New insight in to the biggest cycling brand ever!

If you are in the Bicycle market looking to upgrade your bike or buy new one the brand Shimano is one you can’t avoid. Established in 1940 Shimano has always aimed to make their products high quality, reliable and durable. Back in 1940 to establish reputation for quality they gave two free replacements if a product failed.

The Groupset/ Chainset is one of the most important components of a bike and having a high quality Groupset will make a huge difference to a cheap one. The more expensive components mean less weight, easier gear shifting and greater comfort, however Shimano does offer products at a wide range of prices but all made to last and perform well.

Shimano has a hierarchy of its products these are just a few of them

Dura-Ace, Ultegra, 105, Tiagra, Deore, Sora, Alivio, Claris.

Claris and Alivio being the basic entry and Dura-Ace being the professional range. Depending on how much you want to spend Shimano has an option for you. Shimano does bring out new ranges of Groupsets each year with different names so if you are confused at any of the Shimano branding in our store don’t hesitate to send us a message.

Shimano is a safe bet when looking at bike parts and there are held in high regard in the cycling community. However it is worth knowing that Shimano parts integrate best with other Shimano parts of their hierarchy so you should always keep them together for the best cycling experience!

Why choose a Muddyfox Bike?

Muddyfox have been a leader in the cycle industry for years. One of the most famous mountain-biking brands in the world with 25 years of heritage. An energetic extreme sports brand that is tailored to the adrenaline seeker. Muddyfox can lay claim to the first Mountain bike brand in Europe.

They build above UK standards in british cycling and offer great quality at very affordable pricing. Along with a well designed bike they also offer 1 year warranty on all their bikes and because this is a UK based company you know that the service will be quick.

They offer a range of cycles from kids bikes to full size mountain bikes for women and men. These come in carefully picked colours and offer the perfect gear ratio for each age range. Muddyfox bikes are constantly evolving and this year in 2017 into 2018 they will be increasing the range in designs and updated the styles to bring a fresh new look including a whole new series that will be released soon.

We are proud to sell the Muddyfox brand with Silverfox and Bigfoot brands under these as well. If you need any help with sizes then please ask and we would be happy to help.

How to choose your child’s first bike – a guide

Choosing your child’s first bike is an enjoyable experience. You want your child to feel safe while riding their first bike, but to also enjoy their new experience. Below we have a simple guide on how to choose your child’s first bike.

First balance bike

When looking for a bike for your preschooler, then the balance bike is your best option. This is a compact starter bike, designed to help children to balance. There are no pedals, meaning that children can safely place both feet on the ground, pushing themselves forward.

What to look for in a balance bike

Ideally, the bike should be as light as possible, as this makes the bike easier to move for your child. The handlebars should be easy to manoeuvre, one that uses ball bearings is best. Sturdy hand grips are also a must. When it comes to the brakes, a hand brake is useful, as it gets the child used to using this function, in preparation for their next bike. Pneumatic bike tyres are lightweight and the preferred choice, and as for the saddle, this needs to be comfortable and concave, to help your child sit in the correct position.

First pedal bike

For a child’s first pedal bike, it is important that you choose one that is in correct proportion to your child, in terms of size and weight. Wheel size should ideally be that of 12 or 14 inches. Ideally, the bike should be that of an upright seating position, have pneumatic tyres that are smooth, not grooved, and have easy-to-operate brakes.
Below is a chart for sizes of bikes for each age of child
Height Of Child Age Of Child Wheel SizebikeSizeIcon
98 – 112cm 3 – 5 yrs 12″
105 – 117cm 4 – 6 yrs 14″
112 – 125cm 5 – 7 yrs 16″
117 – 129cm 6 – 8 yrs 18″
125 – 136cm 7 – 9 yrs 20″
130 – 141cm 8 – 11yrs 24″
Here at FireCloud Cycles, we have a wide range of starter kids bikes for you to choose from, including balance bikes and related accessories such as stabilisers. Simply browse our kids section today!

Buying a bike and bike kit on a budget

The boom in cycling in the UK continues to grow, inspired by the likes of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Chris Hoy, and a host of other names who’ve helped to popularise the sport in recent years. Not only are more and more people discovering the joys of cycling for themselves, when it comes to buying a bicycle, there’s never been so many makes and models to choose from.

Choose your bike

Granted, it can all get a bit confusing, especially for anyone new to cycling and you can literally spend thousands on the latest full-carbon road bike, but even cheap bikes come with loads of great features as standard these days. If you’ve got your heart set on becoming a Tour de France winner, you’ll have to invest in a more expensive bike, but if you just want a bike for getting around on and one that’s suitable for all kinds of road surfaces, including off-road, a modern mountain bike is the ideal choice.

No need to break the bank

In terms of price, you can get a great adult or kids bike for under £200, but what kind of features should you expect the bike to have? Look for disc brakes as these are an excellent safety feature and ensure accurate braking. A bike with suspension (preferably adjustable, for road and off-road riding) makes for a more comfortable ride and a bike with a range of gears (18 to 21 is ideal) means you can tackle whatever the road throws up.

Cheap bikes and bike parts

Here at FireCloud Cycles, as well as cheap bikes, we also stock a fantastic range of bicycle components and parts that we’ve sourced from ex-manufacturing and trading companies. This means we can sell bike tyres, tubes, chains, cassettes, gear shifters, and all other spares at very competitive prices.

How do you know which mountain bike tyres are right for you?

The tyres you choose can have a big impact on the ride character of your mountain bike. To help make things easier, we’ve put together a handy guide to inform you of the different types of bike tyres available to you…

Tube or tubeless?

Most traditional tyres will rely on an inner tube that will help them to stay inflated, whereas tubeless tyres have no inner tube. Instead the tyre has been designed specifically to be airtight thanks to an additional layer of rubber or by using a latex-based sealant. The main advantage of a tubeless tyre is that the seal is airtight and stable and it also offers resistance to punctures. The main downside, however, is that they are often more expensive and heavier than tyres with an inner tube. The majority of mountain bike tyres have a ‘tubeless compatible’ system which have a tubeless bead but need sealant to ensure they are airtight. Additionally they require rim tape in order to seal the spoke holes. This system gives you the benefit of being lighter and you’ll also find a bigger variety of tyre choices.

Speed or traction?

Consider what you want from a tyre: is it speed, or is it traction? Some tyres will add speed by slightly sloping their tread patterns or by having several tread compounds, whereas others will use sticky compounds to supply extra grip. There are plenty of tyres that will give you a good balance of speed and traction, but if you favour one over the other, you may be surprised by what some subtle differences between tyres can give to your ride.

What size?

There are a wealth of bike tyre widths available for mountain bikes. These range from small 1.5 inch tyres to huge five inch ones. Most mountain bikers opt for a tyre that sits in-between 2.2 and 2.5 inches. This is down to the fact that they give you decent protection and supply you with grip which allows you to ride more aggressively. Tyres narrower than 2.2 inches tend to have less cushioning and a smaller footprint, making getting good grip harder. Narrower tyres are lighter however, and they do roll faster, making cutting through sticky mud easier potentially easier with a narrower bike tyre.
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Chainguards: cool, clean and safe

Investing in a kids’ bike chainguard is a smart move. Like properly inflated bike tyres, well-adjusted brakes, and a bike helmet, a chainguard is one of those essential bike parts that will help to ensure your kid’s bike is more comfortable and safer to ride.

Keep little fingers safe

Made with little ones in mind, a chainguard will help to prevent trousers legs getting caught up in the bike chain, something that can easily cause a nasty tumble, not to mention ruining a pair of trousers. A well-fitted chainguard will also keep fingers and toes away from the chain, chainring and any rear cogs, especially when carrying out any bike maintenance such as oiling the chain.

Learning about bike parts

While riding is the best part about owning a bike, doing some simple bike maintenance can also be fun and is a good way for youngsters to learn how a bike works. Regular cleaning of the bike chain is important to keep it free of dirt and running smoothly. Fitting a chainguard can help to reduce the build-up of gunk on the chain, but it will still be necessary to remove the chainguard occasionally to clean and lightly oil the chain. This is something you can do together, along with other regular jobs such as pumping up the tyres, testing the brakes, and giving the bike a clean.

A chainguard to suit your bike

A colourful chainguard in a cool design or with some added chainguard stickers adds the perfect finishing touch to a kid’s bike. Here at FireCloud Cycles, we’ve a fantastic selection of fun kids’ bike chainguards, available for boys’ and girls’ bikes. Suitable for kids’ bikes with standard 12-inch wheels, you can personalise your bike with a chainguard in the colour and style that will make your bike your own!

Why kids love bike stickers

Remember when you were a kid and everyone was sticker mad? Times haven’t changed, and stickers remain something that most kids love to decorate with. What better way to make a bike look extra cool than with a set of bike stickers?

Make it your own

Bike stickers are brilliant for first bikes because they give a sense of ownership and let your child do some simple and fun customisation. If you have several kids, bike stickers are a way for them to differentiate their bike from their siblings, or even to put their own stamp on a second hand or hand me down bike.

Get to know your bike

Bike stickers are a great way for kids to get to know the different parts of their bike if you give them a hand when they’re stickering and point out the various components and how they work together. Choose a set with chain guard stickers and you can even do some very simple bike maintenance.

Be seen, be safe

Choose reflective stickers and your child won’t only have fun decorating their cool, new bike but they’ll stay safe. The more reflective their bike and their clothing is the better, so persuade them to add reflective stickers to themselves, too.

Make helmets fun

Every parent knows how important wearing a helmet is, yet your children don’t always want to wear them. That’s where stickers come in. Encourage your child to customise their helmet with stickers and they’ll be desperate to wear it next time you go out for a ride.

Stickers stick anywhere

Stickers aren’t just for bikes – they’ll customise school bags, lunch boxes, and bedroom walls too!

At <a href=”http://www.firecloudcycles.co.uk/“>Firecloud Cycles</a> we stock a huge range of kid’s bikes and accessories, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect sticker set for your children.

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Which kids handlebar grips are best for my child?

There’s a wide choice of grips to stop children’s hands slipping off their bicycle handlebars. However, what is available and how do you choose?

Decorative

For the youngest kids there are plenty of handlebar grips that are designed to be more eye-catching than practical. There are all sorts of bright colours and can even have streamers coming out of the ends.

Security and comfort

Foam grips are soft to touch, which will make cycling easier and more pleasant for children. They are essential if you don’t want them to be put off at an early age.
They don’t last as long as plastic ones do, but they’ll probably outlast a particular bike – kids grow up so quickly!

Firmer and more secure

You can then go on to firmer grips that are more solid but still spongy – this means they’ll absorb vibrations as your child increases speed and distance.
As they get older still, and particularly if they get more active – using mountain bikes or BMXs – you might want to consider lock-on handlebar grips.
As the name suggests, they have rings at one end (sometimes both ends) that clamp around the grip and screw on tight to prevent the grips from slipping off in extreme circumstances.
All other grips simply push on, but will be perfectly secure for any ordinary cycling that children get up to.

Other factors

Handlebar grips aren’t just for bicycles. As long as you check the diameter of the tubing, they will fit scooters and other toys with handlebars as well.
You might also want to look at handlebar pads, which are foam covers for the crossbars of many children’s bike handlebars. They’ll offer protection during the inevitable head-over-heels incidents that occur in childhood bike adventures.
Take a look at the choices we have – pads, grips and other bike parts – there’s something for everyone.

How to choose the best wheel size for your mountain bike

Mountain biking is the roughest, toughest, highest impact form of cycling around, and it tests riders, bikes, and their components like nothing else. The wheels get an especially hard time of it, and if you want them to stand up to everything you’re going to throw at them, they need to be selected with absolute care.
Lightweight or hard wearing, alloy or carbon, perhaps what’s most important is wheel size, so here’s a brief guide to help you choose the perfect fit for your biking ambitions…

Wheel sizes

Mountain bike wheels come in three diameters: 26, 27.5, and 29 inches respectively, and you need to choose the one that will best suit your aspirations. Most bikes only accept one size, so think about this carefully when you’re narrowing down your options; it pays to know the differences between them in case this influences your choice of ride. So, how do they vary?

26 inches

A 26 inch wheel set is the original option, and is still widely used within the sport. Great for tight, twisting trails, these wheels are extremely strong and rigid due to their shorter spokes, and there are lots of them around to choose from when you’re on the hunt for replacements.

27.5 inches

27.5 inch options are the new kid on the block, and combine the best qualities of both 26 inch and 29 inch wheels. Offering added traction and float when compared to the former, they remain both strong and easily manoeuvrable.

29 inches

29 inch wheels are best for the roughest terrain, as their increased diameter means that they’re less affected by dips and bumps in the trail. They boast excellent climbing characteristics, and are ideal for those in search of the ultimate cross country experience.

Take a look at our top quality collection of mountain bike wheels here at FireCloud Cycles today to find the perfect fit for you.

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Bike Forks explained

A fork upgrade is one of the best ways to wring every last drop of performance out of your budget frame, or tweak those marginal gains for your racing bike. But how do you know whether that fork you’ve got your eye on will be compatible with your bike or your type of riding?

Axle to crown

First take the axle (from the centre of the dropouts) to crown (where the tube meets the headset) measurement of your frame. This gives you the length of travel. If you increase the fork length, you’ll tilt the bike back; reduce it and you’ll shift your bike forward. Unless you’re happy changing the frame geometry, stick with a fork the same length, otherwise you’ll put extra stress on the frame and run the risk of it failing.

Length of travel isn’t foolproof – a robust mountain bike fork can offer the same length of travel as a lightweight racing fork – so check what you’re buying is suitable for your bike and riding style.

Steerer tube

Knowing the diameter of your head tube is a key measurement. You’ll need to pick a fork with a compatible steerer tube – the metal bit that fits into the head tube. If the head tube tapers, pick a fork with a tapered steerer tube. At FireCloud Cycles, we make sure all the information you need is clearly marked.

Hubs and brakes

Check these for compatibility – if you’re going for a stiffer bolt through axle type, then check your hubs match up, or get an adaptor. If you’ve switched to using disc brakes, then you’ll need a disc compatible fork like the http://www.firecloudcycles.co.uk/chilli-works-700c-blue-disc-suspension-bike-forks-1-18-x-200mm-steerer-new-2599-p.asp Chilli Works disc compatible fork.

If you need some extra advice on whether the forks you have your eye on will be compatible with your bike, http://www.firecloudcycles.co.uk/contact-us-2-w.asp get in touch and the team at FireCloud Cycles will be happy to help.