How can I get the best price on a good bike?
Everyone wants to be sure they are getting the most value for
his/her money. One way to make your dollars go further is to take
advantage of last year's models . Just like the auto industry, dealers
need to make room for the latest models, so bikes will usually go
on sale in August. Last year's bikes are just as attractive as they
were a few months ago, but you can often save about 10% off the
regular price. Selection is also best on sale bikes in August,
especially for those who are shorter or taller than average.
Margins are slim in the bike business, so it is uncommon to find prices
much lower. If you are shopping one model from store to store, you
will notice that prices are almost exactly the same. The minor
difference in price should not distract you from buying from the shop
that you think offers you the best service. Remember that all shops
are not created equal since it is the shop that responsible for the
assembly of your new prized possession.
What type of bike is best for me?
This can be a difficult question to answer. Below is a brief summary
of the major types of bikes and their uses. See what's right for you!
Mountain Bikes: Mountain bikes can be classed into three categories
by price. Mountain bikes under $350 are designed for road use.
They feature the upright riding position similar to hybrids but they
also offer a wider tire with a softer ride. The wide tires offer
more stability in soft dirt and allow for limited trail riding.
Mountain bikes between $350 and $500 have more aggressive
geometry and tires but they still allow for reasonable comfort on
pavement. Mountain bikes above $500 offer aggressive geometry
that is perfect for trail riding but these bikes can be poor
performers on pavement.
How do I use a quick release lever?
Hybrids: Not as durable as a mountain bike or as efficient as a
road bike, yet they're more durable and comfortable than a road
bike and more efficient than a mountain bike. Hybrids are great
for short and medium distance rides on pavement or hard dirt.
Skinny tires limit their potential on soft surfaces.
Road Bikes: Designed for long distance touring and club riding,
road bikes are still the most efficient way to travel. However,
light wheels and a dedicated riding position make them a poor
choice for short trips or commuting around town.
One of the most common problems we see when bikes come in
for service is a quick release that has been used in an unsafe
manner. When used properly, the quick release lever is a very
safe, convenient and reliable feature. CONSULT YOUR
OWNER'S MANUAL or visit us at the shop for a demonstration.
You should be following these steps:
1.) Move the lever to the OPEN position and set the wheel so it
is in firm contact with the frame/fork of your bike.
2.) With the lever about half way between the OPEN and the
CLOSED position (pointing straight out and parallel with the
wheel axle), tighten the quick release adjusting nut on the
opposite end of the quick release axle until finger-tight.
3.) Place the quick release lever in the palm of your hand and
swing it into the CLOSED position. You should be able to read
the word CLOSED on the lever when you are done. The lever
and wheel axle should now form an "L" shape. Open and close
the lever to ensure that it is tight enough. As you swing the
lever from the OPEN to the CLOSED position, you should feel
the lever begin to tighten when it is parallel with the wheel axle.
It will become progressively tighter until it has been closed
completely. (DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CENTER THE WHEEL
BETWEEN THE BRAKE PADS AS YOU CLOSE THE QUICK
RELEASE. If the wheel is not centered between the brake
pads when you have closed the lever, you have not placed the
wheel in the frame completely or you may need a brake
adjustment. Consult your dealer for details.)
4.) It is important to position the quick release lever in such
a manner as to avoid accidental release. For the front wheel,
the closed lever should be pointing up. When closed, the rear
quick release lever should be aimed between the chainstay
and seatatay of the bike.
How often do I need to oil my chain?
You should oil you chain enough so that it does not rust or create friction on the gears. The easiest test is to rub your finger across three links of the chain. If you now have oil on your finger, chances are that you have enough oil on your chain. If there is not oil on your finger, you should consider oiling your chain.
How much air should I put in my tires?
Be sure to use a bicycle-specific oil. These special lubricants attract less dirt and last longer than a simple 3-and-1 oil you may find at a hardware store. Do not use WD-40 on your chain. WD-40 will protect your chain from rust but it is a very poor lubricant and tends to collect dirt very rapidly.
We suggest applying lubricant liberally to you chain as you turn the pedals to work the oil into the chain. After you have applied the oil, use a rag to remove as much excess oil as you can. The goal is to oil the moving surfaces inside the chain. The surface of the chain needs only enough oil to prohibit rust from forming. Finally, you should not oil the gears on your bike directly. The chain will carry enough oil to the gears to provide protection. Any excess will attract dirt and grime.
One of the most common causes of rim damage is under-inflated tires! You should check your tires on a weekly basis to ensure you have adequate pressure. Your tires will lose pressure on their own over time. Skinny, high pressure tires tend to loose pressure faster than wide tires.
My bike worked great for the first month or so, but now it doesn't
shift as well. What happened?
On the side of your tire, their will be a suggested pressure rating. It is dangerous to ride your bicycle if your tires are not inflated enough or over-inflated. Skinny tires will require a specific pressure. Wider tires will list a range of pressure. Generally, a lower pressure will improve traction (within the pressure limit of the tire) while higher pressure will decrease rolling resistance. It is important to consider your weight and riding style when determining which pressure is best for you. If you are a larger person or an aggressive rider, you should use a higher pressure. Lighter riders or those who are less aggressive can use a slightly lower pressure and enjoy a softer ride.
Do not use an air hose from a gas station when inflating your tires. Gas station air hoses are designed for car tires and therefore move a greater volume of air than a pump or small compressor. Often, these air hoses will build pressure so quickly that a bicycle tire will explode.
If you have recently purchased a new bike, it is likely that it may require a tune-up after the first month of use. Even the best built bikes will have a break-in period and often require a minor tune-up. Bike shops anticipate this and most provide a free tune-up within a specified time period. Even if you bike is running perfectly, we encourage everyone to take advantage of their free tune-up. It will allow a mechanic to inspect your bicycle for any possible warranty issues, oil your chain and air your tires. It could serve as the ounce of prevention that potentially saves a pound of cure down the road.
My brakes squeak. Do I need new brake pads?
Often the answer is no. The noise you hear can be caused by many things. As brake pads wear, they can come out of alignment. A simple adjustment is often the cure.
How often should I bring in my bike for a checkup?
A second cause may be a build-up on your brake pads. Dirt, aluminum from your rims or other contaminants can build deposits on your brake pads and cause them to make noise. Before you take your bike to the shop for service, consider lightly rubbing the braking surface of the pad with a light grit (#200+) sand paper.
You should never apply any lubricant to the surface of your rims or brake pads for any reason.
This depends on how often and where you use your bike. A good rule of thumb is once per year. If you ride often or in wet or sandy conditions, it may require more frequent check-ups. Estimates are free so you should not hesitate to bring your bike to us if there is ever a question.
If my helmet has a dent in it, should I replace it?
Yes! Bike helmets are made for only one impact. Even if your helmet does not appear damaged after a crash, you should replace it if you know you hit your head. Almost every helmet manufacturer provides a low-cost or free replacement policy. Storing your helmet in a hot car can also compromise its effectiveness. Consult your helmet owner's manual for details.
How high should I set my seat?
Many people have knee trouble as a direct result of a seat that is too high or too low. The easiest way we have found for people to set their seat to the "correct" height is by the following method:
1.) Sit on your bike next to a wall so you can steady yourself or have a friend help.
2.) Rotate the pedals so that your left leg is in the 7 o'clock position. The goal, here, is to place one pedal as far away from the seat as possible and stretch your leg out as much as possible. The crank arms should line-up with the seat tube of your bike at this time.
3.) Place the heel of your foot over the axle (center) of the pedal. If you have toe clips on your bike, you may need to flip the pedal over to do this.
4.) Now, try to lock your knee. You should be able to place a small amount of pressure on the pedal at this point with your heal. If you have to stretch to reach the pedal (or rock your hips) to provide any pressure, your seat is too high. If you can not lock your knee without lifting yourself off the seat or rocking your hips, your seat is too low.
5.) Repeat this procedure with your other leg. Most of us have one leg that is slightly longer than the other. Adjust the seat to accommodate the leg that is shorter.
The above method will accommodate most riders. We invite you to experiment with adjusting your seat up or down slightly until you are satisfied but you should be within +/- .5 inch of the "correct" position by using our method. If you have not been on a bike in a long time, have a child seat installed, or do not feel comfortable with you seat at the height prescribed above, do not use the above method. If you would like one of our sales people to help you with setting your seat height, please bring your bike to the shop and we will do our best to help you.