Bicycles have a wide variety of complex components that need tweaking from time to time. Since it is inadvisable to carry an entire toolbox with you, and Bicycle Repair Man has a limited range, it’s best to carry a compact tool.
For a basic multi-tool, go with the Park Tool I-Beam Mini, which covers the basics and slips easily into a jersey pocket. If you’d like to go full on Macgyver, we highly recommend the Blackburn Tradesman, which includes every tool needed for your cycling survival.
Your chain is the circulatory system of your bike – it transfers all the energy you put out into propelling the bike forward. Just like any other moving part, it requires lubrication of its hundreds of individual pieces.
The chain is entirely exposed to the elements, making it susceptible to contamination, corrosion, and drying out. Keeping your chain clean and lubed is a simple, but often overlooked process, so here is a quick guide to mastering chain lubrication, along with a few recommendations for the best chain lube for the job. Our top pick for lubing chains of all kinds is ProGold Prolink. It continually proves its mettle and has quickly become a workbench staple.
Your reliable local bike shop will likely charge no less than $50 for a basic tune, but it can be hundreds if they need to go deep and replace parts. Learning to work on your own bike will save you the time and money involved in taking it to a bike shop, prevent fun-ending (and potentially dangerous) mechanical failures, and provide you with the satisfaction of embracing the DIY spirit.
This guide will cover the basics to get your bike rolling for spring. For detailed guides to specific parts on your bike, consult Park Tool’s Repair Help website for general instructions or the service manual for the specific component, which is often available on the manufacturer’s website. Sheldon Brown’s amazing website is a witty treasure trove of useful technical information as well.
Grinding gravel is all the rage among the cycling community, but cyclists have always ridden dirt roads, often because those were the only roads available to them. Even the pros are opting for dirty adventures and fatter tires as more cyclists have begun seeking out long dirt road routes and races to “grind” out long miles amid the bucolic scenery, and challenging terrain and away from traffic.
Without a doubt, the most important piece of equipment you can own for mountain biking, besides the bike itself, is a helmet. Nothing will ruin your ride – or life as you know it – faster than a head injury, so you know to take proper precautions. All commercial helmets will technically do the job, but if you spend enough time in the saddle, you’ll want something that fits well, is light and comfortable, and offers maximum protection for your riding style.
Cyclocross is a racing discipline involving a short, closed course packed with obstacles like of mud, stairs, sand, barriers, snow, hairpin turns, mud, and more mud. Heckling, cowbells, and the distribution of hoppy beverages is part of the event and culture, which hails from Belgium. If you’re contemplating pinning on a number, cyclocross is a very beginner-friendly style of racing.
Traditional cyclocross bikes have drop bars, cantilever brakes (although disc brakes are now dominant), and relatively narrow 32-35mm tires. The durability, terrain versatility, and handling characteristics of cyclocross bikes have attracted the attention of many non-racers. Cyclocross bikes are easily adaptable for commuting, trail-riding, road riding, gravel road racing, and wilderness exploring.
While this has led to a market explosion of genre-bending bikes, let’s focus for a moment on some of the best cyclocross bikes you can buy today, bikes that are versatile enough to ride to work on a Monday then rip up your local cross course on Saturday . The cyclocross bike that’s near and dear to my heart is the Raleigh RXM (but more on that later).
Mountain bikes in the $1,500 range are going to be serious contenders among the high-dollar bikes you might encounter. You can get a trailworthy bike that will get you through miles of smiles for a long time before upgrade-itis sets in.
If you have been around mountain bikes for the last few years, you’ve probably heard riders making seemingly hyperbolic statements like “my dropper seatpost changed the way I ride,” or, “I can’t ride without my dropper.” You might think these riders are exaggerating, but they are onto something.
In the short history of mountain biking, a few inventions have revolutionized mountain biking to the point that most riders would not dream of riding without these features on their bikes. While there are exceptions most riders depend on suspension over rigid bikes, disc brakes over rim brakes, and tubeless tires over tubes, the dropper seatpost is the next revolution in this line.
The wheels on your mountain bike can radically transform your ride in ways that no single component upgrade can. Stock wheels on many mountain bikes are relatively heavy, have hubs with mediocre drivetrain engagement, can be difficult to set up tubeless, and might not be as strong as their more sophisticated counterparts. In addition, wheels that have seen a lot of miles have fatigued rims and spokes that might not be worth the trouble to maintain.
Our buying guide breaks down everything you need to consider first, along with our favorite hoops for every disciple.
Road riders are very particular about the function and feel of their drivetrain, braking, and shifting mechanisms, a collection of components known as a group, groupset, or “gruppo,” if your love of Italian cycling affectations was never sullied by Breaking Away.
Shimano has built a reputation for building superb groups with technology that trickles down from one elite generation of Dura Ace components, down through Ultegra, 105 [one oh five], Tiagra, Sora, and the humble Claris line.
Our focus is in the middle of that lineup, 105 and Tiagra, and how choosing one of those options over the other might best serve the discerning and budget-conscious cyclist.
Is it worth the upgrade to 105 or does Tiagra fit the bill? Let’s take a closer look.