Bosch Rotak 34 Ergoflex Rotary Lawn Mower Review

I picked up the Bosch Rotak 34 Ergoflex rotary lawn mower today and having just completed its first lawn mowing session I’m very happy with the results and my purchase of this mower as it was a breeze to use and the lawn looks great.

Bosch Rotak 34 Ergoflex

Bosch Rotak 34 Ergoflex

Our back garden is not very large at all so I had been using a Flymo to keep it trimmed, however this was causing problems because unless your lawn is 100% flat (no bumps or dips) then a Flymo will loose its cushion of air leave you with a bald patch in the lawn. The Bosch Rotak 34 however has no problems in this department as it has wheels and allows you to very easily change the length of grass to cut too (a choice of 7 settings).

Ergoflex system

The Ergoflex system that Bosch have used on the Rotak 34 (Ergoflex) mower makes this lawn mower very easy to handle and provides the user with full control.

Ergoflex Control System

Ergoflex Control System

The “Ergo-grip” is a multigrip control system that allows simple operation of the lawn mower in varying situations, visually and ergonomically it actually reminds me of a mountain bike fitted with bar ends.

Powerdrive Motor System

The Powerdrive 1400 watt motor at the heart the Rotak 34 packs a punch and made light work of the overgrown grass today. The PowerDrive motor system is a powerful and intelligent system that is designed to keep the mower working at optimum levels at all times.

Grass Combes

The Rotak 34 has a pair of unique grass combes fitted to either side, & the wheels are slightly inset from these combs which allows you to mow right up to the edge of a wall or fence without any problems.

Grass Combs

Grass Combs

Using the Bosh Rotak 34 ErgoFlex

A very easy to operate mower. The Ergo-grip system with 4 buttons will offer you a choice of ways to hold the mower to ensure you have the most control and are comfortable. The first time you plug in and spin up the mower you will realise how quiet it is in operation, you will then find out how easy it is to manoeuvre due to how light it is (10.5 Kg actually). You will really notice the PowerDrive system kick in when you are working on long thick grass. The end result is a sharp cut with an even finish & the grass combs give edges a very professional look.


There isn’t really anything negative to say about the Bosch Rotak 34 Ergoflex. At this price range you will have a hard time trying to find something to match the Rotak 34 Ergoflex on performance, ease of use and features.

Where can I get one?

Amazon are doing them on a great deal currently here:

Jason Vigus

Onkyo TX-NR509 – mini review

I’ve had the Onkyo TX-NR509 AV receiver for a few weeks now, at first I was running it with a pair of old Technics hi-fi speakers and it sounded good, then after some “auditioning” I narrowed down my speaker hunt to the Keff IQ70’s which I have to say are an excellent pair of speakers – I’ll post a mini review of those another time.

Onkyo TX-NR509

Onkyo TX-NR509

I use the TX-NR509 primarily for films & TV, listening to music & playing the odd Playstation game, the receiver makes this easy to connect them all up as it has 4x HDMI input ports & 1x HDMI output, when the receiver is switched on the sound is superb as its played through the IQ70’s, when its turned off the sound is passed through the HDMI and played via the TV’s built in speakers, so its very easy to use. Watch out though, this receiver does not upscale standard definition sources to HDMI, you’ll be wanting the TX-NR609 or higher models if you need that feature.

Setup is straight forward as the TX-NR509 features Audyssey 2EQ® which uses a supplied microphone, plays some strange sounds through each speaker individually, takes measurements & sets up the sound stage to the unique dimensions of your room to make everything sound great.

Today the TX-NR509 really came into its own when I connected it to my home network….

-Internet radio
This was really easy to get working, the receiver has a very large selection of online radio stations (including almost all national & local UK FM stations I could think of), its also very easy to add these to you “favorites” rather than needing to drill down through the many well organised categories. Quality was good for most stations, they seem to vary depending on the bit-rate the station is being broadcast (streamed) at. The TX-NR509 was also very happy to take my username/password off me & provided access to all the wonderful features has to offer!

-DLNA network streaming
The TX-NR509 immediately picked up the various DLNA servers on my network, this included my laptop & the Windows Media Center PC upstairs, I was also very happy to see it pickup the music collection on my Iomega Storcenter ix2-200 NAS device as this meant I didn’t need to leave one of the PC’s on just to serve the music from. Having seen how well this work I’m sure we will be loading the NAS up further additional music to choose from. You tend to find the menu structure on a DLNA server can make or break it, fortunately the Iomega did very well on this front and allowed me to choose (via the TX-NR509) music by artist, album, title, genre or playlist.

I liked how all of the “Net” features were available and perfectly usable via the LCD screen alone. Alternatively if you prefer, the attached TV screen can also be used when switched on, the main drawback I have found with doing this is the TX-NR509 does not show a “screensaver” so potentially could cause screen burn on some TV’s such as plasma.

I’ve not tested the receiver with an iPod yet but the manual suggests it can fully control & charge the iPod. There is an iphone & android application available too that lets you control all the main features of the receiver, unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the device to show up on my Android version of the app, I’ll have to spend some more time on that later.

You can connect the TX-NR509 to a wireless dongle if you dont have an ethernet connection handy, I hooked it up via cable as the router wasn’t far away. If you are looking to purchase this device as your first network ready 5.1 receiver, its a great purchase which I very much recommend & will allow you to upgrade your speakers over time.

Jason Vigus

Rayzor Professional Lightweight Red UV400 Sports Wrap Cycling Sunglasses – Review

Since taking my first serious cycle ride on my new road bike (the Cube Attempt 20 speed I reviewed here), the fly I discovered in the corner of my eye afterwards was enough for me to get straight on the internet and order a good pair of wrap around sunglasses.

I had already decided that I didn’t want to spend a fortune on glasses as I already had a nice pair of everyday sunnies. After checking the various well known cycle shops online I was starting to feel that I’d to need to dig deep as most glasses were £25 upwards. Then I discovered this pair on Amazon for under £15 delivered, the reviews were positive so I took the punt.

My new Rayzor Professional’s arrived today and I’m very happy with them for the price, I might even wear them when I’m not cycling too as they look great. The version I went for is the red pair at the top of this post, although Amazon also do the Rayzor’s in a few other colours which you can see below:

Click any of the pictures to read more about them on

I think these glasses are lightweight, stylish, well made and most importantly excellent value. They are comfortable to wear & darken the view well without removing all the colour, I’ll probably pick up one of the yellow lens versions soon for evening/night riding, it may seem strange but the idea is to dim oncoming headlights of passing cars who are often not considerate to cyclists.


Jason Vigus

Cube Attempt Compact (20 Speed) 2011 – Road Bike Review

Cube Attempt Compact 105 road bike - 2011

Cube Attempt Compact 105 road bike - 2011

Funding the bike:
I recently signed myself up to the cycle to work scheme my employeer was offering as with all the usual good intentions of getting that little bit fitter (the jury is out on how that goes at this early stage). The idea behind this scheme is you need to use the bike for some of your journey, and for at least 50% of your overal trips to work, you save (usually) the income tax, NI & VAT on the purchase of a bike (which can be up to a 50% saving) & its spread over a 12 month period. Most employers are happy to offer this scheme as it reduces their NI & tax liabilities they pay for the employee.

Choosing the bike:
I wanted the best bike I could get for £1000, so after a few hours of research online (reviews, forums & online shops) I’d narrowed it down to a couple of bikes, the Canondale CAAD8 105 and the Cube Attempt 105, both of which had very similar specifications & equally important, both looked great. I’d heard that the CAAD8 was probably the better bike to go for as they were well known for making good frames, but further research told me there was really not much between it and the Cube Attempt, as its not the same CAAD8 frame that everyone raved about anyway – its been redesigned & is made in the far east to make it more affordable now. So I called my local bike shop, Solent Cycles in Porchester and asked them to get both bikes in, the following weekend I went along, did my test rides on each of the bikes, I also looked at the Canondale Synapse 105 while I was there, but in the end I came away with the Cube as it just felt right.

The bike itself:
Cube are an established German manufacturer who follow the trend of throwing out competitively priced road bikes, the Attempt is highly specced for the money. Many of the features, like internally routed cabling and the nearly complete Shimano 105 groupset you’d expect to see on a bike costing nearer £2000.

One of the deciding factors that helped me choose the Attempt over the competition was it came fitted with high end Schwalbe Ultremo tyres & Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels, and since after the frame its the wheels/tyres that make a bike ride well (or perhaps not), this was a big plus to get these on a bike costing £1000.

I’m not by any means experienced enough to say if the bike is a really good ride or not, but to me the bike was firm, felt fast and handled well – so I’m happy. Coming from a background of riding mountain bikes, its a totally different experience riding a road bike, and so much easier due to the lighter weight & reduced wind resistance.

This is a great first road bike, which I’m very happy with myself & definitely recommend as a test ride if you are thinking about getting a road bike.

I picked up a few extras with the bike including the obligatory bottle holder & spare inner tubes & compact pump. The others were:

Giro Saros Matt Black / White Helmet:
 Shimano M077 SPD Cycling Shoes:
Shimano PD-M770 XT SPD Pedals:
 Topeak Aero Wedge Medium Bag:

Jason Vigus