How to Find the Best Bike Pump: The Ultimate Guide to This Key Bike Tool

best bike pump

 

Updated 12/26/16

A good floor pump is the one tool every cyclist should own. Running tires at their optimal pressure not only improves performance, but reduces the risk of pinch flats. The goal is to spend less time wrestling with a pump and more time in the saddle.  Here are our top picks. 

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Essential Bike Tools: Buyer’s Guide for the Beginner Mechanic

essential bike tools

Updated 11/20/16

DIY bicycle wrenching might sound intimidating, but consider this: Having a few essential bike tools and the skills to perform basic maintenance will not only save you significant cash in the long run, but could also save you from a long walk home if you snap a chain or pop a spoke in the middle of nowhere.

There are a few basic bike tools that every cyclist should own, some aren’t even bike specific (ie: they can be found cheaply at a hardware store). Every cyclist should know how to lube a chain, fix a flat and properly clean a bike. In fact, a cleaned and degreased bike should be first on the list before a tool ever touches it.

The right tools will help you replace a chain, cables and housing, as well as adjust brakes, remove a cassette or straighten misaligned wheels. I suggest pairing this guide with a bicycle maintenance book such as The Big Blue Book of Bicycle Maintenance or the recently updated Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance and, if in doubt, always consult your local bike shop before attempting a hero move that could compromise your bike or result in more repairs.

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Start Cycling Now: The Best Beginner Road Bikes of 2017

best beginner road bike

Last updated 5/19/17

I can give you my reviews, but buying a road bike is ultimately a personal decision. To find the best beginner road bike, it’s important to consider more than just the cost. Choose a bike that fits you well, you enjoy riding and that has the most technology available at that price point.

Sounds a little intimidating, right? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

I’ve included easy-to-navigate guides to help you understand the difference between component groups and frame materials, to figure out if you really need disc brakes and to discover if the bike’s a good fit for you.

Then I rounded up the best bikes for your budget and riding style.

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Get Fast! 8 Top Carbon Fiber Road Bikes Under $2,000

best road bikes under 2000

Last updated: 5/18/17

If you’re looking for an upgrade or are ready to get serious about investing in a road bike, these top road bikes under $2,000 are a great place to start. This price point hits the sweet spot between entry level road bikes and more serious racing machines.

Drop 2k and you’ll have the pleasure of riding full carbon fiber. You’ll get a taste of a lighter bike that’s more speed and performance oriented. These tend to be solid all-day rides or decent entry level race bikes.

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More Cowbell for Less Cash: the Best Cyclocross Bikes Under $1,500

best cyclocross bikes under 1500

Last updated 3/11/17

Can’t decide between a road bike and a mountain bike? Or maybe you love the idea of riding on dirt roads and gravel, but don’t feel comfortable riding them on a road bike. Enter the cyclocross bike. In a nutshell, it’s a little rougher and tougher than a road bike, but faster and more fun to ride on the road than a mountain bike. It’s also the perfect commuter. If you’re looking for the best cyclocross bike under $1,500, here are some of my favorites, including our number one pick, the value-packed Fuji Cross 2.0 LE. 

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The Best Bikes for Women (that aren’t pink-colored men’s frames!)

best bikes for women

Last updated: October 20, 2016

Let’s begin by clearing up one common misconception: Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you have to ride a women’s specific design (WSD). If you’re struggling to find a bike that fits, trying a WSD model is a great first step. After all, companies try to design the best bikes for women to address their specific needs like a shorter reach and torso. Remember that it’s always best to find a bike that fits well over one that was chosen just to save a few bucks. You want to buy a bike you’ll still love to ride years later.

Though some women’s specific frames are the same as the men’s version, just repainted or with slightly different components, a true women’s specific bike is more than just a pink version of the men’s and those true WSD bikes are the only ones I’m recommending here.

To find the best bikes for women, look for a varied frame geometry and components that are specific to a woman’s smaller hands, narrow shoulders and shorter reach. Whether you’re looking for an entry level road bike or a bike fit for racing, you’ll find the cream of the crop here.

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Top Road Bikes Under $1000: Grab More Speed for Less Cash

top road bikes under 1000

Last updated: 5/16/17

If you’re just getting into cycling or looking for an upgrade, you’ll find a slew of bikes to choose from in the $1,000 price range. At this price point you can expect to find bikes with aluminum forks and frames, lower end components and a more upright geometry, designed with comfort in mind.

For the average entry level cyclist, these five top road bikes under $1,000 will provide a solid platform for skill development and allow for future upgrades as your riding progresses.

For the price and versatility, our top pick is the GT Grade Alloy 105.

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The Scary Truth About Cheap Road Bikes

 

cheap road bikes

When I first started cycling, I had commitment issues, meaning I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, so I scoured the internet for cheap road bikes and made my purchase.  It was fire-engine red with 14 speeds, though it didn’t always shift into all of them. At the time, I thought I’d found a great deal and I went cheap to ensure I wouldn’t regret the purchase.

But that was a huge mistake.

First-off, the bike was difficult to put together. The shifting was always wonky and a couple of times I was left nearly stranded on the side of the road. It was a monstrosity and because of its excess weight, I always felt slow and out of shape. I had it for about a year before I finally stopped riding it because of frequent knee pain, something I later found out was due to the fact that the bike didn’t fit me well.

With that bike, I quickly discovered that with cycling, you get out what you put in. You can either have a junker car that’s unreliable, but saves you some cash or you can spend a little more for something that’s safe and a blast to drive. Cycling is no different.

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Get in Gear: How to Choose the Best Road Bike Components

road bike components
They’re called groupsets, drivetrains and components, but they all refer to the group of parts responsible for shifting and braking. Choosing road bike components is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make when buying a new bike or upgrading an existing one. Do you go with mechanical or electronic shifting or use a compact or standard crankset? We’re inundated with options, but it pays to take the time to match your riding style to the right components. It could mean the difference between spinning confidently up a hill and feeling constantly bogged down in your easiest gear.

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