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Components Maintenance News Parts And Accessories

How to index your bike’s gears

No cyclist should have to put up with gears that are slow to shift up and down their cassette. We all know how to change gears, but how many of us know how to maintain them? Today’s post is going to help you bid adieu to your clicking and ticking gears. Indexing gears may seem tricky and the job for a bike shop, however, after this guide you’ll be mastering the mech like a pro.

Know Your Limits

Before we begin its important to check the limit screws – you’ll find these at the rear of the mech, two small screws, often marked with ‘L’ and ‘H’.

The limit screws determine the full range of movement of the derailleur. They stop the chain from falling off the inside of your cassette, and potentially into your spokes (no one wants that) or to stop the chain falling off the outside of the cassette, towards your frame.

To check your limit screws you have to:

  1. Shift the gears so that you are in the smallest sprocket in the rear derailleur.
  2. By hand, push the mech all the way up toward the wheel until it reaches its full range of motion. Don’t push beyond this point or you can and will damage it. Make sure that the mech is directly beneath the biggest sprocket.
  3. Slowly release the mech and check that it lines up perfectly with the smallest sprocket of the cassette.
  4. If the mech isn’t lining up perfectly with either the biggest or smallest sprockets, you need to adjust your limit screws. Depending on the make and age of your mech, this is typically carried out with either a crosshead or Phillips head screwdriver. We have plenty of multi-tools that includes both of these.
  5. You now need to adjust the limit screws so that the mech lines up perfectly at either end of the cassette.
  6. Adjust the ‘H’ screw to adjust the mech when the bike is shifted down to the smallest sprocket. Tune this up until the chain is perfectly in line with the small sprocket.
  7. Turn the ‘L’ screw to adjust the mech when the bike is shifted up to the biggest sprocket. Tune this up until the chain is perfectly in line with the large sprocket.
  8. Hey presto, the limit screws are now correctly set.

Tune it up

Now that you have your limit screws where you want them, its time to tune the indexing of your bike’s rear mech. To do this we must now use the small barrel adjuster, it’s usually located near the shifter or on the derailleur. Road bikes often have an inline barrel adjuster on the cable. It increases or decreases the tension on the cable, which in turn alters how the mech moves up and down the cassette.

  1. Change your gears so that the chain is running on the small chainring at the front and the smallest sprocket of the cassette.
  2. Shift up the cassette (towards the biggest sprocket) and observe how well the chain is moving up and down. You may notice that it takes some time for the chain to get into the next sprocket, or doesn’t shift at all. If your gears are shifting ‘slow’ you will need to turn the barrel adjuster counterclockwise (as you look on it from the back of the bike) until the shift is smooth. Rotating the adjuster counterclockwise effectively moves the entire mech toward the wheel.
  3. From there work your way up the cassette while still in the small ring, making small adjustments with the barrel adjuster as you go until the shifts are all perfect. Turn the adjuster clockwise if you need to move the mech away from the wheel.
  4. When you’re happy that you’ve achieved smooth, fast shifting through the gears when you’re in the small chainring, go through steps 2 to 3 while on the big chainring at the front.
  5. When you’ve completed all the steps you should find your gears running as smooth as they did when the bike was new.

Categories
Bikes Commuting Hybrid Bikes News Road Bikes Safety Training

Exercise Bikes under £1000

The new regulations imposed by Boris Johnson mean that we are no longer able to enjoy the great outdoors as freely as we’d like. We are limited to leave our homes for reasons deemed a ‘necessity’. This includes shopping for food and medicines, work, helping a vulnerable person and once a day for exercise. As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, cycling is mentioned as a permitted exercise and while the details are slightly hazy, cycling is what you should do. The distance or time isn’t specified, however, common sense should dictate your rides. Stay safe, on your own, on routes you know and with all the necessary tools and with the knowledge of how to use them.

Image result for locked inside coronavirus cyclist

France and Spain had similar restrictions in place, unfortunately, cyclists flouted them, riding in groups and long distances. The government came down hard and banned all cycling due to a few unruly riders, with roaming police, strict fines and potential prison sentences to deter anyone from breaking the rules. Let’s not get ourselves into the same position by respecting the regulations and behave responsibly.

Image result for locked inside coronavirus cyclist
Scenes in Italy with police stopping cyclists

In the meantime, do the most to enjoy riding a bike. The sun is out and no one is in a hurry. Head out into the fresh air and take some deep breaths and enjoy the feeling of your legs spinning, the lack of cars and slightly eerie quietness in the streets. If you’re currently bikeless and feeling the urge to get one, there are some great bikes out there for under £1000 and options to finance them over a selected period of time, to alleviate any financial strain. Hargroves have picked a few of our favourite bikes for under £1000 and listed them below:

2020 Specialized Sirrus X 3.0 Hybrid Bike

Available in pink and black the Sirrus X is your ticket to riding more and to places you never imagined possible. It’s a comfortable, capable “let’s do stuff” kind of bike that will inspire you to ride more than you ever have before. With bigger confidence-inspiring tires, a slightly more upright riding position, a super intuitive one-by drivetrain and plenty of mounts for racks and fenders it’s more than just a solid partner on the pavement. Specialized also equipped every Sirrus X with next-level comfort from their scientifically tested and ergonomically engineered shared platform body geometry saddle, handgrips and pedals. Here’s to your new life on two wheels. At £699 and finance options as low £19.40 a month it’s a deal that’s hard to pass.

2020 Cannondale Althea 3 Women’s Hybrid Bike

With its low-standover, mountain-bike-inspired frame, its 700c knobby tires and 50mm suspension fork, the Althea can take you from pavement to dirt, to gravel and back…with a smile on your face. It’s comfortable, popular and looks good. The women’s frame design matches the ruggedness of a mountain bike with the speed of 700c wheels. Super low standover means easy mounting and dismounting. The women’s specific geometry of the Althea delivers the speed and agility of a city bike, with the stability and heads-up comfort of a mountain bike. Currently, with 15% off at £509.99 and finance options available at £14.15 a month, it’s time to snap up the Althea and get the most enjoyment out of your ride.

2020 Ridgeback Avenida 6

The Avenida 6 was built around comfort, with its classic step-through frame design and upright riding position coupled with the swept-back bar and suspension seat post the Avenida 6 puts you in the perfect position to ride all day and step off feeling just as fresh as when you stepped on. Fully equipped with full-length mudguards and rear pannier rack as standard it is more than capable of tackling the morning commute or the daily ride and equipped with 6 speed Shimano gearing means it can handle any route you choose. Available at £449.99 and finance options starting at £12.49 a month.

2020 Cannondale Topstone Sora Mens Gravel Bike

A personal favourite of mine, the Cannondale Topstone, is a capable, versatile gravel road bike. Built for chasing horizons, exploring routes less travelled or accelerating your commute. Its lightweight aluminium frame uses Cannondale’s SmartForm tubing to save weight and engineer comfort, increasingly important on long and off-road rides. Wide tyre clearance allows 700 x 37c tyres to come as standard, which really blurs the lines between on and off-road with their fast-rolling tread yet high volume providing plenty of comforts. Disc brakes, internal cable routing and multiple mounting points for luggage and you’ve got a seriously capable bike on your hands. At £949.99 you get some real value for money and the finance starts as low as £26.36.

2020 Cube Aim Race Hardtail Mountain Bike

If you’re looking for something a bit more fun, look no further than the Cube Aim Race Hardtail. It’s cheap, cheerful and with plenty of play, it’ll keep a smile on your face the entire time you’re on it. Whether you plan to zip around the block, delve into the local park or even a quick single track lap round the local woods this well-equipped, easy-to-handle and reliable trail companion won’t let you down. At £499.99 and starting at £14.95 a month finance you’re not going to find more bang for your buck.

Regardless of what you choose, what’s important is keeping safe, riding responsibly and being careful, but get your exercise in 🙂

To see more great value bikes please visit https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/bikes/hybrid-bikes/instock?maxprice=700

Stay safe out there everyone

Hargroves

Categories
Featured News

Hello, is it spring you’re looking for?

‘What’s that?’ you say, as you spot an odd and unusual occurrence through the gap in your curtains. You throw them back and the light of day pours in, your face shines with joy and hope. It’s blue sky, beautiful, clean blue sky. And what’s that there? It’s the sun! Oh, the sun, how we’ve missed you. The month of February has been a cruel mistress to all those who enjoy the two-wheeled hobby that we call cycling, the wind and rain and grey skies and misery. Even the hardiest of cyclists, having braved and battled through the storms, shed a tear as the first light of spring rises from the horizon, greeting them like a long-lost friend.

Due to this phenomenon you may find yourself lingering on gravel bike collections, finger hovering over the ‘buy now’ button, eyes glazed over with desire and lust, you’re not alone.  Ideas are formed with the coming of spring, a sense of pining and adventure grips us. Sitting at work, daydreaming about exploring the curves and camber of the great outdoors. Lunch breaks spent route planning, google maps poured over, squinting at lines on the screen determining whether your 28mm tyres are up to the task or should you bite the bullet and drop £2000 on a new bike? (24-month finance doesn’t even count as buying does it?)

Let’s, for arguments sake, say you went on to purchase your new gravel toy. You come home one day to the unmistakably large box that signifies a new bike. Once opened you gaze upon it in wonder, the shape is alien yet so familiar and the knobbly tyres cause an intake of breath in anticipation, the weekend can’t come quickly enough. You envisage yourself flying down tracks, the flash of greenery invading your peripheral vision, mud clinging to the tread of the aforementioned knobbly tyres. Life is good when you’re out and free.

As you excitedly cram your bike packing bags with spare clothes, gels, tools and tubes you can’t help but feel like a pioneer ready to discover the undiscovered, joining the list of explorers who set out with nothing more than a change of clothes, a route and a pre-determined destination with a booked hotel and a few local restaurants saved on your phone. Your riding clothes are neatly laid out next to your bed, shoes cleaned, and bike primed, feeling like a young child preparing for their very first day at school. Just one more sleep.


Saturday. Eyes open, instantly alert. It’s the day. Alas, a dreaded sound is coming from the window, a window that presented so much joy a mere few days ago has betrayed you. You slowly draw the curtains and feel your heart sink as the full extent of the weather becomes apparent, the rain and wind have seemingly returned with vengeance. You furrow your brows in determination and slowly change your clothes for a more weather appropriate getup, trudge down for breakfast and brace yourself for the worst. What else are you supposed to do? It’s a non-refundable hotel.

To view Hargroves selection of gravel bikes – https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/bikes/road-bikes/gravel-bikes
Bags, packs and paniers – https://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/packs-and-luggage

Categories
Cycling Guides Featured News

Winter Miles, Summer Smiles

It’s always hard to motivate yourself to ride at this time of year; its cold and wet outside, you’re in the middle of a gripping new TV series and the overindulgent eating and drinking throughout the Christmas period has left you feeling sluggish and unfit. Your New Year’s resolutions to be more active and eat healthier are already sat on the shelf growing dust while the sofa is becoming a lot more familiar. Despite this, you must resist the temptation to put it off until the better weather arrives in spring. As the age-old cycling proverb goes, ‘winter miles, summer smiles’, and as clichéd as it sounds, it represents the truth.

Peloton racing in the rain

We, as cyclists, want nothing more than to ride the sweeping contours of stunning roads surrounded by sunlit vistas, sweating up climbs and coasting down hills, our faces fixed with a countenance of joy.

What we don’t want is to experience all of this while staring down at our stems, desperately gasping for breath and counting down the minutes until it’s time to stop for a break. In order to maximise the enjoyment of summer rides we must persevere through the uncomfortable winter months. So, that requires you, yes you, to leave your castle of comfort, throw on a few layers and get out into the cold to clock up some essential miles.

Even Zwift riders experience the snow

For those of you that aren’t keen on the great outdoors in the winter months and the seemingly constant deluge of rain then keep those Zwift miles high. Admittedly, indoor trainers don’t quite replicate the experience of spinning down country lanes with the wind blowing you all over the place. However, they’re the next best thing and will help you build/maintain your level of fitness until the sun starts blessing us with its presence.

Climbing one of the notorious Yorkshire hills

Without doubt those first few miles are going to be tough. The cobwebs are clinging to your muscles for dear life and those previously well-oiled joints are creaking and moaning in despair, you may even feel sunk, like riding underwater, but it’s time to dig deep and push on. Have a plan, ride with an achievable distance, don’t get ahead of yourself and set out for a century unless you’ve maintained a good training programme throughout December. A steady 50 miles, or even 20, with some rolling hills and a good climb to get you back into the motions is what you need to get your year on the bike kick-started.

The hard work you put in now, slogging through the grey and cold countryside, will pay dividends when the darling buds of May start to bloom and you can keep those legs spinning for hours, so what are you waiting for?

Views like these is what every cyclist wants to see.

Categories
News

18 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Tour De France

 

Hooked on the Tour De France? So are we! Last week, we looked at Champagne Bikes On A Lemonade Budget, so if you’re feeling inspired and want to get into cycling (without breaking the bank!), make sure you check it out…

But for now, as it rolls into it’s 18th stage, we’ve compiled a list of 18 facts that you probably didn’t know about The Tour De France!

1.  Organising The First Tour

The first ever Tour De France was organised by Frenchman, Henri Desgrange, a keen and talented cyclist, who set 12 track cycling records.

2. The First Winner

The first Tour De France was won by Italian-born Frenchman, Maurice Gain. Completing the event at an average of 25km per hour, Gain picked up a handsome 6,075 francs for his victory.

In 1904, he went on to win the second Tour De France, only to have his title stripped from him, after being accused of cheating, along with 8 other riders.

3.The First Yellow Jersey

Eugene Christophe was the first to receive the prestigious yellow jersey in 1919.

4. And talking about 1919…

Out of the 67 that started the race, only 10 riders finished the 13th edition of the Tour De France!

5. How Many Miles??

You think the cyclists of today’s Tour De France have it hard? Try being a cyclist in the 1926 race – they had to cover an eye watering 3570 miles, making this year’s total of 2200 seem like a walk (or cycle!) in the park.

6. Back & Better Than Ever…

After the Second World War halted the Tour De France for 7 years, in 1947 the race returned as a symbol the nation’s drive and enthusiasm.

7. Drinking & Riding – Probably not the best idea…

But up until the 60’s, it wasn’t uncommon to see participants having a beer or two. It was thought that alcohol may numb the pain, but this was later banned, as it was thought to count as a stimulant.

8. We’ve got to talk about Jacques Anquetil…

You’ve probably heard of his name before, but did you know that he was the first cyclist to win the Tour De France 5 times? His first victory came in 1957, and his following victories came in 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964.

9. And let’s not forget about Eddy Merckx…

Eddie also won The Tour De France a staggering 5 times, but also has the title of most stages wins…34 to be exact!

10. 36 Wins For France

France have picked up a mighty 36 wins since the tour started, making them the nation with the most victories.

But although it seemed to be going extremely well for the host nation, a Frenchman hasn’t won the Tour De France since 1985, when Bernaud Hinault won the 72nd edition.

11. Just 8 seconds in it

In 1989, Greg Lemond won the Tour De France, with Laurent Fignon coming in at a close second, just 8 seconds behind…so close, yet so far!

12. Let’s talk about 1999 to 2005

If you’ve seen the Tour De France winner’s table, you may see that between 1999 and 2005, there is no winner listed. That’s because the results for the 7 years were voided after Lance Armstrong had all of his victories taken away after allegations of doping surfaced.

13. The Year of The Brits!

Bradley Wiggins became the first ever British man to win The Tour De France in 2012. His team mate, Chris Froome continued the winning streak for the UK, winning the 100th edition of the tour in 2013.

14. The year of the women…

…well, kind of. Although women aren’t allowed to compete in the Tour De France, in 2014, an elite, one day race called ‘La Course’ was held for women.

This year, event organisers have decided to stretch ‘La Course’ into a 2-day race, to coincide with the 18th and 20th stages of the Tour De France.

15. Calorie Burning

On an ‘easy stage’ of the tour, a rider will burn around 4,000 calories, but on a grueling mountain stage, you’re looking at more like 7,000!

16. Fuelling The Ride

Riders consume around 6,000-8,000 calories a day during the tour, and this is made up of both liquid and solid food.

17. Rest days…who needs em’?

Riders have two rest days during the 23-day competition, but the majority of riders still get out on their bikes and ride for a few hours. This is to make sure they flush out the lactic acid and keep their mind focused and their eyes on the prize.

The rest days do however allow for a little R&R – riders are permitted to have a lay in until 9 or 10am, and have afternoon naps scheduled.

18. Winning The Big Bucks

Let’s get to the most important bit…the prize money!

In this year’s Tour De France, the overall winner of the Tour De France is set to earn a whopping 500,000€, with second place scooping 200,000€, and third place, 100,000€.

So with just two days to go, who have you got your money on?

Categories
News

Join us for the Sky Ride in Southampton this Sunday 12th June

This Sunday 12th June the Hargroves Cycles team will be attending the Sky Ride in Southampton. If you’ve never ridden around Southampton City Centre on two wheels we highly recommend coming along and giving it a go. The Sky Ride is perfect for all ages and abilities of cyclist and the majority of the cycling route will be on closed roads. That means no cars and the route is really easy to follow so you don’t need to worry about getting lost.

There is still time to register so if you’re keen, just head on over to the Sky Ride Southampton website to sign up.

We’ve posted a copy of the route map below which takes in some of the popular spots around the city. The route is beginner friendly and only 8km in length which is about 5 miles. The course is open from 11am – 3pm so you have plenty of time to cycle around the route at your own pace.

Make sure you pop by the Hargroves Cycles stand in the ‘My Journey Village’. We’ll have plenty of bikes on display for you to look at including mountain bikes, road bikes, kids bikes and hybrids.

See you there!

sky-ride-southampton-map