Last Minute Holiday Bike Gifts For Cyclists

Worried about what to get the cyclist in your life? Here are 8 great ideas for bike gifts to give them a very happy holiday.

Order by 12/22 with 2nd Business Day shipping or 12/23 with Overnight shipping to have your gift by Christmas.

1. Bike Tools

Every cyclist always needs more tools. Bikes have many parts, and many of those parts require specific pieces of hardware to adjust, cut, crimp, torque, and true.

Even if you think the cyclist in your life has a workshop full of tools, odds are there is still something they need—or would appreciate having a spare.

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The Nashbar Premium tool kit makes an excellent gift

 

2. Bike Inner Tubes

Cyclists can never have enough inner tubes. Even if your cyclist rides tubeless (if you’ve heard lots of swearing coming from the garage when they’re trying to put on a new set of tires, that probably means they ride tubeless), it’s always great to have tubes on hand in case of flats, to give to a buddy, or because they have a bunch of other uses as well.

 

No cyclist can ever have enough tubes

No cyclist can ever have enough tubes

3. Bike Socks

Nothing put a personal touch on a cyclist’s kit like some fresh socks. Whether you want to go old school pro with some shorter white ones, new school cool with some tall black socks, or unique individual with some bright and colorful ones, socks always make a perfect stocking stuffer.

 

Socks, like these wool ones from Nashbar, are an ideal stocking stuffer

Socks, like these wool ones from Nashbar, are an ideal stocking stuffer

4. Bike Helmet

Even if your cyclist hasn’t crashed (that you know of) in a couple years, odds are they wouldn’t say “no” to a new lid. Bike helmet design has come a long way recently, and new models are lighter, more aerodynamic, and cooler (in both senses of the word) than ever before.

 

New bike helmets are faster, lighter, and cooler

New bike helmets are faster, lighter, and cooler

5. Bike Shorts

Shorts are usually something that cyclists tend to keep far past the time when they should be retired. Nobody wants to ride behind a cyclist in a pair of worn out old shorts—due to their tendency to become see through with age. Do your cyclist and his buddies a favor, and give him some fresh lycra.

 

Odds are the cyclist in your life needs some new shorts. His riding buddies probably agree.

Odds are the cyclist in your life needs some new shorts. His riding buddies probably agree.

6. Ahrens Bottle Opener

Turn the cyclist in your life into the life of the party with the Ahrens Bottle Opener. Yes, that is a bottle opener that mounts on a bike. And yes, it will be the coolest gift they receive this year.

 

Your one way ticket to coolest gift award

Your one way ticket to coolest gift award

7. Sports Camera

Cyclists are at heart vain creatures, with an urge to display their feats of strength for the broader world to appreciate. Sometimes sharing a ride on Strava just isn’t enough. Sometimes the world needs to see the feats of strength. That’s what action cameras are for.

Also, they’re excellent for staying safer on the road, since almost everything that happens is captured on video.

 

The Garmin Virb is an excellent way for your cyclist to prove their feats of strenght

The Garmin Virb is an excellent way for your cyclist to prove their feats of strength

8. New Bike Water Bottles

Odds are your cyclist’s water bottles are filthy, germy mess. They may very well think they are clean, but unless they’ve been removing the…you know what—let’s just leave it at they need new bottles.

Some nice, clean, new water bottles are an excellent small gift idea

Some nice, clean, new water bottles are an excellent small gift idea

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

Fast Fixes: How To Adjust Your Rear Derailleur in 30 Seconds or Less

The rear derailleur is a source of most bike problems

The rear derailleur is a source of most bike problems

If you’ve noticed your bike isn’t shifting as smoothly as it used to, or that the bicycle chain is making a loud clattering sound while you’re pedaling, it’s probably because your one of your bike parts, namely your rear derailleur (the part that changes the rear gears) is out of adjustment.

This can happen for a couple of reasons, but the usual culprit is that the cable that connects it to the shifter has stretched with time and is too loose, making it tough to shift into an easier gear.

The good news is that this is a bike repair problem that’s easy to tackle.

Step 1.

For Road Bikes: Look for the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur

For road and cyclocross bikes, the barrel adjuster is on the derailleur itself

For road and cyclocross bikes, the barrel adjuster is on the derailleur itself

For Mountain Bikes: Look for the barrel adjuster on the shifter lever

For mountain bikes, it is on the shifter

For mountain bikes, it is on the shifter

Step 2.

Turn the barrel adjuster counter-clockwise (when looking at the derailleur from the rear) to tighten the cable tension. A pitfall to avoid is thinking of it as “lefty loosey, righty tighty”– in this case loosening the barrel adjuster actually increases tension on the derailleur cable.

*(If your bike is having trouble shifting on to the smaller cogs, the process is the same, but you just turn the barrel adjuster clockwise instead. This also applies if you have a Rapid Rise, or low-normal MTB derailleur)

Turn the barrel adjust counter clockwise to tighten the cable tension

Turn the barrel adjust counter clockwise to tighten the cable tension

Step 3:

Turn the cranks and attempt to shift the gears up and down the cassette

Turn the cranks and shift the gears to test out your adjustment

Turn the cranks and shift the gears to test out your adjustment

Step 4:

Continue making quarter turn adjustments until the gears shift smoothly and quietly.

You've now tuned your rear derailleur. Good job, gang.

You’ve now tuned your rear derailleur. Good job, gang.

That didn’t work?

  1. If your bike is very noisy or not shifting properly when it’s in the middle of the cassette, it’s probably because your rear derailleur hanger (where the derailleur bolts on) is bent or needs to be replaced. Take your bike to a shop and have them realign it for you. It should take about 2 minutes.
  2. If your bike refuses to shift into the highest or lowest cog regardless of cable tension, your high and low limit screws may be improperly set. Try backing the appropriate one out while turning the pedals and see if the derailleur shifts.
  3. If you recently crashed, look for damage to the derailleur mechanism. If that’s the case, it’s time for a new derailleur.
  4. Look for rusty or frayed cables, which means it’s time for new cables
  5. Look for tight bends or kinks in the cable housing leading into the derailleur. If it looks like a very tight loop, you need some slightly longer housing.
Posted in Bike Nashbar, Cycling Tips Tagged with: , , , ,

Black Friday Top Picks

Behold. Black Friday 2015 is upon us. You might still be feeling glutted with turkey and possibly too much time with extended family, but Bike Nashbar is bursting with Black Friday good cheer. So good, in fact, that we decided to do some preparatory pre-shopping– just so we know what to get. If any loved ones out there are reading (and you know who you are), please read this list and remember that we’ve been very good about sorting the recyclables from the trash this year. And since the wheels are kind of a stretch, we might just go ahead and treat ourselves to any early Christmas present…

But we digress. Whether you’re shopping for a loved one who loves two wheels, or just looking for a little “Happy Holidays to me” kind of deal, you’ll find plenty over at the site to make you (or your loved one) happy this Black Friday (and beyond).

Here’s a few ideas to get you (and our special someone) started.

1. Giro Air Attack Helmet

This is one of our favorite helmets ever. Yes, it looks a little…unusual, but it totally lives up to the hype. As an added bonus, it’s one of the best winter helmets ever, thanks to the added coverage—making it something you can truly use year round.

 

Fast in the summer and comfortable in the winter

Fast in the summer and comfortable in the winter

2. Cateye Strada Double Wireless Computer

Going fast is great, but do you know how fast you’re actually going? Even if you’re more into the journey than in how fast you got there, having a cycling computer is a great addition to your bike, since it provides info like mileage, time, and average speed.

 

Fully wireless and packed with features

Fully wireless and packed with features

3. Reynolds Assault SLG Disc Carbon Tubular

If you’re into cyclocross– or looking for an incredible upgrade for your bike, then these are a must have. These are flat out some of the best wheels we’ve ever ridden, on or off the road. They’re perfect for your disc brake cross rig, or a disc brake road bike. They’re stiff, fast, durable, and fully compatible with most road disc brake systems out there.

 

48mm deep and ready for racin'

48mm deep and ready for racin’

4. Nashbar AT29 mountain Bike

Hitting the trails is one of the best ways to have fun on a bike during the fall and winter months (or actually just any time), and the Nashbar AT29 mountain bike is a great way to discover what those trails are all about. This durable, capable, well spec’ed bike is an incredible value that makes it easy to discover the thrills, spills, and joys of mountain biking.

 

A great value and a great bike

A great value and a great bike

5. Primal Wear Holiday Sweater Jersey

Ok, we just can’t resist this one. Even though we rank looking handsome on the bike about equal to being fast on the bike, the Ugly Holiday Sweater Jersey is just too awesome to let go. It injects some holiday cheer into your rides—which can be an awesome mood booster on those cold, dark rides.

You can't put a price on looking fine and festive

You can’t put a price on looking fine and festive

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

Building A Winter Road Bike

Born from the deepest, darkest depths of the parts bin, this employee winter road bike is built to get the job done

Born from the deepest, darkest depths of the parts bin, this employee winter road bike gets the job done

Most bikes don’t like the winter. Between the salt, grime, wet, ice, and snow, there’s a lot on the roads that can put some hurt on a bike.

For this reason it’s not uncommon for many riders to have a separate winter road bike that they use during the colder months. This bike isn’t pretty, and it isn’t high tech—but it can take a beating and it gets the job done.

Now, having a second bike just for the winter might seem excessive—until you begin to weigh the cost of building a beater bike against replacing components. Salt and road grime can quickly chew through chains, cassettes, derailleur jockey wheels and chainrings, and salt and road spray can play havoc with bottom brackets and headsets. And none of that stuff comes cheap when it comes time to replace stuff.

But don’t worry, building a winter road bike doesn’t have to be expensive…in fact it probably shouldn’t be. You can easily put together a super durable, super capable machine that can take some serious abuse with just the stuff you have in your parts bin and a quick trip to Nashbar.com.

STEP 1: See What You Already Have

Go to your basement/garage/shed and look through your parts bin to see what you have laying around. It doesn’t all have to match per se, but you should make sure that it will all work together and everything will fit.

Make a list of anything you still need, including adapters and shims.

The spare parts bin is where ever winter bike should start it's life

The spare parts bin is where ever winter bike should start it’s life

STEP 2: Order What You Need

Go to Nashbar.com. We have a wide selection of both newer and older components, so there’s a good chance you can find what you’re looking for.

If you need a frame or fork, we have a wide assortment to pick from, including our brand new Nashbar Cro-mo Road Bike frame, which has enough bosses and mounting options that it should work with just about any drivetrain you can imagine, and it’s pretty much indestructible.

Nashbar has plenty of frames, drivetrain components and more to get your bike up and running

Nashbar has plenty of frames, drivetrain components and more to get your bike up and running

Things to consider when building your winter road bike:

1. Lower Your Gearing

During the winter I usually like to use a compact crank and an 12-27 cassette. The off-season is the time to spin and do cadence work, not high intensity smashing.

A compact crank and easier cassette are probably a good way to go during the winter

A compact crank and easier cassette are probably a good way to go during the winter

2. Semi-Disposable Drivetrain

I usually use cheaper, lower-spec cassettes and chains on my winter bike. They’re going to get ruined, so why worry about it? And since the cost is lower, I can usually stock up on a spare or two, just in case.

A lower-cost cassette and chain make it easier to say goodbye at the end of the winter

A lower-cost cassette and chain make it easier to say goodbye at the end of the winter

3. Wheels

More spokes, more metal, more durable. Some low-cost alloy wheels with a high spoke count are more likely to survive the winter (and less likely to cause financial strain if they don’t) than your nice wheels. Added bonus: when you switch to your good wheels in spring, your bike will feel much lighter and faster.

Expert Tip: look for wheels with brass nipples. Alloy nipples corrode quickly in a salt environment.

Some low-cost, super durable alloy wheels are a good way to go...whether they match or not

Some low-cost, super durable alloy wheels are a good way to go…whether they match or not

4. Tires

Tires are the one exception to the “don’t splurge” rule of the winter bike. Invest in a good, durable tire like the Conti Gatorskins or Maxxis Re-Fuse, with a puncture resistant belt under the tread. It’s worth it to spend the extra money on tires to avoid standing on the side of the road in the cold trying to change a flat.

If you live somewhere icy or snowy (we’re looking at you, Buffalo) consider getting some studded tires for extra traction in the winter.

Any tire with a tough, durable casing and flat protection belt is a smart investment for the winter

Any tire with a tough, durable casing and flat protection belt is a smart investment for the winter

5. Lights

It’s getting darker earlier, so I usually keep a set of front and rear blinky lights on my bike at all times. If I’m getting an early or late start, I add a more powerful front headlight, just in case.

Front and rear lights are a must for a winter road bike

Front and rear lights are a must for a winter road bike

6. Saddle Bag and Frame Pump

During the off-season I use a saddle bag and frame-mounted pump instead of carrying everything in my pockets like I do in summer. I do this for two reasons:

1. I always have more stuff in my pockets, so there’s not a lot of pocket room for repair supplies.

2. My rides tend to be longer in winter, so I roll with more repair supplies to deal with just about any emergency.

A frame pump and saddle bag ensure you'll have (almsot) everything you need to fix your bike on the side of the road

A frame pump and saddle bag ensure you’ll have (almsot) everything you need to fix your bike on the side of the road

7. Fenders

I usually hold off on these until the depths of winter, but I do mount fenders on my bike. Not only do they keep you dry, but they also protect your components from the worst of the road spray. If your bike has fender mounts, then you’re in good shape—you can run some actual, full coverage fenders. If not, don’t worry—there are plenty of clip on options out there.

Even the venerable "beaver tail" fender can make a big difference

Even the venerable “beaver tail” fender can make a big difference

8. Grease and Lubricants

If it’s on your bike it looks like it’s made of metal and threads or screws into something, grease it. If you don’t grease it, lube it. If you don’t grease or lube it, wax it. Use carwax on the frame, beeswax as a threadlocker/sealant. If you’re riding a steel bike, look at getting your frame framesavered. Lube your spoke nipples. Grease your water bottle bolts. Try putting some beeswax on fender mounts and rack mounts. Look at using a “wet lube” instead of a dry one on your chain for extra rust protection. Ammonia makes a great a de-icer.

See this stuff? It should go on anything with threads on your bike.

See this stuff? It should go on anything with threads on your bike.

Posted in Bike Nashbar, Cycling Tips, Learn About Gear Tagged with: , , , , ,

6 Cold Weather Essentials

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Hey guess what you guys! The season of winter arctic polar vortex superstorm blasts is here (yes, we know it’s always beautiful in Arizona and California…hold the gloating please), but in our opinion it’s way too early in the year to be riding the trainer yet.

We’ll be using these 6 Essentials to get through next week, and so should you.

1. Lights

Daylight savings time is upon us. We’re still not sure if we fall back or fall forward, or what is happening. All we know is that it’s getting dark earlier, so that means it’s time to mount up some lights on that bike of yours. Even if you don’t plan on riding at night, it’s still a good idea to carry some with you.

EXPERT TIP: Even if you have a nice set of high-power lights mounted on your bike, carry a set of small LED safety lights with you. That way even if the battery dies, you still have some way for drivers to see you.

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. Jacket

It’s cold out there. Bundle up with a good cycling thermal or softshell jacket. Thermal jackets do an excellent job of holding in heat, but if the weather is windy or wet, you’ll need an additional jacket on top. Softshell jackets are wind- and water-resistant, but still highly breathable, so they’re an excellent choice for all-weather riding.

EXPERT TIP: Before heading out for a winter ride, take a minute to really think about your layering. Example: on windy days, we usually forgo wearing a jersey under a jacket. Instead we’ll just wear a baselayer, a wind-resistant vest, and then the jacket on top. Because we’re working harder to battle the wind, overheating is a real concern, but so we also want to keep our core warm.

The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell jacket is great for riding in cold or bad weather

The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell jacket is great for riding in cold or bad weather

3. Tights

When you go for a bike ride, protect your legs and knees with a good pair of thermal tights. Some come with chamois pads already sewn in, some don’t and can be worn over your favorite shorts.

EXPERT TIP: On really cold days, you can layer knee or leg warmers under your tights for extra warmth.

Keep the guns warm with tights like the Nashbar Mansfield 2 chamois tights

Keep the guns warm with tights like the Nashbar Mansfield 2 chamois tights

4. Shoe Covers

Don’t try to wear super thick socks with your cycling shoes. Instead, use a pair of shoe covers to both protect your shoes from road spray, and provide vital insulation.

EXPERT TIP: If the roads are wet, it’s really cold, or the weather is really bad, you can layer up on cycling shoe covers. Wear an insulated pair underneath, and then put a waterproof pair on top.

Shoe covers can keep the heat in and the rain out

Shoe covers can keep the heat in and the rain out

5. Gloves

Nothing is worse than having your fingers go numb on a ride, with no way to warm them up. Having a great pair of insulated cycling gloves can keep in the heat, keep out the wind, and wick away moisture.

EXPERT TIP: No matter how cold it is, you’re going to sweat on your ride—that’s just a fact of life. To avoid the misery of wet gloves on a cold day, bring a spare pair of gloves in a plastic bag (we usually add in an extra hat as well) and change them out at the half way point.

The Louis Garneau Wind Protect gloves offer excellent protection

The Louis Garneau Wind Protect gloves offer excellent protection

6. Insulated Water Bottle

Ever had the water freeze in your bottles? Not fun. Almost is bad is the super cold slush-water that feels like a dental drill. To keep your water from freezing, use insulated cycling bottles.

EXPERT TIP: To keep yourself and your bottles warm, try filling them with hot (but not boiling) herbal tea instead of water. It’s comforting on a long ride, and will keep your bottles from freezing. Another tip: in the depths of last year’s Winter Vortex, we took to adding a teaspoon of vodka to our water bottles to lower the freezing temperature a little bit (we’re not sure if this actually did anything, but the bro science made sense to us).

Insulated bottles can keep your water from turning into slush

Insulated bottles can keep your water from turning into slush

Posted in Learn About Gear Tagged with: , , , , ,

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