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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
- Works very well and exactly as advertised
- Takes the hassle out of seating and inflating tubeless tyres
- Presta and Shrader valve compatible
- Connecting the pump to your tyre to top up or correct its pressure will see it lose air to fill the pump's chamber
- A fair amount of plastic on a premium pump
- Guage that goes up to 220psi makes it difficult to micro adjust mountain bike tyres
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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)
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
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.
- 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
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.