Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shimano PD-A520 SPD Road Bike Pedals

The Question about these pedals was will they work with Mountain bike shoes and with the SH56 cleat.

These pedals are designed for Mountain bike cleats to use on a road or city bike. Many people have really nice mountain bike shoes and want a pedal with better cornering angle for their road bike than most mountain bike pedals offer. This pedal was designed for that. If you are comfortatble flipping your pedal over every time you get on your bike these could work fine as mountain bike pedals. Yes they will work with Shimano SH56 cleats or SH51. Thanks

Check out How to buy the right Bicycle Tube.

Check out if your bike needs 1/2" or 9/16" Pedals Here

There are now some XLC pedals that are very similar to the design of the A520.  The Xlc pedals are available on Ebay and are significantly less expensive.  Check out theses XLC bike parts.

XLC is a very large international brand that specializes in great prices on quality parts.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bicycle Seat Post Sizing Tips

There are a lot of different seatpost sizes avaiable.

The critical measurements for any seatpost is the diameter and the length. Seatpost diameters are normally etched into the seatpost directly below the minimum insertion line. The length is normally expressed as 300mm ( 11.8 inches), 350mm (13.5 inches), 400mm (15.75 inches).

Seatpost Diameter Sizing
It is important that you get the exact size seatpost your bicycle was designed for. The diameter measurments normally range from 25.4 to 31.6mm. Some of the more commons sizes are 25.4, 26.8, 27.2, 30.9, 31.6. There are other sizes that are used also.

Put a little Grease on it
Before inserting your seatpost into your frame put a thin coat of grease on the post.  This will keep your post from rusting to your frame and making it impossible to adjust your seat height.  In humid parts of the US the post can rust into the frame in a year or less.

Bicycle Seat Post from Zbikenut/XLC

Using a smaller seatpost diameter
If you try to use a seatpost that is smaller than the bike was designed for you will not be able to get the seatpost clamp on the frame of the bike to tighten up enough.

Your seat will continuously slide down into the bike when you hit a little bump. This will drive you nuts. Also in overtightening the seatpost clamp on your bike you can damage the bike frame.

Check out Seat Posts on Ebay

Using a Larger Seatpost
This is really hard to do because you probably will not be able to get the seatpost to slide down into the frame at all.

Check for Cracks
Do not use a cracked or bent seatpost. Seatpost failure will usually happen at an already stressful time--you just hit a big bump or something--and can easily multiply any problem.

A Bent seatpost will bend much more easily where it was already bent.

Seatpost Minimum Insertion Line
This line is normally about two inches from the bottom of the post. This will usually give the post and the frame enough support. If you raise your seatpost above the minimum insertion line and then hit a fairly large bump while sitting on your seat you are quite likely to damage the seatpost or the frame or both.

Seatpost that are rusted into the frame.
I always lightly coat a seatpost with grease before insertion. This makes it a little tougher to get the seatpost to stay where you put it but it keeps the seatpost and frame from rusting together. Any area where there is fairly high humidity it is important to coat an aluminum or steel seatpost with grease before insertion. I have seen a lot of frames through the years that were ruined as someone attempted to remove a seatpost.

Check out Seatposts here

Carbon Fiber Frames and Seat Posts
When either the frame or seat post is Carbon Fiber there is a special grease type compound to use.  This compound is made by a couple of different companies and helps keep the post from sliding.

Carbon fiber posts while being very light in my experience may not hold up as well as aluminum posts.  Be careful about over tightening.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Great Flat Tire on My Bike

The Unusual Benefits of Getting a Flat Tire

I know, our nemesis as bike riders is getting flat tires. I was down in Arizona riding a while back and actually saw some lizards I would not have seen if I didn’t get the flat tire. The area I was riding near Havasu City doesn’t have much vegetation. I was the only animal I had seen for a couple of hours when I got a flat. As I was fixing my flat I spotted these little lizards.

Flat Tire Visitor Lizard
My Visitors While Fixing a Flat Tire Near Havasu City

I talked to them but they didn’t say much. They are quite small and moved really quickly when they wanted to go.

Take Time to Look Around…

That comment is for my benefit, sometimes I am too busy riding to see where I am.

Enjoyed the Flat Tire,


Stay out of the Pricklies

Cactus Up Close on Bike Ride in Sara Park near Havasu City

Mountain Trails at Big Sky Montana

Mountain Biking at Big Sky, Montana

I spent a few days riding at Big Sky Ski area.  Ski area biking has changed a lot since the early 90s.  I remember the ski areas having a few Cross Country Bicycle Trails that zig zaged across  the hills.  Often these were just the original roads that were used to install the towers.

Lodge at top of RamCharger Lift at Big Sky Montana

Big Sky has developed a lot of Downhill Mountain Bike Trails off the RamCharger lift.  These trails are rated like ski runs as to difficulty and mapped.  They run the lift from 10 to 3 during the summer.

Many of the trails are Dedicated downhill runs.  My recommendation is riding with a full suspension Downhill bike with full body armor.   Rentals are available at the lodge.  I happened to be there with my light XC bike.  I had fun but some of the trails are a bit over the top.

Winter Mountain Biking in Montana

I have spent a lot of time winter mountain biking.  I first started riding studded tires back in about 1987 or 88. I have studded 27 x1 1/4 and many different 26″ tires.  The really skinny tires cut through the snow really well if you have a couple inches and solid ground underneath.  We used 1/2 roofing nails from the inside out on our tires at first.  Then we used an old inner tube for a liner and thorn tubes.

In the Snow on top of Mount Sentinel Missoula, Mt
My Thoughts on bike setup.
Winter riding is very harsh on components so I do not  recommend a full suspension.  I usually use one of my older mountain bikes because the ice and deicer are really hard on the paint and components.  I do recommend a front shocks and a seatpost shock.
Where I ride often there are footprints from hikers that are frozen into the snow.  These are often much rougher than most the trails I ride the rest of the year.  The suspension seatpost is really helpful at softening the ride.

Ice Falling

The first fall you take riding your bike on the ice will probably be memorable.  If you are riding without studs and hit a patch of ice you will fall so fast you will not even realize what is happening.  One moment you are riding along and the next you are laying on the ground with a sore elbow and hip.  Usually you will not even have time to take your hand off the bars to break your fall.

Studded Tires for Winter Bicycle Riding

Normally I ride with a only a studded front tire.  The back tire will usually grip fairly well because most of your weight is on it.  If the back tire slides around a little bit it is fun, when the front tire slides a little you are normally on the ground.  The Front Stud really helps keep me from going down on those random patches of ice.
Studded tires add a lot of rolling resistance and are expensive.  I have a spare wheel with my studded front tire that I can just swap over.  This way if we get warm and lose all the ice I can go back to my regular wheel in less than a minute.

Disc Brakes

Disc brakes are an absolute necessity for winter riding.  I rode for years with a studded front tire and rim brakes.  If there is any snow around rim brakes do not work at all.  The heat from your brakes rubbing on the rims will melt the snow and the water will make your rims slick.  Disc brakes rock for winter riding.

Staying Dry

I believe it is very important to stay dry.  I ride on trails where if I get in trouble there is a good chance there is no one around.  I try to have extra dry clothing to put on in case I have to walk out.


I carry a lot of extra clothing on winter rides.  I find that I want to have several ways to adjust my temperature because as the grade changes and the weather changes it take a lot different gear.  Most of my riding will include a major climb.  I will take a lot of clothing off on the climb to keep my perspiration down.
I try to stay dry but I never fully succeed.  I want to have warm dry clothing to put on if the weather changes or if I have a major bike issue.
Overall if I can keep my hands, ears and feet warm I will usually have a good ride.
My way of moderating my temperature starts with two pair of gloves (light pair and warm pair) I can also fit the light pair inside the heavy pair for maximum hand warmth, ear muffs, fleece neck warmer, booties, extra long sleeve shirt, Extra long underwear and winter riding pants.
When riding and I start to heat up my first downgrade is to take my warm gloves off and put my light ones on, ,  then my extra shirt comes off, then my neck warmer comes off, then my coat gets zipped down, and then my booties come off.
My core sweats a lot so I pay close attention to keeping my shirt dry if possible.

My Winter Biking Pack

I have a lot of messenger bags that I normally ride with.  In the winter I change to riding with a backpack because I can open my coat to adjust my temperature better with a backpack than with a messenger bag.

Winter Mountain Biking vs Running

Winter mountain biking differs a lot from running in the winter.  There is a big difference in your speed while cycling from 4 miles per hour up hill to 25 mph on downhills.  The clothing requirements at the different speeds make me change my level of clothing a lot while cycling.  While running my speed is much more constant so my clothing demand is lower.


I like winter riding temperatures between the high teens and 30 degrees Fahrenheit.  I do not like it when it gets above freezing and the snow is melting because it gets really messy.