If you asked me a few weeks ago about choosing between wheel sizes, I would have said something like this. “If you are shorter or more into downhill choose the 650B, and if you’re taller and more about the up go 29er.” Honestly, I was pretty sold on this idea. I passed the same message along to many people. How many times had I actually ridden a 29’er though? Embarrassingly, only once. And from that one experience, I pretty much wrote off the 29er and assumed everything I’d heard about them was correct. The 29er wasn’t suited for my riding style and since I’m 5’8″ it wouldn’t work for my height either. That is, until a few weeks ago.
One day after work I decided to take out a 29er from the Peak Cycles demo fleet. One of the mechanics in the shop warned me, “you might end up buying one after this.” I laughed, unconvinced that this would change my mind. I grabbed a Stumpy Expert 29er and headed to Green Mountain outside of Golden. Right when I hopped on the saddle, I was reminded of the 29er’s ability to climb. It’s very capable at smoothing out rocks, bumps, and trail irregularities. Much more so than the 650B, in my opinion. Because it’s not getting caught up, it makes the climb more enjoyable and a bit easier overall. I experienced this the first time I rode one, but this isn’t news to anyone, so let’s cut to the chase.
When it came time to descend my mind was blown almost immediately. I was on a trail I’d ridden many times before. I knew how it normally felt punchy and rough on my 650b. But this time around I knew something felt different. It felt oddly smooth. Almost as if I was on a huge boat cutting through rough ocean chop. Like a freshly sharpened knife effortlessly slicing through a cut of meat. I was in a state of pure bliss as I rolled over the loose rocks and bumps with ease. Then came a few tight corners. I was able to take them with just as much speed as usual. I felt the added traction of the bigger wheel. It just wanted to stay planted. But wait? I thought this wasn’t supposed to corner well?
Unsure of whether or not this was due to the bike being different or just the wheel size, I went back to Green Mountain the next day. This time on the 650b version of the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert. After riding the exact same trail on the 650b version, I arrived at my conclusion. The 29er was, in fact, better at descending than the 650B. I continued to ride the 29er over the next few weeks. I took it to different trails all around Golden, ones that I had ridden many times. The most astonishing results I had were on Chimney Gulch. As my go to ride in town, I had recorded over 40 different rides on this trail. But when I descended on the 29er, I shaved 30 seconds off my fastest descent time. Now that is saying something.
After years of holding a false belief, my attitude towards 29ers changed instantly. It was obvious to me. Aside from going straight into “I want a new bike mode,” I learned something along the way too. Despite whatever a spec sheet, a friend, or your local bike shop employee is saying, the ultimate test is to ride as many bikes as you can. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and forget the fact that no two people, or wheel sizes for that matter, are alike. It’s easy for us to put people in boxes. Short people ride 650b’s and tall people ride 29ers. Downhill riders need the 27.5 and XC riders would be fools not to ride a 29er. Try out both wheel sizes and see which one feels right for you. That is the beauty of doing a demo before making a purchase.
Is one wheel size better than the other? Is there a right answer to that question? I don’t know. All I know is that I felt the advantages of the 29er both on the ascent and descent. Faster ups, faster downs, more traction. It can be as playful as the 650b, it just requires more effort and strength. I did notice the turning radius of the 29er to be wider than the 27.5. It doesn’t love super tight turns, but neither do I. All in all I’ve made the switch over to the…darkside? I’m all aboard the 29er train until the next best thing comes along. Maybe a 30.5. Time will tell.
With the great weather we’ve been having in Golden, Colorado, it’s hard to keep yourself off the bike! Do you find yourself overtraining? Riding too many long miles? Or simply, skimping on your regular self care? How do you know if you’re pushing the limits too far?
First off, 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! All in all, riding in general is just plain amazing. But, with all the bike riding accompanies fatigue and over doing it. In fact, there are three stages of overtraining. Each stage is defined by certain levels of fatigue and recovery time. But in a nutshell, there are common symptoms cyclists can experience when they overtrain.
get a washed-out feeling
get grumpy and experience sudden mood swings
feel a lack of energy for other activities
suffer from depression
have a decreased appetite
get an increased incidence of injuries
have trouble sleeping
feel a loss of enthusiasm for the sport
experience a sudden drop in performance
Yikes! That doesn’t sound fun – especially when the mountain bike trails and fun adventure road rides are beckoning. What can you do about it? Consider the tools at your disposal to aid in recovery.
Nutrition Options: A favorite nutritional product available post ride is PhysioPhyx. Here’s what we like about this product. PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine. This potent combination of nutrients has been precisely formulated to help ensure you rapidly and effectively restore muscle energy (glycogen), minimize muscle soreness, stimulate muscle repair and speed training adaptations after moderate, intense and exhaustive exercise or competition. In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs + Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive. Who doesn’t like “overdrive”?! Speaking of overdrive – you may enjoy reading more on the subject of nutrition and recovery in these post:
Sleep: Included in the recovery process is quality sleep. According to the post, This Is Your Body On Sleep, reduced sleep negatively impacts your HGH production, and your body’s ability to restore its muscle glycogen supply. Ensure you are going quality of sleep by using the Sleep Cycle App. This cool app analyzing users’ sleep patterns and displays data showing how well (or poorly) you slept during the night. You might also add rolling or massage, stretching, compression, and low intensity activity to aid in getting a better night’s sleep. Many cyclist sleep in compression garments because they claim that it lowers perceived muscle soreness the day after a big day on the bike and they can reduce the swelling of legs after prolonged sitting.
Ultimately, the best way to identify if you are over training is by listening to your body. If you can’t keep yourself from riding, then maybe try the distraction technique! Distract yourself from the trails and road rides with some bike bling! Swap a training ride for a visit to Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop. Check out the new bike parts we have in stock. Try on some of the new Specialized Merino wool jerseys that offer evaporative cooling. Explore new tire or wheel options.The possibilities are limitless.And, once you have that spark back in your legs, you’ll enjoy your riding even more!
Between trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving dinner and holiday parties, keeping the weight off can be a challenge for many individuals this time of year. According to a new survey just released by Nutrisystem, Inc., a leading provider of weight management products and services, Americans are without a doubt battling the bulge during the holiday season. The survey, conducted online in October in the U.S. on behalf of Nutrisystem by Harris Poll, polled 2,032 Americans, both male and female, and found:
Nearly 1/3 (32%) of adults said they or their spouse/partner gained weight between Halloween and New Years last year.
Of those that gained weight themselves, 3 in 4 (75%) said they gained 5 or more pounds and 1 in 3 (34%) say they gained 10 pounds or more.
About 2 in 5 claim that they (39%) or their spouse/partner (44%) went up a full clothing size during this time.
What does this mean? Don’t be that guy or gal! Ride your bike! Just because the time has changed and the temperatures are cooler doesn’t mean you have to put your cycling regime on the shelf! With an enthusiastic attitude and a few bike part changes, you can shift your end of season cycling experience to be the best one yet!
To begin, don’t be afraid of the dark! When the clocks change and the night draws in, cyclists have a decision to make: get in the groove with night riding and embrace the darkness. Or, hang up the wheels and miss out on hours of glorious saddle time. The trick to capturing the benefits is to make the time change and night riding work for you. Visibility is crucial – for you and your bike. Outfit your bike with a good light system. You will want lights for the front of your bike. Consider having multiple lights for the front of your bike. One on your helmet so you can shine side roads and traffic and have a second light on your handlebars so you can see at least 10 ft. or more in front of you. For the rear of your bike, opt for a rear red light-particularly one that blinks. A blinking red light is much more likely to get the attention of a passing motorist who might otherwise not notice you. Don’t forget to wear cycling apparel that is visible. There are options to choose from including vests and ankle bands. Also, reflective tape is a good idea. 3M makes black reflective tape that is great to put on black wheels.
Instead of you getting fat, just get a fat bike! Fat bikes are the hottest trend in the mountain biking world right now and not surprisingly now is the time to get on board with them. This year there is more competition in the fat bike market than ever which means lower price tags. In addition to more complete bikes, there is a huge selection of fat bike parts available which makes it easy to customize your ride with wheels, tires, and other components that fit your riding style. Check out our post, 2016 Fatboy Comp Carbon, for details. Better yet, don’t just read about it, ride a fat bike! Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to ride, test ride, and buy a fat bike.
You’ve spent most of the year working hard, putting in long hours on the bike, sacrificing ‘bad’ foods to keep your weight down, and done your utmost to get as fit as possible. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste (or should we say waist?!)! What you do in the off-season can mean the difference between winning and losing during the next cycling season. Set your sights high for 2016 and stay fit now!
For many people, buying a new bike is a more difficult decision than buying a new car. Why? Because today, manufacturers offer more models than ever in a wider variety of price points. And there are an exceptional array of bike parts, wheels, brakes and shifting systems that operate like never before. Having a variety of choices is a wonderful thing but at BikeParts.com, we’re here to help you navigate the confusion to help you get the bike you want – and the bike you will ride.
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 color bike do I want?
What size bike do I need? The size of the bicycle is critical for comfortable riding. It is helpful if the bike shop has a fit service. Fortunately, at Peak Cycles, we do! Learn more here.
Do I want a bike with gears? If so, How many?
Do I prefer squishy handlebar pads, hard ones, or ones with tassels?
What kind of handle bars 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?
How much am I willing to spend on a bike?
Finally, buy what you like. Feel good about what you’re buying, how it looks, how it rides. Because of our varied mountain bike trials in Golden, Colorado and road ride circuits along the Front Range, we are asked for our advice on other bike accessories cyclist may need or want. Of course, buy a helmet first, and wear it. There are many other products which can enhance the riding experience as in hydration packs, eye protection, cycling apparel as well as numerous books and magazines available to help you educate yourself about the nuances of cycling. We’re here to help you with all of it.
You couldn’t pick a better time to shop for a new bike. There are so many attractive choices today. Visit us at Peak Cycles in Golden or online at bikeparts.com and 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