Cycling as a whole and mountain biking, in particular, is booming.
With the ongoing restrictions, it is many peoples go-to for exercise. Getting outside in nature is great for your mental well-being.
Another reason for the recent surge in popularity can be attributed to the success of Irish cyclists in international competition. The likes of Sam Bennet at the Tour de France, Greg Callaghan and Kelan Grant at the EWS and Oisin O’Callaghan at the Junior Down Hill World Championship.
If you’re dusting your bike off after winter or an even longer break you may be thinking of replacing or upgrading some parts for your bike. Whether due to wear and tear, prolonged exposure to the elements or just because shiny stuff is awesome. Even on new road, mountain or electric bikes upgrades are a great way of giving them your own stamp or tweaking it for your personal comfort.
However, 2020 - 21 has seen an incredible shortage of new bikes and bike parts. Supply chain issues due to Covid globally and Brexit locally have limited our options. You may not be able to find the components you want from the manufacturers you are familiar with. And for many of us, the Internet is the only way we can currently shop for bike parts. So how do you make sure that the alternatives are worthy of your hard-earned?
After all, you want to trust that the money you spend is getting you the best. You want quality parts that will fit your bike perfectly. Here are a few points to bear in mind when shopping online.
First, what parts do you need? The list of options is virtually endless. Inner tubes, brake rotors, chains, cassettes, gear cables and more. The advantage of going to your local bike shop is their wealth of knowledge and being able to pick the right part for your bicycle. Online, you will need to know what wheel size you need a tyre to fit, what cassette will match your drivetrain or what fitting your brake rotors need. Reputable online stores will have a customer service option where you can ask and a professional should be able to best advise you on which options would work.
Once you know what you need, you can look for the best deal. The first thing that will spring to mind is price. This is where online shopping has the advantage because you can shop around and compare. And prices from one shop to another can vary considerably. However, it is important not to just pick the cheapest part you see. Yes – price is important but make sure that you balance it with quality. If something seems too good to be true then it probably is.
Look into the reputation of the company if you’re not familiar with a brand. Have you found some great carbon wheels on an online auction site, or did a Google search lead you to a site that you’ve never heard of? Reviews of previous customers can give you some clues. Or, taking it a step further, a search for the name of the part or company on Google followed by the word ‘reviews’ may give you more of an insight into its reputation.
Cycling, in whatever form you choose, is great. And repairing or upgrading your bike is all part of the fun. Hopefully, these tips will help you get the best out of your bike.