The Bike Blog

Best Bike Helmets of 2019 - From Consumer Reports
By Macomb Bike [June 18, 2019]

Now that summer is here, more people are dusting off their bicycles, putting air in the tires, and getting ready to go out for a spin.

And whether you’re commuting to work, hitting a rail trail, or just tooling around the neighborhood, experts agree: If you’re getting on a bike, put on a helmet first. In the event of an accident, a helmet dramatically reduces your risk of head injury and death.

Helmets are important for everyone, but especially for kids—in fact, wearing a helmet is the law for kids in 21 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. Some cities and towns, including Seattle, mandate helmets for adult riders, too.

All the helmets in our ratings are rigorously evaluated in the lab and on the road by our expert testers.

To test how well a helmet will absorb an impact, it is strapped onto a head form and dropped from 2 meters in the air onto a steel anvil—at a speed of about 14 mph. (This test is performed four times, to simulate what would happen if a cyclist fell and hit his or her head on the front, the side, the rear, or the crown.)

Our testers also ride around wearing each helmet to see how well it ventilates the head during real-world use, and examine the features, versatility, and ease of use of all the buckles and adjustments.

Remember, if you’ve fallen and hit your head while wearing a helmet, it’s time to get a new one. Here are our top picks for adults and kids, in alphabetical order. We also note below which helmets come with a Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) liner, which is designed to reduce the risk of a concussion.



Gravel and Adventure Bikes

 By Macomb Bike [May 18, 2019]


Not too long ago, if you marched into a bike shop and requested a “road bike”, you’d be presented with a bike with a svelte frame, drop handlebars and razor-thin tires. A bike like this could carry you like the wind over a smooth paved surface: tight, aerodynamic and nimble, not and ounce of spare fat to be found anywhere.

Bikes like this still exit, as no doubt do perfectly smooth asphalt surfaces — somewhere. But because most roads are imperfect —some of them delightfully so— and so are human beings, the single-minded road bikes have been displaced by much more laid back and versatile gravel bikes. 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

More durable than a road bike and much faster than a mountain bike, gravel bicycles are all about options. Gravel bikes can accommodate tire sizes ranging from something resembling a road bike (about 28mm), a typical hybrid (around 37mm), to monster dirt-chewing tires more commonly seen on off-road bikes (47mm+). This makes a gravel bike at home on almost any terrain. Its adaptability and ruggedness makes it a perfect commuting bike, an ideal light touring or adventure bike, a great winter training bike, or the perfect multi-tasker if you can only have one bike but enjoy a variety of biking styles. 

A few other features distinguish gravel bikes from their all-road brethren. Without getting into specifics of frame geometry, suffice it to say that gravel bikes will generally give you a more relaxed and comfortable riding position. This has to do with the slight differences in frame angles for a ride that emphasizes comfort, stability and endurance over speed and agility. Gravel bikes are designed with longer wheelbases, so they’re stable over long distances, rough terrain or while fully loaded. A sloping top tube gives the rider a little more clearance, which is useful in maneuvering the bike over unpredictable terrain, and getting on and off while carrying gear. A taller head tube gives the rider a more upright position, better for viewing the scenery and more comfortable over long distances. 

DISC BRAKES

All gravel bikes feature disc brakes. Cable-actuated disc brakes are found on entry-level gravel bikes (<$1000), while more expensive models have hydraulic disc brakes. Disc brakes offer a number of advantages over rim brakes:

  • better stopping power in mixed conditions, such as rain, mud, dust and uneven terrain

  • more dependable stopping while carrying heavy loads

  • confident braking is independent of the wheels being perfectly true 

  • braking action does not cause wear on the rims (affecting their lifespan)

FLEXIBLE WHEEL/TIRE SIZING

In addition to accommodating a variety of tire widths already mentioned, gravel bikes can run a couple of different wheel diameters. Not that you’d necessarily want to change wheels mid-stream, so to speak, but when you’re considering a new bike, you can choose a wheel size that is most appropriate to your preferred style of riding. Since gravel bikes don’t have rim brakes, and the frames are made with very generous tire clearances in mind, you can choose:

  • a more traditional 700c road size wheel, excellent for commuting, touring and hard-pack riding, or

  • a smaller 650b rim to run stubbier, higher-volume tires that will easily roll off-pavement and carry you on all-terrain bike-packing adventures (or over Chicago’s pothole-ridden post-winter streets)

CARRYING STUFF, LOTS OF STUFF

Gravel bikes are built for adventure, and figure prominently in the burgeoning category of “adventure bikes”'. They are designed to carry more stuff than traditional bikes, and carry it it more unconventional ways. While most bikes have provisions for attaching a rear rack, fenders and one or two water bottles, gravel bikes have additional eyelets on the fork and beneath the down-tube for mounting extra bottle cages, a variety or front racks and fork-mounted carriers for lightweight camping gear, and additional supplies that an adventuring cyclist might need.

Gravel bikes make fantastic urban vehicles, and adventure and bike-packing companions. However, for traditional long-distance road touring you should still consider a dedicated touring bike.



Macomb Bikes is Bullish on E-Bikes

 
By Macomb Bike [April 18, 2019]


Macomb Bike has been around for decades, but we pride ourselves on being cutting edge and current with the latest trends. While we continue to sell traditional bikes and accessories, over the past few years we have become Michigan's #1 seller of electric bikes.  E-bike riders are big fans of Macomb Bike because they know they can trust our store, located in Warren, Michigan, for all their E-bike accessories. 


Electric bikes (or E-bikes) are growing in popularity and we at Macomb Bike are not surprised. E-bike riders get to spend time outdoors riding their bike they like always have, but when they get tired or winded, they can simply coast using taking advantage of the electric feature of the bike. With an E-bike, you'll be able to travel greater distances and ride for longer periods of time. With E-bikes, you'll be able to cruise back and forth to work without having to deal with car traffic (and in some cases, you'll be able to ride faster than some cars).



Here are some other benefits of E-bikes. Take a moment to check these out and you'll see why Macomb Bike is bullish on E-bikes!


1)  E-bikes get you riding more. According to a recent report by the Transport Research Laboratory, regular bikes make it out of the garage fewer than 25 times a year, with 46% being used just once or twice a week. In comparison, 30% of people with electric bikes use them once a day, while a whopping 81% ride them at least once a week. Which means that e-bike users are twice as likely as regular riders to get out there and ride.


2)  E-bikes can help keep you fit. Since you’re riding more, you’ll be pedalling more – even if that electric motor is helping you out on occasion.


3)  E-bikes are great for commuting. You will rid yourself of the anxiety of traffic.


4) Even though you’re effectively a motorized vehicle, you don’t need a license yet you’re still allowed to use bike lanes.


5)  E-bikes are great for dealing with hills. E-bikes help you tackle the big climbs. Usually fitted with a variety of power modes to assist your pedalling, if you’re faced with a particularly arduous climb you can just crank your bike’s motor up to its highest setting and breeze up the hill like a pro cyclist.


6) E-bikes are great for crosswinds and headwinds. Having a motor to back you up also means that e-bikes are great for tackling that other great adversary nature throws up for cyclists – the wind.


7) E-bikes will let you explore the world. E-bikes also make ideal touring bikes. This means riding long distances will not only be more comfortable but also more manageable. 


8) E-bikes are just plain fun to ride. Riding an e-bike is similar to riding a regular bike, but once you engage the motor, you’ll find that every time you push on the pedals – depending on the setting you’re using – you’ll get three, four, five or maybe even as much as 10 pedal strokes more for your money.


Want to try out an E-bike? Come into Macomb Bike today and we'll take great care of you. We enjoy introducing our customers to the wonderful trend of E-bikes. You won't regret it.