Monday, July 17, 2023

How To Choose The Best Type Of Bike For You

 

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of welcoming in the spring and summer is dusting off your old bike and even more exciting, trading it in for a newer ride, or even buying your first bike. As we have rounded the corner into the 2023 season, now has become the perfect time to look into replacing that old bicycle hidden away in your garage or buying the first bike for your child. With new developments in cycling technology and designs catering to every type of rider or niche cycling has never been more accessible or fun! As the cycling community enters a new era it has resulted in the creation of many diverse options and variety for riders, new and old, to choose from. However, this wealth of new options has left you, the eager rider, with the challenge of deciding which type of riding you’d like to enter and which type of bike will serve your needs best. This guide will help make that at times daunting process much easier.

What are the Types of Bikes to Choose From?

Road Bike


 

Road bikes are designed for well, riding on roads! With their narrow tires they are designed primarily for speed and long distances and can also be referred to as “racing bikes” at times. In addition, models with disc brakes, similar to what can be found in most automobiles,  are becoming increasingly common to give the rider better braking control. Some brands are now offering women’s specific models which offer different touch points on the bike, i.e. saddle or handlebars, and even women specific frame design to better cater to our female riders.

If you want your riding to stay on the pavement it is hard to beat the quick and efficient riding of a strong road bike. For any event from a leisurely solo or group ride up to fast paced and competitive racing the road bike is perfect for a wide range of recreational cycling on the road.

 

Mountain Bike

 


Mountain bikes are designed for rugged and off-road riding styles of varying levels of difficulty and extremity on generally narrow dirt trails. Equipped with wider tires and deep tread for better traction, their flat; wide handlebars for better control, and wide variety of drive trains and hydraulic disc brakes for better handling on steep climbs and descents these bikes are extremely durable and well suited for this extreme riding.

These bikes are often equipped with either 27.5 or 29-inch diameter wheels, with the older 26-inch wheels slowly but surely fading away aside from a couple specific niche uses. Some brands also offer woman-specific models equipped with seats designed to better support the female build, smaller grips, narrower handlebars, and shorter crank arms. Most of these bikes are also equipped with lighter suspension tuning for smaller and lighter riders.

Mountain biking has a plurality of meanings from cyclist to cyclist. Depending on the style of mountain bike, these bikes can be used for anything from unpaved roads and paths to steep and rocky goat paths. The more technical the trail, the more rear suspension you will want and the smaller cyclists will likely want 27.5 inch diameter wheels for better bike control.

 

Gravel Bike



Gravel bikes are designed for use on gravel or crushed stone paths, such as the towpath running through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park adjacent to our Peninsula store but are extremely versatile. These bikes are typically equipped with a drop handlebar and at first glance look very similar to road bikes. However, after closer inspection you will notice the differences such as larger clearance for bigger wheels, additional mounts for accessories, and frame geometry designed to support a more upright riding style for more control and comfort on unpaved riding surfaces. Most of these bikes are equipped with disc brake systems and wide range gearing for better handling and some brands offer women specific options such as specially designed seats and better suited handlebar widths for the female build. 

As stated above these bikes are extremely versatile and combine efficient and fast paced benefits of a road bike with the rugged sturdiness and larger treaded tires for off-road cycling. These bikes no doubt can handle almost any type of ride you throw at them aside from the most extreme cases such as road races or extreme terrain mountain biking.

 

E-Bike


 

E-bikes still pedal much like a standard bike frame and still provide much of the same exercise when used properly but the “E” stands for the small electric motor that can provide power assistance to the pedaling of the rider. E-bikes can be broken down into three classes starting with Class 1 which provides pedal assist up to 20 mph, Class 2 which provides pedal assist or throttle driven power up to 20 mph, or lastly Class 3 which provides pedal assist up to 28 mph. Although originally seen rarely on urban bikes, E-bikes are becoming wildly popular and an affordable option even for the average cyclist allowing for a new type of fun riding experience. 

E-bikes, as described above, are designed to provide the experience of cycling but requiring less effort from the rider when desired. E-bikes allow anyone regardless of age or physical fitness to once again enjoy the fun and physical exercise derived from riding a bike! E-bikes now come in all different shapes and sizes including road bikes, mountain bikes, comfort bikes, or cargo bikes among many others, allowing anyone to enjoy these styles of riding and making the difference on high inclines or hilly terrain.  They are even allowing riders to set aside the car in favor of riding an e-bike for commuting to work or running an errand.

  

Utility Bike


 

There is one characteristic that distinguishes a utility bike from the rest. They are designed for non-recreational activities. Utility bikes come in a wide variety of purpose-built designs allowing for easier use.  Whatever style you choose, you are still receiving the benefits of getting exercise, completing a task, and getting free parking wherever you go!

There is no “best” utility bike, so it is up to you to identify your needs and purchase accordingly. Whether it be for more cost effective and emission free commuting, getting exercise in a money-saving mode whilst running errands, or taking kids to the park, the utility bike family might be the right choice for you.

 

Fat Tire Bike


 

The fat tire bike is easily recognizable by its very wide tires ranging from 3.8 to nearly 5 inches in width to provide superior traction and flotation on soft riding surfaces such as a sandy beach or a snowy road or path.

The mountain bike style of these fat tire bikes allows you to continue your riding season into the winter as you ride on snow covered trails.  The beach cruiser style is a fun and effective alternative to your average mountain bike that works great for beach vacations or beach homes to continue your rides on the sandy coasts of a nearby body of water.

 

Kids Bike


 

Since the early 80’s, many children’s bikes have been cheap and bulky BMX style designs that never last long or serve the rider well while in use. However, in the last ten years many bicycle brands have taken a new approach to the children’s bike market resulting in an expanded variety and better quality of bikes on the market. While in some cases the prices of children’s bikes may be higher than they once were, you are certainly getting quality for the price you are paying. The bicycles you can now buy for your children are lighter, more durable, have parts and frames specifically designed to fit the build of the average child rider.  Century Cycles offers a trade-in program so you can trade in a bike when your child outgrows it and receive a credit towards a new bike for your son or daughter. 

Weight matters when purchasing a bike for your child.  Can you imagine how tired you would get pedaling a 60 or 70-pound bike up a hill? That is what a 25-pound bike feels like to a 60-pound child. Additionally, it is important that parts such as brake levers and pedals are correctly sized for a child and that you are ensuring that the bike you purchase has quality parts and is professionally assembled to ensure your child’s safety and fun while riding!

Thursday, May 25, 2023

When Should I Replace My Bike Helmet?

 


1.       If there is visible damage

 

If you can see cracks or dents in the outer shell or inner foam structure of your helmet, then its ability to protect your head is definitely compromised. Do not use it and replace it immediately.



2.     If it received an impact due to a crash or severe accidental drop

Similar to the air bags in your car, bicycle helmets are designed to be "one and done" when it comes to protecting you in the event of a crash. Once it has done its job to absorb the force of one impact, it should be replaced. Even if you can't see any damage to it, there may be cracks in the internal structure.


 


3.     If it's a few years old

 

Even if it has not had an impact, your helmet's protective ability diminishes over time due to sweat, heat, and ultraviolet light. Opinions vary on the length of time. Consumer Reports recommends every five years; the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends every 5 to 10 years. Most helmet manufacturers recommend every 3 years.


 


4.  If you can't even remember how old it is

 

If looking at your helmet puts in mind of one of those cycling movies from the 80's (like American Flyers), then it's definitely beyond its life span, no matter whose replacement time frame recommendation you believe!


 


5.  To upgrade to the latest technology

 

Most modern helmets incorporate a new feature called MIPS, which stands for Multidirectional Impact Protection System. It helps to absorb rotational forces on impact, and studies have shown that it can reduce the likelihood of concussions.


 


 

 

 

More Bike Helmet FAQ

 

Q. How can I extend the life of my bike helmet?

A. Clean off any dust or mud with a damp cloth. Do not use any cleaners or solvents, as these may degrade the outer shell or inner foam layer. Store your helmet indoors away from extreme heat or cold.

 

Q. How do I select the correct size of helmet?

A. Some helmets are "one size fits most" while others come in Small, Medium, Large, etc. The sizes have a recommended range based on the circumference of your head, as measured just above your ears and eyebrows, but these ranges vary from one brand to another. The best way to find the correct fit is to try them on in person in our stores and see what feels best for you!

 

Q. Do more expensive helmets provide better protection?

A. In general, no. Bike helmets sold in the United States must all meet the same standard of protection as tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. What you get when you pay more is lighter weight, better ventilation, better fit, more features, and better style (and of course, style is all a matter of preference).

 

Q. What's the difference between a road bike helmet and a mountain bike helmet?

A. Most road bike helmets do not have the sun visor, as it tends to block your view somewhat when riding in the more aggressive position of a road bike. Helmets with a sun visor provide some shade when riding in the more upright position of a mountain bike or hybrid bike. Mountain bike specific helmets extend lower on the back of your head, to provide more protection for this area, as it tends to be impacted more in mountain biking crashes. For extreme mountain biking, you can get helmets with full face protection. Generally, though, road and mountain biking helmet styles are a matter of tradition, and you can wear whatever helmet you want for either type of riding. Any protection is better than none!

 



 

Road Cycling Helmet



 

Mountain Biking Helmet



 

Full Face Mountain Biking Helmet

 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Get Peace of Mind When You Purchase an E-bike from a Bike Shop

 


Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are a great way to commute, explore your city or countryside, and get exercise without the strain of traditional bicycles. However, if you're thinking of buying one, you may be wondering where to buy it from. While you can find e-bikes online or at big-box stores, there are many reasons why you should consider buying your e-bike from a local bike shop. Here are the top 10 reasons why.

1.      Personalized Service

When you buy an e-bike from Century Cycles, you get personalized service from knowledgeable staff who can answer all your questions and help you choose the right bike for your needs. They can also offer expert advice on maintenance and repairs.

2.      Test Rides

Century Cycles allows customers to test ride e-bikes before buying them, so you can get a feel for the bike and make sure it's the right fit for you. This is something that online retailers and big-box stores can't offer.

3.      Professional Assembly

E-bikes can be complex machines, and assembling them correctly is crucial for your safety and the bike's performance. When you buy from Century Cycles, we will professionally assemble your e-bike and make sure it's adjusted to your specific needs.

4.      Warranty Support

If something goes wrong with your e-bike, you want to be sure that you can get it fixed quickly and easily. The e-bikes that Century Cycles offers all have a lifetime frame warranty, a two-year warranty on e-bike electronics including the battery and motor, and a one-year warranty on all other parts.  All bikes sold by Century Cycles are fully serviceable and we can always get replacement parts for the brands that we sell.

5.      Local Support

When you buy from a local bike shop, you're supporting a local business and the community. We will be invested in ensuring you have a great experience and will be there to support your cycling needs for many years after your purchase.

6.      Upgrade Options

Sometimes our customers want to upgrade or swap out one or more parts on the bike they are purchasing.  We also offer a range of accessories such as lights, racks, fenders, and panniers. We have access to thousands of parts and accessories through our suppliers and can generally meet a customer’s desire to customize a bike or e-bike to tailor it to your specific needs and make it more enjoyable to ride.

7.      Service and Maintenance

E-bikes require regular maintenance and servicing to ensure they are running safely and smoothly. We have a team of skilled, certified mechanics who can offer expert servicing and repairs to keep your e-bike in top condition

8.      Financing Options

Buying an e-bike can be a significant investment, and we offer financing through Affirm to make your e-bike purchase more affordable. This can help you spread the cost over time and make it easier to buy the bike you want.  Click here for more information about our Affirm financing.

9.      Insurance Options

You have spent a lot of money, maybe you are nervous about your bike getting damaged or stolen. Century Cycles has teamed up with BikeInsure which has insurance plans to cover new or used bicycles and E-bikes.  It provides reimbursement for repairs to your bike and certain accessories due to riding accidents.  And during transit.  The BikeInsure plan extends to a stolen bike or E-bike when optional theft protection is selected.  Click here for more information about BikeInsure.

10.      Sustainability and Transportation Savings

Finally, buying an e-bike from a local bike shop is a sustainable option. It's a way to reduce your carbon footprint and support a business that's committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Additionally, an e-bike provides an opportunity to hang up the car keys and save money at the pump with less gas consumption, and save on long term auto maintenance if you can start running errands and commute to work on your e-bike

 

In conclusion, there are many compelling reasons why you should consider buying an e-bike from a local bike shop rather than online or from a big-box store. From personalized service and test rides to professional assembly and warranty support, local bike shops offer many advantages that can help you get the most out of your e-bike experience.