Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Review: Record Pregara Forte

Spring—or something that will soon seem more like it—is coming to New Belgium and parts south. I decided I wanted to try a new embrocation with some more heat than anything I had in the cupboard. I wanted something with the rolling glow of a fresh sunburn, so I sought out another Record product, this time the Pregara Forte.

Because I didn’t know just how capable it was, on my first use I tried it on a ride that left a little later in the day and wasn’t quite so cold at the start. I needn’t have feared. The cold win passed my legs unnoticed and my legs had the zip of warmed-up muscles, which is, after all, what you want from a proper Belgian Knee Warmer.

Here’s what I wasn’t expecting: I assumed the heat would last through the four hours of the ride, and that it would be hard to wash off when the ride was over. In my case, these two details make it one of my favorite embrocations ever.

I live in a climate where cold morning temperatures don’t usually hold. It’s rare that I don’t finish a three or four hour ride with the temperature having risen at least 10 degrees. So while this stuff can’t compete with Qoleum Hot’s never ending nuclear reactor heat, Record Pregara Forte is far more usable in the conditions where I live. The heat in the Pregara Forte actually gives out after an hour or two, depending on how much you use. For me, that’s enough to get through the coldest part of the ride, and the glaze provided by the cream helps to insulate for the rest of the ride. You could almost say it’s a smart embrocation.

The second great revelation of Pregara Forte was how easy it is to wash off. Rather than feeling like I had shellacked myself, when I got in the shower it washed off immediately with ordinary soap. The unlikeliness of the experience led me to wash my legs a second time—an effort that proved to be as unnecessary as remembering to breathe. For anyone needing waterproof insulation, a layer of Record Impermeabile can be added to make your legs as waterproof as a Timex watch.

Pregara Forte, like other Record products is available in either 100ml tubes or 250ml tubs. This stuff will remain in my bag of tricks ad infinitum. It is distributed by Torelli Imports and you can find a dealer near you here.

Overall Heat Rating—medium
Euro Style Rating—Fairly high, a nice sheen
Smell—Pure old-school style: menthol, camphor, and a hint of rosemary and lavender
Durability—Perfect: though the heat trails off, it continues to insulate for the duration of your ride

Check out BKW's other embrocation reviews here.


Chris Mayhew said...

Who is the importer for Pregara now? I used to use them 10 years ago but then Oschner became the only source and most shops don't deal with them.

I am sure you are horrified I actually step foot in shops that don't use Oschner ;)

stratobiker said...

Qoleum for me. Same stuff they use on horses, albeit in a different package. :)

Anonymous said...

glorycycles.com carries a number of fantastic emrocations, including Record.

My days in Belgie were spent under layers of Born's best. Including #4, which we smothered ourselves in before tucking in at night.

I will take credit for the boys around here who "found" the secret, after I came back from my first Euro campaign in '95.

A race is not a race, without something on the legs!

Radio Freddy said...

Mike Starr - "A race is not a race, without something on the legs!"

Fantastic! Thanks for dropping by.

- RF

Ron George said...

I like embrocations, but I'm not sure if I want to smell of camphor or menthol, like as if I just visited a hospital.

I have my own tastes, none of them are big brands.

blue squirrel said...

oh, the fresh smell of a start line with a fully embrocated peloton [yes, fully mentholated and shiny to boot].

i understand your early morning low clouds [temps] burning off to a beautiful day dilemma. i am partial to qoleum medium, but i will give record a shot, thanks for posting actual useful information, but you already know that.

Unknown said...

Oh man... I recently had a problem with a home made embrocation. Maybe next time I'll splurge for some of the real stuff huh? Heres the excerpt from my blog:

"Well... all the PRO action got me really psyched up and I decided that I would ride Sunday morning rain or shine. Well the rain was pouring when I woke up but I thought WWBD (What would Boonen DO). Being a Belgian, he would probably apply a Belgian knee warmer concoction and head out for a ride. So I attempted to have a go at creating an embrocation of my own to stave off the water and cold. I read online that tiger-balm and lotion makes a good solution. So I whipped out the tiger balm, then the lotion. The smell was nauseating so I knew I was off to a good start...
The thing is- Tiger balm is sort of like icy hot... Its hot and icy and unfortunately I realized as soon as I headed out the door that it is more icy then it is hot. Not only did the tiger balm-lotion embrocation NOT keep my knees warm it chilled them to the bone. I tried to pretend that I was hardcore but as the mud from the road was flung onto my legs from my tires it appeared that my concoction actually attracted the dirt and grim and captured the debris much like tape would lint... So now I found myself freezing, wet and covered in dirt, leaves, twigs, and I believe even the top of a gu wrapper somehow found itself trapped on my leg like a fly in a spiders web. And I guess Sunday worlds was called on account of rain (If you ask me cyclists in Santa Barbara are a bunch of fair weather sallies and need to h;harden the F*** up) so I put my head down and got in some solid solo sweet spot training. When I arrived home I realized how difficult it is to remove Tiger balm/vasaline/lotion from ones leg and spent 30 minutes scrubbing my legs in the shower then the rest of the day listening to people say "does it smell like Tiger Balm here?"

Anonymous said...

I bought some Thermogel Forte by Ozone and it smelled great but didn't have the warming effect I wanted.

Atomic Balm is nasty but it burns oh so nicely.

34x18 said...

Sixtus has a great line of products, the Start Oil has long been my choice of BKW, or in their case German Knee Warmers. All natural oils and herbs are skin-friendly, and like the Pregara, is sort of a smart oil in that it lasts for a couple of hours and then gives out.

I found this product back in the nineties racing in Germany when I asked the guys standing next to me on the starting line what that 'smell' was. I have been a user since.

Unknown said...

Hey Freddie-
Living here in Colorado is just like what you deal with...cold in the am, then temps go up.

I've tried Pregara Forte and I like it, although, the lady of the house didn't like the smell, and I since had to change (by kind request of course!). I've been a fan of Sportsbalm, but can't really find it anywhere anymore. Recently, I've been using Quoleum's Hot and I really like it.

Great product review!

Anonymous said...

Each time I read about a different "heat" here, I keep waiting for some better way to get this stuff off afterwards. The shower only makes it seem hotter. Does something like rubbing alcohol cut it?

Radio Freddy said...

Gary - I use 'ol blue, Dawn dishwashing detergent. Just a little touch takes it right off. I swear at times I can smell the smoke as I step into the shower.

Funny how it does not feel that way when the 40 degree rain hits your legs?? - RF

Chris Mayhew said...

Hey, Fer Rilla, drop me a line. The Sportsbalm importer is a friend of mine and the warehouse is a mile from my house.

chris at jbv coaching dot com

Alcohol. That's the way to get off any embrocation. Just put it in a spray bottle.

Padraig said...

Fer rilla: my superior half likes the smell of the Pregara Forte; guess I'm luckier than I know.

Gary: I have experienced the difficulty of removing a stubborn embrocation. This stuff truly required nothing more than soap.

I've also experienced the shock of having warm water reignite an embrocation and have found myself standing at the edge of the shower, torn because I wanted the stuff off, but afraid to have anything stir the fire, that's another reason I really liked the Pregara Forte--it doesn't happen with this stuff.

Anonymous said...

One embrocation I tried lately that's likely to pass the PRO test on BKW:


The AGU Warming Extra is very nice. This from a guy that started using Kramers Red Hot in the mid 70's (me).

The bottle says it's made in Holland. Hey, it's not TOO far from Belgium.

pompier said...

Radio Freddys right! You have to use dawn soap to get this stuff off, My hazmat team even uses dawn dish soap for decon to remove the majority of chemicals out there!

Anonymous said...

Record Pregara Forte IS great stuff. The standard balm (orange container) has little to no heat. The Impregnable waterproof balm doesn't have much heat either, but it is waterproof and an absolute pain in the arse to get off you legs in the shower.

And as for shops that don't deal with Othon - Thank you, all the more inventory for me to choose from!

Anonymous said...

have you tried any Dul-X products. i've always like the Red Point.

and doesn't Torelli import Record now?

Anonymous said...

I picked up a tube of Forte last night on your recommendation and put it on for my one hour commute this morning. Perhaps it had been on the shelf too long (the LBS is a bit of a museum) or I'm developing some really thick skin. I felt no warming at all.

I got a little more heat from Qoleum Medium (weird). I think I need to try Qoleum hot. Keep the great reviews coming.

Anonymous said...

I also picked up a tube of Forte on your recommendation. Tried it for two rides. I felt no warming at all and it just stinks!

Am contacting the vendor now to see if I got an out-of-date product or what.

Very disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Also very disappointed, zero heat from the Forte I purchased from Glorycycles.com.