Professional cyclists are at the very top of the cycle user hierarchy. They eat, drink and sleep everything to do with cycling and are experts when it comes to the bike they want to ride and the goals they are trying to achieve.This can make catering for pro bike hire seem a little daunting. How do you choose the right bike? Are there any recommendations? Is there any equipment they may need? Worry not, this blog will answer those questions for pro bike hire to keep you prepared when working with a professional cyclist.
The professional biker rides, trains and likely competes in cycling events. This type of cyclist is highly tuned to their sport, they have the ability and experience to understand their surroundings. They have a laser-like focus and are determined to reach their goals.
Not only do these cyclists enjoy the competition, but they also have the physical and mental endurance and physique to take on their preferred type of task. The most appropriate types of bike suited to this type of rider depends on the event they specialise in.
Before you help them choose a bike you should consider the different requirements for fitting the bike. The most important part at the early stage is understanding what they are going to be using the bike for. Then you can narrow down the selection by activity and work on other elements such as client measurements, bike measurements and saddle height for example. This will ensure you choose the perfect bike for your customer.
Why Provide A Pro Bike Hire Service?
Pro bikers need to train and are willing to invest in the best equipment. If your cycle rental store is located in an area great for training / events such as the lake district or yorkshire in the UK; Marin County Or Louisville in the US and Tenerife or Mallorca in Europe then the pro bike market will be one with lots of potential. Often, renting a cycle is easier than bringing their own (especially when they are likely to be as expensive as a professional would own). They’ll be looking for similar quality to theirs though and this makes having the right selection of bikes available critical to your success.
Choosing The Right Pro Hire Bike
The first thing to consider when helping your customers choose a bike is what goal they are trying to accomplish. Primarily these will be on or off road. Each type requires a different bike to meet the requirements and challenges presented by the surface.
Road bikes are bicycles designed to take the rider as far and as fast as their legs can physically manage on paved, smooth surfaces. They get their name from this fact. It is important to note that within the category of road bike there are other subcategories. While they share some similar traits. There are some differences to consider.
For example, Racing bikes offer a low front end for aerodynamic positioning while riding and are focused on going fast. This means they sacrifice some comfort focused features. As such they wouldn’t be great for someone looking for very long distances.
Touring bikes on the other hand, are built for comfort over long distances while carrying items such as camping equipment. Because of the variation it is important to really understand what your customers’ needs are when choosing the bikes to stock for the pro cyclist looking to hire.
Road Bike Specifics
The frames of road bikes are extremely light and are often made from materials that are able to combine strength with weight. The most popular choices are aluminium, carbon fibre or, for highest quality bikes titanium. Personal preference, riding purpose, and price are big factors when considering the frame type.
When racing for example, the material choice is critical as the decrease in weight can make all the difference to those critical seconds sprinting through a straight or pushing uphill on those inclines.
In general, road bike wheels don’t have to be as robust as those of other bikes which go truly offroad. For this reason they tend to have fewer spokes and lighter rims. Road bike tyres are also skinny. Having skinny tires offers many benefits to the pro cyclist. One benefit is reduced wind resistance. Even though pro cyclists will wear aerodynamic clothing, the bike build can play a big part. The faster you go, the more wind resistance there is. Slimer tyres slice through wind easier than thicker tires, helping make up those precious seconds. Tire width varies, tires which go across gravel will be wider than those for pure road racing, so the intended purpose of the Pro Bike Hire is extremely important when choosing a tire for the bike.
The first thing they will need is a helmet. Road bike helmets are designed with speed in mind with specific shapes. They will also include plenty of strategically placed ventilation points. For pro cyclists who are looking to set personal bests for times, consider stocking aerodynamically shaped helmets. These products are streamlined with less ventilation to really decrease wind resistance. Of course many pros and elite cyclists will bring their own helmet, and even pedals, but it is good to be prepared for all situations.
Tech accessories are another area to consider for this particular type of pro bike hire. GPS trackers for example could be a useful addition to a pro hire set-up. The ability to track time, distance and pace for this particular client is sure to be of interest and is a great way to upsell a product.
Our Road Bike Picks For Pro Bike Hire
There are loads of great road bikes out there to choose from. Prices, materials and ride type will vary from bike to bike. These elements will meet different requirements for the cyclist and their choice ultimately will come down to personal preferences, and their ride requirements. Below are some of the bikes we think really stand out in this category.
Cannondale has a reputation for creating amazing bikes and for good reason. From the parts they use to the attention to detail, the quality of these bikes is undeniable. Cannondale’s CAAD13 model is faster, more comfortable and more capable than many other aluminium framed bikes and would definitely be a choice hire for many pro cyclists.
Another fantastic brand with a pedigree for creating incredible bikes. The Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Dura-Ace Di2 is a fantastic all round racing bike. It’s light, sprightly and perfect for those pro bike hires looking to tear up the tarmac.Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc
Despite appearances, the Trek Madone is one of the fastest road bikes available on the market today. Lighter, and more aerodynamic than its predecessors, it is designed to power through those pesky (but necessary) uphill climbs and set those incredible times. Perfect for any pro hire.
Mountain bikes are designed for rugged off road usage. Unlike road bikes, the shape, frame, gears and tires of a mountain bike make them ideal for trails, tracks and dirt. Because of their off-road nature, they are much sturdier than road bikes, to take the impact of the uneven surfaces and land those jumps. Mountain Bikes often include front and rear suspension to smoothen out the ride and provide greater control. These additions make them much heavier than their road bike counterparts.
Mountain bikes are extremely tailored to different types of events. It is important to consider these for a pro hire to ensure you stock the correct bike types. Cross-country bikes for example are all about speed across different terrain types and gradients.. Their handlebars are narrow, allowing for increased agility.
Specialised downhill mountain bikes are 100% focused on going downhill. They’re designed to tame the roughest trails around. The parts are super tough, to withstand the toughest of rides, with wide tires to grip any terrain and maximise control.
Assess your environment and tailor your offering accordingly. If your bike rental shop is in a largely flat area, then downhill bikes are unlikely to be in high demand for example.
Mountain Bike Specifics
As with road bikes, the frame plays an important part for the success of the pro hire’s chosen event. Frames are commonly made from carbon fibre, titanium and aluminium, though in some instances steel is still the material of choice. Carbon fibre frames are lighter and perfect for a pro cyclist looking to improve their speed, while aluminium frames are sturdy, and won’t get brittle with age. Which is beneficial when considering the maintenance of bikes.
Mountain bike wheels are thick, with deeper tread. This gives them maximum grip on even the most uneven or softest terrains. As with road bikes, tire thickness can vary, and will depend on personal preference and the event so be sure to understand your customers requirements.
The rim of a mountain bike is an important factor to consider when helping to choose a bike for pro bike hire. The rim needs to be strong enough to deal with whatever the trail can throw at it, but not too heavy as to affect other areas of performance. Weight in the rim is the part of the wheel it will have the biggest impact. This is because the rim is the part of the wheel that is furthest from the centre. It is here that the rotational effects of weight are most noticeable which can cause imbalances. For your customers looking for speed it’s important they are aware of what your mountain bike rims are made of so they can make an informed decision.
As always, a helmet is the most important pro bike hire accessory. The helmet type your customer may require will vary depending on the event they are taking part in or training for.
Half-shell mountain bike helmets are used in less aggressive events such as cross country and trail riding. They have reinforced backs to help protect the base of the skull should you fall back. Full-face helmets will protect the entire head, chin and face and are perfect for the roughest, fastest rides, such as downhill.
Padded accessories for other body parts may also be of interest for those pro riders taking part in fast, rough rides. This includes gloves, elbow pads, knee pads and body armour.
Our Mountain Bike Picks For Pro Bike Hire
As with road bikes there are many great mountain bikes out there to choose from. Each one is tailored to the specific task to which it was designed for, with tweaks to build and design to maximise performance. Here are some of the mountain bikes we think stand out from the crowd for pro bike hire.
Building on the original, the Ibis Ripmo V2 XT is a fantastic all-round mountain bike. An aggressive trail bike perfect for maximum uphill and downhill performance. This bike makes a lot of sense for the pro hire looking who wants a bike that climbs well on any terrain without sacrificing any performance on the way back down.
Santa Cruz’s V10 is a legendary bike among downhill riders. The world’s very best have piloted various incarnations of this bike to World Cup and Championships victories. Made from carbon fibre with 29” wheels with incredible suspension, the Santa Cruz V10 29 is one of the fastest bikes in the collection. It’s long, low, and pretty unstoppable.
Progressive (for XC) geometry, low weight, and attention to detail that makes the Spark RC the swiss brand’s best cross country mountain yet. The bike of choice for cross-country stars Kate Courtney and Nino Schurter, the Scott Spark RC is sure to be top of the Cross Country pro hire list. What’s more it is also a great choice for the average joe, looking to try their hand at some cross-country cycling!
Bike Tour Services
Another service to add to your pro bike hire offering is a collection of tours. Your knowledge of the area is unrivaled so put it to good use. Take into consideration what the cyclist is looking to achieve, and design incredible routes to meet these needs. By doing so you can create a great packaged solution that will meet all of your pro bike rental needs.
Now that you have an idea of some of the bike types, accessories and possibly tours a pro cyclist may be looking for, it’s important to give your customers as much information as possible. This includes being descriptive about the materials on the bike, its use and who may use it. It is also important to include pictures to cater for taste. Finally, total clarity about availability and an ability to book online is critical in today’s pro rental market. Customers want to be able to find what they want and book it quickly and efficiently.
Bike Rental Manager For Your Pro Bike Rentals
Hopefully this blog has highlighted some of the benefits to your rental business for supporting pro bike hires and provide some useful insights and cycle information.
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