Winter is Coming! We have some top tips to keep you cycling through the dark, cold and wet weather.
Keep warm and dry. For commuting we recommend a waterproof cycling jacket.
For commuting hi-viz clothing is best to be seen. This video shows one of our favourite options by Proviz (although it does remind us of Predator’s cloaking device). Not all cycling jackets are as loud as this one! Our best selling cycling jacket is the Altura Night Vision; available in many colours. The night vision range also offer waterproof overtrousers, overshoes and warm winter gloves.
A full set of winter clothing can at first seem like a large expense, but choosing carefully and layering up can give you a range of clothing to suit a range of temperatures. The right clothing will keep you riding through winter avoiding the oxford traffic and public transport!
We stock a range of arm warmers, leg warmers and headwear which may suit you better if your going for a longer ride.
Mudguards help keep you dry(er) especially your feet and legs. In the wet, riding a bike without mudguards is unpleasant. Mudguards will keep the spray away from your face and your friend’s face during group rides; no more brown line flicked up on the back of your coat either!
It is great to see so many cyclists in oxford using bright lights and were seeing more people using lights in the daytime as a way of highlighting their presence on the road. If you haven’t got lights already or your current lights aren’t up to it, come in and chat to one of our staff members about the options available. Many of the brighter lights are USB rechargable and you may find surprising that a good set of these light won’t break the bank.
Generally during the wetter weather we see a lot more punctures coming into the store. The rain tends to bring out all the debris and glass that usually settles near the curb back into the middle of the road. We recommend puncture resistant tyres such as the Schwalbe Marathon range. If your riding a road bike the Continental Gatorskin offers more grip and puncture resistance than a standard road tyre without loosing too much performance. Keep your tyres inflated to the recommended pressure (usually the number written on the sidewall of the tyre followed by the letters psi) to help prevent punctures.
In winter you’ll need to pay particular attention to moving parts, such as your chain, gears, cables, hubs and bottom bracket. Give your bike a regular look over, and try and wash off the accumulated grime regularly. Check for wear on rims and brake blocks, as wet weather can be particularly harsh on these areas, a quick hose and wipe down is usually enough if you do it regularly. Keeping your chain oiled, also it wont hurt to oil your lock whilst the oil is out of the tool box.
No it’s not a ‘cross race! This is your typical Oxford bike thief! Why is so much bike theft happening in Oxford I hear you ask yourself? Most locks people are using are not sufficiently strong enough for city use. Any of the cable type locks appear secure, but can easily be cut by a pair of bolt cutters.
This (above) shows an armoured cable lock. These locks cost around the same price as a good quality D-Lock (U-lock) but are not as secure. It is tempting to buy one of these cable locks due to the flexibility but we never recommend them.
Always use a D-lock (U-lock). Above are two of our best selling locks. They take a lot of time and effort to break into, using power tools.
We also recommend you replace any quick release skewers on your wheels for allen key skewers. We also do a range of specialist security skewers which have a unique to a key, a lot like the locking wheel nuts on your car.
Luckily the bike thieves in Oxford usually only steal the easy targets so make sure you follow our tips and your bike should stay safe. Below we have locking techniques shown by one of our lock suppliers Hiplok, to show you the correct way to use your lock.
If your bike is stolen you need to give the frame number to the police. This will be written on the receipt for the bike. The frame number is unique to your bike and will help them identify it if it is recovered.
Confused?! We’ve all been there. It can be a little overwhelming buying your first road bike. There are many things to consider but hopefully we can simplify it for you.
Most of our bike brands run different frame options. For example Cannondale have two entry level models at the same price point £599.00
The model on the left is the Cannondale Synapse Claris, on the right Cannondale Caad 8 Claris. So both of these models cost the same, what is the difference? The Caad 8 is Cannondale’s race model. It has more of an aggressive riding position than the Synapse. This means: for longer more relaxed rides the Synapse would be considered the more comfortable option however, the Caad would offer a better riding position for triathlons, time trials and shorter/faster club rides.
The Caad has a shorter wheelbase than the synapse which offers lively handling in corners, making it the more agile model of the two. The longer wheelbase of the Synapse may not feel nimble enough to the racing cyclist but for most of us more casual riders it makes us feel more stable and balanced on the bike. If you are using your road bike for commuting in and around traffic, this may sway you towards the synapse.
The Synapse model offers more compliance. This means the “road buzz” or vibrations are reduced from the road when reaches the saddle. If you look at the two pictures it can be seen where this takes place: the rear triangle and the forks are most noticable. Can you see the Synapse (left picture) is more curved in these areas? This comfort gain also looses a bit on performance. The Caad model has more stiffness in these areas making the power transfer from the pedals to the road more efficient, it also makes the Caad frame more lex less when climbing or pedalling out of the saddle.
In short, the Synapse would be the better model for longer rides and comutes whereas the Caad would suit the more competitive rider (and yes that includes Strava). We keep in stock both of these models so we reccomend you come in store to test ride either or both of these models.
A groupset is the “group” of components which is fitted to the bike. It includes the drivetrain, brakes and gear shitfers. The higher the price the better quality components are fitted: they make them lighter and are more harder wearing. Most of our bike are fitted with Shimano branded components. They are named: Claris, Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace. Which groupset the bike comes equiped with will be determined by price point. Which groupset you chose can easily be chosen by testing the bike and by advice from our experienced staff.
All our bike brands offer different sizes on each of their models. If you have bought a hybrid or mountain bike before you may have noticed the size range increases by approximately 2 inch increments. Road bikes tend to increase by 2cm increments making it a slightly more specific fit.
The most important measurement is the reach (or length) of the frame. The seat height is easily adjusted but the reach adjustment is minimal. You are welcomed to try the sizes out in store and we will make sure you get the right size. If you are over stretched on the frame it will make your back and kneck feel uncomfortable on longer rides. A small frame will make you feel cramped. Even if the seat is height is correct the front end will feel too low, pushing your weight forward onto your hands.
Most of the bikes we keep in store are made from aluminium. If you have a larger budget you may want to consider carbon fibre, most carbon road bikes will need a budget of around £1000 plus. They are stiffer and lighter offering more performance gains over aluminium. They are not just for competitive cyclist as owning a carbon road bike will make long sportive events seem more effortless. Most of our brands will offer a carbon bike in a more relaxed or racing model as discussed earlier in frame choice.
If you decided that a more relaxed road bike is for you, you may want to consider steel. Steel is a very comfortable choice. Although steel frames are heavier than aluminium ones they reduced road vibrations significantly. Genesis offer the Equilibrium range (our boss rides one) which still keeps up with many of its aluminium rivals. A much lighter option to consider over a touring bike for example.
It is important to save a little of your budget to purchase some essential accessories. Every rider should keep with them a spare tube, pump and tyre levers at all times. You never want to be caught out with a puncture miles away from work or home. A basic multi tool can be purchased for under £10 for minor repairs and adjustments.
To keep at home we recommend a track pump which can be bought for £20 but we also leave one outside the front of our shop when we are open which is free for you to use. Road bike tyres need to be inflated more often as they hold a much higher pressure (around 100 psi) than a standard hybrid or mountain bike.
A helmet is always recommended but not enforced by law. It is up to you to choose whether you want to ride with a helmet which we think is great but remember if you want to compete or take part in a sportive event you will need one. Most local clubs will also implement a no helmet no ride policy.
We hope you have fun with your new road bike. We will always offer advice after sales and can help you get involved with local clubs and events going on in and around oxford. We are all riders in the shop (we don’t just ride road bikes!) and are dedicated to making sure our customers are enjoying their new bike. All our new bikes come with a 1st free service, a great opportunity for you to give us feedback and make some fine tuning adjustments to your bike.
If you have cyclescheme available, use it! It is a great way to make some savings and you even go for a better model! We take part in many of the cyle to work schemes available to you by employers. Check with your employer to see which cycle scheme they offer. There are many versions of the scheme so it is important we know which one it is.
All cycle club members and NHS staff get a 10% discount off new bikes.
Treks Fuel EX range of bikes has been Treks most versatile Mountain bike platform for a long time. The Fuel EX is a true “do it all” Mountain bike, from more cross country racing, all day epic long rides or thrashing technical trails the Fuel EX is more than capable.
For 2016 the Fuel EX 8 comes in two wheel size options, 29” or 27.5”.
Now this can confuse a lot of people but its very simple, you just need to ask yourself what kind of rider you really are. If you’re the type of rider that likes the terrain steeper, lots of tight turns and enjoys the drops and jumps then the 27.5” wheel size is perfect for you. If you like long days in the saddle, take the descents steady and perhaps chooses to avoid some of the jumps on the trails then the 29” wheel option is for you.
The bike features 120 mm of front and rear suspension travel. The front is taken care of with the Fox 32 Float suspension fork, providing plush dependable travel with a QR15 axel to keep the front end feeling stiff.
The rear suspension is taken care of by the new Fox Float EVOL with RE:aktive 3-position damper. This shock offers great climbing platform abilities but as soon as the trail gets rough it provides a very progressive feel whilst feeling bottomless thanks to the Treks Full Floater frame design.
The component choice complements the frame and forks and the bikes versatile intended use perfectly with a KS eThirty Integra remote dropper seat post, a mixture of Shimano XT, SLX and Deore drive chain all finished off with Treks in house brand Bontrager bars,stem Saddle and most notably Bontrager Duster Elite Tubeless Ready wheels and Tyres.
A more than capable, true do it all Mountain bike with Trek’s high performance pedigree at a fantastic price.
Want a new bike to get to work on but can’t afford it right now? Check with your employer to see if they participate in the Cyclescheme (cyclescheme.co.uk).
It’s a great way to make big savings when purchasing a new bike and accessories. The cost is spread and deducted from your wages. With a minimum saving of 25% (or more depending on income).
1. Choose your Cyclescheme package
What bike and equipment do you want? Consider your commute. How far is it? What route will you take? Be honest with yourself. What are your priorities? What accessories might you need? These are all questions you should ask yourself as you prepare to revolutionise your commute!
Decide on the package that suits you:
Remember, when you visit our shop we can give you expert one-to-one advice.
2. Submit your application
This couldn’t be easier. If your employer is signed up with Cyclescheme, they’ll have a unique employer code to use when you apply via cyclescheme.co.uk. If your employer isn’t signed up, they can join for free.
On the application page, you’ll be guided through a simple form that asks for your work details, contact information, and the value of the Cyclescheme Certificate you’re applying for. When you submit the form, your employer will receive a copy of your Hire Agreement.
3. Get your Cyclescheme package
With your application approved and paid for by your employer, it’s time to exchange your Cyclescheme Certificate for your Cyclescheme package. Contact us on 01865 316885 and arrange a time to pop in and pick up your equipment.
Your salary sacrifice and Hire Agreement now kicks in. For the next 12 months, you’ll pay a set amount from your salary each month in exchange for the hire of your Cyclescheme package from your employer.
The deduction is made from your gross salary, so you make income tax and national insurance savings of 32% if you’re a standard rate tax payer, or 42% if you’re a higher rate tax payer.
4. Transfer ownership
When the Hire Agreement and salary sacrifice ends, you can keep your Cyclescheme Package by making a final payment for just a small amount.
For a Cyclescheme package under £500, you’ll pay 3% of the original value; for a package over £500, it’s 7% – so a maximum of £70 on a £1,000 package. The bike remains ‘hired’ for a further 36 months, but with no more monthly payments. Ownership can then officially be transferred to you at no extra cost.
This method of transferring ownership is why you save a minimum of 25% rather than a minimum of 32%. Many Cyclescheme participants will save more.
Another new brand we have taken on for 2016 is Charge Bikes. Stocking select models (we can order in other models if there’s one we don’t stock that you want) the bikes definitely stand out in our show room.
Their range of bikes is spread across all spectrums of cycling; from steel single speed “fixie” style commuters, 27plus wheel sized Mountain Bikes, Titanium cycle cross bikes and almost “old mixte style” step thru women’s bikes.
Charge as a brand are at the very forefront of what’s deemed cool in cycling and tend to stand out from the crowd without costing you the earth.
Spring is on its way, so what better way to beat the traffic, get some good exercise, breath some fresh air and get to work by bike!
If your bikes been packed away for the winter, or just needs a freshen up for the new season. Here are our top 5 ways to turn your bike into a commuting dream machine!
Tyre up grade
Changing your tyres over to something that rolls quicker on road is a must if you plan to commute by bike. On a 5 mile commute this can literally take minutes off your commuting time, especially if your current tyres have more tread for off road use.
Upgrading to a more puncture resistant tyre is also highly recommended, being late to work, missing a train or that important meeting is never fun, so avoid this and fit a long lasting Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyre. A 5 mm thick Indian rubber belt under the smooth low rolling resistant tread will not only allow you to get to work quicker, it will save you from getting punctures.
If the roads are damp when you leave home and you haven’t got mudguards fitted to your bike you will get that horrid streak of dirt up your back, wet shoes, spray in your face and even worse, a soggy bum.
Get to work clean and dry and fit a set of full length mudguards. SKS Commuter Mudguard cost £24.95 and are relatively easy to fit.
Rear Rack, Mudguards and Panniers
Carrying a backpack whilst cycling in the summer will leave you with a sweaty back. Carrying a heavy backpack can leave you with bruises, sore shoulders and all kinds of aches and pains.
Fitting a rear pannier rack to your bike will open up the option, to either fit a rear basket or to use pannier bags. Lifting the load off of your back and onto the bike.
Baskets are quick and easy to use, sling your hand bag, ruck sack or shopping bags in and away you go.
For larger loads panniers are recommended and can take a much larger capacity. The Ortlieb Back Roller Classics are our most popular bags, with a large 40 litre capacity, tough nylon material and water proof.
If you are commuting and it’s dark you will need to have lights on the front and rear of your bike. The brighter the lights the clearer you are to other road users and you’ll be able to see further on unlit roads. In the last few years the price of good quality lights has dropped dramatically and most options are now usb rechargeable, so you can plug your lights into a computer or phone charger to charge.
Just remember to take your lights with you when you park up or someone will steal them!
Servicing and Maintenance
Have you got that one gear that never wants to change? Brake thats not very sharp? That random clunk that comes and goes but you cant work out where its from?
Then pop your bike into the shop and let one of our staff or mechanics give it a check over.
We don’t charge to let you know what needs doing to your bike, so if you’re unsure let us have a look. Once assessed we can then give you a repair quote and get your bike running smoothly ASAP.
Since it’s pretty cold, wet, dark and generally horrid outside the last thing you want whilst out on a ride is a puncture. Stood in the freezing cold, fiddling around on the side of the road with tyre levers, tubes, mini pumps, co2 canisters, patches etc… Punctures don’t care if it’s raining, punctures don’t care if its cold, punctures don’t care if you have to be at the station in ten minutes, but its sods law that you get a dreaded puncture at a time when you really could do without it.
So from many years of cycling experience from our staff and customers favourite choices when it comes to winter tyres we will give you our favourites for Road, Commuting (hybrid) and Mountain Biking.
Now there are three golden things to look for whilst considering a good winter tyre.
Low rolling resistance
These three things generally go across the board for “most” cycling disciplines.
Now it’s a big misconception that more tread road tyre will provide you with more grip on the road, but this is in fact the opposite as tarmac is much to hard for the tread to dig in. Road grip is dictated by different rubber compounds.
Continental Grand Prix 4 Season
This tyre as the name suggests is a good year round tyre to use. It uses Continentals Duraskin cut-resistant layer, Black “Max Grip Silica” and extra protection Layers. It’s relatively low weight is also why its considered a good year round tyre.
Schwalbe Durano Plus
Schwable have many options and the Durano Plus offer really good durability with plenty of grip in all conditions. The grip is good in both dry and wet conditions so would prove a useful addition to any bike during mixed conditions of a typical British winter. Using Schwalbe’s Smart guard the tyre has a belt under the tread made from Indian rubber to stop most puncture causing objects.
Continental GatorSkin Hardshell
The Gator Hardshell is by far the most puncture resistant with low rolling resistance road tyre we have come across, and has been our staff favourite for years.Using the Duraskin cut resistant layer that stretches across from both tyre beads. The Hardshell casing wraps further into the sidewall and an extra-wide PolyX Breaker covers the entire tread strip from shoulder-to-shoulder.
This really is the best winter road tyre we have seen.
Hybrid and Commuting
The Panaracer crosstown is a great all round tyre and designed to work well in both wet and dry conditions. It uses Panaracer’s puncture resistant strip system which is placed underneath quite a thick tread which makes the tyre not only puncture resistant but long wearing as well. Also the tyre has a reflective strip that runs around of the outside of the tyre which greatly improves visibility in the darker winter months.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus
Now this really is the most puncture resistant tyre on the market. Using Schwalbe’s Smart Guard technology they have created a 5 mm thick belt that sits below the tyre tread from their special blend of Indian rubber. The tyre also claims better rolling resistance and anti ageing side walls, so they won’t split and crack when run at lower pressures.
Our customers swear by this tyre and is by far our best selling puncture resistant tyre. Watch the video below to see for yourself!
Ok, there are many sub-genres of Mountain biking, Down Hill, Trials, 4 Cross…etc… and hundreds of different tyre recommendations depending on what terrain you ride on, so for this we will keep it short and sweet and cover the two most popular areas. Cross Country (XC) and Trail/Enduro tyres.
Now lets face it, if you’re riding in the UK in winter it’s going to be wet, muddy, boggy and cold, some say its like that in the UK all year round with the typical wet UK summers. So a good set of mud tyres is a must.
Now, to save everyone a lot of grief, and if your rim and tyre set up allow it, GO TUBELESS. The era of getting punctures off road is over, and its by far the best thing to happen to mountain biking since suspension was invented. Just do it, it will change your life for the better!
Cross Country (XC)
The Beaver is designed to be used as wet and muddy condition tyre. Using dual compound technology (harder centre rubber to keep the tyre rolling fast whilst using a softer compound rubber on the outer to provide more grip on roots, rocks etc…)
This tyre is great for muddy xc riding but comes into its own on trail centre style surfaces because its super fast rolling for a mud tyre.
Schwalbe Nobby Nic II
This is a good all year round tyre. Its low weight means the bike accelerates well and won’t feel so sluggish on the climbs. The tyre knobs have enough clearance not to get to clogged up and the Schwalbe Snake Skin side walls stop the sides of the tyres from ripping. This is not 100% a mud tyre but a good fit and forget option for all year round grip.
The Shorty originates from the world of downhill racing, But coming in the lighter EXO folding casing makes the ultimate winter wet weather grippy tyre whilst offering a strong tear resistance. Aggressive outer knobs mean this tyre really digs in on wet/loose turns whilst the lower profile wide spaced centre knobs offer lower rolling resistance and ultimate mud shedding capabilities.
2016 has seen the biggest come back in the music industry with the return of pop and garage star Craig David. In the stars latest video you see him strolling round the streets, but hold on a second, what’s that? A Ridgeback Melody?! The pink sensation certainly stands out amidst the grey suburban back drop. Modified with basket and handle bar tassels (which can also be purchased from us) the bike is clearly the highlight of the video! Well, at least we think so.
The Melody has been one of our best selling Girls bikes for years now and is one we always keep in stock. £159.00 (not including basket and tassels).