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Bike Top Tips
· What kind of bike is right for you?
Make sure that the bike is suitable for your intended use; for example be realistic in what you intend to use it for. If you intend to ride mainly on the road then a mountain bike with be much harder work and will be slower during races, what you really need is a road bike or a flat bared fitness bike. The correct choice of bike for the experience will also make sure that you have the right gearing and component set-up. Also make sure that the shop determine the correct size of bike for you as this will make your riding experience more comfortable and efficient.
· Bike set up and maintenance is key
When purchasing the bike ask the shop to make sure your saddle height, bar height and reach are correct for you as you need to be set correctly to enjoy your bike.
There are a few things that your need to check on fairly regularly tyre pressure and chain lubrication are the key ones these will make sure you bike is running efficiently and prolong the lifespan of these areas. Every six to nine months it would be worth taking the bike back to get it serviced by a trained professional they will make sure all the bolts are tight, chain and cassette aren’t too worn, wheels are straight and get the bike back in fine working order.
· What kind of helmet do you need?
The first thing you need to consider when looking for a cycling helmet is whether its cycling specific? This is really important as it will effect whether it have passed the correct safety standard for its intended use. The cycling industry uses Snell and Ansi to determine whether a helmet is safe to use for its intended application.
Once you have asked these questions it will come down to the fit on your head, the level of ventilation it will provide and also the weight of the product, although styling will come into it the other features should always take priority as it a piece of safety equipment first and foremost. You will have to wear a helmet from the moment you remove your bike in its position in transition until you return it. Remember, no helmet -- no race!
· Bike shoes – what are the benefits of riding with cleats?
Most cyclists start off riding in a trainer of some description but as much as this is a good starting point it’s not the most efficient shoe as the sole will flex around the pedal and may cause some discomfort to the foot and will cause some misalignment to the leg. Cycling shoes are available in a number of different forms ranging from the more casual design through to the flash race shoes that your see on professional riders. All of these shoes will offer an increase in comfort due to the stiffer sole as well as better power transfer to the pedals, although the soles are stiff they aren’t too stiff that you can’t still walk in them.
The next progression would be clipless pedals these will increase efficiency even further as the foot is fixed to the pedals allowing less movement in either the down or up stroke of pedalling. For Off Road riding they also make sure the foot is more stable on the pedal so as not to slip in wet conditions and the rider can also pull upwards so as to hop the bike with practise over any obstacles that may arise on the trail.
· Why have a carbon bike? What are the advantages?
Carbon is a fantastic material for bikes as it allows the engineer to fine tune all aspects of the bike to enhance the overall ride. Since carbon fibre has been introduced to cycling it has allowed brands to utilise tube shapes depending on what they need to offer the rider, for example with Triathlon bikes we can create shapes which will cut through the air allowing you to ride faster. They can also increase the stiffness in certain area to allow for better power transfer and reduce weight from other areas making the bike easier to ride over the hills on. Most cycle brands believe carbon fibre is the future for bikes and believe in time the technology will trick down to lower price points, making it even more accessible to consumers.
· How well can you ride your bike?
Many people just train the fitness aspect of their cycling, but there is a great deal of value in adding in a bike skills session to your weekly training. The more relaxed you are on the bike in difficult condition the more energy you’ll save allowing you to ride fast. Most Professional cyclists will place at least one session a week working on this, although quite often Off Road racers will work more closely on these skills as it can be the difference between winning and losing a race. Also these sessions are a chance to experiment with tyre pressure and equipment choices, and for the Off Roader suspension set-up.
The bike is an essential piece of equipment for triathlon, but as long as it's roadworthy you don't have to have a racing bike to start with. We do recommend it fits you properly though.