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SUNDAY - GONE RIDING !

Monday
Mar112013

Monday MTB with Mash - Tyre Pressure. 


You the rider are connected to your bike at three points: the pedals, the grips and the saddle. Your bike handles terrain through gearing, brakes and suspension, while the bike as a whole is connected to the trail through tyres. Without good grip from your tyres the rest of your bike is being held back.

Tyre selection is a whole article on its own and choice varies so much from what you want out of your tyre, your riding style and budget. This week I have decided to help you get the most out of your tyres regardless on what you are using however each specific tyre available have their own strengths and limitations.

Air pressure. Simple. Easy. Cheap. Free.

That's all that is needed to adjust the performance out of your tyres. All you need is a pump with an air gauge (this is important so if you don't have one you can actually buy gauges on their own) and a pen and paper.

When someone asks me what pressure they should be running in their tyres it's a hard question to answer, as tyre size, construction, rim width, rider style, types of trails to be ridden and rider weight all come into play.

Too little air pressure and the tyre will fold over potentially causing problems such as pinch flats or rolling too much around the rim potentially causing a crash, not to mention rolling quite slowly making it hard to keep up with friends.

Too much pressure on the other hand has its own series of issues. This is more common for most riders as they all focus on minimising rolling resistance to go faster. We are not riding on the road, we need traction on the dirt. If a tyre has too much air in it the tyre can lose traction from the tyre not being able to conform around the shape of the rocks and roots on the trails. When climbing this can mean the wheels can start spinning, losing momentum and making it harder to clean a section. On the descent it makes it harder to steer and turn as the tyre wants to skip and slide everywhere you don't want to be.

Everything is a balance and tyre pressure is the same. To find your Goldilocks tyre pressure you need to head out to your local trail and find a small section or loop that has a good representation of what you ride regularly. If you look at the side of your tyre it will say what the minimum and maximum air pressure should be. Deflate your tyres to the minimum (or close to) and record the air pressure on the paper. Go for a spin and see how it goes. Most likely too little air right? If you have any particular notes then write them down and repeat this process again with an extra 2 psi in the tyre. Keep going until you feel like there is too much air in them and you are starting to skip around. Looking at your notes you should see a pressure range that is the best balance for you and your needs. This is the same for cross country riders as it is for downhill riders.
This is a good start for most people. If you want to get a little bit more then try different pressures for the front and back. I find on my bikes I like my front tyre with a little less pressure for more traction and a bit more in the rear for rolling and pinch flat resitance.

Keep your notes and if you ride in different areas and conditions (mud vs hard dry pack) you might have to adjust accordingly. Same goes if you get different tyres. One tip I recommend is to always use the same pump or gauge to keep up tyre pressure accuracy. This is only useful if you check your tyre pressure regularly.

The biggest problem is we just pump up our tyres and set and forget.

Tyres and tubes can and do leak air slowly, how much depends on what you have so a quick tyre check before you head out can help you get the most out of your ride.

See you on the trails,

Mash

Friday
Mar082013

Washo's Puncture Challenge 

Over the coming months, Washo will be testing out different tyres for durability and puncture resistance.

The tyres will be tested on local roads, in real weather conditions.

The first tyre to be put to the test is the Specialized Roubaix Pro 23/25mm (23mm wide, 25mm high). Fitted to DT Swiss wheels with Specialized 48mm PV tubes and Talcum Powder.

How many kilometres until Washo gets his first puncture? Let's find out....

Monday
Mar042013

Monday MTB with Mash.

Handlebars.

The handlebars on your bike don't normally get a rider's attention when you are more likely to be worried about your suspension, are my gears working properly, my brakes are squeaking...you get the drift. The only time you think about your bars is if they are straight or not. However changing your bar and stem can change how a bike feels and handles.

The current trend in bikes over the last few years have been bars to get wider and stems to get shorter. The question you are wondering is what is too wide? The answer is not that easy unfortunately. As each of us are different heights, our arms are different lengths and riding style vary. What I do know is that going wider and shorter can benefit most people. If you have had your bike for a few years now chances are you have handlebars narrower than 680mm and a stem longer than 80-90mm. Development of cross country and in particular the trail and all-mountain bike segments that most of us fit into has changed its focus a little as trails have changed as well. Some of the older trails up nail can can be pretty tight and narrow while newer trails are starting to show a bit more flow for riders to carry their speed. This is a trend that has been mirrored around the world. To match this mountain bikes in the short to mid travel range (110-150mm) have become much more capable climbers while still being able to race down the descents. Lower bottom brackets and more relaxed head angles on bikes make the difference on the frame while the bar and stem change how we are able to direct these bikes where to go.
For a rider of average height switching from a bar that is 660mm wide to 710mm should also shorten their stem into the range of 70-80mm long. The reasoning behind this as the bar gets wider your arms reach out forcing you to lean forwards. Shortening the stem brings the body back into that familiar position yout are used to. For those that are more aggressive in their approach or taller than can consider going wider and shorter again to 750mm wide and using a 50mm stem. This starts becoming closer to the setup of a gravity based rider.
Now you are wondering why would I do this? My bike handles fine as it is? Well getting a wider arm position uses your muscles differently. The wider arm position uses your pecs and shoulders more while narrower uses your triceps. Going a wider bar appropriate for you can find a good balance in the middle therefore spreading the work and making you more efficient. Going to wider bars can offer more leverage when climbing or negotiating rough sections. This is especially helpful when riding a 29er with their bigger wheels.
A shorter stem makes the steering more responsive and feels balanced with a wider bar. Some riders will feel like the bike can sometimes become too twitchy but most modern mountain bikes with their slacker head angles need these shorter stems. The right length stem is dependant on what you are riding and what feels good for you.
Between the wider bar and shorter stem this brings the riders weight more centrally over the bike. This makes negotiation over technical features easier as the rider is balanced evenly. While you might like your longer stem for climbing you have traded off your control on the downs. Everything is a balance and I feel most people will find that a stem in the 50-80mm length will suffice as the best combination with a wider bar in the 700mm plus range.

Now for the negatives. Trees. I know you have thought about this already while you are reading this and this is the number one reason why people ask me why would you want wider bars. If you ride off road regularly than you can think of probably a few tight gaps on trails. Now imagine the rest of that trail. All open right? That one tight gap on a trail is but one metre of a section that kilometres long putting tight trees into the 0.1% or less of actual trail time. We sometimes forget to think about the benefits over the rest of the trail.

If you are not sure on what would be the best for you or unsure that the bars on your new bike are too wide and feel funny? Come into the shop and one of our friendly staff can help get you and your bike feeling better together.

Go wide or go home.

Mash.

Note. I personally ride a 50mm stem and a 777mm wide bar on my all-mountain bike and my knuckles are unscratched. My bike is set up with a focus of descending and enjoying gravity.

Friday
Mar012013

Geoff Dixon Memorial 

This Sunday sees the running of the annual Geoff Dixon Memorial Handicap Road Race at Chiltern.

The 66km event will depart from the Chiltern Primary School at 10am, taking in two laps of an undulating circuit, heading towards Rutherglen and return.

Last year the event was postponed due to flooding, which saw sections of the road washed away. The race was rescheduled to later in the year, where local rider Damian Christian won the event for the second year in a row.

Christian will line up on Sunday, aiming for a hat-trick of wins in the local event.

Last year's Fastest Time winner, professional cyclist Rhys Pollock will line up alongside a strong bunch of "Scratch" riders, with riders from Canberra, Shepparton, Wangaratta and Wagga Wagga expected to take the start.

The race is the second round of a five race series, in which Jeremy Scott of Wagga Wagga lines up as series leader, having won the first event at Narrandera last weekend. Local rider Taryn Heather will line up in her first "Geoff Dixon Memorial" after the AIS cyclist took the prize for first female at the Narrandera event.

The event is expected to finish at approximately 11.30am at the Chiltern Primary School.


Pictured above: Last year's Race Winner Damian Christian and Fastest Time winner Rhys Pollock.

Thursday
Feb282013

"The Perfect Match" 

What width is your saddle?

Connecting you and your bike in perfect harmony, Body Geometry Saddles are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to help you ride faster, further and in greater comfort.

Developed with ergonomics expert Dr Roger Minkow M.D., Body Geometry Saddles reduce pressure on arteries and soft tissue for improved blood flow and comfort.

For a complimentary sit bone assessment, call in and see one of our friendly staff to find out more.