What's the best way to prevent bike theft?
Believe it or not, most stolen bicycles get that way because they weren't locked. So, your first defense against theft is purchasing a quality lock and using it whenever you leave your ride unattended (even when it's inside your garage). Thieves usually ignore protected two wheelers because so many freebies are readily available.
But, don't just slap on the lock any old which way. Thieves are the lowest of the low, but they're not always stupid. They'll get your machine or part of it, if you're lazy about securing it.
For example, most bicycles are equipped with quick-release wheels, which make it easy for crooks to make off with a very expensive chunk of your machine if you forget to lock the wheel (or the rest of the bike, if you only secure one wheel!). Likewise, if you wrap a cable around a parking meter, the thief can just lift the bike over the post's top, toss your pride and joy in his truck and take it home where he can break off the lock at his leisure.
What type of bike lights are best?
If you can tell us how and where you'll ride at night, we can recommend the perfect light or system. For example, for occasional evening rides or commuting on good roads lit by streetlights, most people do fine with a clip-on front headlight combined with a rear flasher. This simple and inexpensive solution ($25 to $50) provides adequate road illumination while also making you visible to motorists. If you dislike disposing of the dead AAA or AA alkaline batteries these lights usually require, you can substitute rechargeable ones that you won't have to toss when they fade.
On the other end of the lighting spectrum are rechargeable systems that provide so much brightness and battery life that you could easily tackle a 3-hour singletrack at midnight with no moonlight. Of course, these systems can cost considerably more ($50 to $400+) than simpler models, but they're the best choices if you ride regularly for an hour or more on and/or off road in low-light conditions (the worse the road and trail conditions and the faster your pace, the more you'll appreciate additional brightness).
Most are easily mounted and removed, come with several power settings so you can manage battery life by selecting the most appropriate brightness for the lighting conditions, and are rugged enough to withstand heavy use. Visit our store to discuss your needs and try out some of our excellent lighting solutions. You'll be impressed.
How do I know what type of bike to buy?
We suggest coming in and looking at a few. We've got great bike models for every type of cycling and we can explain the differences and even arrange a test ride if you want, so you can feel the different rides.
In making a selection, it helps if you can tell us how you'll use the bike, where you'd like to ride and approximately how much you want to spend. If you're not sure, consider where you live and what the roads, paths and trails are like. Talk to friends who bike to find out what types they prefer, where they ride and what they recommend. (If you plan to ride with these friends, you'll probably want to get the same type of bike that they ride.)
Also, think about other purchases you make: are you a get-the-best, cost-is-no-object shopper or do you think of yourself as frugal? Do you like the latest high-tech gadgets or prefer simpler, more traditional designs. If you can answer some of these questions, it makes choosing a bicycle easier.
Keep in mind that cycling is a sport that grows on you. Many riders start with one bike and end up with a bunch, each ideal for its intended purpose. For example, an enthusiast will have an off-road bike for hitting dirt trails and a road bike for cruising on blacktop. If she's married, she might also have a tandem so her husband can join the fun. Or perhaps a city bike equipped with a basket for running errands around town.
Obviously, we're not suggesting that you start off by purchasing a garage-load of two wheelers. But, it takes some pressure off the decision process when you realize that no one bike is going to do it all. It's best to start with the bike type that seems best for how you'll ride now. And then, as your riding interests expand, there are plenty of other models you can consider.
Aluminum, steel, carbon, titanium; what frame material is best?
We'll leave this question for the scientists to debate. What you need to decide is which one is best for you.
Each material has specific characteristics and outstanding bikes are built out of all of them. So what really matters is finding a bicycle that fits, rides and handles the way you like and one that suits your needs and budget. What the frame material is should almost be an afterthought.
Still, the buzz about steel, aluminum, carbon and titanium may leave you wondering if it isn't worth it to go after one or the other. To help, we list the features of the different frame materials below. You'll see that they're strikingly similar in some ways and that they're all ideal for use in bicycles. This means that you'll get a great bike regardless of what material you pick. (If you narrow your new-bike choices down to a few different models and can't decide, test ride both and pick the one that feels best!)
Steel: Classic look, lively ride, durable and easily repaired, fairly light, affordable, can rust if abused.
Aluminum: Modern look, lively ride, durable, corrosion resistant, lightweight, affordable.
Carbon: High-tech look, lively ride, durable, corrosion free, lightweight, usually a little more expensive than steel and aluminum.
Titanium: Various looks (depending on finish), lively ride, durable, corrosion free, lightweight, usually the most expensive material.
What size bike/frame should I get?
You should get the bike size that allows an optimum fit for your body and your preferred type of riding. That means different things for different people. The best approach is to come in to our shop. We'll have you stand over and sit on a few bicycles so we can have a look and make recommendations. We'll determine what bike size is right by checking for these things:
- that you can comfortably (and safely) get on and off the bike
- that the seat can be placed in a comfortable and efficient position for pedaling
- that the handlebars can be placed at the right height for your torso length, flexibility and riding style
Keep in mind that most quality bikes come in a variety of frame sizes but there are often sizing differences from bike brand to brand, the same way shoe and clothing fit varies. Our goal is to find the frame that fits your lower and upper body to a T. Once we've determined the correct size for you, we can fine tune the fit as needed by adjusting the seat and handlebars.