the mighty dave t and i were left to our own devices on the sunday morning ride. though lord carlos is off enjoying some seasonal visiting down south, those others we had expected to join us failed to materialise. i do so hope they feel all the poorer for this omission.
however, according to the garmin clamped to the pair of carbon handlebars in front of me, the temperature at one point was displayed as three degrees below. that would account for the patches of ice peppering the side roads and those singletrack roads beloved of tractor drivers and the velo club peloton. having made a rather speedy move from one road to another on saturday morn before discovering the latter to be coated in a thin sheet of ice, we had decided to hold fast to the main roads, all of which appeared to have been comprehensively gritted the night before.
we still managed a respectable distance and even a respectable pace, prior to retiring on the leather chesterfield at debbie's. the mighty dave enquired as to whether there might be a television he could watch while supping the weekly froth.
the fellow sat adjacent to our weary bones was, rather surprisingly, leafing through a copy of the comic with an impressive level of interest, turning to us at one point to show a brightly coloured hat, suitable for the winter conditions we've all been experiencing (some more than others). the clincher to this almost mute conversation was this hat's labelling as suitable for the female fraternity. we both uttered well intentioned sniggers, for since when have velocipedinal hats been described in terms that are gender specific?
which leads me rather neatly onto mavic's latest helmet, the cxr ultimate, available in mavic yellow or mavic black. to reach the technical details pertaining to this particular model, it's necessary to select road and cross country icon on the mavic home page. once again, one might query as to why bicycle helmets have need of being categorised according to activity? given the stricture of national and international safety regulations and requirements, is it not a truism that a bicycle helmet ought to protect the bonce of whomsoever is wearing it, irrespective of which bike they are riding?
that is, however, a rather simplistic overview taking no account of the differing demands of cycling's wide panoply. though i can think of one or two individuals who may be prepared to argue the toss, it would not be too iniquitous to define road riding and possibly even cyclocross as a tad quicker off the mark than the average mountain biker. therefore, accepting the validity of such a premise, designing a helmet to slice through the air with the greatest of ease will surely have less impact (pardon the pun) offroad than on?
mavic's cxr ultimate exhibits a smoothness of form that escapes many of its peer group. while many others profile their extensive venting in a remarkably aggressive manner, mavic have retained an overall smoothness of form while impressing its 20 or so top vents within this aerodynamic and smoothed shape. though i'm hardly one renowned for speed that might test this theory to its logical conclusion, mavic attest to the engineering of this shape as an endeavour to maximise speed while leaving ventilation unaffected.
the cxr's internal padding has been cleverly varied to offer wicking properties towards the front, while increasing its density up top to offer both protection and padding. like most helmets these days, there's an integral cradle to adjust the fit by turning a dial at the rear. though the cxr differs noticeably in shape from mavic's plasma helmet, the rear dial on the latter is far easier to adjust when riding than that of the cxr. a minor detail to be sure, but when wearing thick winter gloves, every little helps.
the straps are both comfortable and easy to adjust. i've generally found that helmets arriving for review seem uncannily to be pretty darned close to perfectly adjusted when removed from from the box. the cxr broke this tradition (this is not a complaint; there's no way anyone can predict who's going to be wearing the helmet or their head size). however, it took mere seconds to correct the adjustment and all without reference to the user's manual. the cxr is not mavic's lightest helmet; that position is held by the cosmic ultimate at a mere 210g. however, the cxr is hardly into anvil territory, adding a mere 40g.
if truth be told, i have already returned once to debbie's, convinced i'd left the cxr on the coffee bar. those extra 40 grams are less than onerous.
of course, the one thing no helmet reviewer is likely to check (and that includes me) is just how efficacious the helmet is if taken to its ultimate purpose. i'd really rather not fall off my bicycle head first just to prove a point. if i have any criticism of the helmet it's the lack of the hardshell casing continuing on the underside of the helmet. though this has little, if any bearing on its protective qualities, it does offer a shield to the polystyrene if placed on rough surfaces such as walls, floors etc. it's a tad cold at present to advise whether those vents are doing their job; a condor cycles winter cap tends to exclude unnecessary draughts with great verve. however, even under major exertions, i've had no cause for complaint.
at £150 for either the black or yellow, available in sizes small, medium, large and large maxi-fit, the cxr ultimate fits equitably into the price structure of its peer group. and in view of the impending replacement of rapha by mavic in the jlt condor race team, the only real choice to fit under the cxr would indeed be a condor winter cap (£19.99).
monday 29 december 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................