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GoPro Bike Mounts

GoPro Bike Mounts

Mounting Your GoPro for Cycling

GoPro’s popularity means there are now quite a few people who’ve come up with creative ways to mount the camera on both their bike and their body. Creative camera positions mean that instead of just the same old video of the trail or road in front of you, you can mix up different points of view. Your only limit is your imagination.

GoPro Chest Mounts

GoPro Bike Mounts

Chest mounts can be pretty effective. Firstly they make it simple to wear your GoPro in a forward facing position, and the wide angle of the lens may also capture your hands on the bar, giving a true first-person perspective. Unlike sticking a mount point to your cycling helmet, a chest harness also allows you to use the GoPro regardless of the outfit you’re wearing, from a t-shirt right up to full waterproofs. You can also remove and store your GoPro camera quickly. Having the camera on your chest also allows easy access to the controls and display.

Take a look at our latest prices and offers on GoPro cameras and accessories

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Buy a Bike Light

In this article, we’ve gathered together some advice to help you buy a bike light.

There are three main types of lights available:

The headlight: A headlight is a front-mounted lamp which projects a beam forwards, (funny that), making the road visible at speed when cycling.

Visibility light: These lights are front or rear and are primarily designed to make the road cyclist visible, particularly in urban traffic environments.

Mountain bike light: Off-road lights are very powerful front-mounted units. These are the most advanced and brightest of all lighting systems and can also be used as very good road commuting lights.

Before choosing a light consider your local conditions, e.g. how much ambient or street light is available? From this you can figure out how much light you will need, and whether a headlight or just a visibility light will be necessary.

Bike Light Brightness

Watts or Lumens? The first important consideration is brightness. All modern lights use LED (light emitting diode) bulbs, and there is a range of levels of quality among LED’s. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for.

When purchasing a flashing visibility light, the brightness is fairly standard among different bike lights, although some better models feature a super bright LED bulb. This is ideal for maximum visibility on a rear light and can be quite dazzling to look at directly.

Likewise on the front, if you want to see where you are going a 1 or 2 watt LED bulb is ideal, anything less is really just a light to enhance your visibility to others, but not to illuminate a path or road.

Brightness Measurement: The lumen is the derived unit of luminous flux and is the measure of visible light emitted by a source. Luminous flux measures wavelengths visible to the human eye and are different to radiant flux (power) as this is a measure of all electromagnetic radiation emitted. A lux is one lumen per square meter. Basically, more lumens means more brightness.

For high end commuting or mountain bike lights, you’ll notice the use of “lumens” in the product description. Good bike lights can be rated at around 250 lumens or higher, while on upper-end mountain bike lights you will see lumens figures in excess of 1000-1200. As a guide, this is approximately as bright as a car headlight!

Mountain bike lights are so bright because of the nature of riding off-road at speed. You need to easily see what’s ahead of you. This also translates to the road. If you ride at a very fast speed a good set of lights is important, and will help you quickly spot obstacles such as pot holes.

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Bicycle Light Battery

Batteries improve as brightness intensity goes up. On basic flashing “be seen” lights you’ll typically find lithium watch batteries and around 100 hours of run time. It then steps up to AA or AAA batteries in the 1-2 watt or multi LED headlights and an approximate 24hr run time on full beam, or much longer in flashing mode.

For a regular night commuter, lights using these battery types are probably not going to be ideal.

High powered commuting and mountain bike lights often use a separate lithium-ion or lithium polymer rechargeable battery pack. Even on the most powerful 1000 lumen lights, run-times of many hours are often achievable before charging is necessary.

For mountain bike lights the battery is sometimes as important as the light unit itself. There are many seemingly very inexpensive, yet super bright lights available, but some products are cheap for a good reason. The bulbs can be ok but you risk having the battery fail mid ride.

Bike Light Useability

Bicycle lights are designed to be bright and compact. One thing to look for is an appropriate and easily set up bracket for attaching the light to your handlebars, seatpost, backpack or helmet.

For road commuting a handlebar mounted front light, combined with a seat post mounted or helmet mounted tail light is ideal.

When mountain biking the best setups feature a helmet and handlebar mounted front light.

When commuting I it can be a good idea to use as many rear lights on as possible. Try one on your helmet, backpack and seatpost. Multiple lights will make you even more visible.

Quality

Buy the best lights you can afford. As mentioned earlier, LED bulbs are not all the same quality so get the best you can. Brightness levels can vary by a huge amount as you get better and better LED’s. Spend wisely, particularly if you commute regularly or want to ride in the forest on a mountain bike in the middle of the night.

Also, light casings and mounting brackets are very different as the price goes up. Again, durability can make the purchase of a slightly more expensive set of lights the most cost effective choice in the long run.

Check out our range of bike lights

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Choosing a Cycling Helmet

Choosing a cycling helmet is important since wearing a bike helmet makes sense in all riding conditions. Modern helmets are light, comfortable and able to handle significant impacts.

Here are some tips for choosing a bike helmet model that is well-suited to your needs.

Types of Bike Helmets

Bike helmets come in three basic types: recreational (also called multi-use and casual), road and mountain. All of these helmets are designed to protect your head from impact while being lightweight and comfortable. The key differences are:

Recreational helmets are an economical choice for recreational, commuter, road and mountain bikers. They can often include a visor to shield your eyes from the sun.

Road bike helmets are the preferred choice by road cycling enthusiasts for their low weight, ventilation and aerodynamic design. These helmets typically don’t have a visor, keeping the weight low and providing an unobstructed view when you’re crouched in an aggressive riding position.

Mountain bike helmets, which are also often used by cyclocross riders, are designed to ventilate well at low speeds. They’re distinguished by their visors, enhanced rear-head coverage and a firm, secure fit for bouncing around on rough terrain. Some feature full-face protection that’s preferred by downhill mountain bikers and park riders.

Bike Helmet Construction

Most helmets use in-mold construction, a process that fuses an outer shell and inner liner without the use of glue. This results in light-yet-strong designs. While weight is often not a main concern for recreational cyclists, racers and frequent use riders will appreciate the weight savings of a lighter helmet.

Shell: Most cycling helmets are covered with a plastic shell to hold the helmet together in a crash, provide puncture-resistance and allow the helmet to slide on impact thus protecting your head and neck.

Liner: Most helmet liners are made of expanded polystyrene foam. On impact, the liner dissipates the force to protect your head. The liner should fit your head comfortably.

Some helmets feature Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) technology, a way of constructing the helmet that is aimed at providing more protection from rotational forces during a bike crash. MIPS-equipped helmets feature a low friction layer that allows the helmet’s impact absorbing foam liner to rotate slightly around your head during an impact. It moves only a few millimeters overall, but it can reduce the amount of rotational force that may be transferred to your brain in certain impacts.

Additional Features

Ventilation: Helmet vents improve wind-flow over your head, keeping you cooler and more comfortable as you ride. In addition, the more vents you have, the lighter the helmet.

Visor: Some riders prefer having a sun shielding visor attached to the helmet, and these are very common on mountain bike helmets. A visor does, however, add a fractional bit of weight and slight wind resistance.

Full-face protection: Some mountain bike helmets have a wraparound chin bar to provide face protection for downhill mountain biking and park riding. Some enduro racers also like the added protection.

Straps: The strap system should be comfortable and easy to buckle and unbuckle.

Choosing The Correct Size Cycling Helmet

When choosing a bike helmet, a good fit is vital. Most helmets come in small, medium, large or extended sizes.

To find your size, wrap a flexible measuring tape around the largest portion of your head—about 1 inch above your eyebrows, or wrap a piece of string or ribbon around your head, then measure the length of the string with a straight-edge ruler or measuring tape. Look for a helmet size that matches your measurement.

Between sizes? Either opt for the smaller size or wear a cycling cap or beanie to improve the fit of the larger helmet. Some adults with smaller heads can wear a kids’ size comfortably.

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Adjusting a Bike Helmet

A good-fitting helmet should be snug but not annoyingly tight. It should sit level on your head (not tilted back) with the front edge 1 inch or less above your eyebrows so that your forehead is protected. Push the helmet from side to side and back to front. If it shifts noticeably you need to adjust the fit.

To adjust the fit, first expand the sizing wheel before you place a helmet on your head. Almost all helmets have a sizing wheel on the back of the helmet’s internal sizing ring. Once the helmet is in place, reach behind your head and tighten the ring until you get a good fit. Next, buckle and tighten the chinstrap. The straps should form a “V” as they rest under each ear. Adjust the straps around both ears until you have a comfortable fit.

Finally, with the chinstrap buckled, open your mouth wide. The helmet should press against the top of your head as you do so. If not, tighten further and repeat.

Bike Helmet Care

Avoid using chemical solvents to clean a helmet. Manufacturers recommend only the use of a soft cloth or sponge, plus mild soap and water. Removal pads may be washed.
Do not store a helmet in an attic, garage, car trunk or other area where heat can accumulate. Excessive heat may cause bubbles to form on helmet parts. Do not wear a heat-damaged helmet.
Avoid loaning your helmet to others. You want to know exactly what kind of use your helmet has experienced during its lifespan.

When to Replace a Cycling Helmet

Any helmet involved in an accident is likely to get damaged. Replace the helmet after any significant impact, even if everything looks OK. If you’ve been crash-free, it is generally recommended to replace your helmet after 5 years. Pollution, UV light and weathering can weaken a helmet’s components over time.

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Gore Bike Wear Power 2.0 Soft Shell Men’s Cycling Jacket

Gore Bike Wear Power 20 Jacket

 

Verdict:
Top-quality cycling jacket: waterproof, windproof, breathable and fits well but not cheap, and a bit quirky
Weight: 280g

Gore is a well known name in the world of outdoor sports, with a wide range of products aimed specifically at cyclists, including the Power Gore-Tex Active Jacket. It is a waterproof, windproof, breathable jacket and fits well, making it perfect for rides in wet and cold conditions. It’s not the cheapest jacket, and it has a couple of quirks that buyers should be aware of.

The key to the waterproof and breathable nature of this Jacket is the Gore-tex fabric. There are a lot of fabrics around that say they are breathable and waterproof, but with Gore-tex the claims are indeed true.

It’s all thanks to a membrane in the fabric which has microscopic holes, small enough to stop water coming in, but large enough to let water vapour escape. The result is you stay protected from wet weather on the outside but don’t get soaked in sweat on the inside.

Testing of this jacket on a cold and rainy day, resulted in staying warm and dry inside when riding fairly hard on flat roads. The jacket was worn with a base layer and a long-sleeve jersey.

Gore Bike Wear Power 20 Jacket

Giving a bit more effort on some longer hills, the jacket can get slightly clammy inside, but that will happen in any jacket. The Gore-tex did definitely help the perspiration dissipate quickly, and retained warmth when going down the other side of the hills, even if the jersey under the jacket was still damp.

It’s worth noting there are no vents in this Gore-Tex Active Jacket (eg, under armpits, down the sides or across the back) as you find on some other jackets. Although thanks to velcro tabs, the cuffs can be closed tight to keep the warmth in, or open a bit for venting along the arms.

The Power Gore-Tex Active Jacket is available in a range of sizes from small to XXL. Sizing is good, with the medium ideal for average build (70kg, 175cm high, 94cm chest). Gore describe it as a ‘Slim fit’ – meaning body-hugging without being too tight, and with flappy fabric reduced to a minimum – which is exactly what you want for faster rides, training or sportives, as opposed to more loose-fitting jackets that might be more suitable for leisure riding or commuting.

Altjough there’s a close fit around the body, the arms of this jacket are still long enough, even when stretched out, so you don’t get a chilly gap between cuff and glove. Many manufacturers seem to get this wrong (garments with a close-fitting upper body have too-short arms, while garments long arms have a tent-like fit around the torso) but Gore have got it just right.

There is a male version of the Active Jacket and a female version.

The hem of the jacket is cut at an angle, so the front is shorter than the back. This helps avoid the material getting creased up when you’re leaning forward, while the jacket is still long enough at the back to cover your rear end. The hem is also elasticated slightly, to help hold the jacket in place.

Other features of the Power Gore-Tex Active Jacket include some reflective strips and a little triangle on the rear pocket to pick up car headlights when cycling in dark or dim conditions. For a bit of extra daytime visibility, there’s a Day-glo zip down the front of the jacket.

There’s a single back pocket, with a horizontal zip and a flap over zip. This means it’s as waterproof as the rest of the jacket.

In any waterproof breathable jacket pocket, phones can get slightly damp, so the Gore-Tex Active Jacket’s pocket also has an internal ‘LockSak’, a stiff plastic envelope on a bit of tape.

Colours are blue, red and green, all with black sleeve ends and day-glo yellow zip. Or black with day-glo sleeve ends and zip.

The full retail price is a penny under £175, but you can find an almost half price special offer here. Even with the discounts, the Gore-Tex Active Jacket is still at the top of the scale when compared to similar products such as the EQ2.5 jacket from DHB (around £60), the Quantum from Polaris (around £100) or the venerable Night Vision from Altura (around £110), although for many cyclists the style and cut of the Gore-Tex Active Jacket, plus the excellent performance of the Gore-tex fabric itself, makes this a premium worth paying.

Verdict

Top-quality cycling jacket: waterproof, windproof, breathable and fits well but not cheap, and a bit quirky

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Balance Bikes Buying Guide

Balance bikes separate steering and balance from the skills of pedaling and braking. Because children as young as two can learn to push off, balance and glide, they get plenty of experience by the time they’re ready for a pedal bike.

Key Benefits:

  • Can make learning to ride easier
  • Can be fairly inexpensive
  • Models with footrests that will let children learn to coast

Features to look for:

  • adjustable saddle height
  • comfortable saddle and grips
  • brakes (especially on models for older kids)

Over the last few years, balance bikes have had a huge impact on the way children learn to ride. Steerable toy bikes with no pedals, the design of balance bikes points back to the original boneshakers of the early 19th century.

By allowing a child to learn to balance and steer a bike without the complication of pedalling, balance bikes make a child’s first experiences with bikes simple and fun.

Balance bikes are available at a wide range of prices, from about £50 to £150. Some of the basic models don’t have brakes, however most have a rear wheel brake.
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Balance bikes tend to not have very many features, but one important thing to look for is adjustable saddle height. You’ve got to be able to adjust the postion as your child grows, until he or she is ready to move on to a bike with pedals. Most balance bikes have adjustable seats, but there are a few that don’t so choose carefully. Manufacturers usually give the range of saddle height adjustment so you can get the right bike for your child.

A correctly fitted balance bike allows the child to stand with his or her feet flat on the floor, and the youngster should be able to get on and off easily. That means the saddle height should be a couple of centimetres less than the child’s inside leg measurement.

Beyond that, there’s the usual price/quality trade-off you see with adult bikes. More expensive balance bikes are lighter, with aluminium frames instead of steel, and have better bearings in the hubs and headset. While this probably won’t make much of a difference over the year or two your child will have the bike, it can help retain the resale value, and improve the longevity if you’re planning to pass it down to other siblings/generations.

Take a look at our range of children’s bikes

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How to choose the Best Bike Stand

bicycle work stand

There is a huge selection of bike repair stand options available, so its worth taking some time to choose the best bike stand for you. Styles and price ranges can vary dramatically, so it’s important to do some research and find the best bike stand for you.

Firstly, think about when and where you might be using your work stand. Will it stay in your garage or workshop all the time? Will you store it in the house and only use it when needed? Will you transport it with you to races and events?

Secondly, think about how you will clamp your bike to the stand. Traditional stands use a spring-loaded clamp, while others use a screw-down clamp that applies gradual pressure. There are also options that hold the bicycle via the bottom bracket and dropouts. If you have lightweight carbon road bikes, you might not want a spring-loaded clamp. If you have a uniquely shaped mountain bike, there might not be a good spot to clamp the bike, so you might need the bottom bracket mount stand.

With these considerations in mind, let’s take look at some different types of bike stands.

Top 5 Types of Bike Repair Stands

The various aspects of stands include bench mount stands, good for traveling stands, clamp mounts, bottom bracket mounts, tripod bases, and super heavy ones for shop and commercial use.

1. Heavy-duty Stands. – These strong stands are found in most bike shops, and they’re meant to stay there. The bases are extremely heavy so they can hold heavy bikes, and so you can apply lots of torque without the bike moving. They are also expensive.

Needless to say, this is probably unnecessary for most home mechanics.

2. Consumer Stands with a Spring Clamp. – Many workstands fall into this category. These stands vary in size and weight, but the key component is the spring-loaded clamp. When used properly, the clamp will provide the correct pressure to hold the bike without breaking it. However, it is possible to clamp too forcefully with these stands.

These stands usually satisfy most home mechanics, and will even stand up to light-duty use in a bike shop.

3. Consumer Stands with Screw down clamp – These stands will be like other consumer stands, but they offer an updated clamp design that screws down gradually. This allows you to easily adjust the clamp pressure, which is very important when dealing with lightweight bikes with thin-walled tubes.

These stands usually satisfy all types of home mechanics, and will even stand up to light-duty use in a bike shop. This is a good choice in stand, with a number of brands to choose from.

4. Race Stands with Bottom bracket plus dropout mounts. – This is the newest style of bike stand. One of these stands will hold the bicycle’s bottom bracket and then fasten to either the rear dropouts or fork dropouts. This is great because it does not require any clamping forces applied to a frame tube or seat post, and it will work with odd shaped mountain bikes.

There are two main reasons to go with this stand. First, if you have a lightweight, fragile road bike, this is the safest way to clamp it in a stand. Second, if you have a mountain bike with shaped tubes that won’t fit into a regular clamp, this stand should work.

5. Miniature Stands. – These stands simply hold the bike upright by holding the chain stay and seat stay. They also function as a light-duty repair stand, for simple maintenance and repairs such as chain lubrication.

The miniature stands work well for simple repairs done at home.

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View our wide range of bike stands

Important Features of Bike Stands

Things to consider when comparing bike stands:

Base – The base of the stand is important, because that is where the stand gets its stability. In general, a bigger and heavier base makes the stand more stable, so it will be able to handle heavy bikes and heavy wrenching. However, that will make it less portable.

The design of the base is also important. A stand with two flat legs will be stable in your garage, but it won’t work very well on uneven ground.A stand with a tripod base will be stable on flat ground and on uneven ground. Definitely consider a tripod base is you will be using the stand outdoors on uneven ground.

Clamp Style – Some clamps are spring loaded, while others clamp down. Still others don’t even have clamps.

I would choose a screw-down clamp instead of a spring-loaded clamp, because you an apply heavy pressure with either one, but it is easier to adjust the pressure with a screw-down style clamp.

If you want to be extra careful, look for the stands where the bike rests on its bottom bracket, eliminating the need for a powerful clamp. This style also comes in handy for bikes with small frames, no seatposts, or shaped tubes – all of which make it hard to clamp a bike in a traditional clamp.

Size and Weight –  A heavier stand tends to be more stable. However, a heavy stand is harder to transport. If you plan to travel, make sure your stand is light enough to carry.

Size is also important. The stand should hold the bike high enough off the ground for comfortable repairs, so that you don’t have to bend over or contort your body to reach something. The right size will depend on your height, so look for a stand with a good range of height adjustment.

Folding – Most home mechanic stands will fold up for storage or travel. This is a very important consideration if you will be storing the stand in a closet when not in use, or if you will be carrying the stand back and forth in your car.

Ideally your stand will offer “tool free” folding and height adjustments. Some stands require an Allen wrench to set the height or to loosen bolts for folding it up, which can be annoying, especially if you are short on time.

Take a look at our range of bike stands

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Buying a New Bike

Buying a new bike can feel like a major purchase, so it’s worth taking some time to consider the best options, especially if you are buying a bike for the first time. The range of bikes available can be confusing.

The first question is “What is the Right Kind of Bike for Me?”

There are essentially four main types of bike to choose from, and your selection should really depend on what you think your main type of riding to be.

Continue reading Buying a New Bike

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How to Adjust Your Bike Saddle

 

If you want to cycle efficiently and injury free, it’s important that you know how to adjust your bike saddle. A correctly positioned bike saddle makes your bike more enjoyable to ride, as well as being more efficient. The bicycle seat is the main point of contact between you and your bike and having the correct saddle height and position maximizes pedaling efficiency while reducing the risk of knee injuries. Your leg muscles are most effective when they’re almost fully extended through the pedaling motion, so getting your saddle height correct is very important. Continue reading How to Adjust Your Bike Saddle

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Maintaining Your Bike Chain

Chain Maintenance

Maintaining your bike chain will lengthen it’s lifespan and reduce wear and tear. The moving parts of a chain wear out with time. Dirt and sand in the chain can act like sandpaper to wear the chain out, and as the parts lose close contact, the chain extends. At the point when the chain becomes a poor fit on your chainrings and back cassette and derailleur gear-pieces, it starts wearing them out too. It can therefore be a good idea to replace your chain  on a yearly basis. It’s less expensive than a new chainset. Continue reading Maintaining Your Bike Chain