As of spring 2017, an estimated 66.21 million people in the United States reported that they had gone bike riding within the last year. For many of us, using a standard – model bike to get us where we want to go suits our needs just fine.
However, for serious bikers in need of specialized equipment, what’s good for the masses just won’t do.
There are several ways to customize your bike to meet your individual needs. One way is to add some end caps for handlebars. According to some cycle sites, these not only protect the ends of your handlebars, but they can also protect you from sharp bar edges in case of an accident. Toe clips are also a good idea.
Another important consideration is the brake reach of your bike. According to Sheldon Brown, reach describes the length of a caliper brake’s arms. It is measured diagonally from the center bolt to the center of the brake shoe. Because brakes shoes can be adjusted by about 10 to 15 millimeters, reach is generally described using a range and can run from 39 millimeters up to as much as 109 millimeters. As stated in Bicycling, short reach brakes measure approximately 39 to 49mm, standard (otherwise referred to medium), reach brakes range from 47 and 57mm, and anything over 57 mm. is a long reach brake.
The frames of most of the bikes that you’ll see in bike shops are designed with short reach caliper brakes, rather than longer reaching caliper brakes. There are fewer options for frames that will accommodate long reach brakes. Sheldon Brown feels that because of the decreased potential for flexing, shorter reach brakes are more effective. However, as Bicycling mentions, longer reaching caliper brakes can accommodate larger tires as well as fenders. As an added bonus, bikes with long reach brakes are often lightweight and easily maintained as well.
What does all of this mean for bike enthusiasts? As one bike site puts it, when compared with smaller tires, larger tires offer a more comfortable ride as well as increased wheel durability. With larger tires, you’ll also be able to handle most rough or gravelly roads with more ease. Also, having fenders on your bike enables you to enjoy riding in a greatly increased range of weather conditions.
Whether you simply enjoy an occasional bike ride, or you’re a die-hard cyclist, you have many options available for your particular needs. Short reach, standard, or longer reaching caliper brakes. The choice is yours.