Tag Archives: bike buying

Here in today's bike pic, we see more and more people around the world looking at and taking an e-bike for a test ride. For those who may need a little, electric assistance on their #NextBikeAdventure

Bike Pic Feb 13, it may be time to test ride an e-bike

Here in today’s bike pic, we see more and more people around the world looking at and taking an e-bike for a test ride. For those who may need a little, electric assistance on their #NextBikeAdventure it may be time to visit your favorite bike shop and test ride an e-bike to continue your commute to work or for that next bike tour.

After you find the right bicycle, view all the great ideas and bike destinations in the new  National Bike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of the HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for viewing our ‘test ride an e-bike’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great week!

How do you figure out what is the right bike for you? Like everything else in the world today, there are no shortages of choices when it comes to bikes. With that said, please read on for several helpful tips!

Recreational or competitive what is the right bike for your riding pleasure?

By John Brown HaveFunBiking.com

How do you figure out what is the right bike for you? Like everything else in the world today, there are no shortages of choices when it comes to bikes. With that said, please read on for several helpful tips!

Step one to the right bike, determine where you want to ride.

Typical choices for the right bike are:

Road Bikes designed exclusively for pavement riding.

Path/Trail Encompassing everything from paved roads to dirt trails.

Off Road These bikes are designed for Mountain Biking offroad.

Step two, how frequently do you plan on riding?

To get the right bike plan to spend as little as $300 and up in the neighborhood of several thousand. The most basic models use less durable materials like plastics rather than metals in the shifting components and mild steel rather than stronger alloys for the drive train and cockpit. As the price increases stronger materials replace less durable materials lending to a bicycle that will hold up better to frequent use. At a certain price (different for every category of bicycle), the durability doesn’t increase, instead the weight begins to decrease. A lighter bicycle is easier to control and accelerate (making for a more enjoyable ride). Determining how frequently you intend to ride  against the bikes you are looking at will help you pick the right bike for your needs.

Step three, why are you riding?

Fun and fitness; speed and adrenaline; or competition all put different strains on a bicycle. Be sure to match your riding style with the bike you’re zeroing in on.. For fun and fitness, comfort is usually the foremost concern. By contrast, if you want to compete, comfort is often traded for efficiency.

Step Four, What to ride.

Once you figure out the “Where”, “How frequently”, and “Why” questions, only the “What” remains. What is the right bike? First figure out the main category (each one has its own subcategories). As a rule, start with the three main categories Road, Path/Trail, MTB.

Road Bicycles

Road Bikes are best suited on roads due to their narrow tires and designed with speed and efficiency in mind. Generally speaking, don’t let the narrow tire deter you. In essence, road bikes use narrow tires because pavement offers ample traction, so a wider tire only slows the bike down. Additionally, road bicycles are the lightest of the three categories. Some are equipped with flat handlebars, but most come with a drop bar. Overall, many riders love the speed and lightweight of these bicycles. Click for more info on Road bikes.

Path/Trail

Path/Trail bikes are the largest volume of bicycles sold and appeal to the largest riding audience. Ordinarily, these bicycles use an upright handlebar and a more comfortable seating position. The tires range from something narrow (a little wider than a Road Bike) to as wide as a Mountain Bike. Frequently, many are fitted with suspension designed to make the bike feel smother over rough paths. While not as quick as a Road Bike, these bikes offer great efficiency on longer bike tours. Click for more info on Path/Trail bikes.

 

Mountain Bikes

Mountain Bikes are designed for off road use and sport the largest tires of any category. Additionally, Mountain Bikes are equipped with suspension designed to keep the rider in control on rough trails. Mountain Bikes have low gearing so riders can pedal up steep grades or loose and rocky terrain. A lot of riders enjoy the stability and position of a Mountain Bike for Path/Trail riding as well as true off road riding. Click for more info on Mountain Bikes.

Test rides

To learn about the subcategories of Mountain, Path/Trail and Road bikes it’s best to visit your local bike shop and start taking test rides. As you test ride bicycles, the differences and your own preferences, become clearer as you ride more bikes.

For your first test ride, try a bike that fits you properly, is in your price range, and is in the category you think you want. Pay attention to how much effort it takes to get up to speed, how quickly it turns, how stable it feels, and how comfortable you feel on it. When you try a second, third, etc. (typically I recommend you try the same type bike in a slightly lower or higher price point) compare them. Even with as few as three test rides you can begin to feel the differences between the bicycles. You will find that making a final decision on the right bike is easy after an day of test riding.

In the case of Mountain bikes, many shops have Demo bicycles that you can take to your local trails for a ride. Riding a demo bike is a great way to get the feel for a bike on trail, but is best done once you have test ridden a few models around the shop and are closer to a decision.

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Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Winter in a bike shop is a great time to visit and learn!

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The winter months are the perfect time to visit a bike shop! Other than just enjoying bikes at a time when you may not be riding, there are many benefits to visiting your bike shop during the ‘down’ cooler time of the year. In the slower winter months you can learn more, get better deals and faster service.

See faster turnaround time on repairs at your bike shop

Most shops operate on a “first in / first out” repair schedule. This means during the busy summer months there will be dozens of bicycles ahead of yours in line to be repaired. Those dozens of bikes could equal weeks of waiting before your bike gets fixed. Through the winter months there are fewer bikes in for repair. That means you can expect a really quick turnaround time. Plus, with fewer bikes in the shops to be worked on, each seem to get more attention. That’s not to say your shop won’t do a great job in the summer months. I’m just saying that it is always a good thing when service isn’t rushed and the mechanic has more time.

Bike Shop

Quiet time in the shop is the best time for quality service.

Bike shop discounts and deals!

As fall turns into winter, bicycle brands change over from one model year into the next. Because of that change, the transition becomes a sweet spot for buying a bike. In some cases, you can get last year models for a discounted price and if those aren’t available, the new models are readily available. Along with the new model year shift, many shops also run sales through the winter to maximize store traffic.

Worth more than Discounts

It’s no secret that winter in a bike shop is slow. Why not take advantage of that slow time to talk with both the sales person and mechanics? Need to know more about all the different bike types? Where is the best place to ride your fat bike? How do the new shorts differ from the ones you already have? These individuals in the bike shop can help.

If it’s a question about the service or adjustments to your bike, the mechanics are likely to spend more time with you and not be rushed. Even better, at this time of the year some shops will allow customers to watch and learn as they fix their bike in the winter. Due to the time added to teaching, this is not an opportunity that would be considered or offered through the summer.

Learn more at your bike shops clinics and classes

As many bike shops have evolved from normal retail locations into community cycling centers, most have adopted a strategy of education and involvement. Because shops have far more time in the winter, most schedule their programs during this down time. In the most basic cases, you can enjoy trainer rides at most shops. Typically these rides are a “bring your own trainer” affair, where customers come and ride together.

Bike Shop

Park tool School in full effect.

More ambitious stores are running classes on home bike repair as well. Usually those classes focus on one pat of the bike, like wheels, or derailleurs. Finally, the most forward-thinking shops are doing classes and clinics as well as inviting speakers to come and give presentations. Many riders have questions about subjects like bike packing or fat biking and shops will schedule professionals to come talk about those subjects.

Bike Shop

Minnesota’s Angry Catfish runs a bikepack presentation.

Just to show the love

If for no other reason, stop by the shop and say hello. Depending on how quiet the shop is through the winter, things can get pretty boring for the staff and they would love to share their knowledge. Storage can only be cleaned and re-organized so many times after all the boxed bikes get built. After that, the friendly face of a customer is a welcome sight.

Now that the market for E-bikes has become mature, there are many options to choose from. Read on for some tips on choosing the right E-bike for you.

E-bikes, what are the differences, and what’s best for you

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The idea of strapping a motor to a bicycle is nothing new. In fact, the first internal combustion engine bicycle was launched in 1885. As the bicycle industry moved forward into the next century, bikes with motors have become motorcycles. But, the call for some sort of bicycle powered by a motor has never faded away. In recent years bicycles called E-bikes or electric assist bikes have come in to fill that void. These new bike are built to accept the power of electric motors. Now as this electric bike market matures there are many options you can choose from when looking to buy. Read on for some tips on choosing the right E-bike for you.

Motor options for E-bikes

At the heart of any E-bike is its motor. Motors usually break down into two types; Hub motors and Center motors.

Hub motor systems

These options replace either the front or rear hub with an electric motor. The front motor systems are usually an aftermarket system designed to change a standard bicycle into an electric bike. While these systems aren’t used commonly on stock E-bikes, they are another option if you have a bike you love and want to add some battery power. Rear motor systems replace the rear hub with a motor. Additionally, some rear hub systems incorporate the motor and battery into the rear wheel. Some of the benefits of a hub motor system are that they don’t put any additional strain on the chain or gears of a bicycle. Cost might also be a factor.

E-bike

The GeoOrbital (bottom left) and Copenhagen (top left) wheels are aftermarket hub motor options, while the DHM (right) bicycle comes complete with a rear motor wheel.

The Center motor systems

This has become the most popular option for a completed E-bikes in today’s market. A center motor bicycle is purposely built to accept a motor in the center of the frame where a normal bike’s pedal crank would go. With two major E-motor manufactures, either Bosch or Shimano, most bicycle brands build their bikes around one of those two systems. Center motors are usually about 50% more efficient than hub motors and produce more torque. This allows the center motor to have better range and ride quality. Also, taking the wheels on and off a center motor system for transport is far easier than a hub motor.

E-bike

Here this center motor Raleigh E-MTB is perfect for the off road trail.

The battery for an E-Bike

E-bikes usually use a battery located in one of two places, over the rear wheel or on/in the frame’s downtube. The batteries use a series of Lithium ion cells to maximize motor power while keeping the system light. When comparing batteries, the power is measured in Watt Hours, with larger batteries having more Watt Hours, equaling a longer mileage range.

E-bike

Rear Battery (left) and a downtube mounted battery (center and right)

How the E-bikes works

Most E-bikes don’t have a throttle like a motorcycle. In fact, most E-bikes only offer power when you need it. Therefore, if you are riding along a flat path or downhill, the E-bike will not offer much in the way of assistance. However, if you are riding against a headwind, along rolling terrain, or uphill, the E-bike’s motor will kick in and assist you when the going gets tough. Additionally, most systems are adjustable, allowing you to customize the level of assistance you may need.

Bosch or Shimano are the two main motor manufactures for E-Bikes.

Bosch and Shimano are the two main motor manufactures for E-Bikes.

Range between charges

Determining the range of an E-bike is difficult due to fact that the motor only engages when needed. As an example, someone riding a bike on a 45 mile trip that is half downhill and half flat ground, might finish their ride with plenty of battery left. On the other hand, a route selected that is 15 miles long but full of steep hills could burn through a fully charged battery sooner. So the published information for any E-bikes range is a bit of a guess. On the bright side, these guesses are consistent across most brands, so range is still a good way to compare brands.

Buying an E-bike

The best place to start your E-bike buying education is at your favorite bike shop. Usually, I recommend doing some research about various brands before starting a search, but with E-bikes, the ride is more important than the stats. For E-bikes more than any other bike, the sum is greater than the parts, so ride the bikes! In fact, ride as many of the bikes as you can. They will all have drastically different ride qualities. Beyond the different ride qualities, there are also many different types of E-bikes. Those types can include Mountain bikes, Fat bikes, Road bikes, Trekking bikes, as well as trikes and recumbents.

Accessibility for E-bikes

Now that the market for E-bikes has become mature, there are many options to choose from. Read on for some tips on choosing the right E-bike for you.

Now that the market for E-bikes has become mature, there are many options to choose from.

The last thing to consider when buying an E-bike is your states laws on the subject. Will they legally allow you on non-motorized trails or road, or treat you as a motor scooter, requiring a licence? Considering E-bikes are a relatively new development, the department of transportation in individual states haven’t all agreed on how to treat them. Additionally, your local trails could be off limits to your new E-bike, so check the laws first. As the E-bike legislation matures, I think there will be more and more options for E-bike riding all states.

Tips on buying a touring, or any other bike

by Tom Allen, Tomsbiketrip.com

There are a few aspects of buying a touring or any other bike of your choice, so utterly basic that they’re often lost in the quagmire of internet-based research. This is particularly the case when browsing websites for advice on features and technical specifications, rather than stopping into your local bike shop – were you will find it is lot easier to talk about the all-important intangibles of your future riding styles, than what you would ever find on the web.

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There are many choices in bikes, so test ride and make sure it fits you well

In this final Touring Bike FAQ article, we’ll look at a few of the key concerns for you: as a bicycle buyer, builder or tweaker that should always precede specification– or technology-based worries, particularly when it comes to handing over your hard-earned cash.

  1. Does It Feel Right? (a.k.a. Go For A Test Ride)

By far the most important criteria for a bike you’re going to be riding all day, every day, is whether or not it feels right when you ride it.

This is something that months of theoretical research into touring bikes will never tell you and something that you’ll discover within a few seconds of actually trying one out.

For a short trip, if the bike you already own is comfortable enough, why change it? Even a bike that perhaps doesn’t feel perfect is still unlikely to cause problems for short, spontaneous, drop-everything-and-go trips. Assuming you haven’t forgotten to bring a multi-tool, you’ll be able to adjust various bits of the bike until it feels less uncomfortable. Miracles can be performed through saddle adjustment alone. Handlebars are easy to raise or lower.

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A bike shop or custom builder can give you the expertise you need to feel good riding in the saddle day after day

For anything longer, or involving any kind of significant time and money investment, you can’t afford to just order it on the web and discover it feels all wrong when it arrives by courier in a big cardboard box.

The most common cause of discomfort, when cycling for longer periods of time is to do with incorrect sizing. Unless you’re already an experienced cyclist who can hazard a guess as to the best of nine or ten size options, the easiest way to get this right is to get sized up at your local bike shop. You’ll be able to test-ride a variety of bikes and when you settle on buying one, they’ll be able to adjust or swap components that affect fit.

Depending on your budget, this is also a strong argument in favor of a custom-built touring bike.

The result? A touring bike that feels right. If you’re going to be spending the majority of your waking hours on it, there’s not much more important than that.

(What? You were thinking about buying a touring bike online without test-riding it first…?)

  1. Does It Suit Your Touring Style? (a.k.a. Choose The Right Tool For The Job)

Not all touring bikes are built for the same kind of touring. That’s why, when choosing a bike, it’s really important to start by considering the demands of the trip you have in mind. Your ride should dictate your bike, rather than your bike dictating your ride.

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Your travels may take you off the paved course periodically, are your components suited to allow you this luxury?

Fast, light, on-road and short-term is a combination usually found together in touring.

At the extreme end of this scale are ‘credit card tours’, in which the traveler packs little more than a toothbrush, a credit card and the clothes on their back and travels with the philosophy that they’ll buy what they need when circumstance demands it (including accommodation). The Himalayas have been crossed by bicycle in this way, though it might be worth starting out with something a little less ambitious.

Road and hybrid bikes with minimal luggage carrying abilities are fine for this kind of touring, and the niche is well served by the numerous light touring bikes on offer. Here, slow, heavy, rough-road and long-term are likely to coincide too.

Many years ago, on a deserted road in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, I met Katya and Mirko, a Slovenian couple who truly did live on their bikes.

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Katya and Mirko, on a deserted road in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, who truly did live on their bikes

Their heavy-duty mountain bikes were piled high with luggage; a guitar sat atop a heap of jewelry-making equipment in a two-wheeled cargo trailer. From there, they would ride to Israel, where they would spend time making and selling jewelry in order to fund the next stage of their journey through life. At the time of writing they are riding through South-East Asia.

For those in it for the long haul, heavy-duty ‘expedition’ bikes are available, if not as commonly seen as your standard road tour bike. They’re built specifically to cater for the demands of fully-loaded world travel, and you’ll find they differ in a few very specific ways from ‘standard’ touring bikes.

Most tours fall somewhere in the middle.

You are not breaking records, but you do want to feel like you’ve got somewhere at the end of a day. You’ll carry the essentials for riding, camping and cooking in varying weather, but pack a few personal luxuries too. Roads will comprise the majority of your trip, but your might find yourself on a dirt track every now and then. Once on the road you will usually ride for a few weeks at a time. To prepare, make a few shorter trips closer to home first and occasionally go for some all-day rides to get in shape.

The majority of bikes sold as ‘touring bikes’ are designed to cater for this broad category of rider. If this is the first time you’ve been asked to think about your specialist touring requirements, it’s likely you fit this category and you’ll be pleased to hear that you’ve got bags of choices.

If a mainstream touring bike doesn’t fit your plans, consider a custom expedition build. You might also find inspiration in my personal bikeography, covering the bikes I’ve used myself over the last few years of touring.

For further questions about touring bikes and other applications, stop into your local bike shop for answers.