Author Archives: kirksbikeshopweb

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San Diego County bike shop

Folding Bicycle – Can you really fold a bicycle?

A folding bicycle

is a bicycle designed to fold into a compact form, facilitating transport and storage. When folded, the bikes can be more easily carried into buildings and houses or on public transportation (facilitating mixed-mode commuting and bicycle commuting), and more easily stored in compact living quarters or aboard a car, boat or plane.
Folding mechanisms vary, with each offering a distinct combination of folding speed, folding ease, compactness, ride, weight, durability and price. Distinguished by the complexities of their folding mechanism, more demanding structural requirements, greater number of parts, and more specialized market appeal, folding bikes may be more expensive than comparable non-folding models. The choice of model, apart from cost considerations, is a matter of resolving the various practical requirements: a quick easy fold, compact folded size, or a faster but less compact model.[1]

There are also bicycles that provide similar advantages by separating into pieces rather than folding.

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Tandem Bike – A bicycle built for two!

A bicycle built for two is also called a Tandem Bike.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Bicycle built for two” redirects here. For the song, see Daisy Bell.

A tandem mountain bike

A tandem loaded for bicycle touringwith front and rear racks and panniers

A large tandem, or more specifically, a quint (for 5 people)

The tandem bicycle or twin is a form of bicycle (occasionally, a tricycle) designed to be ridden by more than one person. The term tandem refers to the seating arrangement (fore to aft, not side by side), not the number of riders. A bike with two riders side by side is called a sociable.

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What is a Recumbent Bicycle? Want to test ride a Recumbent Bike?

A recumbent bicycle is a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design for ergonomic reasons; the rider’s weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks. On a traditional upright bicycle, the body weight rests entirely on a small portion of the sitting bones, the feet, and the hands.

Recumbents are available in a wide range of configurations, including: long to short wheelbase; large, small, or a mix of wheel sizes; overseat, underseat, or no-hands steering; and rear wheel or front wheel drive. A variant with three wheels is a recumbent tricycle.

From:  Wikipedia
recumbent bike

About Recumbent Bicycles

Recumbent bicycles are the “odd ball” of the bicycle world. However, because of their unique, more relaxed, riding position and extra comfortable seats, many people find that recumbents can solve a laundry list of aches, pains, and general comfort problems that they have encountered using regular up right bicycles.  Most bike shops want little or nothing to do with recumbents, and it is difficult to find a store that even has any in stock. Here  at Kirk’s, we stock and understand recumbent bicycles. We have been working with them since 1979, when we built and competed in “The Other Woman”, a built from scratch recumbent racing tricycle, complete with a full aerodynamic fairing. In this early example of a modern recumbent tricycle, Kirk, then a 30 year old working husband and father, was able to reach a top flat ground speed of 46.3 mph! This result was good enough for a 6th place finish in the International Human Powered Vehicle Association’s World Championships, against a strong field of other faired recumbent bicycles, many of them piloted by younger, national class and professional cyclists. In addition, Kirk and Trudie have logged over 10,000 miles on club rides, tours, and various cycling events aboard a wide variety of recumbent tandems. At Kirk’s, we truly know and understand recumbent cycling!

Over the years, we have found that the majority of our new recumbent customers come to us having never ridden a recumbent bicycle before. Because of this, we specialize in getting these folks started on that (shaky at first) initial recumbent ride. When you schedule a recumbent appointment with Kirk, he will start by interviewing you to find out what interests you most about recumbent cycling, and then help you select one or more models to try that are likely to work best for your wishes, needs, and budget. Next, he will carefully fit and adjust the selected model/s to your body size and type, so that you can get the most out of what comes next—THE FIRST TEST RIDE!!— Moving out to the safety of the parking lot, you will next receive an explanation of some of the basic nuances of recumbent riding which, among other things, involve relaxing and finding your balance. When you are ready, Kirk will support the bike by standing behind it and holding the seat back. Then, he  will have you settle into the seat and get one foot up on a pedal, while the other foot rests on the ground. He will then help you launch yourself forward and continue to support you until he is convinced that you have found your balance. At that point he will let you continue forward without his support. Most folks are a little shaky at first, but generally gain confidence and control (and a big smile!) within 5 minutes. Once you have ridden one recumbent model, it is usually no problem to ride any other that might interest you, so by the end of your (no time limit) appointment you should have gained a good initial understanding of what recumbent riding is like and which types of recumbents work best for you.

To schedule your personal recumbent test ride with Kirk, just give him a call or drop him an email. That’s all it takes!!”

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What to Consider When Test Riding a Bike

by: Michelle Arthurs-Brennan
13th April 2015

If you’re buying a new bike it’s a really good idea to take it for a test ride before you think about handing over your credit card.

Firstly, you need to make sure it fits – one manufacturers “52” can be wildly different to another’s – often they measure from and to different points.

Secondly, geometry makes a difference – you might find even if the stand over height is fine, the design of a bike as it is doesn’t suit your body, in which case you’ll need to look at making alterations or choosing another bike.

Finally – bikes have souls.

Well, spirits at least. When reviewers talk about “smooth rides”, “twitchy handling”, “stiff frames” and “sprightly cornering” it can be tempting to smile and nod, but just look at the price tag and components to determine which is the correct choice.

The components and frame material tell only half the story – you’ll be surprised how different bikes from opposing brands feel. Frame material and geometry make big differences that are better experienced than read about.

Admittedly, most retailers offer a road route or car park for your test ride, so if you’re after a mountain bike, you won’t be able to get a crystal clear view of the way the bike feels unless you can find a trail centre with the right model on demo. However, a test ride will still help you to find the right fit and give you a good idea what sort of beast you’re getting.

Here’s what to consider when you turn up on testing day…

Does the bike tick your boxes?

Before you even order your potential new bike in for a test, you should make sure the componentry and spec will meet your needs.

For example, if you want a bike for weekend rides, commuting, and possibly touring, it needs to be fun to ride, but should also have mounts forpannier racks that you may need. If you plan on attacking gnarly trails, youprobably want to go fully sussed.

Before you fall in love with a bike, write a check list of ‘Must Have’s’ and ‘Nice to Have’s’ – your chosen bike needs to meet all the Must’s and most of the Nice’s before you order it in for a test.

Calling in a bike that doesn’t tick your boxes could result in you falling madly in love with it – which is great, as long as you’re prepared to buy another to meet the needs that it doesn’t!

Get the bike ready for a fair test

You want to make sure you get answers from your test ride – not further questions. Ensure you replicate a ‘normal’ ride to give it a fair chance.

If you ride clipless, take your shoes and pedals, the same goes for padded shorts you might normally wear, as these affect saddle height. If you ride in flats, wear shoes that you would use for a ride.

A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Clipping-In’ on the Bike

You should also make sure the tyres are pumped up to an appropriate PSI – even a £7k road bike will feel poor on tyres pumped to 60psi.

Check, before you leave, that the gears and brakes are adjusted correctly – the brakes should feel sharp and the gears should shift smoothly. If the bike has just been built, it’s possible the indexing might not be perfect, or brake cables could be slack – and it’s best to make sure this isn’t the case before judging the bike ‘clunky’ when you get on and ride.

Check the bike fits

Ideally, go to a bike retailer where they promise you will receive help from sales assistants with a knowledge of bike fit.

It is possible to set yourself up before the test, but the experienced eye on a fitter will help ensure you have the saddle position right, and they may also be able to make suggestions as to any tweaks you need to make or even set the bike up so it’s perfect for you there and then.

If you find, for example, you are stretched out, a shorter stem or in-line seat post might be available for you to try the bike as you would ride it, and if you are feeling cramped, a longer stem could be available.

Common Cycling Niggles and Bike Fit Fixes

If you find the brake or gear levers are difficult for you to reach, you may be able to adjust the levers themselves, or you’ll be looking at new handlebars. This can be fairly inexpensive, but unless you adore the bike, it is worth considering another bike that fits you comfortably without modifications.

Ideally, the bike should be within reasonable limits so you’ll be able to adjust it over time – if you’ve got the seat post set right on the ‘maximum’ limit, you’ll be in trouble if, after a year or so, you decide you want to pop it up a few mm’s. Even if the bike feels perfect as it is, remember that changes to your flexibility over time can mean you want to make alterations, and little changes like new shorts, shoes or pedals in later years might make bike fit tweaks necessary.

Test the limits

Once you’ve established if the bike meets your needs, and fits – it’s time to really test it.

Different retailers will have different ideas of a test ride – some may just allow you to circle the car park, others will offer you a short circuit, but if you’re really lucky (and trusted) you might get a longer spin.

Think about how you want the bike to perform, and use the terrain you have available to put it through its paces.

If it’s going to be a commuter, ask yourself: does the bike feel comfortable, does the steering feel ­­reliable, and how do the brakes respond to an emergency stop? Start by getting used to how the brakes work, and their responsiveness (this is important!) then test them in a sudden stop. Try lifting it, as well, if you might need to carry it up and down stairs, and make sure you check the mechanism on a folding bike is easy to use.

If you’re after a road bike, you really want to know how it feels on a hill, so if that’s an option, thrash it up the nearest incline. Test how the potential steed feels when you corner quickly, and experiment with it in an all-out sprint.

When buying a mountain bike, the test is a bit more difficult – you probably aren’t going to be allowed to thrash the bike on a local trail. You can establish how you feel about the shifting, the responsiveness of the bike, and how confident you feel with the fit. If you want to truly experience a bike you may have to look for demo fleets at trail centres – a bit of a trek – but a good excuse to ride somewhere new!