Quick Guide To Bike Trainers

Ok, we’ll admit it. There’s times when it’s just too horrific to go outside. Then we looked at the weather app, saw a number with a minus sign in front of it, and put it all away again.

Instead we pulled out the old bike trainer, and enjoyed a hard, pulse-pounding, and warm workout in the basement. Sure, it was a lot less exciting than we would have hoped, but at least we still have all our digits…so that’s got to count for something, right?

Bicycle trainers are a great way to keep fit and get in a ride when the weather just won’t cooperate, or even when time is short. Sometimes if we have a lot of general life commitments, we’ll just keep the bike set up in the trainer, making it easy to sneak in a quick 15 or 20 minutes of indoor training when we can.

When it comes to picking a bike trainer, you have plenty of choices, and sometimes figuring out the differences between then can be tricky. So we went through our assortment and broke it down for you.

Bike Trainers

Bicycle trainers are kind of like a treadmill for your bike—except that you’re the one doing all the work (there’s no motor moving anything except your legs). They consist of a frame and a resistance unit. Bike trainers either have a frame that clamps on to the wheel skewer (a specially one is usually provided) and places your rear tire on the resistance unit, or a frame that requires you to remove the rear wheel and clamp the frame direction on to the trainer.

Bike trainers are usually defined by the type of resistance unit it offers.

Fluid Resistance

Fluid resistance bike trainers are some of the most popular and “realistic” trainers out there. They feature “progressive resistance”, so as you crank up the cadence on the pedals, the resistance on the trainer increases, giving you a pretty “road feel” as you ride. Is it exactly like riding outside? Not quite, but the feel is pretty good.

Fluid resistance bike trainers also have the advantage of being very quiet, so they’re good if you have thin walls or live in an apartment building.

The Nashbar Fluid Pro trainer offers smooth progressive resistance and comes with everything you'll need to get started

The Nashbar Fluid Pro trainer offers smooth progressive resistance and comes with everything you’ll need to get started

Magnetic Resistance

Magnetic Resistance bike trainers use powerful magnets to increase the resistance. Unlike  fluid resistance bike trainers, which increases resistance in response to your cadence, these trainers usually require you to preset the level of resistance you want. Some units also come with a remote that can attach to your handlebars to let you control resistance while riding.

Magnetic bike trainers are usually less expensive than fluid trainers, making them a good choice if you’re trying to get in some time on the bike trainer, and are on a budget.

The Elite Crono Mag Elastogel trainer provides an excellent workout at a great price

The Elite Crono Mag Elastogel trainer provides an excellent workout at a great price

Wind Resistance

The resistance on these bike trainers comes from a built in fan—kind of like an old rowing machine. These also have progressive resistance like a fluid trainer, so as you increase your cadence, the resistance increases. Wind resistance trainers usually have a smoother progression in resistance than fluid bike trainers, and with fewer moving parts. The down side though is that wind resistance trainers are incredibly loud. Like, unbelievably loud. But, if you want a smooth, progressive, lightweight bike trainer, these are the way to go.

Wind bike trainers are usually the most advanced out there, with interactive features, built in power meters, and other high tech features.

The Elite Real Axiom Interactive trainer provides one of the most comprehensive workouts available

The Elite Real Axiom Interactive trainer provides one of the most comprehensive workouts available

Rollers

Ah yes, that old school favorite. Rollers are a bit different from bike trainers. With a bike trainer, the rear wheel is either clamped into the trainer, or removed all together and the frame clamped directly to the trainer. With rollers, you’re on your own. Rollers have three drums that spin as you pedal, creating an inertia effect that keeps the bike upright.

Rollers can take some getting used to (the first time you ride one, we recommend setting it up next to a wall to help you get started. And make sure a close friend is filming…), but once you’ve got the hang of it, they produce an excellent workout. Some rollers come with resistance, and some do not. Some also have a parabolic roller shape, which helps you stay centered while riding without drifting to the sides (and risking falling off).

The main benefit of rollers is that they are excellent for helping you work on your cadence and form. Since rollers reward a smooth, steady, high style of pedaling, they help you hone your technique—which can pay huge benefits out on the road.

The Nashbar Elite Parabolic rollers help you stay centered while riding, and provide an excellent work out

The Nashbar Elite Parabolic rollers help you stay centered while riding, and provide an excellent work out

Accessories

Here are a few things might want to consider purchasing to go along with your bike trainer

Riser block: raises your front wheel to be on level with the rear

Mat: Helps keep the trainer from moving around and catches any sweat drips

Nashbar Reader Rack: This holds a tablet, book, or eBook on your handlebars…you know, in case you get bored

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

Happy Holidays from Bike Nashbar

2014NB_Holidays

Thanks so much for making it a great year you guys, and we look forward to more thrills, chills and spills with you in 2015.

2014NB_Holidays

Posted in Bike Nashbar

Video Recap – Road Bike Party 3

road_bike_party_3_flip

The guys over at Global Cycling Network are at it again, with another installment of their Road Bike Party video series. With a new star in Sam Pilgrim and a new location in San Diego, they’ve proven that carbon road bikes can do some pretty amazing things in the right hands! Take a look at the action below, but, as they say, don’t try this at home (or anywhere, really).

Posted in Culture Tagged with: , , , , ,

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: , , , ,

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