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COMPONENTRY II

Let's talk about our competition
Frames
Hubs, wheels and spokes
Grip Shift as opposed to Rapid Fire
Indexed shifting
Tires and tubes

Derailleurs aren't everything
There is more to a bike than derailleurs. Don't be fooled by a bike or bike salesperson by looking at only the derailleurs. Take for example the Raleigh M-40 as compared to our Giant Rincon that we sold in 1996. They were about the same price and the Raleigh M-40 was specified with a Shimano STX rear derailleur as compared to our Giant Rincon's Alivio rear derailleur. However when looked upon closely one saw that the Giant used a Chromoly main frame instead of being only one tube Chromoly. The Giant also used a triple sealed headset and sealed hubs to keep the dirt out and wear longer. The Giant also used forged wheel dropouts that were stronger than stamped ones.

The Giant also used an oversize (29.2mm) seat post with an independent seat collar that clamped more uniformly around the seat tube/seat post resulting in a better binding effect. The "welded on bottom type" is prone to distortion which then makes it harder to raise and lower the seat. The seat skewer also "doubled" as a tire lever. Look close. The Giant also used 2 rack braze-ons on the rear dropout for easier rack installation. The Giant also used top routed cables to keep them from getting dirty. This can be important for indexed shift systems. Especially grip shift. The Giant also used a mono stay rear triangle which is a little stiffer. This combined with Giant's ovalized tubing made for a nicer frame design. Also the Giant had size specific geometry. The Raleigh came with only 2 head tube lengths for 5 men's models and 2 ladies models. The Giant used a head tube sized specifically for every men's and ladies frame. The Giant also used a Kenda tire as opposed to the Raleigh's Duro tire which was found on many department store bikes. The Kendas are better. They fit better. We know this from experience. Speaking of tires the Giant used a precise fitting rim strip. Why is this important? The one found on the Raleigh was often too wide and got pinched between the tire bead and the rim allowing the tube to creep in-between resulting in tire blow-off. We know this from experience also. Finally, let's talk brake levers. Both bikes had alloy brake levers, but when you looked close the Giant had a little swing-lever that attached to the cable head. It was a better design that helped to prevent the cable from breaking at the cable head. So you see, derailleurs aren't everything. Know your bike shop that knows its bikes.

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Let's talk about our competition
Do I dislike my competitors? No. Do I wish my competitors would cease to exist? No. Can good bikes for a fair price be found at our competitor's stores? Yes. I am really happy to co-exist with my competitor's stores. For one thing they sell some of the products that I don't wish to represent. Please read the article "Bikes are the ONLY thing we sell." For another, I know that I can't be everything to everybody regarding bicycles and bicycle services and if we were the only store in town I am not sure we could handle all of the business. It is nice to have our competitors there to back us up once in awhile. Occasionally when we are a week behind on repair and a customer can't wait we refer them to our competitors who may not be as busy. It has even happened where we referred a bike sale to our competition when we weren't able to serve as in the case of one 4 year old birthday girl I remember. Her birthday was that day and she had to have a pink 16" bike. I only had a purple one. She, along with her mom and dad, couldn't wait in this case the 4 business days for me to get one from California. It was very understandable that getting a bike that day was important. What did I do? I got on the horn and found a pink one at my competitor's store and as one little girl had a happy birthday the story had a happy ending. Bikes are made very well today and the bike companies are really very competitive. It is hard to find a bad bike. We keep this in mind as we approach and serve our customers. Sure we can elaborate about the detail and ultimate quality and value of our bike. We really believe we have that, but I really hope you find us knowledgeable, helpful and sincerely willing to serve with respect for your concerns. We want to present you with the right bike that you really want without upselling or downselling. We also give the best effort possible as we assemble and service the bike and we try to satisfy warranty situations quickly and responsibly. I believe we have a good reputation for all of this that helps to ensure our future in this business and I would like to continue by maintaining this method of operation. As Honest Paul, the owner, I also pledge to keep hands on day to day control. Before I ever take on a second store or consider relaxing as an absentee owner I will either close or sell the joint. I will always be available to answer to your concerns.

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Frames

Aluminum
Aluminum makes great bike frame material when used properly. Not all aluminum is the same however. 7000 series aluminum is good and works all right but the 6061 T6 stuff is a definite grade up the ladder. The 7000 series aluminum is not heat treated. The 6061 T6 aluminum tubing and frames are welded, dipped, and baked and tweaked for alignment resulting in a more ductile frame. (Material that is ductile takes more stress without breaking, just the kind of thing you need in a bike frame.) Construction technique also factors in. Technique such as gusseting the downtube and or toptube for added strength is a nice plus. Also sequential welding helps to keep the heating effect of welding more even and constant. Again this is a good argument for heat treating as the heating effect of welding is distortion.

Beyond 6061 T6 we see two other popular types of aluminum tubing that are used in superior and more expensive bike frames. Those are Easton tubing and C-U 92 by Alcoa. This is good stuff. The point is that not all aluminum is the same.

 

Carbon Fiber

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This article, found in one of our trade magazines, says a lot about carbon fiber bikes and Giant Bicycle's involvement and abilities with such so I chose to share it with you. Click on the thumbnails above to read.

-- Thanks, Paul

 

Giant's Innovation

Giant has been a technology leader for decades.

  • They manufactured the first composite bike in 1987.

  • They revolutionized the road bike world with their Compact Road Geometry in 1997

  • They broke the status quo on suspension with their Maestro technology in 2004.

 

Built by Hand

There is a misconception when it comes to bicycle frame manufacturing. Many people think that when a frame is made in a large factory it is not "hand made."

Whether it is a small "custom" builder or a large factory, all quality aluminum bicycles use the Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding technique, which requires hands-on building.

Because Giant produces more TIG-welded bicycles than any other company (and because they've been using TIG-welding longer than any other manufacturer), their TIG-welded frames are unmatched in terms of workmanship, quality and finish. So respected is Giant's TIG-welding expertise that to this day, many of the top brands continue to enlist Giant's facilities for the production of their frames.

 

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Hubs, wheels and spokes
As in crank arms derailleurs, and brakes, alloy parts are favored in hubs and wheels. Alloy hubs are usually found at the $300 price point, sometimes lower. They're easy to spot because they are made form one piece of material and have a nice sculpted appearance. As for rims, look for that typical aluminum "color" or appearance. The manufacturer will usually stamp "alloy" somewhere on the rim so it's best to take a close look at the wheels when checking. The spokes used in the wheels are made of either high tensile steel or stainless steel. Stainless steel spokes are usually found on bicycles priced over $300 (it depends again on the manufacturer). They are stronger and of course don't rust. High tensile steel spokes are strong enough for most types of riding and are usually chrome or zinc plated for corrosion protection.

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Grip Shift as opposed to Rapid Fire
Some people just like the way their favorite (Grip Shift or Rapid Fire) feels and shifts. Others have more reasons behind their choice or demand. Some say they can shift quicker with Grip Shift and like the idea of keeping all of their fingers wrapped around the handlebar. Some say they like Rapid Fire because they feel it shifts faster and has a lighter feel. Some also like the advantage of being able to shift and brake simultaneously with Rapid Fire for competitive reasons. Whatever your choice is, remember that they both work well and are both good products.

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Indexed shifting
Indexed shifting became popular in the late 1980s and has been likened to great innovations such as ice cream on a stick. It has made shifting user friendly and when it is user friendly, you will find yourself using all of those wonderful gears and enjoying the benefits thereof. Do you remember grinding and slipping and getting stuck between gears trying to shift that ten-speed of yesteryear? Maybe you gave up and put the bike away years ago because it was such a pain in the butt. What is indexed shifting, you ask? Indexed shifting is a system of shifting gears where the derailleur, gear cluster and shifter are all precisely coordinated so that with a "pop" of the shifter the drive train shifts from gear to gear positively without grinding or missing gears. Indexed shifting is very re- fined now and is found on the rear shifter of all models today and front shifter on most. Take a test ride and enjoy. A choice in gearing makes the ride easier.

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Tires and tubes
Let's talk tires and tubes. For one thing, bicycle tires aren't built as well as automotive tires. If they were, they would probably have steel belts in them and would be very heavy. We are talking about moving mass here that the rider is extending energy to accelerate and decelerate and hence, rotating mass becomes critical (Newton's second law).

Also, bicycle tires need inner tubes because without a sealed rim (remember, we have spokes and spoke holes) and a high quality (and don't forget, heavy) tubeless tire, an inner tube is necessary. This makes for a tire or tube that is naturally more susceptible to flats. A tire doesn't have to be old to get a flat. You can get a flat within ten feet of the showroom floor if you run over something sharp. Also, inner tubes are easy to pinch during installation. With this in mind, one has to remember that while a bicycle store may guarantee a good product (in this case tires and tubes), no bicycle store can guarantee what you ride over or guarantee your installation. Use common sense!

Speaking of warranties, the bike you are buying comes with a warranty that covers manufacturer's defects in material and workmanship. This does not cover abuse or neglect or normal wear and tear. Given time and usage your bike will wear out, and believe it or not we have had people bring their bike back to us after having hit a tree and buckling the fork asking to have it fixed under warranty. We said no. You don't buy a new car and carelessly crash it into a bridge abutment and then try to claim it was defective because it didn't hold up. Another good one is when someone leaves their bike outside all winter and then comes back demanding warranty because the seat and grips and tires are cracked and the rusty cables won't shift or brake the bike properly. Use common sense.

Speaking of services, a free 30 day check means a free 30 day check. Sure we make adjustments for late season or Christmas purchases and early spring purchases, but a free 30 day check does not mean you are entitled to a free one year overhaul as overly hard use or neglect may require. We pride ourselves on being fair and ask that you be fair with us.

Ants shaking hands

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