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Make sure your bike fits! To get both the best performance and enjoyment from cycling, regardless of whether you're riding for fun or to win, a properly fitted bike is a must. So, how do you fit a bike?
A properly sized bike allows you to extend your leg as far as possible without completely straightening your knee—if saddle is too low, you won't be able to achieve this optimum leg extension. And, you should be able to straddle the frame with both feet flat and still have a bit of clearance.
One step below a full spectrum custom bicycle are custom adjusted frame sets with custom bike parts. A custom adjusted frameset is one in which the dealer can give you the ability to choose from a number of frame options (like short or long top tubes, and extra stiff bottom bracket or custom braze-ons).
*The benefit of a custom adjusted frameset is that it can improve the fit and feel of a bicycle at a lesser cost than the fully custom built frame.
Want to ride, ride, ride, without ending up with a sore back and booty? You might want to try the strangest bicycle on the road today—the recumbent bicycle (the word ‘recumbent' refers to its chair-shaped seat position, with the pedals out in front of the rider).
These vehicles have been around since before the turn of the century and they're actually a very ergonomic way to ride – no sore backs or butts. It makes them very good for extended rides.
A quality full spectrum custom frame calls for a frame builder who has the expertise and skill to pick and choose each and every piece of metal to fit your specifications. In order to best learn what the client's needs are, the frame builder will interview the rider and conduct fit sessions that will uncover the right direction to go for that particular client.
*To find the right frame builder for you, you should conduct some interviews of your own to find the bike-building partner that feels best to you.
Historically, women have had a tougher time fitting themselves for a quality bike. And shorter women often find it even more difficult. The main problem is that even though most women are smaller than men, they often have longer legs. Shorter women will find that a frame with an appropriate seat tube length will leave them unable to reach the handlebars. Many good manufacturers are making women's bikes to accommodate body differences. Just keep on testing bikes until you find the right fit. And don't only limit yourself to women's bikes either. Try everything. Being overstretched on a ride will cause stress to your arms, back and shoulders.
Don't underestimate the effort put into a custom bike! For the amount of hours it takes to build a custom bike from the ground up, the investment is really quite reasonable. Custom bikes take as much as four times the man-hours of most production bikes. A basic custom frameset can take as many as thirty hours to produce.
* You can really make your bike suit you. Did you know that highly customized models can include intricately carved or polished lugs and wild paint jobs?
If you've made a trip to a serious bicycle shop lately, you've probably noticed that bicycles have gotten a lot more complicated. It's hard to know what to buy without first thinking about how you will be riding. Ask yourself these questions before making a selection:
• Will you use the bike on paved roads or on trails?
• Will you be traveling long distances?
• Is comfort or performance most important?
Once you know the answer to these questions, the pros in the bike shop can lead you to the type of bicycle for you. Over time, and once the bug has caught you, you can buy another bike that fulfills what the first bike doesn't (that is, if you weren't completely satisfied).
Go on, get your kid a bike! When buying a bike for your child, however, don't be tempted to follow the same rule of thumb as when buying clothes. Buying a bike that's too big and hoping they'll grow into is just not a good idea. Riding a bike that is too large is dangerous, uncomfortable, and difficult. To make sure that you choose a bike that is the right size for your child:
• Have your child straddle the bike (standing over the crossbar) with his or her feet on the ground
• If the bike is of a light or medium weight, allow a minimum of 2cm between your child's crotch and the crossbar
• If the bike is heavy, there should be at least 5cm between your child's crotch and the crossbar
For the novice rider, a custom bike isn't necessarily worth the investment (mostly because they are not yet to a point where they know exactly what they want and need). For the experienced cyclist, however, there's nothing cooler than a custom bike, made to fit one rider (and built to certain aesthetics as well).
*Before you invest in one of these bikes know that they tend to be both pricey and timely—don't be surprised if your bike takes a few months to build.
Do you know the difference? Many people mistake a custom made bicycle with a customized bike. Take note of the differences:
• Customized bikes are bought with components and accessories then added to
• Custom bikes are built for the owner, made to fit specific body specs and usage
If you are really hooked on cycling, the investment of a custom bike might be well worth your while. Often you can spend just as much on an expensive off-the-shelf bike as you can on the custom one (especially if you're going to change and accessorize it anyway).
|Sheri Ann Richerson|