Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year brings new store hours in Peninsula

Beginning with the new year next week, the Century Cycles store in Peninsula will switch to winter hours:

  • Monday through Thursday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sunday: 12:00 - 5:00pm
Hours for the Medina and Rocky River stores are unchanged (still open until 8:00pm Mon-Thu). The Peninsula store will remain open until 8:00pm during the evenings of our Bicycling and Maintenance Clinics.

You can always find our current store hours at:

We wish all of our customers, friends, staff, and their families a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Save 50% on all in-stock tubes and a great pump – Hot Deal #5

Blackburn Air Tower HP Floor Pump


(Regularly $79.99)

All In-Stock Inner Tubes
$3.49 and up
(Regularly $6.99 and up)

Bike tires should be inflated before every ride, especially if you ride less than once a week. The Blackburn Air Tower HP Pump is a great floor pump that can handle all your inflation needs. You’ll also really appreciate its easy-to-read oversize precision gauge and its conveniently long hose. The presta-valve-only features a bleeder button to let you release air to get just the right level of pressure.

With 50% off all in-stock inner tubes, this deal is the perfect opportunity to replace patched tubes and stock up on spare tubes!

If you’re not handy changing tires, we’d be happy to do the work for you, at our normal labor rates. We’d also be happy to teach you how to change a bike tire at our next Basic Bike Maintenance Clinic on January 7 at 1:30pm in all three Century Cycles stores! (Click here for the full clinic schedule and details.)

The Fine Print
This Hot Deal is good only December 29, 2011 - January 11, 2012, while supplies last. In-store purchase only; no online or phone orders accepted. No coupon necessary.

Find the latest Hot Deals for Cold Days on our web site at:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Winterriffic on January 8!

Come out of hibernation and help us celebrate Northeast Ohio's winter season at Winterriffic, an all-new Cleveland Metroparks event!

Date: Sunday, January 8, 2012
Time: Noon-5pm
Place: The Chalet Recreation Area at Mill Stream Run Reservation
Address: 16200 Valley Parkway in Strongsville
Cost: FREE

Century Cycles will be on hand, displaying winter cycling clothing and doing demos of the Surly Pugsley snow bike (above) at 1pm and 3:30pm. Other winter activities will be featured throughout the day, including dog sled demos and snowshoe rentals, plus the chalet's tobagganing chutes will be in operation. Come join us for a winterrific time!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Help us help the Ronald McDonald House

On January 19, Century Cycles staffers will have the honor of bringing and preparing a dinner at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland for all the children and families staying there that evening. Our office manager, Sharon Constantino, had the great idea that we should also collect much-needed donations for the house to take with us that night. So....

We have set up collection boxes in all three Century Cycles stores! Click here to find out all the supplies the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland needs to help families from all over the world (everything from food items to toilet paper), and please consider donating an item or two the next time you stop in for service, to browse, or for a clinic. We'll take them all with us on January 19, with best wishes from the entire Century Cycles family of customers, reps, and staff.

On Monday, there was a terrific article in The Plain Dealer ("The magical healing power of food for body and soul") about a volunteer who makes two dinners a month at the Ronald McDonald House and about the extraordinary comfort RMH and its volunteers provide for "the sick children and their worried-sick parents."

Another way you can help us help the house is to mark your calendar for June 2 -- that's the 2012 date of the Century Cycles Night Ride for the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland!

Monday, December 26, 2011

History Channel's Call For Bicyclists

The History Channel's producers, who created the show American Pickers, are making a new show named Top Pickers. This new show will feature Picker Teams who will compete for the best pics, ultimately earning the title of Top Pickers and a big cash prize! For this run of the show they are interested in finding a team of cyclists who are also interested in picking.

They are searching specifically for bicyclists who are energetic, knowledgeable, and passionate about collecting. Picking Teams should be able to spot hidden treasures, know how to flip items for profit and pick better than anyone they know. Interested candidates can apply by e-mailing ASAP with a description of you and your picking partner, your area(s) of expertise, your contact information, and a recent photo.

Do you or someone you know fit the bill?? We know a certain guy who owns a few bike stores who is a darn good picker....

(Source: American Bicyclist Update)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don't clean it up too quickly." -- Andy Rooney

Century Cycles is closed today. We re-open tomorrow at 10am -- with everything still on Holiday Sale!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Resolve to ride on 1/1/2012 and beyond

Start 2012 on the right pedal stroke by doing the A Bi-Cycling Dandy Excuse For Getting Hibernated In January -- also known as the ABCDEFGHIJ Ride on New Year's Day! Chris and several CCers are planning to join the Medina Bike Club for this annual tradition, and they sure would like to have you bundled up and riding alongside them.

If biking in the January chill doesn't motivate you, tell us what does in this month's online poll: What is your bicycling resolution for 2012? Ride more? Ride to work? Or just have a whole heckuvalotta fun?! Click here to click your vote. It takes just a few seconds -- and makes you feel like you're one step closer to keeping the resolution!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Minute Gift Ideas - All on Sale!

With just a few more shopping HOURS left until the big day, here are some last-minute gift ideas for everyone on your list!
Century Cycles is open until 5pm today, 10-3pm tomorrow (Christmas Eve), and we are closed on Christmas Day. Our Holiday Sale runs through December 31 for your shopping convenience, with 10% off all bicycles (including those already on sale!) and 20% off everything else (clothing, lights, trainers, accessories and parts). Plus remember the current Hot Deal -- three great light options that ALL make for great stocking stuffers, only available until Wednesday or while supplies last!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Now in stock: Raleigh Roper Cyclocross Bike

Raleigh has shown its commitment to the sport of cyclocross by upping the ante in its bike selection. With just one cyclocross model for 2011, they now have eight models for 2012, including two with carbon fiber frames, three women's-specific models, and two with steel frames.

The flagship of the steel lineup is the 2012 Raleigh Roper. It features a 4130 chromoly steel frame and fork. The 20-speed drivetrain centers around Shimano 105 shifters and derailers, and an FSA Gossamer compact double (50/34) crankset. The real distinguishing feature of this bike, however, is the Shimano R505 mechanical disc brakes. With disc brakes now legal in UCI-sanctioned cyclocross racing, you will see more cyclocross bikes with disc brakes in the coming years.

2012 Raleigh Roper
Raleigh placed the Roper's rear disc caliper on the chainstay, rather than the seatstay of the frame like most disc brakes. What this means is that the disc caliper is out of the way, allowing the use of just about any standard rear cargo rack and fender, with mounting hassles minimized.

UrbanVelo magazine recently did an extensive test and review of the Raleigh Roper; you can read it here. The rider Brad was impressed, and summed the bike up as "a $1500 disc brake equipped steel cyclocross bike meant for the serious commuter or abusive all-day rider that is more interested in the miles."

The Roper uses the same frame geometry as Raleigh's lighter and more race-oriented RX series, which Brad says, "[Makes] it a relatively aggressive, fast riding machine. Over a couple of months of riding hitting paved roads and railroad ballast, gravel paths and full-on singletrack, I fell in love with the handling."

With friendliness to racks and fenders, we think the Roper would make a perfect commuter or long-distance touring bike, especially if your adventures often take you off the pavement and onto the path less traveled. We've got it in stock in 53cm, 55cm, 57cm, and 59cm. Call us to verify store availability at the Century Cycles nearest to you.

If singlespeeding is more your thing, the bike is also available in a one-gear version for $820, named the Furley. The frame is identical to the Roper, including a derailer hanger should you decide to add gears later.

2012 Raleigh Furley
Roper and Furley. Come and knock on our door; we've got a 'cross bike waiting for you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tech Talk: Choosing Pedals

What type of pedals are right for me?

Your body comes into contact with your bicycle in three areas: Your seat, your hands, and your feet. To get the most enjoyment and benefit out of your cycling, you need to carefully choose the parts for each of these areas. Your feet are where choosing the right pedals makes a difference, and there is not one choice that works best for everyone. Here's a rundown of the difference types of pedals, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Platform Pedals

Comfort platform pedal
These are the basic "regular" pedals that just have a flat surface to place your feet on. They come in many shapes, styles, and materials. They range in price from around $10 for plastic ones to $20 for metal ones. In either case, they are cheap versions that you just replace if and when they wear out or break. For people who like the best of the best in their parts, however, there are high-end platform pedals available in the range of $50 to $100 and even more that are made of lightweight alloys and have servicable and replaceable high-quality ball bearings.

Most hybrid and cruiser bikes come with "comfort platform" pedals, which have a smooth surface that makes them usable with thin-soled sneakers, sandals, or even barefoot (in true "beach cruiser" fashion). 

BMX platform pedal
Mountain platform pedal
Most kids' bikes and low- to mid-level mountain bikes come with "mountain platform" pedals. which have a somewhat "spiked" surface to help grip the bottoms of your shoes better to avoid having your feet slip off the pedals. This idea is taken a step further with BMX-specific pedals, which usually have plastic or metal studs located across the pedal surface that "bite" into the tread of your shoes to prevent slippage.

Pros: Inexpensive (usually), work with any kind of shoes.

Cons: Less efficient--promotes "pedaling in squares" rather than pedaling in circles.

Pedals with Toe Clips

Pedal with toe clips and straps
These are a regular mountain-style platform pedal with a plastic or metal toe clip or "cage" attached. Usually, there is also an adjustable strap around the pedal and toe clip, but some people prefer to use only the toe clip without the strap. This setup is a little more efficient than plain platform pedals, because it allows you to exert a somewhat more even effort throughout the full rotation of the pedal stroke. The cages also keep your feet from slipping off of the pedals during more aggressive riding. The one-sided design requires you to flip the pedal around with your toe as you get started riding in order to insert your shoes into the clips. You must slide your foot backwards in order to remove it from the clip, which some people find to be a less-than-natural movement.

Pros: Inexpensive, work with any kind of shoes, somewhat more efficient than platform pedals.

Cons: Can be inconvenient to insert and remove your feet.

Clipless Pedals

These pedals have a mechanism that is similar in concept to a ski boot binding. The mechanism holds your foot in place on the pedal during the circular pedaling motion, but is easily released by twisting your heel outward. The term "clipless pedals" is used to distinguish them from pedals with toe clips. Unfortunately, this often causes confusion, because the phrase "clip in" is used to refer to the process of putting your feet in place on your clipless pedals.

Clipless pedals hold your foot in place securely, while riding fast on smooth roads, as well as during aggressive riding on off-road trails. They allow you to practice the most efficient pedaling technique, by exerting an even, consistent force throughout the circle of your pedal stroke.

The clipless pedal system consists of three parts: the actual pedals, the cycling-specific shoes that are designed to work in conjunction with the pedals, and the cleats, which is the set of hardware that attaches to the shoes that works with the clipless mechanism on the pedals. The cleats usually come as a pair with the pedals, and are also available separately as replacements as they wear out.

There are two important characteristics of all clipless pedal systems. The "release angle" determines how far you need to twist your foot in order to disengage the clipless mechanism. Some pedals have adjustable tension, which allows you to customize the release angle and the force needed to get your foot out. For some pedals, you can change the release angle by adjusting the position of the cleats on your shoes. The "float" of a pedal refers to how much your foot is able to freely swivel from side to WITHOUT coming un-clipped. Some people like a lot of float, while other people prefer the secure feeling of no float at all. You can change the float for some pedals by choosing a different version of cleats.

Road Clipless Pedals

Look Keo Road Cleat Set
Some clipless pedal systems are designed specifically for high-performance riding and racing on paved roads. Road-specific shoes have a very stiff sole that is completely smooth with no tread on the bottom. The cleats are usually a fairly large triangular- or square-shaped object that is held in place on the shoes by three or four bolts. The large cleat helps to spread the force out over a larger area of your foot, which helps to reduce fatigue in your feet during long, fast rides. However, the large cleats and smooth soles do tend it make it somewhat difficult (and sometimes even dangerous) to do much walking around in your cycling shoes when your're not actually riding.

Look Keo Classic Road Pedal
Several manufacturers make road-specific clipless pedals. One of the most common is Look, but Shimano also has a few similar models. Both are one-sided designs, which means that the cleat clips into the pedal in only one direction. However, the pedals are usually weighted so that they naturally spin into the optimal position in order for you to get you shoe and cleat clipped in.

Speedplay Road Pedal
Another popular brand of road pedal is Speedplay. They have a minimal "lollipop" design that is very lightweight, and also have the benefit of virtually unliimited float.

Pros: Lightweight, maximum efficiency for long, fast rides

Cons: Require cycling-specific shoes, impractical for walking around off the bike

Mountain Clipless Pedals

Shimano SPD Cleat Set
These pedals have cleats that attach to the shoes with two bolts each, and are small enough so that they are recessed into the tread of the shoe. The shoes have rubber or plastic treads that are similar to typical hiking shoes or sneakers. This allows you to walk around much more easily and safely during breaks in your bike ride. This is also useful while riding on rough off-road trails where you might occasionally need to get off and carry your bike through particularly difficult sections. Some mountain bike shoes have soles that are a little less stiff compared to road bike shoes, which also makes them more comfortable for walking. However, mountain bike shoes designed for off-road racing can be just as stiff as some road bike shoes.

Shimano PD-M520 Mountain Pedal
Because of the walking ease and comfort that they provide, many cyclists who only ride on roads still prefer to use mountain bike shoes and pedals. Most mountain bike pedals have a two-sided design, which makes it quick and convenient to step on the pedal and get clipped in without having to spin it to one side or the other.

Crank Brothers Egg
Beater Mountain Pedal
The most common models of mountain bike pedal are made by Shimano; their cleat system is referred to as SPD. These are the same type of pedals used on the bikes in many indoor spinning classes.

Speedplay Frog Mountain Pedal
There are a few competing mountain bike pedal makers that are gaining in popularity. The Crank Brothers Egg Beaters have a four-sided design, which makes clipping in even easier, and also helps to prevent the pedals from getting clogged up in really muddy off-road conditions. Speedplay makes an off-road pedal called the Frog, which features the same virtually unlimited float of their road pedals.

Pros: Pedaling efficiency, comfort, walkability

Cons: Cycling-specific shoes required, may not be as efficient as road-specific pedals.

You can learn more about Choosing and Using Clipless Pedals in our clinic at all three Century Cycles stores on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. The clinic is FREE and begins at 6:30pm.

Our next FREE clinic is Tuesday, December 27, about Dressing for Winter Cycling, also at 6:30pm at all three of our stores.

For these and any of our Bicycling and Maintenance Clinics, please call the store you'd like to attend to reserve your place, or RSVP to the Facebook Events.

For information about all of our clinics, see:

To see a list of the clinics (and all of our other events) by date, see our Calendar of Events at:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Custom Snow Bike Wheels? No problem...

Are you a fan of the Surly Pugsley or any of the other variations of the super-fat-tired snow bikes out there? If so, you know that the wheels on these bikes are specially designed to accommodate the wide tires, plus the offset frame and fork configuration.

The wheels come with the bike, of course, but if you're custom-building a snow bike from the frame up, or are just looking for a spare pair, we can handle building them for you.

Master mechanic and certified wheel-builder Derrick recently built this set for a customer in our Peninsula store. He used Surly Rolling Darryl rims, Shimano Deore XT Disc hubs, and DT Swiss stainless steel spokes.

What's with the holes all the way around the rim, you say? What keeps the inner tube from bursting through? The rims are manufactured with the cut-out sections to save weight. Surly makes extra-wide rim strips to keep your inner tubes in place, plus the extra-low pressure (5-10psi) that snow bike tires typically use don't require a super-stiff rim.

Whether it's for a snow bike, road bike, mountain bike, or anything in-between, if you've got special needs for custom-built bicycle wheels, Century Cycles can handle them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Be light and be bright – cycling stocking stuffers for Hot Deal #4

Blackburn Voyager 3.3 Headlight / Mars 1.0 Taillight Combo
$17.49 (regularly $34.99)

Blackburn Flea 2.0 Headlight / Taillight Combo USB
$27.49 (regularly $54.99)

Blackburn Flea 2.0 USB Headlight
$19.99 (regularly $39.99)

The Blackburn Voyager 3.3 Headlight/Mars 1.0 Taillight Combo is always our most popular Hot Deal ever and is Century Cycles' best-selling light set -- a terrific choice for cyclists of all ages and bikes of all kinds. The headlight sports three super-bright LEDs with flash and steady modes, plus it easily attaches to all handlebars without tools. The Mars 1.0 taillight has four ultra-bright red LEDs with mounts that can attach to your bike, pack or rack.

The Blackburn Flea 2.0 Headlight/Taillight USB Combo is always on the top holiday gift lists and we agree it's a cyclist's favorite - especially with its lithium-ion battery that can be conveniently charged in the USB port of a computer or laptop. Easy to mount, this combo boasts a surprising amount of brilliant LED light for front and rear visibility on the bike.

Another option is the Blackburn Flea 2.0 USB Headlight - available in bright blue or hot pink for a colorful and super-bright addition to your handlebars! This little powerhouse is featherweight yet boasts 4 ultra-bright white LEDs.

The Fine Print
This Hot Deal is good only December 15 - 28, 2011, while supplies last. In-store purchase only; no online or phone orders accepted. No coupon necessary.

The latest Hot Deals for Cold Days can be found on our web site at:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Save up to $50: Winter Tune-Up Specials

Give your bicycle a wonderful gift by bringing it in to Century Cycles for a tune-up this winter! It'll be ready to ride when spring comes, and you can save anywhere from $15 to $50, depending on which tune-up service package your bicycle needs.

The best deal is $20 off on Tune Up Package #2. Regularly $79.99, it includes all the services in Tune Package #1 (brake and shifting adjustment, lubricating all moving parts, even cleaning and polishing your ride) PLUS we put new cables and exposed housing on it -- a $36 value in cables and housing alone! When our expert mechanics are done tuning it up, it will ride like a brand-new bike.

Don't know which package your bike needs? We can give it the once-over (which is always no cost) and let you know. For most bikes, Tune-Up Package #1 is ideal. No appoinments are ever necessary.

Click here for all the tune-up specials, and click here for a complete list of service packages we offer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bicycling's Best New $2000 Road Bikes

Just in time for last-minute holiday shopping, the January/February Bicycling magazine on newsstands now spotlights the best new $2000 road bikes that give you lots of speed at friendly prices. They say, "More affordable than top-level race bikes, yet still fast, fun, and ready for your next ride, one of these machines could make your dreams a reality." Of the five bikes profiled, two are in stock at Century Cycles!

About the Giant Defy Composite 1 ($2,399.99), test mechanic Michael Yozell writes, “Intended to handle whatever the road throws at you…the Defy’s ride is a fine mix of a race bike’s rigid chatter and an overly plush sensation…you’ll be able to ride fast and still take in the scenery.” He more cleverly found this great feature: “…we applaud Giant for equipping this quick, comfortable bike with its P-SL-1 tubeless-compatible wheels…This is the first bike at this price point to deliver tubeless technology in a ready-to-ride package, and we’re excited that recreational riders can take advantage.” This is the bike for you if: “you want Classics-inspired handling and an upright position."

About the Raleigh Revenio Carbon 1 ($1,999.99), they write, "It's a bike that's comfortable for any recreational rider. Emplying flattened seatstays, it handles rough surfaces with ease, effectively muting larger jolts. The steering is neutral, without sluggish turn-in....the Revenio delivers everything the recreational rider needs.... Buy it if: You want a bike to comfortably cruise on. Forget it if: You like a stretched-out or rear-biased position."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Take our poll: What do you want Santa to bring?

What cycling gifts do you hope Santa leaves for YOU under the tree this year? Click here to take our quick online poll (which may or may not be a hotline to the North Pole -- we're not allowed to say).

Welcome to the world, Lily Stark

Please join us in giving a warm, two-wheeled welcome to the newest Century Cyclist -- little Lily Stark, who was born yesterday to proud parents Kristen and Justin Stark. She is 7 lbs. and 14 oz., healthy as can be, and Century Cycles Medina's office manager come 2034....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boy, 3, mountain biking on a balance bike

This video will inspire bicyclists of all ages! Be the best Santa ever and put a Raleigh Push (now 10% off!) under the tree for your little one -- mad mountain bike skillz just may follow, but at the very least, he or she will be introduced to the wonderful world of bicycling in a fun and easy way!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas in Peninsula!

The Century Cycles store in Peninsula enjoyed the sunny winter Saturday by participating in the festivities of Christmas in Peninsula! Visitors to the village strolled the streets to see all of their favorite holiday characters, enjoy some snacks, and maybe even play Santa themselves by catching up on their gift shopping!

Can you identify who's playing the part of the high-wheeling elf? Santa's little helper can handle a two-wheeler pretty well, but where does he carry the bag of goodies?


Click here if the video above is not appearing for you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Fun: Christmas in Peninsula & More!

Century Cycles is your holiday headquarters -- we've got the stores decorated with "Define your life. Ride a bike." ornaments (above!), our Holiday Sale is going on now through December 31, and Santa is riding a bike in our display at Holiday Lights at the Medina Fairgrounds!

The Peninsula store, however, will be taking it to another jingly level tomorrow, Saturday 12/10, when it celebrates Christmas in Peninsula with the rest of the village. Carolers and costumed characters will be roaming the streets, enjoy music, and celebrate Christmas the old-fashioned way. Stop by Century Cycles in Peninsula and we'll have refreshments, the high-wheeler is decorated and ready for your holiday photos, plus there will even be a Christmas ELF hanging out in the store! It must be the elf that builds all of Santa's bikes, because this guy knows a LOT about bikes....

Enjoy the jingle!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just In: Giro Privateer Cycling Shoes

Long the first name when it comes to helmets, Giro is now making a name for itself with top quality cycling shoes that really impress us -- so much so that a full selection of men's and women's models is on the way to Century Cycles stores in the weeks to come.

The first model to arrive in stock is the Giro Privateer ($149.99) men's mountain bike shoes. The word in the bike press is that Giro's senior shoe designers worked on it to maintain performance while keeping the price reasonable. Featuring two velcro straps and one adjustable ratcheting buckle, these shoes offer the comfort and support to take your rides to the next level. Also nice? They are available in a normal fit and what Giro refers to as HV, for wider feet or for folks who simply like a bit more room.

Stop in to try on the Privateer, and stay tuned for more models arriving soon!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stay Dry: Showers Pass Storm Jacket and Pants

"At least it's not snowing yet." It's a refrain repeated pretty frequently the past few days. That's true -- and it also true that all these rainy days are a swell time to be thinking about good, affordable rain gear. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado (or snow), we present the Showers Pass Storm Jacket ($79.99) and Storm Pants ($59.99).

They are both the best values you can find in waterproof-breathable cycling clothing. Both feature taped seams to keep the raindrops out, and pack up small, so they're easy to stash in a pack (or even a jersey pocket) to keep handy for unexpected downpours. Another nice feature? The hook-and-loop straps to seal the pants and fine-tune the fit.

For those looking for a more full-featured jacket for all conditions, we've got the classic Showers Pass Touring Jacket ($149.99), which features a full cut, plenty of venting options, chest pocket, and adjustable waist.

Showers Pass knows from rain. Their products are designed by cyclists in the Pacific Northwest where rain, wind and cold weather IS the environment. Its gear is technically engineered for racers, commuters, messengers and everyday cycling enthusiasts.

And it's a great time to buy: All Showers Pass products (and ALL our cycling clothing) is now 20% off for our Holiday Sale!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tech Talk: Know Your Tire Size

If you've shopped for a bike recently, or even if you're an experienced rider who's ever shopped for new tires or inner tubes, you've come up against the confusing arrary of sizes available.

What do all those numbers mean? And why have so many choices in the first place? Why don't they come up with a standard? As they say in the computer industry, the great thing about standards is that there are so many to pick from. It may sound surprising to you that there actually used to be many times more varieties of tire than are common today. In the early years from the invention of the bicycle through the early 1900's, many bike manufacturers had their own set of sizing standards that only applied to their own bikes. It is a testament to how far we've come that today you can buy tires, tubes, and wheels from three different manufacturers and be sure that they will all work fine together, as long as you select the proper sizes of each.

The most important measurement of the tire is the diameter; the second most important is the width. 99% of the bikes you see on the road or in stores will have one of two different diameters: 26-inch or 700C.

The actual outer diameter of the tire may vary based on the tread pattern. The critical factor that makes different tires compatible is the INNER diameter of the tire. This measurement is known as the Bead Seat Diameter, or BSD for short.

You can change the width of tire that you use without having to replace your rims or wheels, as long as the difference is not too extreme.

26-inch tires

Most mountain bike have 26-inch tires, as well as most modern beach cruiser-type bikes, and comfort hybrid bikes. The first mountain bikes were adapted from beach cruisers, which used 26-inch tires, so that's how it became the de facto standard for mountain bikes.

Most typical 26-inch tires have a width of about 1.75 inches up to 2.2 inches. There are some 26-inch tires available that have a smooth road tread and may be as narrow as 1 inch to 1.5 inches. For downhill mountain bikes, there are tires about 2.5 inches wide, and for snow bikes, even up to 4 inches wide!

You'll usually find the tire size printed on the sidewall of the tire itself, expressed as diameter X width, e.g. 26x1.95.

Standard 26-inch tires have a BSD of 559 millimeters.

700C tires

The modern standard for road, cyclocross, and many hybrid tires is 700C. You'll also find 700C tires on some European-style cruiser bikes.

The "700" refers to the rough outer diameter of the tire, although the actual outer diameter will vary greatly, depending on the type of tire and tread pattern. The "C" means NOTHING; it does not stand for "centimeters." Think about it--a 700-centimeter tire would be HUGE, over 21 feet tall! And don't say "700CC" unless you want to look like a complete newbie. For the origin of the term 700C, see "A Brief History of 700C" below.

The BSD of 700C tires is 622mm.

Most high-performance road bike tires have a width of 23 or 25 millimeters, although some are as narrow as 18mm or as wide as 28mm. Cyclocross and touring tires range from 28mm to 38mm (although the maximum width for officially-sanctioned cyclocross events is 32mm), and hybrid bikes use tires 35mm to 45mm.

You'll find the size printed on the side of most tires, e.g. 700Cx28. Sometimes, the manufacturers will put the "C" after the width number, e.g. 700x35C, leading some people to incorrectly read it as 700x350, which again, if correct, would be a HUGE tire!

To make matters even more confusing, sometimes the size is printed on the tire as the width followed by the BSD, e.g. 23-622.


Some older road bikes (mid 1980's and earlier) used 27-inch tires; these were used on most of the "10-speed" bikes that many of us grew up with. These are NOT the same as the 700C tires found on modern road bikes. Very few, if any, modern bikes are manufactured using the 27-inch tire size, but replacement tires, inner tubes, and wheels are still available for those older bikes.

27-inch tires come in common widths of 1-1/8 inch, 1-1/4 inch, and 1-3/8 inch for some older hybrid and cycloross bikes.

The BSD of 27-inch tires is 630mm.

27-inch and 700C tires are close enough in size that the inner tubes are compatible; i.e. you can use a 27-inch inner tube in a 700C tire, and vice-versa. However, you can NOT use a 27-inch tire on a 700C wheel, and vice-versa.

29er tires

Some time after the mountain bike boom in the mid-80's, somebody got the idea, "Hey, why don't we pick a tire size that's better suited to the way mountain bikes are used?" A few manufacturers started designing mountain bikes with wheels that used the same size rim as road bikes (700C or 622mm BSD), but with fat off-road-style tires. The resulting tires ended up having an outer diameter of around 29 inches, so these bikes (and the tires) are now referred to as "29ers." Today, almost every major bicycle manufacturer has 29er mountain bikes, and a wide selection of 29er tires is available.

Similar to 26-inch mountain tires, 29er tires typically range from 1.95 inches through 2.3 inches wide. By general agreement within the bike industry, the size of 29er tires is usually printed using the "English" measurements, e.g. 29x2.2, rather than the metric equivalent of 700x56C.


Some time after the mini-boom of 29er mountain bikes occured, there were some people in the bike world who felt that the larger 29er wheel had some disadvantages. Whether these disadvantages are real or perceived is a matter of differing opinions, but regardless, detractors of the 29er felt that a "happy medium" tire size between 26 and 29 was needed to provide "the best of both worlds." They looked back in time to the 650B wheel size, which was somewhat prevalent on touring bikes some years ago.

650B mountain bikes tires have an outer diameter of about 27.5 inches, so in the mountain bike world, tire sizes are often listed using this, e.g. 27.5x2.1. For 650B tires with a smooth road/touring tread, we usually stick with the road sizing convention, e.g. 650Bx32.

The BSD for 650B tires is 584mm.

The 650B/27.5 phenomenon has not quite taken hold as strongly as the 29er concept. Only a handful of companies are making 650B bicycles, and the selection of tires is rather limited.


Some small sizes of women's-specific road bikes use a tire size known as 650C. This size was also used on some triathlon bikes a few years back, but this is becoming less common. 650C tires are commonly available in the same widths as 700C performance road tires, i.e. from 650x18C through 650x25C.

The BSD for 650C tires is 571mm.

Inner tubes made for narrow 26-inch tires (e.g. 26x1) are compatible with 650C tires, but the tires themselves are NOT interchangeable.

Oddball 26-inch tires

You may come across old cruiser bikes or very old hybrid bikes with tires that have sizes like 26x1-1/8, 26x1-1/4, 26x1-3/8, 26x1-3/4, etc. Any of these measurements that use a FRACTION in the size are special sizes, those mentioned above that were manufacturer-specific (most commonly old Schwinn bikes). If you need replacement tires for a bike such as this, we do have a few of these in stock, and they are usually available by special-order. You'll also probably need to order matching replacement inner tubes.

Note that even if the fractional size is numerically equivalent, these tires are NOT compatible with modern 26-inch tires. For example, a tire labeled 26x1-1/2 is NOT the same as a tire labeled 26x1.5.

20-inch tires

Most BMX bicycles use 20-inch tires that have a BSD of 406mm, available in widths from 1.5 to 2.5 inches with a wide variety of tread patterns to suit different riding styles.

Some recumbent and folding bicycles also use 20-inch tires, but a different standard based on a 451mm BSD. Some recumbent and folding bike manufacturers have switched to using the BMX 20-inch standard in order to make things easier for their customers, since replacement tires of that size tend to be easier to find.

Kid's bike tires

While adult bikes come in different frame sizes with standard-sized wheels, bikes for kids are sized according to the wheel size. Most independent bike shops carry kid's bikes in 12-inch, 16-inch, 20-inch, and 24-inch wheels.

20-inch kid's bike tires are the follow the same sizing standard as 20-inch BMX tires (mentioned above).

Some big-box stores also sell kid's bikes in 14-inch ans 18-inch wheel sizes, although these are much less common. We usually have replacement tires and inner tubes in stock for all sizes of kid's bikes, including 14-inch and 18-inch.

A Brief History of 700C

Many years back, there were four different variations of tires sizes available known as 700A, 700B, 700C, and 700D. They had different bead seat diameters, but all shared the same characteristic of being exacly 700 millimeters on the outside diameter.

Bike racers of the day had several wheel sets that they would swap on and off their bikes, with one set being a 700A, another being a 700B, and so on. They'd choose the appropriate size tire based on the conditions they'd be riding that day--the skinniest one for race day, a somewhat thicker one for training, and an ever thicker one for training on rough roads or dirt. Since all of the wheel sets had an outside diameter of 700mm, they could be sure that whichever wheel set they chose, it would fit within their frame.

The downside of this scheme was that they'd have to re-align their brakes every time they swapped wheels, to account for the different rim diameters. However, this was easier back then, because the arms on road brake calipers allowed for a much wider range of adjustment than is typical on modern road brakes.

For various reasons, most of these tires sizes dropped out of use, except for 700C, which eventually became the de facto standard for modern road bikes.

The advantage of this is that there are now fewer road bike tire sizes to keep track of. The downside of the current standard is that there is no consistency in the outer diameter of tires. 700C is used to refer to any tire, rim, or wheel with a 622mm BSD, but it could be on a skinny-tired road bike where the wheel has an actual diameter is only 660mm (which is actually a little LESS than 26 inches!), or a mountain bike with a wheel diameter of over 29 inches.

Author: Kevin Madzia, Century Cycles

Friday, December 2, 2011

Go fast and get half off - Hot Deal #3 is a roadie's dream

Bell Sweep Helmet - $69.99
(regularly $139.99)

Velocity A23 Comp Road Wheel Set - $274.99
(regularly $549.99)

Half-off prices valid Dec. 1 - 14, 2011 only.

Hot Deal #3 is a road biker's dream! Get 50% off on one of the most popular and winning helmets on the road circuit AND 50% off a terrific high-speed wheel set that is ideal for crits, road races, or those long training rides in the Ohio countryside.

A favorite of pros and racers (both road and off-road), the Bell Sweep is a strong yet svelte helmet, with a feathery curb weight of just 10.5 ounces and 20 functional vents that channel airflow over the head. Other top-level features include Bell's Twin Axis Gear system (see video below) for an awesome fit and feel at any speed. Available in Matte Black/Carbon, with a removable VPV visor.

Worth every penny at the regular price, the Velocity A23 Comp Road Wheel Set is a downright steal at the Hot Deal price. Upgrade your road bike's wheels or have a spare set ready to go! (Or, at this price, do both!)

Weighing in at just 1640 grams, the A23 is Velocity's newest road wheel set and it comes in black/black/black: 700c black rims with machined brake surfaces, black spokes, and black high-precision-sealed cartridge-bearing hubs. The newly-designed proprietary hubs have offset flanges for precise tension - making for wheels that are stronger, stiffer, and better optimize power transfer. Using a 23mm wide tire with the A23, you'll have increased cornering abilities - especially at high speeds - without sacrificing rolling efficiency. Compatible with Shimano and SRAM cassettes.

The Fine Print:
This Hot Deal is good only December 1 - 14, 2011, while supplies last. In-store purchase only; no online or phone orders accepted. No coupon necessary.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Santa goes by bike at Holiday Lights

Santa has embraced Century Cycles' motto "Define your life. Ride a bike." by replacing his reindeer with bicycles for Christmas this year and becoming the North Pole's busiest bike commuter. Well, at least the Santa in Century Cycles' display at Holiday Lights in Medina is going by bike!

Check it out at Holiday Lights at the Medina County Fairgrounds -- one of the area's largest drive-thru light displays. When they asked Century Cycles to be the exclusive bike store sponsor, we jumped at the chance to show that Santa is one of our bicycling brethren. (How else do you explain all those bicycle gifts under so many Christmas trees??)

Full credit for our amazing display at Holiday Lights goes to Don "Big Elf" Barnett and the entire Medina store crew. (We think they might actually work for Santa and Century Cycles is just a front.) They came up with the idea of "reindeer" bikes pulling Santa and his sleigh. First they worked on the bikes -- which now have heads and antlers instead of seats and handlebars -- then they built the sleigh:

Then they set to work painting it:

...and started testing lights:

Once painted and lit (complete with a red taillight for the lead bike's "nose!"), they transported it to the fairgrounds and set it up, along with some wheeths and extra lights:

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Lights is open now through December 25 (6-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays; 6-9pm on Sundays, and 6-10pm the week before Christmas). Cars are $7, 15-passenger vans are $12, and a bus is $50. The Medina County Fairgrounds is located at 710 Smith Road in Medina. For more details, go to

(Photos: Mike Petcher and Justin Stark)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Letter of the Month

We received this letter after announcing our Maintenance Clinic schedule, and it's now in the running for the Letter Of The Year Award....

Dear Century Cycles Staff,

I consider myself something of an expert on the art of bike maintenance. Here's how I handle all mechanical bike issues.

Periodically, I bring my bike into Medina Century Cycles for installs, maintenance tune-ups and problem solving. I usually bring donuts via Buehler's bakery and buy lunch for Mike, Don, Tom, Chris, et al.

When I need work done, I have one of the two greatest mechanics in Western Civilization being either Don Barnett or Tom Wiseman take care of my bike. Using this technique I keep my bikes operating at peak efficiency and I always leave thinking I've received more value than I've paid for.

I have met many folks out on their bikes on the roads and bike trails of Medina and Wayne Counties and most know of Century Cycles and are agreed with me at how fortunate we are to have a local shop staffed by such knowledgeable and dedicated pros.

I do know how to keep my bike clean and well lubed and I use excellent components on my Raleigh, Cervelo and Giant bikes. But even on component selection, I have benefited greatly from the knowledge of Mike and the guys.

So there's my system for bike maintenance. I do the easy stuff and follow the motto of "Don't try this at home" for all the rest. This has resulted in thousands upon thousands of miles of successful road biking over the last 14 years on some of the greatest hills anywhere and I've yet to experience even one flat tire.

Many thanks to Century Cycles Medina for adding so much value to my life via the sublime recreation of road biking on a well tuned bike.

Just thought you'd like to know.


Greg Olsen

Many thanks to YOU, Greg -- we did like to know.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yeah, we can fix that!

The latest in our "coolest item we've had in for a repair" -- The Green Machine! It uses a standard 20-inch tire, which we were happy to replace for another satisfied customer. And yes, they gave us their permission to ride it! (The matching green Nutcase helmet, however, was Kevin's fashionable addition.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In Memory of Elmer Cowan

Twenty years ago, a father believed in his son’s dream to open a bike store. Today, we honor and celebrate the memory of Elmer Cowan, father of Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

West Shore Sun: Cowan rememered as 'true gentleman"