What to Know Before Buying a Hybrid Bike

August 16, 2018

Image Source: Depositphotos.com

Hybrid bikes are a combination of road and mountain bikes which is ideal for regular commuting to school or work. These environmentally-friendly vehicles can be used on both city roads and different types of terrain. Buying a hybrid bike is not much different than the purchase of a regular one, but you should focus on your needs more.

Hybrid bike models vary depending on the resemblance to the road or mountain bikes. While the latter focus on speed, the former offers comfort while riding on an uneven off-road terrain. Tires, disc brakes, and handlebars are adjusted to ensure both speed and comfort depending on your needs. Here’s what every cyclist enthusiast should know before buying a hybrid bike.

Tires

Tires can have a diameter ranging from 11 to 16.5 inches. Hybrid or city bikes take the 700c tire standard from road bikes, but also come with extra acceleration on uneven terrain and are compatible with road climbing.

As there is no rule with no exception, the best such bike is equipped with 8-inch wheels for easy speeding. You might notice that these bikes’ tires have high air pressure for extra speed and long rides. Seats are sleek and soft to make you feel comfortable during long-distance cycling.

If you don’t know where to start, you can take a look at this list of the top hybrid bikes 2018. There you will find the description, pros and cons, and standout features of five of the highest-rated hybrid bikes this year, according user and expert reviews.

Brakes

Hybrid bikes from reputed brands come with linear or direct-pull brakes that integrate into the front and sometimes rear wheel hubs. There are models with disc brakes if you look for more control when descending and riding on muddy trails. Disc or hub brakes ensure quick braking even in extreme conditions and require little maintenance.

Frequent users usually prefer linear-pulls as they are powerful and adapted to challenging weather conditions. You can find the breaks at the ends of flat handlebars to allow you a straight back position.

If you haven’t picked up cycling as a hobby yet, consider all its health benefits. According to a study, regular cyclers stay very healthy well into old age.

Suspension

The suspension fork is quite standard in hybrid bikes to minimize the impact of road obstacles and give you a comfortable ride. Whenever you ride on rough terrain or uneven roads, you will have more control over your bicycle.

Even if your favorite bike doesn’t come with suspension in the seat post, you can independently ask for one to be added in a repair shop.

Weight

The bike’s weight is linked to the material that the frame is made of. Typically, hybrid bikes have either corrosion-resistant but heavy aluminum frames or light carbon-fiber which ensures a smooth ride and higher costs. There also are aluminum-carbon mixes.

Hybrid bikes are lighter than mountain bikes and heavier than road bicycles. They are designed to handle most obstacles, but you should choose a mountain bike if you plan many off-road rides and little city commuting.

Gears

You can get 1 to 27 gears in an average hybrid bike. Choosing the number of gears depends on your desired fitness level and the most commonly used terrain. More gears mean more climbing. Fewer gears gives you a smooth ride on flat ground. Bikes with a single speed usually have a freewheel mechanism in the rear hub for coast cycling. 

Gears are, however, easy to change thanks to the standard button-style levers with screens that show you the speed.

Seats

The most comfortable features that hybrid bikes borrowed from road bikes are the seats. Hybrids’ seats are versatile and optimized to support weight distribution when you are climbing. There are countless anatomical shapes, flexible frames, cutouts, and gel padding or cushioning springs to choose from. All of them are meant to keep you comfortable and safe.

Deciding on a type of seat is a personal choice that you can make after testing the bike. Highly-reputed manufacturers design seats for general purpose with additional equipment to make them fit for off-road circumstances as well. So, if you don’t truly enjoy a position at first, give it a few more days. You might change your mind.

Handlebars

The size and shape of handlebars are versatile and aerodynamic so that you can add more pressure onto the pedals for faster riding. You can choose from:

  • Drop bars from road bikes which are the most popular ones as they are lightweight and allow the largest number of hand positions.
  • Mustache bars are similar to drop bars but also feature a little drop model. They let you sit upright on most types of terrain.
  • Raiser bars are quite standard as they extend up and backward. By sitting both upright and on the back, you have more vision of the road ahead.
  • Flat bars are quite common and a bit heavier than drop bars. You sit in relaxed positions to see the road and reduce hand and wrist strains.

What to Consider when Buying a Hybrid Bike

  • Budget: Money is critical. However, any model below $500 might not offer long-term quality. But for most bikes, you will spend two-thirds of the total bike budget on the product itself and the rest on the accessories.
  • Fit: The bike should fit your weight and height. You can adjust seat and handlebar height. However, you’ll never know if a bike fits you unless you test it.
  • Look: You will need to be pleased with your bike in order to use it. No one wants a bicycle in color or model he or she get distracted by. See what you like about your current bike and look for those features in the hybrid one. 
  • Service: Any reliable brand should provide you with personal service options and warranty. Notice how the brand communicates with its clients and even observe if they organize events for the local cycling community.

Buying a Hybrid Bike

Hybrid bikes are excellent choices for both weekday use and leisure cycling. Having such a bike means commuting to work and going to the woods or a national park while saving big on transport and staying healthy. Just find the right hybrid bike for your needs and ride it whenever you have the chance!

Post Author: Frankie Lawrence

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Tips for Racing Your First Leadville 100 MTB Race 

August 9, 2018

The legendary Leadville 100 mountain bike race is this Saturday.  This race is tough!  It starts and finishes in the heart of Leadville at 10,200’. With more than 90 percent dirt or double track dirt roads, steep climbs, serious descents and a seven-mile climb to the 50-mile turnaround at 12,600’, there is approximately 14,000’ elevation gain. That makes for a long and grueling day on the bike!  For non professional athletes, what are successful race strategies to help conquer this demon of a race? 

Plan Right!  Start off on the right foot by getting your bike parts  in order, lubing your chain, checking your tires, etc.  Basically, the goal here is to have everything you’ll need for race day morning packed up and ready to go by Thursday evening.  Not only does this relieve stressful day before packing but if you forget something, then you have time to pack it. But, what happens out on the course?  Crazy stuff can happen out there too!  Plan ahead and be sure to carry an extra tube or C02  with you, have extras in your drop bag along with some tires , bike nutrition, and extra clothing.  Lube is good to carry on hand too if the course is dry. If you are unsure if a certain bike part will hold up during the race, then have an extra one handy with some bike tools  in your drop bag to keep you in the race.

Fuel Right! Proper nutrition leading into a race is critical.  Yet, staying properly hydrated and taking in appropriate levels of protein and carbs during your race will not only help keep your energy up, but it will help keep your mind fresh and alert for those technical sections.  Consider stocking up with bars, gels, and an assortment of nutrition requirements to have in your jersey and in your drop bags.  Also, consider how you are getting your fluids: bottles or hydration pack?  It’s important to plan your water intake between aid stations so if you think it will be a while between them, opt for a hydration pack.  Regarding the frequency of eating and drinking,  prepare a food/ drink schedule so you stick to it. Our post, Dialing in your Race Day Nutrition, may help.  The main point here is to eat and drink on a regular schedule so you avoid bonking, cramping, and ensure you have enough fuel in the tank to finish the race. 

Pace Yourself! While the nerves are high and the muscles and energy are fresh, it’s easy at the start of the race to get after it and go out too hard and too fast.  Keep in mind, the more you spike your heart rate at the beginning of the race, the less you have available to pull from at the end of the race.  The trick to finishing this race is to ride a steady ride keeping your heart rate in check and knowing when to back off.  Use your cycling computer to keep yourself in check. Another helpful hint is to write down all of the aid station mile markers and cutoff times to help pace yourself and stay on schedule. Tape this list to your top tube so you can see it while you ride

Dress for Success! It’s chilly first thing in the morning at altitude! There is quiet a bit of time that passes between lining up for the start and the actual time of the gun going off at the start.  If you are cold and shivering waiting for the start, you are going to lose precious body heat and energy.  Stand around with warm clothes that are easy to take off just minutes before the race start.  Also, consider wearing warm clothes at the start of the race. As in, arm warmers, possibly knee warmers, and even a light weight head cover.  Due to rain showers and storms, you may want to have a lightweight rain jacket in your jersey pocket of pack to take on and off as needed.  With all cycling apparel on race day, it’s a good idea to have the zipper unzipped and the jacket easily accessible so you don’t waste valuable time.  This is even more important it you are bumping up against cut off times.  

Get Your Mental Game On!  Check in with your mental attitude, preparation, and willingness to “get after it.”  The level of digging deep and mental suffering for this race exceeds that of training rides or even shorter (60 miles or so) races.  Your thoughts, emotions, and self talk are components of your mental state, so take during the event, periodically take inventory of your mental state. It’s easy during a race this tough and long to compare your training and fitness to others.  Don’t compare!  Be prepared with mantras or mini goals to keep yourself going when the going gets tough.  

What other tips would you add?  Share them on Facebook and Twitter! And finally, good luck to all racers at the Leadville 100 this weekend!


Experiment with New Bike Parts to Keep Training Motivation High 

August 2, 2018

Course strategies, break aways, riding in a small group or a large peloton – these are the thoughts and questions of cyclist wondering how to win at bicycle racing.  With only about a month and half left of the Colorado cycling racing and touring season, many are filling up their calendars with the last big events of the season hoping to capitalize on the fitness gains made during the season.

Yet, as we transition from summer to fall, many cyclist find their enthusiasm for riding dwindling.  Have you noticed that at the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers and cyclist. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation just plain lacking.  With that in mind, what are the ways to maintain motivation while also capture added gains towards next year’s goals? 

The key to making the most of this time is really to have fun! Try new events, ride routes, and races. Enjoy the gains of your hard work! With fitness levels high, late season bike events offer a chance to experiment with race strategies and new cycling accessories. Venture out of your comfort zone and try racing a new road bike or mountain bike for one of your upcoming events.  If experimentation isn’t your thing, then at least replace worn out bike parts or catch deals on bike close outsbike parts and components. Stock up on cycling apparel for the fall and winter months to keep motivation high through the transitioning season.

Or, maybe training is too grueling for you this time of year. Switch from training to riding to work.  Bike commuting helps get in the miles while offering up time for other fun activities. Other fun activities include strength training and yoga.  Both of these activities help to extend the fitness gains you’ve made through the current year.

Enjoy the fitness gains you have made through the season. Have fun! Having a fun, relaxed attitude combined with a celebratory bike event is a great way to finish your season.  If you love what you are doing and are having fun with it, then you are setting yourself up for more good stuff to come in the following season…or cyclocross!  Stay tuned for our cyclocross post by following us on Twitter and connecting on Facebook


Tour de France Bike Parts and Gear Round Up

July 26, 2018

The 2018 Tour de France is near completion.  And while the GC battle is still to be decided, this year’s Tour riders will have covered over 21 stages, 3,351km including 25 major climbs as well as individual and team time trials before racing concludes on 29 July. Part of what makes all that riding doable are the bike parts, cycling accessories, and support available to these riders.  So what’s new in 2018? 

So much has been written on the latest road bikes, cycling gear, and cycling apparel that we decided to round it all up for you. Whether you are looking to learn about electronic shifting, disc brakes, custom paint, and never before seen bikes, these post have it all.  So, here you go! Read and click! 

Reading about the latest and greatest bike parts and gear is great but how is that relevant to your riding and pocket book?  We all know we don’t have the financial support and resources pro riders do – so that is where BikeParts.com come in.  The next time you are watching a stage in the Tour de France and you find yourself inspired by the gear and the bikes, head over to BikeParts.com.  ABikeParts.com, we offer a huge selection of road bike parts, mountain bike parts, BMX bike parts and more. If you need it for your bike, then we have it! Because we sell our bicycle parts online, we are able to help customers all over the world.  Now, the gear you see in the Tour is right at your fingertips! 


Wheel Upgrades 101 – What You Need to Know

July 19, 2018

Wheel Sets at BikeParts.com / Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

Wheel upgrades – they are one of the biggest differences you can make in your bikes performance. Obviously, wheels matter!  They impact ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  

The question is, once you’ve decided it’s time for a wheel upgrade, how do you know how to select the best ones?  There are different wheel types, a variety of options for tube or tubeless wheels, and ideas to consider in tubular wheels, rim shape, spoke count, and hub options. And for mountain bike wheel upgrades, there is the added question of what wheel size should you buy?  Since mountain bikes now have three wheels sizes to choose from – 26er, 27.5 and 29er – what makes sense for you?  Decisions! Decisions!

Before diving into any bike parts upgrades, you need to make sure you have a comfortable bike setup. No amount of money invested anywhere else on you bike will make a difference if you don’t feel comfortable and confident. With that said, bike fit comes first. Check out our post, Do You Know These 5 Important Bike Fit Tips? to get an idea of the 5 important bike fit tips to help you dial in your ride. And if you need help with your fit, look no further than Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop. We have a private, dedicated room designated for bike fits. We offer Specialize’s branded fit system, Body Geometry, accompanied by the newest technologies to give you a comfortable and professional bike fit experience. Not only can we help you with your fit, but we carry all the bike parts you may require to get your bike in the very best setup for your riding needs. Give us a call at (303) 216-1616 to schedule.

Now, back to the topic at hand. Aside from a bike fit, the single most effective upgrade you can make is the wheels you ride. A new wheel set will transform your current ride.  Specifically, upgrading the stock, entry-level wheels your bike came with can provide huge performance gains on the road. Rotational weight and aerodynamic design of a wheel set can make a huge difference in your ability to accelerate, your overall climbing speed and the ability to hold high speeds on flats. If you decide later to get a new bike, they will be transferable to your next bike. Definitely a good worthwhile investment.

So the question remains – which wheel set and what wheel size is right for you?  We have two great resources to help you decide.  Read our post, Answering the unanswerable: What wheel size should I buy? (And what’s the difference, anyway?) and check out our Wheel set Buyer Guide video.  The wheel sets demonstrated in the video are available in our shop or on the bikeparts.com website.  

If you need more help figuring out which wheel set is right for you, let us help! We answer these questions on a day to day basis in our Peak Cycles Bike Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Whether you are thinking about road bike wheel sets, mountain bike wheel sets or just getting some thoughts together on wheel buying parameters and how your wheel set will affect your overall ride and other bike parts, we’re here to help! 


Scared of Riding Solo in Remote Locations? Fear No More! Tips for Solo Rider Adventure Seekers

July 12, 2018

Adventure – we love it!  That’s why we ride bikes, right? The feeling of freedom riding a bike gives us is intoxicating and liberating.  Seeking adventure on our bikes just ups the game!  

The thrill of riding uncharted territory and exploring new rides and routes is exhilarating.  But sometimes, riding into the unknown can also be stressful – especially if you are doing it solo.  Fears of “things happening” when you are by yourself.  Fears about getting lost or getting hurt or even fears of bike mechanicals and having to walk a long distance.  Sometimes, things do happen but with a proactive approach, you can easily navigate riding solo in remote locations with confidence.  

Map it out.  Sometimes it is fun to just get on the bike and see where the ride takes you.  That is all well and good but when you are riding in a new location, it really is better to have some sort of a plan.  Either scout out your ride on the internet, carry a map with you, use your Garmin or cycling navigation tool to have an idea of the distance and terrain you will be covering.  The easiest way to ruin a ride is to get lost and spend countless, unnecessary hours trying to find your way back. You don’t need the stress of it all! 

Carry more than you need.  While you have an idea of what to expect on your adventure ride, expect the unexpected.  It’s a good idea to have an oversized pack. Carry more water than you normally would and pack for a variety of weather conditions.  A good rule of thumb is to carry a rain jacket, arm warmers, ear covers, extra food, and maybe a SPOT device if you are really headed to a remote location.  Don’t forget basic bike maintenance tools and chain lube to combat any mechanical issues you may encounter.

Be safety minded.  Obviously you want to be safe, but what does that really mean? Before you head out, check the weather and plan accordingly.  Also, inform others of the direction you are headed and what time you expect to return. While it may be tempting to deviate from the plan when actually riding, avoid the temptation to do it.  If something were to happen, it is wise to have others have a general awareness of your whereabouts.  Also, check your bike frame and bike parts for a good inspection. It’s easier to ride new and unknown trails and routes with the confidence that your bike is in good working order.  Besides, who wants to fix broken bike parts or cycling accessories on a ride? No one! So, give your bike a quick once over before heading out. 

Ride within your limits.  New ride routes and trails have a way of invoking cycling superpowers!  That is, they inspire us to ride fast and get after it! That is all fine and dandy but when riding solo in remote or uncharted territory, it may be a good idea to pull back just a bit. Keep some reserves in your energy stores in case you do get lost or the ride takes you further from your final, planned destination.  Be mindful of changing weather conditions that may tax your energy reserves and be proactive in eating timely and adding/ removing cycling apparel to make sure you keep your energy steady.  Nothing adds more stress to a ride than getting lost and / or being too cold and not knowing if you can even get to your final destination. 

Finally, relax! Enjoy the views! Bask in the thrill of exploration! 


Cycling Health: How to Remain Injury Free 

July 5, 2018

Staying healthy is important to our overall well being and happiness. Everyone knows this, but cycling health is a matter of staying healthy and injury free so that continuous fitness gains can be made and basically, you can just do more of what you love! Ride that is!   Fortunately, with some simple, routine actions, it’s easy to remain healthy and injury free. 

Bike fit: In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit. Whether you’re just starting to ride or you’ve been cycling for a long time, consider the benefits of a professional bike fit.  Fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries.  If you aren’t sure what to look for, you may want to notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. Saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design.  While your saddle may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving. Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Also, neck, shoulder, and bike pain can result of an improper fitting bike. Handlebars, stems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety.

Bike Inspection:  Just because your bike may not be making noises or shifting poorly doesn’t mean it doesn’t need some TLC.  Noises are obvious signals for inspection yet, regular bike maintenance is a necessity.  As you ride more through the summer season, some things that weren’t visible upon your first bike inspection earlier in the year may become apparent as the season progresses.  Regular maintenance is essential.  There are several things you want to do to keep it in good working order.  For starters, wipe down and inspect the frame. Remember to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity.  It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube.  As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.  Finally, inspect your brake pads. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat.

Wheel Inspection: Obvious inspections includes tires, rims, and spokes. Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires.  But maybe you’re considering a new wheel set?  Or perhaps going tubeless on your mountain bike.  Sometimes making changes to your current setup can inspire motivation to get out there and ride.  Check out our video on Wheelset Buyer Guide for What You Need to Know.  Whether you are thinking about road bike wheel sets, mountain bike wheel sets or just getting some thoughts together on wheel buying parameters and how your wheel set will affect your overall ride and other bicycle parts, this video will guide your way.

Biofeedback: Remember, it’s not all about the bike!  Be mindful of bio feedback.  What is your body telling you? Have you recovered from your last training ride or training block? Do you need rest? Or, are you ready to get out there and put some major miles and efforts in?  If you’re not sure of the messages your body is telling you, read our post, Overtraining? How Nutrition and Sleep Play a Role in Recovery for insights as to the stages of training and what to do about them for best performance.  Fortunately, due to the advancement of technology, there are countless apps available to help dial in bio feedback measurements and evaluations on the fly. 

In a nutshell, if you take care of your bike and yourself, then you will remain healthy and injury free. Sounds simple, and it is, but you have to remember to do it. Safe pedals friends!