Archive | September, 2012

What does it all mean?

15 Sep

Anyone that knows me knows that I mainly ride road bikes and cyclocross. However, I am no slouch on the mountain bike either. Some of you may be familiar with the “Epic” rides in Bville. A few years ago I had a free Sunday and decided to ride up to the event to participate. While on the trail I had an interesting encounter with a guy that has really stayed with me. We were about halfway and I had just pulled into the halfway stop that was well stocked with cookies. I had just passed a bunch of dudes a few miles back that seemed to be struggling.

As they came into the rest stop one of them rolled over to me. He was riding a really nice bike from a brand that will not be named. The bike was cool; very expensive, but not right for the Ozarks at all. He asked me how I could ride those trails on a hard tail. We talked for a while and the more I talked to him the more it was evident that he really had no idea how to ride a mountain bike and that his machine was no where near the bike he needed. I asked him where he got his bike and he relayed that he had read a review of it in a magazine and then had a local shop order it for him. As I finished the ride I lamented the series of events that led him to buy the wrong bike.

Bikes have come a long way from the days of the penny farthing. Pick up a product catalog from about any main bike brand today and I bet you will be surprised by how many different bike models they offer. Not to mention the various accessories and paraphernalia that come along.

Cycling as an activity/sport is constantly evolving too. This evolution calls for new innovations and developments in products that can meet the demands of the participants. The constant evolution of the sport has brought about a plethora of different types of bikes that address a specific niche in the cycling market. Originally you had the velocipede and then the safety bike. More recently in the last quarter of the 20th century road,mountain, and 20inch were the basic categories.

Through the following years we saw the family tree sprout many more branches. Now we have road, endurance road, aero road, TT, Triathlon, Touring, Cyclocross, randoneering, commuting bikes, cargo bikes, work bikes, petticabs, and a myriad of other ridiculous combinations of these to round out the pavement side of things. On the mountain bike branch we have XC race, trail, freeride, all mountain, downhill, four cross, dirt jump, trials, and some others I am sure have been invented in the last couple of days. Now multiply all these times 2.35 to accommodate all the tire and wheel sizes we have now. I lump all 20 inch bikes into the same category because I just don’t know much about them. Sorry 20 inchers.

Wow…where was I going with this anyway???

Oh yeah, so many times we see the scenario play out that a novice cyclist comes into the shop. Maybe they have been riding for a year or so and they want to get a new bike. Thanks to the marketing depts. of the big companies they normally have the wrong idea about what they want and or need because of something they read in a magazine.

Sometimes it is a good idea to step back from what is printed in the mags and think for a minute. Do these guys know me or where I’m from?

Who am I.
What type of rider am I.
Where will I be riding.

No-one can know everything there is to know about all the brands out there but what you can know is how does the terrain where you live affect your bike purchase. As a local bike shop we ride the trails in and around Northwest Arkansas. In many instances we have been instrumental in the construction and maintenance of the trails. Unlike a junior editor in a office on the west coast we can intelligently talk about the specifics of the terrain we have locally and guide the buying decision in a good way.

Thanks for reading,
Branton

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