Bike Masters Winter Newsletter

////Bike Masters Winter Newsletter

Bike Masters Winter Newsletter

In This Issue…

  • Adventure: Hit the Gravel
  • Indoor Training With Elite and Zwift
  • The E-Bike Revolution
  • Take Care of Your Bike

Adventure: Hit the Gravel

More and more bike companies are selling road bikes built to be ridden on dirt roads. Are they marketing hype or the future of cycling?

Along with disc brakes, the biggest buzz in road riding is around bikes built for a variety of terrain (dirt roads, singletrack, etc.), not just pavement. These drop-bar machines tend to have longer wheelbases than a normal road bike, more upright positions, lower bottom brackets for stability, and clearance for wider tires. They’re being promoted as gravel bikes, adventure bikes, all-road or all-terrain bikes.

Marketing aside, if one thing can be said about this emerging segment of bikes, it’s that there are no hard-and-fast rules about what falls into the category. Road bikes have always existed on a continuum, from light, fast, aggressive race models to longer, stabler touring machines. The gravel movement has a similar scale. Cross-bikes have been around forever, too, and though they generally have quicker steering and are oriented more toward short, fast, aggressive efforts, comparing geometry numbers shows that the differences between them and adventure roadies are blurry.

So how is a consumer to make sense of it all? Do we need all this variety? And are these bikes even that useful or fun to ride?

Gravel riding, aka gravel grinding or adventure riding, is an increasingly popular form of cycling that combines elements of road- and mountain-biking, and consisting mostly of distance riding over unpaved roads.

Whether dirt roads or gravel roads, trails must consist of non-technical and unsurfaced roads to qualify as gravel riding. Since cities mostly have paved roads for commuters, gravel riding trails are usually located in rural areas. This tends to afford

opportunity to discover some incredibly scenic sites that one can only witness during an adventure off the beaten path.

Gravel riding is known for adding an element of thrill and a hint of danger to the cycling experience with its namesake rocky terrain and uneven ground. It takes cycling to the next level and provides riders with exhilarating discoveries. The captivating scenery along the way makes gravel grinding one of the most aesthetically pleasing riding adventures possible. Gravel allows the rider to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the craziness of busy traffic. Finding the new and unexplored cycling routes is pleasing to the rider.

Now, it has to be said that gravel can have a measure of danger; you are, after all, still riding on a public road and there will be traffic. However, for those who don’t care for traffic, riding trails like Wabash and Mopac can offer traffic free riding.

Norco and Felt offer great options in the gravel bike genre. Pricing can be as little as $900 all the way up to $3000 or more. Come in and test ride a gravel bike.

New this spring will be the addition of a weekly out and back gravel ride from the Bike Masters parking lot. The ride will be between 20 to 30 miles of exciting gravel road. This offering will be every Wednesday starting in April. Start time will be 6:00pm. We believe this is the first weekly ride of its kind.

“We want to give our customers a variety of riding options here at Bike Masters,” said manager, Doug Denson. “We will add Wednesday gravel to our Saturday road ride menu and our Monday Mountain Bike menu. Our aim is something for everyone!”

Indoor Training the Zwift Way

For the first time ever, Bike Masters offers indoor training using the ZWIFT online platform. For a small fee, we offer the interactive trainer (Elite Direto or Elite Rampa), the computer, a ride leader, and setup/tear down. Riders simply come to the shop, log in to their ZWIFT account, and then warm up to ride with the Bike Master’s indoor group. Bike Masters will offer the training for 4 months during the cold winter months. It’s another way our shop is working to meet the needs of our customers.

If you haven’t heard about ZWIFT, make sure you check it out online. You can look for ZWIFT on the internet or find videos on Youtube. What you will find is the fastest growing training platform in the world!

Our riders are already seeing the differences they never achieved using DVD training videos.

ZWIFT allows for the rider to follow training programs or simply ride with the group or even ride alone.The rides are interactive as you ride with people from all over the world. The data you get will simply WOW even the most avid rider. The courses are so realistic you can literally become immersed in the program!

Stop by Bike Masters to see ZWIFT in action. Our groups ride 6:00pm Monday – Thursday and early Saturday mornings.

The interactive trainers are awesome! You may even want to purchase one. Our demo trainers will be available for sale at a reduced price as well. Look up Elite trainers online for more information.

“Indoor training doesn’t have to be boring any longer. When you get out on the road with ZWIFT, you feel like you are actually riding real routes in real time!” Doug Denson, Manager

The E-Bike Revolution

E-bikes will be the next big explosion in cycling in the U.S. in the upcoming years. While it is true that E-bikes have had a slow start in the states, E-bikes are a hot item around the world. In 2013 alone, 28 million E-bikes were sold in China.

Before we get too far, maybe it would be a good idea to define what the E-bike is? The “E” stands for Electric assist. These bikes don’t replace pedaling, they simply “assist” by adding power to what the rider already puts into each pedal stroke. E-bikes allow the rider to go faster and farther; the rider still gets the full benefit of pedaling exercise. There are many platforms for E-bikes, but in each case the E-bike has a motor and a battery. Depending on the bike, motor, and battery, these bikes can add up to 400 watts of power and in many cases a charge can last from 20 to 60 miles depending on the amount of power used.

So why aren’t E-bikes a staple in the US? Several factors contribute to the E-bike’s lackluster performance.

1.  E-bikes are seen as cheating. Many Americans see electric assist as a way of cheating the system. There is that stigma that if you ride one of these, you are somehow riding a motorcycle and getting no exercise benefit. Of course this is faulty logic and the rider of an E-bike still has to pedal to go from point A to point B. The plus side of the E-bike is that a larger rider can ascend hills he or she might not normally be able to crest. In the case of commuting, the rider might be able to carry larger loads or get to the job site faster. In the case of group rides, the larger or slower rider might be able to stay up with the group. In most European countries, the benefits listed above are embraced fully.

2. E-bikes are expensive. For many years, this has, indeed been problematic. A quality E-bike has been priced at $2500 or more in the past. Much of this has been due to the restrictions here in the states and the lack of a dedicated E-bike support system. Similarly, Americans want long lasting and powerful batteries which add to the cost. Any battery putting out 60 miles of power will definitely come with a price-tag. On a good note, E-bike prices have been dropping in recent years. Bikes that cost $2500 to $3000 a few years ago, are now in the $2000 range.

3.  E-bikes are heavy and lethargic; they aren’t really made for road riding. Most of the early models of E-bikes had a rather large battery mounted on the frame with the motor either mounted in the bottom bracket or one of the hubs. A typical E-bike might weigh as much as 50 lbs. All this is about to change, however. Recently, Pinarello , launched a road E-bike option. This bike will be called the Nytro and weighs a mere 28 lbs with battery. Additionally, the batter is well hidden within the frame of the bike. For all intents and purposes, there is no way to readily determine that this bike is, indeed, electric assist. In Europe, this bike sold out in one day. Riders who purchased the bike noted that they could climb without getting behind or blowing up. Riders also noted that they could stay in group rides where the riders might be more aggressive.

Seeing the E-bike revolution on the horizon, Bike Masters will begin stocking Norco E-bikes this spring. It will be a great time to come in and test ride a new E-bike. Pricing will be competitive. As early as next fall, expect to see the new Nytro when they become available in the US.

Take Care of Your Bike

Your bike is much like your car; it needs to have periodic maintenance and care! Below is a recommended sample of the types of care and maintenance bikes need on a daily, weekly, seasonal and yearly basis. It’s pretty easy to see how much there is to keeping your bike in tip top condition. When your bike is running well, it will be there for you when you want to ride!

At Bike Masters, we can take care of your every service need. We offer tune-ups from $49 all the way up to full overhauls at $249. The estimates are always free and we offer “Totally Outrageous Service!” You can go to the Bike Masters website to see our offerings.

We will also be offering service packages in the near future. This is a way to pay for your bike service when you purchase your bike. Service contracts give you peace of mind. Your bike services are free for the duration of your contract and you get preferred service when you come into the shop. Stay tuned this spring for the launch of service contracts.

“When you come in to our shop, you can expect to get great service. We care for your bike like it was our own!” Dan Hill

Every Ride

  • Check tire pressure. If it’s low (if the tire feels squishy), fill to the correct PSI – which is listed on side of your tire.
  • Glance over the tire tread on both tires for embedded debris, to avoid getting a flat.
  • If you have quick release parts (such as wheels or seatposts), check that they are tight and that the wheels are secure.
  • Spin wheels to check for wobbles. If the wheel wobbles, this indicates that you need to have your wheel trued.
  • Squeeze brakes to make sure they’re grabbing and that the pads touch the rims, not the tires.
  • If you have a mountain bike, push down on and release the suspension to be sure that it’s responding properly.
  • Look over the bike chain. Add chain lube if it looks dry.
  • Make sure you are prepared with tools (spare tube and/or patch kit, tire levers, pump), in case you get a flat while riding.


  • Wipe down bicycle frame with a cloth. Inspect frame and parts for signs of wear, such as cracks or dents.
  • Wipe the chain and cassette cogs clean with a rag + earth-friendly degreaser. Re-lube chain.
  • Check the wheels for loose spokes. If the spokes are loose, the wheels may have to be re-trued.
  • Using a wrench, test the tightness of the moving and connecting parts: crankarms, pedals, chainring bolts, seat bolt, seatpost bolt, stem bolts, handlebar bolts and all accessory mounting bolts/screws.
  • Lube the pivot points of the brakes, derailleurs, and pedals.
  • Lube the brake and gear cables to prevent binding. Check the cables for fraying and rusting. Replace if necessary.
  • If you have a mountain bike, maintain and lube your suspension.
  • Clean the frame to protect the paint/finish. Once it’s clean, inspect bike frame and fork for any cracks or dents.
  • Check tires for wear such as dry rot or areas where tread is too worn. Replace if cracks or wear are significant.
  • Check your spare tube and patch kit: make sure the spare still holds air and the patch kit has glue + patches.
  • Check the condition of hubs, bottom bracket, headset. adjust and/or overhaul as needed.
  • Check all cables and housings for fraying, breaks, rust, and corrosion. Replace if necessary.
  • Check clipless pedals and cleats for loose screws/bolts.
  • Check for worn brake pads and replace if needed; also replace worn handlebar tape or grips.
  • Check for chain, cassette, and chainring wear and replace worn parts as needed.
  • Clean the drivetrain (chain, chainrings, cassette, front and rear derailleurs) with biodegradable solvent and rags.
  • If you have a mountain bike, maintain and lube your suspension components.
  • Check all bearing systems: hubs, bottom bracket, headset and pedals. Adjust and/or overhaul as needed, based on their condition.
  • Check all brake and gear cables + cable housing for fraying, breakage, rust, corrosion. Replace if necessary.
  • Replace brake pads, and rubber brake hoods and handlebar tape if necessary.
  • Clean and check wheels carefully for signs of wear such as worn sidewalls or cracks where the spoke touches the rim or hub.
  • Check the hubs, bottom bracket, and headset: adjust and/or overhaul as needed.
  • Overhaul the pedals to check the bearings and add fresh grease (this can be tricky!).
  • Maintain and lube your suspension components according to the advice in the owner’s manual.
  • Check basket, racks and accessories – be sure attachments and bolts seem in ok condition.
By | 2018-02-01T20:19:34+00:00 February 1st, 2018|Features & Events|Comments Off on Bike Masters Winter Newsletter

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