Posts Tagged ‘buying a bicycle’

Bike-Shaped Objects : BSOs – Toys or Bicycles?

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

The other day I was idly surfing the online catalog of a well-known BigBoxMart* store and decided to look at what was on offer in the way of bicycles. I was rather taken aback to find even adult bicycles in the TOY section of the store, although on reflection I suppose I had no reason to be surprised at all.

So - you're going to buy a car. Where do you go? The toy-store obviously ...

So – you’re going to buy a car. Where do you go? The toy-store obviously …

One of the most frequent questions we get asked in the bike store is, “Why does this child’s bike you’re offering cost $210, when I can get one in BigBoxMart for $60?”

Remember, BigBoxMart sells “bicycles” in its toy department! And I’m not just talking children’s bikes … I’m talking adult cycles too.

Halter’s is a bicycle shop. We sell bicycles. We do not sell toys!

BigBoxMart ... it kind of looks like a bike ... what are your expectations? PS: That's our red arrow ...

BigBoxMart … it kind of looks like a bike … what are your expectations? PS: That’s our red arrow …

A bike shop quality child’s bicycle is designed and built from the same components full size bicycles are constructed from with no compromise for quality or safety.

A bike shop does not regard a bicycle as a toy. It’s a transportation device designed and built up to meet a specification which can be ridden safely and without failure on the nation’s roads and by-ways.

The bicycle will be built of quality components which will remain serviceable for many years. And even then replacement parts will continue to be available.

A toy is built down to a price point. After all, it only has to look like a bike … sort of …

So here’s another top ten question, “The wheel on my child’s PinkFairy/BlueSuperHero bike is bent. Can you fix it?”

Okay, now it’s turn for one of our questions. “Why don’t you go back to BigBoxMart and ask them to fix it?”

I guess we know the answer to that one, right?

“Well, this wheel has no serviceable parts on it. I mean, it only looks like a wheel. It’s a toy wheel after all.  A replacement wheel will be around $40 plus labor.”

“But the bike only cost $50!!!”

“It’s not a bike. It’s a toy. Our replacement wheel is a quality bicycle component which will not bend or fail.”

We love our customers to come back and see us, but not if it’s because they’re going to complain about some shoddy part we sold them which was bound to fail.

But let’s assume you’ve brought in your adult bicycle purchased from a toy store, erm … I meant BigBoxMart. It needs tuning and a couple of replacement parts. Okay, I’ve dealt with the cost of them, but it also requires adjustment to enable it to ride efficiently and safely.

Here’s a bike shop trade secret; it takes much longer to service and adjust a cheap, nasty, BigBoxMart toy bike than the most expensive and sophisticated bike store bought bicycle. The bike store bought bicycle will be built by skilled and experienced mechanics, have bike industry quality parts which are well-designed, durable and quickly and accurately adjustable which will stay in tune and last.

The toy bike will be assembled by some kid after school, from non-standard parts, frequently leave the BigBoxMart with stripped threads, bent and broken components before you’ve even ridden it, plus major assembly issues like having the fork on back-to-front, which makes for a dangerously unstable bike and similar safety issues. There is little scope for accurate adjustment and even then the work may only last half-way though your next ride. And you still want us to fix this?

If you’re in the market for a bicycle, for yourself or a family member get on down to your local bike shop and get some advice about purchasing a safe, quality bike which is unlikely to have issues, but if it does, the bike shop will address for you. Shop around for sure, but if you want a safe, quality bicycle, then buy from a local bike shop.

Feel free to buy a toy bike from the toy shop, but don’t be surprised when your local bike shop quotes an economic price for a safe, quality repair or service.

In reality, if you’re a conscientious parent who maintains your child’s bicycle a cheap toy will cost you as much in the long run as a quality child’s bicycle, except it’s going to spend a lot of time in the workshop.

Support your local bike shop!!!

Toy? Or real bicycles from Giant and Cannondale

Toy? Or real bicycles from Giant and Cannondale

*BigBoxMart is a figment of English Al’s imagination and bears no similarity to any large, discount warehouse type shops you might be thinking of … no really …


If you’re seeking information on other topics click on any item in Halter’s Tag Cloud in the right hand column of this blog …


Alan That British Bloke


Which Bike?

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Over the years the basic bicycle has evolved into a number of configurations, some good for general use, some with specific intentions.

So which bike is best for you?

Cruiser bicycles - low seating makes for a very stable rider position ... great for riding on the shore and around your community

Cruiser bicycles – low seating makes for a very stable rider position … great for riding on the shore and around your community

Cruiser bicycles : A long wheel-base and low center of gravity makes for a very stable ride and comfortable upright stance for the rider.

These bikes are excellent for cycling around your neighborhood or round town. They will also negotiate smooth off-road routes like the canal tow-path and trails through parks.

The low seating position makes it easy for anyone to get their feet onto the ground so it’s perfect for the nervous rider.

Hybrid bicycles - good on the road or on smooth trails

Hybrid bicycles – good on the road or on smooth trails

Cruiser bikes are not so good if your rides include a lot of hills or you’re intending to take on longer, more ambitious rides.

Hybrid Bicycles : If you want to break out of your neighborhood on your bicycle and ride as part of a healthy life-style regime then a hybrid bicycle could be for you.

Hybrids will keep you in an upright stance, but in a higher, more efficient position which makes climbing hills and cycling longer distances rather easier than on a cruiser.

Sports and Fitness Bicycles : lightweight, nimble hybrids

Sports and Fitness Bicycles : lightweight, nimble hybrids

You can find out more about hybrid bicycles here …

Sports and Fitness bicycles : These bikes are a lightweight, non-suspension, development of hybrid bicycles. Almost, but not quite, straight handle-bar road bikes, but still capable of riding made up paths and trails, these bikes appeal to the person seeking to expand their bicycling horizons and get a bit of a workout at the same time.

Higher end S&F bikes are approaching the cost of a good road bike, so if you’re considering purchasing at this level seek the advice of your local bike store to make sure this type of bike really is for you.

Mountain Bike - hard-tail or full-suspension

Mountain Bike – hard-tail or full-suspension

Mountain Bikes : For many people this is their entry point to cycling.

Traditionally, MTBs have been characterized by fat 26″ tires, but now most of our higher end bikes use 29″ wheel (29ers), the same diameter as a road bike, but wider.

MTBs have their own sub-genres; XC, all-mountain, downhill, freeride, etc.

The NJ terrain was made for hard-tail 29ers. Their ability to roll over the typical surface here will suit most people.

Fatbikes and Single-Speed MTBs

Fatbikes and Single-Speed MTBs

If gnarly, rocky trails are your forté then consider a full-suspension bike, although at any price point a hard-tail will have superior components to a full-suspension bike.

Further developments of MTBs include the Fatbike with immense wheels capable of rolling over soft, granular surfaces such as sand or snow, and the Single-Speed MTB, no gears, no suspension for the back-to-basics crew.

Men's and Women's Road bikes - performance and comfort/endurance geometry ... but which one's which?

Men’s and Women’s Road bikes – performance and comfort/endurance geometry … but which one’s which?

Road Bicycles : If you want to ride the maximum distance with the greatest efficiency then you must consider a road bike. Don’t be put off by skinny tires, narrow saddles and drop-handlebars. These bikes are designed to be ridden over many miles, hundreds, even thousands of miles. No one will do that if they’re uncomfortable on their bike.

All road type bikes offered by Halter’s are only sold with a personal bike fit. This is by appointment only – just call the shop – and can last a couple of hours, but will certainly provide you with the best, most comfortable and efficient ride within your budget.

Road bikes fall into a couple of categories; men’s and women’s and performance and comfort/endurance.

Don’t get too caught up in definitions. The right bike is determined by an arcane formula determined from its intended use, your height, proportions, flexibility and just how you feel when riding it.

Taller women will fit a “men’s” frame better, and shorter men with proportionately long limbs may suit a “women’s” bike. Classic road races have been won on “comfort/endurance” frames and tall guys with short legs may find a “performance” frame more comfortable.

So what we’re saying is, “It all depends …”. Only a professional bike fit can determine this for you.

There are also a number of variations of road bike built to accommodate different challenges.

Cyclo-cross and Touring bicycles

Cyclo-cross and Touring bicycles

Cyclo-cross Bicycle : Cyclo-cross (CX) is a huge sport in the winter in Europe where riders race on short courses across fields and park lands either in mud or freezing temperatures … Sounds like fun, huh?

Well, there is a thriving CX scene here in the US if you feel the need.

However, CX bikes also make excellent commuter bikes because of their ability to accommodate wider tires, fenders and luggage racks.

Touring Bicycle : Whether you’re a credit card tourist flitting from B&B to B&B, or riding a self-sufficient epic coast-to-coast ride, the appropriate touring bike will help you eat up the miles while specially adapted to carry the necessary paraphernalia – tent, sleeping bag, stove, clothes, etc.

Triathlon or Time-Trial bicycles and road bike bar adapters

Triathlon or Time-Trial bicycles and road bike bar adapters

Triathlon or Time-Trial Bicycle : First time customers often present themselves in the shop with the purpose of buying a tri-bike.

Be in no doubt, a tri-bike is the most specialized and focused bike we sell.

In comparison to a regular road bike tri-bikes have delicate handling, less efficient brakes and comfort can be compromised by the need to get from A-to-B as fast as possible. Most bike clubs also prohibit tri-bikes on club rides.

Custom-built bicycle - road, tourer, mtb, cyclo-cross - a Seven Cycle crafted to your exact requirements

Custom-built bicycle – road, tourer, mtb, cyclo-cross – a Seven Cycle crafted to your exact requirements

Most committed triathlon customers ride a regular road bike for training and transfer to their tri-bike just prior to competition. Road bikes can be adapted with the addition of a tri-bar and some fit work which is more than good enough for most competitions.

Custom-Built Bicycle : If you have very particular requirements, or if only the best is good enough, then consider having a bicycle tailored and hand-built for you. Nothing will work for you better.

After a personal consultation with our expert bike fitter, Seven Cycles will build you a frame from steel, titanium, carbon fiber or a blend which will fit you like a glove and have exactly the characteristics you specify. Halter’s will then add the finest and most appropriate components for the most exclusive bike you will ever own.

Of course, expect a price in the five-figure range …

Halter’s sell bicycles and frames by: Cannondale, Electra, Giant, Salsa and Surly. We will also build you a bike to your specification from a fixie to the ultimate bespoke bike from Seven Cycles. We also sell frames from a number of makers including All-City and Tom Ritchey.

If you’re seeking information on other topics click on any item in Halter’s Tag Cloud in the right hand column of this blog …


Alan That British Bloke


 
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