CATEYE TL-LD1100 REVIEW

Overview

Cateye TL-LD1100 LED tail light.

We’re kicking off our bike light reviews with a classic. The TL-LD1100 rear light from Cateye has been around for a few years and clearly the design has stood the test of time as it’s still as popular as ever. This is for good reason. It features ten bright LEDs with six facing directly behind and two facing outwards at 90° from either side thus providing 180° visibility.  It has numerous operating modes, a long battery life and is robust enough to stand up to the harsh conditions of the daily commute.

Manufacturer Specifications

Dimension87.0 X 45.2 X 41.0mm
Weightapprox 116 grams (with bracket and batteries)
Light SourceRed LED X10
BatteryAA alkaline battery X2
RuntimeConstant mode: approx 50hrs 
Flashing mode: approx 100hrs 
Random mode: approx 100hrs 
Side to side mode: approx 100hrs 
Mount SizeSP-6, φ26.5-30.2mm

Design

Cateye TL-LD1100 Rear bike light.

The Cateye TL-LD1100 is a barrel shaped light and has a good solid high quality feel. The light with batteries weighs around 96g. As it takes AA batteries rather than the smaller AAA, it is slightly bulkier than many other tail lights (though not excessively so). In theory, with all other things equal, it should have either longer battery life and/or increased brightness compared to lights that use AAA batteries.

Two push buttons on the side control the operating modes. These are easy to operate with winter gloves but still require sufficient pressure, so accidental button pushes when the light is being carried in a bag are unlikely.

No tools are required to get at the batteries. They are accessed by twisting one end of the unit a quarter turn. It’s quite a tight fit and there’s a rubber seal so I don’t have any concerns about water getting in. Over the last few weeks I’ve used the light in some heavy rain showers and not had any problems at all.

Mounting Brackets

Cateye TL-LD1100 bike light brackets

Most people would probably choose to mount the light on their seat post and the light comes supplied with a few mounting bracket options for this purpose. Pretty much any size of seat post is accommodated via the two different sized clamp rings, and mixing and matching with the grey plastic strips (each of different thickness) which fit snugly within them.  A belt clip is also provided which provides further potential mounting options, for example to a pocket of a rucksack. Mounting to a rear rack is also possible with a rack mounting bracket(sold separately). With all of the brackets, the light slots in and must be pushed down until a satisfying click is heard; otherwise the light is liable to hop out at the first pot hole. The light is removed by pushing a small tab while pulling the light from the bracket. It can be a little fiddly at first but you soon get the hang of it.

Operating Modes

Cateye TL-LD1100 Bike Light operating modes

The light is operated by two buttons on the side. Each button independently controls the corresponding row of 5 LEDs. Pressing the button causes the row of LEDs to rotate between four different modes and off.

The first mode has all 5 LEDs in the row flashing in sync. The second mode has all LEDs permanently on. Readers of a certain age with dubious taste in TV of the eighties will recognise the third mode as the ‘Knight Rider’ pattern where the LED pattern sweeps from side to side. The next mode causes the row of LEDs to flash in an eye-catching random pattern. Finally, pressing the button again turns the row of LEDs off.

As both rows can be set independently, a frankly ridiculous number of permutations are possible. My personal favourite is to have one row on constant while the other row flashes. It’s often suggested that it’s less easy for motorists to judge distance when lights are flashing, however the use of a flashing light can be effective at grabbing attention. This light gives the best of both worlds with this constant+flashing mode.

The video shows the modes much better than I can describe them:

I would have preferred it if one of the buttons was on/off and the other switches between modes. Even better if the last mode set was remembered as it would save a few button presses each time the light is used. It’s only a minor annoyance though and I’m sure others appreciate the flexibility of the current approach.

Cateye TL-LD1100 Beam Pattern & Brightness

Cateye TL-LD1100 beam pattern has Opti-cube

The TL-LD1100 features Cateye’s patented “OptiCube™ Lens Technology”. The 6 LEDs pointing backwards are focused into quite an odd looking beam which has an extremely bright square shaped section in the centre with an outer less bright circular region covering a wider area. The region outside the beam still gets some light and with the 4 LEDs pointing out sideways, very good all round visibility is achieved.

The brightest part of the beam is relatively narrow so it would be worth spending time when setting up the light to ensure the light is pointing at an appropriate angle to ensure drivers of both cars and lorries get the full ‘benefit’. I think what works best is either to point it horizontally backwards or perhaps very slightly upwards.

The actual brightness is also highly dependent on the type and age of the batteries used.

Battery Life

Cateye TL-LD1100 batteries and seal

Unless you’re only planning on using the light occasionally I would recommend a good set of NiMH rechargeable batteries with a rating of at least 2000mAh. For the battery life test I used a set of 2900mAh batteries. (A test using the excellent Technoline BL-700 battery charger showed they actually had a capacity of around 2500mAh.)

With the light running in continuous mode on both rows, the batteries lasted for an impressive 48 hours before the light intensity had dropped to a glimmer. For the second 24 hours though the light level had dropped to the point that most users would want to swap or recharge the batteries. Making use of the flashing modes on either or both of the rows gives longer battery life. By measuring current levels in the various modes I determined that I should get about 30% longer battery life using my favourite constant+flashing mode – a very good result indeed.

If I was using the light every day for 1 hour per day, I would invest in a set of NiMH batteries (and a good charger such as the Technoline BL-700) and expect to charge them up about once a month to ensure the light is running with tip-top brightness. Obviously that time would be scaled for different daily use. Given many NiMH batteries do not hold their charge over a long period of time, a standard set of Alkaline batteries would probably be better for the cyclists who only venture out into the night on the odd occasion and isn’t organised enough to recharge their batteries beforehand.

Conclusion

The Cateye TL-LD1100 is a great light. It’s bright, has good all round visibility, and is rugged and waterproof. It has numerous modes, the most useful of which being the constant+flashing mode. I have no hesitation in recommending this bike light and it sets the benchmark against which rear bike lights will be measured in our upcoming reviews. It easily deserves a place on our best bike lights page.

Where to buy the Cateye TL-LD1100

Some options for where to buy the Cateye TL-LD1100 include herehere or here. Look out for the light sets where the EL530 is bundled with the TL-LD1100. These can be significantly cheaper than buying the lights separately.

Manufacturer Web site page

The Official Manufacturer website page for the TL-LD1100 can be found here.

BLACKBURN MARS 4.0 REVIEW

The Blackburn Mars 4.0 is the brightest rear light in the range from Blackburn. It features a single super bright red LED pointing directly backwards and two smaller orange LEDs for visibility from the sides. It’s a compact lightweight unit and offers a number of mounting options.

Manufacturers specifications

Blackburn’s most powerful rear flasher
1 Watt Ultra Bright Red LED
2 Amber Side LED’s for lateral visibility
50 hour run time steady; 150 hour run time flash
No tool battery installation
2 AAA batteries included
3 mounting options included: belt clip, seat post clamp and reflector/rear rack mount
Lifetime Warranty

Design

Best Rear Bike Light - Blackburn mars
Best Rear Bike Light – Blackburn mars

The Blackburn Mars 4.0 is about the size of a small matchbox which weighs only 58g including batteries. It’s made of tough plastic appropriate for the rough conditions these lights need to endure in daily use. Opening the case to change the battery will cost you a penny – a quick twist of which in the slot at the base of the unit prizes the case apart. A rubber seal is effective at keeping out the rain.

Mounting Options

Best Rear Bike Light - Blackburn mars
Best Rear Bike Light – Blackburn mars seatpost mount

A number of options exist for mounting the light to the bike. Most people will choose to mount the light on the seat post. The included mount wraps around a seat post of any shape or diameter. The vertical angle can be adjusted and it’s worth spending a little time getting the angle just right to ensure maximum visibility to a range of road users from cars to lorries. The clip on the rear of the light used for attaching to the seat post mount doubles up as a belt clip. A further mount is also included which allows the light to be attached to a rear rack.

The Mars 4.0 is an excellent choice for Brompton owners. It fits nicely to the seat post and doesn’t affect the folded package apart from the seat post protruding an extra centimetre.

Operating Modes

The Blackburn Mars 4.0 light is operated by a single push button on the top. The button is quite small and is tricky to operate with gloves – though with some practise it can be done. One press of the button switches the light on in steady mode. A second press puts the light into flashing mode. A third press switches the light off. All nice and simple!

Beam Pattern and Brightness

Blackburn Mars Beam Patterns
Blackburn Mars Beam Patterns

The light has a circular beam pattern which is bright over quite a wide viewing angle. With fresh batteries the Mars 4.o is at least as bright as our benchmark Cateye TL-LD1100 from the rear but while it does include side LEDs is not as bright as the Cateye from the sides. None the less it kicks out an impressive light for one so small.

Battery Life

As always I recommend the use of rechargable batteries and with AAAs, make sure you get a pair with a rating of 800mAh or greater. In my test using a pair of 850 mAh batteries (which had a measured capacity of 700mAh), the batteries lasted for approx 35 hours on steady mode before the light has finally extinguished. The brightness dropped off quite quickly though so I would say that you would probably want to be recharging the batteries after around 12 hours use (longer on flashing) to maintain maximum visibility. When I was using this light last winter for an hour a day I got into the routine of charging the batteries every two weeks. To get the most from your batteries, be sure to use a good charger.

Conclusion

The Blackburn Mars 4.0 is a great little light and would be a good choice if you want something smaller and lighter than the TL1100 but don’t want to compromise on brightness. It’s our recommended rear light for Brompton users and is our choice for best lightweight rear light.

Where to buy the Blackburn Mars 4.0 Light

The Mars 4.o can be purchased from here or here.

The Official manufacturer website page for this light can be found here.

Ronhill Trackster Review

Ronhill Trackster Origin

Back in September I started a mini-series on cycling trousers when I tried out the DHB roubaix tights and the Altura Winter Cruisers. It’s now time to finish what I started and round up the series with a quick look at some boggo standard tracksuit bottoms to see how they compare.

I’ve obtained a pair of the popular Ron Hill Trackster Classic and a pair of the Ron Hill Trackster Origin track suit bottoms. These are suitable for a wide range of sports activities and are a particular favourite of runners. I find they work just as well for cycling though they don’t have any padding which is not a problem for me on my 35 minute commute. Padded shorts could be worn underneath if necessary.

They are made of a thinner material than both the DHB roubaix tights and the Altura winter cruisers that I tried last year. For me the fit is absolutely perfect – They are not baggy and nor do they have the sprayed on figure hugging look of the stretchy DHB tights. I’ve used them down to 0°C and I think they will be fine at lower temperatures than that perhaps backed up with a pair of long johns worn underneath on the really chilly days. The material is quite breathable so they are also fine for warmer days.

Ronhill Trackster Classic

The material has been treated with some kind of water repellent which somehow prevents it getting saturated when it rains. I’ve worn the trousers in a light rain shower and it does seem to work. Furthermore they dry really quickly when they do get wet.

At size 34 waist, the medium size fits me perfectly. In most respects the trackster classic and the trackster origin are identical. The classic has a very small inner pocket which can be used to stow away a set of keys but little more. The origin has a more useful rear zipped pocket. In addition the origin has some reflective trim on the rear of the calves. Both have elasticated waistband and a drawstring cord.

To conclude, I’ve found the Ronhill Tracksters perfect for pretty much any weather conditions and I now tend to choose these over all the other cycling trousers I’ve tried. They’re much cheaper than all the others too! See the links above for some purchasing options.

Blazewear Heated Gloves Review

Over the last few years I’ve struggled to keep my hands warm when cycling on the colder winter mornings. In my early days of cycle commuting I only had a 3 mile ride which wasn’t too bad as I wasn’t out for long enough to get chilly. Since my trip is now 7 miles each way, when the temperature gets any lower than about 5° C my fingers really start to suffer. For a few winters I went through all manner of cycling gloves to try to solve the problem but nothing really helped  for the freezing cold days. Last winter someone suggested I try a pair of Blazewear Heated Gloves. I’ve now had them for a little over a year.

On the outside the gloves look pretty similar to any other, perhaps just a little more bulky than normal. When you look more closely you see there are zipped compartments in the wrist area. Undo the zips and the battery compartment is revealed. Each of these holds 3 AA batteries and has a small on/off switch and a red LED on the top. The battery box is connected to the gloves via a jack socket on the side. It can be a little fiddly inserting the battery box and plugging in the lead and while you do get the hang of it, I feel the zip could do with being longer. A rechargeable lithium Ion battery pack is available which is smaller, lighter and provides for longer battery life than AA batteries. I suspect the Li-Ion pack is slightly easier to insert into the gloves too.

The heating elements cover the backs of the hands and the fingers – just where the heat is needed most. The elements do bend but are quite stiff which, when the gloves were new I found caused a little discomfort to the knuckles. After a while though they seem to mould themselves to the shape of the hands and I’ve found I now don’t notice them at all.

Using a decent set of AA  rechargeable batteries, the battery life is about 3 hours though the heating effect drops off significantly in the 3rd hour. If you splash out and buy the Li-Ion battery packs, they will run for up to 5 hours between charges.

The gloves are both waterproof and windproof and the palms have a velvety feel which provides good grip. They are quite warm even without power. Turn them on and you soon feel the luxurious warmth coming through. I wouldn’t advise wearing them cycling when the temperature is higher than 5 degrees – they are just too warm and things can get a little sweaty. For me, between 0 and 5 degrees Celsius is the sweet spot where I find they keep my hands are kept at just the right temperature. On colder (sub-zero) days I do still get chilly hands, but not uncomfortably so. One evening back in December 2010, my cycle computer measured -8°C and my hands were fine even then!

These gloves have completely solved my problem with frozen fingers. If you cycle all year round and struggle to keep your hands warm in winter I can highly recommend them. They can be purchased from here.

Toasty!

Moon Shield 60 Review

Moon Shield 60 Video Review
Moon Shield 60 Review
Moon Shield 60 Review

I must admit I wasn’t expecting much from this light when I received a model for review. It’s pretty tiny and I was anticipating a correspondingly small light output from the diminutive package. I was wrong – It’s a great little rechargeable light capable of an insane light output, has a decent mounting bracket and great build quality and weather sealing.

Moon Shield 60 Manufacturers Specifications

Up to 60 lumens light output
1 x CREE XPE LED
Tool free quick release bracket
Constant & flashing modes
Water resistant
Vertically adjustable
Low battery indicator
3.7V Lithium polymer battery
USB rechargeable
Up to 6 hours runtime
2 hours charge time
Weight 38.4g
Dimensions 5.5cm x 3.5cm x 3cm

Package Contents

You don’t get much in the package but you get what you need – the light itself, a USB charging lead, a rubber seat post mount and an instruction leaflet. If you don’t have a USB socket in a convenient place for charging, you’ll need to buy a mains adaptor.

Build Quality

A number of the latest lights on the market today have pretty rubbish build quality suffering in particular from either poor mounting brackets or poor weather sealing or both. I’m happy to say this isn’t the case with the Moon Shield 60 and it has a pretty solid feel and is better sealed than most rear lights I’ve seen in a while. The weakest point is the rubber USB charge socket cover which is attached by a very thin strand of rubber. I don’t think it would break in normal use but you do need to be a little careful when removing the USB cable. The mounting bracket is made of a stretchy rubber which can fit round pretty much any shape or size of seat post.  This can be fitted with no tools.  Embedded into the mounting bracket is a simple plastic slot into which the light itself is mounted. Once attached, the light’s vertical tilt can be adjusted.

On top of the light is a well sealed rubber push button that definitely wont get accidentally pressed when the light is carried in a pocket or bag. Consequently it can be a little tricky to operate with gloves but it can be done.

Battery Life and Light output

When I turned the light on by a press of the button, I was pleasantly surprised to find the light was just as bright as the Blackburn Mars 4.0 and the Cateye TL-LD1100 that feature on my best bike lights list. Then I realised that was merely the minimum light setting. Pressing the button again raised the light output to a level exceeding that of pretty much all rear lights I’ve ever seen. There was worse to come. A further press of the button caused yet another step up in intensity to a frankly bonkers level. Unless you ride regularly in thick fog, the brightest setting is way more intense than necessary and I imagine most people will use the light on one of the lower settings with longer run times between charges. In addition to the constant light output modes there are two flashing modes, the first has a rather unpleasant strobe effect, the second a more bearable slower flashing. These can be seen in the video below.

While there are not separate side LEDs the central LED generates a wide enough beam to give very good visibility from the sides as well as the rear.

Specified battery life is 5 hours 40 mins on the lowest setting, 3 hours 50 mins on the medium setting, 2 hours 30 mins on the highest setting and 7 hours on the flashing modes. My tests showed these to be accurate to within a few minutes. Considering the size, weight and brightness it’s actually pretty decent and will be plenty for most commuters. In all modes the light output maintains its same bright level throughout the run time but then cuts out suddenly. There is a low battery warning light but it is not much use. One, it can hardly be seen right next to the bright main LED and two there is just not enough warning from when the warning  shows to when the light cuts out. (15 minutes if you’re lucky). Really with this light you’ll just need to be organised and remember to recharge it on a regular basis.

Charge time for the light is approx 2 hours. There is a charging indicator LED that shows when charging is complete, and unlike the low battery warning light, it is useful.

Compared to Cateye TL-LD1100

In an attempt to make the rear light beam shots more useful, I’ll now be showing the beam alongside our benchmark rear light, the Cateye TL-LD1100. Here we have two photos showing the output from the two lights side by side. In the first, the Moon light is set to its lowest brightness setting, in the second it’s at the highest setting. In both, the cateye light is set at its maximum constant light output. As can be seen the Moon light (on the left)  is both brighter and has a considerably wider beam pattern than the Cateye on the right.

Conclusion

All in all I really like the Moon Shield 60 light. Apart from the daft low battery warning light I can’t find anything bad to say about it. Highly recommended and an easy choice for our best bike lights page.

The light is fairly widely available. For example it can be purchased  here or here.

Ortlieb Panniers Review

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been caught out on my bike in a few torrential downpours where I’ve turned up at work looking like an immersed rodent. I thought now would be a good time to write a few words about my panniers, the Ortlieb Back Roller classics. These ensure that while I might arrive soaked, I’ll be sure to always have a clean and dry change of clothes.

Ortlieb Panniers
Ortlieb Panniers Review

The Ortlieb panniers are made of a tough, thick, utterly waterproof polyester fabric. Unlike most other bags, you don’t need to worry about storing your stuff in a plastic bag inside to keep things dry.

Each pannier can store up to 20 litres which is large enough for a change of clothes, a laptop, a toolkit, a lunchbox and plenty more. The panniers come in packs of two but I find one more than adequate for the daily commute. A couple of people I know have bought packs of two and sold their spare on Ebay for more than half the price.

Ortlieb Panniers
Ortlieb Panniers Review

When open, the pannier takes the form of a small sack. To close it, the top of the sack is rolled up as many times as required depending on how full it is. Once rolled a strap over the top holds it closed via a quick release buckle. A further strap is attached to the corners of the sack that either forms a shoulder strap or clips into a hook at the front.

The pannier is attached to the rack by two catches on the top that simply slot on to the side bar of the rack via a spring loaded clip mechanism. It’s removed again simply by lifting the handle which releases the clips. A number of adapter inserts are supplied that may be slotted into the clips to allow the panniers to fit racks with a wide range of thicknesses. I use a Tortec Tour Ultralite which is lightweight, inexpensive and works well with the Ortlieb panniers.

Ortlieb Panniers Review
Ortlieb Panniers Review

The first time I attached my panniers and set off to work I quickly realised I’d positioned them too far forwards on the rack which meant my heels would brush past them on every turn of the pedals. The position of the pannier can be adjusted by moving the mounting clips left or right. An allen key is required for this adjustment. The bottom of the pannier is held close to the rack by a simple paddle, which may be placed in a wide range of positions and orientations to provide compatibility with pretty much any rack.

For every day commuting, the Ortlieb back roller pannier is almostperfect. In particular I like the convenience of the ingenious quick attach/detach mechanism and the security of knowing my possesions are going to stay dry. For me, the only thing missing is a small easy access side pocket which would be useful for storing small items like keys.

I nearly forgot to mention we like shiny things at bikelightsreview so we particularly like the 3M Scotchlite side reflectors!

Lezyne Bike Lights – Ones to watch!

Lezyne, best known for their range of high quality bike pumps and tools, recently announced they’re getting into bike lights. From what I’ve seen of their specifications and prices, I think they could well be the ones to watch this season.

All of the lights feature stylish CNC machined cases (black, silver or gun metal), various brightness and flashing modes, USB charging lead, good sealing and user replaceable Li-Ion rechargeable batteries. They are supplied with quick release handlebar mounts for both 25.4 and 31.8mm handlebars and Lezyne are said to be working on a helmet mount which will be available to purchase separately. They have low battery warning and thermal protection, both of which cause the light to switch to its lowest light mode.

Lezyne Mini Drive
Lezyne Mini Drive

Lezyne Mini Drive

There are 3 lights in the range. The baby of the range is the Lezyne Mini Drive. This has 150 lumen output (max setting). Battery life ranges from 1 hour on the high setting to 4.5 hours on flashing. The Battery used is an LIR 123A Li-Ion rechargeable. It has a list price of £49.99. The light weighs in at 73g.

The second light in the range is the Lezyne Power Drive which has 300 lumen output (max), battery life ranging from 2 hours (high) to 6 hours (flashing). This uses an LIR 18650 Li-Ion rechargeable battery. The list price is £79.99 and it weighs 120g.

Lezyne Power Drive
Lezyne Power Drive

Lezyne Power Drive

Topping the range is the Lezyne Super Drive. This has a max output of 450 lumen and a battery life from 1.5 hours(high) to 5 hours (flashing). This light also uses as LIR 18650 rechargeable battery. List price is £99.99. This one weighs 126g.

In my opinion the Power Drive and Super Drive look the most interesting. They should be fine for riding on unlit roads and have brightness levels comparable or 40% brighter than the very popular 325 lumen Exposure Joystick but are significantly cheaper. The user replaceable Li-Ion battery is also likely to be seen as a major plus point to many. The lights are charged via a USB port. Charging time is 4 hours for the Power Drive and Super Drive and 3 hours for the Mini Drive.

I haven’t yet seen one of these lights in the flesh but I’m hoping to obtain one for review soon. On paper they look hard to beat. They look stylish, have a good feature set, and are very keenly priced.

Update: The Super Drive review has now been posted!

The lights are available from the major retailers. e.g. here at Chain Reaction Cycles and Here at Wiggle.

Folding and Removable Pedals

Following my success with  folding handlebars which has transformed our hallway, I quickly found I could go one step further and get even more space by changing my pedals. While they won’t provide a breakthrough in terms of extra space like the new handlebars, they would reduce the profile of the bike by just a few more inches. There seem to be two options. i) Folding pedals and ii) quick release removable pedals. Unlike the handlebars there is a reasonable amount of choice with space saving pedals. First I considered folding pedals. There are a lot of cheap and cheerful plastic folding pedals available on Ebay but following a bit of research I was concerned about the horror stories where I’d heard they are not very strong and can have a tendency to fall apart. Widely reported as the best folding pedals are the MKS FD7. These have good reviews and like most MKS products have great build quality, smooth folding action and high quality bearings. I decided to go for removable pedals as they have a narrower profile when removed than the folding pedals do when folded. Again I gravitated towards the MKS brand due to their terrific build quality. The MKS EZY range are all quick release removable pedals. There are two types. – Standard EZY and EZY superior.  The standard version requires a small yellow clip to be fitted to secure the pedal in place whereas the superior version has a more advanced mechanism for attaching and detaching the pedals and don’t need the clip. I decided I wanted maximum convenience so I went for the superior version.

I wasn’t disappointed by the build quality of the MKS pedals. They feel very solid and the bearings are the smoothest I’ve ever experienced on a pedal. The pedals are removed by a simple twist and push of the central cap towards the axle and pulling the pedal out. It’s a little fiddly initially but like all these things you quickly get the hang of it. A little bag is supplied for carrying around the pedals if you remove them while you’re out and about. It’s well worth using this as the central axle can get a little greasy.

Are they worthwhile? Removing the pedals does make the profile of the parked bike a fair amount narrower especially if used in conjunction with the folding handlebars. Recommended.

dhb Pace Roubaix Tight Review

I’ve only ever used bog-standard track suit bottoms for winter cycling over the years. They’ve been O.K but since my current pairs were looking a bit worn and saggy, and the material around the ankles kept getting caught in my chain, I decided to take a look at a few pairs of  ‘proper’ cycling trousers to see how they compare. My first challenge was to get over the fact that cycling trousers are called ‘tights’ nowadays. I thought tights were generally only worn by women, or Robin Hood’s merry men, but a quick look at wikipedia set me straight. My wife offered to lend me a pair of her tights but the look really wouldn’t have been good.

dhb Vaeon Roubaix Bib Tight
dhb Vaeon Roubaix Bib Tight

First up is the dhb Pace Roubaix padded tight. These are a high quality tight made from a soft material with a smooth texture on the outside and a fleece lining on the inside. When they turned up they looked mighty small and I wondered if I’d ever get into them but it wasn’t a problem. The material is sufficiently stretchy in all directions so they are likely to fit people of all sorts of shapes and sizes.

dhb pace tight zip
dhb Pace Tight Zip

They don’t feature much in the reflective department, the only reflective areas being a a small patch above the ankle zips and the dhb logo on the behind. A little more would be nice but I have a feeling it might be difficult getting reflectives to stay attached to the stretchy material.

The dhb Pace Roubaix tights have a figure hugging fit and feel very comfortable to wear and do not feel at all restrictive on the bike. The thickness of the seat padding is perfect.

I would say the material is of medium thickness, ideal for Spring and Autumn and probably most of winter too. I’ve not yet worn them in particularly cold temperatures but I think they will be fine right down to 0ºC and possibly lower. They seem windproof yet breathable as somehow I don’t seem to get sweaty in them on the warmer days.

dhb-pace-roubaix
dhb Pace Roubaix Tight

On sizing I went for the medium. I have 34 inch waist and am 5 foot 10 inches tall with medium build. While I normally buy the large size for most clothes, mediums were the right size for these. If anything the length of the legs are a little long for me but not excessively so. I think in general these tights would work best for people with tall build though due to their stretchy nature will fit a lot of people. I thought I looked rather fetching in them but my wife laughs at me every time I put them on…

I’m really pleased with them and can heartily recommend them for comfort, warmth, breathability and entertainment value for the missus. A great improvement from my tatty old track suit bottoms.

For more info and where to buy, click here: dhb Pace Roubaix padded tight

My next post will be about the Altura Winter Cruiser Tights coming soon…

Altura Winter Cruiser Tights Review

For the second in my mini-series of cycling trouser reviews, I’ve chosen the Altura Winter Cruiser Unpadded Tights. These are somewhat different to the dhb pace roubaix tights featured in my last review. The material is somewhat thicker and a lot less stretchy. They are a little better in the reflective department with a few reflective splashes and have foot stirrups rather than zips at the ankles. 

Altura Winter Cruiser
Altura Winter Cruiser Tights

The material is fleece lined and would be fine right down to sub-zero temperatures. The material has been treated with some kind of water repellent so should be capable of holding off a shower.

The altura winter cruisers are looser fitting than the dhb tights but they need to be as the material does not stretch to fit. It’s therefore more difficult to get the sizing right with these trousers. They have a drawstring around the waist to provide some adjustment there. I chose the large size which kind of fits fine though the legs could do with being a bit longer. While they are not tight fitting they are nothing like as comfy as the dhb tights. I find the crotch area hangs a little on the low side (yet isn’t loose) which makes it harder to mount and dismount the bike and restricts movement while pedalling. I think these tights would best fit folks with shorter legs.

I quite liked these tights and my wife thinks they look less silly than the figure hugging dhb tights. However I prefer the dhb tights as they are a lot more comfortable – and I don’t really care how silly I look!

They can be purchased from here: Altura Winter Cruiser Unpadded Tights