The prime material for making bikes changed two times in my era, first steel to aluminium, then aluminium to carbon fiber. Aluminium is still the most common frame material today, but that can and will change, depending on energy prices, mostly: making carbon fiber is a very energy intensive process, even more than aluminium, which is also a big sucker. Common means not necessarily the best. I worked with steel and aluminium a lot, I’m always inclined to use steel whenever I build something, because I know the material better, and few more advantages, like easy weldability. I also love carbon fiber, because it’s a material that has so much good characteristics to dismiss. What I like about composites like carbon fiber, or fiberglass is that you can use the same tools, same know-how and same aptitude amongst them. Interestingly,… Continue Reading Carbon fiber bikes and components + AmplitexContinue reading
Category: Buying Guides
Shopping for bikes, bike apparel, bike tools, or just parts is complex – unlike computers or even car parts like tires, scientific-based data is almost non-existent, and reviews are shallow and based on pamphlets and PR agency materials.
I’m pissed off by the fact that riding a bike is considered a performance-based, super competitive thing because converting a casual rider to a performance-obsessed individual makes more profit for everybody else. I worked for newspapers, and social media agencies and know how things work.
I need money like everybody else; I’m a middle-aged programmer and bikes are my most prominent hobby – I make enough money to live a quite nice and comfortable life, being frugal and smart: I drive my father’s car, which is 22 years old! I sold my own car because it was a money pit. Instead of buying a new car and spending huge sums of money to maintain it, I mastered repairing and maintaining it instead – it’s safe, cheap, and distracts my mind.
As a coder, I strived in making things performant, efficient, and bleeding edge. This is a tiring mindset, and I come across people riding bikes just to relieve stress. That was my main motive, too. For fellow riders, I’m trying to make things simpler, cheaper, easier to maintain, worry-free, and thus enjoyable.
Honest and ethical reviews only – I never talked about, or will talk about anything I’ve already owned, used for a decent amount of time, either bought myself, or get as a gift. That doesn’t mean I’m against people or media accepting things for review – but I’m not OK with “reviews” that pretty much sounds like a press release. Buyers are not stupid too, and those “PR reviews” don’t work.
What is a Dutch bike ?
When you talk comfort and bike, people automatically think about a Dutch bike. What is a Dutch bike? There are some certain design elements, some accesories associated with them. Obviously, “Dutch bikes” are made in almost every countries. The design itself is very polarising: some find it silly, some call it dad bike, some say they’re extremely comfortable and versatile. The Netherlands is known as a bikers’ paradise, everybody rides bikes, all the time (which is wrong!). Netherlands is a small and relatively flat company with high GDP: that means, traffic congestion is no surprise. And also, bikes are worthwhile: in a very flat land with relatively short distances, why not? Dutch bikes, a specific bike for a specific need So, what’s distinctive about Dutch bikes? Weird frames Almost all Dutch bikes have thick, steel frames, and majority of… Continue Reading What is a Dutch bike ?Continue reading
Training indoors with smart trainers, and lots of confusion
Buying a trainer for the first time was hard for me: I didn’t understand what features does each model have. I don’t like watching millions of YouTube videos to buy something, and at least 3-4 years ago, it was very hard to buy one without shelling out lots of dollars. Yet, I figure out one important thing, which was critical to me at the time… My original plan was to use Zwift. Whole thing evolved around Zwift for some time…until I used it twice. More on that later, too. I’m not a trainer expert by any means, and I don’t think I’ll be too interested in riding indoors in the future. My motive here is to explain what they are, and what they do, which took me a lot to understand. Nowadays, it looks much easier, because all models I… Continue Reading Training indoors with smart trainers, and lots of confusionContinue reading
What is Shimano’s Di2 in detail, first successful electronic shifting system
Electronic shifting is not a Shimano invention, but it’s Shimano who did it commercially viable. It all started with Shimano Dura Ace 7970 Di2 in 2009, for road bikes, then came the XTR version for MTB, GRX for gravel bikes, and Alfine Di2 for gear hubs. First Di2, Dura Ace 7970 Di2 and newer Di2 versions are totally incompatible: the 5 plug version is very simplistic: it’s just wires connected to switches and derailleurs across junction boxes. Newer Di2 versions though, use CAN bus for communication between components. CAN bus is known for its extensive use in all modern cars, and became the norm for even the cheapest ones in late 2000’s. But CAN bus, being a data communication protocol, can be used in anything, and it is, including machinery. Unlike Sram’s eTap, which is designed to be wireless… Continue Reading What is Shimano’s Di2 in detail, first successful electronic shifting systemContinue reading
Are Men’s vs. Women’s Bikes different ? A binary discussion.
We are at the same height as my wife. When I stand next to her bike, her bike’s saddle height is longer than my hips. That bike has also weird handlebars like a Dutch city bicycle. I have relatively long legs compared to men, yet my legs are noticeably shorter compared to hers. I also have relatively shorter arms, but I can reach my handlebars comfortably, yet her riding position on my hardtail is like a road bike stance. That tells a story. Until recently, biking was considered a men’s sport, and women should pose half-naked on bikes that are meant to be built for men – “bike chicks” was a cultural phenomenon. I’m not racist or sexist by any means, and I’d still happily admit if I were – not because I adore myself as most people do, or… Continue Reading Are Men’s vs. Women’s Bikes different ? A binary discussion.Continue reading
Folding bikes – advantages and disadvantages
My first 2-wheel bike was a folding bike, because it was immensely popular when I was a child, and there was no proper child bikes in my country. I can now understand why they were so popular: it’s hugely adjustable to any size, and very easy to manufacture unless it’s Brompton, the gold standard of folding bikes. I have a thing for folding bikes as it was my first proper bike, but in reality, folding bikes are not proper bikes. They seemingly have lots of advantages, but that’s not right. It’s like running a bike repair business with a multitool: a multitool seemingly solves all problems no more than a pocket knife, it’s cheap and you don’t need to switch tools. Well, try fixing your bike with one, then we can talk about it! They can serve well as a… Continue Reading Folding bikes – advantages and disadvantagesContinue reading
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?Continue reading
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?Continue reading
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?Continue reading
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 goodContinue reading
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 viewContinue reading
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 bikeContinue reading
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 ridersContinue reading