soulrider steel mtb

What bicycles brands are the best?

Do you want to know which bike brand is the best? I’ll tell you, but please bear with me. The term “best” does not exist. There are various types of bikes, made of various materials, for a wide range of people. What is the best automobile brand? To me, it’s Koenigsegg, which I can’t afford and would never buy, despite my admiration for the car and the company. Never put your trust in or be overly loyal to any brand. Profit drives the creation and demise of businesses. I have no sympathy for bike manufacturers because I learn from my mistakes. Do not buy a bike based solely on customer reviews. Almost every review on the internet or in the media is either “sponsored” or based on unscientific data. This is the “quality” side of the equation. Making the best… Continue Reading What bicycles brands are the best?

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copper grease anti seize agent

2 must-have chemicals for any mechanic: thread lock and copper grease

Copper grease and thread lock compound. Now, you can dismiss đŸ™‚ Or, if you want to know why you need them, stick with me a little longer. If you have a look at the image, you’ll see an ordinary socket hexagon bolt. If you look closely, you’ll notice a tiny hole in it, indicating that it’s not a standard item. When I received my first disc brake set with mounting hardware, I was surprised to discover a very fine wire in the box and wondered what it was. Strangely, even on brand-new bikes, I never saw that wire. It’s a preventative measure against bolts slackening and falling off and causing catastrophic damage to your bike and you: that wire is threaded through two bolt holes and tied together: if they slacken a bit, the wire will not let any further… Continue Reading 2 must-have chemicals for any mechanic: thread lock and copper grease

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wheeltop wireless derailleur mtb 12 speed

Mysterious disappearance of Chinese electronic rear derailleur, WheelTop EDS OX

I’m annoyed by electronic drivetrains, because of their vendor lock nature: you cannot use shifters from any other manufacturer, though it is perfectly OK to implement. But the most annoying part is, they are designed to make you spend more. There is no reason for an 11s electronic rear derailleur to mismatch with a 10s cassette. Anyone who knows a few about electronics already knows it’s very easy to make it work with ANY cassette. Jockey cogs will need replacement, but that’s a very easy obstacle to handle properly. WheelTop is the first manufacturer that came out with a decent design, that is advertised to work with 7 to 12-speed cassettes. Now, the product disappeared, even from the company website. I won’t be surprised to know they had troubles with Sram, maybe Shimano. Thing is, I’m sick of patent trolling.… Continue Reading Mysterious disappearance of Chinese electronic rear derailleur, WheelTop EDS OX

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mobil aviation grease e1664053783850

Lubes, oils, greases and fluids for your bike

Let’s start with a very, very hard to differenciate terms: what is a lube, or lubricant, and what makes it different from an oil ? That’s quite hard to distinguish, so follow me: Lubricant is a general term, which also covers oils. Oil is a misnomer, which was already available before synthetic oils, which is a misnomer, too(!). There is no such thing as “synthetic oil”, for a start: it’s a synthetic lubricant, as “carrier base” is not oil. Oil is …very, very petroleum-related thing. So, forget about “oils”; they are total misnomers, but here is some handy stuff to know: if some lubricant has “oil” in its name, that means it is used internally! Like, engine oil: it’s in the engine crankcase, you don’t wash your engine with engine oil. You pour it into engine. (right?). Like gear oil.… Continue Reading Lubes, oils, greases and fluids for your bike

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used bike lot

How many bikes you need?

At some point, when you’ re into bikes, you may feel that one bike is not enough… I’d never buy a fatbike to ride as a “primary” bike, but it certainly has its charm and use. Maybe you’ re living in a city and hybrid bike is perfect for you, but for some time, you may want to ride fast on asphalt with a slick road bike, or want to jump around with an MTB. I’d probably have like 10 bikes at a time, if money and storage permits. This is sick, considering there are 3 types of bikes and their variants. This is my classification of course: #1 is road bikes, these are like hypercars: you need good, slick roads and preferably superb weather to enjoy them. Speed and adrenaline is the thing, and they just don’t go fast,… Continue Reading How many bikes you need?

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campagnolo groupset anniversery

Does it make sense to buy racing spec groupsets like XTR, Dura Ace or Super Record?

It’ s common to use “durability”, “resilience”, “strength”, even “repairability” interchangeably. Formula 1 engines, depending on conditions, last as low as 1000 km’s. However, they have enormous strength – even the best performance car engine parts cannot stand those conditions a few seconds. An old Mercedes diesel engine can last over a million kilometers; they were extremely durable and repairable. For bike parts, that’s a bit more complicated, or straightforward, depending on how you approach the case. Bike components does not have to endure huge amount shock, except the …shocks. When you buy and wear out a bike component, it’ s hard to say when it becomes “useless” or “dangerous to operate”. If you’ re happily riding an old 7×3 Tourney bike, going out for short rides slowly and enjoying the scenery, this bike can serve you for life. On… Continue Reading Does it make sense to buy racing spec groupsets like XTR, Dura Ace or Super Record?

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Shimano Tourney TY-501 42-34-24T 3x8 crankset, box contents I bought a Shimano Tourney TY-501 crankset

While building a “road bike” for my trainer, I needed a crankset with 3 chainrings bigger chainring being 48t at least. It must be cheap, too, because it will be ridden on trainer only, and I’ve almost all the parts for a 8×3 groupset. I looked for a suitable second hand road crank. Not to mention 3 chainring versions are no easy find. Then I quit searching, and decided to look for a brand new, Chinese brand 8×3 crankset. Such cranksets are almost at the price range of a Tourney, so I made a new plan: my wife have a hybrid bike with a Tourney 48-38-28 crankset. This is a big bike with 29 wheels, and this setup is ridiculously big for bike and my wife. So I decided to buy her a Tourney crankset with smaller chainrings, and get… Continue Reading I bought a Shimano Tourney TY-501 crankset

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mtb dropbar

An ultimate guide to converting MTB to dropbars, or a road bike

I’ ve come across these questions a lot: can I convert an MTB to a road bike? Is it possible to convert an MTB to a gravel, or a cyclocross bike? No short answer to this; and this will be a long read about why should go ahead, or stop, or what are the disadvantages to this conversion? Which frames work best, which don’t; including a short primer on road bikes. What is the purpose of a road bike? This may sound as a stupid question, but in order to start a conversion, we have to determine if our idea makes sense in the first place. A road bike is designed for efficiency: it aims to reduce drag, which is very, very, very pronounced after especially 30 km/h, and let the rider pedal more efficiently. For a rider to go… Continue Reading An ultimate guide to converting MTB to dropbars, or a road bike

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peugeot randonneur bike

My random ideas and tips on touring and touring bikes

I (unfortunately) did not go long tours (yet). Yet, I travelled quite long distances, and tried lots of bikes and equipment. This blog post is not a structured, or an in-depth one, but includes some useful tips. Bike frames You don’t need a super fancy bike to cover long distances, but a nice bike helps drastically. It doesn’t matter if it’s steel or aluminium, but carbon fiber is a risky frame material: it collapses without a prior warning, and impacts can internally damage frames. While you’ re bike touring, your bike will fall eventually, even it is standing still, because of unbalanced loads, etc. Get a bike with long chainstays. Longer chainstays not just provide comfort, but also makes the bike more grounded. Added benefit is, your feet won’t rub to your panniers. Stay away from carbon forks. If you… Continue Reading My random ideas and tips on touring and touring bikes

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dtswiss thru axle

Newer bike standards that are actually good

We started to see emerging new “standards” or “tech” especially in the last decade. Most of them are vaporware, causes more problems and confusion then to provide a solution to problems they address. I’ll try to see the brighter side today. There are some standards that are actually needed. Stupidly, most of them tries to fix some problems that were non-existant before. It’s still good to solve a problem, without thinking about the causes, or who messed it up in the first place: Thru axles: Thru axles is a nice idea, and it solves 2 problems: one is the one with disc brakes, and the other one is about cup and cone bearing hubs. QR (Quick release) is quite an old piece of ….technology, first made by Campagnolo. I never liked it a bit, because you are compressing the hub… Continue Reading Newer bike standards that are actually good

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comfortable bike John Eisenschenk

What is a comfortable bike, my personal view

At some point, for some time, you become obsessed with weight…you, and your bike’s weight. A long while ago, I decided to build a bike for everyday use, very lightweight, without breaking the bank. The frame I chose was a very low end, 1″ headtube “MTB” frame. We bought 2 bikes almost 10 years ago, while walking nearby a bike shop with my wife. Thought it was fun, there was not much money in our pockets, so we bought the cheapest ones. They were identical; mine is gray, wife has the white. The highest end part of these bikes were Shimano 3×7 grip shifters, along with Shimano Tourney rear derailleurs, and that’s all. The front “suspension” fork is 2.8 kg; and surprisingly, crankset weights almost 1.5kg’s without bottom brackets! It was a good candidate, because I know even just replacing… Continue Reading What is a comfortable bike, my personal view

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ghetto conversion alex derr

A quite non-technical word on tubeless tires, ghetto conversions mostly

One day on a long ride, I thought “how nice it would be, if there were tubeless bicycle tires”. I came back home, got a wheel, removed rim tape, and started rolling gorilla tape around it. A few times. Then, I got an old inner tire, cut around  the valve, and taped it to the rim same way. I have some spare tires around. Put one on, ran the compressor, and after about 30 minutes and lots of detergent dispersing, my first ghetto tubeless conversion done! I was so sure nobody thought it before, and was very proud of myself. Then did a Youtube search, and shamefully, lots of videos came up, mostly about ghetto tubeless conversions! For a long time, I was very happy with my conversion, in fact, I even ordered some fancy latex compounds that claims to… Continue Reading A quite non-technical word on tubeless tires, ghetto conversions mostly

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trash bike 1

How to buy a second hand bike

Buying a second hand bike is hard, especially if you don’t have a checklist and prior experience with it. I never buy assembled,complete bikes, be it second hand or brand new, in the last decade. I have lots of spare parts, including frames and forks. Funny but when I need (want) a particular bike type, I may take apart the one that I’m using most, replace the parts, and have a totally new one. Or, just put together a new one with the parts I already have, maybe buying some replacement parts or accessories on the way. This what you’ll do in time, if your passion for bikes don’t die out. Making a bike out of parts is neither cheap or easy. It takes a lot of time, you have to stock lots of parts, hence need a decent amount… Continue Reading How to buy a second hand bike

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bearings in bikes

Bearings in bicycles: cup and cone, cartridge bearings, ceramic etc

Bearings is a hot topic for me, as for many bikeheads. Being a former mechanic worked on quite a lot of engines, cars and bikes, I had lots of experience with them; especially why and how they fail. Understanding bearings is useful if you’ re shopping, replacing parts – because, when you buy a particular component, like hubs or cranksets, you’ re also getting a certain kind of bearing type, which directly effects performance, longevity and of course, price of the component on the long run. There are many “half-truths” or bullshit regarding bearings in bike industry. But let me quickly explain types of bearings used in bikes. 1.Cup and cone bearings Shimano’s favorite hub bearing type. This is the best bearing type for hubs: it rolls nice, cheap, and handles both radial and axial forces best. This is a… Continue Reading Bearings in bicycles: cup and cone, cartridge bearings, ceramic etc

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sram force e tap axs 1x electronic groupset

Why electronic groupsets like Shimano Di2 are the future?

For years, many photographers insisted on DSLRs and ignored mirrorless cameras. Then, something very silly happened: camera makers started making mirrorless cameras with a DSLR “hunch”. Now, everybody is flocking to mirrorless cameras, selling their perfectly fine DSLRs for pocket money and grabbing mirrorless cameras at highly inflated prices. Why? People doesn’t like change. But when it’s unavoidable, or that change provides real opportunities, they follow the crowd. Electronic groupsets is good for ordinary people like you and me. The reason is not the groupset itself: they’re heavier and more expensive. Thing is, in Shimano-speak, they are capable of “syncro-shifting”. For those who don’t know what it is, it automatically adjusts gears so that each consecutive gear combination that is selected is the perfect combination. Let’s say you have hypothetical 3s chainrings, namely A,B,C; A being the biggest chainring. Then… Continue Reading Why electronic groupsets like Shimano Di2 are the future?

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zhtu 1024x1024@2x

In depth look to cheap Chinese cycling computer, XOSS G

I was on the lookout for a cheap, GPS cycling computer when I first saw XOSS G / G+. I used Strava with my smartphone for about 2 years. It was bulky, battery drain was too much because of GPS and huge screen, and not nice when you fall down, crash, or in any case of rainfall. Garmin or Polar units was nice, but needlessly expensive. Besides, no mapping functionality needed. XOSS came to life as a KickStarter project and mass production began in 2019, August. I’m not sure if XOSS was the first introduce sub-50$ GPS enabled unit (XOSS G is on sale now, currently 25$), but they democratised the access to GPS enabled cycling computers. It’s not sold in here, I didn’t want to wait AliExpress which may take up to 2 months, so I bought one second… Continue Reading In depth look to cheap Chinese cycling computer, XOSS G

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Crash, fall and death preventation for new riders

Luckily, I crashed and did many stupid things with bikes when I was a kid. Not as much as a BMX kid, though. I think what I did right about biking is, I learnt how to fall.  I fell a lot when I was a kid, but did fell 2 times in last 10 years. When you’re at my age, 47, knowing how to fall down is a great asset, but still best to avoid – I take absolutely zero risk. Mind you, that it’s unavoidable and will happen to you sooner or later. When I was a kid, I tried all stupid things my imagination let me, but if I start riding now, I wouldn’t commit such atrocities. When you are 12, you heal faster – both physically and mentally. There are lots of dangers and pitfalls for riders.… Continue Reading Crash, fall and death preventation for new riders

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Bike Buyers Guide for first time buyers, first time riders

Buying a bike is like completing a university degree for experienced riders, while its a piece of cake for first time riders. First time buyers generally get the cheapest bike from a supermarket, thinking its a good deal, because it is cheap, and has two wheels anyway. Cheap bikes sold in supermarkets are the most expensive bike you can get, because almost %95, they are ridden only once, and left to rot. In that sense, even a $10.000 road bike is probably cheaper, because you ride every day, and that changes your life, and makes you a healthier person, both physically and psychologically. Another downside of getting a junk bike is, you never feel the joy of riding a bike, so you don’t ride anymore. I had many hobbies in my lifetime, and as a rule of thumb, I started… Continue Reading Bike Buyers Guide for first time buyers, first time riders

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