It might be a basic thing, but being able to pump up your bike’s tyres is an essential skill as a cyclist. A lot of you will already know how to do this, but for those who don’t, the different valve types, pumps and more importantly what pressure to pump your tyre to can be a bit overwhelming. Let us guide you through the process. How to safety check your bike Cheap bike pumps | Inflate your tyres without breaking the bank Why should I care? Pneumatic tyres were invented to get over the bone-jarring ‘ride-quality’ of solid wheels. The air inside acts as a spring, providing suspension for you and allowing the tyre to conform to the terrain providing better traction and grip. Pumping up your tyres is a quick job that can easily improve your enjoyment while riding. Running the wrong tyre pressure will negatively affect the way that your bike rides and can also make your bike more prone to punctures. How does my tyre hold air? If you’ve never repaired a puncture before, you might not have considered how your tyres hold air inside. The vast majority of bikes will use an inner tube — a doughnut shaped tube that sits inside the tyre, with a valve for pumping it up that you see on the outside. The tyre, when inflated by the tube, is what grips the ground and provides protection from punctures. You may have heard of tubeless tyres, which forgo a tube and use a special rim and tyre to seal air without the need for a tube. These usually require tubeless sealant inside, which is a liquid that plugs any points where air is escaping. Tubeless tyres are more commonly found in mountain biking, but the technology is migrating to road bikes. The tubeless sealant also plugs punctures, and no tube means a much lower risk of pinch flats — that’s when your inner tube is pinched by the rim, causing a puncture. Tubeless tyres can therefore be run at lower pressures than those with an inner tube setup, for improved comfort and traction. At the very high end you also get tubular tyres — essentially a tyre with the tube sewn into it but you probably don’t need to worry about those for the moment. Tyre pressure Inflating your tyres to the correct pressure is an essential part of bike maintenance. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Running your tyres at either too high or too low a pressure can be potentially dangerous as well as impact on the handling of your bike. We’ll discuss later what the correct pressure is, but for the moment let’s look at possible problems. If you run your tyres at too low a pressure the tyre can wear prematurely. Excessive flexing in the sidewall can lead to the casing cracking and the tyre becoming fragile. This could eventually lead to a blowout. Excessively low pressures also increase your susceptibility to punctures and may even result in your tyres literally rolling off the rim if you corner at speed (the pressure inside holds your tyre on the rim). An under-inflated tyre will rob your efficiency and leave you susceptible to annoying punctures. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Damage can also be caused if the tyre deflects all the way down to the rim. This can result in dents or cracking, potentially compromising your wheel and resulting in an expensive replacement. Conversely, a too high pressure could result in your tyre blowing off the rim with explosive consequences. That pressure can also squeeze the wheel, because if it’s too high the compressive force on the wheel can be too high. In terms of handling, a low pressure can result in compromised handling with the tyre squirming under load. Your bike will feel difficult to control, slow and sluggish. A too high pressure can result in reduced grip and a harsh ride, leading to fatigue and in turn impacting handling in its own way. Why is my tyre flat? There are two likely reasons why your tyre is flat. Either you have a puncture or your tyres have just deflated over time. If you have a puncture, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to fix a puncture. Glueless patches are great for a quick fix, while a more traditional kit is a versatile option when you have a bit more time. All tyre systems will leak air slowly because tubes aren’t completely airtight. For example, standard butyl tubes hold air fairly well compared to lightweight latex tubes, which leak comparatively quicker. Even tubeless setups will slowly leak air. Old tubes will leak more air than new ones, so if yours haven’t been replaced in a while that may be worth looking at. Less likely, but also a possibility (especially on older tubes), is that the valve is no longer sealing properly. The best way to check what’s going on is to try pumping up the tyres. If they hold air then there’s likely nothing more you need to do. If they don’t, then you likely have a puncture. And, if they leak air slowly overnight, either you have a slow puncture or simply an old tube that needs replacing. Latest deals on puncture repair kits What valve type does my bicycle have? The first thing you’ll need to know before pumping up your tyre is what valve type is fitted. The valve is the key part that keeps air in the tyre, but also lets you inflate (or deflate) the tyre. Schrader valve The Schrader valve is also used for car tyres. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Schrader valves are more common on lower-end bikes and, in the past, mountain bikes. You might recognise them from your car tyres. The valve assembly is a hollow tube with a sprung valve that closes automatically and screws into the external body. A pin extends up from the valve and is usually flush with the end of the outer tube. It can be depressed to let air out. The dust cap on Schrader valves in an important part of the design that can help fully seal the valve if it is not completely air-tight. It essentially provides a secondary ‘backup’ seal. The sprung design of the valve is a little susceptible to contamination from dirt or grit so it’s important to protect it too. Presta valve Presta valves such as this one are longer and narrower than the Schrader type valve. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media You will only find Presta valves on bicycles. They originated on road bikes where the narrower valve (6mm vs 8mm for a Schrader) meant a smaller valve hole (typically the weakest part of a rim) on narrow road wheels. Nowadays they are seen on both mountain bikes and road bikes. Rather than use a spring, the valve is secured with a nut that holds it closed, though the valve itself is sealed ‘automatically’ when pressure inside the tyre pushes it shut. With a Schrader valve you can simply press the pin to release air, but with a Presta valve you first have to unscrew the little locknut. Don’t worry about the nut coming off the end of the valve body as the threads are peened to stop that happening. There seems to be myth that Presta valves deal with high pressures better — this probably isn’t true considering there are Schrader valves that can withstand many hundreds of psi (way more than you’ll ever need in your tyre). Presta valves are definitely a little more delicate than Schrader valves, it’s quite easy to knock the threaded internal valve body and bend or break it, so a bit more care needs to be taken. However, valve cores are easily replaceable with standard tools. In comparison, on Schrader valves this requires a proprietary tool. Presta valves may come with a lockring that secures the valve body against the rim. This can make them a little easier to inflate. The dust cap is not essential to seal it, but helps keep the valve clean. This is why it’s time to stop using Presta valves Dunlop/Woods valve The only other type of valve you may come across is a Dunlop (also known as Woods) valve. This has a similar base diameter to a Schrader valve, but can be inflated with the same pump fitting as a Presta valve. You’re pretty unlikely to encounter one, and we’ve only really mentioned it for the sake of completeness. Tubeless valve A tubeless valve can be difficult to distinguish from a regular Presta valve. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Valves for tubeless setups are attached directly to the rim, rather than being part of an inner tube. More often than not they are Presta-type, though Schrader ones do exist. How to set up tubeless wheels How does a pump work? A pump gets the air in your tyre. The operating principle is simple; you increase the pressure inside the pump until it exceeds that inside the tyre. This ‘overpressure’ forces air into the tyre, increasing its pressure too. A pump is just a manually actuated piston. On a pump’s downstroke, a check valve (allows air-flow in one direction) seals the piston chamber, resulting in air being pressurised as the pump is compressed. That pressure increases until it exceeds that inside the tyre. At this point, a second one-way valve will allow air to flow from the pressurised pump chamber into the tyre. You extend the pump again, the check valve opens to refill the chamber with air and you repeat the process. To prevent the pressure in the tyre leaking back out, the second check valve at the base of the pump closes. If it wasn’t there, the pump would just shoot open again. Presta valves will close automatically, but the sprung Schrader valves are usually held open by a pin in the pump valve attachment (this means you don’t need any extra effort when pumping to overcome the pressure exerted by the spring.) The chuck is the part that attaches the pump to the valve and forms an airtight seal over the valve. One of two designs exist: threaded or push-on with a locking lever. Most pumps nowadays are also adaptable to either Schrader or Presta valves. They will either feature two different attachment points or an adjustable chuck that can be changed to suit both types. For larger pumps (and many mini-pumps too) the chuck is often on a hose, preventing your pumping force from damaging the valve. Pumps will often include a pressure gauge to check the pressure inside your tyre. How to pump up a bike tyre (Schrader valve) If you’ve got a Schrader type valve such as this one then the first thing you need to do is remove the dust cap (if there is one in place). Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Simply unscrew the cap anticlockwise to reveal the valve. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Now attach the head of your pump. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Inflate the tyre to a value between the minimum and maximum stated on the tyre sidewall and remove the pump. You’re done! Oli Woodman / Immediate Media How to pump up a bike tyre (Presta type valve) If your bicycle has a Presta type valve such as this one then you will first have to remove the plastic valve cap (if fitted). Oli Woodman / Immediate Media The plastic cap will reveal another threaded cap to the valve. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Unscrew the thread but be careful to not damage it in the process. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Now attach the head of your chosen pump to the open valve and inflate the tyre to a pressure that’s between the minimum and maximum stated on the tyre’s sidewall. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Inflate the tyre to the desired pressure and remove the pump. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Finally, close the valve by screwing it clockwise and reinstall the plastic valve cap. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media What type of pump do I need? We’d say that if you own just one type of pump, get a track pump for home use because it’s efficient, quick and easy to use. However, there’s no doubt that having an additional mini-pump for when you’re out on the road is rather useful – otherwise you risk being stranded at the road side in the event of getting a pump. We’ve already got a guide on choosing the best bike pump for your needs, but here a few recommendations for you to consider. Track pump The sky’s the limit with track pumps. They basically all do the same job, some with a more premium feel than others. From a budget Park Tool PFP8 to the absurdly expensive Silca Pista Plus, you’ll be able to find something that suits your needs. Latest deals on track pumps Mini pump Mini pumps work but are a lot more frustrating to use. Again, there are lots of options available from mini track-style pumps to tiny pumps that will fit in a jersey pocket. We tend to prefer mini pumps with a hose because that reduces stress (and potential damage) on the valve. Two of our favourites have been the Truflo TIO Road and the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HP. Latest deals on mini pumps CO2 inflator One other possibility for your inflation needs are CO2 inflators. These use compressed carbon dioxide in a small cartridge to inflate or top up a tyre really quickly. Not something you would want to use on a regular basis, but perfect for an emergency repair. Best CO2 inflators Latest deals on CO2 inflators How to use your pump to inflate a bicycle tyre The first thing to do is attach your pump to the valve. Remove the valve cap, and regardless of valve type, we find it’s good to release just a little hiss of air to ensure the valve isn’t stuck and opens and closes cleanly. Either thread on the chuck, or push it on and lock it. If your tyre is completely flat it may initially be a bit of a struggle to fit the chuck as the valve has a tendency to push back into the rim. Simply hold the valve from behind by pushing on the outside of the tyre so that you can lock the chuck on properly. The lockring on Presta valves (if fitted) can also help, preventing the valve from disappearing by holding it in place for you. The connection to the valve should be air-tight. A little escaping air is normal when attaching the pump, but shouldn’t continue for long. If it does, remove and reattach the chuck. If it continues to be a problem it may be worth checking the rubber seal in the chuck to see if it is worn out and needs replacing. Remember to be gentle with the valves — they’re delicate. That’s especially the case if you’re using a mini pump without a hose. Make sure to brace the pump with your hand wrapped around the spokes or tyre to avoid transferring too much of the pumping force to the valve, which could lead to damage. When you start pumping make sure to use the full stroke of the pump. You’ll find that the majority of the stroke is taken up compressing the air to the point where it will then be pushed into the tyre. If you don’t use the whole length of the pump, the air won’t be pushed out of the bottom — you need to generate overpressure in order to move the air from the pump to the tyre. Instead, you’ll just end up with the shaft bobbing around doing nothing. With a track pump, don’t just use your arms, use your body weight for the downstroke and pumping will become a lot easier. You may sometimes find that the pump doesn’t seem to hold pressure, especially when inflating the tyre from completely flat. This may especially be the case with an older pump where seals may be slightly sticky. We find it helps to pump vigorously initially, to generate enough back-pressure (i.e. pushing back from the tyre side) in the system to ensure that valves are actuated properly and seal up, in turn inflating the tyre. Keep on going until you get the right pressure. When removing the chuck from the valve there is usually an audible hiss of air being lost. This is usually from the pump rather than the valve side. Pressured air in the hose and chuck is just escaping. Tubeless considerations If you have a tubeless setup, or tubes setup with sealant inside, then it’s worth taking a few extra steps to avoid gunking up your pump. Turn the wheels so the valves are at the bottom and leave for a few minutes so any sealant can drain out. Turn the wheels so the valves are at the top and pump up your tyres. The same goes when deflating tyres to prevent goop spraying everywhere. Best tubeless sealant Best tubeless pumps and inflators What pressure (psi) should my bike tyres be? The right tyre pressure is perhaps one of the most contentious subjects, but there are definitely a few guidelines that you can use. As a general rule, your tyre should be solid enough to prevent the tyre deflecting all the way to the rim, though compliant enough to provide some suspension — after all, the beauty of a pneumatic tyre is that you don’t have to have a bone-jarringly hard ride. Most tyres will have a minimum and maximum pressure rating printed on the side. It’s advisable not to go under or over those limits because manufacturers have specified them for a reason. Of course, that means there’s still a lot of room to play with pressure and what works for you. Traction For mountain bikes the problem is relatively easier, with the usual aim being to improve traction, cornering and shock absorption. As a general rule riders try to run as low a pressure as possible without having it so soft that the tyre squirms under cornering load or deflects enough for damage to occur to the rim. Trail Tech: Mountain bike tyre pressure – all you need to know Rolling resistance For road bikes it becomes a little more complicated because along with traction and comfort, rolling resistance (how efficiently a tyre rolls) is a major consideration as well. Contrary to what many assume, the new school of thought seems to suggest that harder is not necessarily faster. On all but the smoothest of surfaces, a hard tyre will not have as much suspension, and instead of the tyre being able to deflect and conform to irregularities — keeping the bike moving forward — you will get bounced around. On all but the flattest of surfaces softer tyre pressures can provide more comfort and be more efficient. Best road bike tyres: everything you need to know Tyre drop pressure chart. Frank Berto (Bicycle Quarterly) The most comprehensive research into this was underatken by Frank Berto, who put together a tyre pressure inflation chart. This testing determined that a 20 percent tyre drop (the amount the tyre compresses when load is applied, measured by the height from the ground to the rim) was the optimum balance. Incidentally, some manufacturers recommend a similar level of tyre drop, though the figure is open to some debate. This value does provide a good starting point to experiment with tyre pressures. The chart looks at individual wheel load — i.e. your and your bike’s weight on each wheel (40 percent front / 60 percent rear is a good starting point) — and calculates the pressure for each accordingly. How often should I pump up my tyres? You need not always get your pump/gauge out to check for tyre pressure. BikeRadar / Immediate Media It’s a good idea to check your tyres before each ride. Usually that just involves giving them a squeeze by hand to check the pressure. No, it’s not super accurate, but you’ll quickly get a feel for the pressure in your tyres and be able to tell whether they need pumping up or not. If you start to get really nerdy about it, you may end up investing in a pressure gauge, which can read the pressures in your tyres very accurately. That’s especially helpful for mountain bikes where a few psi can make a large difference to handling and grip, but equally applicable on a road bike to find the exact pressure that works for you. Take your first steps towards perfect pressure bliss. If you have any questions let us know in the comments below.
With the sport of mountain biking continually growing it is no surprise to see a recent explosion in the market for kids’ bikes. YT Industries and Nukeproof are the latest brands to step up and size down: the two companies add options for serious off-road riding for 2020. Commencal launches a 24in e-MTB for kids Best bikes for kids YT Jeffsy Primus 24 and 26in YT Jeffsy Primus 24in. YT YT Jeffsy Primus 26in. YT YT Industries’ Jeffsy trail bike is one of the German brand’s most popular bikes, and now there are two models “for short shredders” with 24in or 26in wheels. The Jeffsy Primus is a scaled-down Jeffsy with similar frame features, including same-side linkage bolt access and double-sealed bearings. A geometry flip-chip gives an impressively slack 65.5- to 66-degree head angle. YT describes the Primus as an “extremely playful performance bike” with a “best-in-class spec”. The bikes feature a specific rear shock tune for light riders and a selection of smaller person-friendly components (handlebars, grips, saddle, seatpost, etc.). These are proper bikes with proper price tags. The 24in model, in one size for riders of 135 to 150cm height, comes in at £1,599; for riders of 145 to 160cm height the 26in version will set you back £1,699. You do get a lot of bike for the money and if, like YT’s youngest pro signing, the UK’s Harry Schofield, your kid is going to be hitting up bike park laps and massive jumps, the Primus might be just what is needed. YT Jeffsy Primus JP 24: £1,599 / $1,899 / €1,899 YT Jeffsy Primus JP 26: £1,699 / $1,999 / €1,999 Nukeproof Cub Scout 20, 24 and 26in Nukeproof Cub Scout 20in Race. Laurence Crossman-Emms Nukeproof Cub Scout 24in Race. Laurence Crossman-Emms Nukeproof Cub Scout 26in Race. Laurence Crossman-Emms Of course, budgets don’t always stretch into the thousands – or perhaps you are of the school of thought that kids should do their learning on hardtail bikes? Nukeproof’s new range of bikes for kids extends from 20in to 26in wheels, with three models and six price points to cover plenty of bases. Nukeproof says the bikes have been developed with the help of staff and their own kids (which means getting feedback from Enduro World Series champion Sam Hill’s nippers) and that they are designed to help kids “enjoy shredding off road, learn the ropes of riding, inspire confidence and act as the perfect platform for progression”. In case you were wondering, Nukeproof also hopes to “nurture budding future World Cup or EWS winners”. Kids from age five and up should be covered by the three bikes (each available in one size only), according to Nukeproof, and each model features a range of components selected from partners’ ranges or specifically developed by the brand for smaller riders. Every bike has a hardtail frame and all but the Cub Scout 20in Sport come with a suspension fork up front. All models feature hydraulic disc brakes with short stroke levers as well as decent tyres and “up to date long, low and slack kids specific geometry”. Nukeproof Cub Scout 20in Sport: £600 / $600 / €600 Nukeproof Cub Scout 20in Race: £900 / $900 / €900 Nukeproof Cub Scout 24in Sport: £700 / $700 / €700 Nukeproof Cub Scout 24in Race: £1,000 / $1,000 / €1,000 Nukeproof Cub Scout 26in Sport: £750 / $750 / €750 Nukeproof Cub Scout 26in Race: £1,000 / $1,000 / €1,000
If mountain biking isn’t the first thing to pop into your head at the mention of indoor training, you’re probably not alone. After all, up until recently it’s almost exclusively been the domain of road cyclists and triathletes looking to get the miles in and maintain a structured training plan over the winter period. However, that’s all changing with the wide range of MTB-compatible smart trainers and riding software now available, where indoor riding has become a way for mountain bikers to supplement their weekly time on the trails. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that indoor trainers and apps like Zwift can enhance your mountain biking and help make you a stronger rider on your favourite trails. Best Zwift setups for every rider – from budget to ultimate 10 Zwift tips for beginners Improved pedalling force Having an efficient pedal stroke and being able to ride smoothly at lower cadences are key abilities for mountain bikers. Steep terrain and loose conditions mean you have to maintain traction with a circular, consistent pedal stroke, all while laying down plenty of power to keep moving forwards. By creating custom workouts within Zwift you can take advantage of the high levels of resistance modern-day smart trainers can produce. It’s very quick and easy to create specific training conditions that closely mimic the demands of a challenging climb or tricky section of trail. Zwift also has several mountain bike training plans and workouts built right into the game, meaning you can be sure all the sessions you’re doing are perfectly tailored to improving your fitness. These include the challenging Cape Epic workout series and the intermediate Dirt Destroyer training plan, as well as more coming down the line. How to sign-up to Zwift Visit the Zwift website to sign-up for a free 7-day trial. After your trial period ends, Zwift costs £12.99 / $14.99 per month. The Zwift Drop Shop contains a wide range of mountain bikes and off-road gear to kit out your avatar. Zwift More power, more momentum Any experienced mountain biker knows how ‘punchy’ off-road riding can be, where constant bursts of power are needed to maintain momentum over steep terrain or to quickly accelerate back up to speed after slowing down for a sharp corner. In the absence of regular training on the trails to improve this power, you can find yourself lacking endurance in your longer outdoor rides, while the ability to recover quickly from these hard efforts can also suffer. Zwift’s pre-built interval workouts offer a perfect training platform to work on quicker recovery and the ability to repeatedly produce strong surges of power over and over again, allowing for better momentum and speed preservation on the singletrack. Stay sociable Part of what makes mountain biking so appealing is meeting up with like-minded friends and having a chat on the trails. Traditionally though, bad weather or a sudden change of circumstances would likely mean abandoning a ride entirely and missing out. While the full off-road riding experience is hard to fully replicate on a turbo trainer, Zwift’s wealth of routes, combined with plenty of organised group ride, workout and even racing options, mean that immersive rides aren’t exclusive to being outdoors. On top of that, you can use the Zwift Companion App on a phone or tablet device to create private meetups with friends to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the chat that the original ride promised. Because of the sheer amount of cyclists riding around in Zwift’s virtual courses at any one time, it’s also a great way to connect with other mountain bikers from around the world too. Zwift’s in-game steering offers real-time feedback on your line choice. Zwift Keep it fun Riding an MTB isn’t just about pushing on the pedals hard – there are many subtle maneuvers and skills that contribute to the fun factor of off-road riding. When the bad weather rolls in or your schedule doesn’t allow for much time on the trails, it’s this dynamism that can be missed the most. Fortunately, there’s now a fun and intuitive way for mountain bikers to practice similar movements without needing to leave the house. The new steering function on Zwift’s off-road course uses your phone’s accelerometers to cleverly track the position of your front wheel. This adds a new element to indoor training, which has traditionally been very static compared to riding outside. Simply by mounting your phone on your handlebars, you can turn the wheel left and right to move your avatar in the game in real time, making your virtual mountain bike ride that much more engaging. Zwift will then give you feedback on how you rode a particular feature on the course, so that you can work on getting it faster and faster each time. Okay, it may not be the same as hitting the trails, but it gives you a fun way to practice similar movements when you otherwise might not get on the bike. The Zwift companion app uses your phone’s accelerometers to track the position of your front wheel. Zwift Set fitness benchmarks For mountain bikers interested in tracking their improvements in fitness, Zwift is one of the best cycling software tools available for structured, repeatable testing. These tests have a number of benefits for off-road riders, from the ability to lay down a benchmark of fitness to measure against in the future (e.g. establishing your Functional Threshold Power or FTP) to setting training intensity zones with which to structure your training. Once you have these training zones set up, you can track how much time you’re spending in each zone and target the specific training adaptations you want to see. Zwift offers a range of MTB-specific workouts and training plans. Zwift More riding time! Finally, it’s a sad truth that mountain biking isn’t always the most time efficient sport. After all, there’s a whole lot of clothing, components and gadgets involved in getting out on the trails and often a long clean up process needed post-ride. This all serves to make off-road riding out of reach for a lot of mountain bikers during the working week and, heaven-forbid, even on some busier weekends too. Using a mountain bike on a smart trainer makes the whole process much more streamlined when time is tight, and makes getting in an additional 2-3 hours of riding time each week a much more realistic prospect than it ever was before. Even 30-45 minutes of structured indoor riding a few times per week can result in big performance improvements down the line, helping you to get the most out of your time on the trails
While they may seem simple, there’s a huge number of things to consider when buying a road bike and this guide will help you select the best road bike for you. Related reading Best bike: our buyer’s guide to which bicycle type you should buy The best road bike for £500 Best gravel and adventure bikes Endurance (sportive) vs. race bike geometry Road bikes fall into two general categories; race and endurance. Race bikes put the rider’s torso in a lower, more aerodynamic position and typically have more aggressive geometry for quick handling. Endurance bikes put the rider in a more upright position and the frame angles are a little more relaxed for confidence-inducing stability and long-distance comfort. These are almost, sometimes, known as sportive bikes. In either category, you should expect to pay between £500 and £700 for a high-quality, entry-level machine. The best way to learn the difference between the two is to ride both, either through test rides at an event or a shop, or by borrowing a bike from a friend. As with any product, bikes come in good/better/best levels. The main points of difference are the frame materials (aluminium bikes tend to be cheaper, while carbon fibre frames are lighter but more expensive. Steel and titanium frames tend to be more niche), the parts (strong, light, cheap — pick two) and the wheels (see previous parenthetical). Quick guide to frame materials Road bike groupsets explained Check out our road bike groupset buyer’s guide to learn more about what makes your bike stop and go BikeRadar Road bike groupsets: everything you need to know Road bikes used to be called 10-speeds, referring to the two chainrings up front multiplied by the five cogs in the rear. These days, most road bikes have two chain rings and 9, 10, 11, or now, even 13 cogs in the rear. Shimano and SRAM are, by far, the most common drivetrain brands, although you will also find Campagnolo, Microshift and FSA components out there too. In general, endurance bikes have smaller gears, meaning it’s easier to get up hills, while race bikes have larger gears for higher top-end speed. Bigger chainrings mean more outright speed (and effort), and smaller chainrings — dubbed compact — mean less effort. What is a compact crank? How to get the correct road bike size A bike fit from a good shop is an invaluable investment BikeRadar Bike fit is critical. A budget machine that fits you like a glove will feel and handle much better than an ill-fitting superbike. How much difference does a bike fit make? While most brands have bike fit charts on their websites, it’s vital to just go and sit on the thing if you are new to cycling. Once you learn what fit works for you, you can shop off of charts; in the meantime, try bikes like you would shoes. Once you have selected the right size frame — which any good bike shop can help you with — you then need to get your saddle and handlebar height correct. Again, a professional fit at a good shop is invaluable here. How to adjust your handlebar height Your top tube length is irrelevant Most good shops will work with you to fine-tune other elements of your fit too, such as the distance to the handlebars, the angle of the handlebars and even the feel of the saddle. Note that saddle preference is highly personal, there is no universal best answer here. Just try a few until you find something comfortable. Many saddle manufacturers will also offer demo services. The best road bike saddles Best women’s bike saddle: a buyer’s guide What tyres will my road bike come with? The numbers on the sidewall of the tyre refer to the size of the tyre on the wheel and width of the tyre when inflated. Minimum and maximum air pressure figures are usually printed too James Huang / Immediate Media Most road bikes come with slick or very lightly treaded tyres. In recent years, it’s become more common to spec wider tyres on road bikes, with race bikes often coming fitted with 23 or 25mm-wide tyres, and endurance bikes coming with 25 or even 28mm tyres. Regardless of the width, all of these tyres will roll fast and the wider tyres give you a little more cushioning (and speed over rougher road surfaces) in exchange for a little more weight. Best road bike tyres: what you should look for Tyres are one of the easiest things to change, so you don’t need to worry much about what the bike comes with. That said, if you are keen on maximising the comfort of your bike, make sure the frame has clearance for wider tyres. Again, race bikes that favour aerodynamics will typically skew towards skinny tyres, while the endurance bikes that deliver comfort will generally have plump rubber. If you’re unsure how to pump up your tyres, check out our comprehensive article below. How to inflate a bicycle tyre — everything you need to know about pumps, valves, pressure and more Should I buy a road bike with rim or disc brakes? For decades road bikes have used caliper brakes, where blocks of rubber squeeze against the rim. Road disc brakes: everything you need to know Now, however, many road bikes come equipped with disc brakes, which have been used on mountain bikes for many years. Discs offer superior braking in wet weather, but are heavier. In general, you will find disc brakes on many new endurance bikes and caliper (rim) brakes on a majority of race bikes — though this is changing quite rapidly. Disc brakes are increasingly found on endurance bikes Courtesy Zipp Note that the majority of rim brake bikes cannot be converted to discs and vice versa, so once you’ve made your choice you’re committed to it. Necessary supplies Your road bike will come nearly complete. You will still need to purchase a few things to hit the road, including water bottle cages, water bottles and supplies to fix a flat (inner tube, tyre levers and either CO2 cartridges and/or a pump). If you buy at a shop they will be glad to set you up with these things. How to repair a puncture — a walkthrough guide How to choose a bicycle pump 6 of the best: tyre levers 6 of the best: saddle bags 6 of the best: CO2 inflators Most bikes will come with a set of cheap plastic pedals and these won’t stop you enjoying your road bike, but investing in a set of clip-in (confusingly known as clipless) pedals will massively improve performance and control. Best road bike pedals Best cheap road bikes — best road bikes under £600 A decent road bike doesn’t need to cost you the world Russel Burton / Immediate Media Getting into road riding needn’t cost you the world — even just £600 will get you a bike that would blow the socks off of an equivalent model that would have cost double that only a few years back. The best cheap road bikes: 8 great choices for under £600 Best road bikes under £1,000 £1,000 gets you access to some very tasty machinery in 2020 Robert Smith The best road bikes under £1,000 are a great place to start if you’re new to cycling or if you’re unsure how much riding you’re actually going to be doing. Best road bikes under £1,000 That magic £1,000 mark is also within the Cycle to Work scheme limit, which can be a great way to save money on a new bike. Cycle to Work scheme: everything you need to know Best road bikes under £2,000 £2,000 gets you a whole lot of bike nowadays Russel Burton / Immediate Media The pro-level superbikes that fall into the price range beyond this bracket are truly amazing and it’s easy to be tempted by them. But don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on one without remortgaging your house, because the best road bikes under £2,000 still bring you into serious — and seriously good — bike territory. Best road bikes under £2,000 Best road bikes under £3,000 Bikes for under £3,000 are now incredibly good Russell Burton / Immediate Media This sort of price range used to be the sole preserve of the dedicated race bike. But the profile of this section of the market has now changed and the best road bike under £3,000 is now just as likely to be a sportive model. The best road bikes under £3,000 Best alloy, steel or titanium road bikes Some buyers are keen on their bike frame being made of a particular material. We’ve already shortlisted our top performing aluminium, steel and titanium frames for your perusal: The best aluminium road bikes The best steel road bikes The best titanium road bikes BikeRadar’s Road Bike of the Year A special place must be reserved for the overall winner of our Bike of the Year award, for 2019 that title was crowned to Rondo’s HVRT CF0. Watch the video below or read the full review to find out exactly how the Rondo beat every other bike to take away our most coveted award. Testing is now underway for Bike of the Year 2020, so stay tuned for a new winner. BikeRadar’s 2019 Bike of the Year: all the winners in one place BikeRadar’s 2019 Road Bike of the Year This article was last updated in February 2020.
First off, happy Valentine’s Day from everyone at BikeRadar. The team sends digital love and kisses your way on this most romantic day, and we hope you spend the weekend ahead with your one true love (your bicycle). If you’re lucky enough to have a sentient non-bicycle lover, be sure to remind them of the results of this steamy survey at every opportunity this weekend. Lastly, if you happen to be looking for a last-minute gift for the cyclist in your life, be sure to check out our guide to the best Valentine’s Day gifts for cyclists. From our perspective, think of this edition of First Look Friday – our weekly roundup of the hottest cycling swag to land at BikeRadar HQ – as a gift to you from us (a gift that you only get to enjoy with your eyes and don’t actually get to keep). Velo Orange Neutrino mini-velo We’ve already fallen for the Neutrino. Simon Bromley We first reported on Velo Orange’s Neutrino mini-velo back in October 2018 when it was an unnamed prototype and, even at that stage, it won the hearts of BikeRadar. Inspired by a 1960’s Jack Taylor Small Wheeler, this 20in do-it-all frameset is, in Velo Orange’s words, perfect for the “frequent traveller, apartment dweller, multi-modal commuter or just someone that enjoys a fun N+1 bike”. While it’s never going to be quite as compact as a folding bike, in the oh-so-hard life of a bike tester, space is always at a premium at home, and the Neutrino could fill a space that probably doesn’t need to be filled. Best bike storage ideas: a buyer’s guide to storing your bike indoors The concept of a mini-velo is nothing new but this particular take on the concept has already gained something of a cult following, with every batch of the bike selling out in record time, according to Velo Orange. Features such as these sliding dropouts add versatility to this cute little bike. With the exception of a disc 20in wheelset (how many of us have one of those kicking around?), the bike lends itself well to a parts bin build, with a standard threaded bottom bracket shell, sliding 135mm rear dropouts and an easily-sourced 31.6mm seatpost. It even has a brazed-on kickstand plate for goodness sake. View this post on Instagram Another RAD @Velo_Orange #Neutrino in #Bikecamping Style with Custom Roll-Up Full Frame Bag from @conquer_bikepacking and #Ostrich Canvas Panniers Photo courtesy of @uncle_noo #Conquer #VeloORANGE ???????? #VeloORANGEThailand ???????? #Bikepacking #BikepackingLife #จักรยานทัวร์ริ่ง #Touringbike #CycleTouring #Steelisreal #ชุมทางโครโมลี #BokBokBike ???????? A post shared by BokBokBikeThailand (@bokbokbike.thailand) on Jan 7, 2020 at 10:58pm PST This versatility and the absolute novelty of owning such a quirky and fun little bike is an undeniable draw. The bike may look like it’s finished in a drab shade of ‘cream of mushroom’ from afar, but up close it actually reveals a handsome, sparkly glitter finish beneath the clear coat. The majority of the build comes from Velo Orange itself. Simon Bromley The Neutrino is available as a complete build or frameset, priced at $2,500 and $750 respectively. Velo Orange is a fairly small brand so it’s unlikely to ever be able to be competitive on complete build prices, so we imagine the majority of would-be buyers will opt for the frameset. We’ve only had a chance to ride the bike on a handful of occasions but are already in love with the concept. It’s an absolute hoot to ride and appreciably smaller than a regular bike when tucked away in a nook at home. Expect a full review and video to follow further down the line. Frameset: $750 / £700 Buy the Neutrino frameset direct from Velo Orange Complete build: $2,500, international shipping available Buy a complete Neutrino build direct from Verlo Orange As an aside, Velo Orange also threw in one of its cute Day Tripper saddle bags with the bike. These bags are produced in collaboration with Road Runner bags. The saddle bag may not have the Instagram-friendly points of a trendy handlebar bag but there’s no denying its exceptionally practical and, dare we say it, quite handsome in a shade of rust. $95 / £89.99 Buy the Day Tripper saddle bag direct from Velo Orange WTB Raddler 40c gravel tyre The Raddler is a more aggressive version of WTB’s popular Riddler. Simon Bromley WTB’s all-new Raddler is a more aggressive version of its Riddler gravel tyre. Best gravel bike tyres in 2020 The DNA of the two tyres is very similar but the Raddler gets more pronounced centre and side knobs. This results in a more squared-off overall profile that should still roll relatively well on paved surfaces and offer some additional bite off-road. The 700c-only tyre is available in 40 and 44mm widths, and our 40mm sample weighs 494g. We’re suckers for a handsome tan wall tyre. Simon Bromley The tyre is available in both a black and tan-wall finish and, as with all of WTB’s gravel tyres, the Raddler will set you back £45 / €53 / $60. The tyre sits at the upper end of the ‘radness’ spectrum in WTB’s gravel tyre range. For those looking for a less aggressively treaded tyre, Venture, Byway, Exposure or Horizon would be your best bet. Stock is expected in shops in the next two to three weeks. £45 / €53 / $60 DMT KR1 Crystal special-edition Swarovski-encrusted shoes These might just be the jazziest cycling shoes we’ve ever seen. Simon Bromley Yes, you are looking at a pair of £420 Swarovski-encrusted DMT cycling shoes. Best cycling shoes 2020: 17 top-rated road cycling shoes DMT KR1 Italian Champ edition ???????? @dmtcycling pic.twitter.com/aGLX4cMVDN — Elia Viviani (@eliaviviani) September 8, 2018 The limited-edition shoe is based on the KR1, the brand’s top-end road race shoe that was developed and worn by Elia Viviani. The KR1 features a fully knitted upper that extends quite high up the ankle. The super-elastic upper is totally malleable and feels incredibly comfortable when worn. However, you’ll have to be on the right side of confident to feel comfortable actually wearing these jazzy numbers in public. It’s a shame the Boa dials are not also encrusted in crystals. Simon Bromley For the right person, DMT claims that the shoe will be perfect to “make a fashion statement on the next group ride” or, if you’re the racing type, you will “impress your breakaway partners with your sophisticated style”. The shoe is secured with a single Boa IP1 dial (we’re terribly disappointed this isn’t also encrusted with diamantes). Every single cycling shoe should have replaceable lugs. Simon Bromley The full carbon outsole of the shoe passes the cursory bend-it-over-your-knee test with flying covers. The outsole also features, much to our delight, a replaceable heel lug. Every single cycling shoe should have replaceable lugs, no exceptions. It’s not clear how many of these shoes have been produced but stock is low at most online retailers, so act quickly if you want to bag a pair of these dazzling disco slippers. £420 / €385, international pricing TBC Latest deals Robert Axle Project turbo trainer thru-axle Who knew a thru-axle could be so lovely? Simon Bromley The majority of wheel-on turbo trainers are designed to be used in conjunction with quick-release skewers with conical end caps that a cammed lever clamps onto. This means that the majority of bikes with thru-axles are not compatible with a wheel-on turbo trainer. Best smart trainer 2020: top-rated turbo trainers However, fret not, because The Robert Axle Project – a brand that is dedicated to solely making high-end aftermarket thru-axles – has the answer. This thru-axle is so well made. Simon Bromley The brand’s imaginatively named ‘thru-axle for bike trainers’ imitates the function of a turbo trainer quick release with two nicely machined conical end caps sitting at each end of the axle. One of these end caps is removable for fitting. Helpful functionality aside, it might sound daft but the thru-axle is actually a delightfully well-made object. It feels high-quality in the hand and neat touches, such as the machined internal lip that holds an o-ring in place to keep the M5-threaded bolt captive, elevate it to a level of luxury that we thought unthinkable for a humble thru-axle. This particular product is available to fit on no fewer than 15 different thru-axle standards. $54, international pricing TBC Buy direct from The Robert Axle Project
The Sutro Eyeshade is a new visor-style sunglasses model from Oakley that references a heritage design first launched by the brand in 1984. The bold new shades bring the classic design up to date with modern technology and a subtly updated overall shape. Best sunglasses for cycling 2020 | 10 sets of shades rated and reviewed Oakley Sutro sunglasses review The DNA of the original Sutro can be seen in the latest model with the signature line of vents beneath the top of the frame and the legacy Oakley font carrying over to the new glasses. However, compared to the old design, the glasses have a larger and more squared-off profile, which should provide more complete coverage. The lenses have also been updated to include Oakley’s Prizm technology. Confusingly, another version of the Sutro is already in the Oakley lineup, though this has a more modern overall shape. The glasses are available in three different colours. Oakley The glasses are available in three different colours, with pricing and availability still TBD. Oakley states that the new glasses will be a limited release so, if you want to bag yourself a pair of these wild shades, it may be wise to act quick. This launch follows hot on the heels of some wild super-large visor-style sunglasses from other brands that reference older designs. Given fashion – on bike or not – is cyclical, we can only assume this means we’ll all be wearing something like the classic Briko Glasses Jumper in the near future.
Canyon’s trail-focused Grand Canyon hardtail is now available with a motor. The Grand Canyon: ON e-bike will be sold in three builds including a women’s-specific version. Canyon introduces Roadlite:ON electric hybrid for 2020 Canyon updates the Grand Canyon hardtail with more travel and a dropper The Grand Canyon is the third mountain bike chassis from Canyon to get the e-bike treatment following the development of the Spectral:ON and Neuron:ON models. The Canyon Grand Canyon:ON 8.0 will retail for €2,799. The Grand Canyon:ON sticks closely to the formula set out by its popular non-motorised sibling. Even the geometry charts are very similar, with the e-bikes having only a marginally slacker head angle plus slight extension to the chainstay, reach and overall wheelbase figures. Canyon has chosen to debut the Grand Canyon:ON with an aluminium frame that houses Shimano’s E8000 mid-drive system. The BT-E8305 battery pack integrates into the down tube and features a 504Wh capacity. The Grand Canyon:ON’s on/off button also houses a USB-C port for charging electronic devices while on the move. Canyon An on/off switch at the top tube keeps control at the rider’s fingertips and also features a USB-C port for charging devices on the go. Another neat touch is the Canyon-developed handlebar and stem that neatly tuck the cables for the motor’s display unit out of sight. Canyon might have even heard the recent column from our very own Matthew Loveridge, or at least you’d think so, judging by the nifty concealed mounts for a kickstand. Canyon’s size-specific sizing aims to produce the same handling characteristics across a wide range of frame sizes. This mean that XS and S Grand Canyon:ONs use 650b wheels while M, L and XL bikes use larger 29in wheels. Each Grand Canyon:ON bike arrives with a Race Face AR30 wheelset built to Shimano hubs and wears 2.6in Schwalbe Nobby Nic performance tyres. A four-piston front, two-piston rear brake setup from Shimano is also common across all models. Beneath this cover is a mount for a kickstand. Canyon The Grand Canyon:ON 8.0 and Grand Canyon:ON 8.0 WMN will retail for €2,799 and weigh a claimed 21.4kg / 47.2lbs. Those paying the additional €500 for the Grand Canyon:ON 9 will upgrade to a Fox 34 Rhythm fork rather than the RockShox Judy Silver found on the cheaper bikes. Elsewhere, the 9.0 specs an Iridium dropper seatpost and sees drivetrain components climb from Deore level to a hybrid of XT/SLX, including a 10-51t 12-speed cassette. These upgrades do amount to a slight weight penalty, with Canyon claiming the Grand Canyon:ON 9.0 weighs 300g / 0.66lb over the Grand Canyon:ON 8.0. Stock is available now on the Canyon website.
Disc brakes that are well set up provide exceptionally powerful and consistent braking. However, when you fit new pads or rotors, it’s essential that you wear off surface glaze and contamination before you rely on your brakes. We’ve demonstrated the process on a mountain bike, but the same goes for any bike equipped with disc brakes. Allen keys: everything you need to know How to know when it’s time to replace your bicycle chain 1. Clean your rotors Cleaning your rotors is a good place to start. BikeRadar One of the biggest mistakes riders make is putting new pads into a system where the rotors are already dirty with oils or other contaminants. Use disc brake cleaner and a clean rag to remove residue from the rotor before bedding-in new pads. Ignore our demonstrator’s naughty behaviour and make sure you wear gloves here. It’s also good practice do this outside because the fumes can be fairly heady. Latest deals 2. Check new pads Be sure to check that new pads are free from contaminants or damage. BikeRadar Ensure that you use clean and undamaged new pads because anything else won’t bed in. Pads that have seen any use at all will have been through braking cycles. While they will work to a degree, you won’t get the full benefit. 3. Find a safe place Be sure to give yourself plenty of space when bedding in new brakes. BikeRadar With your new pads fitted to your brake, you need to find a long, gradual road descent with a smooth surface. Something that allows roughly a 20mph roll with enough space and safety to perform some hard stops is ideal. 4. Drag and stop Cycles of repeated stops and dragging. BikeRadar Everyone has their own method of getting new pads to bite. We like to build up speed, drag the brake for five or six seconds to build heat and then increase lever pressure until the bike stops. Six or seven runs should bring a good improvement. 5. Think about water Adding water can speed up the process. BikeRadar Some people like to douse the caliper and rotor in clean, cold water after each stop cycle. We’re split 50/50 on this. None of our brakes felt different, so it’s up to you whether you douse or not. 6. Ignore early pulls Your early brake pulls probably won’t feel great. BikeRadar Early stops will feel poor, but the response should build with each cycle. The heating of the pad causes it to transfer some of the material to the rotor, keying the pad and rotor together and giving your brakes bite and improving modulation. 7. Adjust the lever Some brakes feature useful bite-point adjustment. BikeRadar You might want to tweak your brake lever so that it adapts to the feel of the newly bedded brake pads. Some brakes adjust automatically, but those with lever bite-point adjusters can also be fettled manually. 8. Dirt/road test Once your brakes are bedded in you’re free to rip it. BikeRadar Now that you’ve bedded in your new pads, it’s time to hit the dirt and see whether or not they’re allowing you to hit turns harder and more deeply. And remember, it’s brakes that help racers go faster!
While bikes are often our pride and joy, not everyone in the family may feel the same way. When not in use, bikes make for an awkward object to store, being selfish on space and easily knocked over. Some of us may be fortunate enough to have space to leave a bike or bikes on the floor – in a rack or not – many will need to resort to clever solutions to save space and create a tidier option. Best commuter bike 2020: what’s the best bike for commuting? Best bike boxes and bike bags The best bike storage ideas Without a proper storage solution things can get ugly pretty quickly. Oliver Woodman/Immediate Media There are many permanent bike storage solutions that mount to walls or ceilings, but if you’re renting this could prove problematic. With this in mind, we’ve divided our guide into two distinct sections – permanent and non-permanent – with permanent options needing to be bolted or screwed in place. Here we’ve focused on functional and readily available solutions, but it’s worth keeping in mind that putting a little ingenuity and a trip to the hardware store to use is always an option. Also, for many people, the floor remains the cheapest and most suitable option. Axle and wheel racks are readily available, which will keep the bikes upright. Permanent storage solutions for bikes This is a good route if you own your home and have a solid wall or ceiling that can support weight and fixtures. Permanent type racks are generally the cheapest option and allow for a great deal of tweaking to suit your fleet of bikes. We’ve designated permanent racks simply by the orientation they hold the bike: vertical or horizontal. Vertical wall-mounted bike racks Holding the bike by a single wheel, this method is best for storing bikes where width is an issue, but depth is not. It’s the most effective means of storing multiple bikes together and is commonly used in many bike shop workshops. Generic hooks can be bought cheaply at hardware stores, but Park Tool offers these vertical hooks in a range of sizes that’ll even accommodate fat bikes. Courtesy - Park Tool The simplest variations consist of a basic hook that threads into a masonry wall plug or screws directly into a wooden wall post or ceiling beam. These are readily and cheaply available from hardware stores, although the speciality versions from the likes of Park Tool do offer greater wheel size compatibility, including options for fat bikes and other large mountain bike rubber. Latest deals The Pro Bike Rack (left) and Delta Cycle Leonardo (right) are popular choices and take the basic vertical wheel hook one step further. Courtesy More advanced and secure options include those that bolt to the wall with multiple points of attachment and feature a built-in backing plate, such as models from Pro, Delta, Topeak and X-Tools to name a few. Latest deals If you’re looking for a permanent vertical hook, the SteadyRack comes at a premium, but is superb. Courtesy - Steadyrack Lastly, the ultimate is something like the SteadyRack, which holds the outside of the wheel and won’t mark the rim. Its unique design allows you to swing the bike nearly 180 degrees to get access to others or have the bike sit closely against the wall. The downside? This rack isn’t cheap, especially if you want more than one. Latest deals Horizontal wall-mounted bike racks If vertical storage is best for when width is an issue, horizontal storage is ideal for when depth of space is the concern. Generally holding the bike underneath the top tube, this method requires more wall space. This rack from IceToolz is an example of a basic permanent-horizontal rack. Courtesy - IceToolz Basic options include foldable hangers that bolt to the wall, with more expensive options taking the design concept further and creating something that is visually appealing. Brands such as Feedback Sports offer models with adjustable hooks to fit a variety of frame shapes, while other brands offer racks that double as shelves. Latest deals Hoists for bike storage Bicycle hoist systems are handy if you’re looking to store bikes in roof space. Courtesy - RAD Cycle Products For those with plenty of ceiling or wall space out of easy reach, there’s the hoist system. They’re commonly found in hardware stores to be used for items such as ladders and kayaks, but also work well with a bicycle. Generally, they are best for people that see cycling as an occasional pastime, rather than a lifestyle; it’s not the quickest system to use and installation is more involved than mounting a fixed hook or bracket. Latest deals Non-permanent indoor storage solutions for bikes Perhaps you’re renting or just not keen on drilling into things. If so, these non-permanent rack solutions are for you. Ceiling-to-floor rack for bikes The most common type of non-permanent off-the-floor rack is the pole type that clamps between floor and ceiling. Ceiling-to-floor racks are a strong solution for rental properties. The Feedback Sports Velo Column (left) and Topeak Dual-Touch (right) are both great options. Courtesy Most common examples are the Feedback Sports Velo Column and Topeak’s Dual-Touch. The Velo Column is a little more stylish but the Topeak offers a firmer hold against the ceiling. These use either a spring or hinge to lock in place, but can easily be removed if needed. Generally, these racks will hold two bikes, with the option to hold a further two with aftermarket kits. Latest deals Wall-leaning racks for bikes If you’re after a simple wall-leaning rack, Delta Cycle has you covered. Courtesy - Delta Cycle Wall-leaning solutions are less common, with racks from Delta Cycle being a rare example of bike storage that simply props against a vertical surface. They look nice and are beyond simple to install, but aren’t suitable for use on slippery floors. Latest deals Free-standing racks for bikes Freestanding bike stands come at a price, but the Feedback Sports Velo Cache (left) and Topeak TwoUp (right) are solid options. Courtesy Brands such as Thule, Feedback Sports and Topeak offer freestanding bike storage, also known as ‘bike trees’. These simply use a weighted or tripod base to offer a pole to hang bikes off of. While not as clean looking as a ceiling-to-floor rack, they may be a better option for people whose homes don’t have a solid ceiling or need a solution that can be moved at a moment’s notice. Latest deals Other methods of storing your bike indoors Gear Up’s Off the Door rack, which as its name suggests simply hangs off a door, is an option for renters short on space. Oli Woodman / Immediate Media Gear Up’s Off the Door rack is just like a permanent vertical hook, but simply slips over the top of a door and uses the bike’s weight to hold it in place. Opening the door could be an issue in some locations though. Latest deals Storage security issues This is another factor that may affect your storage decision. Depending on where you plan to keep your bike, you may need to consider a lockable rack solution. Some of the rack types mentioned above, especially the permanent versions, often offer slots for a cable or D-lock. Most of the non-permanent racks will be difficult to secure. Best bike locks While this buyer’s guide is about freeing up floor space, for many people the floor remains the cheapest and most suitable option. For this, axle or wheel type racks are readily available that will keep the bikes upright.