There’s nothing more frustrating than having your bike chain fall off while you’re riding. Unfortunately, this is a common problem for cyclists, especially those who don’t have a lot of experience with bikes. If you’re wondering why your bike chain keeps falling off, keep reading for some possible causes and solutions.
One of the most common reasons for a bike chain to fall off is that the chain has reached the end of its lifespan. When you are biking, there are all sorts of forces working against your bike chain because it is constantly under pressure and exposed to heat and dirt.
Over time, these elements take a toll on the bike chain and cause it to wear out. If your bike was made before the early 90s, you might not be able to buy a new bike chain and will instead need to replace the entire drive train (which includes the gears and your bike chain).
2. You may need a replacement pin for your master link
If you’re noticing that your bike chain is always falling off, it could be because the pin on your master link is worn down. The master link is the one that keeps your chain together and it can sometimes come loose or break after repeated use. This means that you will need to replace this part before you can put the chain back on your bike. Fortunately, master links are fairly cheap and you can pick one up at your local bike store.
3. The design of your master link could be the problem
If changing out the pin on your master link doesn’t work, then it might be time to upgrade the entire master link itself. Generally speaking, some designs are better than others when it comes to keeping your bike chain together.
If you’re having repeated problems with the master link failing, then you might want to replace it with a high quality master link that can handle regular wear and tear.
When you are shopping for a new master link, look for one made by an established company like SRAM or KMC because they make some of the highest quality bike components on the market. You may also want to consider using a chain tool to remove your old master link and replace it with a new one before you put your chain back on your bike .
4. Your rear gears could be too high or low
Another possible reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that there’s something wrong with your rear gears. For example, the teeth on your rear gears could be worn out which means that they need to be replaced as soon as possible. If this is the problem, then you might also want to replace the entire drive train (gears and chain) because it’s often cheaper than having to buy new gear sets and a new bike chain.
5. Your drive train needs to be realigned
If your bike chain is always falling off, there’s a chance that you need to realign the rear gears on your bike or replace them altogether. This might sound complicated but it’s actually something that most people can do themselves in about an hour (or less). If this is the problem, then you’ll need a special tool called a chain whip. This tool is only found at your local bike store and it’s what you use to realign your gears.
6. The sprocket on your rear wheel could be worn out
Another possible reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that the sprocket or cassette on your rear wheel is worn out.
When the sprocket or cassette starts to wear down, it can sometimes cause your chain to slip off or come loose. If this is going on, then you might want to replace the sprocket and cassette as a whole. This means that you’ll need a special tool called a freewheel remover to take the cassette off your bike.
If you’re not comfortable with this level of bike maintenance, then you can always take your bike to a professional bike mechanic for help .
7. Your derailleur could be bent or misaligned
The final reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that the derailleur on your rear wheel might be misaligned or bent. If this is going on, then you’ll need to take your bike to a professional to get it fixed as soon as possible because the derailleur can sometimes rub against the sprocket and cause unnecessary damage. While this type of damage might not be immediately noticeable, it could cause other problems in the future if left unnoticed.
8. The condition of your bike chain could be the problem
If you’ve tried all of these possible solutions but your bike is still having problems with its chain, then it might be time to replace your bike’s current chain with a new one. Bike chains can last for about a year or two depending on how often they’re used. So, if you own a bike with a high mileage , it might be time to replace your current chain. If not, then make sure that you clean and oil your bike’s drive train on a regular basis .
9. What type of lubricant are you using?
If none of these possible solutions work for you then it could be time for you to use a different lubricant. While some people prefer using standard WD-40, others have had success using 3 in 1 oil or even sewing machine oil . The great thing about these types of lubricants is that they are specifically designed for metal parts so they won’t hurt your bike’s components.
10. Are you putting the chain on correctly?
If you still can’t get your bike chain to stay on, then it might be time for you to take a closer look at how you’re putting the chain back on. The problem with the way that most people put chains back on their bikes is that they don’t put them high enough and this can sometimes cause unnecessary tension and stress. When you put the chain on correctly , it should be high and tight against the derailleur . If this is not happening, then make sure that you check your owner’s manual because most bikes have specific instructions for how to put chains back on their drive trains.
11. Get your bike checked out by a professional
If none of these solutions work for you, then it might be time to get your bike checked out by a professional. A lot of people ignore the problem because they’re not comfortable with doing maintenance on their bikes . However, if you’re having constant problems with your chain falling off, then this is definitely the best way to go in order to avoid unnecessary damage to your bike’s components.
12. Get a chain that is compatible with your specific type of shifter
If you’re still having problems with the chain falling off, then it might be because you’re using an incompatible chain . The great thing about modern bikes is that they come with different kinds of shifters to accommodate for different types of chains. If your bike is compatible with Shimano gears, make sure that you buy a Shimano compatible chain .
13. Be gentle when putting your bike back together
Another thing to keep in mind when you’re putting the chain back on your bike after cleaning it is that you should be as gentle as possible. You’ll also want to avoid using tools that can damage your chain and cause further problems with your bike’s components. Put the chain on by hand and hold it in place while you attach the rear wheel. This will help to minimize unnecessary stress on other parts of your bike .
14. Measure out how much chain you’ll need for shifting
The final thing to do is to make sure that you have enough chain to shift. In other words, try measuring out how much chain you’ll need for shifting and then add a little bit extra to that length . So, instead of putting the chain on the largest sprocket and the rear derailleur’s highest gear , put it on one size down from there.
Mountain bikes are built for off-road trails, right? Well, not always. Some mountain bikers like to take their rigs on the street, too. So is a mountain bike good for street riding? Let’s take a look.
Mountain biking and street biking have different purposes, so it’s natural to wonder if a mountain bike is good for street riding.
Street bikes are designed for speed and maneuverability in urban areas, while mountain bikes are built to handle off-road terrain.
However, there are some similarities between the two types of bikes, and with a few modifications, a mountain bike can be used for street riding. If you’re interested in doing this type of riding, here’s what you need to know.
First, let’s define what we mean by “street.” We’re talking about riding on roads and paved trails. Dirt and gravel paths don’t count.
Yes, a mountain bike is very good for street riding. Many people who enjoy street biking, also enjoy mountain biking and buy a single bicycle that can be used in both settings.
Difference Between Street Bikes and Mountain Bikes
A mountain bike is not necessarily better than road bikes for street riding, but it may be more suitable specifically because of the geometry.
Traditional old-school road bikes are designed to steer quickly, so they have “narrow” handlebars (drop bars) and short wheelbases (distance between rear wheel contact patch and front wheel contact patch). These things make them handle quickly and well in close quarters. However, that same quickness makes control more difficult at high speeds, since the bike is so easy to turn.
Traditional mountain bikes have “wide” bars (flat or riser bars) and longer wheelbases for better stability at higher speeds. This means they are slow to steer and may not be appropriate for tight and winding streets. However, they may be better suited than road bikes for high speeds on rough roads and trails.
Mountain bikes with “dropped” cross-country handlebars (also called “riser bars”) strike a balance between these two extremes. The dropped bars are lower than flat or riser bars, and the wheelbase is between that of road and mountain bikes. So they may offer most of the benefits of both types while minimizing their shortcomings.
Whether you choose a road bike, mountain bike, or something in between (such as a “hybrid” or “commuter”), make sure it fits you. A bike that doesn’t fit you will be a poor performer no matter what the designers intended.
Best Mountain Bike For Road Riding
The first thing you need to know is that a mountain bike can’t just be taken off-road and used for street riding. You’ll need a specific type of bike, something that’s designed for both terrains.
The best choice is a cross-country mountain bike, which has speed and agility in common with street bikes.
Other types of mountain bikes include downhill and freeride, which are designed to ride down steep hill at fast speeds. These types aren’t suitable for riding on the street, so you should avoid them if you want a bike that’s good for both terrains.
Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to buy a good mountain bike that you can use for street riding. There are plenty of affordable options out there, so take your time when shopping around and find a good deal.
How to Modify Your Mountain Bike for Street Riding
To make sure your mountain bike is street safe, you’ll need to take a few steps.
First, it’s important to replace the off-road tires with street-friendly ones. This will give you better traction and stability while increasing your speed on paved roads.
Mountain bikes often come with knobby and thick tires, which are designed for grip and durability off-road, but these types of tires aren’t fast and could make the bike difficult to handle on street surfaces.
Next, you’ll need to make sure your brakes are in good shape. Mountain bikes normally use rear mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes, which adjust for speed and impact when riding off-road. On the street, however, you want a bike with front and rear disc brakes, which lose less power for better stopping.
Some commons mods that can improve a mountain bike’s performance on the street include adding slick tyres, replacing suspension with a rigid frame, and installing a fixed gear system.
Also, riders might want to consider raising the handlebars to give them more control over the bike and make steering easier, and installing disc brakes for better stopping power. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual rider to decide which modifications work best for them and their riding style.
If you’re new to mountain biking, it’s important to remember to use caution when riding on paved roads. The wider tires can make it difficult to control the bike at high speeds, and the suspension system can cause the bike to bounce excessively as you ride. You may have to adjust your riding style or tire pressure to compensate for the added traction of the tires when riding on paved surfaces.
Bottom Line: Is a Mountain Bike Good for Street Riding?
If you’re interested in street biking, a mountain bike is a good place to start. Not only is it cost-effective and easy to find, but with the right modifications, it can be used on pavement as well as dirt roads and hillsides. If you’re worried about safety and performance, you should look for a mountain bike that’s designed for cross-country riding. With the right bike and the right parts, you’ll be able to enjoy street biking at any time, rain or shine.
This being said, there are inherent limitations in terms of speed and performance on a MTB relative to a street bike. There is a reason why most roads have a speed limit of 50 km/h or higher. The average MTB will not be able to keep up that kind of speed on the same terrain, which can make it somewhat dangerous for street riding, especially when you take into account the fact that cars do tend to travel at these speeds on said roads.
A lot of people say you should spend a significant chunk of your bike budget on your wheels. But how much value can they really add? And is it enough to justify the price tag?
The answer: It depends.
For some riders, spending more than $1,000 on a set of wheels is an easy decision. For others, shelling out that kind of money for something that doesn’t even include a frame seems crazy.
So before you go blowing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on rims and spokes, let’s take a look at what’s required to make cheap and expensive mountain bike wheels and see how they compare in terms of performance and durability.
Difference Between Cheap & Expensive Mountain Bike Wheels
The main difference between cheap and expensive mountain bike wheels is the materials that they are made from. Cheap mountain bike wheels are typically made from aluminum, while expensive mountain bike wheels are usually made from carbon fiber.
Carbon fiber bike wheels are becoming more and more popular with cyclists because they offer a number of advantages over traditional aluminum bike wheels. Some of the key benefits of carbon fiber bike wheels include:
They’re lightweight, which makes them easier to pedal and accelerate.
They’re aerodynamic, which means they cut through the air more easily and help you to ride faster.
They’re strong and durable, so they can withstand even the most strenuous rides.
They’re corrosion resistant, so they won’t rust no matter how bad the weather gets.
So, if you’re looking for a fast and lightweight set of wheels, carbon fiber is definitely the way to go.
Another difference is the weight of the wheel. Cheap mountain bike wheels tend to be heavier than expensive mountain bike wheels. This is because cheaper materials are used to make them, which makes them less durable but also easier and cheaper to produce.
Finally, there is the matter of spokes. More expensive mountain bike wheels typically have more spokes than cheaper ones, as this makes them stronger and more durable.
Are Expensive Mountain Bike Wheels Worth it?
Yes. More expensive mountain bike wheels are usually worth the investment. They often have better construction and materials than cheaper models, which can result in a smoother ride, longer lifespan, and less wear and tear on your bike.
If you’re looking for a set of wheels that will last for years and take your mountain biking to the next level, then it may be worth spending a little extra on top-quality models.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so it’s important to do your research before buying new wheels for your mountain bike. Talk to other riders or read online reviews to get an idea of what’s available in your price range and what will best suit your needs.
While it’s common sense that pricier goods usually equate to better materials and construction, there are some exceptions.
Expensive mountain bike wheels can often be overkill for average riders who aren’t doing tons of downhill or jumping on their bikes. These folks will do just fine with cheap alloy wheelsets or even cheap hybrid wheels. Expensive mountain bike wheels should be considered by serious riders who want extra speed, improved braking power or better overall durability out of their wheels.
So, why would anyone buy an expensive mountain bike wheels?
Expensive wheels are expensive for a reason, mainly the process behind making them. Expensive wheels are stronger, lighter and stiffer than their cheaper counterparts.
So why not just buy the cheapest wheels available?
Expensive wheels will last twice as long as cheap ones because they are lighter, don’t need truing as often and also look nicer. The money you save on buying cheap wheels will cost you when it comes to replacing them more often.
So when should I upgrade my wheels?
If your wheels are in need of replacement, or you have just upgraded to a carbon frame, then it would be wise to invest in quality wheels. They’re not all created equally so choose wisely rider!
What to Consider When Buying Expensive Mountain Bike Wheels
There are a few things to consider when choosing new wheels. Firstly, what’s your riding style like? Are you constantly jumping off of ledges or smashing through rock gardens at high speeds? If so, you might want stiffer and/or stronger wheels. If on the other hand, you are more of an XC rider who likes to pedal every inch of the trail then lighter would be better suited for you.
As with any purchase that entails a large investment, it’s important to do your homework before buying expensive mountain bike wheels.
Talk to other riders and read up on online reviews before you make a decision. Expensive wheels might be more durable, but that’s not always the case; if you want something that will last and provide excellent performance without an exorbitant price tag, do the legwork to find out which brands and models fit your needs.
Your budget will determine the maximum amount of money you can spend on your wheelset. You should decide how much money you are willing to spend and stick to it. Set a limit before you start looking around, don’t forget that sometimes it can be better to save more money and get a really good wheelset at the end.
You want to build your dream bike, not carry around an extra 5 lbs. Don’t even try to find the lightest MTB wheelset.
There are plenty of options if you look for them, but your best bet will be carbon fiber, which is great because it can significantly reduce the weight of your entire bike, but comes with a higher price tag.
What matters most is that you have high quality, durable materials that can resist impacts and harsh conditions. Plus the wheels you settle for should be able to take some abuse from heavy riders without wearing out too quickly.
There are so many options available on the market that it might feel overwhelming for one set of wheels!
There are brands that are widely known for their durable, strong components, like Shimano or DT Swiss. There are also popular brands that manufacturers often use as a benchmark to compare the quality of their own products: Mavic , Hope Technology or Formula.
You can’t go wrong with any of these reputable companies. If you have some more money saved up, consider looking at carbon fiber options; they are more expensive but will really reduce the overall weight of your bike .
This is an important factor to consider when buying new mountain bike wheels. Make sure that you find compatible tires before purchasing the wheelset.
The width should be clearly indicated on both your current tire and wheel rim, otherwise look online to see what others recommend. Your current tire size might limit your options, but you should be able to find the perfect ones for your bike.
Should I buy a complete wheelset or individual parts?
This will depend on how much money you are willing to spend, what type of riding you intend to do and what kind of pedals you use (flat, clipless).
The most popular option is using Shimano hubs with Mavic rims. You can always replace the rim with another compatible one, so it’s possible to upgrade without buying an entire wheelset .
You might want to purchase certain parts separately if you only need one component at this time, but don’t forget that these components can wear out quickly depending on how often your ride and where. Some MTB riders opt for even cheaper components, like the hubs and spokes. They only recommend using quality rims and good quality tires.
There are two ways to build wheels : with and without a freehub. This refers to the part of the hub on which you attach your cassette.
Your cassette contains all your gears for your bike and they can be changed as needed for different terrain.
Freehubs have a ratcheting mechanism that ensures that as soon as you pedal forward, it shifts into gear. Some riders prefer this option because they don’t have to think about shifting gears every time they come to an incline or decline in the trail, instead they can focus on riding more efficiently and safely. The downside is more moving means greater chances of breaking down, especially on rougher trails.
Freehub , cassettes and gears
While most hubs of this type are compatible with Shimano cassettes, only some can pair with SRAM . This is something to consider when choosing a new MTB wheelset. You might want to ask yourself what kind of riding you plan on doing and see which system will be the most practical for your needs.
There are three dimensions that matter when it comes to wheel diameter : 26″, 27.5″ and 29″. They have different advantages depending on terrain or difficulty level you prefer, so take your time deciding if you really need those bigger tires or not. It’s always better to have too big of a tire than too small one, so consider upgrading to a bigger wheel size if you feel the need for it.
How do I maintain my expensive wheels to ensure they don’t break?
Most importantly, always use tubeless tires. Second, have your wheels trued regularly. Thirdly, make sure to avoid rocks and other sharp objects that could cause damage. Lastly, get a good warranty for peace of mind.
Be sure not to get overly confident in using your new wheels either! Although they are strong, chances are eventually you will get a puncture or crack the rim because no matter how much money you spend on your bike it still weighs 50lbs! Always take caution when riding.
Cycling is a great way to stay in shape, but if you’re new to the sport or haven’t done it in awhile, then you need to take some precautions before you get on your bike. Cycling has some inherent risks that come with the territory of any sport- some more than others.
Here are some of the most common causes for cycling-related injuries.
Improper bicycle fit
Exceeding your current skill and fitness level
Poor road conditions and sudden weather changes
Misjudging traffic situations and interruptions in flow on the roadway (e.g., construction or an accident)
Carrying too much weight, either on your body or in your bike frame (especially with a poorly adjusted saddle height)
Suffering from overuse syndromes such as arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome or gout that limit function during prolonged use of wrists, hands or feet; this may be caused by poor maintenance.
Let’s go over some ways that will help keep injuries at bay when you are cycling!
General Precautions to Prevent Injury While Cycling
1. Make sure to set your bike up correctly!
Bicycle fitment refers to how a professional bike fitter custom-tailors your bicycle to suit you. They will take into account many important factors including your weight, height, flexibility and body size.
The process usually takes approximately one hour.
A typical appointment starts with the client being assessed for natural flexibility by doing simple tests which are then graded on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is very flexible and 5 would be considered stiff. After assessing the natural flexibility level of the person consulting them they are asked to do some easy pedaling exercises on their own bike whilst seated in their normal cycling position – demos are shown using real bikes for maximum effect.
Different people have different body mechanics, so make sure that you are comfortable on your bike before hitting the road. If you feel like something is off or wrong with your bike, then it’s time to take it in to get looked at by a pro.
A comfortable bike fit is critical to cycling injury prevention. When your bike fits you well, you’ll experience fewer aches and pains after a ride because fingers won’t feel numb, hands won’t tingle, back pain will be alleviated.
2. Wear Protective Gear!
Wearing protective gear will not eliminate the risk of injury, but it may lower the severity of an injury. Most protective clothing such as helmets and bicycle specific clothing is designed to absorb shock from unexpected contact with a hard surface such as pavement or walls.
Some also feel that it helps them stay safe because drivers take more notice of bike riders that wear protective gear than those who do not. There is no guarantee for this theory and there is much speculation on the topic so you should always call police if you were involved in any type of accident.
A helmet is regarded by some experts as one of the most important pieces of riding safety equipment that can be worn while cycling.
The brain is extremely sensitive, so any bump or blow on it could result in significant brain trauma leading serious permanent damage such as paralysis or death.
Statistics show that one out of six fatalities comes from head injuries sustained while cycling; wearing a helmet will significantly reduce your risk of suffering this fate.
Wrist guards are great for preventing fractures of the radius bone, and knee pads are wonderful for protecting knees during falls.
3. Warm up Before You Pedal!
Most cyclists are familiar with the concept of warming up before cycling. This habit is both a preventer of injury, as well as an effective way to improve your pedaling power.
The idea behind warming up is that it increases blood flow to the muscles, which causes them to pump out more lactic acid. Lactic acid is absorbed by muscle cells for fuel during exercise, so breaking down some lactic acid during a warm-up will help muscles finish long rides without cramping or running out of fuel.
Warming up before a ride is imperative to prevent injury. Make sure to spend at least 5-10 minutes on your bike getting your muscles ready to go before you actually start peddling hard. Stretching out after a ride will also keep you on the road longer without injuries .
It has been estimated that 5-15% of rider injuries are caused by cool or cold muscles.
4. Keep your bike in good condition – check tire pressure, brakes, and gears before you ride
Maintaining a bicycle in great condition is essential for preventing injury while cycling. There are number of simple steps that can be taken to ensure safe and enjoyable rides.
Some way include checking tire pressure, lubricating the chain, ensuring good lighting for night time use, and maintaining brakes in good working order
5. Ease into it!
If you haven’t been cycling in awhile or are taking some time off, then ease back into things instead of starting where you left off all those years ago when you finally decided to give it up. Cycling is a great way to get and stay in shape, but if you don’t ease into it then you can cause an injury .
6. If something hurts, stop!
You’re probably not going to win the Tour de France by taking breaks every time your legs start to hurt or your back starts hurting. But if something doesn’t feel right then what’s the point of continuing? Get off the bike and stretch or just take a little break and see how it feels. The last thing you want is for an injury to keep you from cycling!
7. Don’t Drink & Ride
Drinking alcohol while biking increases the risk of fatal accidents as alcohol impairs judgment and reflexes as well as slows reaction time. This can lead to a variety of trips and falls that could cause long lasting injury such as broken bones or head trauma.
The more we know about how alcohol affects the body on a molecular level, the more we see that drinking leads to decreased brain power and memory formation, not just impaired ability to walk and speak clearly. There is mounting evidence that moderate amounts of drinking will increase your chances of injury when biking due to poorer judgement skills (even without worrying about drunk driving). Alcohol also increases dehydration rates making one more susceptible for heat related risks such as heatstroke and dehydration.
8. Be seen!
This is especially important if you ride during hours when it’s dark outside or at dawn or dusk. Having a front light and rear reflectors will make you much more visible to cars and other vehicles, which will help prevent accidents and injuries .
9. Remember: your responsibility!!
Cycling is a sport that requires the cyclist to be responsible for his or her own safety. You are wearing what amounts to wheeled armor, but there are no reinforcements covering your neck and head, which leaves those parts exposed.
Prevention of Specific Injuries While Cycling
Preventing Numb Toes
Particularly common in enduro racing, injury to the anterior tibial nerve can occur when cycling downhill. This results in numbness and pins-and-needles sensations in the toes, with simple tasks like removing socks or shoelaces proving very difficult owing to lack of sensation.
The two main causes are compression of related nerves or compression along the blood vessels that supply nerves to the foot – this is most commonly caused by pressure on the top of the sole where it connects with pedals connected to cranks.
Prevention—aside from getting into better form—involves raising saddle height so that there is clearance between ankles and front wheel at all times; adjusting cleats so they diverge slightly more than usual; redistributing weight in the saddle to move it forward; increasing the size of shoe cleats, using special shoes for cycling, or wearing stiff hiking boots when descending.
Preventing Saddle Sore Injuries
Another common injury among cyclists is saddle sores, caused by contacting the bicycle seat with one’s buttocks over prolonged periods.
Padded shorts are frequently used to prevent this type of irritation during bicycling.
Special ergonomic seats are also available that attempt to decrease pressure exerted on certain areas of the body while riding. These seats vary in width and design, but they often have a high nose which reduces pressure on the soft tissue located within the pelvic area.
Sores can be avoided further through proper posture when sitting—sitting upright relieves any existing shear force which abrades the skin during rotation of the pelvis. Saddle sores can be prevented by rotating one’s hips, moving about on the saddle, or standing up while cycling to relieve pressure for short periods of time.
Preventing Knee Pain Injury
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is an umbrella term used to describe pain which affects the knee and is caused by a problem with tracking of one’s kneecap. This can be caused by mal-alignment of the foot or problems with the contour of the bicycle seat.
PFPS has many potential contributing factors but most often, it is attributed to degradation of articular cartilage on one’s knee cap.
Prevention—when cycling—involves regularly standing up out of the saddle to stretch and ensuring that proper form is used when applying pressure down into pedals; this means resisting the urge to reach forward with knees while pedaling, as this will cause them almost inescapably to come forward too much in relation to feet attached to pedals and in so doing strain patellofemoral joint and increase problems related to PFPS.
Preventing Achilles Tendonitis and Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy
Achilles tendonitis and tibialis posterior tendinopathy (also known as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction) are injuries caused by overuse of the aforementioned structures; they cause pain which ranges from mild discomfort with exertion to severe pain at rest, and can sometimes be debilitating for cyclists.
Prevention—when cycling—involves reducing the amount one rides and increasing time for recovery between workouts; ensuring that one’s seat is high enough that knee remains straight when foot is at bottom of pedal stroke; using toe clips or straps to reduce pressure exerted on feet during pedaling; ensuring proper form when applying pressure to pedals; using correct cycling shoes with stiff soles but which aren’t excessively heavy; and ensuring that cleats are correctly aligned on shoes.
Preventing Cervical Spine Injury
A study concludes that cyclists were less able than non-cyclists to look backwards as far as 180°, demonstrating a considerable blind spot compared to those who do not ride bicycles.
Riding with one’s head continuously angled over one’s shoulder in order to see behind results in muscle fatigue and pain and eventually headaches and upper neck injury—the result of cervical facet joint impingement on the superior articular process of atlas.
This particular kind of injury can be avoided by making sure head is positioned so that line of vision is in line with one’s shoulders and in so doing, avoid neck pain and injury.
Preventing Lower Back Pain and Injury
Lower back pain and injury can be caused by stress placed on lumbar spine during cycling when someone leans too far forward when riding; another potential cause of this type of injury comes from muscle imbalances in the torso—specifically between abdominal muscles and hip flexors.
A cyclist who lacks flexibility in hip flexor muscles, will overuse the rectus femoris or quadriceps femoris. This can lead to tendonitis at either end of those muscles.
The best prevention for general lower back pain while cycling is to ensure that bicycle seat puts minimal pressure on perineum area—the space between one’s anus and genitalia—and that it is tilted at a downward angle of roughly 20° from horizontal.
Preventing cyclist’s nipple
Cyclist’s nipple is is caused by the continuous rubbing of clothes against the nipples. It is most common to cyclists, runners and those who wear tight compression gear.
Prevention begins with wearing cycling jerseys made of fabrics that wick moisture away from skin as rapidly as possible. Two examples of such materials are polyester and spandex, which allow perspiration to evaporate rapidly. This prevents the clothing from sticking to the skin or producing a clammy feeling. Wearing a water-resistant sunscreen on nipples can help prevent them becoming sore during a ride..
Preventing Shoulder Pain When Cycling
Shoulder pain in cycling typically is the result of poor riding posture and is caused by repetitive motions in which shoulder is held forward in order to hold onto handlebars; this causes strain on muscles and tendons in front of shoulder, specifically pectoralis major muscle.
Preventing injury includes practicing holding onto both bar ends. This will ensure that both arms are in a comfortable position and allows one to cycle longer before it results in pain.
You can avoid injury while cycling by ensuring that your bike fits you properly, wearing a helmet, realizing your limits and not cycling outside of them, replacing the chain periodically (every 3-6 months), observing traffic laws (don’t say hi to oncoming motorists!), and never cycling when you are sleepy.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your heart rate. It also involves continuous and rhythmic muscle movements over an extended period of time, which improves your lung’s capacity and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.
Aerobic exercise promotes cardiovascular health, which includes lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The goal with aerobic exercise is to increase your heart rate in order to get the most out of the body’s oxygen usage.
In general, it’s safe for most people to do at least some aerobic exercise every day, which can help you shed pounds and lower your risk of diabetes and other conditions.
Aerobic exercises also helps you sleep better and improve your mood.
The most popular aerobic activities are running and cycling – two forms of cardiovascular exercise where people use their legs for power instead of their arms like they would when swimming or using an elliptical machine.
For best results with aerobic exercises, aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking or water aerobics. You can break this up into three 30-minute workouts each week if that’s more convenient for you.
What is Anaerobic Exercise?
The University of Michigan Medicine notes that strength and speed activities like weightlifting and sprinting are examples of anaerobic exercises because they don’t make your heart beat faster.
Instead, they only break a sweat by using the phosphagen system for energy – which is very limited. You also might feel like you can’t breathe! Only do one or two sets of such high-intensity exercises (e.g., fewer than 5) before taking a rest break; otherwise, you may risk cramps and fatigue.
Strength training at the gym will burn calories and build muscle mass, but it is not aerobic activity.
Anaerobic means ‘without oxygen.’ Anaerobic exercise provides energy for short bursts of intense activity and can increase muscular strength and endurance.
There are two types of anaerobic exercise.
1. Isometric Exercise is when the skeletal muscles contract but no visible movement occurs, e.g., you are pushing or pulling against something that’s not moving.
2. Isotonic Exercise which involves the contraction and extension of muscle groups without any change in the length of those muscles involved, e.g., you push or pull on an object with a fixed resistance, like weightlifting or doing sit-ups to strengthen your core muscles
This form of workout is best for improving strength and tone, as well as enhancing bone health because it targets large muscle groups in the body such as the biceps, triceps, thighs, buttocks, chest muscles and abdominal.
Is Biking Aerobic or Anaerobic?
There are two schools of thought on whether biking is strictly aerobic or anaerobic activity.
The answer lies in how you pedal-if you’re making an effort to push up with your legs, then it is considered aerobically challenging. Cycling a bike aerobically is when you pedal your bicycle in an efficient and steady fashion, with minimal exertion.
One of the most popular ways to cycle a bike aerobically is by using the heart rate monitor on your wrist to measure how hard you’re working out. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that cyclists work their way up from aerobic exercise to more intense workouts, so if you’re just beginning this type of activity it’s important that you don’t overdo it or else injuries may occur. As always, consult with your physician before starting any new workout routine!
The most important thing to remember when doing aerobic cycling is to keep pedaling at the same rate of speed throughout your workout session.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re riding your bicycle as fast as possible, pedaling very rapidly and using strength to power through hills – this is called interval training, which results in short bursts of high-intensity energy. If you do this for more than two minutes, it’s considered anaerobic activity (not good for burning calories).
Also, if you cycle with the sole intention of building leg muscles, then it is anaerobic activity.
Both aerobic and anaerobic activities provide benefits such as burning calories to help you lose weight or maintain your ideal body mass index (BMI).
However, only aerobic activity will improve your cardiovascular system and decrease body fat levels. The trick is finding a workout plan that mixes both types of exercises together so you get the most out of every minute spent working up a sweat. So go ahead: hop on your bike and pedal with purpose!
Anaerobic exercise increases strength and speed which includes weightlifting, sprinting.
Aerobic exercise uses oxygen for energy, like running or biking.
Both types of activity provide benefits such as burning calories to help you lose weight or maintain your ideal body mass index (BMI).
However, only aerobic activity will improve your cardiovascular system and decrease body fat levels. The trick is finding a workout plan that mixes both types of exercises together so you get the most out of every minute spent working up a sweat. So go ahead: hop on your bike and pedal away.
To make sure you don’t overdo it on the bike (and risk injury), there are some things you should know before starting out:
You’ll want to start with an easy ride that lasts around two hours or less
It’s important not be too hard on yourself when biking for the first time; if at any point during your ride you feel lightheaded or nauseous stop immediately. Your body needs time to adjust to the new demands you’re putting on it.
You don’t want to lose interest after one or two sessions either – so you might want to try biking with a group of friends or joining a local cycling club, which will allow you to ride at your own pace and experiment with different routes. The key is to find something you’ll enjoy doing!
What Muscles Does Riding a Bike Target?
Riding a bike targets the whole body. It especially focuses on the thighs and calves, but also works the arms and upper back as well.
Riding a bike causes you to use your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, adductors, abductors and even your pectorals. The other muscles that are used when riding a bike include the rotator cuff muscles of your shoulders, which hold up your arms as you cycle along efficiently.
The other muscles that become engaged when riding a bike include those secondary shoulder muscles called “the trapezius” muscles – both the upper traps and middle traps as well as those lower traps in addition to those big strong scapular stabilizers known as your rhomboids.”
As with any kind of activity, you want to make sure you start out slow and work your way up.
Also remember that nutrition is important for muscle strength and growth and energy and endurance. If you already ride a bike regularly, congratulations!
How Many Calories Do You Burn When Riding a Bike?
The amount of calories you can burn when riding a bike depends on a number of factors.
Body size and composition
Incline or hill grade
Approach to workout – eg how many days a week for what time durations, etc…
All of these factors will play into how much caloric energy is required for each individual. For this reason, it is impossible to give an exact number of calories burned per minute or mile traveled during cycling unless you know all relevant information specific to that individual.
For instance, someone who bikes three times a week for 20 minutes might be burning more calories than someone who bikes five times a week for 10 minutes each day over the course of the entire year.
Addressing both the duration and frequency of exercise is important to consider when trying to evaluate your caloric expenditure from cycling in comparison with others.
Also, your rate of caloric expenditure will increase the faster or longer you ride.
Why You Should Ride Your Bike More Often
There are many health benefits to cycling. Cycling provides a low-impact workout for your heart and lungs, which is great for people with joint pain or injuries who cannot participate in other forms of physical activity.
Biking has also been shown to increase muscle mass in some areas better than walking or running, though it does not provide as much total body fitness as jogging or using an elliptical machine at the gym.
Unfortunately, people who cycle to stay fit often face the dilemma of whether their activity is aerobic or anaerobic.
So which is it? Is cycling aerobic or anaerobic? The answer depends on how you ride your bike.
Let’s take a look at the physiological effects of riding your bike for transport and fitness, as well as some training tips that can help you find out just how aerobically challenging biking can be for you.
On a purely physical level, pedaling your bike is an anaerobic activity and builds muscle strength and endurance.
Your muscles produce energy in two ways: through aerobic respiration, or breaking down glucose without oxygen to create ATP molecules that provide quick bursts of energy; and through anaerobic respiration, which uses glycogen to quickly break down glucose into lactic acid. This process produces energy for short periods of time, but leaves the muscles exhausted until they can rebuild glycogen stores by burning fat instead.
Sustained cycling requires constant pedaling at a moderate pace through aerobic respiration to keep up with the body’s demand for sufficient energy production.
When you pedal too slowly or stop pedaling altogether, your body relies on anaerobic respiration to power your muscles.
Your heart rate will increase in order to send more oxygenated blood to the muscles demanding it, and you may begin breathing heavily in response.
Warm-Up for Biking
Warm up before biking by pedaling slowly for five minutes with slight resistance on the pedals. This stimulates the muscles used while cycling without straining them so you can get accustomed to what they feel like when working hard.
Pedal very lightly throughout the rest of your workout at a moderate pace that allows you to speak short sentences comfortably while riding. If you’re not sure if your effort is aerobic or not, just talk out loud about how tired you are
It’s time to find out! Cycling is one of the best ways to stay in shape and increase your fitness levels, but there are two schools of thought on whether it is strictly aerobic or anaerobic activity. The answer lies in how you pedal-if you’re making an effort
Perhaps most importantly, cycling allows you to enjoy the outdoors while getting fit!
We hope this article helped you answer the question on whether biking is an aerobic or anaerobic exercise. If not, we want to hear from you in the comments!
We would love to help clarify any misconceptions and get a discussion going about how biking can be both types of exercises depending on your intensity level.
Please share with us what type of bike rider you are – do you prefer a leisurely ride around town after work? Or maybe your favorite pastime includes long distance rides up steep hills? Share below so that others know what they’re getting themselves into before trying it for themselves!
Mountain bikers are a passionate bunch and they care about what they wear.
The right gear can make or break an experience for them. In this post, we’ll go over the basics of what to wear when mountain biking so you’re prepared for all conditions.
Whether it’s a short bike ride on your local trail or an intense backcountry excursion, there are some important considerations that need to be made in order to fully enjoy your next adventure on your two wheels.
You might not know how much clothing is necessary until you get out and start riding; but having the right clothes will help keep you safe and comfortable even if things don’t go as planned!
The right gear is key when mountain biking. This article will teach you how to pick the right gear for your mountain biking adventure. Let’s get started!
The first part of the process is picking out a good mountain biking helmet. There are many different styles of mountain biking helmets, but they all have one thing in common: protection from head injury.
A good helmet should protect your head from rocks, plants, and falls upon impact.
The most important factor in picking out a good helmet is that it fits snugly and securely on your head.
Try on the helmet before you buy it to ensure that it fits properly. If you can’t get the helmet close enough to touch your temples or jawline, it isn’t safe enough.
The next thing you will want to consider when picking out a helmet is the budget.
When checking out helmets, try not to go for the cheapest one- they don’t offer as much protection as more expensive ones.
If you’re pulling your hair up into a pony tail before biking, take a look at helmets with vents on top- they are great for hot weather!
2- Mountain Biking Shoes
The next step in picking out gear for your mountain biking adventure is sneakers.
When riding a bike you will most likely be on the ground at some point, so make sure your shoes are sturdy and durable.
Since mountain bikes tend to have gears and shifters, it’s important that your shoes aren’t too slippery. Most shoes made just for bicycles have an anti-slip technology.
Nothing ruins a good ride quite like a tumble because of misplaced footwork. Check out the complete list of the best mountain biking shoes.
Another thing to consider about shoes is their “climbing” ability; if you’re going up hill with speed then loose gravel can cause loss of control when attempting to gain traction back onto the riding surface.
Shoes or Boots?
This is another thing that depends on you and your personal preference because it all boils down to what feels better for the rider.
Personally, I prefer wearing boots with a sturdy sole to protect my ankles from sprains or twists during rough rides. Also, if they slip off then at least I still have them on my feet (not in my hand!).
I would recommend sticking with either sneakers or riding boots when going mountain biking; however, there are some shoes made specifically for cycling which have special soles, laces, vents, etc. for comfortability and grip while pedaling. So just pick whatever feels more comfortable for you!
3- Shorts or Pants?
This is a tough question to answer because it all depends on you and your personal preference.
Personally, I prefer to wear shorts when mountain biking because they are easy to adjust while riding (pulling down to relieve soreness). Also, if the weather gets cold then many shorts are designed with a zipper or clasp that will allow you to tuck in your shirt underneath for warmth.
There are also certain types of pants that can be used as an alternative.
Most common types of mountain bike pants have padded knee protection and chamois padding at the crotch area (to prevent chafe). Some even have special ventilation for quick drying and breathability after a rain shower.
What you choose depends on what you like and comfortability, but I would recommend wearing either shorts or pants when mountain biking.
Vests are a great thing to wear when mountain biking, especially if the weather is hot. A vest has many pockets for holding valuable items such as food, water bottles, and tools (tire pump & patch kit).
Most vests have reflectors for high visibility at night or early morning. Some even have safety whistles in case of emergencies.
A good way to keep cool during your ride is by filling up a bottle with ice cold water and putting it into one of the extra pockets on your vest. Trust me; that will feel amazing after miles up hill or down hill.
If you’re wearing a helmet then I would highly recommend using some sort of headband or protective cap to prevent sweat from pouring down into your eyes.
5- Cycling Gloves
Since mountain biking is an outdoor sport, I would highly recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands from branches, thorns, and even the cold weather.
You don’t want to push yourself too hard during a ride and end up with thorns stuck in your hand because you forgot to bring gloves along for protection!
If it’s hot, then gloves will also absorb sweat from your palms.
There are many different types of gloves; some are designed for warmth while others are thinner for better grip on the handlebars or brakes. Just make sure they fit comfortable and snugly to prevent slipping and sliding.
Mountain biking can expose you to both heat and cold so it would be wise to wear glasses or goggles that have a thermal barrier for sunscreen.
This will prevent your eyes from the wind fatigue caused by dirt, dust, and sunlight.
Also, if you’re wearing prescription glasses then I would recommend getting sunglasses especially if it’s very sunny outside.
If you plan on going at night then I recommend wearing a light headband or cap to prevent loss of control due to low visibility; plus wearing something that lights up (for drivers to see) is an added precaution against accidents or injuries.
7- Fitness Tracker
A great way to track your progress is by using a fitness tracker such as the FitBit. This can track how many calories you have burned, how far you have gone, and even how high up in elevation you are (according to GPS location).
It will also make sure you’re pedaling at the proper resistance according to your heart rate because it has an adjustable alarm that tells when to speed up or slow down.
In addition, if it’s hot out then this device can alert you of any nearby water fountains so that you don’t get overheated while riding.
Choosing a fitness tracker can seem like a daunting task, but thankfully there are many different options. You want to start by knowing what your budget is and what you’re looking to get out of a fitness tracker.
Fitbit Charge HR- This is an affordable option that tracks the following stats: steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, and heart rate.
Garmin Vivoactive- This is more expensive than the FitBit Charge HR but it also has GPS function and is water proof. It features the following stats: steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, elevation gain/loss (via barometric altimeter), and active minutes (based on continuous heart rate data). The battery lasts around 3 weeks.
Apple Watch- This is the most expensive option but it has the most features. Once synced with a smartphone, this watch allows you to control your music and send/receive iMessages or text messages without pulling out your phone. It also comes equipped with built in GPS and a heart rate monitor (if you opt for the model that’s made specifically for fitness). The battery lasts up to 18 hours of usage.
A bandanna is good stuff to have when mountain biking because it will protect your neck against cold winds and rains.
It’s also good to have a bandanna handy if you want to wipe the sweat from your face, clean off smudges of dirt or grease on your glasses/goggles, or even use it as a sling in case of an injury.
The best thing to do is find a bandanna that is made out of breathable material or has a mesh lining. It would also be wise to find one that is light weight enough so it doesn’t cause your neck to feel too hot and uncomfortable. The last thing you want to worry about while mountain biking is worrying about how uncomfortable your bandanna is!
9- Cycling Balaclava
A balaclava is a type of headwear that can be used for either winter or summer sports. It’s normally a one-piece that wraps around the neck, covers the mouth and nose, and extends to cover most of your forehead.
The purpose of using this type of headwear is to protect your neck from cold winds or rain when mountain biking during the winter months. It also provides protection for your face from heat exhaustion in the summer or if you’re sweating profusely when biking up hills.
I would recommend wearing a balaclava that has breathable material such as mesh or open holes for ventilation so it doesn’t cause you to sweat. The last thing you want is to wear something too thick that causes you
You can also find a balaclava helmet which is like a normal helmet, but it covers your face and head.
This is great for keeping warm during the winter months when you don’t want to wear a full hooded ski jacket or snow pants.
If you go mountain biking in the weather that gets above 90 degrees then this would be an excellent thing to have handy because of how comfortable it is. It’s easier than wearing a hat because it doesn’t sit on top of your head where sweat collects, but instead just under your chin area so that your neck and ears are still covered up.
10- Reflective Vest
Wearing a reflective vest can be very useful for riding a bike especially in the dark or when it is not possible to rely on light. A good vest should have 3 main qualities: provide 360 degrees of reflection, fit comfortably, and properly contour around your body.
There are a number of ways to tell whether or not you have purchased the right reflective vest for mountain biking. One way is to ask yourself these three questions:
Where will I be riding?
What times will I be out?
What’s my personal style?
Based on these answers, choose a bicycle vest that has visibility in both daylight and dusk conditions. If you’re riding during twilight hours, it’s best to pick something with high reflectivity designed specifically for low light cycling conditions.
The quality of the material should also be considered when purchasing a bike vest so that the garment can withstand any wear and tear while still maintaining its functionality. And finally, consider your style before picking what color to buy.
The bright colors on reflective vests will reflect off car lights and make them more visible to approaching traffic. Plus it’s a great way to stand out if you’re riding with a trail partner who is wearing similar colored cycling gear (i.e.: yellow/gold for mountain biking).
One vest that I would recommend is the Joe Rocket Phoenix Vest with a 3M Scotchlite Retro Reflective Fabric. It utilizes a three-panel design that combines mesh and polyester fabric for maximum breathability, while still providing the protection you need for your safety. Additionally, it provides a great deal of pockets for storage, so you can carry all of your essentials in one convenient place.
13- Mountain Biking Knee Pads
Do you love mountain biking but hate the scratches and bruises on your knees?
The truth is, knee pads are one of the most important parts of your gear. Knee pads protect you from injury when biking on rocky terrain or rough trails. If you plan to ride down a trail that is full of roots and sticks, sharp rocks and stumps, you will want knee pads that run all around your knees for maximum protection.
When picking out kneepads, look for ones that are made out of dense foam or gel- they will keep you safe from the impact of a fall.
Additionally, knee pads should fit snuggly around the area of your leg that will come in contact with rocks upon impact (the fleshy part of your knee).
The best way to ensure a good fit is to try them on in advance or use a sizing chart online before purchasing anything. If you’re trying them on, make sure they aren’t too tight- don’t want chafing when you’re biking!
12- Hydration Pack
Don’t let thirst make you lose sight of what’s important: going as fast as possible down the trail.
Hydration packs are specially made backpacks or pouches with water bladders inside that can hold enough water and nutrients for long distance rides.
This allows you to go farther distances without having to stop because your thirst has temporarily gotten the best of you.
If you’re going on a mountain bike ride, it’s important to stay hydrated. You can take water with you in bottles or use a hydration pack.
Hydration packs are lightweight and convenient, but they should be packed carefully for safety reasons. Here’s how:
1) Put the bladder inside an outer pocket that is large enough to hold it comfortably–this will keep the bladder from rubbing against your back as you ride so that it doesn’t feel like someone is riding next to you!
2) Fill up the bladder with water before starting your ride so that there won’t be any leaks when you start pedaling hard!
3) Make sure all of the straps and buckles are tight- this will make sure everything stays
Knives and multitools are items that you should always have with you while mountain biking whether it’s in your pack or on your body (preferably both).
You never know when you can use them for emergencies or if they come in handy when you need to fix minor bike malfunctions.
Not only are knives good for removing thorns from tires/rims but they’re also good at cutting things such as food and ropes. This allows you to eat healthier meals than just eating junk food during long bike rides without having to take the time to snack on pretzels or chips.
Once I was mountain biking and my chain broke while riding downhill, but luckily for me I had a knife on hand that I used to remove the front tire from getting stuck in my rear wheel.
What Not to Wear When Mountain Biking
Now that we’ve looked at what to wear when mountain biking, let’s quickly go over a list of what not to wear.
1- Flip Flops
Flip flops are the worst thing to wear when mountain biking because they’re not safe from being caught in between the chain and front crankset. While pedaling down hills at a fast pace, your shoes can easily be caught on the chain and possibly rip a hole through them or tear off your toe nails.
Just like flip flops, sandals don’t provide you with enough protection for your feet if you’re trying to jump onto things such as rocks or logs or if you need to walk
2- Shoes With Little Traction
Shoes with little traction can easily slip out from underneath you if you’re trying to jump onto something such as getting over a log or branch or landing after doing tricks on your bike.
I’ve seen this happen countless times where kids would come into our local bike shops either looking for new shoes, but then leave with tears in their eyes just because they can’t handle the way their old shoes slip around during fast antics.
3- Long Pants/Skirts
Not only does it make you look funny when you’re riding a mountain bike in long pants or skirts, it can also make it awkward when trying to go fast because you’re constantly having to pull them up.
Short shorts and skirts with too much bulkiness are a sure way of getting hurt in the long run.
A lot of times I see girls wearing these, but they don’t realize that they cause themselves more harm than good by wearing them because they ride slower, take longer breaks from riding, and end up not being able to land tricks correctly due to their bulky bottoms making it harder for them to stand still on one foot easily.
5- Strapless Shirts/Dresses
Strapless V-neck shirts and dresses are a huge problem when riding down hills at fast speeds. The shirt or dress will easily lift up from the wind blowing against them, which causes you to have to pull it back down every other second.
This is very distracting in the long run while riding because you’re constantly having to stop what you’re doing (such as going fast on your bike) and making sure that your shirt/dress isn’t flying up in the air all of the time.
If your shirt isn’t short enough where it won’t fly around then consider wearing an undershirt so nothing can go “up in the air” except for your arms holding onto handlebars, not your chest.
6- Jewelry/Expensive Watches
Jewelry are things that you obviously do not want to wear while mountain biking, but specially when you’re riding downhill.
The best thing to have on while riding downhills is a sports watch with an anti-glare screen (which most smartwatches provide).
Also, having jewelry can be very dangerous if they fly off your body because those small objects will go flying towards people’s faces or bodies and cause them harm. This isn’t something you want happening to yourself or to others
Your expensive jewelry is also more likely to get lost if you’re mountain biking.
If you plan on wearing a watch with an anti-glare screen then make sure the strap is tight enough so it will not easily fall off of your wrist during riding.
Part of motorcycle safety is wearing the proper attire. An often-overlooked part of that outfit is the gloves. Motorcycle gloves can provide a variety of benefits such as protection, warmth, and grip while riding. Here are several areas to consider when doing your own motorcycle gloves review.
There are a lot of opinions about the best gloves; the following Motorcycle gloves stand out as the top 10 in our motorcycle gloves review.
1.Dainese 4 Stroke Gloves:
Click to Check Price at Amazon
The Dainese 4 Stroke Motorcycle Glove is a short, summer glove. These gloves have leather and spandex exterior and all of the interior reinforcements that you would expect from a top-quality riding glove.
The most demanding of riders will appreciate the performance and ergonomics of this pair of gloves. With stainless steel composite inserts, TPR on the knuckles and back of hands, and a reinforced pinky insert, and a reinforced palm, including a palm slider, this glove is engineered to help you perform at your peak.
All of these protections come complete with the comfort you expect, with a tightening strap, distortion control and perforated palm and back >> Check Latest Price of Daineses 4 Stroke Gloves at Amazon
2. Joe Rocket GPX 2.0 Leather Gloves:
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This glove is designed to give you a bang for your buck. The Joe Rocket GPX 2.O is full-length leather racing gauntlet glove with a price point of less than a hundred bucks!
Featuring a drum dried leather top, and a Pittards Ceramic infused Armor Tan palm, this accessory has your covered top and bottom. This glove has an aggressive pre-curve to the finger section and offers extensive high-density padding on the wrist, cuff and fingers, providing you with the extra protection you require in a racing gauntlet.
Also standard is the double cuff closure and the injection molded vented knuckle. This glove comes in your choice of five different colors, which is really cool >> Check Latest Price of Joe Rocket GPX 2.0 Leather Gloves at Amazon
3. Scorpion SGS Motorcycle Gloves:
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This short cuff, cowhide glove offers a full kangaroo palm that is Kevlar reinforced providing you with the protection and tactile feel that is so important in riding.
One really cool feature about this glove is the Scaphoid Protection System palm sliders that are not usually seen on a glove in this price range. Also really cool is the amount of Superfabric armor plating, which provides up to four times the abrasion resistance over the standard leather.
With a pre-curved palm and fingers and an out stitched palm and fingers to eliminate the feel of an interior seem, this pair of gloves is sure to surpass your expectations >> Check Latest Price of Scorpion SGS Gloves at Amazon
4.Alpinestars SP-X Gloves:
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This glove offers a goatskin and air mesh construction for comfort and protection that is hard to beat. This is a sport-riding glove with some important upgrades.
The SP-X uses carbon fiber protectors and sliders, as well as EVA foam for extra padding and protection on the knuckle, top of fingers, and key impact areas. This glove has extra leather reinforcement on the fingers. One awesome feature is the 3rd/4th finger bridge, designed to prevent finger roll and separation during impacts, minimizing injury.
The SP-X also utilizes silicone printing on the fingertips so you can enjoy and increased grip while you ride >>Check Latest Price of Alpinestars SP-X Gloves
5.Alpinestars SMX-2 Air Carbon Gloves:
Click to Check Price at Amazon
If you are looking for a comfortable summer riding glove, then the SMX-2 is worth a look. With a fully vented top for comfort and breathability, this glove also offers some really great protection as well.
The carbon fiber knuckle exists on its own panel, eliminating pulling while riding and working the controls. With a single cuff-style closure utilizing a micro-Velcro strap and a neoprene cuff, this glove doesn’t skimp on comfort. Also included is a reinforced landing zone with built in padding, so you can be assured of superior impact protection when you need it. This glove also comes in six colors and a really stylized design >>Check Latest Price of Alpinestars SMX-2 Air Carbon Gloves
Discover the suitable Motorcycle Gloves:
There are some things that you should take into consideration before making your purchase. Here are some simple questions to ask that will help you identify the right type of glove for you.
What type of weather will I be riding in?
What size glove will work best for my hands?
Do these gloves offer adequate protection in the even of a fall?
Do I prefer fingered, or fingerless gloves when riding?
Know your riding habits and what season of the year you are going into. The right pair of gloves can be extremely important and can make your ride much more enjoyable.
Motorcycle Gloves Material and Stitching:
If you are new to riding, you might be tempted to think that all gloves are created equal. They are not. There are a number of different types of gloves, and even different types of stitching available. Some of the different materials are:
Leather Motorcycle Gloves
Deerskins Motorcycle Gloves
Fabric and Waterproof Motorcycle Gloves
Insulated Motorcycle Gloves
Stitching also makes a big difference. Try to avoid gloves that have stitching on the inside, or across the palm. External stitching, or flat seams will make your ride infinitely more comfortable. Whether you are looking for men’s motorcycle gloves, or women’s motorcycle gloves, the material and stitching choice is important, and it is wise to take you time and try on several pair before deciding on the best one.
Maybe you are looking for a beautiful pair of deerskin motorcycle gloves or just an everyday functional pair. There are some additional features available that can make your choice even more attractive depending on the time of year and the weather. Consider looking for the following options:
Waterproofing – Great for riding in the rain or over wet terrain.
Heating – Yes, there are gloves that actually warm your hands in the winter! Many heated gloves interface with your bike’s electronics and heat while you ride.
Hopefully you have seen that there is more to buying a pair of motorcycle gloves than some people realize. This article should help you make the best choice possible the next time you are in the market for a pair.
Summer Motorcycle Gloves:
Riding your motorcycle in the summer is perhaps the best thing about owning a bike. However, it is still necessary to wear all the appropriate safety gear while your hair blows in the balmy wind. You might look and feel cool while cruising in just a t-shirt and jeans, but that hopeless ensemble will not protect you against unexpected mishaps on the road. Luckily, you can both look the part and play the role when you find the best summer motorcycle gloves.
Unfortunately, wearing the gloves you wore in the winter will not suffice when the summer heats strikes. You will need to purchase some lightweight gloves that protect your hands from the road while still offering sufficient ventilation. Having wet palms and fingers is not conducive with a safe and secure ride; so finding gloves that offer plenty of breathing room is important. Choosing from short, wrist-length summer motorcycle gloves can help cooling air get to your smoldering skin without taking away any of the protective elements.
Unwisely opting for a set of leather gloves for the summer months is a bad idea for several obvious reasons. Not only will this be uncomfortable to most riders, but it could also become a safety hazard. Although leather gloves tend to offer superior protection, they are not a good choice for those who wish to ride their motorcycles during hot summer months.
Choosing to wear fingerless motorcycle gloves because you want to avoid the heat of the summer may seem like a good idea, but there are some drawbacks. There isn’t as much protection for your hands with this variety, although they can be quite stylish and they do work well for improving grip. However, if you choose these summer motorcycle gloves, you may find yourself wishing that you hadn’t.
Picking the right gloves for the summer is an important aspect of safe and comfortable motorcycle riding. Take some time to look around before you decide. Your life and your riding experience may depend on it.
Cold Weather Winter Motorcycle Gloves
Motorcycles aren’t just for summer. If you know how to choose the best equipment, you can ride all year. Winter rides on a sunny day can be the perfect way to break out of the dreariness of winter. Beautiful landscapes can be seen for miles as the trees lose their leaves and with the proper gear you no longer have to miss out on that. As refreshing and serene as it may be, winter is still cold and you have to protect yourself from the cold. With advancement in technology, you never have to worry about those bitter cold handlebars again.
Today’s winter motorcycle gloves typically combine leather and other materials for optimal protection. The insulating layer is usually Thinsulate or a similar material that is thin enough so you can still bend your fingers to operate your bike, but with a high enough thread count to keep the warmth in. These gloves are nimble, so they stay very comfortable and many are even pre-curved for better gripping. For year round riders, a quality winter glove is essential when out in the frigid temperatures. Thermal inserts or even electronic heating inserts are also a must-have for winter rides.
There are some things you really must take into consideration when choosing proper hand gear for winter months. Ask yourself some questions to identify what you actually need. Where will you be riding? What’s the average temperature of cold weather you’ll be expecting? You may want to consider a backup option in case you get caught in a situation that’s much colder than you’re used to. Waterproof gloves are probably something you want to think about if you’re up northeast or northwest. Take care in choosing your winter hand gear this year.
Motorcycle gloves sizing
While going out to buy motorcycle gloves, color and quality are not the only features you should look for. You need gloves that will fit you so that you can be comfortable riding. Choosing the wrong size of gloves may predispose your accidents, and you will not feel comfortable while riding. The size of your hands will determine the size of the gloves you will purchase.
It is advisable to order for gloves that are the size that you normally wear. Most of the gloves in the market have consistent sizes. Each brand has its size. If you wear large size, it is advisable to buy a similar size. If you are buying the gloves for the first time, you can always measure the size of your hands. This will help you get the right size of the glove you will need. You can measure your hand with a cloth tape measure. Collect different measurements of your hand. The best sizing for your glove will be the largest size that you get. You may try making your palm wide and flat to vary the measurement. After taking the measurement, determine the right size for you using the table below:
The above table shows various measurements of the hands and the appropriate glove that you will need. For women, the size of the gloves is one step smaller than those of men. For children, the size is much smaller compared to men and women motorcycle gloves. You need to be very careful while picking a glove for your child. The gloves for children vary from sizes XXS, XS, S, M, and L for 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 respectively.
Another most straightforward approach to measuring your hand for an expected cruiser glove fit is with a blueprint realistic of your hand. Use the outline to measure the appropriate size for your gloves.
The second and more correct approach to measuring your hand for a definitive glove fit is to utilize a dressmaker measuring tape. It’s as basic as wrapping the measuring tape around the knuckles of your overwhelming hand, barring the thumb. The estimation ought to be brought with a shut clench hand as your hand extends when held and will give you the most faultless measurement. It is best to request gloves in the size you typically wear. Most (yet not all) gloves are reasonably predictable in size starting with one brand then onto the next, so on the off chance that you have bought “large size” previously, and then it is a safe bet that you can again request a huge.
Any time you go out to buy motorcycle gloves, consider the sizes of the gloves. Choosing the right size of the gloves ensure your safety while driving. You may also need to try various brands that are in your size to get the one that works for you.
This article is not about upgrading your components, which requires removing one “thing” and replacing it with a “better thing.”
Instead, this article has as its focus on mountain bike accessories that didn’t come with your bike, but which you may find useful to the way you ride.
There are a gobs of people out there ready to sell you their stuff, each claiming to have just the “thing” you need for your bike. And convinced that you “need” it, you’ll soon want it.
My task here is to help you locate the must-have mountain bike accessories. I’ll tell you what I’ve bought so far, how well it works for me, and what I still want. Before doing that, I’ll tell you where I found the items.
Take the recommendations of other riders only if they ride like you do, where you do. For instance, the rider who recommends the self-sealing tube (which is heavy) may never have to carry the bike. You get the idea. Now, let’s go accessory shopping.
The best way to keep up with the new stuff is to browse the ads in the latest issue of a mountain biking magazine. You can find them in drugstores, supermarkets, and on newsstands. There’s no need to buy all of them because the advertisers do that for you.
The magazine’s pesky blow-in and tear-out cards will springboard you into the world of mail-order bicycle catalogs. Every-other- month I receive catalogs from the three biggest direct-mail companies.
Although I prefer to support my local retailer whenever possible, I have ordered from these companies. All are reputable, deliver what they promise and stand behind their products. One of them has overnight deliveries on Saturday at no extra charge. More about online ordering later in this chapter.
Another way to see must-have bike accessories are available, is to visit your local bike shop and take inventory (browse). Pull yourself away from the bikes and check out the walls, display cases, pegboards, nooks and crannies.
A final suggestion in the “what’s-out-there?” department is to attend a Fat Tire Festival and look at the bikes and people congregated there. You’ll find both bicycle accessories and the people who bought them. Why they bought an accessory, how much it costs, how they use it, and whether they’d buy the same accessory again are all fair questions. It’s one of the camaraderie things that makes those gatherings fun. Remember, the only dumb question is the un-asked one.
Must-Have Accessories for Bicycle Riders
If you’re like most people, you’ve spent more buying your bike than you had planned and are, therefore, in a cash-flow pinch. Buying accessories now is tough.
If you haven’t coerced your dealer into selling you the bike at cost, you may be able to get a free goodie or two thrown into the sale. Don’t get greedy. You’ll know where you stand bargain-wise.
And so, here starts my list.
Before we get to the add-on’s, here are a couple of things you may want to subtract from your new bike. Think these comments over carefully before acting, and don’t blame me if either of these actions result in inconvenience or injury. In other words, you’re on your own here as a consenting adult.
Kickstands are not allowed on bicycles participating in sanctioned mountain bike races because they’re dangerous to both the bike owner and fellow racers. In a crash, they can be jostled from the stowed position and stab or impale someone. Kickstands are also excess baggage on a lean and lightweight bike. Mine, is history.
Many dealers put kickstands on bikes merely to manage the display. Imagine a showroom full of bikes without kickstands and you’ll understand the reasoning. Dealers display more expensive, kickstand-less bikes either suspended from walls, racks, or the ceiling, on stands, or parked in a rear-wheel bike rack of some kind.
So how do you manage a bike with no kickstand? Here’s how: Find something to lean the rear tire against and the bike will magically stay upright. Otherwise, gently lay it down on the side that doesn’t contain the rear derailleur.
One more thing.
If your bike came with a kickstand, the bottom of the chainstay will be scratched and gouged where the offending critter was affixed. After removing the thing, you steel bikesters should clear-coat the scratches with polyurethane varnish before rust sets in.
What’s wrong with reflectors?
They’re bulky, weighty, made from stamped metal that rusts, never point in the right direction, protrude in awkward ways to snag both skin and clothes in a fall, litter the trail when they come loose and fall off, do nothing to fend off bears and rattlesnakes, and make an otherwise off-road specialty machine look like it took a wrong turn somewhere.
Reflectors also save lives. It’s against the law to sell a bike without reflectors installed front, rear, on the pedals and in the spokes. Anyone who has driven a car at night knows the value of reflectors. By all means, if you ride your bike on the streets at night, and/or don’t have both headlights and tail-lights, leave them on!
You off-road-only folks, and those with a set of battery operated lights that are actually used might want to remove the reflectors yourself. Don’t ask your dealer to do it for you. They’ll probably give you a lecture before saying no.
My bike is reflectorless. I also own proper and removable lighting equipment both front and rear and there are nice reflectors on my helmet, fanny pack and seat-pack. I realize the danger and never venture into the street after dark without lights with which to be seen. There are even inexpensive lights that let you see to some degree as well. I’ll cover those in this chapter.
The reflectorized tape that has recently appeared on the bike scene is a much better idea than the current reflector crop. Some of it is even nearly invisible during daylight.
Now for some of the best and must-have mountain bike accessories:
15 Best Mountain Bike Accessories
1. Water bottle and Cage
People who exercise need fluids. According to the exercise gurus you’re supposed to drink before you get thirsty.
Either way, it’s a good idea to have some liquid within reach at all times. A water bottle and cage fills the bill. As for the cage, nearly all bikes now have at least one set of cage bolts on the down-tube.
Many have a second set on the seat-tube. Rear suspension bikes have them wherever there’s room on the frame. I like the aluminum cage which is available in black, silver, and nearly any other color. They’re light-weight and can be coaxed into a tighter or looser fit with a little bending.
A bottle cage purchased for the seat-tube will probably have to bolt over the front derailleur collar. Make sure the cage mounts allow for that or you will be returning it to the store. Better yet, ride your bike to the bike store. They should let you bring it in and try the fit.
Many bottles are give-away items silk-screened with someone’s logo. Even sports drinks like Gatorade and Power- Ade are now selling their products in bottles that fit into bottle cages. You can get them at most convenience stores.
Nonetheless, a real water bottle will seal well and not leak. It will be easy to squeeze even when cold and will deliver a good volume of liquid. It should have a torpedo- shaped bottom so it goes in and out of your cage easily without having to look at it. The top should unscrew to let ice cubes and washrags in. A clear color will let you see how much remains and a no-slip grip would be nice, too. Specialized makes just such a bottle for about $7 retail.
Remember, full water bottle(s) add weight to your bike. If that bothers you, investigate the bottle-toting fanny packs available.
More serious, long-distance riders who have $50 or so bucks to spend will buy a bladder-style watering device worn like a backpack. It has a tube attached which routes over the rider’s shoulder and a mouthpiece which, when clenched in the teeth will open to deliver liquid. The company making them is Camelback.
Think of a cycling computer as the speedometer of the ’90’s. It’s not only fun, it gives you lots of useful information. Even inexpensive models ($20) will tell lots more than just how fast you’re going. These little gems also tell you how long you’ve been riding, what your maximum speed was, your average speed for the trip, how long the trip was, how many miles you’ve accumulated on your bike, and what time it is.
For a few dollars more, the computer will display your cadence (RPM of your pedals), your present altitude, your total altitude gain/loss, and your heart rate. Not only that, but by pre-setting the limits of your desired heart- rate training zone, you can see how much pedaling time was spent below, in, or above your target heart rate. Pretty slick.
I’ll be frank. Cateye makes killer computers. I like their smallness, lightness, the way they “click” in and out of the handlebar mount, and the way the magnet affixes to the spokes. Vetta misses those marks.
Add a computer to your mountain bike and try to resist the temptation to stare at it instead of where you are or are going. Computers are fun.
3. Bar Ends
If your bike didn’t come with bar-ends already in place, consider buying a pair. Although principally designed for additional leverage while climbing, the bar-ends give you numerous places to grasp the handlebar when hand and wrist fatigue begin to set in.
Of course, when my hands are on the bar-ends instead of the handlebar grips, I can’t reach the brakes, so I don’t use them in traffic or when the trail gets tricky. Choices include all sorts of colors, shapes, and the lightness (and expense) of exotic metals.
It’s a fact. The most comfortable seat is probably in your living room in front of your TV set and not on your bike. Another fact. You will get used to your bike seat even though it may be the hardest thing you’ve ever sat upon.
After your first ride, you may be tempted to purchase one of the new “gel” seats. Try to resist. In the first place, a mountain bike seat is not for sitting on in the traditional sense. Instead, the seat offers support for your exercising tush while your arms carry some of the weight.
Furthermore, riding the challenging singletrack of most forests requires frequent position changes which your seat should permit not prevent. Think of the seat as a butt-grasp and you’ll better understand and appreciate its spartan design. Seat designers are not as stupid as you might think and the very seat you wish to trash was intentionally contrived.
You should be spending at least some of your time out of the saddle either to cruise over bumps, cruise downhill, or stand and pedal. If you do none of these things, expect a little soreness in the beginning.
The best MTB headlights come in two flavors: the kind that let you be seen, and those that let you see. In this arena, you clearly get what you pay for.
If you’re just riding around your neighborhood, an inexpensive light will do fine. Actually, the street lights do most of the work, and your light is just to “be seen.” The crop of $20 bike headlights doesn’t do a great job of illuminating hazards like broken glass when you’re pedalling fast.
If you’re hoping to ride fast through the woods at night, you’ll need more than the $20 headlight. You’re going to need one of the more serious lighting systems. These can range in price from about $60 to better than $250.
I opted for a mixture of lighting systems. For trail stuff, I have a helmet-mounted 15 watt Night Rider Sport, which boasts the same tiny but efficient headlamp unit as its more expensive brothers but without the rechargeable batteries. The Sport comes with a battery-holder, into which you put “D” cells (Ray-O-Vac Renewals work fine and recharge as a bonus).
In addition, I carry an inexpensive CATEYE HYPER Halogen on the handlebars. This is a wonderful low-cost light. Cateye incorporates a strobe on this light, reasoning that it extends battery life–and it does. The strobing (like all household incandescent light bulbs) is invisible.
Why both lights?
The helmet-mounted light lets me see where I’m looking, not just where the handlebars are pointed. Unfortunately, a head-lamp doesn’t paint those helpful shadows that tell you how tall obstacles are–that’s what the handlebar light is for. It’s a good combination.
Before leaving headlights, I would like to remind you to evaluate a light’s run-time on full batteries. The information is published in most catalogs and on the light’s packaging. Oh, I also recommend removing the lights when they’re not in use. All worthwhile lights can be removed from their mounting brackets leaving the bracket attached to your bike for the next midnight ride.
Without a rear reflector, you must have a taillight to ride at or after dusk. You want something small, bright, lightweight, and visible from the sides as well as the rear.
At present, VISTALITE delivers on all those points with their VL200 quick-release (about $15). It mounts firmly on the seatpost with a non-slip strap/buckle arrangement and will either glow steadily or flash depending on how you affix the lens. Its 5 LED’s will last 200 hours on two AAA batteries and its weight (with batteries) is a manageable 53 grams. This light was voted “Best in Category” by Bicycling Magazine. My previous light was a helmet-mounted one, scraped off by an errant tree branch somewhere in the woods, where, I guess, it “winked” to death, never to be seen again by the sucker who bought it–me.
We all know what locks do but before buying yours, ask yourself these questions: Do I really want to add that weight to my bike? Am I really going to ride it to the store, mall, show, and other un-attended places? Could I carry the lock in a backpack instead of affixed to the bike? Can I take it into the store, office, my friends apartment, etc.?
Good locks are both expensive and heavy. No lock will save your bike from a determined thief. Any lock is a burden to carry, and most will scrape off your paint. If you have a bike with quick-release wheels, be prepared to lock them. If you have a quick-releast seat, include it in the lock scheme too.
If you must use a bike for basic errand-running, consider investing in a “klunker,” and a cheap lock, which may be cheaper than a good lock alone. Bike theives know a good bike when they see it.
Gotta have one. Start with a good trail pump. Get a light- weight one in the under $20 range. Blackburn makes a great one (MT-1). Affix it to your bike if you want to show it off to friends and thieves and pick it up whenever you lift your bike. Putting it in a fanny-pack is perhaps a better idea. The small pumps will require about 200 strokes to bring a fat tire from zero to safely rideable. Not a pretty number, but better than walking out of the woods.
As soon as you can, get a decent floor-pump for your house, apartment, garage or shed. Zero to 40 pounds in about 20 strokes.
Why a floor pump?
The only no-leak tire I’ve seen is made of solid rubber. All tires with tubes leak. The air goes through the microscopic holes in the tube over time. I check inflation frequently with at least a tire-pinch before every ride.
Also, sadly, if you’re serious about riding off-road, you should expect flat tires and learn how to fix them on-the- trail. Thorns, briars, sharp rocks, roots, and rough riding all contribute. If someone experienced doesn’t show you the tire-fix tricks, you’ll have to learn them yourself through trial and error. Ask someone to show you the tricks. If they offer to change your tire for you, watch them do it and ask questions. All this neatly leads to the next item: Patch kits.
9. PATCH KITS
Forget about traditional, patch, scraper, tube-of-glue patch kits. There’s something newer and better called the “glueless” patch.
The principal reason traditional patch kits have fallen out of favor with me is related to a simple truth: The stupid glue-tube becomes rock-hard and worthless after one patch no matter how tight you screw the lid back on. Putting more than one patch in the kit only fools you into thinking you’re prepared for the next flat. Manufacturers of these kits must think that flat tires are spaced only 15-minutes apart.
Glueless patches not only take up less space in your tooklit, they weigh less, and as an extra benefit, they actually work. I like those made by the Park Tool people. If you hold one of their patches up to the light, you can see the magic sticky-word “3M” embossed on the patch.
10. SPARE TUBE
Someday, when it’s least convenient, you’ll snakebite a tube on a poorly bunny-hopped rock, or granite curbstone. Properly done, the tube will be history. Patches won’t help.
This is where the spare tube is worth the trouble. I keep mine in the under-seat pouch–which is the only extra my bike carrys as part of its anatomy.
A final argument for the spare tube: Often, leaks are hard to find while seated among the ferns or rocks of critter and insectdom. Better to check the tire for the culprit, remove it, mount up the spare tube, pack up the leaky one and fix it when you get home (or get a second flat and have to).
I learned the value of this lesson the hard way.
Get the best MTB helmet that money can buy. Make sure it doesn’t rattle on your head over bumpy terrain, and, by all means, wear it!
Without a helmet, you risk the worst kind of injury–head injury. Consider this: When you bang your head hard enough, you bruise your brain. When you bruise your brain, it swells up. Your skull can’t expand to make room for your swollen brain, and the result is life-threatening brain damage. A coma. A brain hemorrhage. Death. Head injuries can turn a minor crash into a major problem. You won’t enter a sanctioned event or even a leisure club ride, without one.
Helmets, unfortunately, can also be bothersome and hot–no matter what the manufacturer says. Nonetheless, helmets are good medicine. I bought a white one to fend off some of the heat. What I can’t stand, is a helmet so tight that the chin-strap chokes you if you raise your head. A helmet that rattles around on your head every time you hit a bump is just as bad.
What I have done here, is justify the expense of the new breed of helmet that locks behind your head to prevent rattling. Currently, Specialized and Gyro both make them in the $100 range. The cost may be more painful than the rattling.
My helmet is a $30 cheapie but it affords the protection I need in a fall. My present helmet is too big, even with the largest adjusting sponges installed, so I often wear a baseball cap under it, with the “bill” turned rearward.
Young immortals may campaign to repeal helmet laws. I would rather survive an otherwise manageable crash to mend my broken bones and ride again with my senses intact.
12. HELMET REAR-VIEW MIRROR
This is an off-road publication. If you regularly ride on the highway, get one and use it. As dumb as it may be, a helmet mirror works and on the road, it could save your life.
In the woods, the mirror will get ripped off by the first branch and cease being a problem.
Mountain bike handlebar grips aren’t real comfy because there’s often a need to hold-on-tight when the going gets tricky. Spongy handlebar grips don’t equate with being in control.
An inexpensive pair of padded cycling gloves will do wonders for your ride. Not only will you feel more powerful wearing them, you will also benefit from the extra padding. In addition, most gloves include a terrycloth thumb which is great for wiping the sweat from your brow or the Gatorade from your chin.
Gloves come padded with many different substances, some more expensive than others. If you’ve never worn bike gloves, my advice is to try an inexpensive but comfortable pair first. If you like what they do for your hands, wrists, and arms, get a better pair when your first ones wear out.
A hidden advantage to gloves is they make you look like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t.
Here’s another item that can make you look like you know what you’re doing, and like sneakers, they’re a fashion statement. Actually, at a hundred-fifty bucks a pop they’re more a statement of what’s in your bank account.
Clearly, eye protection while mountain biking is a good thing. Not only do the good ones block invisible UV’s, they also block things thrown up by mountain bike tires, both your own, and the rider(s) in front of you.
But alas, what good is eye-protection if it makes you look like a geek. For this reason, a handful of manufacturers have succeeded in creating a Madison Avenue “aura” around their sports spectacles. In other words, if yours sport an unrecognizable name on the temples, you too become unrecognizable to all but your real friends. Enough said.
Now you might think that skin-tight Lycra cycling apparel is great. Functionality aside, you may even think it’s alluring, sexy, fashionable, or just plain attractive. Many find it disgustingly revealing. Whatever the personal appeal or dislike for the appropriateness of Lycra in a given cycling environment, one fact remains: it’s functional. In other words, there are reasons for both its design and popularity.
First, Lycra cycling shorts fit snugly enough not to rub against your skin while you peddle. For the men, that means that lycra won’t rub the hair off your legs. Lycra also won’t chafe your thighs or crotch.
Perhaps most important, Lycra cycling shorts contain padding in the crotch and buttocks areas where it’s most welcomed. Not only that, the crotch padding material is space-age designed to absorb moisture and “wick” it away. As a final design consideration, many better padded Lycra cycling shorts are treated against the growth of nasty bacteria.
So, let’s summarize: Lycra cycling shorts won’t get snagged on branches or your saddle’s nose when you dismount or get dismounted. They offer some extra padding for your tush and genitalia. They contain anti-bacterial treatment, offer evaporative advantages for sweat, are lightweight, and make you look like a serious cyclist.
The problem is that you may not want to look like a ballet dancer as you peddle through the more macho parts of town. Insofar as the advantages well outweigh the disadvantages, you might consider wearing cycling Lycra beneath some more fashionably acceptable shorts. If it’s attention you want, by all means wear Lycra in any of the neon colors easily available. By all means too, if yours is a youthful hardbody, Lycra will call attention to your anatomy almost faster than riding in the buff. Underwear is not worn under the stuff, and if its not skin-tight, it’s not Lycra.
If you’re practical, you’ll have some Lycra. Whether or not you let people see it is a more personal choice.
Where Do You Get Your MTB Bike Accessories
The Local Bike Accessory Shops
On the National scale, these people are your friends and neighbors. They buy things wholesale, sell at retail, and hope to be able to pay the rent, keep the lights on, buy insurance, and pay employees. They also want and appreciate your business.
I enjoy a wonderful relationship with my local Bike Shop. Sure, I go there to buy cycling accessories, but sometimes I go there because it’s too rainy to ride, or I have a question, or I want to see what has recently been added to the shelves.
If you would like to get to know the people at your local bike accessories shop, go when they’re not busy. Learn things by listening to them answer other people’s questions. You may even be able to help by letting your enthusiasm for the sport convince a wavering customer that it really is fun. If you’ve been well treated, let other customers know that too.
If you play your cards right, you may be able to assist during a busy time, help keep bikes from being stolen during a rush, learn from their mechanics–and be rewarded with a discount the next time you buy something.
Online Bike Stores
Whether you order online or not, a collection of current online bike stores is good. The online stores help you learn which MTB accessories are a good value, and what other options exist. By reading the spec’s on things, you better understand what makes one thing good, another better.
Here is my list of pro’s for online bike stores:
Online bike stores offer a wide selection of products. But to be fair, you need several catalogs because not all houses carry the same brands. A local store would go broke trying to mount such steep inventory options.
Online ordering is just one step behind the latest magazine ad. If you see it in print, chances are it’s in stock and ready to ship. Exceptions: popular items are sometimes sold-out or back-ordered and a magazine’s review of a prototype may beat the production run and therefore delivery to the seller. New catalogs are released several times a year but you can order from old ones (sometimes at the old price).
Sales Tax Break
If you live in a State other than that of the online bike store place, you probably won’t pay tax. I say “probably” because if there’s also an online bike retail store in your state, you will pay tax. On $50 and over items, the savings can be worthwhile providing it’s not gobbled up in shipping.
Ease of Ordering
I like the ability to order virtually 24-hours a day into a free 800-number. You might be surprised to discover that many of those phone-operators are pretty sharp when it comes to answering technical questions too. For those who don’t have credit cards or don’t want to use them for whatever reason, Performance mail- order now takes checks-by-phone even for next-day delivery–a brilliant move.
Next Day Deliveries
What an impulsive bunch we have become. Not only do we want something, we want it now and are willing to pay for the service.
Frankly, I think this is where the online bike accessory companies makes some extra money. Shipping is computed on the cost rather than the weight of an item. That’s not how it works when I send packages.
Be cautioned that most online bike stores have time-of-day cut-offs for next-day delivery (usually 3 to 4 P.M. the day of order). Pleading and begging sometimes works if it’s not busy in the shipping department.
When I was a kid, I just couldn’t wait for the mailman to bring the toy ordered from Kelloggs. Some of that joyful anticipation returns as I wait for my Amazon Prime express package.
Here’s what I don’t like about mail-order:
At a glance, an online bike store is the cheapest thing going. A local dealer couldn’t possibly match the price and survive without the volume. But watch out: the price listed can be just the tip of the iceberg. It’s easy to collect a list of items, total them up, and get sticker shocked by the shipping and handling.
Although return policies vary from company to company, most are no-questions-asked refunds or credits–your call. Still, wouldn’t it be easier to just drive across town with the dud item and return or exchange it?
Luckily, in my limited experience, I haven’t had to return anything yet but I did have an overnight delivery fouled up by Performance. They cut me a check for the expedite charge and sent it within a week. Nonetheless, I didn’t have the part for a planned weekend ride. Not a happy situation.
A year of buying online bike accessories gets you nothing more. No ticket, no laundry, if you catch my drift. A local merchant, like the old bank teller, will get to know and trust you. These, are the ’90’s. Bike shops are good things and if we don’t use them, we’ll lose them. Find a balance in your purchasing.
Warning About Online Bike Stores
Don’t order anything from an online bike store that doesn’t publish its phone number, no matter how sweet the deal. If you do, there’s a chance you will be mailing “HEY! WHERE’S MY THING?” inquiries to the same mailbox that sucked up your check. But you knew that.
A final but important note: Try to resist the temptation to buy the first “something” you see in the store. Research the possible existence of similar other “something’s” before getting out your wallet. Online bike stores will discount an item to purge their inventory just before offering the new, improved, cheaper version. It’s like “Insider Trading” and a cheap-shot but I see it often.
Okay, paint job, color or polish and stickers count too because 10 Cannondales will vanish from a bike rack faster than a single Murray. If country of origin is important to you, factor that in.
Consider the frame carefully. No point investing in component upgrades if the frame is a dinosaur. In real estate it’s called over-building your neighborhood. That is, you’ll not likely recover your investment when it’s time to sell.
Let’s plow through the frame attributes I mentioned above one step at a time.
Geometry is dimensions, angles, lengths, and clearances of such things as the steering tube, seat tube, vertical and horizontal tubes–in other words, what gives a bike its “feel” when you ride it. Geometry defines the intended use of a bike. That’s why a pair of fat tires on a ten-speed Road Bike does not a Mountain Bike make.
To be more specific, differences in frame geometry are sometimes slight between manufacturers. Frame designers are proud of their design concoctions.
Don’t worry too much though, all the manufacturing heavy- hitters have settled into similar geometric grooves and differences are seldom radical.
When it comes to geometry, in the words of one manufacturer, “Screw the hype, ride the bike!” I might add that you need to test drive it in a way that simulates your intended use–not just around in circles on the dealer’s side-street. If you want more information on geometric options, check you your local bike dealer’s collection of catalogues.
Bike Frame Size By Height
Several factors affect which size bike is your best bet. Most obvious, of course, is the overall size of your body and the relative proportion of your body’s parts. Fact is that more than one size frame will usually fit and which one of those you choose depends on how it “feels” to you when you ride it.
Mountain Bikes are designed to fit differently than Road bikes. Whereas the Road bike needs a mere 2″ clearance between your crotch and the top tube when you stand flat- footed on the ground, Mountain Bikes should have from 4″ to 6″ because chances are good that you’ll need it if the off- roading gets too tricky for your skill.
Mountain Bikes also come with long seat-posts, and most professional riders have a lot of it showing, indicating their preference for the smaller frame sizes. A smaller frame is preferred because it’s lighter, stronger, quicker, more rigid and less likely to fail than larger sizes. A good rule of thumb, then, is to find the smallest frame that will work for you. My first Mountain Bike frame was too big.
Start with your legs. Stand flat-footed on the floor with your feet about a foot apart and find a bike that gives you the 6″ crotch clearance as you straddle the center of the top-tube.
Next, get someone to help you by holding the bike upright with you on it. See if there’s enough seatpost to raise the saddle high enough to allow only a slight bend in your leg when the ball of your foot is on the pedal with the crankshaft parallel to the seat tube near the bottom of its revolution.
Not enough seatpost?
Compromise the crotch clearance and step up a size. Pedal/leg extension is critical to using your big leg muscles. Too much bend in the leg and you’ll tire quickly. You’ll also murder your knees.
HOW HIGH THE SEATPOST?
Be warned: Don’t exceed the manufacturers stamped-on max- height seatpost warning. It relates to shear strength. Be aware too that after-market seatposts can be had in the over $100 dollar range. Seat posts are precision-sized bike parts whose diameters are always critical.
Seatpost failure is painful to even imagine but it happens. One reliable manufacturer, Ringle, recalled its 93 Moby Post sub-200 gram model due to breakage. Their 94 posts were beefed up to 220 grams. If you must tinker, you should find the size stamped near the bottom of the post for use in sizing the replacement. Another thing: Seat post stresses are transmitted to the seat-tube clinching mechanism and frame seat-tube. Over-stepping the height bounds may cause the seat-tube to rip, trashing your frame.
So now your inseam fits the pedals and your crotch nicely clears the top-tube. Good start. Let’s fit the torso and arms.
In the reach for the handlebars, you’re going to find out how far your torso and arms stretch comfortably.
If you want to ride your bike sitting chair-like in the saddle, stop reading this and go buy a beach cruiser with a big fat seat. You’ll need it because all your weight will be on your cruising butt.
On the Mountain Bike, like it or not, some of the weight is on your arms, wrists, and hands. How much weight will depend on how far forward you have to lean to get hold of the handlebar.
A number of things affect the size of your “cockpit” such as the length of the top-tube, the rise or drop of the stem, the stem length, etc…
The stem, by the way, connects the frame to the handlebars. Road-racing bike riders are constantly looking for better ways to cut down wind- resistance and many Road warriors prefer a negative rise stem. That is, they dip down making the handlebars lower than the top of the steering tube.
Mountain bikes usually have stems ranging from zero to 30- degrees in rise. The more rise, the more upright your seated position and the more weight on your butt.
Even if you aren’t racing downhill all hunkered over to lower your wind resistance, it doesn’t hurt to be bent-over somewhat if for no other reason than to dodge low-hanging branches and fallen trees.
With most serious Mountain Bikes sold sporting zero, 5 and 10-degree rise stems, you’re going to be leaning forward on a factory bike, like it or not. In fact, the more expensive the bike, the lower the handlebars–as if to appeal to the semi-pro, pro and sport riders.
You may not like it at first but will learn to appreciate low handlebars as soon as the riding gets tricky.
Why lean forward?
Most important, the posture allows you to raise your butt off the saddle and stand on the pedals without knocking your riding balance all to hell and wobbling your bike into the trees or off the cliff. That argument alone should be a convincing one for forward- leaning trail riding.
When leaning forward, your center of gravity is lower. For the fast runs, you push less wind. With some of your weight on the handlebars, your butt and arms share the soreness rather than letting your buns take all the punishment. With some weight on the front tire, you have better traction up there and therefore more and better maneuverability. You can ride uphill while still seated.
If these reasons aren’t enough, remember that it’s partly exercise you were after when you got the bike in the first place, and leaning forward strengthens your neck, arms and wrists if not over-done. Stop if you get tired and enjoy being where the bike has taken you. Drink some water, snap a picture, eat a snack. Build up to the longer rides by resisting the temptation to out-ride your strength and stamina.
Bike Frame Tubing Type
Strong and light-weight–these are the mandates. Strength is especially important in the Mountain Bike because of how it’s marketed.
The manufacturers of Mountain Bikes depict their products sailing mid-air into the wildest terrain–a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Machine. If the customer is going to try some of the stunts depicted in the ads, the bike better be able to take the punishment without breaking–or worse–killing somebody.
The bike should also be light-weight for at least two reasons:
first, there’s the physics of putting dead-weight into motion. The more of it there is, the harder it is to get moving. Heavy human-powered machinery is not a good thing.
Second, chances are if you’re off-roading on your bicycle, you’ll need to carry it from time-to-time: over logs; across little streams; into and out-of your car or truck; and up or down the incredibly steep, slippery or occasionally treacherous landscape.
Lightness and heaviness is a function of all your collected bike accessories but starts with the frame tubing itself.
Your bike’s tubing determines its most basic personality. Regardless of the quality and price of the components you add, junk tubing equals junk bike. If you want to or must skimp somewhere, tubing is not the place to do it. This is your bike’s foundation.
That having been said, the advent and popularity of exotic frame metals has led to a popular misconception: high-tech frames make light bikes. That simply isn’t true because you still have to put wheels (rims, spokes, hubs & tires) on the thing, as well as other potentially weighty parts like stems, handlebars, seat and seatpost, brakes and brake levers, shifters, bar-ends, front and rear derailleurs, chainring, crank levers, pedals, and the bolts and nuts to hold it all together.
Take the cheap route on any of those essentials and the lightest most exotic frame in the world will begin feeling like a department store dinosaur.
So, let’s approach frame materials like grown-ups. Let’s peel away the hype and the full-page color ads long enough to see what it’s really all about in frame materials.
Here are the current mountain bike frame material choices:
If you read the advertisements, and check the prices you will be convinced that if you get what you pay for aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber–being more exotic and expensive–must be better than steel.
I do not own an exotic metal bike for more reasons than just cost. Read on, and judge whether it’s a “sour grapes” bias. You aluminum, Ti & Carbon frame owners, please bear with me.
Steel Bike Frames
Steel has a flex, resiliency and strength no other metal duplicates. The feel of a steel bike is different than that of aluminum, titanium or carbon fiber.
Countless riders still like the feel of steel bikes and tubing manufacturers have responded with lighter steel Alloys.
Most desirable is the steel/chromium alloy commonly marketed as Cro-Moly steel. In Fact, the preference for steel has even introduced a new steel model outfitted and priced more than many aluminum models–the Gary Fisher “Cronus.”
A history of steel manufacturing in the U.S. and Japan would be enlightening here, but let’s not get too side-tracked.
In a nut-shell, America geared up its steel technology in the ’40’s during the war, and there things stood until Japan started spewing Hondas and Toyotas into the world in the 70’s.
New Japanese steel factories were built and old ones up-dated. Tange steel was born, and quickly became a new world standard in steel/alloy tubing.
The U.S. did some modernizing of its own, giving birth to True-Temper steel. Steel had grown up. It was being made lighter, stronger, and more expensive. Golf clubs got more expensive and better. Bike-makers took notice.
Bike manufacturers started tinkering with the tubing even more, with a process called “butting” whereby the tubing is tapered. This means the tubing is drawn thin in the areas of least stress, but left thickest at the ends, where the welds are and where the strength is needed. This “butting” resulted in an even lighter piece of tubing.
If butted tubing worked, why not double-butted? And so it goes. Fisher’s Cronus is triple-butted True-Temper steel. In fact, todays steel Mountain Bike can be less than a single pound heavier than the same size aluminum counterpart.
As stated earlier, steel has a characteristic “feel” in a bike. It’s strong, but somewhat flexible or “springy.” It can take a hard impact and flex back. Steel absorbs shock. Consider that steel makes great springs. Aluminum springs, if they exist, haven’t caught on yet, to my knowledge.
On the down-side, steel doesn’t have the aerospace wow- factor built into its image. It’s also hard to brag about it without first explaining steel’s recent manufacturing advances. To most, steel is the stuff of tractors, Jeeps and Land Rovers. Besides, it rusts if you mistreat its protective finish. To me, that’s not a big minus. Paint is cheap and my bike acts more like a Land Rover than a Boeing 727. Sour Grapes? I don’t think so.
Aluminum Bike Frame
The first step up to exotic frames is aluminum, because it’s light-weight and doesn’t rust. Like modern steel alloys, aluminum tooling and processing has also advanced. 6061 T6 is popular for bikes (T6 is the temper designation, meaning the aluminum has been solution heat treated, and artificially aged without cold-working).
For an understanding of the metallurgy of aluminum, try the discussion on “Metals” in PEDAL PUSHER, a buyers guide available for $12 from Bike Pro Publications, 442 Steele Ln., Santa Rosa, CA 95401-3149 (800-BIKE-PRO). Among other things, this article de-mystifies the four-digit code as well as various temper designations. Be warned, though, it was written in squishy prose as if by the classic hard-to- follow lecturing college professor. No beginning, middle, or end–just facts, and tons of them. I emerged from the article amazed that aluminum even exists, much less that the integrity of its many compositions and temper variations can be policed. And that’s part of the problem.
Aluminum is less-dense than steel. You need more of it to get the same strength as steel, but it will weigh less. Tempered to a hardness suitable for bikes, it will also break rather than bend, so there’s little give to the stuff. Bike makers are “fine tuning” the feel of aluminum tubing by varying thickness (as in butting steel) and tubing diameter. Manufacturers claim that new designs even mimic the feel of steel–to a degree.
Even hardened aluminum, though, isn’t good enough for bolts, nuts, and screws, or for that matter, the chain. Those are still steel. Now, here’s a question: What happens when you over-torque a steel bolt into a piece of threaded aluminum? I’ll tell you what happens: you strip the damn hole. The good aluminum bike makers solve the problem with inserts. When you strip a bolt-hole, you buy a new insert and pay somebody to extract the old one. Terrific.
Another problem area is the dropout. Perhaps the single most vulnerable part of a bike frame is the little nub sticking down from the right rear axle slot which holds the rear derailleur. It’s called a “drop-out.” When an off-road stick reaches up and snags your deraileur, or slaps your deraileur into your spokes, something has to give.
Even a steel bike can be trashed in this “Achilles heel” area. Aluminum bikes are trashed more easily than steel bikes in this way. Manufacturers, recognizing the problem, include replaceable dropouts with shear bolts. The idea is simple. When your deraileur gets yanked and twisted, the add-on bends, the bolts snap, and you replace the disposable drop-out. Never mind that your deraileur and chain have just trashed your wheel and spokes. Not the frame-builder’s warranty problem. Your frame is fine.
Another nasty thought for aluminum bike riders is chain- suck. That’s the part where an over-shift or back-pedaling during a gear change has thrown your chain off the chainrings and wedged it into a cranny where it doesn’t belong. Chain is steel. Chainring is steel. Frame is aluminum. Which one gets the big damage?
Here’s another consideration. If Steel bolts in aluminum threads are wound up tight enough, they will seize. You know the feel and sound of a seized bolt. It’s a no-mover that makes a “cracking” sound if you’ve managed enough force without stripping off the slot, head, or recessed allen points. Not a nice thing. Of course, there’s anti-seize goop for sale. . .
Those little protrusions that hold the cables in place are called “braze-ons.” On many aluminum bikes they’re “riveted- ons.” But my final complaint is that aluminum tubing makes funny noises. It creaks under stress sometimes, and the point-of-creaking can be harder to locate than it is to tolerate.
Nonetheless, people keep buying aluminum bikes, and the manufacturers who have figured out a way to glue them together keep singing their praises in magazines and giving them to their sponsored riders to show off at all the racing photo opportunities. They’re easy to spot because aluminum bikes have big fat tubing which has become somewhat stylish. Because it doesn’t rust, aluminum bikes don’t need paint and many get polished to a shine like little Boeing aircraft. At least one company, Cannondale, doesn’t even make a steel bike and is perceived by many to be the “Ferrari” of the bike world. Aluminum bikes have merit or they wouldn’t sell.
I wonder sometimes though, how much of it is Madison Avenue “fizz.” To read the hype, you’d think that the aluminum frame alone was responsible for the low overall weight of these bikes. It’s not. It’s the top-shelf wheels as well as other components that make them pricey and light.
Titanium Bike Frames
If you think the new space-age aluminum alloy chemistry is difficult to comprehend, try reading the titanium literature. Little wonder it’s expensive–the furnace heating bill must be astounding. Titanium is also very tricky to manufacture properly, and you may be surprised to learn that titanium is 60 percent heavier than aluminum, a fact redeemed by its incredible strength.
Titanium is a truly exotic, high-tech concoction. I still remember my amazement the first time I held a titanium bottom bracket (crank arm bearing assembly at the bottom of the frame) in my hand. It looked like a real part, it worked like a real part, but it sure didn’t feel like the real thing. And so it goes.
At least one company, SRP (Specialty Racing Products) makes a principal living selling only titanium bolts, nuts, and replacement parts. Compare these prices: a stock Shimano bottom bracket, $15.99; an SRP titanium bottom bracket, $149.99 (ouch!). Weight difference? Shimano is 358.5 grams or 12.64 oz. and SRP is 164 grams or 5.7 oz. Add a few of those parts to your bike and it will be lighter than your wallet.
Titanium, though, is a little hard to weld and work. So much so, that many titanium bike makers contract with the alloy- maker itself to assemble the tubing into a frame, driving the price even higher. A handful of U.S. Bike makers have invested the money and time necessary to build using titanium in their own shops. Others don’t even offer titanium bikes, period.
Average folks can afford a titanium bolt here and there or maybe even a set of titanium handlebars for a hundred bucks or so, but as for the titanium frame, it’s a big-bucks investment few sane people can justify for weekend rides in the woods.
Then there’s the story of the counterfeit certification documents that began arriving with shipments to U.S. manufacturers of Russian-made titanium (all exotic alloy shipments come with certification as to type, temper, etc.). To get around this problem, the titanium bike parts themselves (handlebars for one) started arriving on U.S. soil–no certification necessary. These parts were being made in China with un-certified Russian titanium. Control Tech, a respected U.S. Part maker who sold some of these for a time, discontinued and recalled them.
There are three reputable titanium mills in the U.S. at this writing: Sandvik, Haynes, and Ancotech. Each has done a respectable aerospace business and parts made with their titanium are good safe bets. Bike makers Dean and Ibis both sell Ancotech Ti handlebars.
Oddly, at about 145 grams for the Ti bars you can find even lighter aluminum ones for less money. My advice is to know what you want, shake the romance off your lust, forget the boastful advertisements and go for the best, even if its cheaper. In other words, if you want to brag about metal, buy some jewelry, if you want a good bike part, ask some questions. If you just have to buy a titanium something, get some bolts and some anti-seize goop.
CARBON FIBER Bike Frame
This one has promise. Imagine a large (18″) Mountain Bike frame weighing a scant 2.8 pounds (including paint) and able to withstand incredible stress and impact. It’s one of bicycling’s newest frame materials: OCLV Carbon. The long name is Optimum Compaction, Low Void Carbon Fiber. It’s used in the latest planes from Boeing including their much-touted 777.
The manufacturing process is a bit like making paper mache science projects or patching the rusted floorboard of a ’55 Chevy. What you end up with is the stuff Corvette fenders are made of–sort of. Carbon fiber is reminiscent of Fiberglas(tm). To make it, instead of spun glass fibers, you take strings of carbon fiber, mix it with epoxy, put it on some kind of form, let it harden, take the form out, and use the newly created whatever-it-is.
At this time, I am not sure how the stuff is threaded to receive bolts, how the traditional braze-on cable hangers are attached, or how the dropouts are configured. Also unknown to me are its feel and ride, although reports in the trades and magazines give the substance high marks in all departments.
If you price one, hang on to your wallet. Each bike has to be virtually hand-made and is delivered sporting a beautiful sculpted look.
Other carbon fiber parts are also cropping up: such as handlebars (only 91 grams), hubs and saddle rails, to name a few. I get the feeling those exploring the OCLV market are on to something good but may be a bit ahead of their time. Investments in metal tooling for bikes is rampant and those folks won’t be quick to give up their market share. Those churning out OCLV bikes seem to be doing it instead of tooling for titanium.
Although chances are you will never have to worry about this OCLV shortcoming, you should be aware of it. If carbon fiber ever does reach its stress limit, it doesn’t bend, get distorted, or break like most other things. It shatters like a Corelle(tm) dinner plate hitting the floor–a fact revealed by a lab test of handlebar stress limits. However, the testers admitted, though, that the carbon fiber bar out- stressed everything else in the test.
If the world supply of epoxy doesn’t dry-up or harden, OCLV carbon fiber could be just beginning its march into American hard goods and, if you can make the stuff out of recycled junk, this is only the beginning.
Plastic Bike Frame
That’s right, plastic. More than one manufacturer is looking at plastic as the frame strength-to-weight utopia for a new breed of high-end mountain bikes. Schwinn, a re-emerging major force in bicycles, had already prepared the advertising blitz at this writing although no bike yet exists. You read it here.
Because the “Mountain Bike” is as popular in the flatlands as it is in the mountains, little wonder it is also called “All Terrain Bike” (ATB) and “Off Road Bike.” Let’s visit its origins.
Recent evidence has emerged which suggests and, quite frankly, proves through old photographs that the Mountain Bike was first used by those rascals in the Kentucky and Tennessee hills to tend their secluded moonshine stills. I’ll buy that. It is said that the balloon-tired vehicle was a quick, quiet and effecient way to tend the stills and keep one-step-ahead of the “revenuers.”
Bike may be old, but Tires aren’t!
Exactly what, if anything, was done to those early “Mountain bikes,” to make them work on the mountainous hillsides is not known to me at this writing. It’s safe to assume that something was modified. It’s also safe to assume that whatever the modification was, it was kept among the moonshining in-crowd.
That having been said, I’ll turn the focus Westward, and to those young men and women who weren’t afraid to both ride in the daylight, and share their back-yard engineering with anyone who would listen.
The commercial Mountain Bike evolution didn’t start until 1974 and its first production bikes didn’t appear in stores until about 10 years later. In other words, it’s a relatively new machine and sport. Not surprisingly, California commercialized, if not started it all. There, a band of reckless young men started racing down the root-strewn trails of the Northern California mountains atop home-made bicycles. They rode balloon-tired, coaster-braked, spring-seated bikes with motorcycle brake levers and old 10-speed thumb-shifters. Gary Fisher was one of those bike-makers and has become somewhat the commercial “Father” of Mountain Bikes for his early efforts.
Fisher’s mountain was Mount Tamalpis in Marin County, (read San Francisco) California. Its most challenging trail dropped 1200 feet in elevation in just 1.8 miles. At the end of the run, the coaster brakes heated up enough to need repacking with grease and the hill was named “Repack.”
Fisher’s “Klunker” (re-issued in 1996)
Four years later, in 1978, Gary rode his original bike down Repack Hill in 4 minutes, 22 seconds. Gary survived and at this writing, his record still stands.Because those early bikes had inadequate low gear ratios, Gary and his fellow riders had to push their bikes back up the hill, like sleds, for another ride down.
While the Californians refined their downhill bicycles, a group of East Coast riders were building their own version of the Mountain Bike for the rocky wooded trails of New England. The most promising work being done by a young cyclist named Chris Chance.
His first bike design, dubbed the “Fat Chance,” was outfitted with fat tires, of course, but Chris also re-welded the frame incorporating some radical geometric changes he thought would help him stay in the saddle while negotiating the single-lane paths snaking up, over, down and around the rocks, stumps and streams in the New England woods. His design used shortened chainstays, (horizontal tubes holding the rear wheel) which placed the rider more squarely over the back tire where climbing traction was needed. He used steeper head angles (the angle of the front fork) for quicker steering response. The result was a compact, responsive bicycle made for the woods. He didn’t stop there. Chance raised the bottom bracket which holds the crank/bearing assembly to give his bikes more ground clearance for rocks and stumps and he added a third front chainring for more low climbing gears.
EAST MEETS WEST
Heck, it was bound to happen. In the summer of 1983, Chris Chance and Gary Fisher met at a closed-for-the-summer Ski Resort in Crested Butte, Montana and a year later, in 1984, the Mountain Bike as we know it was being delivered to bike stores. A new sport had arrived. There were undoubtedly scores of other design contributors whose names, rightly or wrongly, have been overshadowed by the fame of Chance and Fisher. I acknowledge and salute them too. Forgive me, this is the Readers Digest version.
Mountain Biking in the 1990s
The first mass-produced mountain bike was the specialized Stumpjumper in 1980 and throughout the 1980’s the development of mountain bikes was rapid.
Major savings in weight were achieved by using new Japanese aluminium rims and properly deigned thin-walled knobbly-tread tyres. These developments brought the weight of the best mountain bikes to below 30lbs.
Mountain biking had now spread world wide and became extremely popular in Europe where mountain bike sales far exceeded that of any other type of bike. The majority of mountain bike frames were being produced in the far East, and Shimano became the main producer of the components. They made massive developments in gear shifting mechanisms and braking systems.
Many of the top end developments continued to filter through to the cheaper bike. Other developments included clipless pedals, which replaced toe clips, in which the pedal clipped to the soles of shoes in a similar way to ski cleats. Another major development was the introduction of motocross, and this inspired front suspension forks which made bikes ever quicker.
Mountain Bikes by the 1990s
By the 1990’s mountain bike development had spread to the rear of the bikes with the introduction of rear suspension which made riding over rough terrain faster and more comfortable.
Bikes were now much faster but the brakes were clearly lacking in power. V-brakes and hydraulic rim brakes were better but were eclipsed by the far superior English developed disc brakes. These were better because they offered superior power and a better feel to the rider. Also, because they were in the middle of the wheel, they did not get affected by mud and other debris on the trail.
Downhill mountain bike racing is a time trial event that has many similarities to downhill skiing. Riders start their runs at intervals that can vary from 30 seconds to up to three minutes, depending on the level of the competition.
The rider who completes the course in the shortest time wins. As the name of this type of riding implies, downhill races are staged on steep, downhill terrain, resulting in higher speed than in cross-country racing. The terrain is also often somewhat rougher than in cross-country mountain bike racing.
The bikes used in downhill tend to be heavier and much stronger than cross-country bikes, and almost always feature long travel dual-suspension (usually around 6-8 inches) whereas cross-country bikes are generally hardtails (4-5 inches of travel at the front).
Downhill mountain bikes have powerful disc brakes, which is mainly to allow the rider to only use one finger for braking, so that the rest of the hand can be on the bar and the rider can have better control.
The bikes also tend to have a single ring, as opposed to triple ring, because a large range of gears simply isn’t necessary. The single ring will also have a chain device to prevent the chain from derailing.
Safety Factors For Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Downhill riders almost always wear a full-face helmet and often wear full-body armour. This is because the speeds achieved on downhill tracks is high and you are riding in close proximity to trees and rocks etc.
Downhill is regarded to be the ‘Formula 1’ of the sport of mountain biking because the technology is more advanced than any other part of the sport and it is the riders skill that is tested rather than the riders fitness or endurance.
IS IT THE BIKE OR THE RIDE?
For some, Mountain Biking’s principal pleasure is a love affair with the machine itself. For others, the machine is merely the means to a different end: getting deeper into the woods and further from the routine drudgery called responsibility and its oft-associated predictable boredom.
It can be both too, with magazines to suit both tastes. Mountain Bike, Mountain Bike Action and Mountain Biking all have the machine as a primary focus, whereas Bike highlights the experience of the ride. Bicycling is principally a road-bike magazine with an almost reluctantly patronizing Mountain Bike mention of some kind each issue along with heavy doses of Health & Fitness articles and related ads.
MOUNTAIN or ROAD BIKE?
Telling the difference between a Mountain Bike and a Road Bike is easy. The Road bike has droopy handlebars and skinny tires. Mountain bikes don’t. Simple enough.
It had been over 20 years since I had ridden any kind of current- model bicycle and the advances in everything mechanical were astounding. I bought the first I saw that was in my price range. I loved the color and the bike looked just great. It rode and stopped good, shifted smoothly and had a front shock absorber instead of a fork. The bike almost pedaled itself. Sadly, I bought the wrong bike.
Now this isn’t a bicycle review and I’m not going to slam the manufacturer and model by telling you which bike it was–that’s not important. The lesson learned is this: had I not been so blasted curious I might still be peddling that first bike as happy as a clam. So be warned that what you are about to read may infect you with a lust to upgrade some components at best, or your whole bike at worst. Skip this section if you’re one of those people who doesn’t know when to put the brakes on the charge card.
Okay, you asked for it. Use your present bike or your imagination, and let’s go exploring. Of course, each of the components we’re studying is already part of an assembled bike. Building custom bikes is too expensive an ordeal for plain folks. Let’s start with the frame.