Spring is coming!

The groundhog said it, so it must be true! Time to start looking forward to warmer days and nicer bike rides, and time to pull that bike out of the garage or off the trainer and get it ready for the best riding of the year in Georgia! If you've been toughing it out and riding through the cold all winter, getting in those base miles, your steed could use a little love to get it back in shape for those epic rides you have planned for this year. Whether you're just getting started this year, looking to put in a new personal best on your favorite century ride, or trying to get those last few upgrade points you need a bike that won't hold you back. 

We're here to make sure you can focus on the ride. Take in the fresh air, feel the wind in your face, and enjoy the scenery instead of having to worry about that creaky bottom bracket or skipping chain. 

Drop your bike off before March 1st and save 15% on labor and 10% off any parts needed to get your bike perfectly tuned for spring! Plus if you're ready for an upgrade save 10% off the full price of a new set of hand-built Snyder Pro Wheels!

Career Education

Several months ago my mom asked me if I would mind a video guy coming to shoot some of me in the shop and do an interview for her upcoming program. She does character education programs in schools throughout Georgia, and now schools are focusing on career education as well. To give the little kiddies a taste of metal, I let the video man come by and do a little thing, and this is what we came up with! I hope that kids today learn that there is more to the world around them than just computers and cell phones, but we'll just have to wait and see. 

5 Small Tweaks for Smooth Winter Riding

Every year, we have to face the cold. It's a part of cycling that shouldn't be avoided because of how tough it will make you, but we have a few tricks that will make your cold weather riding a little easier.

1. Dress for the worst, but prepare for the best, AKA Layer Up! Some people I know bring two pairs of gloves when they ride. If they know it's going to get 20 degrees warmer during their ride, they may not need their abominable snowman hands halfway into the ride, so they carry a lighter pair of gloves for once it warms up. I prefer just one pair myself, but I always wear a base layer shirt, my regular jersey, and a wind jacket on top that I can easily remove and shove in my back pocket when it warms up. If you're out for a long ride and only have thick winter clothes, once the sun hits, you're going to be HOT! Remember to dress in layers so you don't end up having your own personal July underneath your jacket. For 40-50 degree rides, I'll wear arm and leg warmers that can be removed once the temperature is in the mid 50's. If it's 40 degrees or less out, I'll wear full length tights that I can handle up into the low 50 degrees without overheating. Whenever it is or will become below 45 degrees during my ride, I put on my shoe covers. My toes get cold very easily and can really make for a miserable ride when I think about them falling off.

2. Fill your tires outside, or add a few extra psi. When you subject your tires to colder air, the pressure inside the tire will drop. The simple estimate to use is 2% of pressure per 10 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm not going to subject you to the ideal gas law right now, but for you science nerds who know what it is, I'm sure you can appreciate a good estimate. If you're trying to achieve 100 psi inflation pressure during your ride, and it's 70 degrees in your house and 40 degrees outside, you'll want to add about 6 psi extra to maintain a 100psi tire during the ride. If you fill your tires outside, you likely won't see as much of a drop as you add pressure with already cold air, but the warm air inside the tire will cool and reduce the pressure. Remember, if you aren't filling your tires before each ride, you're increasing the likelihood of a pinch flat.
3. Chapstick! Do I need to explain this one? Your lips are going to freeze! Even thought I wear a balaclava when it is super cold, I usually don't put it over my mouth because it fogs up my glasses. To prevent looking like some antarctic explorer with your lips cracked, Chapstick is the bomb.

4. Cover your ears. Your ears are RUINING YOUR AERODYNAMICS! You look like Dumbo out there in the cold with your ears showing! I always wear a skull cap or balaclava under my helmet when it's cold out.  Ok, it's probably not that big of a deal, but they aren't adding any watts to your ride and they're all by themselves out in the cold, so cover them thangs up!

5. Lay out your stuff the night before. I have like 300 articles of winter clothing, and my wife is ALWAYS hiding them from me! I can never seem to find my shoe covers when I need them the most. The worst way to start a ride is late, to prep your stuff ahead of time so getting dressed is easy and frustration-free. And if you can't find your shoe covers, a grocery bag over your socks will at least keep the wind from freezing your toes to death.

Velocity A23 vs Mavic Open Pro, Part 1: Tire Profile and Air Volume Comparison

There are lots of sources of information regarding what the real benefits of running wider rims on a road bike are, but by and large it seems there is not much data supporting the hype. It is my intention in writing these articles to disseminate information from my own research and testing to show the true differences and characteristics of each type of rim on tire performance. This particular article is only the beginning of a series of experiments which will hopefully shed some light on the hypotheses behind the wide rim craze, and to help you, the consumer, understand if this technology could benefit you.

Today we look at two different rim profiles and their effect on tire shape and volume. The starting point for this experiment is simply to look at the difference in height and width of the tire from the outermost part of the rim. The vertical distance to the outermost part of the tire to the rim is the compression zone. This is the space between the ground and the rim, when there is zero load on the tire, that is used to prevent pinch flats and keep the rider suspended on air and not on the hard sidewalls of the rim itself. The tire's width can vary with different inner rim widths, and so inner rim width and tire width are measured to help gain an understanding of air volume and how much support is gained from having a wider rim. 

My hypothesis is that the inital contact patch is similar with the wider rim, but the wider tire profile and increased radius means that when load is placed on the wheel, the increased radius will make earlier contact with the ground, thus reducing the depth of compression in the tire under load, which will reduce forward rolling resistance by reducing internal casing friction within the tire itself through reduced compression.

Our data collection begins with our two most popular road rims, the classic Mavic Open Pro, aka "The Reference Road Rim" according to Mavic, and the Velocity A23, aka "The New Standard" from my perspective. The data I have collected are quite simple, but the techniques I have used are designed to guarantee their accuracy. For my measuring tools, I have used a Fowler Vernier caliper, an SPI machinist's square, and a Mitutoyo 0-1" and 1-2" micrometer. Both micrometers have torque limiters in the thimble so as to prevent distorting the work that is being measured and creating a false reading. The vernier caliper was aligned against the machinist square that was resting against the sidewall of the rim to ensure perpendicularity to the rim for the most accurate and consistent readings. Each reading was taken a minimum of 5 times, recorded, and I have averaged each value and will now present you those numbers.

GP4000 Average Sidewall Thickness: .612 mm, 

GP4000 Average Tread Thickness: 2.897 mm

Inner Rim Width, A23: 17.738 mm

Inner Rim Width, Open Pro: 14.562 mm

Mounted Tire Width, A23: 25.024 mm

Mounted Tire Width, Open Pro: 23.350 mm

Open Pro Rim  Height: 18.47 mm

Open Pro Rim Height with Tire: 40.564 mm

Open Pro Tire Profile Height: 22.094

A23 Rim Height: 19.375 mm

A23 Rim Height with Tire: 42.005 mm

A23 Tire Profile Height: 22.630 mm

These data help us create a profile for the air inside the tire in a cutaway view that allows us to calculate the volume of the tire overall. Why does the volume matter? Having a larger air profile means having a larger, stronger support, which could allow the tire to roll easier. Additional tire height could be helpful in reducing pinch flats from a pothole or road plate. If the tread radius is increased, as you push into the casing of the tire with the blunt corner of an obstacle, the tire has more force to push back. As well, in order to receive a pinch flat proper, the tire will have to be depressed further.  Adding air volume could also mean slower deflation between air fill-ups as a nice side effect in, for all you lazy no-fillers out there. I always tell my customers to fill up every day, but I myself generally fill up every 3 days. Do as I say... Anyways, presented here below are the profile area values and their corresponding volumes.

Open Pro Air Profile Area: 217.7 mm^2

A23 Air Profile Area: 247.3 mm^2

Open Pro Air Volume: 436.246cc

A23 Air Volume: 497.330cc

Our basic findings are this: The average difference in sidewall width from A23 to Open Pro is 3.176mm, and this creates a 1.674 mm difference in tire casing width, effectively increasing the tire's radius. This increase has raised the tire profile height by 0.536 mm on the A23 rim. All of this helps add 14% to our GP4000 tire's air volume which hopefully will reduce the rolling resistance and increase pinch protection. 

Right now there are many more options on the market to fulfill the wide rim market demand. Pacenti Cycle Design has launched their SL23 road rim, as well as their SL25 disc road and cyclocross rim. Velocity has now just released another rim called the Quill. It is 24mm wide and even lighter than the A23 by 30g. The A23 will soon play second fiddle to the Quill due to its slightly heavier weight, but it should remain a strong contender for heavier riders. The SL23 will work well for heavier riders at 450g with a little extra support for the big boys. Kinlin has released a 24mm rim known as the XR-31T. The Kinlin is tubeless, as are the Pacenti and Velocity options. 

Bike Sale!

Right now is time to close out our 2015 Schwinn collections to make room for 2016. Get them  at 33% off! Take $150 off all Schwinn Cutters and Super Sports. They're normally $450, now you can get the last in-stock models for just $300! Here's what's available right now:

Cutter Large Black $300

Super Sport Women's Small $300

Super Sport Women's Medium $300


IRO Fixed Gear 56cm, Velocity Deep V Wheels, $450

Small Trek 4500 MTB 15.5", $250