After you ride your heart out at CicLAvia on Sunday, August 14th, be sure to come join us for a special Happy Hour Shindig with Just Ride LA at Plan Check DTLA, located right along the CicLAvia route at 1111 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Details in the flyer above. Win a bike, drink some beer, and meet the Retrospec team! See you there.
We love bicycling. We love how rewarding it feels as we push the pedals down with our legs, breathing hard, racing to the top of the hill. We love how exhausted and exasperated we feel once we reach the top of the hill. But sometimes, just sometimes, we fantasize about how nice it would feel if we just cruised along easily.
New innovations in cycling are striving to make biking a bit more enticing by making it easier to do. The Copenhagen Wheel, for example, turns standard bicycle wheels into motorized speed demons, capable of racing long distances with minimal effort.
The Copenhagen Wheel
A Boston-based startup company called Superpedestrian developed a new wheel that can transform certain bicycles into hybrid e-bikes. The Copenhagen Wheel replaces the standard rear wheel on a bike, and it consists of a motor that is powered by a built-in battery and sensors. Using the sensors, the Copenhagen Wheel measures the amount of effort being put forth by the cyclist and offers an additional boost whenever necessary.
In other words, your ride should feel the same whether you're gliding along a flat sidewalk or making your way up a steep hill. Best of all, you don't need to charge it. The Copenhagen Wheel is powered by your own pedaling and serves as a self-contained generator. Talk about some awesome green innovation. According to Superpedestrian, the Wheel should last for 15 miles in each direction and will be compatible with most bicycles.
For Now, You'll Need to Stick with Your Old Bicycle Wheels
Superpedestrian recently secured $2.1 million in venture capital funding for the Copenhagen Wheel, which means we may have access to this interesting innovation in the not-too-distant future. For now, though, we're going to have to continue cycling the old-fashioned way: pedaling, sweating, and burning calories (see, it's not all bad). At Retrospec, we carry a wide variety of fixed gear bikes and commuter bikes that are designed to add a touch of style and ease to your commute, all without breaking the bank. They may not propel themselves, but they'll certainly make your ride enjoyable. We invite you to check out our selection.
We’re Retrospec Bicycles. As should be self-explanatory, we like bicycles. In fact, we like them so much, we design and sell our own. But you probably already figured that out, seeing as you’ve gotten to this page.
Our Beta Series fixed-gear bicycle was one of our very first dreams that came true. It’s a great bike with a hand-built steel frame, a sealed bottom bracket, and brand name components. It features CST High Performance tubes and tires, KT hubs with a flip-flop hub on the rear tire, and 41 mm Super Deep-V rims. It boasts bar-spin clearance on all sized frames. We designed our Beta with the daily commuter in mind and diligently handpicked all of its elements.
But we’ve grown up since our first release. Our Mantra is also a great bike and has a ton of improvements. This upgraded version of our fixed gear bicycle has Kenda Kwest tires to outlast its predecessors. These tires are durable, handle a higher tire pressure, and grip the road well, making it ideal for the daily commuter. The new integrated seat clamp isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, it also prevents the seat post from slipping. Don’t forget about our better-forged crank, which is denser and stronger but still lighter than steel. This meetier crank lets you go faster with less deflection, making for a much more efficient ride. Not only have we replaced our rims with Super Deep-V Stars rims, but we’ve also added a KMC chain and we’ve included removable fixed-gear freestyle Velcro straps and a free front light. Our Mantra has set a new standard for the fixie industry. It rides with you, it rides for you. You have complete control over the road before you. Some mystics even say that the rider eventually becomes one with the Mantra.
As such, we’re discontinuing our Beta Series fixed-gear bicycle. Though we’re bummed to see it go, we’ve reduced its price so it can find a happy home and a happy rider. The B. Series is an incredible value for a budget fixie. If you’re cost-conscious and looking for a starter bike, this is a solid choice. But you’re going to have to pick it up quickly, because it’s on its way out.
What’s not to like about biking? It’s faster than walking and better for the environment than driving a car. Let’s not forget that it’s also a great workout, which is especially beneficial if you don’t have time to get to the gym.
But if your saddle is too low or your handlebars are too high, you cycling adventures could be derailed. Here are a few ways to adjust your bike for riding comfortably.
Stand over the top tube—the part of the frame between the saddle and the handlebars—with your feet flat on the ground on either side of the bike. There should be about one inch between your groin and the top tube.
Sit on the saddle and push the pedal until it reaches its lowest position. Your knee should only be slightly bent. Otherwise, your legs will get tired quickly while your pedaling. If you’re sitting comfortably on the bike and any part of your feet other than your toes can touch the floor, it means the bike seat is too low.
You might want to check how you feel in your seat too. If you feel that you’re sliding forward or backward too much, an adjustment to the tilt angle of the saddle might be necessary. Make sure the seat distributes your weight in all the right places.
This one is trickier, since handlebar height depends on your body type, personal preferences, and the terrain on which you’re riding. A good rule of thumb is to adjust the handlebars so that the height doesn’t put unnecessary strain on your shoulders, wrists, and back. Remember that the higher the handlebar, the more upright your sitting position will be.
Don’t lift the handlebar beyond the minimum insertion mark. Otherwise, the handlebar stem will only have a couple of inches left inside the frame, and you’ll risk breaking the stem when you ride the bike at moderate or high speed.
Restrospec is Always the Perfect Fit
Although you can estimate your bike size on your own, it’s a good idea to ask for a second opinion from your local bike.
First thing’s first. Let’s look at the benefits of having a bike, regardless of style:
Now let’s consider a handful of the cons of having a bike:
With the exception of that last concern (which you can resolve with one of our many bike light sets), our Retrospec Speck SS Folding Bike eradicates the rest. This bicycle easily and quickly breaks down to be transported and stored without a second thought. In a matter of moments, this 24-pounder folds up to stand at 10x30x22”. You can carry it with you inside, outside, upside, downside, no problem, and rest easy knowing no one will snatch your precious mode of transportation. When folded and secured with the strap, the Speck takes up so little space, you can squeeze it into practically any space in your apartment, car, boat, or RV. This bicycle is the folding standard for commuting on city streets, exercising on flat or slightly hilly paths, and certainly leisurely winding around country roads.
Similarities between the Speck and the Uno
Retrospec Bicycles and Dahon offer similar folding bikes. The two bikes stand at nearly the same stature and are of comparable sizes when folded (the Speck is 10x30x22” while the Uno is 11.8x30x25”). As aforementioned, the Speck is about 24 pounds while the Uno is 24.2 pounds. Both bikes are single-speeds and have similar parts and folding instructions.
The Bottom Line
The Retrospec Speck and the Dahon Uno are, as you may have noted, fairly comparable as far as size, functionality, and comfort go. The Speck is slightly smaller and slightly lighter but made to last. Retrospec’s folding bike is designed and constructed with the rider in mind, complete with a lightweight but durable hand-built aluminum frame, which by the way is 30% lighter than steel or chromoly (the material the Uno is made of). The wheels are 20” with Kenda Kwest commuter tires, clad with smooth rounded tread and large water dispersion grooves. This particular folding bike also comes in a variety of colors, including (but not limited to) cream, navy, gray, and coral, unlike the Dahon Uno which only comes in black. But what’s more is that the Speck is about $100 less than the Uno. We’d say our biggest selling point is the fact you could buy one and a third Specks for the price of one Uno. But, let’s be honest, you can’t do too much with a third of a bike.
According to the FBI and the National Bike Registry, $350 million worth of bicycles are stolen in the United States every year. That’s a disheartening figure for all of us who invest time and money into the bikes and bicycle parts they choose to support a greener, healthier way of living.
What’s even more troubling is that the perpetrators are getting more and more adept at getting around bike lock systems, which are currently the best protection bikers have against theft. Many even carry equipment for cutting through the sturdiest locks at a moments notice.
Of course with problems come solutions, and many bike-centric businesses are looking for better ways to protect your bike and bicycle parts.
The Sphyke C3N lock system is the latest innovation in bike protection.
The Sphyke C3N is essentially a modified combination lock. If you want to keep your wheels safe, you can replace the wheels’ quick-release nuts with the C3N system and secure the latter in place with your personal code. In case you don’t want to advertise to any unscrupulous onlooker that you have a C3N installed, you can cover it up with a waterproof dust cap.
Your bicycle parts are safe and sound without requiring a bike shop mechanic’s expertise to set it up. The only time you’ll need that kind of expertise is when something goes wrong (e.g. you lose your key and you need to replace some parts).
According to the Sphyke C3N website, the lock system works with any skewer wheel. (If your wheels are old, you might want to ask a mechanic whether your wheels are compatible with M9, M10, 3’8). The C3N’s nut is made from solid 10-8 steel and torques to an incredible 35 Nm, while the skewers are “high tensile rolled Chromoly Rod” sourced from a “highly respected Taiwanese manufacturer.”
The Sphyke C3N is one of the best investments you can make for protecting your bike and bicycle parts. Without your personal code, a thief is powerless. While the manufacturer has no brick-and-mortar stores outside Europe and Australia, you can order from their website, Sphyke.com.
Bicycle Parts from Retrospec Bicycles>
If you need high-quality bicycle parts that fit your budget, take a look around Retrospec’s online inventory. Our components collection includes wheelsets, cranksets, handlebars, and pedals in an assortment of fun and funky colors. At Retrospec Bicycles, we live to ride. Ride with us!
Bikes are already works of art in their own right. Every part—from the easy-to-grip handles down to the durable wheels—is carefully crafted to help take a person from point A to point B in style. Even when bikes become unusable, their individual bike parts still offer functional beauty.
Nirit Levav’s Bike Chain Pups
Like most artists, Israel-born Nirit Levav sees beauty in everything—including discarded bike parts. Levav was inspired to construct her incredible canine creations from materials she collected from her neighborhood bike shops’ trash. According to Levav, amidst the chains and coils, she “saw” a figure forming. From her vision, she was inspired to make a Rottweiler sculpture.
Today, Levav’s collection has full-size poodles, greyhounds, cocker spaniels and a bijon frise made from recycled bike materials. You can see her entire collection on her website, NiritLevav.com.
Creative Wedding Centerpieces
Looking for a bike-centric twist on your big day decor?
Using bike parts, bride and groom, Kelley and Mitch, added their own quirky flare to their wedding centerpieces. They had flowers made of bicycle spokes, table lighting made of bicycle wheels, and vases made of bicycle forks. What’s really awesome is that Kelley and Mitch built it all from scratch.
Check out pics from there alternative event on their Flickr account. While you’re there, be sure to awe at pictures of the Bride’s spectacular aerial performance and funky dress.
Our favorite DIY bicycle craft: bicycle fences.
This project works best if you have a pile of old bikes lying around, which of course is easier said then done. Your best bet is to check out your local bike shop to see if they have old parts.
Once you’ve acquired your materials, you can simply attach the bike parts from end to end, or dismantle them and use specific bike parts (e.g. the wheels) to make your fence.
Most people aren’t looking to build a new fence or have access to a ton of bike parts, so this project can also apply to fixing any holes or gap in your current fence. Just use a bike to fill up the empty space.
On Retrospec Bicycles
At Retrospec, we consider ourselves as our own kind of artist. We spend a crazy amount of time and energy creating our two-wheeled masterpieces in an array of vibrant colors. Check ‘em out.
Clipless pedals are becoming increasingly visible within the urban bike scene. Everyday, more and more cyclists bail on their traditional pedals, claiming they “hinder” their ride and kill their workout.
So why exactly are clipless pedals becoming the new gold standard in cycling?
Clipless Pedals vs Toe Clips vs Standard Pedals
Standard pedals have no clips or restraints of any kind (though they're not to be confused with “clipless pedals”). The only things keeping your foot on the pedals are the laws of physics, guided by your own downward pressure. Not only is this generally inefficient, but it forces your legs to work against one another.
Toe clips remedy the inefficiency of standard pedals to a degree, but they still don't provide an optimal solution. With toe clips, each foot is held in place by a mechanism that somewhat resembles a dog muzzle. Just slide your foot inside, and stay connected to your bike. Sounds simple enough, but the connection is still extremely flimsy, and your feet don't really achieve the rock solid foundation they need during faster rides.
Clipless pedals consist of two parts: a small pedal with a locking mechanism and a cleat that connects to your shoe. Slide the cleat into the locking mechanism, and your shoe becomes one with the pedal. Yes, the name is confusing considering you are, in fact, clipping in, but the name was actually established to differentiate the new technology from older toe clips. With clipless pedals, you'll never experience a more perfect connection to your bike, which is why they have become the standard for professional cyclists and rigorous indoor cycling environments.
Additional Benefits of Clipless Pedals
When you switch to clipless pedals, you can feel the difference immediately. You have better power transfer, because all of your energy is used to propel the pedals. The secure connection allows for better control and increased safety. You’ll experience a better workout, too. Since you're placing far more energy into your pedal strokes, you burn more calories and tone your leg muscles with greater effectiveness.
At Retrospec, we specialize in the kind of bikes that encourage harmony with the road and we offer them at some of the best prices in the industry. Just looking for the perfect pedals? Our 9/16” classic BMX-style bike pedals provide efficient pedaling and reinforced straps for tricking out. Ride right with accessories from Retrospec.