The Making of Our Quality Bike Seats (Saddles)

The Making of Our Bike Seats (Saddles)

One of the most overlooked parts of the bicycle is the bike seat or the saddle. Most people don’t take into consideration knowing this part because it is basically just the part of the bicycle on which the rider sits while operating the machine. But believe it or not, the saddle plays a large role in a rider’s performance.

Typically, saddles are made out of hard plastic, covered with a thin layer of foam and a seat cover. Almost all saddles are shaped the same due to a conventional and ergonomic design that has been used ever since the first bikes were manufactured.

This saddle shape is what manufacturers refer to as a single platform seat, a one-piece curved seat with a bulge in the center, mounted on a single shaft or post. This design can be seen on most bicycles nowadays.

The bike seat is a simple part to manufacture as it only contains dew components such as the shell, bumpers, screws, bolts, rods, and the covering fabric. We will be tackling how Cyclenatics manufactures premium-grade bike seats in providing every rider comfortability and an enjoyable ride.

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History of the Bicycle Seat

Before we get to know the processes a bike saddle goes through, it goes with saying that knowing the history of how it became the saddle we know today is important as well.

The history of the bicycle seat is tied with the development of the overall bicycle in terms of efficiency and comfort. In the early 1800s, when the draisine came out (the first bicycle), the seat was evidently simple and unsophisticated. It is made up of just a single, wooden plank that looks very uncomfortable to ride on.

Later on, the penny-farthing bicycle, or the high-wheel bicycle with a small wheel in the back, had an uncomfortable seat as the rider put all of the weight on the seat and had to pedal with more effort to move the bicycle forward.

During the 1890s, bicycles with the same size of wheels were extremely popular because the riders did not risk falling over the large wheel of the high wheeler. With more people using the bicycle, manufacturers started to consider designing more comfortable bike seats.

By the early 2000s, bicycle seats were refurbished to have a more comfortable design. This includes the addition of padding on the convex saddle to offer more. These changes gave a jumpstart for the betterment of biking as a sport and as a recreational activity.

Raw Materials

Conventional bicycle seats are typically made of three to four materials such as metals for the bolts, nylon-based plastic for the shell, and foam padding.

Nylon-based plastic is used to form a molded rigid seat that is then covered by padding, usually a closed-cell foam. Closed-cell foam is a form of latex foam with a blowing agent incorporated to force gas to escape during vulcanization. The release of the gases forms small closed cells, rendering a foam that is nonabsorbent and durable.

The plastic shell and foam are then covered with a waterproof fabric, such as vinyl, leather, fabric, kevlar, rubber, and nylon. Spray adhesives glue the fabric together to cover the foam.

Some saddles are constructed with hollow metal tubing that may easily be attached to the bicycle frame. The metals used in these rods are either stainless steel or titanium, a lightweight, high-strength metal.

The Manufacturing Process

Traditional bicycle seats are made up of a hard shell, foam, a seat cover, and a metal rod that attaches to a bicycle frame. Here’s how we manufacture these components.

1. Shell

The shell is the component that gives the saddle its shape. It starts with a machine that injects molten plastic resin inside a cooled metal mold that is already designed with a variety of configurations, depending on the demand.

After further cooling, the resin solidifies in the mold and is unclamped. The molded plastic shell is then ejected out of the mold with the assistance of an ejector such as a pin.

Several moldings can be produced per minute by the machine. Runners that attach parts of the plastic injection molded pieces may be knocked off, gathered, and melted down for later use.

2. Padding

The densely-packed foam that provides additional comfort to the riders is called padding. It is cut by using sharp blades along the contours of the shell that moves down and around the edges of the shell.

These foam seats are manually applied to the shell by hand, one seat at a time. The shaped foam sheets are then attached to the plastic shell using a spray adhesive using an air compressor and spray gun.

The adhesive application operator ensures that the spray adhesive is applied evenly at all sides and parts underneath the seat to guarantee that the cover properly adheres.

3. Topsheet

The topsheet refers to the outer fabric that covers the plastic shell and the foam. It can either be made of vinyl, leather, nylon, and any other thick fabrics.  Due to its thickness, the fabric is cut out by using industrial-grade machines.

Topsheet cutouts are secured to the foam-covered shells. This process involves wrapping the cover down over the seat, around the sides, and fastening it to the bottom of the seat. The topsheet is carefully glued by hand using a spray adhesive.

Wrapped edges are rolled tight to provide a good fit and prevent separation from the shell. After the topsheet is attached to the base using the glue, it is also stapled to the base to ensure a more secure, smooth fit.

Plastic bumpers are then screwed onto the front, the back, and the underside of the seat. These bumpers cover the gluing and stapling of the topsheet to the base, giving the seat a finished look. These bumpers are manually attached by using a hand-held automatic screw gun.

4. Metal Rod

Most bicycle seats come with a hollow metal rod so that the seat may be affixed into a bicycle frame using the attached rod. 

The rods are heated and then cut into smaller sections using a heavy machine saw, and the sections are bent into the desired configuration using molds. These configured rods are then put into a tumbler that tumbles the rod using polished rocks in an enclosed cylinder. This process is used to round off the edges of pebbles and give them a smooth shine as well.

The shell and the rods are put into a machine that applies pressure with the assistance of the operator, forcing the rod into the seat using this pressure. The rails will then pop into the seat foundation.

The saddle is now complete and ready for attachment, packing, and shipping.

Conclusion

The sudden surge of bicycle demands this past few years has allowed us to provide people with top-grade bicycles with safety, efficiency, and comfortability in mind. Bike saddles are as important as the other components of a bicycle because a well-performing bicycle is not worth it if it will just give the rider discomfort.

If you have any other concerns, don’t hesitate to keep in touch with our online support team via email: bella@vzg.com.

How Bike Frames Are Made in 5 Steps

how bike frames are made

Ever wondered how bike frames are made?

Bicycles are one of the most popular modes of transportation around the world. In fact, there are 1 billion bicycles that stroll across the globe, outnumbering cars by two to one.

Especially with the current pandemic situation, an increased momentum for cycling has surfaced, which lifts bike sales sky high and give long-time biking advocates new hope to look forward to.

There are plenty of reasons why this biking popularity is taking place. During lockdowns, the number of motor vehicles on the road took a plunge.

This results in the increased number of people who turns to using bikes as their major means of transportation, moving speedily and safely through once congested streets

Another reason why cycling has attracted more people is because of nationwide gym closures. Gym Goers found an alternative fitness routine through cycling, and this also made way for the rise of more biking communities.

This sudden fad in biking gave bike manufacturers more demands to meet in producing bikes to cater to commuters all over the world. In line with that, let’s find out how the most important part of a bike is manufactured, the bike frame.

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The Raw Materials

The most common frame design for a bicycle is based on the safety bicycle,, and comprises of two triangles: a primary triangle and a paired back triangle. This is called diamond frame.

The diamond-shaped frame is a vital part of a bike because it links all the other components to form this eco-saving mode of transport. The bike frame provides strength and rigidity to the bicycle. It also determines how one can handle the direction of the bicycle.

The frame consists of front and rear triangles: the front triangle forming the quadrilateral of four tubes while the rear triangle consists of the chainstays, seat stays, and rear-wheel dropouts.

Of course, the beginning of bike frames is considered to be outdated. The first bike frames were made up of steel and alloy steel that is strong but relatively heavy.

Flash forward to the 1970s, frame material has greatly improved to increase strength, rigidity, lightness, and durability.

During this era, a new generation of bike frames used more versatile alloy steels that could be welded mechanically, which results in the increased availability of light and inexpensive frames.

In the 1980s, lightweight aluminum frames became the favored material when constructing a bike frame. Although more lightweight, it also comes with a price: aluminum may fatigue within three to five years.

On the other hand, heavier metals like steel and titanium have a life-expectancy spanning decades.

Hope was shed during the 1990s when bike manufacturers used lighter and stronger frames made of composites of structural fibers such as carbon. This material is anisotropic, which makes it strongest along an axis of the fibers.

By using carbon, it can be shaped into single-piece frames, providing strength where needed.

The Manufacturing Process

1. The Manufacturing Process

When creating world-class bike frames, it should start with premium-grade raw materials. Here in Cyclenatics, we only use top-quality solid blocks of steel. These blocks are then pierced and drawn into tubes through several stages.

These steel tubes can be manipulated to increase and decrease the weight by altering the thickness of the tube walls. This process is called butting. 

The differences in wall thickness also helps improve the resiliency of the frame.

There are 4 kinds of butted tubes depending on the placement of the thickened ends: 

  1. Single butted where one end is thicker;
  2. Double-butted where both ends are thicker than the center;
  3. Triple-butted where either end have different thickness, and;
  4. Quad-butted, which is similar to a triple, but with the center thinning towards the middle.

These tubes are then assembled into a frame by either hand-brazing or welding by a machine, which is more labor-intensive, therefore, may cost more.

Tubes may be joined by using strong industrial glue or plastic binders, then final adjustments are made by skilled bicycle builders.

2. Tailoring the tubes

The metal composites are softened by heating and hollowing out the insides to form “hollows” or “blooms.” These are heated again, submersed in acid to remove scales, and lubricated. 

Then, tubes will proceed to a machine where they will continuously be measured, cut, and precisely mitered according to the appropriate dimensions. Next, the hollows are fitted over a mandrel or a shaft attached to a drawbench. 

To achieve the proper and exact gauge, the hollow needs to pass through dies that stretches them into thinner and longer tubes. This process is called a cold drawing.

The tubes can be shaped into a variety of lengths and designs depending on the configuration. The taper-gauge fork blades will pass through more than a dozen operations to achieve the correct strength, weight, and resilience.

3. Brazing, welding, and gluing

There are three ways to connect a tube to another to form a joint: brazing, welding, or gluing. 

Brazing is essentially welding two tubes at a temperature of about 1600°F or lower. Gas burners are arranged around the lugs evenly, which are heated, forming a white flux that melts and cleans the surface, preparing it for brazing.

The brazing filler is typically brass or silver, which melts at lower temperatures than the tubes being joined. The filler is applied, and as it melts, it goes around the joint, sealing it.

Welding is the joining of two tubes using a hotter temperature, up to 2500°F to 2700°F. Due to a higher temperature, the metal in the two tubes melts together. They become a part of each other as the molten metal cools down and hardens. 

Gluing is the process of joining two tubes without the use of extreme heat. Industrial grade glue is applied at the end of the tubes and is adhered together to form a frame. 

4. Aligning and cleaning

While the frame is still hot and malleable, it will be placed into jigs and checked for proper alignment. If adjustment is needed, a worker will manually correct and align the tubes according to the proper alignment. 

The excess brazing metals are cleaned off in two ways:

  • By pickling the frame in acid solutions
  • By washing and grinding the brazing metals until it is smooth

After the metals have cooled, further precision alignments are made, which are typically done with the assistance of laser-emitting computers. 

5. Finishing

Cooled off frames will now proceed to paint for protection, as well as to create a more finished look. 

The frame is first painted with an undercoat and then painted with colored enamel. Paint may be applied by hand-spraying or bypassing the frames in automatic electrostatic spraying rooms

Finally, if the design requires it, transfers and lacquer are applied to the frame. Chrome plating is also available on components such as the fork blades.

Conclusion

Getting a new bike is considered to be an investment, so it is essential to get a hold of a durable and long-lasting bike frame. Here at Cyclenatics, our goal is to give you premium-grade bike frames and other bike components at an affordable price. 

If you have manufacturing concerns, please reach out to our online support team, and we will handle them.

How Are Bike Tires Made in 5 Steps

How Are Bike Tires Made in 5 Steps

As we all know, a bicycle is useless without a fully pumped tire, or the tire itself. The tire is an essential part of a bike as it provides a gripping surface for traction, as well as serving as a cushion for the wheels.

As simple as a tire may appear, it takes lots of selection and processes before it comes to modern innovation. Let’s take a look at how it was developed and modernized.

This article will tell us how are bike tires made.

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bike tires

The Birth of the Modern Tires

The process of vulcanization was discovered by accident in 1839 by an American inventor, Charles Goodyear. Vulcanization is the process of strengthening rubber which involves the formation of cross-links between long rubber molecules to achieve improved characteristics and traits.

While experimenting with a mixture of india rubber and sulfur, Goodyear accidentally dropped the mixture on a hot stove. A chemical reaction occurred and instead of melting, the mixture hardened to form a lump. A few trials with this mixture later, he was able to replicate the hardened qualities to sheets of rubber.

While it might seem like a simple rubber hoop, the development of a bike tire involves high-tech machinery, the latest manufacturing techniques, and labor-intensive craftsmanship. Let’s take a glimpse of the overall process of how a bike tare is made.

Step 1. Selecting Raw Materials

Rubber is the primary raw material used in producing bicycle tires. It can be natural or synthetic.

Natural rubber can be extracted from the bark of the rubber tree, Hevea Brasiliensis. A milky liquid is extracted from the barks and mixed with acids that cause the rubber to solidify.

To squeeze out excess water and form the rubber into sheets, high pressure is applied to the sheets. They are then dried in tall smokehouses, pressed into stacks, and shipped to tire factories around the world for shaping.

Synthetic rubbers are derived from the polymers found in crude oil.

Choosing a Balance of Characteristics

Before the creation of modern rubber, scientists had gone through numerous experiments to get the perfect measurement of components to make a durable tire. The following are traits that were taken into consideration to create the perfect bicycle tire:

  • Aerodynamics and  running performance for a road tire
  • Elasticity for a mountain bike tire
  • Durability and longevity for a touring tire
  • Surface adhesion for maximum wet weather performance
  • Density and dampening for a commuting tire

Step 2: Mixing & Extruding

The ingredients are then mixed using an internal mixer, known as a Banbury mixer.

The Mixing Process

Bales of rubber are kneaded inside a chamber by two rotors. These rotors are kneading at variable rotations per minute while being heated at 338°F. While being kneaded, other ingredients are added to obtain the desired traits discussed earlier.

The Extrusion Process

Once the materials are uniformly incorporated, a dough-like consistency rubber exits the machine through a release hatch at the bottom of the chamber and is sheeted out like a pastry into a thick, continuous layer by rollers, known as a slap.

Step 3: Tread & Sidewall Formation

The slap that is meant for the sidewalls of the tire is covered with plastic sheeting and rolled further. On the other hand, the thread slap (the part that comes into direct contact with the ground) is cut into long, narrow strips.

The narrow strips are fed into an extruder and heated again to achieve optimal durability. Once the heated strips become doughy again, it is sent to a revolving screw that applies sheer force. It is then sent to a machine that cuts and forms it to become thicker in the center and thinner on the sides. This characteristic improves the resistance to wear.

The tread rubber is eventually submerged in water to cool and to set its shape. It is dipped in an anti-tack compound like powdered mica, talc, or different water-based formulas, to allow for release or separation after storage. The long tread line is then wound onto spools with a fabric separator between each layer to prevent unwanted adhesion.

The same process is done with sidewall slaps, wrapped around a spool separated by fabric sheets, and dried. These cases are then called “books” and can be used in production for later use.

Step 4: Carcass Creation

The carcass, also known as the casing, is perhaps the most essential part of a bike tire since it acts as the underlying framework and determines its shape. It also determines how the tire will conform to surface irregularities, together with its rolling resistance.

Here’s the process on how it is made:

Fabric Mesh Creation

A nylon textile yarn is twisted together. Yards of bundled nylon are treated with chemicals to promote bonding with rubber, which results in a grid pattern.

The yarn is stored in a monitored storage area where temperature and humidity levels are carefully observed since both of these factors can impact its tensile levels.

Fabric Mesh Application

Consequently, webbing is passed through hot rollers at a 45-degree angle. This will permanently bond the tire casing and the webbing through a process called calendering. This defines a tire’s shape and provides it with a great deal of support.

Before a webbing yarn is used, the density needs to be measured in threads per inch (TPI). It refers to the number of threads contained in one square inch of the casing.

The lower the TPI (usually < 80), the larger gauge threads and more rubber it needs, resulting in heavier and more rigid tires. The higher the TPI of a casing mesh (> 100), the less rubber and finer threads it has resulting in greater strength, lighter weight, better flexibility, and improved suppleness.

In addition to the mixing process, the yarn’s structure can have an impact on a tire’s performance. Very fine casing material makes the tire smoother and protects the carcass from punctures while a coarser fabric is more cut-resistant and makes the tire more robust.

Cutting & Assembly

After the application of the mesh, casing rubber proceeds into a cutting station where blades silence it into pre-measured strips. Typically, multiple strips are needed to construct a single tire.

After the assembly, these casing strips are wound into spools with a fabric backing to prevent sticking. They can be stored for future use or can be used immediately.

If the strips are used immediately, raw tread rubber is added to the carcass by wrapping a layer around the drum to firmly stick it down. The tread thickness is also a significant contributor to a tire’s quality characteristics.

Bead Creation & Insertion

A wrapping machine then bundles steel or kevlar fibers and twists them together to form rings, known as tire’s beads. These beads will be covered in a thin layer of protective rubber.

A specially trained employee then inserts the beads on each side by hand while the casing is already wound up around a metal spool. The strength provided by these beads will help hold the tire onto the rim while it is inflated with air.

A piece of machinery simultaneously folds the casing’s rubber over both beads. If additional puncture protection is required, a Kevlar strip is added to the rubber as well.

Step 5: ‘Green’ Tires

The extruded rubber for the tire’s sidewalls is glued in place, then the tread is placed in between the sidewalls. With all the layers in place, the tire is removed from the building machine and can now be called a green tire.

Green Tire Vulcanization

The green tire is placed inside a mold over a tubular bladder. It is sealed while steam is being pumped into the bladder like a balloon while being heated up to 356°F for about three to six minutes. This process is done to achieve two goals:

  1. The high pressure forces the rubber of the tire against the sides of the mold, giving a negative impression of the tread. Think of it like a waffle iron for a bike tire.
  2. The heat applied during the vulcanization process fuses all of the tire’s layers at a molecular level, resulting in a hardened and elasticized rubber.

Step 6: Quality and Safety Testing

Finally, the tire is removed from the mold and is hanged to cool. After cooling, each tire is inspected for flaws such as bubbles, voids, or misalignments, either by a specially trained employee or with x-rays and visualizing the results on a screen.

It is also a standard procedure for one tire from each batch to undergo in-depth quality control testing. It may involve one or more of the following:

  • Spinning the tire against a metal wheel until it goes bald to simulate long-distance travels (usually after thousands of miles). Sensors will automatically record and report if the tire remains balanced.
  • Simulating a metal wheel with a large bump to mimic hitting a curb several thousand times in a row.
  • Applying high pressure onto one or more sharp metal studs, which examines a tire’s puncture resistance.

Conclusion

It’s easy to overlook the technology and manufacturing processes involved in the development and production of every tire that rolls under your bicycle.

The next time you go for a ride, take a brief moment to marvel the many decades of progress associated with the innovations and improvements in making a bicycle tire to make sure you have the smoothest ride possible.

The Ultimate Bike Buying Guide For Beginners

The Ultimate Bike Buying Guide For Beginners

Bike buying guide for beginners is important to have references on how or what are the factors to buy your new bicycle.

For amateur bikers, buying a bicycle can be intimidating. If you are new to riding, the choices can seem endless.

Whether you want to ride to commute, to get fit, or just to explore the countryside, a bicycle is a perfect tool to do that. But there is a confusingly huge and growing number of different types of bike to choose from.

The aim of this guide is to help you through the key decisions you’re going to need to make and get you ready to make a purchase you are happy with for years to come.

When buying a new bike, you have to follow three basic steps in order to find the perfect match for your lifestyle and needs.

1. Bike type

The right bike will usually depend on the terrain you’ll frequently use your bike and we will list down these bikes for you.

2. Alterations in the bike

Bikes within a price range usually have the same components and materials but expect to pay more for higher quality and performance components or frame materials such as carbon.

3. Bike size

Bikes come in a range of sizes and it will correspond based on your height and leg length. If you have found the bike you want but does not fit you, there are still ways to change other components. 

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Bike Types

The biggest decision you will make when buying a new bike is what kind do you need? With modern innovations and technology, there are plenty of bikes available for any kind of rider, may it be for the athlete, the casual rider, or the recreational rider.

Most bike types are made in corresponding to the terrain it is going to be used. We have made a rundown of the styles of bicycles to help you find the best one for your needs.

1. Road Bikes

As the name implies, this bike is designed to be ridden on the smooth pavement as fast as possible. They are made with lightweight frames and skinny tires designed to help you achieve maximum speed for minimum effort on the road.

Road bikes have dropped handlebars that allow their rider to get into an efficient and aerodynamic position and have gearing that’s all about maximum speed.

Although it focuses on speed, the aerodynamic riding position can be uncomfortable for amateur riders. Additionally, the lightweight wheels and tires are prone to damage from curbs and potholes.

If you have lots of things to carry, this bike is not suitable for you as they lack some compartment for it.

2. Mountain Bikes

If you love nature-trekking, this bike is what you’re looking for. They are made to take on bumpy off-road terrain that nature can offer thanks to its especially-designed tires that can find grip on almost any surface.

For optimum safety, they are made with powerful brakes that use motorcycle-style discs at the center of the wheels plus suspension at both ends for better control over rough ground.

Mountain bikes can be used for general leisure riding even without riding in the mountains. They are among the top choice of riders thanks to their more relaxed riding position.

3. City Bikes

If you’re looking for a bike for your everyday commute, then a city bike, also known as a Dutch-style bike is perfect for you. With its simplicity and practicality, most beginner riders get this bike that provides short-range transportation in flat towns.

City bikes have chain guards and flat pedals, so you can ride them in your regular clothes. One of the best features of city bikes is its pedal-powered lights and built-in chain locks.

4. Hybrid Bikes

Combining the best features of a road bike and a mountain bike, a hybrid bike is a very popular choice for bike commuters, thanks to its versatility. It combines the upright riding position of a mountain bike and pairs it with a lighter frame and fast-rolling wheels like those on a road bike.

They’re great if you need to ride on the pavement but don’t want to be in an uncomfortable riding position. Sitting in a more upright position may be less aerodynamically efficient but it also allows you to look further ahead, which is an advantage in urban traffic.

Hybrid bikes use powerful disc brakes in order to perform better in rainy weather, however, it will compromise some additional weight. Another good feature of hybrid bikes is it can allow you to carry more luggage thanks to their mounts.

5. Beach Cruiser Bikes

While a hybrid bike is best suited for city-use, a beach cruiser bike, also known as a cruiser bike, is designed to be efficient from a commute to a beachside adventure.

They tend to have the same fast-rolling 700c wheels as road and hybrid bikes, but with balloon tires (wider coverage) that allow you to take on a mixture of terrain in comfort. Most beach-lovers and vacationers enjoy this bike because of its ability to carry a lot of stuff, such as a water bottle and a big space on its front bike basket.

6. Folding Bikes

If you need to combine public vehicle transport and biking on your way to work, then a folding bike is the answer to that. Their portability and small-size are perfect for urban commuters as they can easily store these bikes under their desk while at work.

Bike Performance Alterations

Once you have chosen your bike type, it is all up to you if you want to buy it as is, or if you want to change some parts and technical components for better performance. Keep in mind that this can add to the price of the bike. Here are some factors that you can be altered for the bike:

1. Bike Frame

Your bike’s shelf life is greatly affected by the material of the bike frame. Each material will come with its pros and cons, that’s why it is best to differentiate each from one another to get the best deal there is.

The entry-level bike frame tends to be steel, then aluminum, carbon fiber, and then titanium. This order doesn’t necessarily mean that the aluminum frame is better than a steel frame, and so on.

  • Steel Frame

    The steel frame is a very affordable material that is known for its comfort, strength, and durability. It can also be repaired easily since dents and bends can be hammered out.

    The downside with a steel frame is it can rust if not being taken care of properly. To prevent this, check out our previous article on how to maintain your bike.

  • Aluminum Frame

    This material is naturally lightweight and stiff and more rust-resistant than steel. Although, the extra stiffness in the frames means they can be less comfortable than steel frames.

  • Carbon Fiber Frame

    Most riders choose carbon fiber frame because it is lightweight without compromising its strength. As a non-metal, there are huge design advantages when using carbon fiber to build bikes since they can be manipulated into aerodynamic shapes.

    The downside with the carbon fiber frame is its repairability factor. A metal frame’s dents can be hammered to its previous state but a carbon fiber cracks, which results in pricier repair jobs.

2. Suspensions

Regardless of the terrain, a suspension is added, either in the front or back wheels, to offer a smoother ride. It will help in absorbing any shock inflected to your bike therefore, not affecting the rider. There are many suspension systems to choose from and each has its own pros and cons.

  • No suspension

    Bikes with no suspension system are typically used to subtract excessive weight for other gear.

  • Full suspension

    Bikes with suspensions in the front and the back are called full suspensions. It absorbs shock from both the front and rear end that offers better comfort when riding on uneven terrain.

    On the other hand, having two suspensions add extra weight and need increased pedaling force.

  • Hardtail/Front suspension

    Front suspension is mostly installed in hybrid and mountain bikes. It offers a durable alternative for effortless and smooth rides without adding too much weight. Having a front suspension can maintain consistent speed whether you’re riding down rugged terrain or cruising on a flat surface.

3. Brake Type

There are two types of brake systems you can choose from, rim brakes or disc brakes. Rim brakes have been the norm in a bike, however, disc brakes offered better braking power in all conditions and they now dominate the market because the cost of disc brakes has come down over the past years.

  • Rim brakes

    Rim brakes work by squeezing the brake pads against the sides of the wheel rims are still an economical option. They don’t require frequent maintenance and are fairly easy to replace.

    However, using rim brakes in rainy weather may be less safe due to the decreased friction between the brake pads and the wheel rims.

  • Disc brakes

    Disc brakes have brake pads that grip onto a brake rotor mounted to the wheel hub. It has two varieties: cable disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes.

    Cable disc brakes are the most typical disc brake because it is less complicated than the hydraulic ones. On the other hand, hydraulic disc brakes are more progressive and have a stronger braking capability with less effort, and they self-adjust for brake pad wear.

4. Handlebars

It is essential to find the correct handlebar to your liking to get the best comfort when biking. There are plenty of kinds of handlebars in the market and setting for a handlebar that you don’t find comfortable is not an option. An incorrectly shaped handlebar can result in wrist and back pains.

  • Drop bar

    Drop bars are already installed for most road bikes. They are light and are used best in fast-rides thanks to their aerodynamic design.

    However, it can be uncomfortable for first-time riders because they are in a lower, hunched over position, which can be uneasy for the spine and the back.

  • Flat bar

    Flat bars are mostly used for hybrid bikes, but some mountain and road bikes get this handlebar as well.

    It allows you to sit in an upright position and in a more comfortable position that minimizes strain on your hands, wrists, and shoulders.

  • Riser bar

    As the name suggests, riser bars are often higher and closer to the seat than other handlebars which makes it perfect for mountain bikes. They will allow you to sit farther back to see ahead and maintain steering control.

  • Mustache bar

    Mustache bar is the least common of the handlebars but that doesn’t mean it is not capable of delivering. They are similar to drop bars but don’t go as deep.

    They can be adaptable to many hand positions and if you want to maintain your upright position while riding, it can help relieve the strain from your back and shoulders.

Bike Size

The most important factor when buying a bike is finding the perfect size for you. If you end up with the wrong bike size, every ride will feel uncomfortable and straining. Additionally, it might cause neck pain, back pain, and other injuries in the long run.

Most people think that only the frame size matters when figuring out which size fits them, however, there are actually four components that need to be taken into consideration: the frame size, saddle, handlebar height, and pedal position.

Although most of these components are adjustable, it is recommended to have them measured for your liking beforehand.

Before determining the perfect size of each component, you have to find out your measurements first, especially your leg length and your height.

  • Frame size

    There are plenty of frame sizing charts you can check out to determine your ideal bike size. Most shop bikes can even suggest bike frames depending on your measurements. There are also frame size calculators online that you can check to get the right frame size for you.
  • Saddle height

    For a comfortable ride, the saddle/seat must be in the perfect position and angle. Most mountain and hybrid bikes have their seats positioned parallel to the ground for better posture and an upright back position.
  • Handlebar height

    Many bikes have adjustable handlebar heights but with a fixed height. you need to determine your right fit. The advantage of choosing a fixed handlebar is it is more sturdy than adjustable ones. The handlebar should be at the same height as your saddle to develop a good riding position without causing an abnormal backbend when leaning forward.
  • Pedal position

    Pedals are not adjustable per se, but by adjusting your seat height, your legs will be able to adjust their distance from the pedal. To obtain the proper pedal length, the rule of the thumb is that when you’re pedaling and your leg is all the way down, your knee should be slightly bent. If your leg is positioned straight down, then your seat is too high. If your knee is very bent, then your seat is too low.

Conclusion

Taking a bike for a test ride is the final part of the process that you should not skip when buying a bicycle. It is essential to ride your bike for quite some time to determine its comfort level, durability, and maneuverability.

With all the available bikes in store for you, it is essential to take note of the variety and their pros and cons. Learning the basics of any product is an excellent way to avoid making mistakes while buying.

5 Ways on How to Maintain a Bike

5 Ways on How to Maintain a Bike

Having a bike is the same as having an automobile, but in a more eco-friendly way. And similar to the way cars should be maintained, your bike should be getting some tender, loving care too. A bike owner should know how to maintain a bike to prolong its life.

Think of your bike as a prized possession and an investment. A bike that is well-maintained and taken care of will not let you down. Riding a well-maintained bike is a joy to ride, even when you are traversing rough terrain.

However, if you neglect your bike, problems may arise that can result in damage and deterioration.

Here are the best ways on how to maintain a bike and make it look good as new.

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1. Keep it clean.

Probably the most basic thing you can do to keep your bike in its top shape is by cleaning it thoroughly. It will not only get rid of mud and other dirt, but help prevent corrosion as well.

A bucket of soapy water, a sponge, and an old toothbrush is all you need, although investing in  a proper degreaser will help break down the oil and mud in the chain and gear sprockets more efficiently.

When it comes to cleaning frequency, it is recommended by professionals to clean your bike every month. For mountain bikes, which are more subjected to dustier and muddier conditions, it is best to clean them more often.

2. Check your tires frequently.

You cannot use your bike if they are deflated. Think of it as the rubber shoes of your bike. Without its “rubber shoes”, it will not perform well.

Tires that are not inflated properly are more prone to punctures, and replacing tires frequently can be expensive and a hassle. To steer clear of this problem, invest in a bicycle floor pump with a pressure gauge. This pressure gauge will tell you if you have pumped enough air into your tires.

To know how much is enough, check your tires for engravement. It should also say how much PSI (pound  per square inch) you should pump.

3. Inspect your brakes.

Without an efficient brake, you may as well be putting your life in danger. Hence, checking your brake pads before every ride is as important as wearing your helmet.

First, check the brake pads and ensure they are not worn out. Also, check the cables by making sure you can squeeze the brake handles properly. Make sure that the clamp of the brake handle is not loose. Afterward, tighten the barrel of the brake lever to adjust. We recommend that you clean the brakes regularly to avoid squeaks. Check the brake pads as well, and if they are worn, replace them with new ones.

To properly check your brakes, you have to be familiar with how a brake pad looks. It is the rubberized component that can be found in the metal shoes. You can also locate this by following the endpoint of your brake cable. Brake pads should not be worn out, and visible ridges should still be present.

Second, squeeze your brakes and see if the brake pads are responsive. It is essential to see that they are firmly clamping the tires. If they are loose, tighten it by twisting and adjusting the barrel found in the brakes.

4. Keep the chains clean.

A clean chain is guaranteed to perform smoothly at all times. Keeping your chains mud-free will not only keep it in top shape, but also prevent any destructive corrosion that can become a burden in the future.

Because there is no standard on how a chain will wear, there are no exact guidelines on when to check or change it. A general rule of thumb is that, if you can see any light passing through the chain and the teeth of the chain ring, then it’s time to replace it.

5. Keep it shiny and lubricated.

Friction is a bike’s mortal enemy. Too much friction will only bring wear, rust, and corrosion. Keeping it lubricated using bike-specific lubricant is a way to protect your bike from these issues.

Lubricate the metal parts, especially the parts that move against other parts, such as the chains, pedals, brake cables, suspensions, etc. Keep in mind not to over-lubricate, as excessive lubricant can attract dirt particles. Wipe any excess lubricant off with cloth. On the other hand, if you apply lubrication too sparingly, it will only wear off or dissipate.

Conclusion

Maintaining your bike in Grade-A condition requires thorough work and consistency. A regularly scheduled inspection will help you identify the problems earlier without compromising your safety.

5 Useful Cycling Safety Tips for Bike Commuters

5 useful cycling safety tips for bike commuters

Anywhere we go, there is always the possibility of unwanted incidents. Whether at home, in your office, or on the road, you really cannot expect where and when accidents might happen. Hence, it is up to you to keep yourself prepared and safe. Following some useful commuter cycling safety tips in this situations might save you from danger.

With the current limitations on public transportation making it difficult for people to travel, many people have taken to bike commuting as an alternative to waiting in long, congested traffic. And like any other vehicles, there are safety precautions that bikers must know to keep themselves and other pedestrians safe.

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1. Keep your head geared for safety.

Although there are no laws that require bikers to wear a helmet, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Wearing a helmet greatly reduces the chances of head injuries by 50%, and we’re pretty sure you don’t want your brain squished. Think of a helmet as the seat belt and airbag counterpart for your bike.

And since you can never expect when you will be in a bike accident, it is always safe to wear it at all times, whether you’re out for a short or a long ride.

2. Accessorize your bike with safety features.

Getting home during the night might sound intimidating for novice bikers, but don’t worry. As long as you have the correct accessories for you and your bicycle, you will become confident enough to stroll during the night.

Accessorizing your bike with a headlight is an essential way to guarantee safety. Additionally, don’t skimp on buying a taillight that is bright enough to be seen by drivers behind you. For added visibility, apply reflective stickers in the most prominent areas of your bike and on your helmet.

Invest in USB rechargeable headlights and taillights to get them charging while you are at work for a stress-free night strolling.

3. Plan your route ahead of time.

It goes without saying that familiarizing yourself with the path you are going to take when riding, is as essential as wearing a helmet. When planning a route, you need to know if there will be bike lanes and whether there are accident-prone areas you can avoid.

Once you have a route in mind, always create a backup route in case of any obstruction, such as a closed street, construction, and heavy traffic.

There are mobile apps that can be helpful when planning out routes, such as Strava and Google Maps. These apps also retrieve the data of your rides and compile it to make a neat report, including the burned calories, distance, and time.

4. Stay alert at all times.

When it comes to riding a bike, it is essential that you don’t only keep an eye out for incoming traffic, but on other pedestrians as well. And while you can’t control their actions and behaviors, you can do something to protect yourself.

Keep a safe distance from other vehicles in the street lane and in the bike lane. Keep your peripherals wide open to avoid a collision with others.

One of the most common accidents that bikers encounter is the dreaded, sudden car door opening. Watch out for cars that may seem to be picking up or dropping someone off and avoid the car doors. Undivided attention is always essential to avoid any untoward accidents.

5. Ride in a predictable manner.

There are hand signals that bike commuters have to know to communicate with other drivers and pedestrians who are behind or beside them. Make sure you hold that hand signal for several seconds and not just flick your hand in your desired direction. Holding the signal hand will allow other vehicles behind you to avoid you. Installing a bike bell may seem lame, but it is a great way to signal pedestrians if you are behind them. If the bell is not your thing, you can also make your presence known by calling their attention.

Always keep in mind that safety is the number one priority. Have a safe ride, and of course, enjoy!

Top 10 Reason to Start Biking Today

Top 10 Reason to Start Biking Today

As we’re approaching the new year, resolutions and promises for self-improvement also come to a near. However, most of the time, people fail to fulfill their New Year’s resolution because it is too unrealistic or impractical to begin with.

More and more people are favoring biking as an alternative way to travel. However, if you’re still not convinced, here are 10 more reasons why you should start biking now:

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1. It’s a workout in disguise.

Unlike taking an extra two hours per day and paying for a subscription fee to hit the gym, cycling is an excellent way to add a workout into your daily routine. On average, bicycle commuters lose 13 pounds in their first year of cycling alone.

Biking is a low-impact exercise that helps protect you from serious diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes, and arthritis.

The fast-paced pedaling and steering of a bike daily will greatly improve your heart health and your overall body. Consistent cycling for about 30 minutes daily will greatly improve your cardiovascular health.

2. It helps in saving the planet.

Everyday commute gets worse due to unwanted smoke and pollutants given off by cars. In fact, vehicles that run on diesel contribute as much as half of the total air pollution in the US, which includes carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and hydrocarbons. These chemicals are the main cause of climate change and account for the large-scale shifts in weather patterns.

By using a bike and taking fewer car drives, we can significantly help in decreasing carbon emissions. The more that we encourage people to get into biking, the faster also that we can resolve this global issue.

3. It can save you extra money.

The only time you will be shelling out money is when buying a bicycle. Nonetheless, with plenty of inexpensive options to choose from, it’s fairly easy to check out cheap and valuable cycling products.

According to the American Automobile Association, the average cost for a person to own and operate a car was about $8,558 in 2016. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the average cost of owning and operating a bicycle is just $350 a year.

Clearly, biking is the more affordable option, don’t you think?

4. It can save you extra money.

The only time you will be shelling out money is when buying a bicycle. Nonetheless, with plenty of inexpensive options to choose from, it’s fairly easy to check out valuable biking products.

According to the American Automobile Association in 2016, the average cost for a person to own and operate a car was about $8,558. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the average cost of owning and operating a bicycle is just $350 a year. As an added bonus, riding a bike daily is a workout in itself and can save you around $30 to $40 a month of the gym membership fee.

5. It can also save you extra time.

Traffic is one of the many problems that we have to face daily, but fortunately, a sure way to keep away from it is through biking. Depending on where you live, biking can often get you to places much faster than motorized vehicles can, simply by accessing shortcuts not open to motorized traffic.

Most key cities have designated bike lanes that allow bikers to safely bike to and from their destination without the fear of getting hit by a car.

6. It is an all-natural way to burn fat.

Aside from other health benefits of riding a bike, sports experts discovered that a biker’s metabolic rate is effectively raised not only while riding, but even after several hours of biking as well. Hence, more calories and fat are being burned by the body during and after biking, which results in weight loss.

7. Biking strengthens your bones and muscles.

It is pretty evident that almost all muscle groups work together when one is biking. The most prominent muscles that are getting worked are the legs and quads while paddling.

To illustrate, in order to balance and stabilize your ride, your core and back muscles work together. Your arms and biceps also get amped up by supporting and controlling the handlebars. This teamwork between your muscle groups greatly benefits them to get stronger every cycle.

8. It’s a great way to socialize.

Biking is an incredibly sociable sport. In fact, there are numerous cycling clubs for every city where you can participate and meet fellow bikers with whom you can share interests.

Joining a cycling club or group is an excellent way to grow your social circle, and if you’re new to riding, you’ll probably find there all the maintenance and training advice you may have been looking for, too.

9. It boosts your mental health.

Cycling can ease feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. Focusing on the road while you’re cycling helps develop concentration and awareness of the present moment. This can take your focus away from the mental chatter of your day.

If you find yourself feeling lethargic or listless, get yourself on a bike for at least 10 minutes. Exercise releases endorphins, which in turn help you feel better while lowering stress levels.

10. Biking guarantees better sleep.

With all the stresses we’re going through, trying to fall asleep is tougher these days. With biking, however, better-quality sleep comes easier than before.

Plenty of studies already showed that moderate to vigorous cardiovascular activities like cycling can to boost fitness, therefore making it easier to fall and stay asleep. This is pretty obvious to anyone who has pedaled a bike and has experienced the combo of exhaustion and soreness.