Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review

Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review – Intro

I own a bike helmet, but I seldom wear it. This may sound stupid to some people, but it really spoils my enjoyment of cycling. . . . “so would brain damage” I hear you say . . . well that is my choice I suppose.

A couple of weeks ago I fell off my bike, on to a soft surface, and I still felt mentally impaired for a few days afterwards. Still keen to avoid a helmet, I though I would give this Swedish Hovding Air Bag a try. The Hovding is actually made in Sweden. Hovding means “Headman”, like a Chief or Chieftain.

I should say to give something “a try” that costs £250 is a bit extravagant, but I justified on the basis that is is safety equipment, and it is Christmas. . . . ((At Time of Writing ( It may not be Christmas Now))

Hovding Cycle Air Bag
Hovding Cycle Air Bag

Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review – First Appearances

Having looked at the pictures of the Hovding prior to purchase, actually pulling the thing from the box was not surprising. It weighs about what you would expect (640 grams / 1.5 lbs), and is bedny in some places and chunky in others. . . just as you would expect.

In the box are the Hovding, a Hovding Cover, a USB charge cable, Instruction book and Quick Start Instruction Card.

The supplied cover is of a fine synthetic textile. I also purchased an extra cover, and this is also of a synthetic fabric. A cotton offering would have been preferred.

The battery is easily charged via a standard micro USB cable. This is the first job to do after receiving you Hovding in the Post.

Hovding Air Bag

Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review – Charging and Battery Life

The official blurb (instruction book) says 9 hours of battery life. I am keeping a tally and will update when I have some field data on that.

The battery takes around 3 hours to charge from empty. But mine was charged within 45 minutes when I first plugged it in. The green lights illuminate around the activation “popper” as the Hovding charges.

The battery is a lithium cell, and as such should have a long operational life span. If the battery is not charged, when you activate the Hovding, you will get a warning beep.

Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review – Put it On

 

Putting on the Hovding requires doing up a zip that you cannot see. As a 38 year practical chap who has been dressing himself for 34 years I thought this would be easier than it was. But no doubt it will become easier with time.

When new the front zip stick up in front of you chin. . . do not worry it is sag down after an hour of so of cycling and stays there. It sits around you neck, resting on your shoulders and is not uncomfortable but does rub on the underside of your chin when you turn your head.  The next stage is activation this involves doing up the “popper”.

 Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review – Activation

 

The instructions say that you should activate you Hovding when you are on your bike ready to go, and that you should deactivate it before you get off. This makes sense in terms of avoid accidental inflation, but it is quite annoying when you have to get off a push regularly. In London for example where there is terrible cycling infrastructure,  I regularly dismount, to push around obstacles and by pass intersections / junctions as a pedestrian.

However, I can confirm that it does not go off when you are walking. Just try not to mimic any movements that might be similar to falling off a bike. I pushed up 4 or 5 hills on my first ride whilst activated. No problem.

Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review – Comfort

 

This was the primary reason for buying this product. I do not like wearing hats, unless it is very cold or very very hot. First I must dispel concerns regarding the weight of the Hovding. It does not feel heavy in the slightest. It is perhaps twice the weight of a heavy bike helmet, but unlike a bike helmet the weight is on you lower neck or shoulders. As such it does not feel heavy at all.

I went for a large size. This is meant to fit necks up to 65cm. Mine is about 63cm. I am glad it is not 65cm, or I think I might find the Hovding a bit tight. It is OK when wear a T-Shirt but when you add coat collar, inside the Hovding the room is lessened.

Hovding “Lump”

At the rear of Hovding is a “lump” which contains (I guess) the gas canister, battery and “brains”. This sits in the nape of the neck, and extends up towards the base of the skull. This is well and good, when you are riding in an upright position. No problem. But if you are hunched down (and we are not talking dropped bars here) this lump starts to get in the way of you neck bending. If you are wearing a cap with a peak (which is OK to do) then this problem is exacerbated.

I would suggest that if you want to experience the Hovding at it most comfortable you would be riding an urban style utility bicycle, with a fairly upright ride. On a drop bar bike, or any bike with “sports” riding position, you will have to bend you neck backwards, and this will cause discomfort, owing to the “lump”.

The problem may affect people with certain head shapes more than others. The image below shows some common head shapes (from the side).  If you have a “scaphocephaly” head shape (pokey out bit at the back) then I doubt you will find he Hovding comfortable to wear.

Head Shapes

Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review – Cost

When I shared my decision to purchase on social media, the cost (£250) caused some outrage. However, it is not really that expensive, if you consider a good helmet costs £100, and need to be replaced after you crash. Hovding offer a replacement service for £99.  So the replacement cost is similar to a conventional helmet, whilst the initial cost is over double.

I justified the decision on the ground of preservation. The Hovding protects you brain and neck. It is a shame it does not protect your back as well, but it offers more protection than a helmet. If this piece of kit keeps you out of a wheelchair, even if there is 0.00000001% chance of that actually occurring then it is worth the cost in my book.

Hovding Bicycle Airbag Review – Conclusions

It may provide better protection, but the Hovding is no less annoying to wear than a helmet.

It is better suited to use in the summer, where the neck area is not congested with coat collars and scarves.

The covers being of a synthetic material does not feel great when they get sweaty. This is unpleasant in winter particularly.

The top of the the zip at the front pokes upwards and is tricky to fold down (it keeps springing up) and rubs the underside of you chin.

I am not a huge bloke @ 6’1″ 15 stone, but the large size is still snug.

Environmental Consultants London

ESDM Report

 

 

Selle Royal Classic 8261 Review

Selle Royal Classic 8261 Review – Intro

I am a great fan of the the springy brooks saddles (B67 & B135). But they do cost a lot, and I have a lot of bikes, so for lesser used bikes, where I want a comfortable saddle, I am trying this Selle Royal Classic 8261, which is not listed on the Selle Royal Website, but is widely avaiable. I purchased mine from Practcial Cycles (Ebay Store).

Whats in the Box. . . I’ll save you the trouble. A saddle.

Selle Royal Classic 8261 Review – Typical Use

This saddle (apparently) adorns millions of bikes across the world, it is one of the most common saddles manufactured certainly in europe. It comes in a standard foam variety and a gel variety, both designed for upright utility cycling.  This review is for the standard variety; I find gel creepy . . . not sure why.  Ammatuer pycologists please leave a comment below.

Suites an Upright Ride. Likley OK for all riders though.

Selle Royal Classic 8261 Review – Build

The saddle is heavy in the hand, I buy things built to last so for me this is a good thing. The upper materials seems thick, and feels as though is may be bonded with the foam (or form part of the foam) that forms the cushion. The underside of the saddle shows a injection moulded suppoprt frame which is bonded in a continuous, likley water tight seam to the foam upper. The metal work is clipped in to the plastic underside and all metal parts are rivetted together.

The saddle come complete with a mounting bracket of pin type seat posts. This bracket seams to be different to some I have seen and does without the inner set of cups, having outer cups only.

Supporting Plastci Underbelly, is sturdy and strong.

Selle Royal Classic 8261 Review – Cost

This saddle is very cheap. It cost £13 with postage. It looks as though it will last for years.  If you were to trawl ebay you would find a wide saddle with springs for a few pounds less, perhaps £9 delivered such as the ventura ASA saddle.

This slightly cheaper saddle is far worse quality, it will have a thin upper, stapled interface between upper and underside. The plastic underside is weak, and I have broken it off when lifting a heavy bike by the saddle nose. I cannot see that happening with the Selle Royal Saddle, it is built heavy and strong.

Basic Appearance. No frills.

Selle Royal Classic 8261 Review – Comfort

I have been ruined from years of cycling on wide brooks saddles, so this saddle felt unconfortable for me. So by means of coamprason I went and sat on my kids bikes saddles, and my folding bike saddle to try and mix things up a bit.

It is no doubt as comfy as any wide sprung saddle can be (that isn’t a brooks (or perhaps Lepper) but then is is 10% of the price! So I would say average comfort based on the type of saddle.

Fitting Clamp is Better than most.

Selle Royal Classic 8261 Review – Conclusions

A very inexpeinve saddle, that is vert well built and provides a satifactory amount of comfort.

Just a Simple Well Built Saddle Really!

Environmental Consultants London

ESDM Report

What is Practical Cycling?

Practical Cycling (or Utility Cycling) is every type of cycling that is not sports cycling; racing, time trials, strava, shaving your legs . . . . that is sports cycling. The emphasis is on speed and little else.

With this forum the hope is people will talk about bicycles as a mode of transport whether for personal commuting or for carrying freight. Utility Cycling is a another name I have heard, but conjures up images of gas and electricity (utility) companies.

Of course you could do all of these things on a racing bike. You could.

Most who ride for practical reasons may well strat out on a sports bike, but over time changes will likely occur tho make that bike more suitable for everyday non competitive use.

There there are plenty of other blogs on the web dedicated to this topic, but no forum as far as I know. Some great blogs to check out are:

Bikes as Transport

cargo bikes, family bikes, electric bikes and complete streets

2nd Gear

Musings of a middle-aged pedal pusher.

Dave McCraw

If you aren’t a “sport cyclist”, then you’re probably most interested in this section of the site: pleasure rides, commuting, shopping, transporting children and more!

Bike Commuter Cabal

Dedicated to supporting bike commuters and promoting sustainable cycling around the world.

 

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Policy for Back-Linking : Practical Cycling

If you would like to write 100 words or so, which is 100% relevant and subject specific to the chosen forum or topic and leave am unrelated link to you business or similar, then that is fine. You will not be penalised for do this.

Examples

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I am glad that this forum allows links to third party websites as I am aware of the old adage that “if it’s free you are the product” in this way I get to take something back (free backlink) in return for posting some of my knowledge on this site. This is a lenient stance for forum moderation, and I hope it will encourage more people to use this excellent cycling forum.  Environmental Consultants London

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Very much me liking this Forum Kind Sirs, Thanking you for this informations and super fun happy time. Grommets and Washers Georgia

Aims

The aim of this moderation policy is to encourage the entrepreneurial types to post on the forum, I do not want to encourage SEO monkeys, or link Apes. But the average free thinking business owner . . . yes please contribute and take a small reward for do so.

 

Welcome to the Practical Cycling Forum

I hope you will spend some time here browsing the topics, and perhaps asking a few questions. This forum is dedicated to the many many human being on the planet who use bicycles for practical purposes. Weather that is taking coffee to market, cycling with there kids to school or commuting to work.

Climate Change, Obesity, Mental Health Issues these can all be combated via the use of bikes.

The main reason for creating this blog is the death of Google Plus, in 2018, there are so many people there who have good information and knowledge on the practical use of bicycles and this forum is offered as a place for them to jump ship.

I have crewated forum for each of the topics I have found so useful over the year on Google+, I have also designed this site so you can access it using you Google Login Details.