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 first winter arctic polar vortex superstorm blast is supposed to hit most of the country (yes, we know it’s supposed to be beautiful in Arizona and California…hold the gloating please). 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: , , , , ,

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: , , , , , ,

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