to take some holiday and hit some gnarly courses for several days in a row then it would be worth the effort of swapping (I’ve been eyeing a set of Maxxis Advantage dual compound for this very purpose) but Drake’s Trail hardly requires a full-face helmet and ground-churning rubber to get from end to end…

Road friendly tread
Road friendly tread

As I would be mainly using them for commuting, a set designed for this very purpose seemed a good idea, so after perusing a few recommendations, I zeroed in on the Schwalbe Marathons. These semi-slick beaut’s not only have colleague recommendation, but also seemed much admired on-line. Good grip and hard-wearing were oft repeated words. Plus when talking tyres it doesn’t take long before Schwalbe are part of any discussion.

Two more features sold me on the Marathons (there is no truth to the rumours that they will soon undergo a name change to Snickers…). One was the Green-Guard option which I was happy to plump for. I’ve suffered more than my fair share of punctures (or so it’s felt) over the last 18 months, with my record being 3 in a single week (a week which also heavily featured dark mutterings due to this). Most have been on the road with only a few while off-roading. The 3mm layer of partly recycled material is designed to protect your tube from flint, glass and metal – all things I aimed to avoid but you can’t always get the pleasure of this choice when commuting.

The second feature was the reflex band on the side of the tyre – put simply this a band of 3M Scotchlite or similar material that immensely increases you side-on after dark visibility to other road users (they stand out quite well in bright sun-light as well). I am a vocal supporter of being as conspicuous as possible when on the road (lights, hi-vis, the lot) and having this extra safety feature just seemed a simple idea.

Fitting:

Chunky knobs, but showing signs of wear
Chunky knobs, but showing signs of wear

Due to my punctures I’m a dab-hand at whipping the XR2’s off so it wasn’t long before I was wrapping the Marathon’s around the existing tubes (yes I could of gone for ones closer in size to the new tyres and most tyre manufacturers will recommend new tubes with any new tyre fitting, but if there is no hole they are good to roll in my book!). I can always replace any punctured tubes with narrower ones when the worst happens.

The fit wasn’t much more difficult than fitting the XR2s. Yes, I had to be a lot more careful of tube pinch (where you get the tube caught between the tyre bead and the rim – maybe I will buy smaller tubes when needed…) and after the XR2s, the Marathons just seemed so tiny. But considering some of the horror stories I’d read, everything went swimmingly and it took in total less than 30 minutes to go from inflated XR2s to inflated Marathons on the Trek.

If you’ve never replaced a punctured inner tube or swapped a set of tyres before, I would strongly suggest you read our beginner’s guide on the subject BEFORE you need to.

The Experience:

Reflex band working in just sunlight
Reflex band working in just sunlight

It was early the next Saturday morning that I pushed the Trek outside into the early dawn light. The family were away for the weekend and I had an hour or so before I need to start my list of chores…

I rode on the Marathons for just over an hour, which is almost a couple of day’s worth of commuting. This included some of the same route as my commute, but with a few un-surfaced paths and tracks thrown in.

The verdict? Well I have to say they do make a positive difference to my road riding. They definitely roll much faster and I am probably getting from A to B quicker. I wouldn’t say I’m using less effort as I think I am cycling just as hard and going quicker for the same effort.

On-road grip is good, and I’m now able to corner as fast as I use to now I’ve got the feel for their different style of grip. So far I’ve either been lucky or the Green-Guard is doing its thing – no punctures to report! It’s too early after 6 weeks to say if they significantly reduce the number of punctures I’ll get – 6 months will probably be a good milestone to reflect on this.

So thin after the XR2s...
So thin after the XR2s…

With the massive reduction of trapped air in the rubber skins, it is not surprising that ride comfort has significantly reduced; so much so that for the first week or so I seriously considered switching back. However, I have adapted to the new levels of shake and rock that is my current commuter experience and I am being much fussier in watching where on the road I’m rolling. Lumps and bumps in the road I use to laugh at as I shot across them now make their presence felt much more acutely to a level where I ensure I avoid them.

Also, the increased weaving I now do to avoid these hazards probably puts me at greater risk to other road users, but with my IN-YER-FACE rear flashers and Hi-Vis rucksack cover among just some of the measures I take to address this issue, I don’t think a slight twitch will greatly increase my chances of collision (all motorists are considerate and friendly souls with every cyclist’s best interests in their hearts…).

I am keeping a closer eye on tyre-pressures as well. With the XR2s maxing at 60psi the 55 to 100psi range was a bit of a shock. I find that 80+psi is a good target to aim for, giving a slightly more comfortable ride over the 100psi but with no perceivable increased risk of pinch flats I’ve encountered. Sure, 100psi will roll even faster, but (or should that be butt?) I think I’d pay the price for it.

Summary:

Would I recommend other daily commuters who use their MTB bike switching to hybrid/road-bike style tyres? Yes I would and I’m already looking at what my next set of road tyres will be. I’m trying to decide whether I go for something even more robust (for the weekends as well) or to try something that’s less commuter and more race orientated…

Oh dear, it looks like that bit by bit I am becoming a roadie!

The finished project just before it's first ride.
The finished project just before it’s first ride.

Read More

banner-Prima-or-Breeze-saddle

Prima or Breeze – Saddle Sale

Looking for a little more comfort, or just an affordable replacement saddle for your road bike? Or maybe you’re an off-roader who would like to switch to a more MTB focussed saddle? Look no further!

The Madison Prima Road Saddle features a women’s specific design to make to your time in the saddle a more comfortable and effective experience. Bundle this with exceptional durability and a low price and you end up with one amazing value deal.

You can now purchase this saddle from limited stock for an amazing £19.99 a fantastic reduction from its RRP of £32.99, only at Koo Bikes.

The Madison Breeze MTB Saddle has a women’s specific form factor delivering levels of comfort and durability that is unbelievable for the price.

While stocks last you can grab this bargain at Koo Bikes for an equally amazing £16.99; a fantastic reduction from the RRP of £27.99.

Both are available in black; these bargains are bound to sell quickly so order yours soon.

Prima or Breeze - the choice is yours!
Prima or Breeze – the choice is yours!

Read More

banner-flux-mtb-saddle

Flux MTB Saddle Sale

Looking for a little more comfort for your off-road excursions, or just an affordable replacement saddle for your MTB bike? Look no further!

The Madison Flux MTB Saddle earned a "4.5/5 Very Good/Exceptional" rating from Bike Radar, who found it had levels of comfort and durability that were amazing for the price.

Comparing it favourably to the now legendary Charge Spoon (in that it is a shade lighter and more comfortable they found) Bike Radar could find little to fault it.

You can now purchase these saddles for a limited time at Koo Bikes for an equally amazing £15.99 which is a fantastic reduction from their RRP of £24.99.

Available in Black, White or Brown, these bargains are bound to sell quickly so order soon.

Madison Flux MTB Saddle - Charge Spoon Challenger - now at a limited stock bargain price!
Madison Flux MTB Saddle – Charge Spoon Challenger – now at a limited stock bargain price!

Read More