Portland Bike Blog - Portland Bike Tours and Rentals

Do these work on my bike? … Disc Brakes

Mike’s Bike Advice

Disc Brake Conversions

Part II of our three part series– answering your questions about if and how to upgrade your steed

Usually, answering this question is pretty straightforward. Are there disc tabs on the bDisc Brake Tabike? If your bike was built with disc brakes in mind, it can be easy–though costly–to upgrade. So if you are looking to upgrade the brakes on your bike to work best in wet, muddy weather, for higher speed braking or for quite steep hills, check for these tabs on your front fork and rear triangle:

Once you’ve determined you have a bike frame that will accept disc brakes, bring it on in to figure out whether cable or hydraulic disc brakes will work best for your purposes. For most commuting uses, cable disc brakes provide the cheapest, simplest and most maintenance-free option. If you are looking for the best braking system regardless of price, hydraulic brakes do provide a slightly stronger and smoother platform that doesn’t suffer from cable stretch. Look for trusted brands like Shimano and Avid when you’re ready to buy for the best reliability and longevity.

All that is left is to find the perfect wheel set to complete your disc brake transformation. There are two styles of attachment between the rotor and disc hub: 6-bolt and centerlock. Match your rotor disc with the hub style you have an you’re ready to roll with a bit more safety and security.

Surly Disc Fork

This Surly Fork is a great option to upgrade your front wheel to a disc brake

If you have found your perfect bike for touring, commuting or exploring but the bike doesn’t have disc tabs, we have a workaround for those looking to improve braking. Adding a new fork to your commuter can give you access to disc braking on just your front wheel–the wheel that provides up to 80% of your braking power.

There are quite a few options to upgrade your fork for under $100 to allow disc braking power on your favorite steed.

 

 

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Do these work on my bike? … Flatbar Conversion

Mechanic Mike

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Flatbar Conversion

Compatibility is one of the most confusing topics for riders starting to upgrade their bikes. While we won’t get in to any french standards or press-fit bottom bracket frame requirements, in this post Mike will explain the process to update your bike with flat bars, wider range drivetrains and disc brakes in the next three posts. Today, he is here to talk about the parts and rough cost to convert your drop bar commuter to a flat or upright commuter. Hope you enjoy the flatbar conversion post and check back next week to read about adapting your bike to a 9, 10 or 11- speed drivetrain.

 

Alright folks, Mike here! Mike_Chem_Power_

First off, what and why. Drop bars are the quintessential swoopy bike handlebars you see on everything from 1970s road bike to the Tour de France race bikes you see on TV. They range in price from $5 in a used parts bin to $400 carbon creations meant to shave weight, increase aerodynamics and reduce arm fatigue. But how useful are drop bars for the everyday rider taking his bike to work or riding around when its not pouring? We get a number of requests to convert drop bars to upright or flat bars for a safer, more comfortable ride better suited to general riding. We convert our own single speed rental bikes from drop bar to upright for the most comfortable rental use.

But it isn’t as simple as picking up a $10 flat bar and swapping brakes, shifters and handlebar tape.

Flatbar

Flatbar Conversion

Attaching the flat bars to the bike. Usually stems must either be swapped or shimmed to fit the new bar clamp size. Common drop bar clamp sizes are 25.4mm, 26mm or 31.8mm while most upright bars will be 25.4mm. Swing by and I can measure your clamp size and give you options for how to switch bars.

 

How about mounting all of your parts? Road and upright bars also usually have different diameter for brake levers and shifters, either 23.8 or 22.2mm. This is often the reason you’ll also have to change these as well. Flatbar brakes usually run about $10-20 a set while shifters generally cost closer to $30. Hint: Look for a bike with shifters mounted to places other than the handlebars as these are the easiest and cheapest to convert to upright handlebars.

Dropbar

 

Finally, choose your grips. It is possible to simply wrap your bar tape between the brake levers and the bar ends of your new upright handlebars, but often clients prefer a flatbar specific grip. Our favorite grips are from ODI, but your favorite can easily be found for under $15.

 

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Top 4 Underrated Tools

For this week’s post, we are bringing you our Top 4 most underrated, and undervalued tools. These are the tools that you’ve always seen as overpriced or superfluous, but we explain their true benefit and why they pay off in the end. You may notice, we don’t recommend one brand for every tool. This is for two reasons: one, as a small business, we are not tied to any tool company or brand; and two, there really is no brand that wins out in durability, usability, and price for every tool they make. But you don’t have to believe us, come down and check out the different options yourself at Cycle Portland.

Picking Your Tire Lever

Pedro’s vs Park Tool

Tire Lever

Pedro’s Tire Lever

Quality makes a big difference, even for some of some of the smallest tools. Design and plastic composition in tire levers become apparent after changing even one or two and become amplified after a few hundred tire changes. The Pedro Lever slots in the groove much better with a wider and better designed profile. The stiffer cross section mean less flexing and breakage when taking off a stiff tire.

 

 

 

Choosing Your Multitool

Crank Bros vs budget 6 toolCrank Brothers Multi-tool

You’ll notice a couple things you’ll notice when you finally need to pull that multitool out of its deep, dark corner of your saddlebag. First, you’ll notice the length and design of the handle. Getting the leverage to really tighten down that offending nut often takes more than a one-inch handle. Second, you’ll notice the construction of the whole contraption when it starts to loosen up and fall apart. For whatever reason, the bolt fastening method of those cheap-o tools will rattle apart after about five uses. The Crank Brothers set is a lifetime tool. Spend the money and you won’t regret it.

 

Start Your Toolkit Right with a Proper Long-handle SetPark Tools Wrench Set

When picking a good set of hex tools to start your toolset, what are the important things to look at? Long handle for leverage and hard to reach places, connected with metal vs plastic, having a ball-style on one end. Between tightening crankarms, removing stuck pedals, and accessing hard to reach brake bolts, long handle hex wrenches are indispensable. Combine that long handle with a ball-style end and you’ll able to tighten any bolt on your bike stress-free.

Note: Know what to use the ball-style hex for and what not to! Its perfect for adjusting a tough-to-access brake calliper or bottle cage. Just don’t try to lossen a rusted bolt as your more likely to round out the bolt head.

Why You Can’t Do Without Cable Cutters

Why should you invest in a genuine cable cutter rather than using snips to cut your cable housing? Trust us, you will regret every minute of your experience trying to cut shifting cable with snips. Shift housing is made up of long metal wires that run the length of the tubing. Attempting to cut these with snips leads to terrible cuts, poked fingers and a lot of frustration. Take it from us, it’s a $20-$35 tool that is worth its weight in gold!prod-tools-pedros-cable-cutter-2-wr

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5 Best Cost-Effective Upgrades for Your Bike

MIKE’S BIKE ADVICE

This week’s post will suggest the five most cost-effective upgrades to make your ride the most enjoyable experience of the day. Spending $300 to upgrade your crankset or to shave a couple dozen grams from your bike won’t make nearly the difference in enjoyment per dollar that changing your grips or finding a perfect saddle for your shape. Mechanic Mike is here to tell you his top five favorite upgrades for the money.

 

Upgrade your Grips or Bar Tape

IMG_2279Beautiful selection of Cinelli Gel grip tap in stock right now.

Not only will this give your bike a totally sweet new look, finding the right grips for your riding style will make you a much happy camper. Riding long days in the saddle without gloves and downhill mountain biking with gloves need two different types of grippy-ness. Sometimes leather grips are the right material for riding with minimal callouses and long life of your grips. Things to think about when choosing your grips: style of riding, weather conditions, gloves vs no gloves, or come in to Cycle Portland to ask for our recommended grips for your riding. It is a cost-effective upgrade to your bike ride. 

Find the Right Saddle for your Seat

IMG_2274We have this beautiful Cardiff in the window waiting for its forever home!

Not every saddle works for every person, but it makes sense to put energy into finding the right saddle for you. There are a couple saddles that have a wide appeal among cyclist, a couple leather saddles among these options. Stock saddles are chosen based on the cheapest price for the bike manufacturer and the look of the saddle. Neither of these considerations pay off for your sit bones. Come in for a saddle consultation and upgrade today.

Tires Rule Everything A-round MeIMG_2249

Great selection of Marathons on this wall.

Nothing ruins a ride like getting a flat tire, and nothing prevents flats like the appropriate tires. We love a pair of Marathon Plus’s for pretty much every riding application, but there are some riding that requires specific tires. Fine tuning the bike’s connection to the ground produces some of the most favorable improvements for your daily ride and costs less that $50 a tire.

Cockpit SwapHandlebars

Our selection of handlebars  in the shop.

Finding the best height for your handlebars and possibly even changing your handlebars could reduce the pressure you feel in your hands, wrists and shoulders. Mechanic Mike has even found that by switching handlebars, he has eliminated pain in his neck and back. Even raising your stem by an inch or changing your handlebar bend by 15 degrees, can change your approach to riding.

Basket Game

Cycle Portland single-speed wald basketWe love Wald Baskets at Cycle Portland!

Having a place to drop your bag, carry home groceries or even to put your sandals and shirt after a swim in the river makes your bike more functional, beautiful. There was a time when all bikes came with a basket or rack to provide a trunk of sorts for your bicycle. Trust Mike when he says you’ll find ways to fill up your basket nearly every ride.

We are here to help you have a great ride, daily from 9am – 6pm!

For all your cost effective bike upgrades visit us at 117 NW 2nd Ave, Portland OR

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Thanks for the Feature, North Shore News!

We had a great time showing around Brian! Good weather or bad, year round, it’s always a good time to hop on a bike and eat your way through the city. Check out his article about where to visit, eat and drink below.

http://www.nsnews.com/entertainment/travel/portland-plays-the-perfect-host-year-round-1.2156715

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