In the world of bike parts, if you can imagine it, someone is probably already selling it. You can get just about any accessory you need, from water bottle holders, to rear mounted packs capable of carrying a surprising load. You could even pick up an entire third wheel, with pedals and seat attached. These gadgets don’t function like a motorcycle side car, rather they hook on behind your bike, and allow you to take a child for rides they wouldn’t be able to do alone.
With all this variety in bike parts, it can be easy to become hopelessly bewildered when shopping. It’s important to make distinctions when looking at parts. For instance, before you go to the store you should understand what you’re looking for. Do you need a replacement for an existing part? Do you want to upgrade something on your bike? Are you looking for a new accessory? All three categories are meaty enough for a store in their own right, but most bike shops will have all of them crammed in next to each other.
So let’s say you’ve got a 12 speed mountain with click shifters, a 1.5 inch travel front suspension, and caliper brakes. You decide you want a little more flexibility and control; so you decide to invest in a few bike parts. You pick out a set of disc brakes to upgrade your stopping power; a three gear front sprocket; a new front fork with 3.5 inches of travel; and grip shift handle bars. If you’re already lost, don’t feel bad, most people would be.
But that’s exactly the kind of word you enter when you’re looking for bike parts. Bike shops are run by people passionate about biking; and they talk like that. Shopping for parts doesn’t have to be a hassle though; as long as you do your research beforehand. When you want new parts, the better the idea you have of what you want before you step into the store, the better off you will be.
For example, if you want to buy a chain, you’ll need to know what the gear ratios are on your bike so you get one long enough. If you want a new cog, you’ll need to ensure it will mesh with your existing cog and chain. Unless of course you plan on replacing all three at once, then you just need to ensure that they all play nicely together. If you want to swap from caliper to disc brakes, you may need to get a new front fork that supports mounting disc brake pads on it.
The list of things to know goes on and on. So don’t be surprised if you end up going shopping for bike parts only to find out that the research you did really didn’t teach you much. The world of biking isn’t on the same crazy pace of development that the information technology industry has. But oftentimes by the time information on new item can be published, it is already behind the curve of development. So if you do your homework, you should still show up ready to find out everything you know; things that were written about 3 months ago, is all out of date. Biking is a relatively young sport, and any sport is constantly changing, just look at the innovations in swimsuits this decade.