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Qoleum Embrocation



Natural, easy-to-apply embrocation in three different grades; a decent price

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Qoleum Embrocation is from Belgium and comes in three different flavours. Number 1 is Warm, number 2 is Hot, and number 3 is Extra Hot.

The Warm version is actually pretty mild. The consistency is like, say, suntan lotion. Get a palmful and rub it into your legs before your ride – you need to rub it in well for maximum effect – and you’ll get a pleasant glow. It’s nothing too crazy, but it’s enough to make a difference to the way your legs feel.

Qoleum reckon this Warm version is good for days below 24°C, which is just about all of them in the UK. We wouldn’t use it on rides that warm, but it’s the option to go for milder spring and autumn days.

At the other end of the scale you’ve got the Extra Hot, which Qoleum recommend for rides when the temperature drops below 7°C – so for most of the winter. And it is hot. You feel like a Ready Brek kid with your own central heating on a cold ride, your legs gently smouldering… in a good way. We’ve known hotter – it doesn’t burn your legs off – but it’s certainly spicy.

We really like it. Although it’s obviously no substitute for wearing the right clothing, this embrocation can help you feel that bit more comfortable, especially for mega-cold rides including winter races.

Just make sure you apply it after any chamois cream, not the other way around. We don’t need to go into details. And make sure you wash it off thoroughly in the shower afterwards, especially the Extra Hot version. Do a half-arsed job and your legs will feel like they’re on fire.

Qoleum boast that all of their ingredients are natural, and all of the different grades have that unmistakable menthol smell – so they’ll probably clear out your sinuses too.


Natural, easy-to-apply embrocation in three different grades; a decent price test report

Make and model: Qoleum Embrocation

Size tested: Various

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?

Apply before going out riding to give you a bit of a glow, especially in colder weather. Use it alongside the right clothing, not as a substitute for wrapping up warm.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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Mat Brett | 13 years ago

You're right. Qoleum, like Rapha, put their Antifriction cream (which we'll be reviewing soon) in the same type of pot as their embrocation. Same size, colour and graphics. It's not the sort of thing you want to get wrong. Someone at the factory needs a bit of a talking to.

taz3611 | 13 years ago

Surely it should be applied AFTER chamois cream, not before?

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