How to Choose Mountain Bike Wheels?

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August 6, 2015 by Akshat Khanna

Wheels are among the most confusing components you can buy for your mountain bike; there’s a seemingly endless array of choices, all with their own set of claimed benefits.

 

Factors to consider

1) Size

2) Tubeless or not?

3) Rim Width

4) Weight

Size

When it comes to mountain bikes, one can choose from 26 inch, 29 inch or 27.5 inch (650b) wheel diameters. Here is a short jist of the pros and cons of each of these –

26er – Smaller wheel base makes the bike more maneuverable and easier to accelerate or decelerate since inertia is lower. Over rough terrain the ride quality will be slightly rough compared to the 29er and 27.5 size wheels

29er – Bigger wheel size means the wheels will carry more momentum and the ride will be smoother over rough terrain. However, due to the size, manouverability is not as nimble as a 26er

27.5 (a.k.a. 650b) – Just like its size, this ends up being the jack of all trades. Has the advantages and disadvantages of the 26er and 29er to a lowered extent.

So what wheel size should you choose? Well, if you already own a bike and are just looking to change the wheelsets, then you will be restricted in choice to your original size of wheelset due to suspension and brake clearance/lengths on your existing bike. As for someone who is looking at picking up a new mountain bike, I would say there’s no better way than to test ride a few bikes before seeing what suits you best.

 

Tubeless or not?

There’s a lot of talk now a days about going tubeless on mountain bikes. Tubeless set-up’s might take longer to get started with, but when one looks at the advantages that they offer a rider, especially if riding on terrain where the chances of getting a puncture are high, they do make good sense. Also, these tires can be run at lower pressures than non-tubeless wheels, hence giving a more comfortable ride over rough terrain, if required.

Moreover, some tubeless rim designs are also inherently stronger and more durable than traditional ones so there’s little reason to pass over that feature.

So if you are looking at going tubeless, make sure the rims chosen to build your wheelsets are tubeless ready rims.

 

Rim Width

Rims these days are trending wider (and keep in mind that the critical dimension here is internal rim width, not external). While 19mm used to be the standard for mountain bike wheels, the typical dimension is more like 21 to 23mm with some models going up to 30mm or more.

With wider rims, tire stability, contact patch size and air volume increase, which aids in providing better traction. Though generally this is accompanied with a slight weight penalty. So it would be wise to keep your intended use in mind. For cross country riders where grip is not going to be as much of an issue, narrower rims make better sense.

Also, some tires are less rounded than others. And on wider rims, if one installs tires of that kind, the contact surface ends up getting quite squarish. Not that it’s a bad thing, but just something to keep in mind for performance riders since it does impact rolling resistance of the tire.

 

Weight

Lighter wheels are generally preferred over heavier ones, all else being equal. The reduced mass not only equates to easier climbing but also quicker handling as there will be less of a gyroscopic effect to battle when changing directions. Even braking performance is improved as there’s less rotational inertia.

Lower weight should never be pursued at the expense of your particular durability requirements, however, and of course, less is more when it comes to cost. Those lighter wheels are fun to ride but you’ll also spend a pretty penny in the process.

 


MEDIA: BANGALORE MIRROR – THE POWER OF PEDALING

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July 24, 2015 by Rohan Kini

BOTS Press: Women Cycling - The Power of Pedaling

 

As over 100 women in Bengaluru prep for a 100 km cycling challenge, two pros share tips that’ll help one go the distance

As a mother of twin boys and brand head of a media house, Saraswathi Anand (35) would rarely find the time to exercise. The only time she had to herself was while commuting from her JP Nagar home to office in Chamrajpet. “I had to do something to stay fit. It’s scary how women are prone to lifestyle diseases,” she says.

read more online on the Bangalore Mirror website

A nice writeup on the BOTS WOMEN initiative and the upcoming WOMENS100 ride that we are running in Bangalore.


WOMENS100 – RAPHA and BUMSONTHESADDLE bring to you an epic 100km’s this July

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July 24, 2015 by Payal Kini

WOMENS100 - Womens riding in Bangalore

Every year thousands of women around the world ride a 100KM, celebrating the simple joy of riding together. Introducing the Rapha WOMENS100.

Last year, over 8000 women rode the WOMENS100 and the aim is to double it this year!

We’ve signed up with Rapha, a to-die-for lifestyle cycling apparel brand, to run this exciting initiative in Bangalore.

When: Sunday, 26 July 2015
Ride details: http://bit.ly/rapha-womens100-blr

REGISTER: http://womens100.doattend.com

We are super excited about the upcoming 100KM ride. It’s the first time this is being run in INDIA and more importantly a 100KM is always a personal landmark.

Experiencing the challenge together as women is going to be something else!

A 100kms it is! Let’s do this.

 

Rapha Womens100 ride event lineup


PRODUCT REVIEW: PURE FIX FIXED GEAR/SINGLE SPEED BIKES, IF IT AIN’T FIXED, ITS BROKEN

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June 14, 2015 by Akshat Khanna

I remember the first time I saw the movie Premium Rush, I was left completely fascinated by the idea of riding a fixed gear bike. I mean, riding without brakes, not being able to coast, weaving through peak hour traffic, sounds like something that someone with a death wish would do. But then, what bigger adrenaline rush can you get if not this!

After a lot of pondering over whether I should get myself a Pure Fix, I decided to take the plunge on the 21st of May and gift myself a sweet looking Pure Fix Juliet and a pair of gold wheels on my birthday.

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All that bling! Isn’t she a looker!

Fixed or Single Speed?

Q. What are fixed gear bikes?

As stated on wikipedia – Most bicycles incorporate a freewheel to allow the pedals to remain stationary while the bicycle is in motion, so that the rider can coast, i.e., ride without pedaling using forward momentum. A fixed-gear drivetrain has the drive sprocket (or cog) threaded or bolted directly to the hub of the back wheel, so that the rider cannot stop pedaling. When the rear wheel turns, the pedals turn in the same direction. This allows a cyclist to apply a braking force with the legs and bodyweight, by resisting the rotation of the cranks.

For someone who has always been used to the idea of coasting on the bike, riding fixed seemed like a strict no-no. The Pure Fix original series bikes come with both fixed gear and freewheel riding options. It takes a simple flip of the rear wheel to switch between the two modes. I had dabbled with the idea of riding my commute in fixed gear mode but Bangalore traffic made me think twice about this. So I initially setup the bike in single speed mode.

The first ride

The first thing you notice when you ride a single speed bike is the absence of gears (duh!). Those short nagging inclines on which you typically shift down and cruised leisurely start demanding that extra bit from you. Initially, there is some involuntary reaching out to gear levers only to find yourself grabbing thin air! But then, to be honest, the feeling you get trying to power through those sections of the road (or those flyovers) in the city is so very fulfilling!

The frame of the bike is made up of high tensile steel and the stock grips did a good job at dampening out the road vibrations to a good extent (I do wear gloves when I ride my bike). Also, Pure Fix has done a great job with the frame geometry – neither too aggressive not too upright. The shoulders were not over-stressed and the wrists and elbows were in a relaxed position throughout the ride. Besides that, the bike felt responsive and alive and the 44/16T gear ratio ensure the bike was adequately geared for the varied terrain one generally comes in our city.

The other point of note was the lack of a rear brake (the Pure Fix comes with only with a default front brake). The lack of a rear brake when riding single speed is actually quite unnerving and I definitely recommend installing a rear brake to commute safe on city roads.

Fixed gear mode : Activated
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Bullhorn bars and different coloured wheels! Hmmm. Interesting!

 

The first thing I did the next day when I reached BUMSONTHESADDLE was to change my rear wheel to the fixed gear mode (approx. after 22 kilometers of riding in single speed mode). I needed the confidence that it would provide when it comes to having rear braking ability and since I had decided not to get myself a pair of rear brakes (for me, the beauty of a Pure Fix lies in its simplicity. And having an additional rear brake set on it just didn’t do justice to how I see that bike).

Immediately I could feel the difference in stopping power. Yes, it does take time to get used to the fact that you cannot afford to coast on a fixed gear bike. But then, its actually turned out to be so much more fun! The heightened sense of awareness, the thrill in trying to manouver through traffic while not keeping a foot down and the joy derived from constant pedalling no matter how the legs feel ; Its like magic! I actually felt more in control of the bike when riding in fixed gear mode than when it was in single speed! In simple terms, riding a fixed gear bike is like trying to tame a wild animal. It does take some time, but at the end of the day, its worth the effort once you get the hang of it. Will I opt to go back to riding it as a single speed? never ever ever never!

I’ve been commuting extensively with this bike and with each passing day I end up falling more in love with it.

Oh yeah, one more thing – the attention one ends up getting while pedaling down the streets on one of these beauties! From people on two wheelers to smoke spewing BMTC busses, their looks say it all. You know you have one hell of a good looking bike! ;)

The good
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Yellow bar tape and all those stickers! And this is just the beginning. So much more to do with this beauty.

 

  • Well designed frame geometry – Responsive and comfortable! Perfect for riding inside the city.
  • The 44/16T gear ratio is ideal for riding around within the city limits. Neither is it way too hard to pedal up those city flyovers, nor do you find yourself spinning out on flat stretches.
  • The high tensile steel does a good job at adequately dampening out road vibrations.
  • The deep dish wheels are literally bomb proof and can handle our Indian roads very well. They tend to stay true for a longer time than regular road bike wheels.
  • The Wellgo aluminium pedals are of real good quality! Something that caught me completely unawares when I bought this bike. Broad base with pins to provide that extra grip one needs while riding fixed.
  • Looks! For someone like me who is very particular about how their bike looks, Pure Fix have done a fantastic job at coming up with gorgeous looking bikes that can be customized to a great extent. From bullhorn handlebars and coloured wheelsets to coloured bartape, chains and saddles. You can do a lot to jazz up your bike just the way you want.
  • Fantastically priced!
The not-so-good
  • My front brake pads wore off within fifteen days of riding my bike. I would recommend everyone to get a pair of koolstop brake pads along with the bike. They are very competitively priced brake pads and offer excellent stopping power while being durable.
  • The bike is designed keeping the urban commuter in mind. If you intend to use it for longer distances a nice saddle upgrade would be worthwhile.
Verdict

The ideal commuter bike that looks great and rides really well for city roads. So be it your go-to bike to head to your workplace or to pick up some stuff from your nearby grocery store, this is all you need. Also, the fixed gear aspect adds another fun dimension to this bike. And for the price tag on it, it surely packs a bang for its buck! All in all, this is one bike I will be riding for a long long time to come.

 To view the complete collection of fixed gear bikes and accessories on our online store, click here

Ass Savers : Got You Covered

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June 11, 2015 by Akshat Khanna

ass-saver

For those of you who have been commuting on their bikes regularly, riding in the rain can be a really fun and fulfilling experience. But one thing that  tends to be a bit of a bummer (pardon the pun) is having a wet backside at the end of it all. I mean, imagine heading out to meet your friends for a casual get-together and you end up at the venue with a trail of dirt on your bum. Not only is that embarrassing, but also feels totally uncomfortable.

Fenders! The trusted, traditional solution comes to our mind. But lets be honest about it, not everyone like the look of those mudguards on our swanky looking bikes. Plus, they do not serve much of a utility on non-rainy days. For someone like me who is a tad too particular about the aesthetics of their ride, fenders were never a viable option. That’s when I decided to get my hand on one of the Ass Savers. To think of it, the quirky name had a part of myself sold on the product already. And the unique design of it had me wanting to test it out in these pre-monsoon Bangalore showers.

The good
  • Say bye bye to wet bums! These ass-savers do just what they claim; prevent your bum (and your back) from getting a trail of dirt on it.
  • Easy to install and remove. The instructions printed on each one of these are clear and you can get them mounted on your bikes within thirty seconds.
  • Do not damage the aesthetics of the bike like how a fender does. (but again, that’s a very personal thing)
  • Sits well under the saddle. Does not flap and neither does it get loose upon hitting a rough patch on the road.
  • Light in weight. Almost negligible in weight actually (for all you weight conscious roadies out there)
What the Ass Saver is not
  • It does not protect the back of your thighs or the lower half of your legs. But then, it’s an ass saver, not a fender. :)
  • As I mentioned above, it does not offer complete coverage to the rider, so if someone is dressed to go to work, then you might want to consider a change pair of clothes once you reach your workplace.
How to choose the appropriate Ass-Saver for your bike
  • Mountain bikes – Wide Ass Saver
  • Road bikes (23c to 28c tires) – Extended Ass Saver
  • Hybrids and commuters  – Original Ass Savers
Trivia
  • Road cyclists, the pro-peloton (Lotto-Belisol, Belkin), continental teams, and development teams have all adopted and used Ass Savers in recent years for training and racing.

 

To view our collection of Ass savers on our website, click here

 

 


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