11 Top Benefits Of Dirt Biking

11 Top Benefits Of Dirt Biking

Dirt biking has been a motorcycling discipline for years. But with the advent of the newest electric mountain bikes, more and more free riders are tempted to give dirt biking a try. In fact, we can safely say we assist to a hybridization of dirt biking, a discipline that sees more and more avid cyclists approaching it.

But what are its benefits? And why should you use an electric bike instead of a traditional motorcycle for this discipline? Check out the  top benefits of dirt biking below, then hop on your bike and hit the trails!

1. Dirt Biking Lowers The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

Traditional dirt biking increases your heart rate in a way comparable to low-level endurance exercise, such as jogging. But when performed on an electric bike it increases your heart rate even further. Why? Because as a cyclist, you’ll be more than tempted to pedal every now and then.

Like we already mentioned in a previous article, one of the main benefits of cycling is the cardiovascular protection. So, practicing dirt biking on an electric bike can only boost up that benefit.

Cardiovascular disease is a broad term that includes stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack, and dirt biking on a hybrid vehicle protects from all these conditions. In fact, dirt biking strengthens your heart muscles and reduces your blood fat levels, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

2. Dirt Biking Improves Your Balance And Coordination

Dirt biking is an extreme discipline that’s all about balance and coordination. Just like freeriding on a traditional mountain bike, dirt biking improves your balance on bumpy terrains and hazardous downhill trails.

But besides balance and coordination, dirt biking increases your overall awareness, helping you gain a more clear hazard perception. Of course, you’re already accustomed to all the hazards of a trail, but things change when there’s a motorized vehicle beneath you.

Even if an electric mountain bike is hardly as powerful as a traditional dirt bike, the extra power will still make you see with new eyes all potential risks of a trail while it will help you gain a better balance at higher speeds.  

3. Dirt Biking Boosts Up Your Strength

We’re pretty sure that many of those who claim that only lazy people ride an electric mountain bike have never tried dirt biking before. This discipline offers a full body workout that will boost up your overall strength in no-time.

Even if the bike is powered by an electric motor, you’ll still have to use all your muscles to maintain balance on a challenging trail. And trust is, this discipline works out more muscles than your traditional mountain biking on a non-motorized MTB.

Dirt biking trains your legs, your arms, your buttocks, your lumbar muscles, your abdomen muscles, and even your internal muscles, such as your heart. Do you still think that practicing dirt biking on an electric mountain bike is for couch potatoes?

4. Dirt Biking Increases Your Street Riding Skills

Believe it or not, dirt biking actually improves your street riding skills. So, if you like to commute by bike, this discipline can improve your agility.

Like mentioned above, dirt biking improves your awareness and hazard perception, your balance and your coordination. And all these new skills don’t just disappear when you’re riding on the street. Bad weather and a few patches of mud on the road won’t seem so scary anymore, and sliding through the traffic will seem easier. On a traditional or electric bike.

5. Dirt Biking Improves Your State Of Mind

Dirt biking is seen as a free discipline, often preferred by the nonconformists and by those who don’t want to play by society’s rules. But that’s not completely accurate.

This sport brings a host of benefits for the psyche. It helps you free your mind and forget about the daily sorrows. It puts you in contact with nature and makes you focus on the present rather than the future or the past.

The increased heart rate will pump blood faster through your veins, providing more oxygen to your tissues and organs, including your brain. More blood to the brain means a better brain function, which translates in less stress, an overall happier lifestyle and a brighter future.

Moreover, this also lowers the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, such as ADHD or Parkinson’s later in life.  

6. Dirt Biking Boosts Up Your Social Life

Dirt biking is a discipline embraced by lots of people with different social backgrounds. This sport gathers together both cyclists and riders, and we can only than electric mountain bikes for this.

This sport improves your social life in a way very similar to cycling, by getting you in touch with people sharing your own interests. On the other hand, that boost of energy resulted from an improved heart rate will also motivate you to stay socially active.

You’ll have a stronger will to attend the next office night out or the party next door. Since a better social life also improves your state of mind, that’s another good reason to start dirt biking today.

7. Dirt Biking Keeps You Outdoors All Year Round

Yeah, that’s right. Dirt biking isn’t for the faint-hearted. True dirt bikers practice this discipline all year round. Even when it’s snowing.

This means two things. Constant workout all year round and an even better control and balance on all kind of terrains. This might even motivate you to keep cycling to work throughout the year, as you’ll no longer be afraid of dealing with a little patch of ice.

8. Dirt Biking Improves Your Posture

Dirt biking also improves your posture. Maintaining balance on dirt trails and avoiding to fall off when riding downhill at full speed requires you to sit in a correct position. Because even a slight change in the way you sit in the saddle could make the difference between a successful descent and an epic fail.

With this come related health benefits. Your spine won’t have to deal anymore with a bad posture, which will decrease the risk of associated diseases.

On an emotional level, you’ll feel more attractive, which will bring further overall benefits in your life.

9. Dirt Biking Stimulates Your Brain

Dirt biking stimulates your brain by keeping you alert. Even if you come from a mountain biking background, dirt biking on a motorized vehicle still requires more attention and a better focus on things.

In the long run, this has benefits in your daily life. By training your brain to stay concentrated on the trail, you train in to stay concentrated on other things too. This boosts your productivity. The new energy acquired also helps you focus on your daily tasks, increasing your creativity. And this can help you achieve your goals and advance in your career.

Moreover, by stimulating your brain you’ll also rule down the risk of neurodegenerative diseases mentioned previously.

10. Dirt Biking Keeps You Fit

Do you have weight problems? Try dirt biking. We promise you’ll lose weight faster on a motorized vehicle practicing this discipline than practicing another type of sport.

Like mentioned above, dirt biking involves all your muscles, and this only contributes to reducing your body fat. By increasing your muscular mass, dirt biking will also help you maintain the ideal weight during the long Christmas holidays.

11. Dirt Biking Boosts Up Your Endurance

Last but not least, dirt biking boosts up your endurance. Certainly, you might have sore muscles in the first weeks. Increasing the endurance is a slow but steady process if you’re practicing constant sport, and this discipline is one of the most challenging.

By simply pedaling and handling the bike for half an hour a day, your cardiovascular capacity will increase, your muscles will get used to exercising and you’ll soon be able to ride faster and further without feeling tired or worn out.

Biking To Work – 15 Reasons To Do It

Biking To Work – 15 Reasons To Do It

If you’re anything like me, your working life is a blunt, sedentary experience. You get up in the morning just to sit in your car on your way to the office. You sit in front of a desk at least eight hours a day, then get up again to sit in your car and get back home. But including movement in the routine isn’t difficult.

All you have to do is to revamp your commuting. Remember that old bike you occasionally use on the weekends? Good! Blow the dust off of it and use it to get to and from work!

The couch potato in you finds excuses to ditch the idea? Here are 15 reasons to hop in the saddle and start pedaling today!

1. Keeps You Fit

A sedentary life is one of the main causes of metabolic disturbances, which more often than not translate in overweight or obesity. But biking to work keeps you fit. Whether you have to cycle for 10 minutes or one hour, morning and evening movement will do you good.

Cycling boost up metabolism and about 20 to 30 minutes of pedaling per day helps you lose weight. This not only has an impact on your health, but you’ll be able to eat that extra piece of pie or slice of cake without remorse.

2. Boosts Productivity

Biking keeps you moving, increasing your heart rate and blood flow. More oxygen gets to your brain, improving stamina and boosting your productivity.

You’ll feel more active in the office, able to take decisions faster and focus on your tasks. All this boost of energy will ultimately help you achieve your goals, keeping you motivated. Who would have thought that a morning bike commute can bring these benefits?

3. Keeps You Happy

Cycling not only boosts productivity, it also improves your humor. Improved brain oxygenation triggers the release of endorphins, hormones responsible for the sentiments of happiness and euphoria.

These neurotransmitters inhibit the sensation of pain, motivating you to keep going in the first days, modulate your appetite, enhance your immune response and release the sex hormones. As a result, you’ll feel more relaxed and attractive; this will improve your sex life, with subsequent benefits on your happiness.

4. Reserves Time For Yourself

Those who have never biked to work before may claim that getting there on a two-wheel commute is time-consuming. In the ideal hypothesis that there are no other cars on the road, commuting by car or with public transportation might be faster.

But that’s not the point! Cycling boosts your energy. After a week or two of constant cycling, you won’t postpone your morning alarm anymore but will be eager to get in the saddle. Because biking to work reserves you time for yourself. Time to enjoy the wind going through your hair, the birds singing in the trees and the blue sky above. And you’ll even be able to save the gym money since you’ll perform your daily workout on your way to the office.

5. Saves You Money

Talking about the money, biking to work doesn’t only save you gym money. It saves you public transportation tickets or gas money too.

With the extra money, you’ll be able to pay that dance class or course you’ve always wanted to attend. You’ll be able to impress your better half with an expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant. Or simply save them in a jar and travel the world when you retire.

6. Keeps You Healthier

It’s not rocket science to figure out that cycling keeps you healthier, but biking to work keeps you even healthier than leisure cycling. According to studies, those who commute by bike are the least exposed to traffic fumes, fact that brings further health benefits.

Apart from this, cycling, in general, helps you keep weight under control, lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevents osteoporosis in women, and improves brain health and coordination, to name just a few benefits.

7. Improves Your DIY Skills

Don’t laugh! Biking to work really improves your DIY skills. Tire punctures happen, you’ll have to change the brake pads, or install a more comfortable saddle. Small works that will tempt you to give DIY a try.

And this is just a first step to becoming an enthusiast DIYer, ready to repair the small things in the house. Now, don’t expect to become an expert in the field, but commuting by bike can certainly motivate your inner craftsmen.

8. Reconnects You With The City

Honestly, when was the last time when you enjoyed your city early in the morning or in the evening? Sitting in a traffic jam is not quite part of the picture, but biking to work can certainly reconnect you with the area you live in.

On two wheels, you’ll be able to rediscover and investigate new areas of your city, explore the green spaces and parks, find new cozy coffee shops or places to lounge after the long office hours. And you might even bump into your soul mate while roaming the streets.

9. Solves Your Problems

Okay, biking to work won’t actually solve your problems. But it will make them look brighter. More energy combined with a positive attitude induced by cycling will help you see the problems with new eyes and find solutions instead of panicking.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a more than good enough reason for me to keep commuting by bike.

10. Protects The Environment

Thousands of cars pollute the air we breathe each day, with a more than negative impact on the environment. And unless you discovered a parallel universe where to run and hide when things will get worse, you can contribute to reducing the noxious fumes and the greenhouse effect.

So, ditch the car or public transportation, hop on the bike and cycle to work. Maybe your colleagues will follow your example and the world will become a better place.

11. Boosts Your Social Life

Cycling boosts your social life in many ways. To begin with, you’ll feel more fit, more energetic, and more attractive. This will stimulate you to go to the next team building or office night out, socializing with your coworkers.

Secondly, you can easily make friends with fellow cyclists. Cycling is a beautiful team sport and there are numerous communities you can adhere to. Undoubtedly, in one way or another, biking to work will boost your social life, I promise.

12. Improves Your Time Management

At a first glance, commuting by car or public transportation may seem faster. But more often than not, this isn’t true.

Traffic jams can keep you blocked for hours. Buses might have preferential lanes and it might be easy to take the subway, but you’ll still have to walk to the station. But you can get on the bike in front of your house and get off in front of the office.

With an average biking speed of 25mph (or a little less if you’re not a Tour de France pro) cycling can get you to work safe and fast. And electric bikes are always an option, in case you need some extra help on the uphill.

13. Keeps You Safe

According to a study published in Since Daily, a larger number of cyclists in a given city diminishes the number of collisions between drivers and cyclist. That’s because cities become safer when there are more cyclists and pedestrians.

And if you think that you’re just a drop in the ocean, remember that the change begins with you!

14. Boosts Your Self-Satisfaction

Let’s be honest about it, biking to work will make you feel better than the others. You’ll be able to sit alongside your fellow cyclists with a Grinch smile on your face while a coworker explains how it got stuck in the traffic or had to change a tire on the way to the office.

You’ll love keeping lectures on how your cycling has a positive impact on the environment. On how it improves your health or saves you money. And yeah, that’s an awesome way to spend the lunch break!

15. Earns You Money

If you live in the US, biking to work earns you money since 2012. Bicycle commuter benefits are taxable, but you’ll still get some extra pocket money from Uncle Sam.

But there is no need to despair if you live in another country. Most countries provide commuting benefits to cyclists; just ask your manager or check the local laws to see what benefits apply. And now, don’t waste more time. Get on your saddle and start biking to work!

Average Biking Speed – How Do You Compare With A Tour de France Pro?

Average Biking Speed - How Do You Compare With A Tour de France Pro?

Have you ever wondered how would you compare with a Tour de France pro? You can tell by analysing your average biking speed, comparing it against that of a pro. 

But while calculating your own average biking speed is easy with a bike computer, finding out what is the average biking speed of a pro might be trickier.

So, if you’re curious how you compare with the bests of the best, check out the various average biking speeds below.

Average Biking Speed On Flat Terrain

Most of us start cycling on flat terrains and some of us keep cycling on flat terrains most of the times. Although you might consider it easier than riding uphill, achieving a good average speed takes guts and lots of hard work.

When riding on a plane surface, the only thing that’s propelling the bike forward is your brute force. That’s why the key to being fast on such a surface is training. Training gets you stronger and more powerful, helping you outweigh the large area in front of you.

There are other factors that affect the average biking speed on flat terrains, and one of those factors is your body constitution. Tall and robust riders have a clear advantage in front of short people with petite body frame, because they have more power to push the bike through the air.

In broad terms, the average biking speed on flat terrain is 18mph for the average rider (aka you), and about 26mph for the Tour de France pro. The world record is held by Rohan Dennis who reached 34.5mph in 2015’s tour.

Average Biking Speed Uphill

Road riding uphill is tough. Now it’s not only brute force pushing the bike forward, it’s also gravitational force pulling it down. And that’s where shorter riders with petite body frames and lower weights take the advantage over the larger riders.

In fact, smaller riders have an unfair advantage because the less you weight, the less power you have to generate to ride uphill in a set amount of time. This is the power to weight ratio which implies that if a rider weighing 150lbs and pushing at a power of 200watts has a speed of 10mph on a 5% slope, a rider weighing 200lbs would need to push at a power of 255watts to achieve the same 10mph speed.

In other words, a 200lbs rider pushing at a power of 200watts would have a speed of 8mph on a 5% slope. So, if you want to improve your uphill average speed you should either lose weight or improve your strength through intense workout.

That said, the average biking speed on a 5% slope is 9.5mph for average riders and about 15mph for Tour de France level riders. On an 8% slope, the average biking speed drops to 7mph for average riders and 12mph for the pros.

Average Biking Speed Downhill

average biking speed

Do you think riding downhill is a piece of cake? Think again! Improving your average downhill speed is easy. You might just not live long enough to enjoy the new record. One of the main risks when riding downhill is the loss of control.

On a trail, this might end up with you smashing against a tree. On a road, it might cause a traffic accident. Either way, you’ll end up injured or worse. That’s why it is important to ride on a good bike with excellent brakes.

That said, the average downhill biking speeds are certainly higher than flat terrain or uphill speeds; after all gravity is doing its job. An average cyclist can reach up to 57mph while a Tour de France pro can easily reach 81mph.

What we advise is to learn how to properly ride and get used to your bike’s capabilities before testing which top speed you can reach.

Average Sustainable Biking Speed

The average sustainable biking speed is the speed a cyclist can maintain for an hour. Since calculating the speed is rather hard, specialists reached the conclusion that this translates into average sustainable power per hour.

But why is the sustainable biking speed hard to calculate? Well, because cyclist are so diverse that it’s hard to evaluate what average speed they can sustain in an hour. It depends on their level of expertise, body type, terrain, and many other variables that are hard to predict.

The average sustainable power, on the other hand, shows what average force a cyclist uses to keep riding for an hour.

Here, Tour de France pros have a clear advantage given by hours of training and hard work. But what are the values? Well, a Tour de France pro has an average sustainable power of 415watts per hour. And you? The average cyclist has a mere 200watts per hour average sustainable power. Pretty lame, don’t you think?

Average Tour De France Biking Speed

So, you wanted to know how you compare with a Tour de France pro. As you should know by now, Tour de France is a competition that develops on all kinds of terrains. There are ups and downs, and flat stretches of road. So, the average Tour de France biking speed is calculated based on all these aspects.

Wondering what’s the average speed you need to win Tour de France? Surprise! It’s a mere 25mph. Do you think you can beat that right now? Yes? Don’t be a fool! Now get yourself on the saddle and start training!

17 Health Benefits Of Cycling

17 Health Benefits Of Cycling

Have you ever thought about the health benefits of cycling or wondered how cycling changes your life for the better? Whether you’re a road racer, an MTB lover or just a commuter, regular cycling has a great impact on your health and social life.

We can’t tell you how cycling will affect your relationships. But we know exactly what happens to your body after a few hours, a few weeks, a few months and even after a year of regular bike workout. And you’ll be amazed to find out how many benefits cycling can bring.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, check out these 17 health benefits of cycling before hopping on the saddle.

Immediate Benefits Of Cycling…

Hitting the roads or exploring the trails of a forest by bike is a fun experience. What you don’t see is the processes that change your body function.

1. Speeds Up Metabolism

Within half an hour, the metabolic rate increases, determining your body to consume more sugars. Once all sugars in the bloodstream are consumed, the body starts transforming fat into glucose, consuming the fatty tissue.

This means that half an hour of cycling a day can help you lose weight in the long run.

2. Increases Cellular Oxygenation

The metabolic rate is not the only process to benefit from 20-30 minutes of cycling per day. The exercise also improves the viscosity of the blood. The speed of the bloodstream boosts up and the oxygen flow increases from about 8lt per minute, which is the normal speed when resting, to about 100lt per minute.

More oxygen translates into more energy, and the organ that benefits the most from this change is your brain.

3. Releases Endorphins

The increased flow of oxygen has a peculiar effect on the brain, causing the release of endorphins, the happiness hormones.

These neurotransmitters inhibit the sensation of pain but have numerous other benefits. They modulate your appetite, enhance the immune response,  release sex hormones and induce a sentiment of happiness and euphoria, making you feel happier and more relaxed.

4. Lowers Muscular Pain

The release of endorphins triggers a chain reaction. The analgesic effects of the hormones lower muscular pain, motivating you to keep going.

Yet, don’t expect to feel no pain at all. If you’re a former couch potato approaching cycling for the first time, lactic acid will form in the muscles at first. And it will hurt. But don’t let it demotivate you; just push yourself forward and things will just get better and better.

5. Boosts Brain Function

Turning to the immediate benefits of cycling, the chain reaction triggered by endorphins reached the brain. Feeling less pain and with a clear sentiment of euphoria, your “motherboard” is more alert. Neuronal connections transmit the information faster, boosting your brain power and responsiveness.

Your concentration is improved, you’ll be able to focus on your projects and increase your productivity.

A Couple Of Weeks Later…

After about two weeks of cycling, your body got used to exercising. Lactic acid doesn’t bother you anymore and you’re more motivated to keep going. But what happens on the inside?

6. Overall Energy Boost

benefits of cycling

A few weeks after starting cycling, your mitochondria start to proliferate. These rod-shaped organelles of the cells are responsible for converting oxygen and nutrients in adenosine triphosphate, a chemical compound that provides energy.

Workout makes mitochondria more resistant, helping them stay healthier for longer. With more energy, the overall state of your cells improves and all structures of your body will work faster and better.

This process also increases the secretion of enzymes responsible for muscle contraction, meaning you’ll feel less fatigue and less pain.

7. Increased Lungs Capacity

Mitochondria need lots of oxygen to thrive and this is achieved through a larger lung capacity. Cycling improves your respiratory function and again, this reduces fatigue.

More oxygen for mitochondria means more energy and nutrients for the tissues, that leads to an overall healthier state. Your heart rate is improved and blood vessels get stronger.

8. Strengthened Immunity

With more energy and a quicker cell reproduction, your immune system also becomes stronger. The level of lymphocytes in the bloodstream will rise, fighting against microbes and allergens.

Studies have shown that cycling maintains thymus, a gland responsible for the production of immune T-cells even at an old age, young keeping you younger for longer.

9. Metabolism Speeds Up Even More

By now, your metabolism sped up even more. The organism is able to regulate the sugar and nutrient levels more effectively and your body accumulates less fat. If you’re cycling to lose weight, by now you should be able to see slight results, that motivate you to keep going.

But that’s not all; you’ll start to digest proteins and carbohydrates about four times faster than before, losing weight quicker.

After A Few Month…

Since the two weeks threshold, your physical condition improved significantly. By now, you can pedal at a greater intensity. Soreness is a thing of the past, and when riding uphill, you’re no longer the last of the group.

The flow of endorphins increase your feeling of well-being and daily life became a little brighter. The quality of your sleep has also improved and you now feel you have the strength to overcome any obstacles. Here’s what changed!

10. Physical Limits Exceeded

Regular exercise strengthens your body, and that’s what happened while you were merrily cycling along the trails. You can ride faster and further. Long rides don’t frighten you anymore and you’re able to compete even with your most experienced friends.

Your overall resistance is better and physical exercise doesn’t scare you anymore.

11. Regulated Heart Rate

Cycling also regulated your heart rate and strengthened the heart muscle. Regular training determined your heart to work more efficiently, which means it is able to pump and expel more blood at each contraction; a decreased heart rate means less stress on the muscle, which potentially increases your life.

In fact, according to the British Heart Foundation, cycling can cut the risk of heart disease by 50%.

12. Muscles Get More Oxygen

An improved heart rate means more oxygen is reaching the cells. This improves the peripheral micro-circulatory flow, improving your coordination.

And it also strengthens the nervous system, your fine motor skills improve and the transmission speed of nerve impulses  will increase.

13. Improved Brain Function

All these reactions have a clear impact on the brain: they improve brain function. You’ll be able to make decisions faster and focus on your tasks. You’ll be able to concentrate at work or school, improving your performances.

Based on the results of several studies, this reduces stress and anxiety, helping you lead a happier and healthier life.

After A Year Of Cycling…

benefits of cycling

You’ve made it! You’ve been cycling for over a year and are now curious to find out what are the health benefits of cycling at this stage.

14. Stronger Bones

After about twelve months on the bike, the strength of your bones has greatly improved. You have more energy than ever and feel you can face long ride tours without problems.

Keep on cycling and your bones and muscles will become stronger and stronger, keeping you fitter, healthier, and younger for a longer time.

15. Anxiety Disappears

At an emotional level, you feel more relaxed. Stress is an issue of the past because, as many surveys indicate, cycling is more effective than anxiety reduction therapies. Not to mention the amount of money saved by simply choosing a ride instead of a specialist.

16. Circulatory System Reached Full Capacity

By now, cycling should have become a solid habit. Fatigue has fully disappeared since your circulatory system reached its full capacity. Your heart is healthier, the risk of heart disease decreased and you feel younger regardless of your age.

The cells receive more oxygen, mitochondria thrive and your immune system works great.

17. You Feel Happier And Healthier

Cycling didn’t only improve your body functions. Your overall life is better. You’ve made new friends and are socially active. Your performances boosted your self-esteem and you feel more attractive. Your sexual life has also improved.

The production of endorphins gives you long-lasting feelings of well-being and euphoria. Improved neuronal connections boosted your brain power and stamina. Long days at the office or hours of study for the next exam are easier to handle.

Soreness and bone diseases don’t seem to threaten you and you’re more active than ever. Heart and lungs function at their full capacity, your immune system works wonderfully and you don’t have weight problems anymore. For all these reasons, you feel happier and healthier, and the overall quality of life has improved.

Bottom Line…

These 17 benefits of cycling are only some of the overall benefits this sport has. Apart from your body, cycling brings benefits to society and environment. More than enough reasons for you to hop on the saddle and start pedaling today!

Presta Vs. Schrader: Differences And Similarities

Presta Vs. Schrader: Differences And Similarities

Presta vs. Schrader, an issue that has tormented cyclists for a long time. Which valve to choose? Are there substantial differences between the two models? Does it really matter which is in your air chamber? This guide aims to answer all these questions, helping you decide between Presta and Schrader.

Understanding Inner Tubes

The wheels are an essential component of the bike. From a functional point of view, your two-wheeled vehicle is not going to go anywhere without them. And one of the most important components of a wheel is the inner tube.

The inner tube is that internal component under the tire that, when inflated, allows the tire to keep its position on the rim, protecting the metallic parts.

The joy and pain of every cyclist, the inner tube is a modern invention. The first models of wheels didn’t have inner tubes. In fact, they didn’t even have tires and only consisted of a rough circle made of wood. The wooden wheels were initially covered with fitted rubber tires which didn’t need any pressure to stay on the rim.

With the development of the wheels and the introduction of metal rims, manufacturers needed to find a better solution. The invention of the inner tube is attributed to Dunlop who decided to improve the functioning of the wheels of his son’s tricycle.

The first inner tube was made of thin sheets of rubber hold by special circles. The smoothness and lightness obtained with this process were incomparable, and Dunlop wheels became famous all over the world.

The modern inner tubes are made of butyl, a type of synthetic rubber that has an elastic body and an increased strength. The tubes are inflated through valves which are incorporated into the tube during the fabrication process. And it’s the valves we’re going to talk about in this article.

As a bottom line as far as the inner tubes are concerned, they are divided into standard, super-lightweight and reinforced. The former type is the most common because of its thickness and it is used on a myriad of bikes.

Presta Vs. Schrader Valves

With a few exceptions, all bike wheels are equipped with an inner tube. Made up of a very elastic material, the inner tube is inflated with pressurized air, to inflate the tire and keep the bike running smoothly. The most common materials used to make modern inner tubes are natural rubber, butyl, and latex.

Inflation is possible thanks to the valves present on the tube. There are several types of valves used, but most manufacturers equip their inner tubes either with a Presta or with a Schrader valve. There are essential differences between the types and most cyclists are wondering which is the best. Before giving a verdict, let’s find out more about each type.

Presta Valves

Presta has French origins and, for this reason, Presta valves are often called French valves. This is the most common type used on bike inner tubes, it has a small diameter and consists of a series of inner parts which are impossible to remove.

Presta valves boast a great characteristic. Namely, they don’t need a cap whatsoever because they are equipped with a nut designed to hold the valve closed when pressurized air is not going in. It’s easy to imagine that inflation is facilitated by this feature. Inflation pressure is sufficient to overcome the closing force of the valve and, thanks to the absence of a spring, Presta valves also have a long lifespan.

Presta valves are used on almost all types of bikes and, thanks to their slim profile and small diameter, they are the choice for the bicycles with high-profile rims.

Schrader Valves

Schrader valves, also known as American valves, were not specifically developed for bikes, are designed to allow the passage of different types of gases, and are often used on cars and other motorized vehicles. The main characteristic of these valves is the construction of the body.

In fact, Schrader valves consist of a shutter that is connected to a pin assisted by a spring in a threaded brass body. These valves have a central core that can be removed with special tools and they are equipped with a spring that allows inflation.

Because of the construction of these valves, they have to be inflated with pumps that are equipped with a pin that forces the opening of the spring that normally keeps the valve closed. This because the simple inflation pressure is not sufficient to overcome the thrust force of the spring.

The cap is also indispensable to prevent dirt from entering the body of the valve and obdurate the inner tube. These valves also have a larger diameter that Presta.

Presta Vs. Schrader: Which Is Better?

A daunting question many ask. In reality, there isn’t a best. Both valves have advantages and drawbacks. Presta is more likely to lose pressure, especially while inflating and when the pump is removed during the inflation phase. Schrader maintains a better internal pressure but is more difficult to inflate, since you’ll have to overcome the force of the spring.

Nevertheless, both valves have high technological standards and guarantee an optimal durability and air-tightness once the inner tube is inflated.

One thing to consider is that Schrader valves make the rim weaker because of their larger diameter. However, once the inner tube is inflated, this type of valve almost never loses pressure.

Final Thoughts

As a bottom line, we must say that choosing one type of valve over the other is a matter of preference. A thing to remember, however, is that the valves are not interchangeable. Presta has a diameter of 6mm and is too thin to use on rims manufactured for Schrader valves. On the contrary, an 8.5mm Schrader valve will never fit on a rim designed for Presta.

The type of valve will also determine the type of air pump you need. Other than this, in the battle Presta Vs. Schrader, just choose whatever type of valve you like best!

How To Choose Vintage Mountain Bikes For Your Collection

How To Choose Vintage Mountain Bikes For Your Collection

Vintage mountain bikes are iconic pieces of history. Preferred by those with bohemian hearts, they look cool and enhance the lifestyle of their owners. But finding and buying vintage mountain bikes isn’t easy. Beyond looks, there are many technical things to consider.

I remember my first vintage mountain bike. I had thousand questions and doubts. Would I be able to ride it or invest in a beautiful piece of junk? Choose a reconditioned bike or one to recondition by myself? These questions might torment you at this very moment.

So, if you want to choose the best vintage mountain bikes for your collection, follow my guide. Find out what’s important when buying and how to invest your money in a valuable collectible.

Vintage Mountain Bikes: Why?

There are many reasons to buy vintage mountain bikes. Some people collect them. Others want to have a cool ride. Others see in a retro mountain bike the celebration of the classic bicycle design.

Despite the reason, vintage mountain bikes are simply cool. That’s why they are preferred by the trendsetters. By those who love putting a basket of flowers on the handlebar or carry their puddle in a vintage rear storage basket.

Personally, I love vintage mountain bikes because they help me bring an homage to the history of cycling. I love restoring vintage mountain bikes and display them in my garage. I rarely ride them yet I believe that any enthusiast cyclist should own such a cool piece of history.

How To Decide Which Vintage Mountain Bikes To Buy?

Deciding which vintage mountain bikes to buy depends on your purpose. Do you want to collect them or ride them? In the first case, decide what models you like and focus on those. In the second, decide which vintage mountain bikes suit you.

When buying a retro bike to ride it, the first thing to consider is your lifestyle. Are you using your bike to commute? Or only for leisure purposes? Do you like to push yourself and reach objectives or light rides are more than enough?

If used for commuting, choose an early steel mountain bike from the late 80s. These vintage mountain bikes have a relaxed geometry and promote an upright riding position. They are comfortable and navigate easily through the rush-hour traffic.

Fancy more intense riding experiences? The racier-type vintage mountain bikes from the 90s might suit you better. These bikes promote a stretched-out riding position and are ideal for the romantic dreamer in you.

Regarding specific models, it’s hard to advise which are the best. But your aesthetic sense will certainly guide you through your choice.

What’s About The Size?

Size matters! That is if you fancy riding your “brand new” vintage mountain bike. But finding the right size of a vintage bike is often a hassle. Because manufacturers changed the designs and styles over the time, the current sizes won’t find a correspondent in the old-fashioned bikes.

The geometry of the frame influences the size you need and the best thing is to consider your height compared to the size of the bike. For example, I’m 6’ tall and am riding a 20-inch vintage mountain bike. However, my advice is to look up the manufacturer’s specifications on size once you’ve individuated the preferred model.

To enjoy riding your retro bike, my advice is to change the model if the bike you want doesn’t fit you. Don’t focus on one model only and remember that there is the right vintage mountain bike for everyone out there.

Where To Find Vintage Mountain Bikes?

Once again, there isn’t a sole valid answer. You can find vintage mountain bikes in many places but it depends what you’re looking after. If you’re passionate about restoring old models and your main purpose is to build up a collection, you can find cheap or even free bikes at dumps or old vehicle deposits.

Your neighbor might even have an old and unused retro mountain bike forgotten in a dark corner in the garage.

If you’re looking for a vintage bike to ride, things are slightly different. Restoring an old bike that hasn’t been looked after is hard and often not worth the hassle. Yet, there are many stores and websites that sell well-maintained vintage mountain bikes. Privates also advertise their vintage bikes for sale in various places on the web or in local bike shops.

Who sells the bike is less important than how the bike has been maintained. Unless you’ve found your dream model in a reputable bike shop, there are a few things to consider before closing the deal.

Vintage Mountain Bikes Inspection: What To Check?

Check For Integrity

Many inexperienced riders search for complete vintage mountain bikes in shops. Yet, I closed some of the best deals with privates. The main issue when buying a vintage mountain bike, or any type of vintage vehicle, as a matter of fact, from a private is that you can’t check how the bike has been maintained.

Moreover, in many cases, the bikes might be incomplete. Some owners have disassembled pieces of what it used to be a prolific bike. I love giving these bikes a chance, especially when we’re talking about a frame. In fact, I bought a few valuable frames from less informed owners who only claimed peanuts for their treasures.

Yet, when buying incomplete vintage mountain bikes, you should consider which parts are missing and the model of the bike. For example, I wouldn’t invest in a frame that comes without a fork. Finding a matching fork for a retro mountain bike isn’t worth the hassle.

The model is also important to check if there are compatible wheels and accessories for the frame you’ve found. After all, it’s not like you can pair a retro frame with modern wheels and seat.

If you don’t have time and patience to dedicate to this hobby, look for a complete vintage bike, either restored or to restore.

Check For Rust

Once you’ve individuated the bike or frame, check it for rust. To be honest, it’s very likely to find it. Especially if the bike has been stored outside for a long time. However, the presence of rust doesn’t mean that you should ditch the bike and start looking for another.

Small patches of rust on the tubes are simple to fix. With few quality products and minimal skills, you can turn a slightly rusted bike into a shiny jewel without hassle.

However, if there is rust on the seat tube or under the bottom bracket you might want to think twice before buying. If these parts are badly affected by rust you might have to replace them. Needless to say, they are not exactly easy to find.

Check For Cracks

Your future vintage mountain bike passed the first examination with success! But your worries shouldn’t end here. An old bike might have cracks on its frame or fork that may or may not be easy or even possible to fix.

Cracks are usually present on the junctures, such as around head tube, around the bottom bracket, and in all the other points where the parts of the frame meet. If cracks are present, decide whether the bike is worth the investment based on the frame’s material.

If the bike is made of steel, the cracks are usually easy to fix and the bike might be worth repairing. Things are different in the case of aluminum frames. Aluminum is rarely worth fixing as cracks will most likely reappear soon after you’ve fixed them.

To individuate all defects, examine the bike in sunlight and don’t close a deal if the owner refuses to take the bike out of the garage. If the bike is dirty or covered in mud, it’s worth the hassle to clean it thoroughly and examine it before buying.

Check The Aesthetics

Vintage mountain bikes come in different designs and the aesthetics plays an important role. It will determine whether you’ll see the bike as a valuable addition to your collection or as a vehicle worth riding.

Choose the model of the frame by consulting vintage bikes catalogs and compare the bike you’re examining with your ideal model of retro bike.

When it comes down to looks, don’t expect to find a vintage bike on the best of its days, unless you’re closing a deal for a restored item. Yet, don’t let scratched or chipped paint put you off. These cosmetic issues are easy to fix. And you’ll even have the chance to paint the bike in your favorite color.

Ride The Bike

If the bike you’re interested in comes complete, ride it before buying. Even if it’s only a collection item, your vintage mountain bike has to be functional if you want it to have some value. Riding the bike will help you understand if the frame is straight and if the wheels are aligned.

You’ll be able to see how it handles and how safe it is to ride. Some issues, such as the brakes system, tires, and chain are easy to fix if faulty. Yet, misaligned wheels or a crooked frame are not worth the hassle.

Final Thoughts

At the bottom line, choosing vintage mountain bikes for your collection is more than a matter of preference. Beyond an attractive design, the condition of the bike will tell whether it’s worth it or not. And remember, even if you only want to admire its beauty, a vintage mountain bike that isn’t functional is not a valuable addition.

Bike Helmet Light: Do You Need It?

Bike Helmet Light: Do You Need It?

Since bike helmets became mandatory cycling equipment, on the market emerged a wide range of accessories that mount to the helmets and that are designed to make a cyclist’s life easier. In this category, we can mention the bike helmet mirrors, the visors ,and also the bike helmet lights.

A bike helmet light, as its name suggests, is a type of bicycle light that mounts on the helmet. This accessory is confusing many novices who are wondering whether it is safe to use as a bike light or not. This guide aims to answer a few of the most frequent questions about this accessory.

What Type Of Lights Do You Need On A Bike?

According to the law, a bike needs a white front light and a red rear light. Full stop. Besides the lights, you’ll also need to have reflectors installed on the back of the saddle and on the wheels, but as far as lighting is concerned, the law doesn’t require you to use anything else than that.

There may be different regional or local regulations requiring the use of specific types of lights. The laws regarding the intensity of the lights may also vary from one state or country to another.

Regarding the bike helmet lights, they are not required, and in some cases, they are not even necessary. So, does it worth wearing one?

Why Use A Bike Helmet Light?

A bike helmet light is particularly useful if you’re practicing off-road disciplines. When the night falls, a bike helmet light can illuminate the trail better and, most importantly, it can illuminate the road if you’re looking in a different direction than straight ahead.

In fact, your regular bike light will also illuminate the trail or the road in front of your bike. As an experienced off-road rider, I can tell you that many times you’ll need to see what’s happening on your sides too. And a bike helmet light can help you with that.

You can also use a bike helmet light to announce your presence, although this type of bike light is not really effective for this purpose.

Lastly, there are also rear bike helmet lights designed to make you more visible in traffic. These lights are excellent, as long as you use them in addition to the regular rear lights mounted on the bike.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Bike Helmet Lights

Bike helmet light

The main advantage of a bike helmet light is that it can illuminate any specific area. The light will simply follow the direction you’re looking at, which is a great advantage if you’re cycling on a mountain trail. Combined with the lights mounted on the bike, a bike helmet light can help you see more details than you normally would.

Rear bike helmet lights, on the other hand, are really useful because they make you more visible. This is important especially when the visibility is reduced due to bad weather or fog.

Rear bike helmet lights are either static or flashing. In my experience, flashing lights are better as they use the battery more efficiently. Moreover, combined with an under-the-saddle reflector and a powerful static rear light mounted further down the bike, a flashing rear bike helmet light will draw more attention.

Regarding the main disadvantages of the bike helmet lights, a front light can simply confuse a driver or another cyclist if used as a sole light source.

Most traffic participants expect to see the light of a vehicle located at a certain height. A front bike helmet light is located too high compared to the standard, this is why drivers or cyclists can easily mistake it for a landscape light and only spot you when it’s too late.

A front bike helmet light used on a trafficked road can also blind the drivers or cyclists. This can pose a safety hazard not only for you but for the traffic in general. For this reason, it is recommended to limit the use of the front bike helmet lights for off-road cycling only.

As for the rear bike helmet lights, although recommended they have the disadvantage of being too small.

In fact, most rear helmet lights are LED lights which are bright and visible from a long distance, but too small. This might confuse drivers who might think that you’re actually further away than you actually are. To avoid confusions, use a large and bright light on your bike. The brightness of both lights should be similar.

What To Look For In A Bike Helmet Light?

LED Technology

Traditional bike lights, including the helmet-mounted type, are halogen lights. This technology is stable and reliable but in the last years, the LED technology improved. The modern bike helmet LED lights boast a great light beam, they consume less energy compared to the halogen lights and have a longer lifespan.

There are available both front and rear bike helmet lights. Their performances are often superior to the halogen lights and they last a lot longer.

Breakaway Mounts

The breakaway mounts are helmet mounts designed to break in the event you crash. This is very important, as it reduces the risk of neck injury and brain damage if falling on a hard surface. Everything you mount on the helmet, including the bike helmet light, should have a breakaway mount.

In regard to this, you should know that there is no standard on how easily the mount should break and most manufacturers don’t test their products for safety. For this reason, you should ask the manufacturer evidence on how safe the bike helmet light is before purchasing.

Batteries

There is no use in wearing a helmet light if it dies on you when you’re in the middle of nowhere. LED lights require less energy than halogen lights. Regarding the batteries, make sure they are powerful and preferably rechargeable.

The batteries should also be easy to change and you should also carry replacement batteries with you. Pay attention to their weight too, as some models are quite heavy and annoying to wear on the helmet.

How To Choose The Right Bike Derailleur

How To Choose The Right Bike Derailleur

The bike derailleur is one of the primary elements of most modern bikes. It is composed of a metal fork that pushes the bike chain to the sides, moving it from one sprocket or gear to another. This component is found on the vast majority of leisure, road, or mountain bikes.

The bike derailleur typically has a long life, but like any mechanical element, it is subject to wear and tear. Along with regular maintenance, you will also have to consider a periodical replacement. A worn derailleur is unable to shift the chain properly from one gear to another, causing performance issues.

On the contrary, a properly adjusted and maintained bike derailleur will offer a clean gear shifting even in the most demanding conditions. For this reason, it is essential to understand how to choose the right bike derailleur.

Most of the modern bikes available on the market have two types of derailleurs, front and rear one. Although they are both parts of a bike’s transmission system, there are slight differences between them. Let’s see what they are and what to consider when choosing any type of bike derailleur.

How To Choose The Front Bike Derailleur

As common sense suggests, the front bike derailleur shifts the chain allowing you to change the front gears. This will help you improve your riding performance and use less effort to cover a determined distance. The front derailleur was originally introduced in France in 1982 by Lucien Juy, and the basis of the modern type of front derailleur has been developed by the Italian manufacturer Campagnolo.

However, as it is easy to imagine, this essential transmission component has received numerous improvements over the year, many of them regarding the choice of materials and the operating efficiency.

The operation of the front bike derailleur is very simple and intuitive. The derailleur is mounted on the frame of the bike and it is positioned above the front gears. The chain must be pass inside the derailleur’s body which has a parallelogram shape, and it is important to check that the track of the derailleur is parallel to the gears.

To change the position of the chain, it is sufficient to act on the left handlebar. This will allow you to move the chain from the largest to the smallest gear and vice versa, controlling, in this way, your cycling performance and optimizing your efforts.

The chain shifting from one gear to the other is controlled through the transmission cables that transmit the impulse from the handlebar to the derailleur, triggering the movement. To guarantee maximum efficiency, you should consider the following aspects when choosing a front derailleur:

  • Cage type: there are two types of front derailleurs, with double or triple cage. They fit either on bikes with two front gears or on bikes with three front gears. The vast majority of the bikes have a double chainring requiring a double cage derailleur but check your bike to make sure which type you need.
  • Drivetrain compatibility: the front derailleur must also be compatible with the bike’s drivetrain. Most entry and mid-level bikes have a 9-speed drivetrain, although the actual number of the speeds can vary between seven or eight to 10 speeds or more. The reason why you have to consider the number of speeds is that the thickness of the chain may vary according to the size of your drivetrain, and it is essential to choose a derailleur that matches the thickness of the chain.
  • Mounting: how the derailleur mounts to the bike is another thing to consider. Band derailleurs use a clamp system that secures the derailleur to the tube of the seat. In this case, you’ll only have to check the diameter of the clamp and that of the seat’s tube, making sure they fit. Braze on derailleurs mount directly to the frame and are most common on high-end carbon fiber bikes.
  • Transmission: it is also important to consider how the transmission cable that actuates the derailleur is pulled. Conventional models use a bottom pull mechanism. The cable pulls downwards and is routed under the bottom bracket. This is common on full suspension mountain bikes, road bikes, and touring bikes. Unconventional derailleurs usually installed on certain types of mountain bikes use a top pull system. The cable pulls upwards and is routed under the top tube.
  • Brand: it is recommended to stick to the derailleur brand that was installed on the bike from the beginning unless you’re a true expert in changing and choosing the front derailleur.

How To Choose The Rear Bike Derailleur

The rear derailleur consists of a cage that holds two pulleys. These pulleys guide the chain in an S-shaped pattern while an arm located above the cage guides the chain of the bike across the sprockets. The arm is attached to the bike’s frame and it is controlled by a spring mechanism connected to the transmission cable.

The rear bike derailleur also presents a number of adjuster screws that allow cyclists to control the tension of the derailleur’s spring.

The rear derailleur is actuated by the right-hand gear shifter and almost all types of multiple gear bikes are equipped with a rear derailleur. To choose the best one, you should consider:

  • Cage type: the cages of the rear bike derailleurs have different lengths and usually a longer cage means that the derailleur can accommodate a larger drivetrain and set of gears. As a general rule, most types of mountain bikes need a long cage derailleur while most road bikes are equipped with short cage derailleurs.
  • Clutch: on a rear derailleur, the clutch ensures that the tension is retained in the derailleur. Not all bike derailleurs have a clutch, although this feature is increasingly present on most models. Shimano derailleurs are among the most popular models with the clutch.
  • Drivetrain: the rear derailleur must be compatible with the drivetrain of the bike. There are specific models that fit certain types of drivetrains and it is recommended to avoid switching derailleurs from one type of bike to another. For example, you should avoid mounting a mountain bike rear derailleur on a road bike.
  • Compatibility: brand compatibility is as important as all the other characteristics. Like in the case of front derailleurs, the best strategy is to replace the old derailleur with one manufactured by the same brand as the original one. If you don’t have mechanic skills, it is recommended to ask for professional advice if in doubt.

Final Thoughts

A bike derailleur is one of the most important components of the transmission. Choosing the right one is crucial if you want to optimize your performance, improve your travel and minimize efforts.

Fortunately, choosing a bike derailleur is not rocket science and, by following these tips, you should be able to find the right types of front and rear derailleur for your bike. As a final tip, don’t forget to check the old bike derailleur and choose a similar model, ideally manufactured by the same brand.

As mentioned above, if in doubt, just ask your trusted mechanic for advice. Happy riding!

How To Replace Your Bike Brake Cable

How To Replace Your Bike Brake Cable

Like on any vehicle, brakes are one of the most important systems of a bike. Bike brakes are controlled by a bike brake cable which needs to be replaced periodically. The operation is not that complex and, if you love DIY, you could even try to replace your bike brake cable by following this step-by-step guide.

Understanding Bike Brake Cables And Their Outer Casing

Usually, bike brake cables have a diameter of about 1.6 mm and are controlled by a lever which, when pressed, causes the brake pads to stop either the rim of the wheel or the disc. For a good grip, the bike brake cable should undergo a tension which should be divided into a rough draft during the mounting phase and a fine adjustment through the tension screw found on the body of the brake.

The brake systems are different depending on the type of bike and they might also vary depending on the type of brake installed on the bicycle. For this reason, it is always recommended to buy the right type of brake cable and outer casing that is compatible with your bike.

Regarding the outer casings, they usually have an outer diameter of 5 mm and an internal one of 1.6 mm. The metal filaments constituting the outer casing are typically disposed in a spiral along the entire length of the case.

This design triggers a more rapid response from the brakes and allows cyclists to exert a weaker tension on the brake lever. In fact, thanks to these filaments the outer casing of the brake cable is able to transmit power without requiring too much effort.

Moreover, the outer casings are usually internally coated with a Teflon layer that increases the sliding of the cable inside the case.

The caps of the outer casing can be made of steel or plastic, depending on the manufacturer’s choice.

Why Is It Important To Change The Bike Brake Cable?

How many times do you brake during a trip? Each time you press the braking lever you induce stress into the system, which imperceptibly but continuously degrades the cable and its outer casing. For this reason, the bike brake cable should be replaced every two years, if there is no obvious damage, or even more frequently if you’re using your bike for training.

Because it is made of spirally wired metal filaments, the cables can corrode, while the water and dirt can infiltrate into the outer casing and reduce the sliding of the cable. But when is a mandatory replacement required?

  • Damaged cable: if you notice a frayed end, traces of rust or permanent bends.
  • Broken cracks: if the outer shell of the cable has visible cracks through which you can see the inner lining of the cable.
  • Upgrades: sometimes manufacturers release new versions of brake cables which are more resistant or simply better than the old ones. A technical upgrade is always a good reason to replace the cable and the outer casing.
  • Bad brake response: if you notice any changes in response when pressing the braking lever, you should consider replacing the cable.
  • Impossible to make adjustments: if you can’t change the brake system response by releasing the tension of the cable, then the cable might be to stretched and might have lost its resistance. In this case, it is always recommended to change it rather than assuming any risk.

If the bike brake cable needs to be replaced, it is recommended to replace the whole system that includes the cable, outer casing, casing head and wicker.

How To Replace Your Bike Brake Cable

Replacing the brake cable and the outer casing is a simple operation that only requires minutes. To replace the brake cable you will need:

  • Wire cutter: to cut the brake cable and the outer casing. There are several models of wire cutters available on the market and some of them are developed specifically for brake cables.
  • Screwdriver: to open the outer casing after cutting it.
  • 5mm Allen key or 10mm English wrench: to act on the screw retaining the cable on the brake’s body.
  • Third hand: an almost indispensable tool used to simplify the pull-down of the cable and optimize its tension.
  • Insulating tape and cutters: to remove old jackets and fasten new ones, if you own a racing bike.

In this article, I will focus on replacing external bike brake cables. The cables with internal frame transition will be treated in a dedicated article.

Step 1: Cut the cap of the cable

With the wire cutter, cut the cap of the cable right above the point where it meets the cable, in order to untwist the spiral.

Step 2: Release the cable

With the correct key, loosen the retaining screw without removing it and release the old cable. The type of key is different from bike to bike, but usually, you will need either a 5 mm Allen key or a 10 mm English wrench.

Step 3: Remove the old cable

At this point, the brake lever must have become very weak to pull. Lower it and look inside, where you should see the end of the brake cable. Push the cable from one end until it comes out. If the cable is worn out, jammed or folded this operation might require a few minutes of patience.

Once you’re able to grab the cable with the hand, pull it out to remove it completely. In the case of special braking systems, such as U-brake or V-brake, you might have to dismantle a few components to do this operation.

Step 4: Remove the outer casing

The outer casing should also be replaced together with the brake cable. To remove the old one, pull the outer casing towards you and out of the body of the brake lever. You should now remove the outer casing from the fasteners fixed on the bike’s frame.

In some cases, the outer casing is fixed with latches that are welded to the frame. On the contrary, on some bikes, the outer casing might simply be fixed with clamps that need to be cut, so consider their eventual replacement too.

In the case of the racing bikes, the outer casing is usually fixed to the handlebar with insulating tape. In this case, remove the tape by cutting it with a cutter, paying attention not to pinch the outer casing if you want to reuse it.

Step 5: Measure the size of the outer casing

To determine the correct length of the new outer casing you can use the old one as a template and cut the new one to the same size. Nevertheless, it is always better to take a new measure directly on the frame.

To do this, insert an outer casing cap in one end of the outer casing and mount it on the braking system on the lever. Make it run along the frame of the bike until it reaches the body of the brake. Make sure that the position of the cable allows you to turn the handlebar effortlessly but make sure that the curvature is not too accentuated, to prevent the sliding of the cable.

While measuring the length is uncomplicated for the front brake, things are less straightforward in the case of the rear brake. In this case, you’ll have to pass the cable through your seat at the right angle, otherwise, you risk to limit the smoothness of the cable.

Step 6: Cut the outer casing

Once you determined the right length of the outer casing, cut it with the wire cutter. The cut must be decided and clean, without grubbing.

Once the cable is cut, use the screwdriver to open the hole. This operation is important because cutting always tends to crush the Teflon coating and prevent the cable from sliding. Once the hole is widened, fix a plastic outer casing cap on the end.

Step 7: Insert the cable inside the lever

Lower the brake lever to locate the brake cable entry point. Then, slide the cable from the terminal-free part. In the case of V-Brake brake levers, the cable must slide out from the adjusting screw, while in the cruiser bicycles the cable comes out from the back of the body. Pull the cable and match the terminals with the brackets inside the lever.

Step 8: Install the outer casing

Insert the cable into the first sheathing piece and fasten it to the handle and to the clamp. The inside of the outer casing is not greased, as the Teflon coating allows for a high degree of smoothness. Fix the first piece of the outer casing and turn the handlebar in both directions to check if it feels strange.

If moving the handlebar in any direction feels odd, try shortening the outer casing. On the other hand, if the handlebar doesn’t rotate completely but remains locked by the casing, it means that it is too short and you’ll have to replace it with a longer piece.

In the case of racing bikes, the outer casing must be secured to the handlebar with insulating tape. To do this, simply wrap the tape around the handlebar and outer casing.

Once the outer case is installed, cover the ends with plastic caps and engage them in the clamps, then run the cable along the frame of the bike until it reaches the body of the brake.

In the case of cruiser bikes, the outer casing is housed inside the tensioning screw, while in the case of the V-Brake, the outer casing is clamped into a steel element.

Step 9: Fix the cable to the retaining screw

Grab the cable with your hand or with a solid third-hand tool, tighten it slightly and allow it to pass through the groove present on the plate of the retaining screw.

In the case of V-Brakes, the cable passes directly into the screw which has a hole in the cylindrical part that is used to lock the cable against the arm of the brake.

Holding the cable in position, tighten the retaining screw. Check that the screw is tightened to 5 Nm with a torque wrench, as in this way you’ll be able to make further fine adjustments.

Step 10: Cut the excess cable

Measure a length of 2 inches from the retaining screw and cut off the excess cable using a wire cutter. Make sure the cut is clean and precise.

Once the cable and the new outer casing are mounted, you can adjust the tension of the cable and make the lever more responsive, depending on your personal preferences.

Before hitting the road, remember to try the brakes on a street with moderate traffic so you can record and fix any defects. Don’t forget that even if the brakes seem to work well, they might give you unpleasant surprises when in the saddle, so make all adjustments before taking any risks.

How To Change Brake Pads On Your Bike

How To Change Brake Pads On Your Bike

As we already mentioned in a previous article, bike brake pads are essential for braking. The brake pads work by friction and are made of a mixture of abrasive components that apply pressure on the rotor, stopping the rotation of the wheel.

Every contact between the brake pads and the rotor of the disc causes mutual wear. In other words, the surface of both hardware components is consumed, albeit in different timeframes and modes. In fact, the brake pads consume faster than the disc, this is why most cyclists are wondering how to change brake pads on their bikes.

If you are struggling with the same question, this guide is designed to give you a comprehensive insight into how to change brake pads. Find out whether it’s time to change them and learn the 10 easy steps that will make you change brake pads like a pro.

When To Change Bike Brake Pads

As mentioned above, the contact between the brake pads and the rotor causes both components to wear down. In fact, each time you brake, both components will continue to wear until the contact surface between the two is no longer sufficient. At this stage, the entire braking system is compromised.

There are various symptoms that indicate that it is time to replace the bike brake pads. These symptoms are:

  • Reduction of brake reactivity: the disc brake system is highly reactive and modular. When functioning well, this system allows braking by acting with very little force on the lever, which improves the cycling experience. In fact, many cyclists are able to brake using only one finger. Nevertheless, consumed brake pads reduce the reactivity of the system and you will notice a braking delay between the action on the lever and the actual speed reduction. This means that the brake pad is not acting with enough friction on the rotor, and it is time to change it.
  • The weakness of the braking lever: on bikes equipped with disc brakes, the lever is stiff when touched. For this reason, if you notice any difference in the stiffness of the lever, or if it seems that it doesn’t deliver the command to the brake pads then the pads are worn out. Due to this, the distance between the disc and the pad is increased and you will need to trigger the lever several times to achieve sufficient stroke. If the brake pads are in perfect condition yet you still get this symptom, then you might want to check the integrity of the air purging plant.
  • The smoothness of the pad: if you notice that whenever you use the brake lever the bike takes a long time to stop even though the brake pads are new, then you might want to check and see if the contact surface maintained its original characteristics. Braking pads should be abrasive, but in some cases, especially if you use organic pads, your cycling style or habits might cause the contact surface to smooth. This happens especially when heat is not dissipated efficiently and the surface of the pad becomes glazed. In this case, braking is inefficient and the brake pads must be changed.
  • Contamination: contamination gives similar problems to those caused by the smoothness of the braking pads. In addition to the low reactivity, contamination provides other signs as well, which include the emission of a sharp and clumsy noise that is very annoying. Contamination is caused by the oily fluids and it majorly affects organic brake pads. Useless to say, when contaminated the brake pads are no longer effective and need to be changed.
  • Visual inspection: all brake pads should be inspected with regularity and checked if their surface is in good conditions. You should check the brake pads even if your bike seems to work perfectly. In fact, the last thing you’d want is to find yourself riding in the middle of nowhere on a bike with a broken brake system. At a visual inspection, you should check the thickness of the pad. If it is lower than 0,5 mm, then the brake pads must be replaced.

How To Replace Brake Pads On Your Bike

Required Tools:

  • A pair of latex gloves: brake pads are very sensitive to the action of oily fluids, which includes the superficial fat that could be released by your epidermis. Keeping your brake pads away from these fluids is of crucial importance, especially if you’re using organic brake pads.
  • Gripper: to remove the pin.
  • 3 mm Allen key: to remove the locking screw.
  • New brake pads.
  • Cotton cloth.
  • Disc cleaner or isopropyl alcohol: the first is a special product designed to be used on bike brake pads and disc, and it is easy to find in any bike shop. The latter is a particular type of alcohol that has a high cleaning effect but it doesn’t contaminate the brake pads.
  • Tire lever: to reset the stroke of the pistons.

Timing And Difficulty

Replacing the brake pads is an all-in-one, fairly easy task. You shouldn’t engage more than 10 minutes on each brake. The task can be carried out autonomously, or you can ask a bike mechanic to change the brake pads for you.

How To Change The Brake Pads In 10 Easy Steps

change brake pads

Step 1: Remove the wheel

Although it is possible to change the brake pads without removing the wheel, it is more comfortable to change them without worrying about the balance of a whole bike. As such, you should loose the quick release of the wheel and remove the wheel from the frame.

Step 2: Remove the pin

Using the gripper, remove the pin that holds the brake screw in place. If the brakes are not equipped with a screw but with a cushion, such as the case of the Shimano Deore brake pads, then you will have to straighten the upper jaw of the brakes and pass from the hole to the body of the brake.

Step 3: Remove the screw

With the 3mm Allen key remove the screw that secures the pads in place. If the pads are held by a pin, grasp the head with a pinch and pull it towards you until it comes out.

Step 4: Remove the pads

Now, since the pads are no longer secured to the braking system, grasp them with two fingers and pull them away from the body of the brake. The insertion side of the brakes varies from one bike to another, but you will find it either on the lower or on the upper side.

Step 5: Spray cleaning agent

Sprinkle a generous amount of isopropyl alcohol or disc cleaner on both the outer and on the inner sides of the body of the brake. Clean the area thoroughly with a clean cloth to remove all residues of grease or oily fluids. Repeat the operation on the rotor.  

Step 6: Reset the stroke of the pistons

With a regular plastic tire lever, push on both pistons, applying sufficient pressure to reset them. This operation facilitates the insertion of the new brake pads. Remember that new brake pads are thicker, as it is logical to be, so you might struggle with this operation. Resetting the pistons is useful as they slightly change their positions when the brake pads wear out, to compensate for the loss of thickness in the system.

Step 7: Insert the new brake pads

At this stage, you are ready to put on the new brake pads. Insert them into the body of the braking system, making sure to not touch the surface of the pads with your bare hands or dirty gloves. At this stage, for safety reasons, it is recommended to put on clean latex gloves. Don’t forget to insert the spring supplied with the pads between them, as the spring will help the pads fix into their places.

Step 8: Secure the screw

Using the Allen key, put back the screw you previously removed. Make sure that it passes through the holes of the pads, to make sure they are securely kept in place.

Step 9: Mount the pin

Once the screw is in its place, use the gripper to put the pin back in its place. Bend it in position to prevent it from falling while cycling.

Step 10: Reassemble the wheel

Insert the wheel back on its place. Be careful not to “pinch” the new brake pads with the rotor, as it may splinter the coating of the pads.

Final Thoughts

Changing the brake pads on your bike is an uncomplicated operation that doesn’t require the knowledge of a mechanic. Nevertheless, to make sure your brakes function properly, you should follow all the above steps carefully.

Avoid using different tools than the ones recommended, as other tools might damage the hardware of your bike.