Bicycle riding is both a sport and a hobby. In fact, it’s a fitness hobby that can be enjoyable for general family outings or be competitive for mountain or road biking competitions. No matter which level of cycling you enjoy, there will always be special accessories to help you with each style.
In this article, I present several essential accessories you would want to have and use when cycling, irrespective of the type of cycling you undertake.
Helmets are a key safety feature and are, in my opinion, mandatory whether the law states so or not. Falling off a bike is not fun, falling on your head can be deadly. Helmets come in many designs including the following types:
Road helmet, these are the original helmets that are made from a thin plastic shell covering an EPS foam interior, they have vents and are usually slim with an elongated design.
Metro 661 helmet or commuter helmet is a round-shaped helmet for road cycling, usually to work and back, they are also made of a plastic shell with an EPS foam interior.
Trail helmet has a blockier appearance that offers slightly more head coverage and is designed for use in woodland areas, providing just that more coverage against twigs and leaves.
Women’s Road helmets provide an exit point in the back of the helmet to account for long hair.
Aero Road helmets have a rounded, aerodynamic design that includes adjustable vent plugs to improve the aerodynamics for racing and downhill speeding.
Downhill mountain bike racing is a special kind of helmet design that includes a chin bar and vents. These helmets are specifically designed for the extra windage you get when traveling at speeds downhill.
Mountain helmets come with a visor, which is used to block out the sun, as for the overall design they resemble trail helmets with a visor.
BMX helmet is a closed motorcycle-style helmet design for BMX bikes, these models can also be made of fiberglass as well as carbon fiber and are used in BMX races.
A Chrono helmet is an aerodynamic helmet designed for track and speed events, they are the ones you see in the indoor Olympic events and resemble a teardrop.
2. Bike Locks
There are some different bike locks to consider, and you really do need a good bike lock to secure your bike from theft even when parked in your garage at home. There are four different types of locks, and these include:
U-locks are the strong holders of the locks, solid bars of metal that made from high tensile and super hard steel alloys. Even a power tool will find it hard to break. They come in different sizes for different applications and are usually locked with a key or a code.
Chain locks are the next level in security under a U Lock. They offer more versatility in locking up your bike in different locations and to different objects. If you buy a good one, it will deter thieves that recognize extra thick hardened steel chains. Some chains are designed to be worn by the rider while biking, just like a fashion accessory.
Folding locks are a relative newcomer to the locked scene. These locks gave a low profile and can fold up, making them a popular choice among metro bikers that want a smaller lock profile. They are similar to chain locks in that they require a chain or cable to secure the bike. They are in fact the least secure of all the bike locks and can be overcome with basic chain cutting equipment.
3. Bike Pump
Never leave home without a tire pump, if possible. You might have a patch kit in your pocket, but without a tire pump. If your tire gets a leak, you will not be able 5to fix it without a pump to fill it up. There are three models, the traditional pump with hose extension, standing pump with valve extension and the quick, solid fill throwing away pumps. Make sure you have at least one of these with you at all times.
There are 4 types of bike pumps that will come in handy in your garage or home to supplement the pump you take with you, these include the Hand Pump which is the portable pump you take with you.
The Stand Pump that sits in a garage and is used for low-pressure tires. CO2 Inflators that are used for racing performance where speed inflation is key to success, and finally Electric Pumps that is set in a garage or at home due to its size and is perfect for more than bicycle applications.
4. Bike Light
This is a night time security feature and as important as a helmet. In fact, at night it’s even more important than a helmet and you should have two: one for the front and one for the back. Do not rely on your red reflector at the back, have a red rear light and have a bright front light. Even if you don’t cycle at night, there are those low visibility days, rainy days, foggy days, where that extra safety feature will save your life.
5. Tool Kit
While many might think that a tire repair kit is enough, a real toolkit is actually a lifesaver. A small foldable toolkit will help you out of many sticky situations and will be proven to be invaluable when you most need it.
There are different tools for different applications, but there is one general toolkit that you need for most on the fly applications and here is the list of tools you might want to have ready in your garage at all times.
- Allen wrench set 2-12mm
- Open-end wrenches 6-17mm
- Chain brush
- Chain lube and cleaner
- Tire levers
- Tubes, at least 2
- Tube patch kit
- Floor pump with gauge
There are many other accessories to consider, such as reflective strips, bells and horns, and baskets, but the above list covers the essentials, where everything else is a great addition to have and in some cases a must-have dependent on your cycling needs.
Cycling, for some, is more than just a way to get around, it is a profession, a hobby, a sport, a family activity, and a business. For some, upgrading a bike is not about making it look good, it’s about improving performance, but then if you do improve the performance, why not make it look good at the same time.
In this article, I present to you several bike upgrades that will improve its appearance.
Tires are the key to success, they are what connect you to the ground. A good tire improves your performance, and a really good tire will also look good while it beats off the competition. The best tires to get for both an optimized riding experience as well as being eye candy are wide tires that range between 25 to 28mm. Sure, you could go for those thin rock hard racing tires, but unless you are actually racing, why would you?
Bars come in all shapes and styles, you can get low slung, wide straight, high easy rider, in fact, you can get just about any bar design, shape and color and match it to the rest of your bike. Just remember, when pimping your bike, make sure it matches. There is nothing more discordant than a badly pimped ride.
You don’t need a horse for a saddle, and you don’t need a simple black saddle on your bike. There are many options, sizes, shapes, especially materials and colors. Changing your saddle is not just about looking, it’s about comfort too. While you improve your posture and comfort your posterior, make it look good too. There is a wide choice of materials too, such as leather, rubber, and cloth.
Brakes are extremely important safety devices, and the only upgrade you want to make on them is to make them more efficient and easier to operate. However, brakes have handles, and you can definitely upgrade the handles and bling them to oblivion.
Chainrings are always overlooked, and while you might use the same size chain ring for maintaining your current performance, you can tweak performance by upgrading the rings as well as buying some nifty looking ones that glare out a mile away.
6. The Bell
Yup, notice the title…not the horn, but the bell. Sure you can add all kinds of cute horns and sounds, but nothing beats the old style ring a ding round bell. A simple shiny bell in any color or finish to suit your bike will make it stand out, especially when you select a special designer model. On the other hand, you might prefer a horn that sings a tune or is connected by Bluetooth to your mobile device and is essentially a focused speaker.
7. Bike Stickers
Stickers are bike bling and if you want to make your bike stick out a bit, add a few stickers around the frame. Nike stickers can go anywhere on your bike, don’t just limit them to the frame, think of the wheels, the brakes, and especially the seat.
There are baskets, and then there are baskets that look great as well as provide you with the service you require from them. When you do upgrade your basket, pick an option that will hold your backpack or have a flap that is coverable against the rain.
9. Reflective Tape
You might want to put some reflective tape on your spokes, and across your frame. Try not to go overboard, or you will end up with the mummy bike. Setting reflective tape requires some decoration skills, picking out the color and placing on just enough to be snazzy as well as productive.
10. Bike Vases
Yes, you read this right, a bike vase. While you are cycling in the city with all its grey buildings, add a bike vase and put in a flower and enjoy the splash of color and unusual site the bike vase offers.
Upgrading, blinging or pimping or all of them. It’s down to personal taste. You can make your bike just that little bit more responsive and efficient, and you can take it all the way to becoming a thing of desire where everyone looks at your bike with either a look of jealousy or incredulously. You decide what you want, but just know, there are so many ways to improve the appearance of your bike, and all within easy grasp.
Mention a mountain bike and the first thing that comes into mind is rugged terrain or steep slopes. But mountain bikes are made for much more than that. Throughout the years, these off-road bikes have continued to evolve with different riding styles and disciplines being added to the list. This has led to manufacturers improving on the specs to meet the ever-changing needs.
There continues to be a great number of variations in the models being built, each with specific traits to meet the needs of the cyclists. That being said, the initial intent of mountain bikes is still alive and kicking with bikes still made for versatile outdoor adventure.
How To Choose Best Mountain Bikes
Let’s admit it, choosing the right mountain bike is not a walk in the park. These days, cyclists are bombarded with choices left, right, and center. Most of these bikes have similar pecks and most people can’t tell the difference. Some of the most common features that differ include the wheel size, the weight of the bike, the materials used and even the geometry.
So, how do you tell the differences? How can cyclists choose the best mountain bikes?
- Choose the right size
- The wheel size matters
- Go for suspension quality and not quantity
- Be future-oriented when it comes to the design
- Geometry you need
Above all, choose the mountain bike that meets your needs. Different trails require different bikes and this is why you need a bike for your unique outdoor adventure. That said, you also need to go for a bike that fits into your budget.
Types of Mountain Bikes
There are a few categories of mountain bikes and here are the areas to consider for each category.
1. Fat Bikes
As the name suggests, these are bikes that have fat tires. They are ideal for riding in the snow or on sandy beaches or even the desert. With wheels of about 31/2 inches to about 5 inches in width and weighing from 25 lbs., the bikes are made to withstand snow or sand terrains. The wide tires are important in keeping the traction of the bike. This enables the cyclist to keep going irrespective of the trail. This is the bike for you if you want to cycle all year round. With the rear suspension having minimal suspension, the front suspension has a rigid fork that goes up to about 120mm.
2. Trail Bikes
These bikes are meant to meet a wide range of terrain and this is why it is one of the widely known mountain bikes. They are designed to help cyclist lovers to ascent on the steep uphill as well as enable them to survive the descent. They have both front and rear suspensions and their geometry enables riders to cruise in different trails.
3. Enduro Bikes
Enduro racing is described as a hard-hitting sport that requires equally equipped bikes. These bikes are characterized by rear suspensions that range from 140mm to 160mm. Additionally, these bikes have much needed the sporty handle to help navigate corners.
4. Cross Country Bikes
If you want to crisscross the country on a bike, then this is the right bike for you. In this category, you can expect to find bikes that have large wheels, higher peddling efficiency, less weight, and minimal suspension.
There you go, folks! There is our list of the best mountain bikes out there. We hope that the die-hard cycling lovers have seen bikes that they can resonate with and that newbies have gotten a clearer picture of what to expect. Mountain bikes are meant for rugged, tough terrain as well as steep slopes and sandy terrains. Enjoy your ride!
No matter how psyched you are to ride your newly acquired bicycle, some preliminaries should be at your fingertips in case of an emergency. Before hitting the road or heading to that adventurous cycling venture, ensure that your bike is ready for the trip.
As a bike owner, you need to keep your bicycle in tune to ensure that it is not just safe for riding, but also it lasts longer. But do you have to visit a bike repairer to have a well-maintained bike?
Well, no need for that. In this blog, you will learn about some tips for the most common bike repairs that will keep your rides trouble-free. Here are some most everyday bicycle repairs.
4 Commonest Bike Repairs
In the cyclist’s arena, you will often encounter the following problems which will need your urgent attention to continue enjoying your ride:
A Broken Chain
A Flat Tire
Loose Bike Brakes
Other bike repairs that you may encounter during your journey may include dropping handlebars, stuck seats, slipped chains, and a loose pedal, among others. But how do you repair them?
Tips for the Most Common Bike Repairs
1. Fix a Broken Chain
Sometimes the unexpected may happen, and your chain breaks. What do you do? Well, you can decide to use pliers, but a chain tool will make your work easier. You must have noticed that every chain link is held by a steel peg putting them together.
All you have to do in fixing a broken chain is to remove the broken link (2 segments of your chain) and to reattach the other remaining ends, especially on derailleurs bikes. For single-speed bikes, you need to get a link from an old spare chain, or you buy a new one because it doesn’t have other connections.
It is good to note that the segments in the chain of derailleur bikes usually alternate each other. That’s why you need to remove two segments before reattaching the broken chain. Be careful when removing the pin; just push it a bit; just enough for the chain to detach. Use a chain tool to make work easier. Note this process is a dirty job.
2. Tighten Up Loose Bolts
Typically, a bike is held together by bolts and nuts. Before you hit the road, ensure its hardware is intact. However, it is not advisable to tighten the nuts to the extreme. Over-tightening your nuts and bolts will create a more profound problem of ruining your threads. That’s why you should have a torque wrench.
Your bike manual has directions on how tight your bolts should be. A torque wrench has calibrated measurements that will enable you to tighten accurately. You should not tighten the nuts before every ride, just mind listening to any rattling noise from loose parts.
3. Fix a Flat Bike Tire
Do you have those awful and frustrating droopy wheels? Well, the first thing to check is not the holes on your tire but your tire pressure. Most bikes have their intended tire pressure on the smooth side of the tire. Ensure that the tire is at the required pressure range.
It is always advisable that you use a bike pump with a calibrated gauge. Never use a gas station pump; else, your tire will explode. However, if the tire goes flat immediately after pressuring it, then it is time to find the hole and fix the puncture. Assuming you have an extra spare tube, here is how to fix a puncture:
1. Pop-out the wheel out of the frame – you may require some tools like spanners to open the lever to remove the wheel.
2. Release all the remaining air from the wheel – this can be quickly done by opening the valve. Then you should push the valve up into your tire.
3. Pop-out the tire from the wheel rim – you may need to use a couple of tire levers.
4. Remove the inner tube – now you have the chance of looking for any hole on your tire and tube. Be careful of those sharp objects; they can easily cut your fingers.
5. Repair any puncture or replace the tube – In case you don’t have a spare tube, you will need to repair the leak by placing a patch on the hole. You will need to use some bike glue and a piece of the tube to seal the hole.
6. Inflate the tube halfway and slide it into the tire.
7. Use your thumbs or levels to fix the tire into the rim.
8. Re-inflate the tire with the required pressure
9. Shut the valve and start rolling on
It is good to note that sealing a puncture with a patch is just a temporary solution. You will need a new inner tube. By fixing a flat tire by yourself, you will have saved around 15-20 bucks.
4. Adjust Bike Brakes
In adjusting your brakes, you will need brake pads and those brake cables on your bike. If your brake pad is worn out or your brake cables too loose, you risk your life riding on such a bike. Fortunately, adjusting and fixing brakes in a bicycle is quite easy.
Before making any adjustments, take a look at the brake pads. Besides notice where the pads come into contact with the rim. If the pads are worn out, just replace them with a similar size labeled on their side. Use Allen wrench when loosening the bolts of the brake pads.
Depending on whether the pads were too high or low on the rim, adjust them accordingly. Now you fully tighten the bolts back. If you are struggling with loose brake cables, loosen the bicycle’s barrel adjusters. If the problem is not solved, adjust the caliper of your bike and then tighten your barrel adjusters.
To ensure that you get your job done quickly without hassles, you should have some essential tools. In your toolkit, ensure you have a gauged tire pump, Torque, a wrench, spare inner tubes, a chain tool, tire levers, lubricant, tire levers, extra links, and a tire patch kit, among others.
Although the processes of tuning your bike may be complicated at the beginning, especially if you are an inexperienced cyclist, with time and practice, it will be the easiest thing to do. Why not follow the above guideline and give it a try?
It is a surprise to see bicycles are still prevalent in our millennial age, perhaps due to their ease of availability as compared to the diverse types of vehicles.
Many people are using them as a means of transportation while others for leisure. However, most importantly, they are used by many to keep their bodies healthy.
Bicycles come in different types, brands, and models. In this article, you will learn the top brands to check and how to choose the best bike during your purchase. Besides, you will learn about the benefits of using bikes. So, let’s get started.
Benefits of Having a Bicycle
Although there are new models and series of vehicles being released into the market, bikes have also featured their flashy styles fit for every class of people.
Incredibly, governments across the globe are encouraging people to be using bicycles in place of motorcycles and vehicles. So why is it essential to use a bike?
They help in keeping healthy – riding a bicycle has been recommended by health professionals as a great exercise that burns calories in thousands.
They are environmentally friendly – Since bikes don’t produce any smoke that is harmful to the environment, they are considered friendly and safe for use. Its friendliness to the environment could be the main reason governments are advocating for bicycles.
They are cheap to maintain – unless you want a very complicated bike, a regular bike costs few dollars, yet the cost of maintenance is almost nil.
They are convenient – sometimes, there are jam-parked roads, which makes it hard for someone to navigate through but not for cyclists.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Bike
Just like any other product in the market, bicycles come in varieties, and of course, there are fake and genuine ones. In a market flooding with all kinds of bikes, how will you choose the right one that satisfies your needs? Here are some of the factors you should consider before making a purchase:
Style – bikes come in multiple forms that tasks you with choosing the best that suits you. The latest has some anti-theft mechanisms where you can disconnect the seat and use it to lock your bike. Others have sensors and gears. Choose the one that matches your needs.
Their Durability – this refers to the strength of the bike. It is determined by the type of metals and the general materials used.
Your Budget – always advisable that you stay within your Budget. Consider the cost of the bike and buy the affordable one.
Their Aesthetics – ensure you choose the right color that satisfies your taste and preferences.
Their Size – choose a bike size that matches your height, weight, and overall body size.
Brand – some brands manufacture quality bicycles than the other and give better assurance and warranty on your bike.
So which bicycle brands should you purchase?
Best Bicycle Brands in the World
Multiple popular brands across the globe manufacture the bikes and their spare parts. They come in different designs and prices that suit the needs of every buyer.
Since the introduction of the first pushbike in 1885, bikes have seen significant transformations and revolutions that aim at meeting the needs of every avid cyclist.
This list of the popular bike brands comprises of all bicycle manufacturers of road bicycles, mountain bikes, cruiser bikes, and hybrid bikes. Here is a quick overview of the best bicycle brands in the world that we are going to discuss in this article:
1. Giant Bicycles
2. Santa Cruz
4. Yeti Cycles
5. Merida Bikes
6. BMC Bikes
8. GT Bikes
1. Giant Bicycles
Giant Bicycles is one of the indisputable brands in the bicycle manufacturing industry that has some of the most demanded bikes in the global market. Giant is a manufacturing company that is in Tawain.
However, it has some branches in China and the Netherlands. It has over 12,000 retail shops that are in over 50 countries. It has an average revenue of at least a billion dollars every year.
Since its establishment in 1972, the company has been manufacturing all ranges of bikes featuring great features like dual suspensions and designs. This brand has one aim of making bikes accessible and cycling better.
2. Santa Cruz
It is perhaps known for manufacturing high quality and well-performing bicycles across the globe. The company is based in California and was founded in 1993 by Rich Novak and Roskopp Rob.
It produced the first bicycle in 1994 featured some of the high-end design with full suspension and the famous 3-inch travel pivot features.
This brand usually bases their bikes on easy-pedaling, which ensure that the cyclist does not get tired even when climbing the hills.
Although most people know Santa Cruz for its high-class and premium bicycles, it also has some cost-friendly but affordable bikes for its customers.
This renowned brand is based in Canada and has been in operation since 1971. However, they started their production in early 1983. Cannondale manufacturing company brought a revolution in the cycling industry by introducing bikes that were having aluminum frames.
Recently, the company has been spicing this industry with its carbon-fiber designs that make it a global leader in bicycle manufacturing.
The main focus of Cannondale when it comes to releasing their products has always been around efficiency. To this effect, their bikes usually feature effortless gear shifting designs that typically complement the bicycle’s frames.
That’s why the cyclist usually has relaxed rides even when climbing the mountains. They now have a branch in Taiwan to serve the Asian market.
4. Yeti Cycles
Yeti is another familiar brand in the market that has a relatively good share in the global market. Its products have been tested with time and are of guaranteed quality. It has been manufacturing quality bicycles since 1985 when it got established.
It is a renowned brand when it comes to mountaineering because of its ZeroLoss Technology design in its suspension. This technology gives the cyclist secure and excellent wheel alignment in their bikes.
Yeti Cycles are known to have a different taste in its mountain bikes simply because of the creative designers they have in their workshops.
5. Merida Bikes
This company was founded by Ike Tseng in early 1972 and had been revolutionizing this industry for years. Merida Bikes is one of the companies that emerged and became established in the 1970s when bicycles became popular.
Merida Industry Co Ltd is based in Taiwan and has been having a production capacity of around 2.2 million bicycles. They have spread their wings in over 77 countries across the globe, which cyclists are enjoying. Every bike from Merida is usually having great designs, affordable prices, and convenience.
Bianchi is one of the oldest brands in the world, which began in 1855. Beautifully, it exists even after a century. The brand was dominant in a period when the bikes used to have a giant front wheel. The company was developed to cater to the need of reducing the wheel diameter.
The popularity of this company increased from 1935 that it started selling over 70,000 bikes every year. The brand got established by Edoardo Bianchi when he was 21 years old.
It is through this company that the front brake system got introduced, pedals lowered, and diameter reduced. This company in the United States has eventually seen changes and revolutions in the industry.
7. GT Bikes
Richard Long and Gart Tumer established the bike company in early 1972, and since then, it has been a significant force in this industry. GT Bikes that are in California, is renowned for the manufacturing of BMX bikes, mountain bikes, and road bikes.
Its triple focus made it scale to great heights that have made it be among the best performing industries across the globe. Besides, the exceptional performance and comfort in the bikes they manufacture, they ensure that their products come in attractive designs.
8. BMC Bikes
BMC Bikes is another excellent bike company headquartered in Grenchen, Switzerland. It is known for its release in mountain bikes and ordinary road bicycles. Since it got established in 1986, it has been manufacturing quality and durable bikes.
BMC bikes manufacturing company has been a significant sponsor of the BMC racing team and also other various groups that participate in mountain biking events. BMC bikes remain an excellent brand for most avid racing enthusiasts.
Although you are spoiled for choices because of the many brands in the market, identifying the best brands is one major step that will enable you to get the right bike. The convenience, low running costs, and health benefits are some of the reasons that make a bicycle accessible in our days.
The above list of the best eight brands across the globe is an excellent guide to purchasing a bicycle. With the above, you can never miss it; make your choice today!