Texas Bike Trails in April – Continued

Last weekend I posted a bunch of photos from the great trails in Texas – if you like mountain biking, the spring in and around Austin, Texas is a great time to experience nature from the bike seat… You get to see great colors, may be even encounter some wild life on the trails.

This April has been wet – tons of rains in the area – resulted in greenery everywhere and of course tons of wild flowers.

As a result of the rains, the local creeks are also running wild – so you may need to be careful on some of the trails.  Lucky for me – by this Saturday the trails along Barton Creek (photos below) were almost dry with only some areas that were still under water – but easy to bike through on your bike.

I think the photos speak for themselves – April is a great time to go out and ride the trails.

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Texas Mountain Bike Trails in April

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

This winter and spring have both been fairly unpredictable and actually not cold.  As a result both the trails and the actual biking conditions have been rather pleasant if not a bit muddy. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to hit … Continue reading

Bold Cycles : Innovative Mountain Bike Company

Bold-CyclesBold Cycles

Just when you thought that the world of mountain bike designers, manufacturers and brands is getting saturated – here comes another, brand new, actually startup company – Bold Cycles.

The company offers a very innovative approach to building a fully suspended mountain bikes with frames that allow us to use both 29-inch and 27.5-inch wheels.  The main innovation though is that the rear shock has been entirely integrated in the frame / seat post tube.  I have rarely ridden on a bike with rear suspension – why?  I prefer the hardtail bikes as they provide a whole lot more control and less fish tailing on a trail.  The rear suspension in my opinion adds to the soft feel / mushy feel and less feel of control on most trails.  Now with the integrated rear shock and the more precise timing of how forces are distributed in the rear part of the bike – the company promises a better experience.

Bold-CyclesBold Cycles promises both stiffness and 5-inch / 130mm travel suspension which certainly should add to our comfort of going over obstacles.

Additionally, the enclosure of the shock should provide for protection against dirt and stones – with only one question from me — NOT SURE HOW YOU WOULD GET ACCESS TO THE SHOCK FOR MAINTENANCE AND CLEAN-UP.

Another aspect to highlight is that shift cables and the rear brake line are internally routed – a nice touch overall.

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Bicycle Types – The Beginners Guide to Mountain Biking

Bicycle Types: The Beginners Guide to Mountain Biking – Part II

Bicycle types – why worry or think about them?  Nowadays there are tons of bicycle types.  When you start considering your first or next bike to buy, you could benefit from getting a quick view of the information here as a way to better formulate your thinking and decision criteria. Earlier, I published a summary of topics I plan to write about as a way to develop a comprehensive guide for the amateur bicycle enthusiast.  Next, in part II of the guide, lets continue with the key question Which types of bikes may be of interest?  And of course what things do you have to consider aside from the bike brand?  Here is a short list:

  • What type of rides do you plan to do.  On trails in the country side or on the paved road.  Both?  Well, which one will be the prevalent type?;  What bikes do your friends ride?  After all biking with friends is a whole more fun…
  • Do not fall prey to the "buy cheap" and "what a great deal" gimmicks — if it is too good to be true it probably is (as the saying goes); Brands like Huffy, Schwin, Roadmaster, Mongoose, etc are OK but only for casual rides to the mail box 🙂  or overall just short and casual rides;  The good bikes cost $$$ and their construction and components will handle well in various conditions;

Based on the answer to the question above you will define which type of bike you will start testing.  The types include: 

  • Mountain Bikes
  • Road Bikes
  • Touring Bikes
  • Hybrid Bikes
  • Cyclocross Bikes 

In this guide, as the name suggests, I will start with my favorite one — the Mountain Bike, and discuss the types of bikes within this category.  So when you start thinking about a mountain bike, you will have to consider several categories:

  • 29er Hardtail
  • 29er Full Suspension
  • 650B or 27.5inch bikes
  • All Mountain Full Suspension
  • Cross-Country 
  • Trail Bikes
  • Downhill / Freeride bikes
  • Single speed mountain bikes

Next lets start with a brief description of the various types listed above. 

29er Hardtail: This type of bikes leverage the innovation of adding larger diameter wheels to the already well established category of mountain bikes.  The wheels have 29" tires rather than the traditional 26" ones.  Additionally, the "Hardtail" means the bike uses a frame with a front suspension fork and no rear suspension;

29er Hardtail

Compared to Full Suspension biks, the hardtails use your energy more efficiently, they are lighter and of course cost less for similarly outfitted full suspension bikes.  On a rocky trail you may find a preference for the full suspension bike, but I like the Hardtail for its manuverability and fast response to pedaling.

29er Full Suspension:  Well, yes, you guessed it — this type of mountain bikes is very similar to the 29er Hardtail except it utilizes full suspension mechanism.  

 A Santa Cruz 29er Full Suspension 

650B or 27.5inch bikes: This is a new category of mountain bikes which utilizes 27-inch tires.  This type of bike offers the "best of both worlds" in my opinion — the combination of a big wheel (27-inches) and smaller overall size which adds to the manueverability of the bicycle.