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Field testing in Wales – Becci

Becci’s reviews:


Madison Flo ladies tops

A new top for this year from Madison, these act as an alternative for the Flux top, and have come on a fair few leaps and bounds.

The Flo top is a lightly fitted jersey, with more breathable panels under the arms and on the back. It also has a small side pocket for keys/ bars etc. and has a glasses wipe on the inside. It comes in three colours- black, coral and aqua.

Overall I found it to be a really nice top to wear, despite the high temperatures combined with the backpack and protective arm/ leg pads it never felt too hot, especially with the 1/4 zip to keep extra air flow when climbing. The glasses wipe was also handy for taking off mud and sweat!

I had my doubts about coral, but it turned out to be a bright, fresh colour!


Madison Bamboo liner shorts

First, ignore the price Madison’s clothing site has listed them as, they are £19.99.

Bamboo has antibacterial properties, so makes for a great combo when combined with wicking materials for helping to keep smells at bay. This seemed particularly useful on such a hot weekend, where sweat was definitely a factor.


I really really enjoyed wearing these, and actually wished that I’d had them to wear over the four days instead of just for two (I had the standard Madison liner for the other two days)


The liner that Madison include in many of their shorts is actually already of a good quality, I’ve used on several rides with no problems. Where the Bamboo liner steps forward is that it’s actually shorter in length down the leg, so a tad cooler, and doesn’t use rubber grips on the legs, which makes it much less noticeable when wearing.

The material is softer, and the waist band is wider, so again just makes it less noticeable when moving.

The pad seems fairly bulky when walking around, but actually on the bike fits perfectly, and certainly helped to prevent saddle soreness over the four days of riding.


Lapierre Zesty 314

My new bike. It’s had quite a few test runs around Bath now, as a bit of off road practice before going away, so it was great to get out on some “proper” big trails.

I was surprised at how easily the bike climbs – on technical sections the rear suspension is actually really handy for extra grip, whilst on fire road sections of climb it still feels stiff enough to get some good power down.

Of course going down is the important bit, and this bike sure gives a huge amount of confidence through even the trickiest of areas! The 150 mm travel at the front and 140 mm at the back are more then enough to happily get over even the bumpiest of descents, a great confidence booster for someone like me!


Lapierre Zesty 314 with Hope/ Stans wheels


Hope/ Stans Arch rims wheel set with Continental tubeless tyres

An upgrade to the wheelset that came with the bike (Mavic Crossrides) the Hope/ Stans wheelset come out as lighter, and with the tubeless capability. The Hope hubs are also the Pink version, which looks pretty cool too!


These were hand built in the shop by Tom!


The wheels themselves felt really nice, just that bit smoother and easier to turn, whilst they have the benefit of being sealed cartridge bearings (for extra weather protection) that are more readily available than replacement Mavic parts.


It was also really interesting to try tubeless out myself for the first time. Having gotten a pinch puncture the other day from the lower pressure combined with a big drop we hoped it would be less of a faff to get it set up before heading to Wales. The system seemed to work really well – happily ran the tyres at a lower pressure then I would with a tube, and had no issues at all, whilst benefiting from loads of grip.


The tyres themselves were a Continental Mountain king (black chili, folding, UST 2.2) on the front and a X king (black chili, folding, UST 2.2) on the rear, which was basically the combination I had on my previous Zesty and got on well with. Again they both seemed to perform well – I had been a bit unsure about the 2.2 as opposed to a 2.4 on the front, but I think being able to run at the lower pressure meant it actually rode fine overall.


Pink Hope Pro Evo 2 hubs with Stans not tubes Arch rims