New bike: Viva Bellissimo

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Christmas has come early at everyday cyclist towers, with this very red, steel single speed beauty. Full details and reaction to follow but it’s a Viva Bellissimo. Cromo frame and fork, polished alu everything, painted steel ‘guards. Flip flop hub, arc bars. Nothing spare. Rides sweetly. Bought for a silly low price of £259!!! A spiritual replacement for Resurrectio?

Review: Velo Orange Il Postino Handlebar

I’ve been using my Velo Orange Il Postino handlebar for a month or so now so I figured it was high time to share my views on what has turned out to be the bar that I’ve been looking for for a long time.

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The Il Postino – a flat riser bar, if you will…

The Il Postino is Velo Orange’s take on a classic Italian city bike bar, named (by means of a contest on VO’s blog) by one if their fans. It’s that most rare of rare things; a bar with back sweep but without rise or drop.

I’ve tried a number of different bars over the years. Straight bars, riser bars, drops, north road bars and moustache bars but I’ve always had a nagging feeling of ‘not quite right’. Well folks, I’m pleased to report that the Goldilocks feeling is no more: I’ve found my perfect commuting bar.

Il Postino is 57cm wide and made from something or other series aluminium. Whatever it is has produced a nice stiff bar that doesn’t complain when a bit of body English is applied. It’s zero rise with a classic forward then backward sweep, the bar ends at a 25 degree angle.

For me, this width and sweep combination is perfect. The fore then aft sweep means that no stem changes are necessary and the 25 degree angle equates to my natural wrist position. (Dangle your arms down by your sides and you’ll see that the hands come to rest roughly in this position)

The grip area is spacious enough for generously sized grips and controls and the satin finish is very classy, accompanied by the subtle VO logos.

The comfort and control that this bar affords is excellent, with great leverage when climbing out of the saddle, less weight on the wrist and the elbows tucked in, unlike with straight bars.

The retro looks might not be to everyone’s taste but I find that they team well with old or new bikes. If you’re the kind of person who likes to festoon their bars with gadgets and lights there isn’t much real estate due to the double bends, but that’s not an issue for me.

There’s nothing I don’t like about these bars and a lot I love. After a month of daily use, there’s nothing I’d change about their design or finish. Teamed with Velo Orange’s model 5 sprung leather saddle, the bar has transformed my Ridgeback Flight into a fast, comfortable and (IMO) classy town bike, that’s lost none of it’s élan.

I’ve yet to ride long distance on them yet so can’t comment on whether the lack of a secondary hand position is an issue. However I can say that the position that these swept back beauties affords is very comfortable and I don’t find myself ‘searching’ for another hand position like I have in the past with all the other bars I’ve used.

I’d be keen to hear from anyone else using these or similar bars.

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Theeverydaycyclist’s bike, rendered as a high speed city bike courtesy of Velo Orange

Merino base layers at Aldi

An anonymous tip-off the other night drew my attention to the fact that merino t-shirts were on sale at Aldi as part of their ski-wear promotion.

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Merino sheep, we hail thee…

Regular readers will know that I’m not averse to cross pollinating my cycling/living wardrobe with garments intended from other purposes (eg hiking, running, loafing, fighting wars, etc) so I duly hot-footed it down to said budget supermarket and took a look.

The base layers are 100% merino wool in what looks to be 150 weight. A great year round weight I’ve found. The quality looks to be up there with icebreaker and redram. They are machine wash and air dry, Henry Ford black and retail for the princely sum of £15.99. I bought two as presents for myself from other people (if that makes any sense). The only problem now is I will have to wait until after Christmas to give them a full road test.

However my brother has also purchased two shirts and vouches for their comfort and itch free nature.

If I were you I’d get thee to Aldi now and brave the mob of outdoor bargain hunters.

Good luck.