Aldi's SpecialBuy Bike Gear Reviewed
Londonbikers has been given some gear in advance of this release date so we can see just what you get for some pretty crazy cheap prices.
To review it all I picked someone new to biking, a young 20yr old lad who only passed his test the month before. As a totally skint 125 rider I felt he typified the type of client Aldi will attract. No point in one of our experienced riders leaving their £400 Rukka trousers behind and expecting a totally unbiased review of Aldi's £50 trousers is there?
In other words leave your prejudices aside, those with a limited budget don't want to hear how much better kit costing multiples more is.
First out of the goodie box are the trousers - or "Motorcycle Trousers" to give them their official name. These are your usual all-black dual layer motorcycle touring pants featuring CE protectors in hips and knees, generous pockets in the front, hip and length adjustment along with the important zip connector to the matching jacket (£69).
I remember back to my first pair of biking trousers, bought back in '98 which were a pair of Shoei branded textiles pants. These felt very similar. Not particularly high-tec, no claims of breathability or so-on, just toughness. All seams were well finished, no signs of the things coming apart before being worn.
In use Brad had this to say:
They were very comfortable on the bike, waterproof thus far (and he's been through plenty of rain) and nicely warm. The only negative comment Brad could say is that when he wore them over his jeans (on really cold mornings) the liner did catch when taking them off. Well that's nothing new nor the preserve of budget trousers!
2 days ago he had a small off - a car driver pulled out then stopped in the road and Brad went down at about 25mph trying to avoid it - and he believes that had he been wearing his alternative gear (jeans) he would have a shattered knee as he went down knee-first. The trousers survived with only a small mark on the outer layer, no holes or structural damage. His knee is a little bruised.
For a £50 pair of pants I think simply being able to reuse them after any crash is amazing. The more snobbish of us would imagine they'd burst like a crisp packet at the first sign of danger.
The other samples we had we of the base layer types - insulating next-to-skin clothing designed to retain heat without over-heating the wearer.
The shirt and pants retail for £9.99 each and turned out to be very capable again. Comfortable and warm, Brad really rated them although he did find the shirt got a little itchy after a long wear - he wore it all day in the office to see if he over heated in it (nope).
Completing the underlayer are the motorcycle socks which for £4 offer padding around your feet and Brad singled out their apparent buiild quality, no threads and they haven't lost their elastic after 4 weeks.
The only element of gear which Brad didn't get on with was the full head balaclava / neck tube set, but that's the peril of mail ordering because the balaclava was a smidge too big so ended up gathering under his Shark lid.
When I looked at it all I couldn't have guessed it was a fiver for the set. Most neck warmers are a tenner at least.
We had hoped to test the boots too but sadly not.
A very impressive showing based on these samples. Naturally it pays to see the gear first - it is only available in store so that's not a problem - but for those who's likely only option is some grim non-branded stuff from a market I think you've some real peace of mind here. It all works, you get a guarantee and can try it on first.
We've had some very good responses from existing Aldi users on Twitter who praise their gear highly.
Anyone on a tight budget should go to your nearest store on the 9th and check this out. I personally would worry about hooing around on a superbike in a £100 suit but that's missing the point. If I'm commuting on a scooter and jeans are my only option, I'd be all over this stuff like a tramp on chips.
Well recommended and thank you Aldi for not palming some cheap tat off on us.