When looking at improving the comfort on the bike, shoe fit is often overlooked. The way your feet connect with the shoes and pedals is very important not only for comfort, but for the power delivery too.
Finding the right fitting shoe can be a long and expensive process and thankfully there is a much easier and quicker solution – custom footbeds.
A well fitted footbed will support your arch and distribute the pressure on the foot more evenly. It will also stabilise the foot inside the shoe and it will stop it moving and sliding around. Having a better contact with the shoe also means that you don’t need to fasten it too tight. This will improve the blood circulation in the feet and reduce the discomfort.
Most cycling shoes come with standard insoles which do not take into account the foot specific anatomy. Not only do individual feet have different arches and lasts, but the left foot can have a different shape to the right too. This is why we recommend custom moulded footbeds, which will feet the soles of your feet perfectly.
In our bike fitting studio we can install customised insoles to fit your feet and shoes. This process takes up to an hour and can be done as part of a bike fit session or as a separate booking. Either way you will need to spend some on the turbo trainer – so do bring your bicycle and cycling gear with you.
To book a custom footbed fitting session, use our bike fitting booking form here.
Regular servicing of your bike is essential and necessary to keep it in good working order. Many riders only consider the initial investment when it comes to owning a bike, while completely ignoring the essential regular maintenance. If the brakes start squeaking and the gears not shifting – don not rush to buy a new bike. Regular bike servicing will keep it running smoothly and save you money in the long run.
Most bikes we see in the workshop have some kind of gearing problem. The gears may not be selecting correctly, making a horrible noise or the chain might be dropping. Any of the above symptoms and your gears will benefit with a service.
Why whould the gears go “bad”? Well, multiple reasons – could be a crash or unintended push or shove of the bike into a tight shed. Or it could be even the way the bike is transported at the bak of the car.
If your bike is equipped with electronic shifting, it may be less prone to gear problems. Yet we find that these type of gears also need regular servicing. The firmware needs regular upgrades, the limit screws may need adjusting and last but not least – the derailleur hanger may need straightening. So there are some improvements which can be had here too.
Getting the gears to work correctly will give you the correct gear ratio when you need it and save you from stalling or spinning out.
Rim brakes work due to friction between the brake pads and the wheel rims. The brake pads are made from softer material and require regular replacement. Rims on the other hand wear out a lot less. In order for the rim brake to operate effectively, the rim has to be true. Even the smallest buckle will make the rim rub intermittently on the brake pad.
Disc brakes work in a similar way, but use a rotor attached to the hub instead. The advantage of this system is that the brake is away from the road, thus reducing wear and tear. A good quality hydraulic brakes will feel sharper and more powerful than rim brakes. Yet, they are heavier and may fade when overheated. Servicing is also a bit more expensive.
Hydraulic disc brakes use hoses and hydraulic fluid to operate the brake. The fluid used in the brakes will not compress, so the transfer of braking power from the brake lever to the brake pads is without power loss. Often water and air will seep into the hydraulic system, thus causing the brake to feel “spongy”. A brake bleed will usually fix this. The brake pads and rotors also need regular replacement as they wear down with use.
Brake squeal (or squeak) is a common problem for both types of brakes and it’s caused by contamination of the braking surfaces. The contamination may be from the road, oil from the chain, or even from accidentally touch with bare hand. A good clean of the brakes will often resolve this.
You should never compromise on your safety – keep your brakes in top condition.
Bike transmission includes all bike parts used to transfer the power from your legs to the wheel and requires as regular servicing as any other part of the bike. Many bike owners think that spraying the chain and cassette in lubricant is the only think they need to do, but this will often create more problems than solve.
Bicycle chain is one component that is replaced as often as the brake pads and tyres. It is a consumable and it is important to keep it clean and well lubricated. Even the smallest wear on the chain will stop it engaging fully with the cassette and chainrings. Keep your chain clean and well lubed in order to avoid quick wear.
A worn chain will start wearing down the cassette and chainrings. This will make the chain slip when you apply power to the pedals. This can be rather dangerous if it happens when climing on a busy road.
A common mistake with chain maintenance is not cleaning the chain and just adding more and more lubricant. This is a sure way to attract more dirt and grit on the chain, which will continue wearing it down. The dirt will also absorb the lubricant, instead of letting it seep to the parts where it’s needed. So if you would like to keep your chain in good condition – clean it first and then oil it regularly. A clean and well working transmission will make you go a bit faster and you will feel less tired at the end of a ride.
Hubs, headsets and bottom brackets – all have bearings inside and they need regular maintenance. This type of work requires a bit of skill and some specialised tools. If your wheels are not spinning freely, your headset feels a bit crunchy or the bottom bracket is making unusual noises, than it is definitely time to look at the bearings.
Most modern bikes use sealed bearings which come in many shapes and sizes. This is why when servicing a hub or headset we need to remove the bearings and measure them before ordering the correct replacements. Bearings can be so stuck inside the frame that they often require special tools for removal. Installing the new bearings has to be done with precision in order to make sure that they are aligned well against each other and the other components in the frame.
Servicing your bike at Fulcycle
Regular servicing is essential and will save you a lot of money and time in the future. We provide three levels of service – Bronze, Silver and Gold, depending on the level of work needed. The service interval will depend on how often you ride the bike and how hard you ride. In general we recommend to service the bike with us at least once a year or more often, if you are a regular rider. A small service before a race will also give you a piece of mind during the competition.
Alex Bosley, the young and talented rider sponsored by Fulcycle is now in Europe taking part in numerous races and sportives.
Before heading off, Alex popped into our workshop to say hello and collect his bike after the last service. He was looking forward to the trip and ready to give it the best he’s got.
The first race of the season for Alex was hill climb trial Le Revard. It has around 1,350 of vertical ascent over 22.4km. This hill climb is actually the final and toughest stage of the Tour de Savoie and amateurs are allowed to ride it just before the professionals do it. After the race, Alex was a bit disappointed as he finished roughly mid field, though the majority of athletes who beat him were either pro triathletes, or elite racers. He did beat one of the pro tour riders who came up after the amateurs.
The day after finishing his hill climb trail, Alex took part in France’s toughest sportive – Cyclosportive De La Madeleine. It’s 120 km, with 3,300 meters of ascent, including the notorious HC cols of Croix de Fer, and La Madeleine.
This race was a different story. By half way, Alex was only a few minutes behind the winner. By the end, we were delighted to learn that he placed second overall and first Junior. Fantastic result after the grueling hill climb the day before and the 30C heatwave during the sportive!
Alex will be staying for an extra couple of weeks in France. He’s joining the local junior team and getting a new French race license and will be competing in a French national race on the 22nd and 23rd August. He also has a German National Climbing race championship in September, and the Philippe Gilbert UCI 2.1 race in October.
Good luck Alex with all the races and hope your bike is running smoothly and trouble free all the way to the finish line! We will be watching and cheering for you from our workshop.
Your bike’s tyres are what keeps you connected with the road. This part of the bike has the greatest effect on your interaction with the outside environment and upgrading your tyres is the easiest and most reliable way to improve your bike rides.
Tubeless, puncture resistant, 700c, to name just a few – there are many different types you can chose from. This can be very confusing for an any cyclist, so let us try brake it down a bit.
The most common tyre size for a road bike is the 700c. This is a traditional and not very precise way of measuring the tyre size and shows the overall diameter of a wheel in millimeters. When the side wall of your tyre shows 700x25c, this means that it’s 700mm tall and 25mm wide. And a 700x23c tyre will be slightly thinner and a 700×28 slightly wider than the 25c. The overall diameter of the wheel changes depending on the width of the tyre, so calling them 700c is not very precise. This is why there is the ISO sizing, which gives you the inner diameter of the tyre, which always stays the same for most road tyres – 622mm.
Wheel Diameter (mm)
Circum- ference (m)
Common road tyre sizes
So a 700x25c tyre in Metric measurement is the same as 25-622 in ISO. While the internal diameter of the tyre stays the same, with increased width, the overall tyre diameter will increase too. A 28c tyre will be a whole 10mm taller than a 23c and this may not seem a lot, but may cause clearance problems, especially with older racing frames. The taller tyre will also mean bigger circumference and volume, which will affect the handling and comfort.
Many cyclist choose a different tyre width, than the one their bike came with. Wider tyre will improve the ride comfort and reduce the rolling resistance. If you move up from 25c to 28c, the diameter will increase by 3mm or 12% and the volume will increase by nearly a quarter or 25%. The difference will not only be in the volume, but also in the overall height of the wheel. The extra volume and overall diameter will improve the rolling resistance, mostly because the roads we ride on are not at all perfectly smooth and the additional volume will make the wheel roll easier over the bumps.
Increasing the tyre size is not always possible as the frames, especially the older ones, do not have the necessary clearance. Additionally different manufacturers have different ideas on how to measure the tyre’s width and a 28c tyre from one manufacturer will be a few millimeters wider than the same size tyre from a different manufacturer. So do your research before you splash out on the next set of rubber.
Many new tyres now come with a build in puncture protection. This usually is an integrated insert in the tyre to make it stronger and less likely to be penetrated by a sharp object. The insert is usually a very tough fabric in the middle or in the side walls of the tyre.
The thicker and heavier the insert, the higher the lever of protection. This of course has a drawback – heavier tyre is slower on the road. So matching the tyre protection for the right application is important. Are you a commuter and don’t mind going a bit slower, but do not want to be delayed because of a puncture? Or are you are a racer and speed is all you’re looking for? Or maybe you’d like to cover the middle ground – some puncture protection and some speed? The choice is yours.
But even the best puncture protected tyre will not save you from pinch flats. If the tyre’s pressure has dropped under the recommended value and you hit a pothole, than you will most likely get a puncture. So pump up your tyres regularly and make sure you follow the recommended tyre pressures.
Tubeless wheels are becoming more and more popular these days. This trend started with mountain bikers and is slowly moving to the roadies too. The main advantage of tubeless is that the liquid inside the tyre will quickly seal small holes. Additional advantages are that wheels can be ridden at lower pressures to increase grip and comfort and the lack of inner tube reduces the rolling resistance.
So, no more flats, right? Not quite. The sealant will work on small holes, but won’t be able to effectively seal the big ones. Also, there is the “burping” when due to hard cornering the tyre un-seats and lets some air out. This will not happen if you had an inner tube. Some sealants also need to be replaced regularly as they harden with age. Also, tubular tyres are made from a much harder compound, which generally means that they can be as heavy or heavier than tubbed ones.
How often do you change your tyres? How often and how far do you ride? Is it worth spending £20 or even £30 more on a tyre to get the peace of mind that you are not going to get stranded in the middle of nowhere? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself before reaching for your wallet or tapping on the “Buy It Now” button on your screen. A good quality tyre can improve the feel, the performance and the reliability of your bike. You may gain an extra gear and feel confident enough not to ride with a pump and a patch kit on hand.
And if you feel that you need help with choosing, than drop by at our workshop and we will be more than happy helping you with your choice.
In these difficult times we are helping the country with all we have.
Many key workers are relying on bicycles to get to and from work. The last thought on their mind after an 18-hour shift saving lives from COVID-19, is fixing a puncture or adjusting the gears on their bikes.
We’re giving you the power to help ensure medical staff get to and from the local hospitals safely.
£20 will ensure a puncture free bike.
£60 will ensure that the bike is safe to ride and brakes and gears are fully functioning
£100 will allow for a full overhaul of the bike
100% of your donations go towards the cost of fixing bikes for the hospital and key workers
In wake of the increasing strain that the Covid-19 crisis is putting on all of us, we wanted to let you know that we are still open and more than happy to fix your bike. The government has defined bicycle shops as a key services and for a good reason. Cycling is still one of the best ways to get around and keep fit while keeping the social distancing and stopping the spread of the infection.
In order to continue working we are adopting the following steps in the workshop:
If you cannot come to the workshop we can collect the bike for you or do simple repairs at your home or workplace (within 8 miles from OX33 1XW)
If you chose to come to the workshop, knock on the door and wait outside
We are in unprecedented times and I never thought we would find ourselves in such a situation with so many uncertainties.
However, we at Fulcycle are still open and carrying on with our daily tasks.
We are closely monitoring the government advice on the situation and taking all the necessary measures to stop the spread of the infection. So please don’t get offended if we don’t shake hands when you come in the workshop or that we wear gloves when working or fitting you on your bike.
In our expectation bike servicing is going to remain unaffected by any restrictions and in order to avoid direct contact we can always arrange for a drop-off and collection outside the workshop or any other location convenient to you.
Currently bike fitting is unaffected by restrictions and we will advise you if any changes come into affect.
Riding a bicycle is still one of the best ways to exercise and at the moment – one of the safest. There are calls for keeping cycling exempt from any future ban:
“The cycling industry will join forces to call on government to exempt cycling from any ban, due to its strategic role in the nation’s resilience – not only as transport but a form of exercise, the Bicycle Association has said.
Italy and Spain banned leisure cycling in the last week. The industry wants the UK to avoid cycling bans, and it wants bike shops exempted from shop opening restrictions as it believes cycling has a strategic role to play in mitigating some of the impact on peoples’ lives of restrictions on transport and access to the outdoors.
This follows 30 prominent health and transport experts’ calls to protect cycling and walking plus keeping parks open, and warns of the risks of confining otherwise healthy people to their homes.
Getting outside for fresh air and green spaces could be crucial in maintaining physical and mental health in the population during these times, they say”
Whether you’re heading into self-isolation or social distancing, being cut off from the world and your cycling is nobody’s idea of fun. Here are ten things you can do if you’re stuck at home.
Alex is a young talented rider selected to ride for WAC, a professional Belgium team, is an all-rounder and is looking to win the GC for the team.
Alex started cycling at 14, transitioning from athletics, so would be best described as having a broad base and lots of headroom. He was too late to the party to make the cut for the highest level GB squads (i.e. Junior Academy), but certainly competes strongly with the academy riders.
In his second year as an Under 16, he finished the year ranked 13th nationally, after some poor planning and a nasty crash end of season prevented him reaching his goal of a top 10 ranking finish. Last year, as a first year junior, he had a mountain to climb in terms of improving his fitness and endurance, and learning how to race the longer races at this level. Alex did improve rapidly, his main aim was to race in Europe, and he spent three weeks over there in the summer. He did a couple of races for BC Central Region, in one of which he got 11th place. He was also in the Johann Museeuw Classic, with the team, and he had a strong peloton finish after they got a rider in the break (peloton finished 22 seconds after break after 120 km at average 45 kph).
This season Alex is focussed on a few main races, mainly the high status stage races. He may do the Johann Meseeuw UCI 1.1 again for BC Central Region, and possibly the Tour of Ireland. With his Belgian Team he has a number of races, end of season there is the Phillippe Gilbert UCI race in October, there’s the Stef van Zuid-Limberg, possibly a Czech tour, and others to be decided. These are basically his ‘A’ races, and he’ll fill his calendar with possibly some UK National races, and UCI races and Interclubs in Belgium whenever possible.
We met Alex for a first time a week ago and were taken by his cycling talent and youthful attitude. He is a charming young man who is fully committed to his cycling goals and we are more than happy taking him ‘under our wing’ so to speak and provide the bike fitting and servicing for him and his bikes.
We wish to Alex the best of luck in his future races and are more than happy to support his cycling career.
We are proud to announce that our Principal Mechanic Kiro has completed the Campagnolo Technical Training provided by Greame Freestone King from Velotech in Stoke-on-Trent.
Graeme is currently the UK’s mechanical consultant and warranty manager for Campagnolo SRL, a role that he has enjoyed since 2008. His relationship with Campagnolo goes back to 1987.
The training covered the 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 speed mechanical gear systems, the electronic shifting with EPS, hydraulic disc brakes and the G3 Campagnolo wheels.
Campagnolo may be an expensive choice to go for when choosing components for your bike, but in our opinion the quality of parts and systems is well worth the investment. We were particularly impressed with the ability to rebuild the mechanical shifters and replace the individual components instead of replacing the whole unit. This will overall lower the price of ownership of Campagnolo components and justify the initial investment.
We are now happy to receive Campagnolo equipped bicycles in our workshop.