Hooked on: Feedback Sports Velo Hinge review

Previously, I went over the task of moving my bike fleet’s storage outside of our living room, and I came across the Feedback Sports Velo Hinge as a possible solution. Today we’ll be looking at it in greater detail.

By default, the Velo Hinge opens its hook and front wheel plate to the left. Shorn from its cardboard backing, the instructions for mounting and reorienting the hinge direction are revealed.

For my particular installation, I wanted it to swing open to the right. Doing this is a matter of grabbing a 5 mm hex key and unthreading the hinge bolt, making sure none of the plastic spacers are lost.

Once the hinge bolt is removed, just pull out the hook from its retention plate, move it to the top edge, and re-insert.

Reassemble the hinge bolt and tighten to the desired tightness.

Once you deploy the hook and close up the hinge, you should get this.

Also included in the Velo Hinge hardware are a rear wheel bumper and five wood screws.

The rear wheel bumper is basically a glorified drawer pull handle. Its main function is to serve as an anchor point for the rear wheel to lean against when the suspended bike is pivoted, and prevent uncontrolled swinging.

The Velo Hinge is meant to be mounted on a wall stud (i.e. a vertical wooden beam). For mounting on a concrete wall, plastic screw anchors are needed. These are readily available from any hardware store, and are sunk into holes that are drilled into the concrete.

After drilling and mounting, here’s the result.

Looks neat, but how is it in action?

Here’s Hyro suspended on the wall in the standard perpendicular orientation.

As the Velo Hinge is mounted very close to the corner, its pivoting action becomes very useful. Here it is leaned over as far as Hyro’s 400-mm-wide handlebars will allow. Note how the rear wheel bumper helps keep the bike in place, and that I had to reposition the cranks so that they don’t interfere with the pivoting.

So far, this solution has worked really well. The Velo Hinge is very sturdy, with smooth action from the plastic spacers and adjustable tension on the hinge via the bolt. With solid hardware and non-gimmicky operation, longevity shouldn’t really be an issue, and I feel PhP1,100 is a very fair price to pay for it.

From the above photo, this short section of wall has enough space for another Velo Hinge to store yet another bike. Unfortunately, the alcove roof sheltering Hyro from the rain is too short to protect another bike from rain water. I will have to figure out some other place to hang Bino.

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Review: B’Twin 500-series mountain biking shorts

So I’ve talked about Decathlon and its cycling house brand B’Twin on two separate occasions now: my visit to their branch in Singapore a few months before we got our own, and my test of their 500-series cycling bib shorts. But what about our mountain biking brethren?

I lauded the bib shorts for their low, low price, but one could say their MTB baggy shorts are an even better deal. Coming home from that initial trip to the Singapore Decathlon store, I had purchased one pair of their 500-series baggy shorts for the equivalent of PhP680 in our money – or PhP750 when bought locally. I’ve been wearing them for about ten months now, primarily on my ride to work. Let’s see how they’ve held up.

FEATURES

  • Designed for occasional riding
  • Offered in sizes S-3XL; size XL tested
  • Snag-resistant fabric
  • Three pockets
  • Belt loops on waistband
  • No chamois pad

IMPRESSIONS

While these shorts are a little loose around the waist, the length and cut are spot-on.

Immediately obvious is the slightly odd sizing on these shorts. When it comes to spandex, I’m used to the XL size, but these same-size baggies fit pretty loose around my waist, necessitating use of a belt at all times. The shorts would slowly fall off my ass, otherwise.

They’re the correct length, though, with a hem that terminates just over the knee, and a nice cut that tapers toward the bottom. This slight tapering towards the leg opening ensures that the fabric doesn’t snag on your bike or your water bottles as you pedal or dismount and remount.

Out of curiosity, I had another pair in the next-smaller L size, and they were clearly too small – there wasn’t enough in the waist to let me close the top button. The smaller shorts never made it to my saddle.

Attached to B’Twin’s own liner shorts. Photo from decathlon.ph

Hidden in the waistband are a pair of small buttons. They are unobtrusive, and they sit on your left and right flanks when you wear the shorts, but it seems like they’re in there to hook up to a pair of liner shorts on days when you want to ride with a chamois pad on your bum. I thought that was a neat bit of design. Unfortunately, I was never able to test these as I don’t have liner shorts.

My only real complaint: no rear pockets.

The two waist pockets have a very useful depth, and the third pocket on the right thigh is set at a slight angle, covered by a flap you can lock with a button. While the pockets were all great, I wish B’Twin had added a few more, such as two on the bum and another on the left thigh.

My shorts are black, and its fabric is pretty hard-wearing. It’s stood up to repeated launderings just fine, with nothing in the way of threads coming loose or discoloration. That large white B’Twin logo on the left thigh is still there, unlike the reflective B’Twin logo accent on their bib shorts that peels off easily. Worn off the bike, it’s quite easy to live with these shorts as casual wear.

Looking at the seat area shows just how well these shorts have held up. There are a few tiny areas where the threads got worked off their stitches, but nothing catastrophic. More importantly, the fabric shows very little sign of friction wear; no danger here of wearing a hole through these shorts after a year’s worth of riding.

VERDICT

Admittedly, these are a pretty basic pair of shorts. Then again, they do the basics pretty damn well, and cost a very reasonable price. They even have thoughtful touches like the buttons for liner shorts. For bike commute duty, Decathlon’s offering is money well spent, in my opinion.

Hobbled hubs?

As a bike ridden in all weather conditions, Hyro, my pet Giant TCX, has generally done himself proud. The cyclocross lineage means the bike just laps it up and asks for more, despite my previous reservations surrounding its press-fit BB86 bottom bracket shell.

One problem has crept up with increasingly worrying regularity though: the stock S-X2 wheelset’s hubs have weather sealing that’s gone south pretty quickly this past year.

The weather seals on the rear hub are still in relatively good shape.

The S-X2 hubs are relatively simple items, relying on a cup-and-cone system of loose bearings that allow for easy adjustment. The design is such that Shimano employs it on pretty much all of its hubs.

Around the ends of the hubs’ axles resides a pair of rubber cones that acts as the weather sealing for the bearings. This is where things go funky, and where it’s obvious that costs were cut. It is much too easy to make the edges of these seals sink into the innards of the bearing races, actually aiding water ingress instead of hindering it as they are meant to. In addition, the longevity of the rubber material used is itself a little questionable, as the seals’ edges now have cuts and divots along them.

The cone-shaped rubber weather seals get deformed and sink into the hubs like this from time to time. When this happens, the chances of water ingress increase greatly, washing out the inside grease and causing premature damage to the internals.

On the S-X2 hubs or any other design (Shimano’s included) that relies on loose ball bearings, the hubs themselves are wear items, as they contain the bearing races that the ball bearings run and spin in. Abandoning their maintenance leaves you with pitted races, making for rough-spinning and gritty-feeling wheels.┬áSpending a little more on hubs usually gets you better bearing seals…or a move from loose bearings to cartridge bearings, which are easier to maintain because the hub shell and its parts are no longer subject to bearing-related wear.

Currently I don’t have the tools nor the knowledge to service these hubs; I have only one size of cone wrench, and it doesn’t really fit the locknuts so well. (There are four sizes that are most often used, and even then, the migration to cartridge bearings means these wrenches are slowly going out of fashion.) Now that I’ve highlighted the weaknesses of the S-X2 hubs, I figure I might as well replace them with something else, and have the wheelset subsequently rebuilt, before they terminally fail on me and paralyze Hyro.