Here are some facts about the price and quality of bicycles that we would like you to know:
Under $150 --Bikes in this range are not suitable for off-road riding. Although they purport to be "mountain bikes," it is only in appearance and not function. Frames are typically made of mild steel and are prone to bending under moderate stress. Look for pinched together tubes where the wheels attach--a sign of low-quality. Low-cost steel rims bend easily and are harder to maintain. The hubs are often stamped from steel instead of forged from aluminum and the bearings are usually inadequately shielded, which makes them prone to premature wear. Crank and fork bearings are usually low-quality, poorly shielded and prone to premature wear. Typically, bikes in this price range will have only 10 or 15 speeds. If pre assembled, inquire about getting a free check-up after a short break-in period. Keep in mind that on cheaper bikes the spokes, control cables, crank fixing bolts and bearings are likely to need readjusting after the first two or three hours of riding. If the store does not offer service, expect a qualified mechanic to charge $30 to $60 for a check-up.
$150 to $200 --Mountain bikes in this price range are suitable for street riding and occasional low-impact riding on dirt roads. Frame construction should be hi-tensile steel, but watch for mild steel frame (the tip-off is weight: mild steel bikes weigh 35+ pounds.) Components tend to be slightly better than the "under $150" category, but the spokes, control cables, crank fixing bolts and bearings will still be subject to more maintenance than better bikes. If pre assembled, inquire about getting a free check-up after a break-in period (usually at 30 to 60 days). The spokes, control cables, crank fixing bolts and bearings will need adjusting. If the store does not offer service, expect a qualified mechanic to charge $30 to $60 for a going over.
$200 to $300 hardtails -- Multi-speed bicycles in this price range are suitable for street riding and low-impact off-road riding. Frame construction should be hi-tensile steel and or hi-tensile/CrMo steel. At this price range components start to become significantly better. Crank bearing should be "cartridge-type: which are completely sealed. Control cables, crank fixing bolts and wheel and fork bearings still require a break-in period, but these components should hold their adjustment longer and prove to be significantly more durable than those found on lower-priced bikes.
Low-end suspension bike (up to $400) -- Don't bother. Because of the cost of shocks, pivots and all the other parts needed to make a full suspension bike in this price range, the rest of the components tend to be what you would find on the "toy" bikes. If you want full suspension you should plan on investing significantly more than $400. The next best thing is a hardtail with a suspension seatpost. It will be way lighter, shift better and require less maintenance than any low-end suspension bike.
$330-and -over hardtails -- Hardtail mountain bikes in this price range are suitable for most types of off-road riding. Frame construction could be either CRMo steel or aluminum alloy. Derailleur systems with 21 or 24 speeds are the standard. While there is a significant difference between a $300 bike, a $500 bike and $1000+ bike, most people boil it down to two major issues: weight and shifting performance. At $300, the component parts work significantly better than $200. But the higher up you go, the less incremental the improvement. Though the difference is easily noticed by experienced cyclists, the entry-lever cyclist is not likely to find it significant (the exception is, of course at the very highest end of the market). The frames and forks are another story. Bicycle companies walk a tightrope to give the consumer the most value and still hit key retail price points ($299, $349, $399 and so on.) The frame on a $300 bike still tends to be heavy. And the suspension forks have less travel and minimal function in terms of rebound and compression damping. At $500, the frames and forks are significantly better and at $1000-and-above, the weight, travel and function characteristics can be spectacular. Depending on where you ride and how often, the benefit of buying a bike with a premium frame and fork can be easily justified.
Riding Tips from Harvard Square Bicycles
If you are the sort of person who’s last memory of a bicycle ride drifts back to the days when you cycled to school, then chances are you probably believe that cycling is a sport which can offer you very little. Think again.
Cycling is for the unfit 30, 40, 50, 60 year old as is it for the teen who dreams of riding in the Tour De France and for the adult who has just decided to ride across the county. Regardless of your level of fitness, there is something in the sport of everyone. You can do road racing, mountain biking or merely roll along a cycle path or canal bank or quiet country road.
Perhaps you care for none of the above. If you have ever sat in traffic, tearing your hair out, pounding the steering wheel as your car inched through city traffic to find a parking space 5 blocks from your workplace, then perhaps it is time you changed your mode of transportation to work. In this era of smog and honking car horns cycling to work is often the quickest and most efficient way to travel. It is the most ecologically friendly and stress free way to travel. If you want to consider commuting please stop by. We will be please to help with route and equipment suggestions.
How do I start bicycling? Try it one weekend when you have that little bit of extra time. Remember you can rent bikes from Tempe Bicycle which can be applied towards the purchase of bicycles.
How long should I bicycle? Begin easy and attempt rides of a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes. Cycle at your own pace. If you are very tired and breathless, slow down or even stop for a while. As you feel your body adjust concentrate on biking without stopping to build up towards 1-2 hours and to all-day tours. Bicycling results with less stress on joints than walking or running.
How often should I bicycle? At the beginning twice weekly. As you feel your body adjust, every other day is best.
Warning-Sudden rigorous activity after years of unfitness can be dangerous. Increase you cycling gradually over some weeks. The purpose of physical activity is not to create anxiety or exhaust you - it is to produce relaxation, to train muscles and to improve circulation. Anyone at any age can improve his/her physical condition.
DID YOU KNOW How many calories are burned per hour? Cal/Hr Brisk walking 480 Swimming (slow) 350 Recreational Cycling 360 Cycle Racing 700
You don't need to spend hundreds of extra dollars to get started, however, a helmet should be purchased and always worn. Look for one which passes the safety standards and is well vented. All our helmets meet those requirements $19.95+
Helmet Buyer's Guide
A proper fit is very important for the helmet to be safe. The helmet will also be more comfortable to wear. Helmets come in a variety of sizes, and all padding and straps should be adjusted for your head. Make sure you get your helmet professionally fit when you buy. Harvard Square Bicycles will always fit the helmet for you. Look for a style and color that you or your child is happy with. If you like the look, you will be more likely to have it on your head!
Brains are soft.
ITEMS RECOMMENDED TO CARRY ON YOUR BICYCLE
Pump Be sure to match the pump to your valve type (schrader or presta) Frame Pump $9.95 + Easily carried Consider pump ties for rough terrain. Using CO2 inflator is an alternative to a pump $9.95+
Very durable plastic tire irons $2.50/set Light so as not scratch rim (Planet Bike) $4.95. Planet Bike light tire iron set contains cavity for glueless patches. Quick Stik $3.95. Easy to use, but not as easy to carry on a bike due to its length.
Tube Regular tube $3.95 + Check for correct size and valve
Patch Kit $1.95. One that contains several glueless patches $2.50.
Carrier for supplies $18.95 + Bag to attach to bicycle under seat, on frame, on rack or on handlebars $8.95+
ID and money for phone call. Name in helmet, name in bike bag. Register your bike if you live in a city which has a registration program, or if you're a Harvard student, we'll gladly register your bike with Harvard, at our shop, for free.
Cloth handlebar tape, cloth duct tape, or cloth adhesive tape for patching tires and lots of other stuff.
Floor Pump $15.95 + Easier to use - often has built in pressure gauge.
White Lightening Chain Lubricant $5.95 + Excellent lube for chain Teflon Lube $5.95 + Very good lube for chain and other parts of bicycle and drive train cleaning
Park #CM3 Chain Cleaner $19.95 Cleans chain without removing chain from bike.
Park Chain Brite degreaser $5.95 Degreaser for chain and parts.