The Importance of Having the Right Bike Parts for Cycling

October 18, 2018

Cyclists generally subscribe to the idea that having more than one bike matters.  Who couldn’t agree with that?! But on the flip side, have you ever wondered if bike parts matter? Sure, bike parts make are part of a complete bicycle but does one particular bike part matter than another?  

When you think about it, bike parts do contribute to your riding comfort. If you don’t feel comfortable, safe, or in control of the bike you are riding, chances are you aren’t going to ride it very often.  Also, bike parts do make a difference in injury prevention.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is having a proper saddle with aligned seat position, height, and angle – not to mention a few other important factors like handlebarsstems, and the correct bike position.  All of these factor in to a comfortable riding position as well as a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. 

But what other bike parts are important?  First and foremost would be the bike frame itself.  Whether it is a road bike, mountain bike, or cyclocross bike, the frame provides strength and rigidity and largely determines the handling.  In fact, Triathlete magazine provided the following advice to one of its readers: “When it comes to how your bike fits, rides, handles and reacts, the frame is the most important physical part of the bike. The frame is also usually the most expensive part of the bike and the most involved to replace. Buying a bike with the right frame the first time can not only help you enjoy the benefits of a better riding and performing bike now, but can also save significant money down the road as you will only need to buy some new parts, instead of buying a whole new bike, to upgrade.”  At the end of the day, it all comes down to fit. The frame needs to be the right size for you. 

Following the frame, other considerations include bike components and wheels.  Regarding cycling components, we’re talking about the drivetrain, gearing, and braking systems.  Focus on getting bike parts of a level that are designed for your riding style and frequency.  And wheels – they matter! They can make a basic bike ride a lot better while sub-par wheels can make an otherwise exceptional bike feel mediocre.  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. While wheel options may seem overwhelming, it’s really straightforward. To make it easier to understand, check out our post and video, Wheelset Buyer Guide: What You Need to Know

All in all, bike parts do matter. They keep you safe and comfortable and out riding your bike.  Fortunately, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we believe that there is much more to fitting a cyclist to his/her bicycle than just the physical dimensions of a bike. Each cyclist has a different history, experience, comfort level, and goal on the bike.  Stop in to see our road and mountain bikes. Check out any bike parts you want to upgrade or replace. Better yet, schedule a bike fit and dial in your optimum riding position.  Happy Riding! 

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5 Uncommon Bike Buying Questions

October 4, 2018
So you want to buy a bike?  Who wouldn’t want to get a new bike?! Actually, now is the best time of year to purchase a new road bike or mountain bike because this year’s bikes are on sale and we’re clearing the way for next year’s models.  With so many bike choices available, there are quite a few questions to dial in when considering purchasing a new bike.  In fact, we’ve written about many of those questions in the following blog posts and you can check them out here:  
But, what about the uncommon questions?  You know, the ones you might be a bit shy to ask the salesperson.  No need to hesitate with your questions, we’ve got you covered.  
 
Question #1 Let’s get the first question out of the way.  Do you need to buy your bike at a bike shop?  You can buy anything on the internet these days including bike parts, cycling accessories, and complete bicycles from us at BikeParts.com.  However, we do encourage you to purchase your bicycle at a bike shop.  Here’s why. Bicycle Magazine sums it up best, “When you buy a bike from an authorized retailer, you know that the bike was assembled by a professional mechanic, and you begin to build a rapport with that shop—a great way to find out about new routes or group rides or maintenance clinics and events. You also ensure you’re not getting a counterfeit product, which is a continuing problem in the bike industry.” 
Question # 2 How do you know if a bike fits you? Test ride it!  Bring your cycling apparel with you, including your cycling shoes and helmet, when test riding a bike.  Before heading out on your test ride, take time to visit with your salesperson about shifting, brakes, and any particular feature of the bike you are testing out.  A bike that feels good and is comfortable to ride is one you will ride often.  So, go with feel. And then, after your purchase, schedule a bike fit with us to dial in the specific bike parts you may need to achieve optimum comfort, power, cadence, and fit for you.  
Question #3. Do I have to dress like a cyclist like the riders you see on the Tour de France?  Well, you can if you want to!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a wide variety of cycling apparel to match your style.  Some prefer jerseys and lycra shorts and other prefer a more casual ride style.  Again, go with what is comfortable to you. We have cycling apparel on sale and new items coming in for the winter months. Stop by and see what works best for you. 
Question #4 Should I use clipless or flat pedals? Note, clipless pedals are the ones you clip into with cycling shoes with cleats on the bottom.  Flat pedals are simply pedals, like you would have on a BMX or kids bike. They are not popular with many racers or road riders because clipless pedals help improve your performance in racing, especially for road disciplines. But don’t rush to use clipless or exclude flat pedals from your practice completely. Start with what you are most comfortable and make changes as you see fit. 
Question #5 How do I maintain my bike?  Bike maintenance may seem overwhelming to the new rider and even to veteran riders too.  Some cyclist really enjoy doing their own bike maintenance and others prefer for our shop mechanics to do it for them.  Again, do what is best in your comfort zone.  As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to follow some of these guidelines that we’ve written about in our post, 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road.
 
What other questions might you have that we missed? Don’t be shy! Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to test ride a bike, check out our winter cycling apparel, and get all of your questions answered.  

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


5 Step Plan to Make the Most of Your 2018 Cycling Season 

May 31, 2018

June is here! Welcome blue skies, sunny days, and longer days!  All the perfect ingredients becoming us to ride, race, and enjoy being on our two wheeled friends.
Whether you are a recreational cyclist or a competitive one, no doubt you have some cycling goals in mind for the season.  

As we’re just launching into this year’s cycling season, it’s important to make the most of it by planning now. When you plan, goals get met.  You don’t want to look back over the season at the end of the year with regrets. So, whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, planning your early season events can lay a foundation for confidence and physical fitness in which to build upon for the cycling season.  And at year end, you can look back with satisfaction with your achievements.  Here’s how to do it.  

#1 Think strategy first.  High level. What are your goals for the season? Are there races or events you have always wanted to do? Register – mark it on your calendar – and plan! We’ve written extensively on strategic planning.  Check out these posts for good ideas: Cycling Success: A Guide to Launch Your 2018 Spring Cycling Season and Keys to a Successful Cycling Race: Think Smart, Eat Smart.

#2 Next, prepare.  Preparation means alot of things.  Research your ride route. Identify the bike you will be riding. Replace old bike parts. Dial in your nutrition needs. Decide on your training plan.  Preparation paves the way for success.  And not to be overlooked, is dialing in your cycling accessories.  Get a checklist ready to have on hand for all your events.  We have a handy one here: Ready to Race? A Comprehensive Checklist for Spring Racing.

#3 As most living in Colorado know, weather conditions can change rapidly.  This means you have to be agile with your bike maintenance and cycling apparel.  You might want to read our popular posts Dry Pavement, Sloppy Slush and A Muddy Trail: Which Chain Lube Works Best? and Effective Training Techniques for Cycling in the Heat. Both offer useful information for making the best of your ride.  As for those afternoon rain storms, we suggest reading the post: Wet Weather? No Problem! 5 Essentials for Riding in the Rain.

#4 After a long or hard ride, recover.   it’s important to note that during the summer months it is easy to get swept away in the joys of riding. The temps are great – the trails are great- riding a new mountain bike or road bike is great!  But, with all the bike riding accompanies fatigue and over doing it. Be mindful to build in recovery to your training plan.  Some post worth reading include: Recovery: Ride Hard – Recovery Harder: Ways to Speed Up Recovery and Avoid Early Season Training Injuries with Rest and Recovery.

#5 Finally, take care of your bike!  Bike maintenance keeps you riding. You can either do bike maintenance yourself or bring your bike to us and we can do it for you.  Either way, some basic maintenance is necessary and to make sure you’re covered, you’ll want to read: 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road.

When you’re working toward a goal that’s important to you, the last thing you want is to face an obstacle or unexpected challenge.  There you have it – a 5 step plan to kick off your 2018 cycling season! Set up your 2018 right by planning ahead, getting your road bike or mountain bike in order, and getting the gear and resources you need.  With the right mental attitude and the best bike parts, your successful training and race prep is well underway.


Make the Most of Your Ride Time This Memorial Day Weekend 

May 24, 2018

Happy Memorial Day Weekend Riding from BikeParts.com

Wondering what to do with your day off this upcoming Memorial Day weekend? Ride, of course! Get ready for a fun weekend of riding by swinging by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to stock up on all things cycling related! 

You can ride in style this Memorial Day weekend by getting a new road or mountain bike.  One option is to shop our latest mountain bike and road bike close out items and our discounted collections of bike parts online.  Or better yet, have one of our expert crew help you select the best bike for you.  Stop by the shop and we can help you identify what to look for in buying a new bike and get you scheduled for a bike fit in the process.  

Making the most of the holiday weekend, you’ll want to stock up on essential items to carry with you. Make a note to stock up on: Food, gels, and on the bike nutrition; Tubes, lube, a pump or C02; chain and multi toolRain jacketSunscreenHydration pack and extra bottles for fluids. 

And don’t forget bike maintenance! With a little extra time off from work, many cyclist enjoy performing much needed bike maintenance over the holiday weekend.  Replacing worn bike parts and cycling accessories without the stress of added work and family pressures makes bike maintenance a pleasure and not a chore.  If the kids are around, engage them in the process and teach them a thing or two about bicycles.  Who knows? You might inspire them to ride too! 

And, as a little teaser to whet your appetite for Colorado’s finest, enjoy the cycling videos, pics, and trail reviews. 

Happy Memorial Day to All! We look forward to seeing you at the shop or visit us at bikeparts.com to get all of your cycling apparel, accessories, and bike parts.  


What to Look For When Buying a New Bike 

May 3, 2018
Bikes at BikeParts.comIt’s getting warmer outside, there’s a change in the air, and chances are you’re feeling the itch to ride your bike. As the new road bike and mountain bike models make their way into the shop, it’s tempting to purchase a new bike.  And why not?
The pleasure of buying a new bike includes a process of joy, smiling, and endless thoughts that stimulates your pleasure receptors that leaves you tingling with anticipation of the adventure ahead.  Making sure you up your giggle factor, here’s our guide to help you make the best of your new bike purchase.
First off, build your bike profile.  Decide what type of riding you will be doing, how often, and the types of terrain you plan to ride. Because there are so many bike parts to build a new mountain bike or road bike, it’s important to get clear on what you are looking to do.  Here are some questions you need to get you started:
  • What type of bicycle do I want?  Will I be mountain biking, road cycling, or is comfort my biggest factor in a bike?
  • Am I interested in casual riding? Entry level competitive cycling? Full on racing?
  • How many miles might I log per week, or year?
  • What type of tires should my bike have?
  • What size bike do I need?
  • Do I want a bike with gears? If so, How many?
  • What kind of seat do I want?
  • Cycling accessories – what matters to me most: high-tech gadgets or are simpler designs?
  • What kind of handlebars do I want? Straight or curved?
  • Am I interested in the highest quality bike parts?  Or, can I get by with industry standard bicycle accessories?
  • Most importantly, how much am I willing to spend on a bike? This will determine alot of the questions asked above.

Next, consider the bike fit and how the bike feels when you ride it.  Following are the 5 important bike fit tips to help you dial in your ride.

  1. Get the correct bike for your needs.  Getting a bike whose frame matches your body is the most important part of bike fit . If the frame size is wrong, you probably won’t be able to adjust the seat and handlebars enough to compensate. Some adjustments can be made easily with the bike’s existing components (seat height, angle, etc.) and some may require swapping out a component (as in, a new stem can change the location of the handlebars for a more comfortable riding position).
  2. Seat height. When you’re pedaling and your leg is all the way down, your knee should be slightly bent. If your leg is straight (knee locked), your seat is too high. If your knee is very bent,  your seat is too low. Either problem can hurt your knees, and a seat height that’s too short robs you of power and makes it harder to ride.  To get the proper seat height, you want the saddle to be high enough that your heel barely touches the pedal at the bottom of the pedal rotation, but not so high that your heel comes above your toes at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
  3. Seat position. Saddle setback another important measurement to get right. The front of your kneecap should be directly over your pedal spindle when you’re mid-pedal stroke. Most bike fitters dangle a piece of string with a small weight at the bottom (a plumb line) from the side of the rider’s kneecap to see if it lines up directly with the spindle—you may need to enlist a friend to help get this exactly right.  Or better yet, schedule a bike fit at our shop and we’ll help you do it!
  4. Reach to your handlebars.  Handlebar reach is simply the distance you reach from your saddle to your handlebars. Aim for a riding position that gives you a modest amount of shock-absorbing bend in your arms without forcing you to reach too far to apply the brakes.
  5. Handlebar height. Your handlebars should be at least as high as your seat.

Fortunately, now is the best time to shop for a new bike. There are so many options available today. Visit us at Peak Cycles in Golden or online at bikeparts.com.  We can help with your decision making and offer advice you need to get you rolling on your new bike just in time for summer riding.


Cycling Inspiration for Earth Day

April 19, 2018

April 22nd is Earth Day! Yay! And, you might be wondering how bicycles benefit the environment? Or why ride them on this special day?

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are big supporters in our local community and race teams, and as such, we know bike commuting is a win-win for our local community. Basically, for anyone looking to save money, embrace a green or sustainable lifestyle, and promote healthy, livable cities, cycling is important.

To kick off your Earth Day preparations, you will want to read our post, Pedal Power for Earth Day, to explore the many benefits of bike commuting. As a next step, you will want to decide how you want to celebrate the day and keep the Earth Day mojo going thereafter. The magic in Earth Day is making every day Earth Day. Bike riding is a natural fit! The key is inspiring others to keep riding.

Inspire others with bike education programs. No one likes riding a poor fitting bike. Having the right bike setup, cycling accessories and gear makes all the difference. Consider hosting a get together of friends and review bike safety. Or, participate in a bike maintenance class. Bicycle tools are different than regular tools and all tools aren’t created equal – some are good for mountain bike parts while others are designed for road bike parts. Knowing which tools to use on the appropriate bike components can make all the difference in making bike maintenance easy inspiring others to enjoy bike maintenance in addition to riding.

Inspire your friends with a list of rides and events. Colorado has some of the greatest road bike rides in the country. Some are shorter, convenient rides whereas others offer steeper, longer climbs and extended distances. Certainly you have your favorite list. Invite your friends for a special Earth Day ride and make it an annual celebration.

Inspire others with a bike-friendly shopping program. Everyone likes to shop, right? Inspire friends with bike parts bling! Many aspiring bike riding enthusiast appreciate a shop that offers quality bike components along with solid advice on bike parts and cycling apparel. Stop by the shop to check out our specials, discounts, and new cycling accessories for the season. Who says you can’t ride in style for Earth Day?

Inspire through reading. Maybe you just can’t make it out on Earth Day for a ride. No worries. Check out our posts for inspiration:
– Get Your Kids Bike Commuting – Here’s How!
– Summer Bike Commuting – Making it Work For You
– The Smart Cyclist’s Guide to Preventing Bike Theft

All in all, the most important thing to remember for Earth Day is that bike riding is fun. Fun includes enjoying the adventure of cycling solo and with friends. Fun also means riding a well fitting bike and feeling confident in riding the bike paths and the roads. This way, your Earth Day bike ride becomes an environmentally friendly activity you can do every day!