When I was asked which Bellroy Elements wallet I wanted to test and review I knew exactly which one to pick; The Elements Pocket. Constructed using water resistant “all-weather leather” the Bellroy Elements range is targeted to those looking for some added weather protection so perfect but not limited to the outdoorsy type.
As someone who dislikes bulky weighed down pockets, I was worried the wallet would arrive and I’d be disappointed at the bulk of it but quite the opposite happened.
All the Elements range comes in a beautiful topography printed envelope and for me the packaging is 1/3 of product satisfaction. Inside I found my wallet, a small wonderfully constructed wallet with water-resistant zippers that was no bigger than the cardholder I was previously using….
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Said to have enough space for up to 15 cards I thought I’d put it to the test and stuffed it with visa cards and business cards and sure enough it took 15, though it did take a little force to close.
First impressions were good and now with nearly 2 weeks of use I’m happy to say the Bellroy Elements Pocket is close to a perfect zipper wallet. Once I got past the initial wearing in period with the zipper, which is fairly stiff at first, the wallet opens easily and happily accommodates my essentials.
The two side sleeves can easily take 2 hard cards such as Visa and Drivers License, I would however avoid adding a third as I found it makes for clumsy work when trying to remove one of the cards. As well as being for card overflow, the centre of the wallet is good for bank notes but you will have to fold them in thirds, so if you’re like me that usually folds notes directly in the middle, be prepared to scream a little inside. When not carrying notes or cards in the centre then it’s great for taking coins. I managed to fit £8 1 pound coins on my last ride with the wallet.
The size of the wallet is perfect for back pocket carrying, like I mentioned I really dislike bulky wallets but the Bellroy slim and smart construction meant that even when it was full it kept a slim body so it didn’t look like I was carrying a brick in my back pocket.
What about when in it’s elements? Having been pretty busy with travelling for work I’ve not had a lot of chance to take it out in a dirty wet environments, however it has been in my jersey pocket every ride I’ve been on, and with the Indian summer the UK seems to be having, the last few riders have been warm and sweaty, but the wallet definitely performed. While the all-weather leather is damp from sweat, the inside has stayed perfectly dry and because of it’s slender size you don’t even notice it’s in your jersey pocket.
Though not as big as say a Rapha Essentials Case, and you wont be able to fit a tube or a canister, the Bellroy wallet is perfect for carrying money for when you get to a cafÃ© and some spare patches.
My only really criticism is the zipper is quite large and therefore catches on the corners of my cards making them break at the corners which is disappointing when handing a business card to someone. I think if there was any way of extending the height of the wallet slightly or lowering the two-side sleeves it would eliminate this problem, but apart from that this wallet is exactly what I’ve been looking for.
Now, if you want something to carry bike repair equipment then this wallet isn’t for you, but if you’re looking for a slim wallet that stays slim, protects its contents from the weather and other environmental elements and looks smart then this is the perfect choice.
Once again September has come around and brings along with it the annual Cycles Show at the NEC,
Birmingham. This year the Cycle Show expanded into a third exhibition hall making this the biggest show since it’s return to the venue and as you’d expect it was packed to the rafters with bike porn and bling,
plus a good supply of varies energy bar samples to keep you on your feet, bonus.
From what I experienced during my week with Rapha Condor JLT at the Tour Of Britain (exclusive full story coming soon), its easy to see that cycling in the UK has had another successful year with audience numbers increasing yet again and that was certainly reflected by the huge crowds that attended the Cycle Show. Click Read More for the full article.
Like I mentioned there were plenty of bikes companies showcasing and far too many for me to even begin to start talking about in detail, however there was a couple of highlights for me.
The first came in the form of components from industry giants, Shimano. As well as showcasing their new 105 FC-5800 11spd, which looks, feels and performs far better than the previous version, with a sub £400 (£500 rrp) price tag, Shimano also showcased their very impressive XTR Di2 system. A 2×11 electronic system that is controlled (but not restricted to) one shifter; the XTR Di2 has been the subject of many questions and the one I heard most was, “why would you want electronic shifting on a MTB?” Believe me, I said the exact say thing but then I tried it. Beautifully smooth, precise and effortless shifting that has been programmed to shift the front mech in accordance to the selected gear on back, I would explain more but this video does it better, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZGuwhSLcJU
Just like their road system the XTR Di2 isn’t forever one, and for me I’d personally like to see it with a more refined display unit or even none at all, but that doesn’t take away the fact the system is very impressive to use and as much as I tried to catch it out with rapid down, up and down again shifting, it didn’t skip a beat. With a price tag around £1500 it’s not a cheap system and that’s just for the electronic components but for me the benefits of Di2 on a trail or XC bike would be an investment worth considering, so long you’re happy to explain how it works to everyone you’re riding with.
There seems to a reoccurring theme with my Cycle Show coverage and they always include the second company I thought was worth mentioning, Condor Cycles. Having spent a week with the Rapha Condor JLT team I got to know the Leggero bikes pretty well, but when I saw twitter images of a new prototype frame I knew I wanted to see it in person.
Currently in prototype phase the Leggero SL is Condor’s attempted at a Super Light frame and the numbers speak for themselves. At 56cm the frame weighs 900g with all the fixings such as cable guides, seat clap and headset and the full built that was on display weighed in at 6.2kg (13.7lbs). Sure its not as light as the feather which is the Trek Emonda, but pitch it next to a comparative “market leader” such as a S-works Tarmac or Trek Madone with similar spec then it has the upper hand, and for me comes top trumps on looks.
I love simple straight lines on bikes and one reason why I’m going steel next year, but the Leggero SL presents a strong argument for me to reconsider. Constructed using a tube to tube method and bonded with additional layers of carbon and a nano particle resin, “The Leggero SL is designed to handle a lot of climbing, short or long” and although Condor already have a climbing frame the “Leggero SL is lighter and has a race geometry and oversized BB for power when sprinting for the line.” (Via Claire, Marketing Manager).
Looking past the numbers and technical aspects of the frame, the aesthetics of it is what really takes my fancy and in a market where everyone is complaining “there’s too many black frames” I hope Condor hear my plea…Keep the Leggero SL raw lacquered, just add coloured decals.
Not being able to visit neither Eurobike nor Interbike, the Cycle Show NEC is as close to a major trade event there is here in the UK, along with the London Bike Show in springtime of course. Every year I make the effort to attend on two days, trade day Thursday where I get to chat to industry people and see some friends, some of which I only see at this one event, and then again Sunday when it’s open to the public just for the good vibes.
Although there was some disappointing no shows by some major companies, the overall event was a great success with a fantastic atmosphere and plenty for people to get stuck in too.