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BreezeBlockers produce a variety of handlebar-mounted wind shields for your hands, similar to those you see on some motorcycles. We reviewed the Aeroblade a while ago. The D.Flektr is one of three versions for mountain bikes and flat-bar commuter bikes.
Fitting is straightforward, at least in theory. An expander bolt with a peg on the end-cap fixes each D.Flektr to the end of the bar, while a rubber O-ring secures the other end in between the brake lever and gear shifter.
There are some caveats. You can't use grips wider than 14cm. You need the brake levers butted right up against the grips and tilted steeply downwards. Rapidfire shifters will need moving in a little. (You can't use gripshifts.) The internal diameter of the bar must be at least 17.6mm. And you can't use bar ends.
I read this list of exceptions only after I'd failed to fit them to: a urban mountain bike with a Rohloff; an old mountain bike with narrower-diameter bars; and a Brompton. I put them on a singlespeed mountain bike in the end. After removing its bar ends (all of my bikes with flat bars have bar ends), I adjusted the brake levers – which ended up too far outboard for optimal two-finger braking and were tilted downwards further than I'd like.
I used the D.Flektrs in typical UK winter temperatures of 2 to 5 degrees, wearing my thinnest full-finger summer gloves. I normally wear these when temperatures are at or near double digits, so the D.Flektrs clearly offer additional cold weather protection. Some cold air can get in underneath the guards, particularly if your brake levers are too horizontal. Your finger tips are exposed to the cold when braking, and the backs of your hands can get a bit cold too. There's no insulation as such; you're just reducing wind chill.
For those cyclists who suffer badly from cold hands and get white fingers in even the warmest gloves, that additional wind-chill protection could be the difference between comfort and bludgeoned-fingernail-pain misery. I found it superfluous. I've got a pair of Specialized Sub Zero gloves for when it's cold and wet and some Pearl Izumi Lobster Gloves for when it's cold and dry. Both are good to minus 5 and beyond. They're a bit bulky, but not so much that you can't operate brakes and gears.
If I were going to be out in temperatures much colder than that – not that winter often does get that cold in the UK – I think I'd get 'pogies' such as Moose Mitts. These are the big over-mitts use by snow bikers. They cover the handlebar, brake levers, shifters, and bar ends. I prefer this approach, because you get even more cold weather protection and you can still move your hands about; I absolutely hated having my hands locked into one position when cycling with the D.Flektrs. Pogies are more expensive than D.Flektrs, however. You'll probably have to buy them online from somewhere in the USA or Canada. (Google 'pogies'.)
As well as protection from wind-chill, the plastic D.Flektrs are intended to give your hands some protection from bumps and scrapes. They're in the BreezeBlockers 'armoured' range. I'm struggling to think of situations where this protection would be useful. If I'm crashing my bike, I'm unlikely to be holding onto the handlebar. I guess they would help when riding through tall brambles or nettles.
It's really all about the wind-chill protection, and how big a deal this is to you. If you have Reynaud's Disease or just never seem to have warm hands when cycling, even when you're already wearing good winter gloves, these are worth a try. They're not heavy or expensive and there genuinely is a difference when using them. If, like me, you don't particularly suffer from cold hands, just get some decent winter gloves instead. That way you're free to use bar ends and you can have your handlebar furniture set up just where you want it.
Limits wind chill for white-fingered cyclists but locks the hands into one position.
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Make and model: BreezeBlockers D.Flektr
Size tested: Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Enable you to use light weight gloves and socks in severe conditions or no gloves in poor conditions.
Light weight and waterproof protecting you from the wind and rain.
BreezeBlockers offer improved aerodynamics.
BreezeBlockers create a pocket of warm air around your hands and feet keeping you warmer and drier for longer.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
They're made of 'tough and flexible ABS'
They do cut wind-chill but they mess with the ergonomics of your handlebar and brake setup.
They're pretty light.
My hands ached because they were locked into one position.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does cut wind-chill. It's probably worth about 5 degrees.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Me, nothing. But I can see them helping cyclists who suffer badly from cold hands.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Wouldn't fit most of my bikes. Forced me to remove the bar ends on the one that they did fit. Forced me to move my brakes around.
Did you enjoy using the product? No.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they suffered from cold hands, even in good gloves.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I've yet to ride in conditions in which I would need this, and I ride all through the winter in the north of England.
Age: 42 Height: 1.78m Weight: 65kg
I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track (with front brake)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,