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40

Yes, definitely -- if you're riding on mostly paved roads, switch to bald-ish tires. Rolling resistance is huge and equates directly to effort, though as you start going really fast it is dwarfed by air and gravity of course. Per the graph here: However, one caution: road tires tend to be skinny, and you probably want fat-but-bald tires instead. If you go ...


30

As long as you can see the dimple, the rim is still thick enough. When you brake, the rim gets worn. Eventually it is worn so thin that it can break. The dimples help you identify the wear so that you can replace the rim before it breaks.


26

The gearing of your bike seems reasonable, the 26 front/34 rear combination will (eventually) make climbing hills easy. But till then… Before you do anything else, take @cherouvim's advice and make sure you seat is at a reasonable height. It should be high enough that if you place a heel on the low pedal your leg is almost fully extended (just short of ...


24

Rob, you are correct that a heavier bike will give you a greater fitness benefit over the same distance. The only real counter-point I have is that the most effective bikes for fitness are the ones that get ridden. So, if some reason a lighter bike would more fun or appealing to you (while still be a "good enough" commuter), than a lighter bike could be a ...


19

Short answer: Yes. You will notice a significant difference immediately by moving to a proper road tire. Unless you are doing significant amounts of riding of that bike on dirt or mud, you are better off going with the gators. Those tires are pretty tough and will do well even if you have some of your commute on gravel. (I have these on my commuter bike)


18

Usually, singles need to have horizontal dropouts so you can take the chain slack by adjusting the rear axle position. That means that any brake that is attached to the frame will "go out of position" when you adjust the rear axle position. That is, by the way, the reason why some horizontal dropouts are not quite horizontal, but diagonal: to be ...


16

In general you can get an very good all-around road bike, or a very good all-around mountain bike. To get a single bike for everything there will always be trade-offs in areas like weight/durability; speed/traction; etc. That said - many people own one bike and use it for everything. If I had to drop to one bike I would buy a 29"-wheel based front ...


15

If you're looking for a general purpose bike for commuting and towpath riding, you probably want to avoid a standard road bike, they are very specialized and have very small tire clearance. Typically supporting tires no larger than 28mm and often lack mud guards or rack/pannier mounts. However, touring bikes or steel cyclocross bikes (if they have rack and ...


14

Adding mud-flaps to both fenders will greatly reduce spraying water on to your bottom bracket, feet and bicyclists riding behind you. Mud-flaps can be made easily & cheaply by cutting a part of plastic bottles for milk /water/soda-pop and screwing them on to end of mud-guard/fenders (ensure there is enough clearance between screw and tire). Plastic ...


14

Don't forget lights. Many people who only ride during the day/nice weather don't bother to put lights on your bike. But in heavy rain, it's sometimes darker (especially closer to sunrise/sunset), and visibility is reduced. Having lights and also reflectors will help you to be seen and improve your safety. If you don't mind getting wet, and use a waterproof ...


13

All the above answers are seriously off in their estimation of the effect it will have on your speed. Going from semi-slick tires, like the ones pictured, to even very narrow slick tires will not improve your averages by more than 1-2 km/h. The effect of rolling resistance on pavement is not "huge", it's dwarfed by air resistance, especially at higher ...


13

There are always trade-offs so it depends on what you do, but there will probably always be arguments in favour of multiple bikes. Simple answer, though, is that there is no such thing as the "all-in-one" bike (unless you have a really small, tight definition for "all"). My cyclocross is great (ticks the heavy duty, gear range, off-road, comfortable ...


12

Firstly, 11 or 12 mph isn't that slow, especially if you're still working on improving your fitness. Try measuring speed in kph instead of mph, as it feels better. You can laugh, but we all do it! The main thing you should look for in a new bike, IMO is that it fits you. This will improve your comfort. If you're comfortable you'll be able to go faster. Drop ...


11

That's a pretty broad question, but my personal take is that if you want one bike that will do anything a cyclocross bike isn't a bad idea. You can ride it off road like a mountain bike with a bit of skill, you can put road tyres on it and it's still light enough for road riding, provided you don't get a top end one it'll probably have mudguard eyelets and ...


11

Just keep on doing the same route and you'll see progress very fast. Also this will soon not be true: It's not so fun on the way back though Some tips to make it: make sure that the tyres are inflated correctly make sure your drivetrain runs smooth and the chain is lubed make sure your seat height is correct (ask your LBS if unsure) conserve energy ...


10

The "pure" answer to the question as asked is probably as others have said, climb as much as possible. But perhaps a better answer is to admit that cycling is awesome for aerobic fitness and leg strength but not as great on the upper body. Obviously, cross-training is an option, but even if you are 100% committed to your bike, you can probably get ...


10

For riding in the rain, I would definitely recommend putting fenders on your bike that cover as much of the wheel as possible. This will help prevent "skunk stripes" on the back of your clothes due to dirt thrown up by the rear wheel. Fenders also generally help keep water from flying all around during riding, which keeps other things from getting as wet to ...


9

Yes. If you put slightly wider tires then you can do packed earth or even gravel without too much trouble. Even 25 or 28mm tires give a lot of advantage over 18 or 23mm wide tires. I did Col du Parpaillon on 25's. From my trip report: The hostel owner had said Col du Parpaillon was closed because of ice in the unlit tunnel at the top but we decided ...


9

I assume those shoes don't have cleats of any sort. Do you currently ride without toe clips? Adding toe clips might let you maintain a steadier foot position on the pedals. But many regular commuters go in for cleated shoes of some sort, very often the "mountain bike"/touring style with SPD cleats/pedals because they're "walkable". Whatever, you want a ...


8

Because fast is fun, and exercising for fitness is often not fun. Faster is funner. :-) Or in more 'justifiable' form: Making your fitness activities fun makes it more likely that you'll continue doing them, and gain the fitness you want. A lighter and more responsive bike is definitely more fun, therefore if you're serious about fitness, you may want a ...


8

I'm not sure that anyone is going to be able to give you a definitive answer... especially since you are asking if your commute will improve by 30 seconds when the commute time you give has a range of 60 seconds. But 30 seconds out of 17.5 minutes is about a 2-3% improvement, which seems reasonable... The more interesting question would be "what can this ...


8

I would say that it isn't very common to see people wearing Lycra on a hybrid. However most people I see on hybrids wouldn't ride 80 km. At that distance, the right clothes can make a real difference in energy expenditure and comfort. The people who don't wear Lycra mostly don't know the benefits or feel too self-conscious to wear it. I think that you ...


8

There are no shortcuts, it's about building the legs, and lungs, and body. There may be some factors that could make it a little easier, but the main factor is getting strong enough, which takes some time and some dedication. Starting in the easiest gear may not be the best choice as it can make a climb seem endless. Try to get into the hill at good speed, ...


8

Get something now. Winter is coming… Seriously though, if you don't have a good feel for what you want in a bike, buying something used that seems close will get you on the road and start you developing the experience you need to decide what you really want. There are so many variables of fit and gearing that it will be hard to get it right the first time ...


7

I think there are two important ways to use your upper body riding a bicycle: Ride very steep hills, where you need to pull up the handlebar and swing your upper body to counteract the torque on the pedals (specially if you ride a bike without extra-low gears); Riding over technical terrain, like XC mountain bike and other stuff. While commuting, you can ...


7

Measure the handlebar itself, while unmounted from the bike, at the center most point of the bar. Use a digital or vernier scale caliper. The bar from the 2009 Bianchi Cortina is a 25.4mm MTB handlebar, with about 2 inches of rise. I expect yours will be as well. Do not use a 26mm bar, although you can likely mount it on the stem, because the installation ...


7

If you are looking to use your bike primarily as a commuter, then I don't think it's neccesary to get a Road bike meant for fitness cycling or racing. I'd recommend getting a bike that is going to a) meet your needs as a commuter and b) is built with quality components. What are common needs or wants for a commuter? Mounts for fenders - to keep you drier ...


7

The tube will last the life of the tire, and more, if not punctured too much. The tire will last until it wears too thin and starts puncturing a lot, unless damaged. Tires do, however, become brittle and crack in the sidewalls from UV and ozone exposure, and will need to be replaced every 10 years or so if not worn out first. White wall and gum wall ...


7

First, term hybrid is sometimes used for quite different bicycles (rigid or suspended front fork, caliper or canti rim brakes) I think there are no big difference in maintenance. Maybe to check more often your wheels and spokes since they might be more stressed. As for riding style, you have to go more easy on curbs, and all kind of holes on the road. Your ...


7

Typically, you don't need disc brakes on a bike which lives on the road or other nice surfaces. The primary advantage on the road is that you don't have to deal with wheel true-ness as much, and that they look cool. For wet weather riding, they can stop you a bit quicker, but with properly adjusted V-brakes, you can stop pretty damn quickly once you learn to ...



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