I’ve been going for a little while now, so I thought I’d offer some detailed and insightful product reviews so that you can avoid buying the kind of rubbish I end up with and I can get a job as an insightful and detail-obsessed product reviewer.
Android/Motorola phone – I don’t know which is to blame. It’s probably a fairly even split between the two. Anyway, they’re both inferior to that other option that I won’t name as I can’t afford it myself. It’s way less logical and user-friendly, and just does weird unexpected things all the time like spontaneously reducing the volume half-way through a podcast. In fairness, this weirdness sometimes helps as for some reason it doesn’t alert me when somebody calls if I’m already listening to something (I’ve been receiving daily calls from Madrid, which I’m 99% sure is a sales call).
Altura Arc panniers – not that waterproof. Keeps the worst out but my sleeping bag got wet. The attachment system is good, but then, they didn’t make that did they? (They licensed a design from ze Germans)
Altura React Jacket – again, not that waterproof which I’m annoyed about because I had one with the same material which was much better. Also, ridiculously bad fit as it common to (almost) all Altura stuff I’ve bought. This one has huge Mr Tickle arms yet the hood squashes down on my head and pulls the back of the torso up meaning I get a dry head but wet arse, which is only slightly preferable.
Stem Captain compass – this was a gift and so not only am I disappointed but I also feel guilty about feeling disappointed. It doesn’t work. Apparently it’s better on aluminium bikes. If that’s the case, they should tell you in advance. I’m tempted to follow it to where it keeps pointing to see what happens, but north east is colder and grimmer than here so I just leave it in place, bobbling away as a reminder of the futility of existence.
Zefal bottle-cage mounts – broke one already and they were a ballache to fit. I’m convinced the French company hasn’t made a good product since the fat springy MTB pumps they did in the 90s. They’re probably propped-up by some EU subsidy.
Exposure lights – I’ve owned 4 models in the last 5 years or so, and all of them have been sent back at least once. Brilliant UK-made quality as you’d expect from this fine engineering nation that brought you everything you used to own that didn’t work right until we started buying it from Germany or China. It’s nice that they back up their products but should a £200 bicycle LED need this amount of warranty support? Also, they tend to break when you’re using them (the winter) so sending them back (£10 a time) leaves you riding around in the dark or rather not riding at all. This one is as rubbish as all the others in that it doesn’t tell you when it has finished charging, leading to range-anxiety, and has an inconsistent switch. It also just failed when it rained the other day.
Avid/SPAM BB7 brakes – I uhmed and aah’d about these for ages before I went and now wish I’d used the Shimano hydraulics I had knocking around instead. The BB7s are underpowered, overly-linear, spongy (admittedly this might be because of the levers I’m using them with, but I like the levers, so do one SPAM lovers) noisy, ‘rubby’ and require daily adjustment. I’d have been happier with v-brakes but my frame and fork of choice weren’t available in that configuration because ‘technical progress’ makes anything that works and is cheap obsolete when something flashier and more marketable comes along.
Endura waterproof trousers – not waterproof and have never been. I should have sent them back but, like most people, I can’t be bothered with the hassle. Slightly better than nothing, when I’m not riding, but when I am (and it’s over 15 degrees) it’s better to just get wet.
GiffGaff – I bought a ‘pay as you go’ SIM off Amazon, thinking, like a blatant idiot, that ‘pay as you go’ meant that you paid as you went. Obviously not, as the assholes just took £5 (enough to buy 5 litres of beer – my RDA) out of my account. I don’t even know how they got my details, Amazon must have sold them to them the bastards.