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How to Buy Bike Parts

The components that you hang on a bike frame can be just as important as the frame itself. Forks, rims, wheels, lights, and other parts play a huge role in how the bike rides. Even an expensive ultralight frame can be weighed down with poorly designed components until it rides like an old, heavy bike. Alternately, an older frame can be revitalized with modern, lightweight upgrades.

Tires
Tires play a huge role in how a bike rides. For road bikes, wide tires can give the bike a comfortable feel but tend to roll slowly, while narrow race tires give the ride a harsh feel but offer very little rolling resistance to make the bike faster. In mountain bikes, large, knobby tires roll more slowly but provide better traction than smoother, skinnier tires. Shop Bike Tires
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Pedals
There are two types of bike pedals. Clipless pedals require special, cleated shoes that allow the rider to clip into the pedal for greater pedaling power. Flats can be used with regular shoes and don’t connect the rider to the bike, which many downhill mountain bikers prefer because it allows them to get away from the bike quickly when necessary. Shop Bike Pedals
Forks
The fork that you choose should closely match the bicycle’s intended purpose. A rigid road bike fork is designed to absorb road vibration while remaining as light as possible. Mountain bikes usually utilize suspension forks, and the amount of travel depends heavily on the type of mountain bike the fork is mounted to. Shop Bike Forks
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How to Buy an Alpine Touring Boot

Free Your Feet From the Resort

Traditionally, a ski boot was designed for going downhill with as much speed and power as possible, with little thought to the comfort when going uphill. With an aggressive sole material like Vibram, lightweight shell material, and the now-standard lever to switch between walk and ski modes (to free the cuff to rotate or lock it in place), the alpine touring boot changed everything. This is the boot to take into the backcountry.

Binding Compatibility:

An alpine touring boot is either compatible with a standard alpine ski binding (DIN normalized binding), a TECH binding, or both. There’s little difference between the boots except for the extra heel and toe fittings required for a boot to be TECH compatible.

Flex Rating:

A stiff boot will have a high flex rating (120-130+), while a softer boot will have a lower flex rating (100-110). Stiffness benefits you during the descent, but it might cause you pain on the skin track—consider whether you prefer superior comfort or performance.

Weight:

A carbon cuff or tongue, lightweight plastic shell, minimalist buckle design, or honeycomb structure help reduce the weight of an AT boot so you can move faster and feel less fatigued during a long tour.