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FAQs

  1. What do you do?
  2. Do you service bikes?
  3. Do you build wheels?
  4. Do you ride?
  5. Do you sell recumbents?
  6. What about tandems?
  7. Do you teach maintenance classes?
  8. Do you sell bicycles outside of Ohio?
  9. What's all that math stuff on the chalkboard?
  10. How did you get started in the bicycle business?
  11. Campagnolo or Shimano?
  12. Record or Chorus?
  13. Dura-Ace or Ultegra?
  14. Road (surface-mounted) or mountain (recessed) pedal systems?
  15. Which saddle should I choose?
  16. Where did the name "HubBub Custom Bicycles" come from?
  17. What books do you recommend to learn more about maintaining my bicycle?
  18. How about cycling skills in general?
  19. How can you wear a light-colored dress shirt or sweater to work, and not get dirty?
  20. What bikes do you own, personally?
  21. Where in the Cleveland area do I find the best gold margaritas?
  22. Are you looking to hire?
  23. What's the difference between threaded and threadless headset assemblies?
  24. What makes your sizing, or fitting process, special?
  25. What do you like for drive-train lubricant?
  26. What the heck is a Rohloff Speedhub?
  27. What kind of music do you listen to?
  28. Isn't HubBub just a continuation of City Bike?
  29. How do I know that I will like my new bike if I can’t try it before I buy it?
  30. How often should I lubricate my chain?
  31. How should I lubricate my chain?
  32. How often should I replace my chain?
  33. My cassette?
  34. My chainrings?
  35. My tires?
  36. My tubes?
  37. My handlebar tape?
  38. My helmet?
  39. What pump should I use?
  40. What roadside inflation method should I use?
  41. What kinds of beer do you like?
  42. What kinds of lights should I use on my bike?
  43. Do you buy and/or sell used bikes?
  44. All you deal in is road bikes?
  45. Do you match mail-order prices?
  46. So, all you do is titanium?
  47. Steel?
  48. Carbon?
  49. What kinds of books do you read?
  50. Do you sponsor individual riders for racing or fund raising?
  51. Do you provide club discounts?

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What do you do?

We play with tools until your bicycle is fixed.

Where we really shine is designing optimal fit geometry and creating a bicycle as rider-specific as possible. We believe your performance, riding enjoyment, comfort, or whatever you expect from your bicycle is directly related to how harmoniously your bicycle works with you. Your bike should nearly disappear much like your arms and legs do when you're not thinking about them.

We also offer some less common products and solutions here, in our online store.

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Do you service bikes?

Yes, when they need it.

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Do you build wheels?

The best, and we are thrilled by opportunities to prove it.

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Do you ride?

Some. We try.

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Do you sell recumbents?

Occasionally. We have so far chosen not to focus on recumbents and feel that, like tandems, they require a serious commitment to serve the customer appropriately. We chose to commit to tandems and custom singles. That said, a few clients have felt their recumbent needs would be best served by our skills.

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What about tandems?

They rock. We ride tandems, we enjoy tandems, we are committed to tandems, we know tandeming. Again, we ride tandems, a lot... hopefully... We try.

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Do you teach maintenance classes?

Not currently. There are others in our area who do and, until we think of a better way, and are confident that we can provide instruction as a valuable service, we prefer to focus on improving what we already do best.

That said, Brian has developed a one-on-one opportunity to learn anything you wish in the shop. Ask for details if you think this is something in which you may be interested.

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Do you sell bicycles outside of Ohio?

Occasionally, but we remain conscious and respectful of other dealers' markets. Customers frequently drive or fly from long distances to visit, and occasionally purchase a bicycle created especially for them. This occurs particularly when they feel we are the best choice to serve their needs, but we encourage everyone to support his or her local professional bicycle shop.

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What's all that math stuff on the chalkboard?

Telephone memos.

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How did you get started in the bicycle business?

A bit of luck and excess determination.

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Campagnolo or Shimano?

This can be debated to exhaustion but, national and brand allegiances aside, the long-term experiential difference is primarily a function of the shifting mechanisms. It's a matter of personal preference and we build bikes with Campagnolo, Shimano, or appropriate blend, as well as others (SRAM, Chris King, DT-Swiss, Paul Components, Ritchey, etc.) Shimano currently appears more committed to protecting the independent brick and mortar bicycle dealer, but we also proudly proclaim our status as a rare and esteemed Campagnolo Pro Shop.

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Record or Chorus?

A difference in quality and craftsmanship, while it may exist, is rarely if ever detectable. The differences are generally a matter of performance due primarily to material choices. Record uses more titanium and carbon fibre. Chorus offers very similar performance at lower cost, or higher value.

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Dura-Ace or Ultegra?

In the past, we commonly recommended against some Dura-Ace 9-speed components in favor of Ultegra 9-speed. No question about it, the "Value Award" went to Ultegra, particularly with regard to crank bearings and headsets. This has changed somewhat. Ultegra 10-speed is still a good value but much of the Dura-Ace 10-speed is a considerable improvement. The brake calipers and crankset are tough to beat.

Road (surface-mounted) or mountain (recessed) pedal systems?

Surface-mounted pedal systems are the choice for road racing. The stiffness of the design allows for efficient transfer of power from your leg to the wheel. They are light, aerodynamic, and provide the most direct connection between you and the crank.

Recessed pedal systems are the choice for off-road and touring use because they allow you to walk around when you are off your bike. We think they are the best choice for tandem use, particularly for captains, because they provide the most secure footing, and we actually prefer them for virtually all non-racing use.

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Which saddle should I choose?

Whichever saddle you find most comfortable, period. It's always nice if it weighs nothing, is aerodynamic, and looks cool, but it really is that simple. Try it... if it's uncomfortable, you will enjoy your riding less.

Choose shorts the same way, and no underwear! (Chamois Butt'R , Assos Chamois Crème, and dznuts (D's nuts) help too.)

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Where did the name "HubBub Custom Bicycles" come from?

Hubbub was suggested by a close friend for the title, The HubBub Guide to Cycling, when Diane published her book about bicycling longer distances and making preparations for touring in 1997. She then founded HubBub Bicycles, a touring and randonneur support center and custom bike shop. When Brian arrived early 1998 we adjusted the name to HubBub Custom Bicycles to better convey our growing intentions.

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What books do you recommend to learn more about maintaining my bicycle?

One of Brian's favorites for learning the basics has been Bicycling Magazine's Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair. Lennard's Zinn & the Art of Mountain [or Road] Bike Maintenance manuals are similar, but more current. The Park Tool School's Student Manual text, and John Barnett's Manual are increasingly more advanced and thorough.

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How about cycling skills in general?

While Diane's book, The HubBub Guide to Cycling, doesn't discuss specific on-road activities, and is targeted toward touring, adventure, and century cyclists, it is loaded with gems of info and tips that almost anyone will benefit from. Diane's book remains the only pre-tour guide recommended by BackRoads tour company. Richard Lovett's The Essential Touring Cyclist is another excellent read for a similar audience.

A great training manual is Fred Matheny's Complete Book of Road Bike Training. For tandeming we must emphasize our recommendation for John Schubert's The Tandem Scoop. One of the finest books for training and racing skills remains Edward Borysewicz's Bicycle Road Racing. There are a few other choices but everyone knows it's tough to improve on Eddie B.

For general bike handling and transportation check out Bicycling Magazine's Complete Book of Road Cycling Skills and John Forester's Effective Cycling program.

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How can you wear a light-colored dress shirt or sweater to work, and not get dirty?

I'm still practicing that, but getting better all the time.

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What bikes do you own, personally?

Sorry, you must stop in to see them in person.

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Where in the Cleveland area do I find the best gold margaritas?

La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant
5115 Wilson Mills Rd.
Richmond Heights, Ohio

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Are you looking to hire?

Probably not.

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What's the difference between threaded and threadless headset assemblies?

Threadless is more modern than threaded. There are currently FAR more choices in forks, stems, and headsets for the threadless system.

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What makes your sizing, or fitting process, special?

Our results.

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What do you like for drive-train lubricant?

We tend to accommodate the customer according to his or her own preferences but, for quite some time now, we've been using Boeshield T-9 for general and sloppy-season use. We also like ProLink Gold for summer and high-performance applications. We've been experimenting with a few others as well, trying them on our own equipment before providing them to our clients.

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What the heck is a Rohloff Speedhub?

It's a 14-speed internally-geared hub drive-train system with a 526% range. That's 2% wider than Shimano's widest 27-speed ATB range. The hub offers nearly instantaneous gear changes, pedaling backward, forward, or not at all, and a 13.6% average even step between individual gears (so you "feel" the same change in effort). The hub is completely sealed, very efficient, and incredibly reliable.

While originally intended for off-road bikes, it is approved for tandem use, and we find it particularly appropriate for recumbents and commuting. We even created an adapter, one of a handful of solutions, for installation of the system's shift control on non-ATB handlebars.

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Isn't HubBub just a continuation of City Bike?

Not even close, and if you think so you are not paying attention. Diane's affiliation with City Bike is well known but there are more differences than similarities.

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How do I know that I will like my new bike if I can't try it before I buy it?

Because we say so. Actually, we have a growing list of impressive demos for you to try, and then we guarantee that you'll love your own far more, because it's built for you in every possible sense. The test bikes we do provide are set up as well as possible to give you an accurate sense of what we, and the frame's builder, are capable of. Since it's simply impossible to truly illustrate just how perfect your bike will be for you, we can only offer an ever-increasing list of testimonials, and guarantee our results.

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How often should I lubricate my chain?

First, never forget that the most important factor in a well-running drive-train is cleanliness, and this dramatically affects the frequency at which you should be applying lubrication.

As a general rule we like to see your drive-train lubed every 100 miles (160 km) ridden PLUS after each ride in wet conditions. For most this is likely a bit frequent, but it isn't long, after practicing regularly, before you can answer this question according to your own needs.

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How should I lubricate my chain?

The chain needs to be relatively clean, especially if you intend to change to another brand or type of lubricant. Skillful use of a mechanical chain cleaner, such as from Finish Line or Park Tool is often adequate, but heavy gunk requires removal, and soaking and scrubbing in a powerful biodegradable solvent like Finish Line's Citrus or EcoTech degreasers. Be sure to thoroughly rinse off the solvent in warm water (again, use biodegradable solvent!) and dry the chain quickly using a towel, compressed air, or hair dryer, to be rid of the water before significant rust forms.

Modern chains, if removal is required, must be installed using specific parts, tools, and knowledge. If you are not fully confident in the reliability of your chain installation, seek help from your local professional bike technician. Also, there are a small variety of special links available (sort of a "master link" for geared bikes) which can simplify this, but you should most certainly request professional advice on which link is most appropriate for your use and equipment.

After the chain has been correctly installed, choose an easily identifiable link, such as the reinstallation pin or "master" link, and position it on the lower section of chain just behind the chainring. Carefully drip one drop of your favorite lubricant on each roller between that link and the rear derailleur. Rotate the crank just enough to bring the most recently lubed link forward to the chainring and repeat until the whole chain has been lubricated. Spin the crank backwards several times to help the lube penetrate the rollers and then continue spinning while you wipe off the excess lube using a clean rag. Any excess lubricant will only attract dirt and grit later, defeating its own purpose. All the lubrication your chain needs will remain inaccessible beneath the rollers.

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How often should I replace my chain?

While chains appear to stretch, technically they do not. Chains wear, causing them to lengthen due to friction from the tension you apply combined with the links' rotation as they pass over your gears. Riding conditions, cleanliness, riding style, brand of chain, and type and frequency of lubrication are all among the factors that affect the lifespan of your chain. We have seen chains require replacement after only 1500 miles (2400 km) and some last more than 8000 miles (13,000 km).

The distance between adjacent pins in your chain should be exactly 0.5 inches (center-to-center). We recommend replacing your chain when the distance between the pins over a span of 12 inches has increased by 1/16 inch. That is 12 inches grows to 12.063 inches, or 304.8mm grows to 306.4mm.

Trying to squeeze too much life out of your chain will cost you more in the long run because the practice will shorten the lifespans of your other, more expensive, drive-train components.

My cassette?

Your cassette will wear to your chain and it (or frequently used individual cogs) should be replaced as soon as a new chain cannot mesh with the teeth, causing it to slip - which can be very dangerous. This can be reliably predicted by a trained eye or a wear-indicating tool, but you should be able to get through at least two chains before requiring a new cassette. Replacing your chain is a most important factor but this too can depend on materials, cleanliness, and lubrication.

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My chainrings?

Though chainrings USUALLY last longer, the advice is the same as for cassettes.

My tires?

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Change tires as often as required to keep you feeling safe, but a tire should never be allowed to wear beyond the point where you can see casing threads through the rubber tread. Dry-rotted tires, where the tread and/or sidewalls are dry and crusty, should also be replaced. Severely cut tires can be "booted" in an emergency to extend the life of an otherwise good tire, but this is not a regular practice we would advise for the inexperienced.

We advise that you keep your better tire (if there is a difference) on your front wheel.

Please dispose of your tires responsibly, and check with your local authorities to see what appropriate disposal methods are available in your area. Note that tires that appear to have some life remaining can be used for indoor training without fear of dire consequences.

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My tubes?

When you have a flat tire.

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My handlebar tape?

Believe it or not, it is a good idea to change your handlebar tape once in a while, even if it doesn't appear too worn, or is unraveling. We especially like the look and feel of genuine Cinelli cork, which loses its loft with use. Changing tape is an opportunity to inexpensively update the entire look of your bike, like a haircut. You may be amazed by your increased comfort due to simply freshening your handlebar wrap.

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My helmet?

Replace it whenever your helmet experiences a blow of any significance, from either a spill or even an accidental drop on the floor. You may be tempted to keep using your helmet after it has sustained damage (which may be invisible to you), but this is dangerous. Replace it immediately. Note that helmets can also be compromised from excess heat, such as in a car on a sunny day.

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What pump should I use?

You can enhance your riding enjoyment considerably by inflating your tires to the recommended pressure, before EVERY ride, using a good quality floor pump. We like Topeak's Joe Blow pump here in the shop because it's very effective, we stock parts, and it's easy to service on the rare occasion service is required. There are numerous other good floor pumps available however, including, among others, Silca and Park Tool.

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What roadside inflation method should I use?

That depends on you, your bike, and your preferences.

Frame-fit pumps are an old favorite stand-by, and for good reason, but becoming less common, possibly due to the latest frame shapes and geometries.

Today we have some pretty effective compact pumps that attach to included clips, water bottle bosses, or may even fit in a seat pack. They take longer to inflate a tire, but can be used repeatedly, especially if you make a mistake.

There are some who argue the use of CO 2 inflators, but we like them. We do however ask that you recycle any used cartridges, and don't try to sneak them on airplanes. Though the pressure differential should be insignificant, you're just creating trouble. Take a pump on long trips or purchase cartridges after arriving at your destination. Note that CO 2 inflators are particularly unforgiving to mistakes.

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What kinds of beer do you like?

Is it wet, and cold?

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What kinds of lights should I use on my bike?

We ride with a small flashing red light facing rearward, particularly on cloudy days or near dusk or dawn. One can never be too safe on public roadways and cyclists tend to disappear in areas shaded by trees or beneath a highway overpass. Another good idea to help you be seen is a flashing white light facing forward. This can help drivers detect your presence when they're considering backing out of a driveway.

Powerful headlights, for you to see the road, and additional flashing safety lamps, are a must for riding after dark. We suggest you discuss your needs and budget with your local bike shop, and be willing to pay for good service and product. Night riding can be a blast but, as mentioned previously, you can never be too safe on public roadways.

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Do you buy and/or sell used bikes?

Sorry, but no. We do however offer a couple resources for selling or purchasing a used bicycle.

We are happy to direct you to www.usedbicyclebuyer.com. They are reputable and will offer you a fair price.  You can also sell your bike yourself on eBay or other online auction sites.

If you are interested buying a used bicycle, you can check eBay or other online sellers.  Occasionally we come across a used bicycle from one of our customers but, as a rule, will not participate except to put you in touch with the owner.

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All you deal in is road bikes?

No, no, no, NO! We build the right bike to fit and perform according to your wishes. We'll build you the sweetest mountain bike you've ever seen if that's what you want.

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Do you match mail-order prices?

We typically kick butt in a true apples-to-apples comparison.  We also service and support every product we sell which means that we are your first line of defense with manufacturers if you have a problem. We provide the space and atmosphere to ask questions, learn pros and cons, and handle the product before making a selection.

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So, all you do is titanium?

Of course not. It may seem that way because it can be an excellent choice, but you'll have to read our discussion on frame materials to learn more of our opinions on the subject.

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Steel?

Okay, so we' re fond of steel, and we have good reason, but the other material choices certainly have their merits.

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Carbon?

Yes, we like carbon - a lot - but carbon may be the trickiest option of all.

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What kinds of books do you read?

Have you read H.A. Rey' s Curious George Rides a Bike? How about H.G. Wells's The Wheels of Chance, or Archibald Sharp' s Bicycles & Tricycles? Diane's newest reads include "Eat, Pray, Love" (Gilbert) and "Kite Runner" (Hosseini).

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Do you sponsor individual riders for racing or fund raising?

As you might imagine, we are asked this question many, many, times throughout each year and long ago determined the best way we can support cycling is to support events we feel promote cycling as a lifestyle in our area.

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Do you provide club discounts?

We are asked this a lot. HubBub strives to support the entire cycling community with high quality equipment at prices that are competitive coupled with technical expertise that is unparalleled. Bike shops are small businesses with enormous investment in tools, inventory, and supplies. We also support many local clubs and organizations with assistance in the form of promotion of their events, bag stuffers, and SAG support.

In addition, we provide venue for cyclists in the form of organized rides (Emerald Necklace Tour for 15 years: PVG Ride for the past 4). These rides are open to everyone and are offered to encourage snew cyclists the opportunity to join larger, more seasoned groups to gain confidence and broaden their cycling experiences. We invest heavily in these events with both time and money asking nothing in return but the participants' enjoyment.

Hmmm - I guess the answer to the original question is ... no.


Hubbub Custom Bicycles, The Path to Fit Perfection...

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