Mountain Bikes

Mountain Bikes

A Mountain Biking Primer

Posted on February 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

The first requirement for a would be mountain biker is to obtain a bicycle. Some mountain bicycles are traditional in that they feature thick rugged tires. These bikes are ideal for off road rough terrain biking. There are also mountain bikes that feature thinner less rugged tires. These bikes are really hybrids between mountain bikes and touring bikes. The advantage these bikes offer is they weigh less than traditional mountain bikes. If you are planning on biking on paved roads or paved bike trails or even on trails with light obstacles such as roots or rocks these bikes (hybrids) may be ideal for you.

For the technical mountain biker who enjoys riding over rocks, tree roots, and other natural hazards the thicker tired mountain bike will offer a safer more satisfying riding experience. As a fledgling mountain biker you should not as a general rule choose the most expensive mountain bike available. As a general rule what you are paying for is either an enhanced ride through the use of front and rear shock absorbers mounted over the front wheel and under the seat of the bicycle or a bike frame constructed of the very latest space age medals and so lighter than traditional mountain bikes. The only times I can see spending extra for an more expensive mountain bike is if you suffer from arthritis, have had a carpal tunnel or other operation such that an enhanced shock absorbing system will benefit you. Also if you enter mountain biking races than a more lightweight mountain biking frame will benefit you.

Right after selecting a mountain bicycle, I suggest you select a bicycle helmet. No one should engage in the sport of mountain biking without a helmet. Many states have passed laws requiring that both children and adults wear helmets when they ride bicycles. The natural hazards inherent in the sport of mountain biking make proper headgear a necessity. Most bike helmets today are made at least in part of hardened Styrofoam with plastic outsides and are very light in weight. Inside the biking helmet there is usually stamped the safety results that independent testing organizations have obtained in testing the helmet. These should be examined carefully.

In addition to needing a mountain bike and a helmet you will need to transport your bike to where you wish to ride. To do this, you will need a bike rack. There are 3 major types of bike racks available. These are roof racks, trunk racks, and bicycle hitches. A roof rack fits tightly on your car’s roof. The bikes are clamped tightly to the rack. A roof rack has the advantage of allowing the trunk of your vehicle to be readily accessible. This can be an important advantage on vacation trips. The two most prevalent manufacturers of roof racks seem to be Thule and Yakima. I have also seen racks with Sears Roebuck and Volvo trademarks attached to cars also. One major disadvantages of a roof rack is that carrying your bikes on top of your vehicle adds height to the vehicle. You need to be very conscious of this when you are using your vehicle with bikes attached on top and about to pass through a tunnel, park your car in a parking facility with a low roof, or even park your car in your own garage. I am ashamed to admit that I have forgotten that my bikes were attached to my roof rack as I entered my own garage on more than one occasion with expensive consequences of my absent mindedness!

Some other possible disadvantages of using roof racks are that lifting your bikes up to fasten them to the roof rack puts extra strain on your back and may cause back injuries. Another disadvantage of roof racks, is especially with today’s sport utility vehicles, you may need to carry a step stool in your vehicle when you are cycling in order to lift the bikes high enough to fasten them to your vehicle. A trunk rack as the name implies, has clamps which fasten tightly to the trunk of your car. Trunk racks are clamped to the trunk of your car before you begin your biking trip and are removed after its completion.

Trunk racks may be ideal when you are carrying bicycles for young children that are not heavy or large. As the size and weight of the bikes increases. the added size and weight may bend or dent your trunk and impede accessibility to it with a trunk rack. A hitch rack is attached to the rear of your vehicle on a more or less permanent basis. The bikes are fastened using heavy rubber clamps. A hitch rack offers the advantage of not increasing the height of your vehicle or denting your trunk. Hitch racks do increase the length of your vehicle and restrict visibility in back of your vehicle. Furthermore, a hitch rack with bikes attached makes the motion detector on my Ford Explorer useless. With all of that said, I myself use a hitch rack.

Another piece of equipment that is a necessity for mountain biking are water bottle racks. Regardless of the season, it is important to have an ample supply of water with you when you are mountain biking. Water bottle racks come in a few styles and can be easily attached to your bicycle. If you will be cycling for more than a few hours, you should take food with you as well. Food for lunch or snacks can be carried safely in many types of bike bags which can be fastened by means of velcro straps or bungies (single or double width elastic straps). If taking food in a bike bag is likely to be a part of your mountain biking experience, you should ask your bike store to attach a sturdy rack to your bike to which you can attach a thermal bag to carry your food in.

I also suggest carrying a few other things with you when you ride. A universal bike tool to allow you to raise or lower your seat, an extra inner tube for your tires, and a small bike air pump can all come in handy, help you meet your little biking emergencies, and increase your enjoyment of the sport of mountain biking.

How to Transform Your Schwinn Mountain Bike Into a Road Bike

Posted on February 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

One of the most interesting brands of bikes today is the Schwinn mountain bike, being one of the most favored brands for adventurers out there. Schwinn has been producing mountain bikes for more than 100 years to give you the best cycling experience. Their bikes are created specifically for off-road cycling, and are designed to overcome the elements; unstable grounds, steep declines, and other harsh environments. To make your off-road cycling more comfortable, Schwinn features aluminum frame, 24-speed drive train and ergonomic saddle.

Off-road cycling enthusiasts will love to have this bike but what do you do if you want it to accommodate your daily commuting needs, instead of being merely useable on weekends? In its original shape, fully unmodified, mountain bikes are not really suitable for city traveling. The frames are typically quite heavy, and its shape rather bulky. For example, the small size of a Schwinn road cycle has 38.7″ of a wheelbase while the small size of the mountain bike has a 40.4″ of wheelbase. However, with a few modifications, you can turn your mountain bike into something better suited for light and easy riding.

One of the first things you will need to change is your tires. Normally, the tires of mountain bikes are made to run slower than road bikes; its surface is adorned with extensive threading, helping the bike grip the road better. Although this makes for safe uphill riding, in an urban setting it will simply slow you down. If you are planning to cycle at a constant speed of up to 70 mph, then you better swap out your default Schwinn bike tire which can only handle around 50 mph. The Mesa 1 Men, one of Schwinn bike series, has 26 x 2.1 of tires. If you expect the bike to perform like road bikes, then you need to change to thinner tires. The smoother and thinner your tires are, the lighter your bike will run. However, do not forget to choose a tire which would be able to handle the pressure exerted by your bike. The frames of all mountain bikes are rather heavy, and it is why it is then important to have tires strong enough to support them.

The brakes on your mountain bike are also highly different from those on road bikes. As you would use them more often when riding in-town, changing the levers to a short-pull model would be more practical. Next, you would also need to replace your crank-set. Amp up the gear until it is as high as typical road bikes go. You can do this by swapping the Schwinn bike chain to something bigger, but which will still suit the other features of the bike. This step can be rather complicated, as you would need to synchronize the crank bolt pattern, derailleur, and ring, so some other opt to swap the cassette which is faster and lighter than your average mountain bike cassette. For most bikes 11-26 would be ideal. The changes to performance would not be as significant as that from a chain change, but it would be cheaper and still help make your bike more city-friendly.

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Accessories For Your Mountain Bike

Posted on February 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

There is a massive range of accessories available for mountain bikes and it is possible to spend as much as you did on the bike. But a lot of the accessories are gimmicks and are not needed for typical mountain biking. There are, however, some mountain bike accessories that are essential.

Helmet

This is the most obvious accessory for mountain biking. It is advisable for any cyclist to wear a helmet and it is particularly important if you are going to be mountain biking. It is common to fall off your bike when mountain biking off road and the surface can be unforgiving. A good solid helmet is necessary to protect you head from any impact with the ground, trees or rocks.

Cycle Shorts

Mountain biking on rough bumpy roads is very hard on the body. It is very common for cyclists to have a sore bottom after a hard days mountain biking. A good pair of cycle shorts will help absorb some of the impact.

Gloves

For the same reason as above, gloves are an important part of your mountain bike kit. A lot of people overlook gloves, but they do absorb a significant amount of the shock that travels up through the handlebars. Gloves with gel padding are the best ones to buy for mountain biking.

Other Clothing

If you are going to be out in the countryside for a day, or even half a day, make sure you protect yourself from the weather. A lightweight waterproof jacket is needed in case of rain. An outer layer is a good idea on hot sunny days to protect your skin from the harmful sunrays.

Repair kit

Mountain bikes are prone to breaking down when you least expect it. A basic repair kit is a great mountain bike accessory to own and can be a real lifesaver. This should contain a puncher repair kit, allen key, screw driver (to adjust the front and rear derailleur) and a pump. Other equipment includes a spoke tool, spanners and a bottom bracket tool. Of course, a lubricant is essential!

Cleaning equipment

Mountain biking can be a dirty sport and bikes tend to not like dirt! So the right cleaning equipment is required to keep your mountain bike in good working order. It is possible to buy stray that will degrease your gears. A small brush is often necessary to remove the stubborn dirt.

Bike bottles and cages

Make sure you carry plenty of liquid when mountain biking. You should buy a cage to hold a water bottle. If it will fit, two cages is a good idea so that you can carry extra liquid.

Cycle lights

If you are going to do any cycling at night, you will need lights. There is no point taking the risk, as it is easy for cars to not see you.

Lock

If you are going to leave your mountain bike unattended for any length of time, then you will need a lock. Of course this depends on where you live, but in most places, bikes are stolen on a frequent basis. You can get locks that come with a guarantee against breaking.

Summary

Mountain biking is a fantastic form of exercise and can be enjoyed by most people. With the right mountain bike and accessories, you will have the time of your life.

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