7 Things To Check Before Your Next Ride

1. Quick Release Skewers

Loose quick release skewers can cause problems ranging from an annoying squeak to the wheel catastrophically coming out of the dropouts. Before you ride, check to make sure yours are tight.

Quick release skewers can work loose over time. Make sure yours are tight before your next ride.

Quick release skewers can work loose over time. Make sure yours are tight before your next ride.

2. Tire Pressure

Under-inflated tires can cause the tire to wear faster and increase your risk of getting a flat. Check on the side of the tire for the recommended PSI. For road riding, you should inflate it to within 30 PSI of the maximum recommend, depending on body weight (lighter riders should use lower pressures). For MTB 30-45 PSI is usually ideal, depending on trail conditions and body weight.

Most tires have the recommended tire pressure on the sidewall

Most tires have the recommended tire pressure on the sidewall

3. Stem Bolts

If your stem bolts aren’t tight, the next pot hole, tree root, or set of rail road tracks you hit could make your handlebars move out of position. To check, grab the brake hoods and try to push them downward. If they move, then reposition the bars and check that the 4 facebolt bolts are evenly tightened to spec.

To keep your handlebars secure, make sure the stem bolts are tight

To keep your handlebars secure, make sure the stem bolts are tight

4. Headset

Grab the front brake lever and try to rock your bike back and forth. If you can feel the fork steer (the part of the fork that extends up through the frame) moving or can hear a rattle, your headset is loose. To fix, loosen the two stem pinch bolts, tighten the top cap bolt (on the top of the steerer tube), and retighten the stem bolts. If the top cap is fully tightened but you still feel some play, you may need an additional spacer underneath the top cap.

A loose headset can be both irritating and dangerous. Fortunately, fixing it is pretty easy.

A loose headset can be both irritating and dangerous. Fortunately, fixing it is pretty easy.

5. Brakes

Lift each wheel off the ground and spin it. If you hear the brakes rubbing at any point, move the caliper or open the brake arms using the adjustment lever until you don’t hear rubbing any more. With both wheels on the ground, grab the brake levers and try to roll the bike forward. If the wheels move, or the levers bottom out before the brakes are fully engaged, tighten the calipers using the barrel adjuster on each brake caliper.

Always make sure your brakes function correctly, and aren't rubbing the rims before a ride.

Always make sure your brakes function correctly, and aren’t rubbing the rims before a ride.

6. Seatpost

If your seatpost isn’t fully tightened, you could find your saddle sliding down on you as you ride. Firmly grab the saddle, and try to push it down while twisting from side to side. If the saddle moves, reposition it and tighten the seatpost clamp to spec (be careful not to overtighten—especially with carbon frames and seatposts).

Test your seatpost before a ride to make sure your bike doesn't turn into a low rider

Test your seatpost before a ride to make sure your bike doesn’t turn into a low rider

7. Crank Arms

Sometimes these can work themselves loose on newer bikes, and bikes with a lot of miles on them. Sometimes it can just cause some nagging knee pain, or the entire crankarm can fall off mid ride. To check, rotate the non-drive side crank arm so it’s inline with the downtube. Grab the crankarm and downtube and try to firmly squeeze them together. Look for movement near the BB cups. If you can see the crankarm moving or wiggling, you need to tighten your cranks.

The owner of this bike once found himself with this crank arm hanging from his shoe. Don't be like him.

The owner of this bike once found himself with this crank arm hanging from his shoe. Don’t be like him, and make sure your cranks are adequately tightened

Posted in Learn About Gear Tagged with: , ,

5 Things Every Cyclist Should Stockpile

lotto_service_courseSadly we can’t all have our own private pro cycling service course, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a personal stash of cycling supplies that will always come in handy (especially right before a big ride). Our list of gear to stockpile certainly doesn’t cover everything – so post a comment below with what’s on your list!

1. Inner Tubes

You can never have enough of these. You never know when a flat will strike, and you don’t want to get stuck with a flat tire and no way to fix it. Always carry at least one when you ride, and have a few on hand at home.

 

You can never have enough inner tubes at home. No, seriously. You can never actually have enough.

You can never have enough inner tubes at home. No, seriously. You can never actually have enough.

2. Nutrition

Having a good assortment of gels, chews, bars, and hydration mix at home makes it easy to always stay all fueled up on a ride. Just grab something from the cupboard and go.

We're big fans of the Honey Stinger waffle

We’re big fans of the Honey Stinger waffle

3. Chains

This seems like kind of a weird one, but we’ve had more than a few chains randomly snap on us on a ride (ok, maybe it wasn’t so random—they were probably well past their wear life anyway). Having a chain or two on hand can limit the amount of time your bike is down.

If you've got a few miles on your current chain, you might want to have one or two on hand

If you’ve got a few miles on your current chain, you might want to have one or two on hand

 

4. Cassette

Most cassettes are pretty much toast after about 1,500-3,000 miles, depending on how often you clean your drivetrain. Cassettes can be kind of expensive, so when we spot a good deal on them (watch your inbox for Bike Nashbar emails!), we like to pick up one or two whether we need them right then or not. Afterall, eventually it will need to be replaced, so why not save some money and be secure in the knowledge you have a spare on hand.

 

Cassettes tend to be kind of costly, so if you find a great deal on them (watch your email, folks), it probably not a bad idea to get one or two

Cassettes tend to be kind of costly, so if you find a great deal on them (watch your email, folks), it probably not a bad idea to get one or two

5. Saddle

Did you find the saddle you absolutely love? Buy another one. We’re not kidding. At some point the manufacturer is going to change the shape, design, or just stop making it all together. This can be a traumatic event in the life of any cyclist. But you can lessen the impact by having a second one on hand, ready to swoop in and save your behind when your old saddle finally bites the dust after years of loyal use (or a crash).

Have you found The One? Safeguard your new-found comfort by having a backup saddle

Have you found The One? Safeguard your new-found comfort by having a backup saddle

Posted in Bike Nashbar, Cycling Tips Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Light It Up: Picking The Right Light For Your Bike

With the days getting darker, using lights on your bike becomes more important. Lights usually fall into two categories:

  1. Lights that help you see
  2. Lights that help you been seen

But which one do you need? Much will depend on when, where, and how you ride, but one thing is consistent: every cyclist should own at least one set of lights to help them ride safely during the darker months. While many bikes come with reflectors, and a lot of cycling clothing is reflective these days, you still need to use lights as well (in fact, most states require this in order for you to not be found culpable if you are involved in an accident at night).

 

1. Safety Lights

Every cyclist needs to own at least one set of these. No argument will be entered into on this. These small, inexpensive LED lights have become much brighter and have longer battery life in recent years. They are small enough to fit into a jersey pocket, attach easily to the handlebars and seatpost, and are bright enough to help you be seen on even the darkest roads. Even if you don’t plan on riding at night, having a set of these with you during the fall and winter is important in case something happens and your ride goes longer than planned.

Strength: Small, lightweight, highly visible, inexpensive

Weakness: Not bright enough to light your way

Ideal For: Urban riding, commuting, emergency lights for road/trail riding

 

Safety lights, like the Blackburn Click Combo, are small, lightweight, inexpensive, and help you stay safe if you get caught out after dark

Safety lights, like the Blackburn Click Combo, are small, lightweight, inexpensive, and help you stay safe if you get caught out after dark

2. Commuter Lights

These are kind of the goldilocks lights of the bike world, and are usually pretty ideal for most commuters and road cyclists. Commuter lights are much larger and brighter than safety lights, and have a higher light output as well. These lights are typically in the 50-375 lumen range (lumens are a measure of how bright a light is, the more lumens, the brighter), and are capable of putting out enough light to illuminate the path in front of you with some help from a street light or two. They also usually have a flash mode that can make you more visible to drivers from further out. Always use a commuter light with a taillight.

Strength: Versatile, lots of light in a smaller package, great value

Weakness: Bulkier than safety lights, not bright enough to fully light your way on a totally unlit road or trail

Ideal For: Urban riding, commuting, dawn/dusk road and trail riding

A commuter light, like the NiteRider Mako 200 USB, is bright enough to help light the way, but has a flash mode to help you be seen

A commuter light, like the NiteRider Mako 200 USB, is bright enough to help light the way, but has a flash mode to help you be seen

3. Headlamps

Headlamps are the big boys of the bike light world. Packing high powered LED lamps in the 500-2200 lumen range, these are the lights that are used to light your way during full on night riding. These lights are fairly big and heavy, and some require external battery packs, but what you get is a bike light that’s as bright as—or brighter than—the sun. If you ride on MTB trails at night, like to do some road cycling at night, or commute down unlit country roads, these are the lights that can show you the way home. We also always recommend pairing these lights with a flashing commuter or safety light as well, to stop drivers confusing you with a slow moving car or motorcycle. Always pair a headlamp with a taillight.

Strength: Super duper ultra blindingly bright

Weakness: Heavy, may require external battery pack, relatively short battery life

Ideal For: Night riding on unlit trails or rural roads

The NiteRider Pro 1200 Race is a 1200 lumen light that is designed to turn night into day

The NiteRider Pro 1200 Race is a 1200 lumen light that is designed to turn night into day

 

4. Taillights

Taillights are required of cyclists at night in almost every state, city, and municipality in America, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Basically, these are flashing red lights that mount to the back of your bike—either at the seatpost or seatstay, or by clipping onto your saddlebag or backpack. Their sole purpose is to make you visible to oncoming traffic. Most are pretty inexpensive, and they go a long way toward helping you stay visible and safe. Unlike headlamps, which are measured in lumens, taillights are measured in watts. They can range from 1/2W-2W “boomers” which are visible from over a mile away, to small “blinkies” that are more suitable for city and suburban streets.

Taillights, like the Nashbar Beacon, make you more visible to oncoming traffic

Taillights, like the Nashbar Beacon, make you more visible to oncoming traffic

Posted in Bike Nashbar, Learn About Gear, Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Video Recap – Red Bull Rampage 2014

Tyler McCaul - Red Bull Rampage

Red Bull Rampage is crazy – there, we’ve said it! It’s a wild ride of watching mountain bike pros with massive skills overcoming a combination of the most extreme features, both man-made and natural, that the desert southwest can dish out. This year’s event was no different, with massive canyon gap jumps, sheer cliff faces, and backflips galore. So sit back, relax, and get a first-hand look at what these fat-tired maniacs can do… if you dare!

Andreu Lacondeguy’s Winning MTB GoPro Run

Kelly McGarry Finals Run GoPro Footage

Cam Zink’s Massive 360 Step-Down POV

Brett Rheeder’s 5th Place POV Run

Carson Storch GoPro Qualifier Run

Pre-Finals Riding – Red Bull Rampage 2014

Posted in Culture Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Get Tough: Dressing For Bad Weather

fall-clothing-essentials

The days are getting dark, cold, and rainy. That means it’s time to get tough. Rule No. 9 states that if you are out riding in bad weather, it means you’re a cycling hardman (or woman). We subscribe that idea whole heartedly.

Nothing makes a bike ride feel more epic than being out riding in some gnarly weather while everyone else is inside. But, if you’re going to be a tough guy, then you need the Belgian Secret Sauce: excellent clothing.

Having the right clothing can make the difference between enjoying the thrill of being out in bad weather and just suffering through bad weather.

Here are the threads you need to not only survive, but thrive, in the fall weather.

 

1. Arm and knee warmers

These are the most versatile items in a cyclist’s arsenal. They extend the temperature range of the shorts and jerseys you already have, so they save you some cheddar too—which is cool.

If you’re really a tough guy though, you can skip the knee warmers and just go with embrocation for the legs. But tread carefully, kimosabe, and make sure you apply it after you’ve put on your shorts.

Wearing (two) arm warmers is a great way to extend the temperature range of the jerseys you already have

Wearing (two) arm warmers is a great way to extend the temperature range of the jerseys you already have

 

2. Vest

If the morning is cold, or if you planning on doing something really pro like Izoard repeats with some long descents, you’ll need a wind vest. These little guys pack a big punch by cutting the wind and keeping your core warm. Plus, after you do a few hard intervals and you get warmed up, you can just roll it up and put it in your pocket.

 

This fine looking vest from Cannondale not only helps you look fantastic, but keeps your core warm as well

This fine looking vest from Cannondale not only helps you look fantastic, but keeps your core warm too

3. Gloves

Even Mr. Eddy Merckx, the Cannibal of Belgium himself, wore gloves when it was cold and rainy. It’s completely acceptable, nay– encouraged, to keep your digits operational, especially since you need them for shifting.

 

Some Nashbar cold weather gloves keep your fingers warm, so you can keep shifting and dishing out hurt

Some Nashbar cold weather gloves keep your fingers warm, so you can keep shifting and dishing out hurt

4. Rain Jacket

Pro’s get paid to suffer in the rain. You don’t. A rain jacket helps you stay dry and warm while riding, so you can ride happy. And when you ride happy, you ride fast. So wear a rain jacket.

 

This Santini Kristalon jacket is designed to fit in a jersey pocket for days when Mother Nature refuses to cooperate

This Santini Kristalon jacket is designed to fit in a jersey pocket for days when Mother Nature refuses to cooperate

Posted in Bike Nashbar, Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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