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Small Fry (Inbred, Suffolk, UK)

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Onguard Akita Extender Cable 120 cm X 10 mm
Onguard Akita Extender Cable 120 cm X 10 mm
Offered by E-BikesDirect
Price: £6.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for securing QR wheels, 27 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this to go with a Master Cuff Street Cuff 1 Link To allow me to secure my front QR wheel. The reason I chose this cable over others is the eyes on the ends allow the cable to pass through and form a loop (see the picture) this means you can secure individual items like my front wheel to the lock you are using.

The cable is sturdy, and well made, and has a velcro tab to keep it together.

Its nice and thick and should deter opportunist theives, admittedly a determined theif will take your bike, regardless of how many locks you use. But in that case your bike will be gone regardless.

So as a deterent more than anything I give this a 5* rating.


Master Lock Street Cuff Chrome Plated 1 Link with 4 Keys
Master Lock Street Cuff Chrome Plated 1 Link with 4 Keys
Price: £62.53

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lock for a quick stop, 27 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This looks and works like a big set of handcuffs, the centre link rotates to adapt to all angles, and will go round any kind of post or frame tube up to 3" (75mm) diameter. One Cuff round your frame etc, the other on something sturdy like some railings, a bike rack or a signpost. The good part is they will fold in half to make them a small secure system of locking your prized posession.

The construction is strong and has a barrel lock thats harder to pick on both cuffs. But be aware that when you unlock a cuff, the centre of the lock pops out about 5-6mm and needs to be pressed back in when the cuff is closed for it to be locked (you dont close the cuffs and they auto lock like normal hand cuffs for people). Its easy to forget this the first time you use it and leave your bike unlocked.

This aside for a quick stop the cuffs have a rubberised coating so they don't scratch your bike frame, so you can easily go frame to the place you lock to. But if you like me have QR wheels, then the best solution I have found for a longer stop is to go from the back wheel through the rear triangle formed by the seat stay and chain stay so your back wheel cant get nicked. Then use a cable to secure the front wheel, I chose an Onguard Akita Extender Cable 120 cm X 10 mm which allows the cable to pass through its own eye, and secure the front wheel. By feeding through the frame and onto the street cuff you can lock your bike to larger items that the street cuffs can't go on like trees or small children.

To sum up its a sturdy piece of kit, and a great way of locking for a quick stop. However If you've got QR wheels/seat then you will need to get extra precautions like a cable to fully secure your bike for a longer stay.

Its worth noting there is a specific bracket to hold this that attaches on your water bottle cage mounts Master Lock Street Cuff Bracket but it is a little pricey for what it is.


Master Lock Street Cuff Bracket
Master Lock Street Cuff Bracket

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you've got the street cuff then you'll want one of these, 27 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Its a bracket that goes on the waterbottle cage mounts, and allows you to carry your street cuff.

Construction is of alloy, and is fairly light, yet sturdy. It seems a bit odd to fit the lock into it at first but you get the hang of it soon enough.

The plastic clip that holds the street cuff in place is a bit tight to get on but seems secure enough when in use. These clips are available as a replacement item, and I have read they can break in use, so time will tell on this one.

The only comment I noted was the cage when fitted to my frame (GT Aggressor 09) gets in the way of fitting a secon water bottle (its a big bracket for a big lock) and this is the only reason it lost a star.

Other that that it does its job well, and keeps my street cuff in place no problems.


KitchenCraft MasterClass Deluxe Stainless Steel Potato Ricer, 31 cm
KitchenCraft MasterClass Deluxe Stainless Steel Potato Ricer, 31 cm
Price: £13.26

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The zenith of masher design!, 20 Oct. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Forget those handles with various end fittings that bend as you mash, distort and knacker. They require a lot of effort, for the results you get out of it.

This is the real deal for smooth, creamy lump free mash. Just make sure you boil the spuds long enough, cutting them into smaller pieces prior to boiling is the easiest way. The results are great, especially when used for cottage or shepherds pies.

Its easy to clean, comes up a treat out of the dishwasher.

Cant praise this highly enough.


Smart b-spoke 1/2watt LED Rear
Smart b-spoke 1/2watt LED Rear

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stay alive, get one of these...., 20 Oct. 2009
Yes there are plenty of other LED flashy rear lights on the market, and they all improve visibility, so what makes this better?

The basic stats are almost the same as every other lamp on the market: CE marked, 3 LED's, flash/steady modes, similar sizes, 2x AAA batteries, QR seatpost mount etc. Its all run of the mill and available on every other light on the market.

The difference is that central LED its REALLY bright (the 1/2 watt). Its also surrounded by a silver reflector increasing the intensity. This is complimented by the flash pattern, 5 quick flashes from the outer two LED's, then 2 quick flashes from that brighter central LED. From a distance this makes the light stand out, enhancing the notability of the light. And thus reducing the excuses of "sorry mate I didn't see you". I honestly believe this flash pattern will help keep you safer on the road.

In steady mode just that bright central LED comes on, reducing battery drain, its a nice bright light in steady, though I tend to use the flash mode most times for increased safety. I've had my light since last September, using daily on a 2 mile commute through winter, riding in darkness due to my work hours, and the light 7 months later seems as bright as ever with no change of batteries so far. Certainly I can't stare directly at it as its too bright! In all that time I've never had problems with moisture ingress, so I seem to have found the perfect lighting solution for the back end of the bike.

Also worthy of note, the mount for the light to go on the seatpost mount; doubles up to allows you to clip it onto an item of clothing to a backpack, another handy feature if you go jogging or want to clip it onto one of your smaller kids when out at night.

All in all this is a cracking little light that will aid keeping you safe. I also recommend using the front light that compliments this light:Smart B-Spoke 1/2 Watt LED Front Light (inc Batt)


TomTom XL IQ Routes Edition Satellite Navigation Unit Europe (discountinued by manufacturer)
TomTom XL IQ Routes Edition Satellite Navigation Unit Europe (discountinued by manufacturer)

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like an older tomotm but not as good...., 11 July 2009
I came by this as an attempt to upgrade my old One V2.

Its got a few updates ( which every other tomtom has )

The good:

The IQ routes makes things a bit more logical getting to places, but like i say every tomtom has this now, so its not the big thing some people are making it out to be (and the data for this is supplied by vodafone to any company willing to pay for details of where all vodafones customers have been)
Nav by widescreen's great.
The menu's are a bit neater.

The bad:

This device has lost some of the functionality that was useful from earlier models....
Bluetooth is sadly missing here. So you have to use one of those expensive and unreliable RDS TMC antennas for the traffic data, and no GPS quick fixes via your mobile.

The Ugly:

The USB power connector is a pain in the a*se. Its deeply recessed, making it fiddly to connect, and tight to remove, making it fiddly to extract.
The "easy" mount is frankly garbage. In conjunction with the problems caused by the usb connector means it pops out of its mount while you're trying to connect it whilst in its mount.
Also the design of mount means that because of the widescreen format, you can not mount this on a side window (the device sits at an acute angle making it odd to read). Why is this important? if you have an athermic windscreen, that reflects heat, then it also reflects satellite signals, so you get a GPS fix thats better on a side window...

***EDIT***

As a final note I ended up taking this back in the end and getting my money back. I traded up to a tomtom 730, and have been happy ever since!


Manfrotto 441SPK2 Spiked Foot Set Tube D20
Manfrotto 441SPK2 Spiked Foot Set Tube D20
Price: £29.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Spikey feet for your Manfrotto, 17 Dec. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'd recently got an 055MF3 set of legs, which only come with rubber feet.

Most of the stuff I take is outdoors, so I really needed a set of these to dig in for that extra stability.

Fitting is easy, pop off the rubber feet, then pop these on (takes a little shove to get them on fully). The "special tool" to fit these is actually just a stubby x-point screwdriver with manfrotto written on the handle. Once they are tightened up they work as expected...

The screw thead the rubber feet move on is smoothe in action, the spikes are spikey, and the rubber feet are rubbery. To be honest, like all the best pieces of design they just work, with out drawing attention to themselves.

I will say that in the great outdoors, they allow you to dig the spikes in properly, and get something that is wonderfully stable, even with the recent frozen ground! The rubber feet again when fully extended are nice and stable, allowing you to use these on surfaces like carpet or concrete.

While it could be argued that these should come with your tripod, what can't be argued is these are great, if you work predominantly outdoors, they will pay for themselves the first time outside.


Manfrotto 804RC2 Basic Pan & Tilt Head with Quick Release Plate
Manfrotto 804RC2 Basic Pan & Tilt Head with Quick Release Plate

76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 3 way head, 27 Nov. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a 3 way pan / tilt head with QR plate, it weighs 750g, and 12cm high, and has a max rated weight of 4kg's.

CONSTRUCTION:

The majority of the head itself is constructed of technopolymer (a special plastic developed by manfrotto specifically for this job). All 3 axis of rotation have plates and markers telling you the angle you are currently pointing your camera at. The axis lock handles have a nice rubbery type grip meaning handling the head in cold weather is not a painful experience.

The mounting plate has a standard 3/8" mounting hole to allow you to pop the head on the legs of your choice. The surrounding part of the plate is angled to allow the grub screws on your tripod to fit securely on the head.

The QR plate is some kind of metal, having a standard 1/4" thread to mount a camera. The plate secures to the head using a double spring loaded lever system to aid quick fitting of the camera, and prevent inadvertent release of the camera during use. Also on the head is a bullseye type spirit level for easy levelling, however like the level on my Manfrotto legs, this is not the most reliable of devices.

IN USE...

The build, and materials used are excellent, offering a real feel of quality that one would expect from a Manfrotto product. All axis of movement are smooth, and the axis locks are great, locking the camera in exactly the right position. It must be noted that the grub screws on your tripods platform need to be tight for the pan axis to be tight. The tilt axis has a spring loading for use with heavier lenses. The handles on the axis locks feel chunky, yet tactile, offering great feel for tightening or using the axis with friction for fine adjustments. Weight wise I use this with a set of 055MF3 legs, and don't find the head especially heavy.

CONCLUSION

Getting great shots starts with having a great set-up, this means initially a rock solid platform to adjust your composition.

As a product 3 way heads are quite simple, so it takes something extra special to make one stand out for recommendation. So what makes this special?

In short, the quality of build, the materials, and the little extra details like the double spring loaded QR, and the feel of the axis locks in use. This head delivers all of this, but most importantly it offers the rock solid platform to get the shot you want.

To be honest its difficult to find anything to be critical of in this design (wonky bullseye level aside {I've never bothered using this level as I do all my fine adjustment in the viewfinder}), and as such it deserves the 5 stars I have awarded it.


Manfrotto MN-458HL Carry Strap for MDeVe, 190/055WNB + PRO & 458B Tripods
Manfrotto MN-458HL Carry Strap for MDeVe, 190/055WNB + PRO & 458B Tripods
Price: £22.33

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good carry handle., 21 Nov. 2008
This came as an included accessory with my new 055MF3 tripod.

Essentially its a carry handle that clips on to the column of your tripod. Combined with a quick release loop that offers the twin functions of keeping the legs together during transit, and allowing you to hold your camera bag as added weight on the tripod to give extra stability.

The quick release clips to attach to the tripod are standard swivelling snap hooks, well made, but nothing remarkable in themselves. To fit this strap to your tripod, just make sure you have two loops for clipping on, my legs have one on the top, and one on the bottom of the centre column. The main grab strap is adjustable for length to suit most tripods. This also allows at its looser settings to be slung over the shoulder (just about).

The grab handle itself is a moulded plastic affair that is really comfy to use. The construction is best described as sturdy, and the materials used are excellent.

As such this is a great solution to the problem of having a grab handle for transporting your tripod. However personally for out and about a bit more length so it could comfortably fit over a shoulder would be better (the main reason I gave it 4 stars, and not 5).


Manfrotto 055MF3 Pro Magfiber Tripod Legs Only
Manfrotto 055MF3 Pro Magfiber Tripod Legs Only

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last tripod you'll ever need to buy, 20 Nov. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're looking at this I'm assuming that either A: you have been through a few cheap tripods and learned your lesson the hard way that cheap tripods are exactly that CHEAP, or B: You know your kit, have done your research, and and are looking for a quality piece of kit to last for years. Which ever camp you fall into, you will be aware that good shots start with a good camera setup, which means a rock solid tripod that eliminates the possibility of camera shake.

OK, you've probably looked at the Manfrotto website for the stats, so you already know this takes 7KG's folds up to 64cm, max height 134.5cm, etc etc etc.

Aircraft need to take advantage of the latest technologies to make them light and strong, in the 1970's aircraft started incorporating parts made from cast magnesium, and carbon fibre. 30 years later Manfrotto have used these materials to make their 'magfiber' range. (Mag: magnesium, Fiber: Carbon fiber.) Which brings us to the subject of this review, the Manfrotto 055MF3 Magfiber tripod.

CONSTRUCTION:

Obviously this fits in with the 055 series tripods as the premier model of the range (the main difference from the 190 series is these tripods tend to be taller). Make no mistake this tripod is light, really light.

Those carbon legs have a wonderful finish, with the fibres visible through a clear resin, giving a unique look that really looks special in bright sunlight. In a group of serious photographers, your tripod will stand out, and become a source of envy! The upshot of the legs not being made of metal is they don't become uncomfortably cold to the touch when its freezing out. Obviously these are 3 section legs, If you need something slightly shorter (10cm shorter) then have a look at the 055MF4, but for this you will compromise a bit of stability for a marginally shorter tripod.

The magnesium castings while lighter require more metal to achieve similar strength to fittings made of aluminium on the other tripods. It is worth noting that Magnesium alloys corrode fiercely when exposed to sea water. To this end, if you're working round the sea side, think long and hard before using this tripod.

There is an included carry strap that has a quick release loop to allow you to hold the legs together during transit, or to clip on your camera bag for extra weight during windy conditions.

Clipped on one leg is a small tool to allow tightening of the leg flick locks as they free up over time.

The legs angle out to 23, 47, 66 and 89 degrees, at wider settings the legs are used fully retracted, or they will bow a bit under the weight of the camera. At wider settings, the centre column breaks in two, letting you take shots down in the mud with few problems.

That centre column also breaks then fits cross ways in the the tripod to allow use in other ways, such as for service as a copy stand. When used this way the 055XPROB has a centre column that just lifts up and swings out, no messing about. But on balance the ability to go so low (11cm) has the edge here, but only just. On the other hand if this split centre column, and cross ways mount are not needed by you, then have a good look at the 055MFV, exactly the same legs and castings, just no split centre column etc. Great if you're just mounting a scope or binoculars.

There is a built in bulls eye spirit level to level the tripod, that is what manfrotto describes as "the built-in, carefully hand-set bubble spirit level helps make sure your horizons really are horizontal," all I can say about this statement is the hand that set mine must have been a bit shaky, as its not really all that accurate. Strangely enough reading a few reviews, I've read similar from other people, hardly a major problem though.

The tripod head platform uses the standard 3/8" thread to mount the head of your choice, and includes the usual 3 grub screws to firmly mount the head of your choice.

Finally the last thing to mention about the construction is the feet. They are not inherently bad, they are after all a thick rubber cap that does the job, well enough. Here I find the only slight irritation with the design I prefer retractable spiked feet to cover all working environments, yet I find these are not included, instead they are sold as a £15 accessory. At this price range I would expect to find them included, or even fitted. But this is a minor thing, and certainly no reason to mark the tripod down. It is worth noting, while on the subject of feet that there are also optional snow feet available.

As a side note here, the tripod carries a 5 year guarantee, and replacement parts are available in the event of you breaking something. A sure indicator that this is no disposable item.

Over all this has a feel of quality, its well engineered, using good design principals. The materials are used to the best effect to produce something strong yet light.

IN USE:

Mines still quite new, so all joints and locks are still quite stiff, but all joints feature screws and nuts that can be tightened as time passes, using either the attached tool, or a screwdriver. Although they are still a bit stiff, all actions are smooth, and easy to use.

On extending the legs and setting up at max height, the tripod is good and steady, as you'd expect. For a 5'11" bloke like myself add on a head, and the height of a camera, and I don't have to stoop to look down the viewfinder.

Splitting the column and retracting the legs takes a little time, but if you're going to the trouble of setting up for working so low, then the extra time is no problem for the right shot.

The strap could be a bit longer to double up as a shoulder strap, which like the feet is an optional extra for more money.

It all works like you'd expect, and offers the kind of platform you need to get the best shots. In short, this has proved to be a joy to use, A choice that will last many years to come I hope.

CONCLUSION:

This is a great piece of equipment, the only niggles being that the accessories I would like to see included are optional extras, but when buying there is one factor you'll have to come to a decision about: cost. Currently on Amazon they are about £200 inc postage

The similarly designed, yet aluminium legged 055XPROB are currently £80 cheaper than the 055MF3. All things being equal the 055MF3 tripod is the one to go for, yet £80 is more than the cost of a good head. So for the same money you can get an 055XPROB and head for less than the 055MF3 costs.

Both are good legs, but remember these are sets of legs that will offer the average photographer the potential of a lifetime of use. So if you still need to justify the extra £80, do what I did, justify the purchase of a set of 055MF3 legs, by virtue that you're only going to buy once, so buy the best.


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