Johnnys Reviews

Wiggle – what has gone wrong?

It has been an age since I wrote anything here, and that due to life getting in the way really, and whilst there is much I would like to have written, it is a shame that my first post back is a whinge…

My lad has recently bought himself a new bike, a Decathlon Triban 3. He’s only 12 and not the tallest, but the 48cm frame is spot on, and a smashing bike at a brilliant price point it is too. Certainly £300 well spent. He’s been on the turbo with it a few times, and has been out the last two Sundays with a local group, and his climbing and legs are developing nicely.

Given his love of riding, I decided the time had come to make the switch from flat pedals with little toe clips used with training shoes, to road shoes and pedals for him, and without hesitation I placed an order with Wiggle for some Shimano SPD-SL pedals and DHB road shoes. I’ve ordered a load of stuff from Wiggle over the last 5 to 6 years, and always been perfectly happy with it, plus the DHB kit I  have bought has always been of a good standard and well priced into the bargain.

Well this time things didn’t go quite so well. The kit was ordered at the start of the half term with the idea it gave him plenty of time to practice with a clipless system whilst off school, but firstly Royal Mail tracking reported it was being “returned to sender” due to an unreadable bar code, then Wiggle informed me it was back with them a couple of days later – whilst at the same time it turned up on my doorstep! Well, ok, stuff happens and it arrived at least despite Wiggle not really knowing what was going on.

Unfortunately the shoes were tight (order a size up with DHB shoes), and so I used the return system and sent them back, ordering the next size up for next day delivery so that he would still have time to get used to them before the Sunday outing.

So the next day I set off to work leaving the rest of the family waiting in for the shoes to arrive – I am sure they would rather have been out in the sunshine, but hey ho!

They hadn’t turned up by lunch time, so I checked the tracking which said they hadn’t yet been shipped, and yet Wiggle said they had been –! A simple phone call would have given the answer, but Wiggle don’t want you to talk to them anymore, instead you can only email, and if you are lucky you get a reply in 48 hours! Customer Service at its worst.

I did manage to call the courier, and they confirmed the package hadn’t been collected as yet, and so despite next day delivery being selected and paid for, I wouldn’t see the shoes until after the weekend – not what I wanted to hear, but honest and truthful, and I appreciate that.

I sent Wiggle an email asking for the surcharge for next day to be refunded, and highlighting the lack of service – to be fair the refund on next day was processed, but here we are 2 days later and I still have no shoes! The tracking says they were signed for by a name that is unknown to us, and a card through the door said “Parcel OUT BACK”, but no parcel could we see.

Two days ago I brought this to the attention of  Wiggle, simply asking them to either refund me or supply the goods as per the order – honestly I’ve had enough of it… they acknowledged the email, but it has been radio silence from them for 24 hours. So as it stands we have no shoes, they have the money and the chances of me shopping with them again have rapidly taken a nose dive!

Indeed I shall be removing the links to them that I carry on the site as a favourite retailer, and I certainly shan’t be recommending them to friends any more – many of the cyclists I ride with have been appalled with the tale.

So, I will give it until this afternoon, and then I will start phoning any number I can find for Wiggle, and one way or another get this farce sorted.

Come on Wiggle, play the game, there is a 12 year old lad waiting on his shoes, it’s only been 10 days, eh!?!?!?!?!?!


rant over ;)

Rain Rain Rain

Well, it may be May but the rain is as bad as April :(

This weekends mini tour to the Isle of Wight randonnee is going to be a soggy one for sure. Thinking of ditching the trunk bag and panniers for a good quality dry sack – a trip to the local camping and outdoor pursuits shop beckons this lunch time.

Endura Equipe HeliumOn a plus side I want to sing the praises of the Endura Equipe Helium Rain jacket! I bought this as a replacement for my Altura Nightvision. The Nightvision is a cracking jacket, but to me it is more suited to the cold as it is quite heavy and has a fleece lined collar – great in the cold but a bit too much when the temps rise.

I had a good scout round when choosing a light weight alternative, and the Endura Equipe Helium was the one that seemed to answer the needs best – lightweight, waterproof, ‘breathable’ (in quotes as I dont believe anything is truely breathable, but I dont end up clammy and sweaty in this jacket), a small packdown size, and most importantly for me – not too expensive! :)

So whatever the rain this coming bank holiday weekend, I am now feeling fairly confident that my core will stay dry and all I need to do is remember my overshoes!

DHB Clip Short Sleeved Jersey

I bought a couple of new cycling jerseys recently, and now that I have had a few weeks wear out of them I thought I would give a mini review.

DHB Clip Short Sleeved Cycling Jersey from WiggleFirst up we have the Wiggle brand, DHB Clip Short Sleeved Cycling Jersey!

I ordered this jersey at the same time as my DHB Aeron Race Bib Shorts, and since I went with the red trimmed shorts, it seemed to make sense to go with the red jersey – yep, all about image me ;)

Wiggle say:

  • Italian Stretch fabric (89%Nylon-11%Elastane)
  • Mesh pit panels
  • 30cm length front YKK lock down zip
  • 2 vertical drop pockets at rear
  • Central secure zip pocket at rear
  • Silicone grip to keep the back of the jersey from rising
  • Close fitting sleeves eliminate drafts
  • White dhb logo on front chest and upper back
  • Form fitting design

Johnny says:

This is a nice jersey, the nylon/elastane fabric gives it a much lighter and smoother feel than my other jerseys that are mainly 100% polyester. I like the design, especially the collar, and as a garment this is extremely light in weight.

The side mesh panels are very breathable, and with a good length of front zip it has proved comfortable to wear during the recent “changing” weather – days where it has been in the mid to upper 20’s and days where it has been struggling to reach 14C and drizzled non stop!

It is indeed ‘form fitting’ (read close fitting), and my choice of Medium fits me just fine (for reference I am 5ft 8, 30 inch waist and 38 inch chest.) It certainly wont be flapping around in the wind!

The grip tape works well to keep the jersey from riding up, and the middle zip pocket, along with the other two open pockets, are useful for “coffee stop” cash and other such cycling essentials.

All in all I think it is well worth the asking price and yet another piece of DHB cycling kit that I have been more than happy with.

I think I could be quite tempted with the black one too! :)


DHB Aeron Race Bib Shorts

DHB Aeron Cycling Bib Shorts from WiggleIn replacing my stolen kit, I had to buy some new bib-shorts. I bought two pairs, one of which are the Wiggle brand DHB Aeron Cycling Bib Shorts.

Previously I had the DHB ‘Finchdean’ bib shorts, but these are no longer available. But I had been very pleased with them, so a similar priced new model seemed worth a punt.

I ordered them late on a Wednesday evening, and was impressed when the Wiggle box arrived on the Friday morning. (complete with two complimentary fun sized packs of Haribo Star Mix! :D)

Wiggle say:

  • ‘Action 205g’ performance stretch fabric from Italy (80%Nylon-20%Elastane)
  • Carbon fibre mesh fabric on braces
  • CyTech Elastic Interface ‘Giro Air’ chamois (cycling pad)
  • dhb elastic leg opening with silicone gripper
  • Contrast colour paneling, with contrast flatlock seams
  • White dhb logo on right thigh and rear

Initial impressions were of a well made garment. The pad is of a good thickness to be comfortable for long rides, and the ‘cut’ looks good.

I got to try them out on a little 30 mile ride last Friday, and have used them once more since.

Being 5’8″, slim build, I ordered the Medium size, and the bottom half fits perfectly. The straps are comfortable, but a little ‘snug’. Fine once on the bike and bent forward though.

The pad is indeed comfortable, and I can see no bother wearing these for 80 to 100 mile rides.

If they are anything like the previous DHB shorts I have owned, I fully expect them to wear well too.

Given the price I would say they are very good value for money, and I will certainly be adding a second pair to my kit.

Good product, good price and good delivery = Happy Johnny :D

Carrera Virtuoso

I just thought, having owned a Carrera Virtuoso for 3 years or so, and having covered a few thousand miles on it, that I would share my thoughts on what is a budget/entry level road bike.

So I give you Johnny’s Review of the Carrera Virtuoso Road Bike.

I originally bought the Virtuoso to give road bikes a go, and opted for this particular bike following a glowing review in a cycling magazine. The review gave it top marks in a round up of value for money road bikes. Given there was a Halfords store local to me, I popped in for a look, and whilst I didn’t know too much, I could appreciate that for the £250 price tag, this was a good little bike.

The specs for the Carrera Virtuoso as follows:

  • Lightweight 7005 aluminium semi-compact frame, with mudguard and rack eyes making for a versatile bike
  • Rigid fork, hi-tensile steel blades, with  mudguard mounts
  • Shimano ST2200 rear mech and STI shifters
  • Prowheel Gloria 50-36 compact chainset with cartridge bottom bracket, providing greater flexibility in hill riding
  • 12-26 rear cassette (SRAM on mine, 8 speed)
  • Tektro 510A dual pivot brakes
  • DBR-1 alloy rims with wear indicators
  • Low profile Innova 700-25c tyres
  • Flip flop stem and toe clip pedals
  • Clearance for mudguards giving great adjustability for all year usage
  • Colour: Blue/Black

Straight from the store I spent a little bit of time setting it up so it was right for me, mine is a Medium sizing which equates to a 54cm.This was simply a case of setting the saddle height and angle of the drops, and then I headed out on a first ride. Coming from riding hardtail ATB or Mountain Bikes at the time, it felt very nippy, and was both quick and responsive.

I didn’t get on with the toe clip/pedals that came with the bike, and these were replaced almost instantly for some clipless Shimano SPD A520’s. Personally I much prefer clipless pedals, and was more at home on the Virtuoso once these had been fitted.

Other initial alterations I made were to double wrap the bar tape (personal preference for a fatter bar), and to change the 700x25c tyres that came with the bike for a pair of Continental Ultra Gatorskin 700×23’s – good puncture protection and very low rolling resistance. I know I shouldn’t tempt fate, but I have been riding this tyre on my bikes for 3 years now without getting a flat! Given that my riding is mainly rural roads, but also includes gravely canal paths, I reckon that is a good recommendation!

I would have to say that the gearing (50-36 and 12-26) is excellent for the bike, giving a really useful range. Not long after buying the Virtuoso I  did a 360 mile ride, (120 a day for three days), and even with a rear rack and loaded panniers, it gave me plenty of range and I was never struggling. On that ride I encountered many hills including Ditchling Beacon, but none proved a problem on the Virtuoso.

In the first two years of ownership, the only maintenance I carried out was to repack the wheel bearing races with new grease, replace the brake blocks, fit a new chain, and tweak the cable tensions. Other than that routine cleaning kept Betsy in good order, and she never let me down.

Some three and a half years on since buying the Virtuoso other changes have been made – some due to personal preference and others due to wear and tear of the several thousand miles covered.

  • a new seat post and a Specialized Alias saddle – a personal preference thing
  • a set of Mavic Aksiums as I wore out the original wheels
  • a replacement rear cassette and chain – again due to normal wear
  • replacement bottom bracket and new chainset – again normal wear
  • replaced the Tektro brakes with some Shimano Tiagra ones, mainly because I needed new brake blocks and the Tiagra brakes were on offer just as cheap as buying blocks.

Now Betsy, the Virtuoso, is pretty much a wet weather/commuter bike, but she is still going strong and in good shape.

Would I buy again, yes, in a heartbeat. For the money I think you would be hard pushed to find a better low cost road bike. Whilst I have my Trek 1.7, the Virtuoso still gets plenty of use and is just as reliable as ever.

I can see why the reviews rate this bike so highly.

Anyhow, time to ride to work, and Betsy is waiting downstairs with rack and panniers packed!

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