Bontrager Flash Charger pump, Rally helmet, and Evoke shoes reviewed

Bontrager boasts an impressive range of accessories. Be it apparel, accessories, or bike components, Bontrager has an option to suit most riders. We recently had the opportunity to test three products from the Bontrager range: the Flash Charger TLR pump, the Rally trail helmet with MIPS, and a pair of Evoke mountain bike shoes.

Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump


MSRP: R 1,899.00

 

The Flash Charger TLR is Bontrager's answer for home mechanics looking for a floor pump to seat and inflate tubeless tyres without the need for a compressor or wasting a CO2 canister. The Flash Charger features a pressurizable chamber that can release air instantly to create the jolt needed to seat a tubeless tyre.

 

Bontrager Cycling Gear Gravel Ride_.jpg

 

Product details

  • Alloy barrel for smooth pump action
  • Auto-select head instantly fits both Presta and Schrader valves
  • Top-mounted 160 psi gauge
  • Large, stable base minimizes tipping
  • Inflates tubeless-ready tyres without a compressor
Bontrager Cycling Gear-5.jpg
Bontrager Cycling Gear-6.jpg

 

The pump has two chambers and a lever. Push the lever down and the smaller chamber is used to fill the bigger one up to a pressure of 160 psi. Once the needle on the top-mounted gauge is in the green zone, you can attach the head to the valve and flip the lever. This will release a constant stream of air into the tyre at a higher pressure than you would be able to with a normal pump. The air flow is not as high nor as fast as a CO2 canister, but it comes out with enough force to seat a tyre with sufficient air in the chamber to get the tyre up to a decent pressure once the bead is sealed. All you have to do then is pump the tyre to your desired pressure.

 

The Flash Charger TLR works well for mounting a new tyre, but less so when wanting to correct the pressure on an already fitted tyre. The pump does not have a non-return valve to stop air from the tyre going back into the pump when connecting it. It's not something that is unique to this pump or Bontrager though, as I have yet to use a pressurised chamber pump that solves this problem. It's not a big issue, it simply means some extra pumping than you would with a normal pump.

 

Bontrager Cycling Gear-4.jpg
Bontrager Cycling Gear-7.jpg

 

Compared to the Lezyne Pressure OverDrive I own, the Bontrager has more plastic bits and doesn't feel as premium. The Lezyne is mostly made from metal with a cool wooden handle. It is, however, easier to use and I much prefer Bontrager's version as there are fewer quirks. It will most likely soon replace the Lezyne.

 

Verdict


The Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump is a clever piece of kit and a great tool for riders who battle in the dark of the night to seat fresh rubber the day before a race. It is not without drawbacks, but it gets the job done.

 

I can live with the plastic bits considering just how well the pump works, function over form. I'd like to see a dedicated mountain bike version in the future, or at least a second or digital gauge to make smaller adjustments at lower pressures possible. It would also be good to see a non-return valve added to the system.

 

 

Bontrager Rally MIPS


MSRP: R 2,399.00

 

The Rally MIPS is Bontrager's trail / all mountain open face helmet. That means more coverage around the sides and back of the head. Although this does add some weight compared dedicated cross-country helmets, I've always felt the small weight penalty is more than worth it to gain greater protection.

 

Bontrager Cycling Gear-11.jpg

Bontrager Cycling Gear-13.jpg
Bontrager Cycling Gear-12.jpg

 

For those of you who are not yet familiar with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), it was developed to help reduce rotational forces on the brain caused by angled impacts to the head.

 

Bontrager Cycling Gear-9.jpg

 

Adjusting the helmet for the perfect fit is done using a BOA dial at the bask of the helmet. In principle, it works like most other adjustments systems, with the only difference here being BOA's reputation for making reliable and long-lasting turn-dial adjusters. The BOA has four thin plastic cables entering the dial, two on either side, and contracts or releases those cables in incredibly small increments for an impressively personal fit. The Medium sized helmet that we had on test covers quite a big adjustment rang (54 - 60cm) and even though the helmet was on the looser side when wearing it wide open, the BOA adjustment provided a very comfortable and secure fit with pressure evenly spread around the helmet.

 

To further aid the fit, Bontrager mounted the adjustment system to the helmet using a plastic bracket that has a three-click up or down adjustment. This is a great way to get the "grip" of the helmet in just the right place at the back of your head. Other comfort features include FlatLock dividers on the helmet straps and removable pads inside the helmet.

 

Bontrager Cycling Gear Gravel Ride_-2.jpg

 

Another neat trick up the Rally's sleeve is the integration of Bontrager's Blendr mounting system which is used to mount a light or action camera. The plastic mount is secured to the helmet using a magnet system which is very secure. After a month's use, it has not come off the helmet once using a GoPro which I was very pleased and quite amazed about. I really like that you can quickly and easily fit a helmet mounted light that has the benefit of quick removal once you hit the trail. I would also assume that in a heavy crash the mount will come off or give way before your light or action camera suffers serious damage.

 

Bontrager Cycling Gear-8.jpg
Bontrager Cycling Gear-10.jpg

 

Unlike the Bontrager Circuit MIPS we've reviewed, it does not come with a rear mount for use with a taillight. The light mount can be turned around though if you'd like to mount a rear facing light rather than a front-facing one.

 

The peak offers a good range of adjustment. Low enough to keep early morning or late evening sun out of my eyes. With the peak removed the helmet was used on a recent gravel ride shoot and did remarkably well on an all-day ride. Fortunately removing and fitting the peak is an easy task that can be done tool-free.

 

Ventilation is good. With Cape Town summer temperatures often pushing mid to high 30's this year I got a good taste of how it handles the heat and came away impressed. With trail helmets, one can always have a bit more of course, but the trade-off between air vents and added protection has been well balanced.

 

Product details

  • MIPS Brain Protection System
  • The Boa® System lets you easily secure and adjusts helmet fit with one hand
  • Blendr mount system easily integrates GoPro camera and Bontrager light accessories only
  • Drop-in coverage on the back of helmet offers extended protection
  • The in-mould composite skeleton increases helmet integrity for larger vents and increased airflow
  • FlatLock dividers make helmet strap management simple through the fixed-position fit
  • Internal, recessed channels move airflow over your head to stay cool and dry
  • The Crash Replacement Guarantee provides a free helmet replacement if involved in a crash within the first year of ownership
  • Available in Radioactive Orange (Pictured) Waterloo Blue or Black
  • Weight: 386g actual (Size Medium as tested)
Bontrager Cycling Gear-14.jpg

 

Verdict


The Bontrager Rally MIPS is a very comfortable trail helmet and another offering that is high on clever touches. Factor in the crash replacement warranty and the safety benefits of MIPS and Bontrager has designed a winner.

 

Bontrager Evoke Mountain Shoe


MSRP: R 1,799.00

 

Bontrager Cycling Gear Gravel Ride_-4.jpg

 

The Evoke is Bontrager's all-around performance mountain bike shoe. Glass-reinforced internal nylon plate with full Tachyon rubber outsole makes for off-bike confidence. It comes with a stiffness index rating of 6/14 which means that it is not super stiff and therefore more comfortable when hiking a bike or walking around post-ride. To protect your investment against the elements Bontrager has added their durable reinforcement GnarGuard.

 

Closing and securing are done by means of three velcro straps which does a great job of keeping your feet in place in a comfortable manner. The shoes itself has a roomier fit which is very comfortable. So comfortable that Mynhardt van Pletsen took a pair out of the box and straight onto a 100 miler Gravel Grinder ride.

 

Bontrager Cycling Gear Gravel Ride_-3.jpg

 

Product details

  • inForm Race offers a slightly roomier, high-performance fit
  • Glass-reinforced internal nylon plate with full Tachyon™ rubber outsole
  • Reliable 3-strap hook and loop closure system
  • Stiffness index - 6 of 14
  • The GnarGuard outer protection fights away trail brush and debris
  • Available in Black (pictured) or Radioactive Orange

Verdict


The Bontrager Evoke Mountain Bike shoes are comfortable and offer good value for money. I've always felt that there are some real winners at this price and feature level and the Bontrager continues that trend.




10 Comments

BluffGrunter, Feb 19 2019 12:10

Ive had one of those pumps for quite some time. although very cool to use to pump up tubeless tires. I have not been able to figure out how to use it as a normal pump

madmarc, Feb 19 2019 01:34

I would imagine you need to have the red lever in the inflate position to use as a normal pump - then the air simply travels from the pump through the accumulator and into the tyre. In the charge position the pump will pressurize the accumulator and releases when you flip the lever to inflate

BluffGrunter, Feb 20 2019 09:34

I would imagine you need to have the red lever in the inflate position to use as a normal pump - then the air simply travels from the pump through the accumulator and into the tyre. In the charge position the pump will pressurize the accumulator and releases when you flip the lever to inflate

I thought so to ha ha ha. but when you pull the connector off the valve all the air that you have just pumped all comes out of the catridge

BluffGrunter, Feb 20 2019 09:36

I thought so to ha ha ha. but when you pull the connector off the valve all the air that you have just pumped all comes out of the catridge

 

I would imagine you need to have the red lever in the inflate position to use as a normal pump - then the air simply travels from the pump through the accumulator and into the tyre. In the charge position the pump will pressurize the accumulator and releases when you flip the lever to inflate

Reading the cons i see that its not possible.

  • Connecting the pump to your tyre to top up or correct its pressure will see it lose air to fill the pump's chamber

Rocket-Boy, Feb 20 2019 09:52

I still dont really understand the point of those kinds of pumps. A 24l compressor costs less and is far easier to use.

Sure its harder to drag a compressor around in the boot of your car but at least the compressor is good for more than just inflating bike tyres.

Duane_Bosch, Feb 20 2019 01:45

I still dont really understand the point of those kinds of pumps. A 24l compressor costs less and is far easier to use.

Sure its harder to drag a compressor around in the boot of your car but at least the compressor is good for more than just inflating bike tyres.

FWIW.

 

I felt the same way until I got one. The convenience of being able to seat a tire in a few pomps is massive. It's become a totally stress free exercise. I've never owned a compressor but they don't seem to be completely without complication.

 

Mine is a Ryder but the Bontrager version looks a much better product at not much more of a premium.

 

As far as the Rally helmet goes. I don't own one but I have tested one when I forgot my lid at home. Chris Nixon was kind enough to let me use one of theirs. It is by far the nicest fitting trail lid i've used and, unless something very special comes out soon, will be my next trail helmet. 

richardgoose, Feb 20 2019 01:56

I own a Rally helmet. As a trail helmet -very nice, but for XC - hot. Would not recommend it to anyone riding on very hot days, epic etc. 

Stevief, Feb 20 2019 02:48

51832669-1-pdpxl.jpgThese are R550  and fits in a shoebox

fanievb, Feb 21 2019 03:13

soapy water usually solves any tubeless seating issues.

I use my lezyne floor pump, a few quick pomps and bob's your uncle

I've only been beaten twice, once with a maxxis tyre on an alex rim and once with a kenda on a stans crest

DieselnDust, Feb 23 2019 12:14

 

Reading the cons i see that its not possible.

  • Connecting the pump to your tyre to top up or correct its pressure will see it lose air to fill the pump's chamber

 

 

 

thats pretty useless as a top up pump then. Basically its an expensive hand driven compressor :(