Riding your mountain bike at home is always enjoyable, but you cannot compare it to riding in faraway lands. There is something more intriguing and magical while riding on new trails.
You can either use public means of transport or your own means. If it is the latter, the ease of loading your bike on your truck is one of the benefits of a pickup truck.
What if you decide to use public means? The feeling when surrendering your bike to the airport officials and hope that you will get it back at your destination in the right condition and all parts is the worst.
If you are new to traveling with mountain bikes, we have got you covered with tips to make everything easy and straightforward.
It’s essential to prepare well with the essential tools before you set out for the trip. With mountain bikes, anything can happen. Even a simple puncture is enough to ruin your riding experience and the entire trip.
Due to the flight weight limits, you may not be able to travel with a toolbox. However, a few essential tools like the spanner, puncture kit, multi-tool, and hand pump should be in your backpack.
The last thing you want is your bike going through the hands of careless baggage handlers. However, since you don’t get to choose who will handle your bike, the best you can do is pack it carefully.
You can consider a few options, like using the bike case, cardboard box, or a bag.
Once you settle on one of the above ways, do the following for added safety;
A good quality bag or cardboard will ensure maximum safety for your lovely mountain bike.
While on the far, foreign land, an emergency can happen, and it’s good to be prepared for it.
You can fall sick, or your bike can break. Therefore, travel insurance cover is of great importance.
Most insurance companies will only cover your health, but some can even cover your luggage.
When presented with too cheap tickets, you have to think twice. Some tickets may be cheap but be very expensive when carrying luggage.
Confirm with the airline on the luggage terms and payments before you rush for cheap tickets.
It is much better than arriving at the airport to find out that no extra luggage is allowed. You will be inconvenienced and start everything on the wrong foot.
For most airlines, you are allowed to carry your helmet bag on hand instead of including it with other luggage.
If you carry it in another bag rather than the helmet bag, you may be told to remove it at the gate. Opening your bag wide open for a check before people is more frustrating and embarrassing.
It will be worse if you are late and you placed the helmet at the bottom of the bag under your clothes and other essentials.
To avoid all these inconveniences, it will help if you inquired from the airline whether they accept one to carry helmets into the airplane.
Many people almost forget this small but yet essential detail. Weighing your bike package before you get to the airport will not cost you much time and energy.
However, failing to do so can cost you a lot of time, inconvenience you, frustrate you, and seriously affect your budget.
Every airline has rules regarding the amount of luggage that you can carry. Baggage exceeding this limit is never going to make your life easy.
If you will use a partner airline on the return flight, check their terms to avoid much stress and hassles.
Carrying your bike to your travel destinations is probably the most exciting idea. There are a few challenges that you may expect as you move about with your bike.
With proper preparation and the above skills, you will find the whole experience very enjoyable and easy to navigate through.
When you are preparing for a long bicycle trip or a bicycle tour, among the most important choices you will have to keep in mind is how your gear is getting strapped onto your bike.
Your choice of luggage will determine the amount of gear your bike can hold, how it handles, and what kind of terrain it is able to ride on.
This article will compare touring panniers and bike trailers and show you some advantages to using both so you can choose the best option for the right situations and your riding style.
A trailer will make the weight of your gear not half as heavy on your bike. This will allow your bike to be much more nimble and quick, despite the large size. Because of this, bike trailers are great on off-road treks.
Bike trailers make it simple to get through difficult terrain without your gear’s weight weighing on your bike too much. Getting around tighter turns is much easier using these to haul your gear.
If you are lugging around supplies like a kayak, hiking pack, surfboard, firewood, or a large tent, a bike trailer can help you do this with ease. Plus, if you need extra water or food, putting it on the bike trailer will not make the ride that much harder as the bike trailer is made for this purpose.
The bike trailer will handle the weight of your gear rather than the bike itself, and this will lessen the chance of your bike not being able to keep up for long.
Your tires and frame will not have to take too much of a beating and you will also not likely have to deal with broken spokes or bent rims. If you are worried about the longevity of your bike, it is a great idea to use a trailer.
Panniers will have four bags that you can separate gear into so you can designate certain bags for certain categories of gear easily. Perhaps you could keep all your clothes in one bag, all the cooking gear and food in the second, and so on.
If you are bringing along electronics, touring panniers are a great idea so you can keep them separate from anything that might be wet or could easily damage them.
Panniers are not hard to assemble and use at all. Their rack bolts to your bike’s frame, and the panniers only need to be clipped on with the clips they come with to be fastened to the bike properly.
There aren’t any mechanical parts that you could worry about having to repair along the trip if something goes wrong. It is easy to replace any clips that get broken, and the worst thing that could happen is your bike rack snapping, which is pretty unlikely.
For the most part, a tour pannier will weigh less than most trailers. Panniers just do not have as many moving parts as trailers do and are lighter due to their simple design.
If you are worried about your gear being too heavy for the ride, you can shave off some weight by using a pannier. They can even come in ultralight designs for even less weight on your ride.
Many people will want to take their pet along with them on their rides, but it can get a little tedious when they get tired or veer off course and you have to stop to get them back on track.
You can use a bike trailer to haul along pets more easily. For dogs, a trailer can allow them to run along with you until they get too tired. They can then simply hop onto the trailer to catch their breath without having to stop the whole operation.
Even if you have a pet that is older or not so into exercise, they can just become part of your haul on the right trailer. Just be sure you keep any food or valuables secure so they don’t dig into anything they shouldn’t!
If you plan a long trip on your bike, it is important to get the right method to haul your gear down and ready to go.
For those that use bike trailers, they boast about being able to haul bulky items without too much wear on their bikes and are able to maneuver more off-road landscapes as well.
On the other hand, touring panniers users will tell you they are lighter than lugging around a whole bike trailer and are much better for keeping your supplies organized.
No matter which you choose, hopefully, this guide has given you some valuable information to think about when planning out your next big cycling expedition!
If you love hitting the road but do not like taking cars or trains to work, you are most likely cycling. The bike tire might need to get repaired more often to ensure you continue enjoying exercising muscles. Picking the right choice of bike tire for commuting could not get easier using the guide below.
Here are some quality bike tires to start you off.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348 is the perfect option for you to evade punctures along the way when cycling. It has a layer of smart guard underneath the tire to increase your protection.
The tire has a thick rubber lining that enables you to work on a higher spectrum of the road. It ensures you experience different road textures most effectively as you maintain a good speed on the way. Durable materials make the rubber to enhance your cycling experience. Proper maintenance enables you to use this commuter bike tire for many years and decades too.
It has an efficient tread pattern aligned in the proper order to increase the grip on the road. The center treads are in sizeable chunks to increase the surface area over of grip. The outer tread has short lugs to increase the grip of your bike tire on rougher surfaces.
It has a tube running through the whole tire, which makes repairing easier for you. It will only take you a short while to maintain it whenever a puncture occurs. You will not have to worry about getting a rim tape for installation purposes.
Schwalbe G-one Speed Tire offers your bike high-end resistance to punctures with its amazing features. It will take an impressive effort for you to get a flat with this tire.
A smart guard within the tire enables you to experience a flawless ride in any type of road and adverse weather conditions. This is among the most important components that commuters like you find relief in.
The treads are 30 mm thick, located throughout the surface of the tire right from the outer to the middle part. This gives your bike tire a wider stance ensuring you hit different road surfaces with ease.
It is narrower compared to other commuter bike tire types but still meets your demands. This feature enables you to avoid the drastic congestion of parking because. It allows for even lower tire pressure and an increased contact patch for a more confident grip in corners and a smoother ride.
It lacks tubes making your bike’s tire get less susceptible to pinch flats. The absence of a tube ensures no friction is often experienced in tube bikes between the tube and the tire’s rib. It also has low pressure to increase the speed at which you get to ride in high and low places.
Continental Contact Speed has a unique creation to distinguish your riding experience with other bike tires. It can change its shape depending on your weight and the type of road surface it is in.
A rugged rubber breaker attached to the sidewalls made of reinforced rubber that makes it less capable of getting you a flat. This double puncture protection feature is perfect for you to take a ride daily at any speed on the road. Buying this is the safest puncture belt that your bike could ever get.
It has a lightweight design to enable you to move with a lot of ease and swiftness on the tarmac. It also has low rolling resistance due to its ability to absorb the unevenness of terrain and regain its initial form while still losing heat. This ensures that you do not have to get to the bike store to buy another commuter bike tire in many years.
The surface of the tire has thin slits molded onto treads that enhance grip on the road. The outer treads have smaller lugs compared to those at the center. These lugs increase grip on rougher surfaces making your ride smooth. The center of the tire has many lugs aligned in a systematic order to increase the surface area of covering tarmac.
The tire is durable so you will not have to worry about weight factors that might influence its efficiency. Silicone, rubber, and other materials used to create it ensure your bike tire experiences the perfect grip, puncture resistance, and longevity. This is also made possible by the fact that rubber is hard to increase durability.
WTB ThickSlick Comp tire can handle anything different surfaces of roads throw at you. This is due to the presence of a smart guard made from thick rubber to provide you with an added advantage of evading punctures.
The tire has two linings of thick rubber underneath the layer of the tread to increase on thickness. This increases the distance over which sharp and intrusive objects can penetrate through to cause a flat on your bike’s tire. The thicker your bike tire is, the harder for it to be susceptible to getting punctures
The material used to create this bike tire is a DNA rubber that is versatile and lasts your tire longer years. Durable materials ensure that your cycling experience is great by keeping on the road for long hours and not incurring any difficulties with punctures. You will have an added advantage if you keep top-notch maintenance of the bike tire.
It has a sleek design that provides traction on rough surfaces. You will be sure to get quality performance from this type of commuter bike tire, depending on the type of road surface riding in. While on rougher surfaces, you have a chance to cycle fast while on smoother surfaces, a slower ride will suit.
It also ensures you have a smoother ride through the natural absorption of rubber to different surfaces. Rubber gets to return to its initial form once deformation occurs. It instead releases heat energy instead of getting raptured. Always ensure to check on your bike’s tire whenever you go through rough tarmac and sharp objects.
Continental Grand Prix 4 Season is the best bike tire with unbeatable resistance to cold weather. It will ensure you get through winter and the rains with ease on the skidding road surface.
Strong rubber material combined with other elements makes it to offer you a quality product worth your money. It can withstand any level of weight without bursting out, leading you to have an injury. Apart from this, it is lightweight, increasing your ease of movement by enabling you to change to different speeds.
With lightness in mind, it also offers your bike resistance to rolling while still maintaining perfect condition. This is because the tire material absorbs different textures of road surfaces and levels of accidents to get back to its original form. It in turn loses heat to counter the effect, this ensures the bike, and you are safe.
It offers your bike tire with sidewall protection coming from the high-quality polyamide fabric that makes up the tire material. This is also enhanced by the sides with many treads that increase the area of contact with the riding surface. You can be sure to cycle through worse road conditions with this tire.
It has a double Vectran Breaker belt under the tread that raises the puncture and cut protection of your bike tire. This will enable you to experience a flawless ride in various types of road surfaces. You can also use it to ride when it is cold and you will not have to worry about skidding and causing an accident. This is among the many important components to find relief in as a beginner or frequent cyclist.
There are various factors to look into to ensure you get the best bike tire. Here are some of the factors to put into consideration.
This type of bike tires come with two types of materials making used to create the bead. One has a bead made from steel, making it difficult for you to fold it while the other can fold. The latter comes from flexible fiber that ensures you fold it and carry it for emergency purposes. Tires made using steel beads are heavier due to the composition of the metal.
Tires with tubes are standard clinchers that have an inner tube often inflated with Schrader or Presta valves. This enables you to replace them after several punctures with a lot of ease. They can get punctures from sharp objects that penetrate through rubber and pinch flats that cause friction between the tube and rim, resulting in two small holes.
Tubeless tires lack inner valves but instead have a liquid sealant. This is very beneficial for you because you will not have to worry much about getting down to repair immediately. The liquid sealant immediately covers the hole ensuring you do not get a flat and will not notice the presence of the hole without keen observation.
Different types of commuter bike tires offer various puncture protection properties. Some have an added layer of sub treads while others have a puncture-proof belt. Puncture-proof belts are under the bike tire and they offer high resistance to penetration of sharp objects.
Those with two layers of rubber on the tire surface enhance your riding experience by reducing the chances of incurring punctures. The thicker the tire is, the more distance a sharp object has to cover for it to cause a deep hole that leads your tire to be flat. Other tires have this feature extended to their sidewalls for increased durability.
Wider tires provide your bike with more suspension on a surface, ensuring you have a comfortable ride. You can go through bumps and any raised surfaces with a lot of ease. This is because a wider surface area increases the area of contact, reducing you will experience getting through a bump. It also increases traction and maintains both wheels in contact with the road.
Narrower tires will offer you less suspension it is better to ride using them on smooth surfaces. They will offer you an advantage in the parking lot because they fit in small spaces.
To choose the right tread pattern, you need to know the type of surface to ride a bike on. This is important to ensure you maintain proper speed and avoid getting into an accident.
Smooth surfaces go in line with tires that have light treads and those with a sleek design. This is because the contact of the tire and surface will not generate a lot of friction. Rough surfaces like roads need you to get a tire with many treads. This will increase the grip between the bike tire and rough surface that ensures friction rarely occurs whenever you ride.
It is easy to enjoy riding your bike when having the right bike tire to suit the surface of riding. You can be sure to maintain a pleasant riding experience if you pick the best bike tire to commute with. Always consider the surfaces you will ride on, the quality of the tire, and the purpose of a tire before getting one. Do not stop making your bike from getting that amazing look and offering you the best speed.
Fat bikes or fat-tire bikes have become a big thing lately for use both on the trail and for daily commutes. Their distinct motorcycle-like tire has made people both eager and apprehensive to buy one to replace their mountain bike or to use it as a secondary option.
However, we have a few points that you can look at that will help you decide on whether or not to purchase a fat bike. These points will also help you make an informed decision on whether you can buy a mountain bike instead.
Fat bike tires outstrip most mountain bike tires by a mile, and that is because these tires grab well to terrain features because their pressure levels are lower. Fat tires are especially better for mountainous terrain because they are better climbers with a tire pressure level that is around 7 psi.
Normally mountain bike tires have pressure levels that range between 22 psi to 35 psi. If you are wondering how a tires psi levels can affect your traction, consider this.
Tires with more air in them will become harder and won’t conform to adjust with whatever they have to roll over like roots and gravel. Contrarily, tires with less air in them will become softer and conform better to whatever they have to move over.
Traction is also affected by the width of your tires and wider tires with less air will conform around objects better and make it easier to move forward.
While wider tires mean that fat bikes can move easier through rough terrain, they also mean that they will hamper bike’s speed. However, fat bikes gain most of what they lose in speed through better traction.
Unfortunately, whatever fat bikes can gain through traction will be lost through larger and heavier frames; this is mostly visible in older fat bikes. Nowadays, some fat bikes have lightweight carbon frames, and while this makes them faster than older models, they still aren’t as fast mountain bikes.
While the speed difference between modern fat bikes and mountain won’t be that bad in off-road conditions, it can become more noticeable when these are ridden on paved roads.
One of the main reasons people buy fat bikes for off-roading is that they are the most stable bike you can ride almost anywhere. No matter how fast a mountain bike can be, some people feel more comfortable with riding fat bikes simply because they are less likely to fall while on them.
Stability is also what makes beginner off-roaders prefer fat bikes, so if you are not familiar with riding on rough terrain, they are your go-to bike. If you are a more experienced rider, mountain bikes are a better option if speed really matters that much.
Many people who own fat bikes buy them because they don’t want to find themselves trapped indoors because their bike cannot handle a certain type of terrain. Since fat bike tires grip onto objects better, they can travel on almost any type of surface, be it a snowy hill, wet rock, or muddy trails.
Most of the places where you would have to get off and trek on foot when using a mountain bike, you can pedal through when riding a fat bike. Fat bikes are also great for commuting or training on rainy days as they won’t slip on wet surfaces.
The fact that you can use a fat bike in bad weather means they can be a great secondary option for mountain bike fans too.
The fat bike price range is very wide. Factors like the brand, the materials used when making the bike, and any extra features play a role in the final price of an individual bike.
On average though, fat bikes are generally more expensive than mountain bikes but that isn’t a problem if you usually buy mid to high range mountain bikes. Finding a budget fat bike is not that hard, though, as you can get one from a department store for around $500.
When buying a cheap fat bike, do not expect to get a reliable model that you can regularly use as they are far more likely to get damaged.
The fact that fat bikes plow their way through obstacles doesn’t mean they are easier to ride because they only have one speed. Unlike mountain bikes, fat bikes rarely have gears and this means they require a lot of muscle power to move forward.
Having a one-speed bike can sound like a drawback to many but this fact has a silver lining, as fat bikes can be great for training.
As you might have noticed, carbon wheels are very popular amongst road racers as almost all the pros use them. This has resulted in many people regarding carbon as the best material that can be used to manufacture bicycle wheels.
Carbon wheels are not just a thing for road cyclists, though, as more mountain bikers have started to replace their aluminum wheels with them. Wheels are probably the most important part of a bicycle as they directly after how well your bike will perform and how that riding experience will be.
One of the main reasons people choose carbon wheels over aluminum wheels is that their design performs better in the wind. Some of the best wheel manufacturers have studied how fast bicycles can go at wind tunnels and have found that carbon wheels are better at reducing drag than aluminum wheels.
Aluminum box section rims are not good at cutting through the air as their carbon counterparts and this makes it affect how fast a wheel can turn. An uneven flow of air eddy currents can make it easier for them to collide with other sections of the wheel and their force can slow you down.
Another positive point about the aerodynamics of carbon wheels is that they make your wheels become more stable. Since they have fewer imperfections and are better shaped, they create pressure on their sides when moving straight and this makes it harder for the wheel to make unnecessary turns.
When it comes to braking, carbon fiber wheels have a bad reputation, especially their earlier versions. The carbon wheel’s braking problem is quite common on long descents and trickier trails that require you to brake more often.
Most of the time, carbon wheel tires tend to blow due to heat caused by the friction between the brakes and the rims. This problem worsens when you have to ride in hot conditions as carbon is not that great at absorbing heat compared to aluminum.
This overheating problem is not something that has been reported in carbon wheels only. Some people have admitted that their tires blew due to their aluminum rims overheating but these instances are very rare.
If you are a big fan of carbon wheels, don’t worry, there are now brakes that are made specifically to reduce the risk of overheating rims. There are also techniques that you can read about on cycling forums that will help you brake more effectively and safely on carbon wheels.
Unlike aluminum, carbon rims are more likely to stay true for longer because they are built to be appropriately round and solid. Since carbon rims are built to be round from the start, being in a circular formation does not strain them.
What makes aluminum rims strain to stay in position is that they begin as straight long rods in their manufacturing process. To become round, they are bent into circular shapes; most of the time, four of these aluminum pieces are bent at the same time.
Since aluminum rims get bent easily, people who prefer them over carbon rims claim that beating them into shape is relatively easy.
When it comes to the durability of aluminum and carbon wheels, it is important to note that both materials can get severely damaged. However, carbon wheels are said to be stronger than their aluminum alternatives because they absorb impact better.
The ability to absorb impact in carbon wheels is what helps them spring back into shape even after being ridden repeatedly in rough terrain. Aluminum is also very durable and stiff but unlike carbon, this material is not adept at absorbing impact and creates microscopic cracks in wheels after every hard hit.
Over time, impact-induced microscopic cracks can create fatigue cracks on your wheel’s weak spots, such as the wades. These fatigue cracks can, in turn, result in a weaker frame and lessen your wheel’s stiffness and cause failure.
However, even though carbon is better at absorbing impact than aluminum wheels made out carbon break completely when they get hit super hard. Contrarily, aluminum wheels get bent after sustaining critical damage and can be banged into shape so you can continue with the trail.
People looking to shed a little weight from their bikes by switching to carbon wheels must be ready for a higher price tag. The common or cheap carbon wheel doesn’t weigh that much less than a good quality aluminum wheel and sometimes carbon wheels can be more expensive.
The fact that standard carbon wheels are not that light compared to aluminum wheels shouldn’t be a drawback. Lightweight carbon wheels are more likely to break after sustaining heavy impacts.