Category Archives for "Bikes"

Must Know Bike Components

Bike Components: A Beginner’s Bike

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“Many materials and technologies are used to build different types of bikes. Below is a beginner’s guide to bike components. Read it now”

Buying a new bike or accessories can often be bewildering to the novice; the folks working in the shop almost seem to be speaking a different language. It’s almost as bad as trying to pick out a personal computer.

From our perspective, sometimes it’s hard to tell when we’re using everyday language and when we’re slipping into technical jargon. We have to really ask questions to make sure we’re on the same page with a customer and really understand what they are looking for, and often it’s just a matter of making sure we agree on the meaning of the words we are using. For example, we sometimes get people asking for a “wheel,” when all they really need is a new tire. On the other hand, we’ve gotten really perplexed looks when we’ve handed somebody a “rim,” when they were really looking for an entire wheel.

So, breaking down the language barrier is an important step in productive relationships between bike shop customers and bike shop employees. To that end, here is a glossary providing a breakdown of the anatomy of the bicycle.

Bar ends – the angled extensions attached to the ends of some flat handlebars and riser handlebars that provide an alternate place to rest your hands.

Bottom bracket – the collection of ball bearings and spindle housed within the bottom bracket shell of the frame, which provides the “shaft” mechanism on which the crank arms turn.

Braze-ons – threaded sockets that may or may not be present on the bike frame that provide a place to attach accessories such as bottle cages, cargo racks, and fenders.

Cage – the preferred fancy name for water bottle holder.

Cassette – the collection of gears that is attached to the rear wheel on most modern bicycles (see “Freewheel”).

Chainrings – the gears that are attached to the right-hand crank arm nearer to the front of the bike. A bike with two chainrings is said to have a “double crank;” a bike with three chainrings is said to have a “triple crank.”

Cog – a single gear on a cassette or freewheel gear cluster, or the single rear gear on a fixed-gear bike.

Crank arms – the pedals screw into these; these bolt onto the bottom bracket spindle.

Cyclocomputer – the preferred fancy word for an electronic speedometer/odometer.

Derailer – the device that is bolted to the frame that handles the job of moving the chain from one gear to another when you shift gears. The front derailer handles the shifting on your chainrings and is usually controlled by your left-hand shifter. The rear derailer handles the shifting on your cassette or freewheel, and is usually controlled by your right-hand shifter.

Derailer hanger – a part of the frame where the rear derailleur is attached. It is usually an integrated part of the frame on steel and titanium bikes, but is a separate, replaceable piece on aluminum and carbon fiber bikes.

Drop bar – the type of handlebar found on road racing bikes, with the half-circle-shaped curved ends that extend below the top, flatter part of the bar.

Dropouts – the U-shaped notches at the rear of the bike frame, and at the bottom ends of the front fork legs, where the wheels are held in place. So-called because if you loosen the bolts holding a wheel in place, the wheel “drops out.”

Fixed gear – a type of bicycle that has a single gear and does not have a freewheel or cassette/freehub mechanism, so you are unable to coast. If the wheels are moving, you have to be pedaling. “Fixie” for short. More at TECH TALK: BIKE COMPONENTS FOR BEGINNERS

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Affordable Road Bicycle

Road Bicycle: Must Buy Affordable Road Bikes

“Looking into buying a road bicycle? We’ve listed down some of the most affordable road bikes in the market. Check them out now!”

Affordable Road Bicycle

Specialized Allez Comp 105 – $1,750
Getting to my favorite 8-mile climb on a route that includes plenty of broken roads is almost as tough as the climb itself, but the Allez Comp proved worthy. When the dirt became smoother than the remaining pavement, the relatively stiff-riding aluminum frame offered an acceptable level of comfort, keeping me from being jarred too harshly.

The Allez rides lighter than its 20-plus pounds (size 56cm) would suggest, thanks mostly to the stiff, responsive frame. The front end’s rigidity rivals that of a Tour-worthy racer and looks as if it came off a top-end Specialized Tarmac.

Buy It If: You want a go-fast bike with Tour-proven geometry and upgrade potential
Forget It If: You insist that carbon is king

Felt F5 – $2,299
Out of the box, the F5 reads like a race bike. It has performance-oriented features such as a drivetrain-stiffening BB30 bottom bracket and a stiff fork for competent handling. On the road, though, it shows that it has more nuance than speed.

The F5 is built around Felt’s FC race frame—the same one the Exergy pro cycling team will race in 2012—and includes an appropriately short head tube (160mm on our 58cm test bike), letting you get out of the wind. But the bike’s compliant ride, compact double crank, and stout Mavic CXP-22 rims make it best suited to solo explorations, spirited group rides, and turbocharged commutes.

Felt sees the bike as a do-it-all road platform. While the 34/25 low gear will let you crawl over any hill, the 50/11 top end is fast enough to sprint for a finish line. The handling and geometry skew to the racer’s preference for fast, nimble reactions, but the UHC Performance carbon 3K weave doesn’t. Instead it gives you a more comfortable ride, which was preferred by some of our testers: “I’d rather have a bike that’s a touch too compliant than one that’s too stiff,” read one ride log.

Buy It If: You might race occasionally, but mostly just want to ride
Forget It If: You’ll be tempted to clean the white tires after every ride

Blue Axino EX – $2,900
A new bike for 2012, the EX is the lowest-cost carbon model in Blue’s growing Axino family, and it shares some features and frame shaping with the top-of-the-line Axino. To reduce costs, Blue used less-expensive composites, resulting in a heavier frame (1,150g vs 950g).

As expected from a company with the phrase “competition cycles” in its name, the Axino EX feels like it’s ready to race. With average geometry, you get straightforward handling that’s neither frighteningly fast nor so sluggish as to hold you back in a crit. The EX’s frame stiffness impressed us. Some bikes, including many high-end models, ride as though engineers built differing stiffnesses into disparate parts of the frame. Taken individually, these zones might receive top marks, but in totality, the frames lack unity. That’s where the EX shines: It may not have the stiffest drivetrain or head tube we’ve ever experienced, but it’s balanced in a way that makes the frame feel like a single, harmonized entity. It’s an admirable trait, especially at this price point.

Buy It If: You want a performance bike with a damped ride
Forget It If: You’re looking for a lively ride feel

More at 7 Fast, Fun & Affordable Road Bikes

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Cannondale SuperSix Evo Red

Bikes: Best Road Bikes For Triathlon

“Listing down the best road bikes for Triathlon. Find out what they are below!”

Cannondale SuperSix Evo Red

If race-day speed is your only concern, then a super-expensive, super-aerodynamic TT bike is probably going to get you across the finish line fastest at your next triathlon or Ironman race. But if you’ve got a limited budget, care about comfort and/or want a bike you can also use for training, commuting or the odd sportive event, then a road bike is the way to go. Bianchi Sempre Pro Veloce (2013) The latest Sempre Pro improves on what was already a great bike. It retains the great ride and has a fully featured up-to-date frame that’s also shaved a fair few grams. Pros + Smooth over coarse surfaces + Sharp race-bike like handling Cons – Not the best value for money spec – Frame deserves better than average wheels Performance 5/5 Value 3/5 Overall 4/5 Boardman SLR 9.2 (2012-2013) The Boardman SLR is a racer’s bike: seriously light, but stiff enough to put every watt where you want it and superbly stable to make sure you can concentrate all your effort on going forward. It’ll go toe-to-toe with bikes three times its price. Pros + Superbly stiff, power-proof, stable and surefooted frameset + Top componentry keeps weight low and responsiveness high Cons – Stiff frame feels sharp rather than forgiving at low speeds – Man-size performance means man-size gears, so pootlers need not apply Performance 4/5 Value 5/5 Overall 4/5 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Red (2013) Our first ride on the Evo involved some deep breaths to ready ourselves for potential disappointment. Down-specced, mid-price carbon fibre copycats from other brands have a history of half-hearted performance. But Cannondale’s carbon guru, Peter Denk, has done an incredible job here. The ride sensation as you clip in and roll up the road is sublime. Pros + Fantastic ride quality + Super-light SRAM Red based build flatters the frame further Cons + Fantastic ride quality + Super-light SRAM Red based build flatters the frame further Performance 5/5 Value 5/5 Overall 5/5 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Red, Racing Edition (2013) Cannondale’s SuperSix isn’t a new bike, but the Evo Hi-Mod version introduced in 2012 dropped it into the competitive ultra-light frames fight. The builds available with this frame are cleverly-thought-through kit lists that create stunning performance at a relatively reasonable price. Pros + Stunning ultra-light, yet powerful and punchy frameset + Ride is really soft but it still corners and sprints very well Cons – Tubular tyres will scare some people off – Leaves you with absolutely no excuses Performance 5/5 Value 5/5 Overall 5/5 More at Best Road Bikes For Triathlon Review

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