Most of us take our bicycle wheels for granted. Once we’re rolling, we may think about the handlebars or derailleur and we definitely think about the saddle, but until we get a flat tire, we rarely give a thought to our wheels. Just like someone who works on their feet all day should pay attention to the shoes they wear, bike riders should know at least a little about their wheels.
When we say “bicycle wheels,” we are talking about the whole circular complex of the front and back wheels. No matter what kind of riding you do, road or mountain, racing or recreational, your wheels, linked to your human kinetics power through the crank of the bike pedals, are what move you through a distance in such an eminently satisfying manner. They consist of a tire, probably a tube inside the tire, a rim, spokes, and a hub. The tube is going to claim the most attention: this is what goes flat when you ride over a tack or thorn or simply inflate it wrongly. At very least, every single bike rider out there, anywhere, should know how to change a tube and carry a spare tube and a pump or air cartridge. It will seem like so much extra baggage right up to the moment your tube blows. At that precise moment, your spare tube and air supply turn instantaneously into salvation. Riding any distance at all on a flat tire will destroy your rims, and this is a costly replacement.Carry a tube and know how to change it.
Your tires will age, but not so quickly that you will need to replace them often during the practical lifetime of your bicycle. What you will probably find in regard to this component of your bicycle wheel is that you will choose to have several different tires for your bike, especially if you are riding a hybrid model that crosses the lines between road and mountain models. You will want knobbier tires for off-road adventures and smoother tires for your daily commuting or for that long distance road ride. Basically, the knobbier and fatter your tires, the more stable your ride AND the more work it will take to propel them. Balance your needs by investing in a second set of tires.The kind of frame you have will affect what tires you can fit, but there are varieties for all frames.
As for the rest of what constitutes your bicycle wheels, the spokes and rims and hubs, there is not much you will do once you have your bicycle. Rims and spokes and hubs vary enormously, but once you have purchased your bicycle you won’t do much to these elements other than to keep them clean, free of dirt and grease. Wiping down your bike after a ride is an exceptionally good practice, and while you’re doing it, always run your fingertips lightly over each tire. Early detection of burrs and glass shards can spare you (excuse the pun!) a flat on your next ride.
Alastair Hamilton is a successful writer who offers a truly unique depth of experience in competitive cycling, he also contributes adding technical articles on road bikes to some cycling online magazines like http://www.bike-cycling-reviews.com You will find further information on bike wheels and tires at http://www.bike-cycling-reviews.com/bike-parts/bicycle-wheels.html