Buying The Right Gear

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There are loads of bicycle and bicycle related products on the market. Some flashy. Some useful. Many expensive. Unless your wallet supplies an endless source of funds for your riding, follow these simple tips to ensure you get what you really need and what will work to suit you. Heck, even if you do have a bottomless wallet of cash, our tips are still worth following.

COMPONENTS

If you’re a mountain biker, the most important thing to remember is that your components are likely to break. There are rocks, sticks and trees all around the trail and everyone, pro of novice, is bound to hit one of them at some point in time. So consider the components you have and upgrade wisely: the most expensive and lightest parts may not be the right choice for you.

TYRES

There are a great many choices of tyre in the marketplace. You’ll be tempted with different rubber compounds and widths, tread patterns and volumes. Some are suitable for hard, dry conditions. Others for wet and muddy conditions. You also need to consider tyres that are reliable versus tyres that are light.

More reliable tyres have thicker sidewalls which protect against sharp rocks cutting them, which could could mean the difference between carrying your bike home and riding off into the sunset. However, thicker sidewalls make tyres heavier.

Tubeless or with tubes? Well, that may be your preference but our general rule of thumb is that when there are thorns around, better to be rolling tubeless filled with a couple of cups of sealant. Punctures are just no fun at all.

26er or 29er? Or, while we’re on the subject, 27.5er (650B)?

Could there ever have been a more passionate debate in the history of bicycle riding? We simply cannot get into every angle of the debate but there are some some fast facts:

Due to the shallower angle of approach that a larger diameter allows, 29ers roll over rocks and ruts and tree stumps far easier, faster and with more grace than 26ers. But the larger diameter wheels of a 29er require a bit more effort to push uphill, and so will elevate your heart rate.

Which is faster, more nimble and where on earth do 27.5ers fit into the picture (apart from right in the middle of the debate)? The internet is filled with opinions and reviews. We suggest that the best way to find what’s most suitable for you is to test out a few bikes. If anything, it’ll mean more riding. And that’s a good thing in anyone’s books.

TOOLS

A good multitool is essential riding gear. Buy one that has all the Hex (Allen) keys to fit your bike’s bolts and you’ll be able to perform many basic trail-side tasks and even some not-so-basic tasks. Try and find a tool that also has a chain breaker, invaluable should your chain snap one day.

CLOTHING

Not too tight. Just right. When you’re looking for a cycling shorts make sure that what you choose follows this simple mnemonic. You want the padded insert to fit in the right place and not move around at all. Things moving round down there cause chaffing which turn a pleasant riding experience into a painful one.