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Bikes Buying Guide News Road Bikes

Gravel Bikes, the perfect 4 season UK bike?

Living in the UK our bikes need to be versatile, after all the weather in the UK can be grim at the best of times. Let’s face it we get about 3 months of sun every year, the rest of the time we spend battling the elements.

When it comes to cycling, especially road riding the best way to combat the inclement weather, protecting yourself and your bike from the relentless road spray is often to fit a set of mudguards. Wider tyres tend to favourable with those who like to ride right through the very worst of the weather. While modern endurance-orientated road bikes do tend to allow for this, sportier bikes certainly don’t. That’s where a winter bike comes into its own and we’ve found that Gravel Bikes make a perfect year-round bike here in the UK for training and generally enjoying the great outdoors. Hear me out…

Tyre Clearance
One of the key features of a gravel bike is the clearance for large volume tyres, typically 40mm and above in width on a 700c wheel. While this is ideal for gravel riding when it comes to pounding miles on the road you might want something a little narrower. The beauty is though while you may not need the tyre clearance it allows you to fit full mudguards in place and still a nice wide tyre.

Disc Brakes
Disc brakes offer far more consistent braking regardless of conditions, that paired without having to worry about wearing rims out lend towards all season riding. Come rain or shine you’re not likely to notice a dip in braking performance. Hydraulic discs offer superb modulation which can be crucial on slippy lanes and you don’t have to worry about them clogging up with mud.

Mounts
One thing that gravel bikes tend to feature is mounting points. This opens up a range of possibilities for attaching all manner of accessories from mudguards to extra bottle cages or even pannier racks. It’s always handy to carry a few spares, there’s no harm in being over-prepared.

Geometry
While gravel bikes may look to the eye to essentially be a road bike with bigger tyres, they typically have a more relaxed riding position. A slightly slacker front ends helps to aid stability which can prove hugely beneficial in ferocious winter crosswinds. This can also help with reducing the change of toe overlap when you’ve fitted mudguards! With a shorter reach than your typical road race bike, gravel bikes are more akin to endurance bikes, so you can ride all day in comfort.

So if you’re considering a gravel bike but aren’t quite convinced yet, we certainly think they’re worth their while. Even if you won’t be riding miles of unpaved tracks, they’re equally at home on the road with a few minor adjustments and might just make the ideal winter training bike. That being said, they’re certainly no replacement for an out and out road bike but do provide a huge level of versatility.

Shop our range of in-stock Gravel Bikes.

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Bikes Buying Guide Featured Mountain Bikes News

Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp Review

For 20 years Specialized Epic’s have been putting racers on top of podiums. One of the most successful Cross Country Mountain Bikes available, with renowned athletes piloting the bike around World Cup circuits. Utilising the experience gained by racing at the very top tier, Specialized make race-ready bikes available to buy off the shelf. The Epic Hardtail Comp is a perfect example of this.

What’s new?
The lightest production hardtail on earth is also the most capable and comfortable racing machine they have ever created. Specialized have used their featherweight FACT 11m carbon to create a dropper-post friendly frame which is only 140 grams heavier than the elite level, S-Works equivalent. The handling is more confident thanks to a slackened head angle, reduced fork offset and increased reach. Paired with Rockshox‘s Reba RL fork to soak up the bumps with a steady hand.

The full Shimano SLX M7100 series groupset ensures the Epic Hardtail Comp strikes a perfect balance between performance and reliability, all at an accessible price point.

Epic good looks
Dressed in the iconic Specialized Flo Red that has adorned Specialized bikes for so many years, the Epic Hardtail Comp comes to life in the sun thanks to a special ghost pearl addition to the paintwork. This thing really needs to be seen to be appreciated properly.

Epic in name, epic in nature
The Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp is a thoroughbred race bike, every turn of the pedals catapults you forward at a rate more akin to a gravel bike, this thing is seriously quick! Thanks to the pedalling efficiency of a hardtail, the Epic really feels like it’s going to take off when you get on the gas, even in the heaviest of slop, synonyms with the classic British Winter we’ve grown so accustomed to. Nimble over roots, the Specialized Fast Track CONTROL tyres provide ample grip when required while carrying the necessary speed to rip uphill and on the flats. You’ll spend most of your time in the saddle dropping a cog and finding ways to go faster.

The Specialized Epic Hardtail Comp is a carbon XC mountain bike that makes you want to ride all the time. It’s a straight forward no-nonsense bike that’s going to prove to a reliable and hassle-free partner for miles to come, owing to the carefully selected equipment that it’s specced with. We’re a huge fan of the Specialized Epic here at Hargroves Cycles and we’re certain you will be too.

Shop Specialized Mountain Bikes at Hargroves Cycles available with finance and delivery.

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Maintenance News Parts And Accessories Safety

Fixing a puncture on the road

Let us get back to basics. Changing a tyre and/or fixing a puncture is something that every cyclist, no matter how experienced, will have to face at some point. You may have the best tyres, do your utmost to avoid potholes and meticulously prune your tyres for undesirable objects, however, the day will come where you have to come to terms with the fact that you have a puncture. Maybe you’ve cycled over a carelessly disposed glass bottle or caught the end of a spiked vine, whatever the case you’ll start to feel as if the bike has suddenly become almost… sluggish, as if it’s somehow consumed a good few pints. You survey your surroundings, eyeing your tyres suspiciously, trying to determine whether it is, in fact, a puncture or you just didn’t pump your tyres up pre-ride. Then the moment comes when you finally concede to the reality that your slowly losing air. At this point (post swearing), it’s best to find a safe spot to pull over and set about fixing the thorn in your side (or tyre).

Now, if you’re the type of cyclist that prepares an ’emergency kit’ prior to heading out, you will have a full puncture repair kit which consists of – tyre levers, a piece of chalk/crayon, a spare inner tube, puncture patches, glue, sandpaper and a pump/co2 canister. But for argument’s sake, let’s say you have no spare tube, so you’re resigned to fixing the puncture and continuing on the same tube. While tyre levers are not a necessity for removing a tyre, it certainly helps and keeps your fingers from getting sore, we’re going to assume that you have a pair.

Getting your bike set

Puncture in the rear? Make sure you change gears until you’re in the small ring at the back (this is better for your bike when you remove the wheel). Then flip the bike upside down, this isn’t essential but helps considering you’re riding solo. Make sure it’s rested on the saddle and handlebars.

Removing the wheel

If you have rim brakes you may have to undo your brake to remove the tyre. Sidepull brakes have a little lever on the calliper that opens the brake further. With V-brakes, the J-shaped metal ‘noodle’ unhooks from the yoke. With cantilever brakes, the cable unhooks from one brake arm. If you’ve got disc brakes, you don’t have to do anything. Remove the wheel by undoing the quick release and pulling the wheel smoothly out, if it’s a rear-wheel, pull the derailleur back out of the way and lift the wheel up and out.

Tyre off and innertube out

Insert the first tyre lever under the edge of the tyre (the bead) and work it off the rim. Either hold this lever or slot the end behind a spoke. Insert the second tyre lever about 10cm away on the same side. Lever up the bead, then run the second lever around the rim, lifting off the tyre completely on one side only. This may take a few tries to get it right. Remove the valve cap and locking ring, if any, then remove the tube.

Finding the puncture, fixing the puncture

If you’re…erm…lucky! You’ll be able to see the offending hole that caused the puncture, however, it might not be so easy. The best bet is to pump up the tube and move the tube around listening carefully for a soft hissing sound. When you think you’ve found it place a finger over the hole and feel for the releasing air, mark the hole with a cross using the chalk/crayon and grab the sandpaper. Rough up the area and spread the glue over an area that’s larger than the patch with your finger, and then leave it to dry for at least five minutes. Don’t do anything else until it’s totally dry – otherwise, you won’t fix your puncture. Peel off the foil backing, apply the patch, making sure it’s centred over the hole. Press down firmly for a minute, and then remove the backing, being careful not to lift the edges of the patch. Inflate the tube and make sure there’s no air escaping, if there’s a hole under one edge of the patch, remove it and start again. You’ll need to roughen the tube more thoroughly, and let the glue dry for longer.

Check the tyre, check the tyre, check the tyre

CHECK THE TYRE. I for one have experienced the sheer frustration of fixing my puncture, putting everything back together only to ride 500m down the road and get another puncture because I hadn’t removed the original culprit. Run your fingers carefully inside the tyre to see if the sharp object is still there. If so, remove it – a knife helps. If you don’t find anything, feel around the rest of the tyre just in case. Hopefully, it’s already fallen out.

Putting it all back together

Place the inner tube back in the wheel with it half-inflated. This will help the process of putting the tyre back on the wheel and not catching the inner tube between the tyre and rim – something which will save you time and the frustration of another blown tube. Work your way around the tyre, holding one hand at a point and working the tyre into the rim. If your tyre is being stubborn turn the tyre levers over and leverage the tyre back over the rim, being careful not to pinch the inner tube against the rim. After some exasperating noises and lots of elbow grease, you’ll have it back in place ready to pump up and put your wheel back on.

This is the best way to fix a puncture on a commute. A brand new inner tube will have your bike good to go again in no time (no need to take into a shop for a service). However, there may be times where you get a puncture and you don’t have a new inner tube on you.

Disaster averted, following these easy steps you’ll be a master of changing a tyre or fixing an inner tube in no time. Saves those embarrassing phone calls to the other half or best friend, begging for a lift ‘Yeah, you know the roundabout near the layby? The one near that place we had a roast in once? Erm, you know the one, it had the dead badger on the road?’ Nah, neither do we.

To view our range of puncture repair kits: https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/puncture-repair

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Bikes Buying Guide Electric Bikes Featured

E-Bike Buyers Guide

Common questions asked when buying an e-bike.

Electricity is the future of transport, that’s a fact. It’s clean, affordable, efficient and reliable. E-bikes are the perfect example of this and with a range on offer that’s bigger than ever, at Hargroves Cycles we thought it would be useful to try and cover some of the basic questions people tend to have when considering stepping into the world of electrically assisted bicycles.

With motors becoming more discreet the chances are you’ll have seen an E-bike whizzing past you and not even realised. We think it’s great as it’s giving more people than ever confidence to get on a bike without the worry they might not be able to manage. It’s not to be mistaken for a free ride though, the best part is you still have to pedal. This means you can go further and do more than ever before on a bicycle while staying healthy.

How do E-bikes work?

The answer is a fairly simple one, they work exactly like a typical pedal-powered bicycle, but the electric motor powered by a battery assists as and when it is needed. This reduces the effort required and making your journey quicker and more efficient.

The UK has strict laws that currently govern exactly how much assistance the motor can deliver. The current law means any bike can have an additional 250W up to a maximum speed of 15.5mph. After that point the motor would cut out and traditional pedal power is required to go any faster.

Which e-bike is best for me?

Electric bikes are more diverse than ever, you can find just about every type of bicycle imaginable available with an electrical assist motor. Our current range includes road, MTB, gravel, city, hybrid and compact. When it comes to what might be the right fit for you it really comes down to the type of riding you’re likely to be doing and just how much assistance you might need.

Are there different Motor Types?

Frame: A frame-mounted motor is the more common higher-end e-bikes. These tend to be smarter as they can measure how hard you’re pedaling with each stroke. With this information, the motor can give a more accurate amount of assistance based on your effort. This means that the motor won’t deliver assistance when it’s not required, extending battery life and making sure everything is running as efficiently as possible.

Hub: A hub-mounted motor is more often found in bikes where a slightly more discrete approach is needed. These tend to be used in an e-road bike or city e-bike to keep things stylish.

What about the Batteries?

Battery technology is getting better all the time with some batteries now small and powerful enough to fit within the frame of the bike! Battery capacity tends to be the most important factor to consider when buying an e-bike. Especially if you intend to complete longer journeys in more hilly areas, in that case, bigger is definitely better. Capacity tends to be measured in amp-hours with the bigger the number meaning larger capacity and in turn, range.

How far can I ride it?

Just like your trusty mobile phone, the range of an e-bike is governed by battery life. The bike, however, will still be rideable long after the battery runs out however just without the battery assist. Factors such as which mode is selected and the terrain will run the battery down much faster so you should always account for this when looking at manufacturers quoted range.

What if the bike gets wet?

The electronic items on all of our e-bikes tend to be sealed units, including the motor, battery and head unit. They are designed for all-purpose use such as mountain biking, where occasionally there are deep puddles and rain. The bike will handle this without any issues. If possible, try not to completely submerge your e-bike but if you fall into a puddle for example, make sure the bike and yourself get out as quickly as possible. This would go for a normal bike too, water ingress can cause problems with more than just electronics! If you can, allow the bike to dry off before turning it back on.

How Heavy is it?
One of the most common questions we have about electric bicycles is “How heavy is it?” The truth is the weight can vary massively from bike to bike. Some modern e-bikes can weigh as little as 10-11kg and can range up to 25-26kg for some of the larger city e-bikes. This can lead to them being difficult to transport when not being ridden.

Cube Compact Hybrid Electric Bike

While buying an E-bike might seem like a big investment at Hargroves Cycles we certainly think it’s one worth making. With electric bikes to suit most riding styles and needs, you could certainly find a way of offsetting it against your current travel costs. Not to mention the health and environmental benefits.

Bergamont E-Revox 4 Electric MTB

Shop our range of e-bikes today and feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions!

Orbea Keram 10 29 Electric Bike

Categories
Buying Guide News

Best Christmas gifts for cyclists

With Christmas a matter of weeks away are you still struggling with what to get your cycling mad friend, relative or partner? Or have you been landed with a secret Santa for a colleague who loves nothing more than being on two wheels? Don’t panic, we’re here to help.

We’ve put together a list below of gifts ranging from perfect stocking fillers for under a tenner right up to the ‘money is no object’ dream bikes. As cyclists, we have selected some products we would love to see under our Christmas Trees. These gifts are suitable for the majority of cyclists whether it be Mountain Biking, Road Cycling, Gravel Riding or anything in between.

Under £10

Elite Fly Water Bottle
£5.99

As a cyclist, you can never have too many drinks bottles or ‘bidons’ as we call them. With the Elite Fly Water Bottle, the cyclist in your life can Sip like a pro from the lightest bidon ever made! With a 550ml capacity and sitting well under the £10 bracket, it’s the perfect stocking filler.

Under £20

Muc-Off Wash Protect and Lube Kit
£16.49

This time of year the roads and trails are filthy and as cyclists we like to keep our bikes looking their best!  This Muc-Off Clean, Protect & Lube Kit comes with the three steps needed to keep any bike in tip-top shape without posing a threat to the environment. With state-of-the-art formulas that are fully biodegradable their bikes will be gleaming all year round. At under £20 we think this is a gift any cyclist would be happy to unwrap.

Under £50

Park Tools MT30 Mini Fold UP Multi-Tool
£34.99

Unfortunately, things can go wrong when you’re out cycling and although it’s impossible to carry your whole toolbox with you it’s certainly handy to have some essentials. That’s why the Park Tool MT-30 Mini Fold-up Multi-Tool is the perfect take-along tool for on the go repairs. It has some essentials such as Allen key and Torx drivers and packs away neatly to fit in any bag or pocket. Weighing in at just 153 grams and well under the £50 mark, this lightweight tool packs a mighty punch as a present. We certainly never leave home without ours!

Under £100

Exposure Trace Mk2 and TraceR DayBright with brackets Front and Rear Light
£85.00

This time of year, the days are short and even during daylight hours visibility can be at a premium. It’s certainly worth being safe and being seen. This premium and lightweight Exposure light set will certainly do the trick. Featuring USB charging, a choice of 6 burn times, DayBright pulse pattern and side illumination for 360 ̊ visibility this light set is packed with technology that’ll light up their face when they open this gift. At well under the £100 price point we think this makes the perfect gift for any keep cyclist.

Under £500

Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM Cycling GPS Computer
£299.99

Us cyclists love our data, constantly sharing and comparing our rides through various platforms. The Wahoo ELEMNT Roam is the most advanced computer yet, building upon on the success of the original ELEMNT. Compatible with all the popular cycling apps such as Training Peaks, Strava, Best Bike Split, Today’s Plan and all Wahoo Smart Trainers and most smartphones making it the perfect stand-alone bike computer and gift for any keen cyclist. This really is the gift that keeps on giving with turn-by-turn route guidance, crystal-clear 2.7” LED backlit display, huge battery life and wireless connection they can keep you updated with every kilometre they ride! It comes with everything they need to get out and ROAM and comes well within the £500 budget.   

The ultimate cycling gift

Wahoo KICKR Power Trainer V5 Smart Bike Trainer
£999.99

While there’s nothing better than getting outside and riding your bike that’s not always possible. There’s plenty that can go against you whether it be the elements, time or even dreaded injuries. That’s why Turbo Trainers are an essential piece of kit for any serious cyclist.

Our favourite is the Wahoo KICKR, providing the ultimate indoor experience. Compatible with most gravel, mountain or road bikes and with state-of-the-art wireless technology getting connected couldn’t be smoother. If heading outside isn’t an option they’ll certainly be glad to have this high-tech training partner at their disposal. It’s particularly good at pairing with Zwift which means the recipient of this incredible gift can meet their riding buddies in cyber space and keep up the social aspect of their rides from the comfort of their own home.

The Wahoo KICKR will certainly take up a bit of space under the tree and we don’t know any dedicated cyclist who wouldn’t be over the moon with this incredible present which is we think this makes the ultimate cycling gift.

The money no object cycling gift

Specialized Aethos Expert
£5,500.00

We can all dream and this year top of our Christmas list is the Specialized Aethos Expert Carbon Road Bike. A bike that Specialized used every ounce of experience they`ve gained over the past 46 years and built a bike made simply for the love of riding. What could be better than a bike that is designed to straddle the line between perfect ride quality, extreme lightweight, and undeniable style. With quick-shifting, low-maintenance Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting and hydraulic disc brakes paired with DT Swiss R470 Disc wheels if money really is no object then the Aethos is the perfect gift for the cyclist in your life this Christmas. Imagine the joy on their face when they open this up on the big day, the only problem you’re going to have is figuring out just how to wrap it.

The gift for the cyclist that has everything

E-Scooters, this years must have gift

We all know that person that is impossible to buy for. The person that has everything, but do they have an electric scooter? This years must have gift for kids and adults alike. Electric Scooters are the gift that makes getting from A to B quick, affordable, fun and easy. Any of our range of E-Scooters are guaranteed to make the recipient smile and provide unlimited hours of fun.

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Bikes Buying Guide Commuting Electric Electric Bikes Featured

Our Guide to Buying an Electric Scooter

If you need a solution that makes getting from A to B quick, affordable, fun and easy then you need an E-scooter. Electric scooters are great fun and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

We’re here to help make your decision on which electric scooter to buy as simple as possible.

At Hargroves we think the 6 most important features you should consider when choosing an electric scooter are:

Range

Your scooter needs to be ready to go whenever you may need it. There’s no fun in having a scooter if it can’t get you from A to B without running out of charge. A larger battery range means you can travel further between charges and you don’t have to worry about remembering to charge it every night. 

A scooter with a range of 25-30km is ideal for the majority of daily riders. This allows you to travel an average distance of 15 miles before needing to plug it in!

Top Speed

Speed is important for keeping things fun. Our Electric scooters start with top speeds of 20km/h which, for most is more than enough to keep you smiling. But if you really want to feel the buzz, we recommend you consider one of our higher level Electric Scooters. These can reach speeds of 30km/h with motor power of 500 watts or 800 watts peak!

Adventure E- Scooter
£495.00

Portability

We’ve tested a lot of electric scooter models and found that the most practical are 17kg or below. You want an electric scooter that’s practical for daily life, easy to carry, store and fold. The when it’s folded will determine if you can carry it with one hand, fit it in the car or tuck it neatly away under your desk. 

Brakes

Brakes are a key feature when you are looking for an electric scooter. Safety first!

Our scooters have different brake types and have varying levels of effectiveness. Foot brakes, drum brakes and disc brakes.  

Foot brakes are used by pushing your foot down on the rear mud guard. Drum brakes are enclosed inside the wheel hub and are used by operating a traditional brake lever. Disc brakes have the most stopping power and are again, used by a traditional brake lever.  

Walberg Egret 10 V3X 48V
£1,349.00

Wheel Type

Our scooters come with two varieties of tyre, air-filled and solid rubber (airless). Air-filled tyres have the advantage of in-built shock absorption and a better handling. They can however suffer punctures and require maintenance. Solid tyres require very little maintenance but aren’t as smooth and you will feel more bumps and vibrations. 

Walberg Urban Electric XH1 Scooter
£899.00

Lights

Seeing and being seen can be very important. All of our electric scooters have been carefully selected to include lights. Scooters, like bikes, have a white front light and a red rear light. If you ride after dark, it is worth making sure you and everyone around you are protected and it may be worth considering adding additional lighting.

Our range of electric scooters are available with FREE UK delivery. In all of our stores, located in Southampton, Winchester, Chichester and Swindon and can be purchased using our Click & Collect option.