‘A classy evolution’
HJC R-PHA 11 helmet £319.99 (plain colour)
Tester Tim Thompson
Time tested Three months/3000 miles
What’s good? I loved the smooth fit and aero stability of the R-PHA 10 sports lid, and this is more of the same, only better. It feels like a classy evolution. The 11 also gets welcome extra venting in the forehead and vastly improved top vent control wheels, which are now rubberised and less fiddly. The cheek pads have emergency quick release and the comfort lining is plusher and runs cooler. Best of all, the aperture has been enlarged. The view is now all road and almost zero helmet. This R-PHA 11 has been flawlessly painted by helmet artists Rich-art Concepts (price: £550) to a design by MCN’S talented Senior Designer Lee Laughton (bottle of wine).
What’s not? The shell is larger than the 10’s, meaning, annoyingly, my old visors don’t fit, and despite the extra meat on the lid it still scores poorly in the SHARP side-impact test.
Contact www.oxfordproducts.com, www.richartconcepts.com Quality ++++ + Value ++++ +
Spada Blizzard 2 WP gloves £34.99
Tester Andy Calton Time tested Three months/2000 miles What’s good? A glove for under £35 that claims to be waterproof and actually is! I started using these as a back-up pair for my preferred, thinner summer gloves and they have been called into use many times as the British weather does its thing! They are a great halfway house between full-on, fat winter gloves and summer gear. They are warm and the visor wipe works well. I read a few reviews about them coming up a bit big, so went for medium and they fit well. They were a little snug to begin with, but they have given a bit and I’m glad I went for a size down from my usual choice. I’ve only really worn them this summer so they have not had to keep me toastie on cold days, but so far I really can’t complain. What’s not? They pack away small, but I would worry that protection is limited as there is only ‘soft’ armour and I’d also be concerned about using these for any length of the time when the temperatures drop towards freezing. They can also get a bit sticky to get on and off in the wet. They only come in black, but for the money, there’s a lot to like.
Contact www.spadaclothing.co.uk Quality ++++ + Value +++++
Oxford Aquad X3 Packing Cubes £24.99
Tester Alison Silcox Time tested Two months/2000 miles What’s good? I’d not realised how cumbersome my topbox would be to carry once off the bike. Being able to pack my gear in these bags and lift them from the topbox on arrival at my destination, leaving the box on the bike, makes life much easier. These colourful bags come in three handy sizes (five, seven and 12 litres) and they’re unstructured, which makes them easy to pack and very squashable. They’d also be great to use in soft panniers or a tank/tailpack. They have a roll top and clip closure, which, provided its closed properly, keeps them waterproof. What’s not? The plug on my phone charger has worn small holes in one of the bags so it’s no longer waterproof. Contact www.oxfordproducts.com Quality ++++ + Value ++++ +
Tim’s paintjob was designed by MCN’S Lee Laughton and executed by Rich-art Good visibility thanks to wider aperture
Bigger sizes means old visors don’t fit
Stable at speeds and the aperture offers an excellent view ahead
No hard armour, but they beat the UK weather