Give life to old calipers
Powerhouse brake caliper refurb service £154
Tester Emma Franklin
Time tested One rebuild
What’s good The Tokico calipers on my 1990 Kawasaki KR-1S had suffered a hard life; the seals were old and hard, the paint was worn and there was a fair bit of corrosion. So the Powerhouse onestop-shop brake caliper refurb service came as a bit of a godsend. I simply removed my calipers, packaged them up and posted them directly to their Chesterfield workshop. Once there, technicians assessed them, stripped them back to bare metal, cleaned the years of corrosion away, recoated the caliper bodies with fresh gold paint then fitted new seals, bleed nipples and bolts. Two weeks later they were back, looking and performing better than new. Happily, my caliper pistons were in serviceable condition so didn’t need replacing, but if they had Powerhouse say they would’ve sent me pictures of them before proceeding with fitting replacements (at a cost of between £13 and £20 each).
What’s not? You’ll have to wait an average of two weeks to get your calipers back, so you’ll need to be patient. However, Powerhouse also offer an exchange service on some models of popular calipers, and can even send you a pair out in advance.
Spada Pilgrim riding shoes £99.99
Tester Simon Brown
Time tested Three months/1500 miles
What’s good? These look great. When you ride a retro like my Ducati Scrambler it seems daft turning up with full-on boots, but wearing footwear that’s not designed with a degree of protection in mind seems foolhardy. So what you get are reinforced toe and heel sections and a higher top than normal shoes so you get some protection against crushing injuries. The sole is an old-school leather/wood combination and there’s an extra layer of leather to protect the upper from contact with the gear lever. Comfort and fit are fine both on and off the bike. What’s not? It was all going so well until the rubber section on the heel of my left boot dropped off. A closer inspection has revealed that the right boot may well suffer the same issue. Spada’s distributor are looking at the boots with a view to repair or replacement. Hopefully they will be back soon.
Shark Race-r Pro-carbon £499
Tester James Archibald
Time tested Six months/8000 miles
What’s good? This helmet oozes quality, but not in an overstated way. This is carried over to how it feels too with its composite-fibre shell being both robust and light. Features seem to focus on simplicity and efficiency, which makes for a good combination – the front vent for example is as straightforward as it gets with a simple flap that’s easy to operate while riding and functions exactly as it should. The visor mechanism is straightforward and well-constructed too, making it easy to lift and change. The helmet is designed to be easy to use with specs – handy when I can’t face sticking lenses in.
What’s not? The magnetic clasp that retains the loose end of the strap comes undone when I’m riding. At this price the standard visor should be at least Pinlock ready, rather than an £89.99 extra for a different visor (with another £30 for the insert itself).
Petzl Tikkina head torch £13.11
Tester Richard Newland
Time tested Eight months
What’s good? This is very much at the budget end of the headtorch spectrum, but I took the plunge on the basis that it was from a solid brand, and had attracted a lot of five-star reviews on Amazon. And I’ve not been disappointed. I use this predominantly for workshop duties, either hand-holding it, or more often strapping it to my noggin and enjoying hands-free illumination difficult-to-reach places. One click gets you illuminated, a second click gets a seriously bright light, and a third switches it off again. It’s also angle-adjustable, which is a useful feature, and runs on three AAA batteries, which last several months of regular use. Build quality is higher than you’d expect at this price, while it is obviously unlikely to outlive most of its owners. The head strap is comfortable, adjustable, and also washable, while the beam of light is a good compromise: wide enough for general lighting, and focused enough for detail work. A great budgetpriced piece of kit.
What’s not? Honestly, I can’t fault it.
Quality ★★★★ ★
BEFORE The 26-year-old KR-1S calipers were scuffed, corroded and in a bit of a sorry state. FRESH Stripped down and back to bare metal, Powerhouse refreshed the seals and even fitted shiny new bleed nipples and bolts.