How to select a bike according to your needs and budget?

If You want to buy a bike, and are looking for advice. Great- this is right thread for you. These are few under-mentioned things which you should clarify before buying a bike:1: DECIDE UPON YOUR USAGE - WHAT WILL YOU USE THE BIKE FOR So here are some potential uses (we will get into bike types, features, etc in more detail later): (a) Commuting or general usage -- it is a good way to get exercise, be environmentally-friendly and save money as well. A commuting bike will focus on comfort, have space to carry a change of clothes/briefcase, have mudguards and will be easy to ride in a city (b) Fitness -- a fitness bike is likely to be ridden on tarmac and pretty much any bike can be used for this purpose. You can look a the list of bike features later and decide what works for you (c) Racing/long rides -- here, the emphasis is on efficiency, comfort and speed. Usually, you want a bike designed for road use. (d) Off-road riding -- if you want to ride trails, climb hills, fly down dirt tracks, you want a mountain bike. And sometimes, the answer may be to buy 2 bikes that specialize in 1 area each, rather than 1 bike that does neither well. 2: DECIDE UPON YOUR BUDGET Now, this gets tricky. A lot of people have a price expectation of bicycles that is based on the Rs 1500 Hero cycles that are common everywhere. The fact of the matter is, high-quality bikes are not cheap. A top-end hardtail mountain bike runs $3000 or Rs 1.5 lakhs. A top-end full-suspension bike runs Rs 2.5 lakhs. Top-level racing bikes range from Rs 1.5 lakhs to Rs 6 lakhs. Dont run away... I am not saying that you have to spend this much money to buy a bike. I am just saying that bikes are pretty high-tech pieces of equipment, something that is not immediately obvious to a newcomer who has only seen the iron behemoths that are prevalent in India. What your extra money generally gets you is: - lesser weight - higher quality components: suspension (high-quality suspension, front or rear, is NOT cheap), better wheels (roll faster/lighter), smoother gear shifting, etc As a relatively recent first-time buyer of a high-quality cycle, I found that after the research, the hardest part was justifying the price. First to myself, then to my spouse, and for some of us, to our parents, colleagues and friends. This post aims to help you get rid of buyer’s guilt, and help confirm (or merely reconfirm) that you are doing the right thing by paying far in excess of Rs.15,000 or 20,000 for a bicycle, when you can buy one for a third of that cost. The short answer “Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick two.” --Keith Bontrager, a bicycle-frame builder and component designer. He now develops components for Trek

Think about your dad’s Fiat or Ambassador from when you were a child. is worth every paisa. and you’re more relaxed on rides. Today. it probably won’t be light. smoothness. road bikers can achieve average speeds above 30km/h on 50km rides. There are more obvious things such as the frame shape and quick-release wheels (you can remove both wheels completely in less than a minute). would you put up with a car that takes 10 minutes to start every morning. It doesn’t take long to get used to. If your bike is strong and cheap. You can ride an entry-level mountain bike off-road for two years without ever having anything come loose or break or creak or fall off. but very light. 3) Nearly zero maintenance. “Strong” means it can take many times your weight day-in. While a difference of a few hundred grams is debatable. More expensive bicycles are astonishingly smooth to pedal (many new riders use the word “butter” when describing their first ride). (First-hand experience. These bikes are clearly designed by riders. But you don’t have to be an athlete to cycle at 25 or 30km/h on a bike designed for the road. the saddle would tilt. But as a new rider. depending on the bike: easy-open chains (for cleaning). “strong” doesn’t just mean that it can take your weight. it probably won’t be strong. as its frame and parts don’t flex too much when you pedal or brake. so as not to lock the wheels). no matter how new a rider you are. With some training. do you need something light? No. but they weigh a ton. if you’re talking about a sub-7kg racing bike. Many lower-end aluminium bikes and bike parts fit this category. 4) Thoughtful design.5 will make a huge difference to your speed. They are easy to get up hills. there’d be something wrong. This is why entry-level roadbikes are more expensive than entry-level mountain bikes. Also.To expand on the quote If your bike is light and cheap. you'll spend a lot of time oohing and aahing over the design. . But yes. efficiency. Remember your cycle from when you were a kid? Every two days (or. It’s a myth that their brakes are dangerous because they are so good. Remember. Think about your regularissue “milkman’s bike”. More on exactly what you pay for 1) Speed. The brake levers would become loose. Trust me. acceleration and climbing ability. the pedals would wobble. You must learn to modulate the levers (squeeze them gently. If your bike is light and strong. the chain would creak. for riders. Expensive bikes have great brakes. the weight difference between an Atlas Goldline and a Trek 1. a strong bike is much easier to ride. After you get your new "expensive" bike. A lot of technology and detail goes into making aluminium tubes (for bike frames) that are strong.) This kind of reliability costs money. day-out for years and years. it probably won’t be cheap. One of the biggest problems with cheap bikes is their horrendous braking. not to mention safer. the mudguards would fall off. you deserve better than an 18kg bike. stable when coming down. and let me tell you. Ever. if you rode hard. if you’re talking about bikes in the 9-12kg range. if it starts at all? Or one that breaks down on the road at least once a month? In the same way. They’re incredibly strong. 2) Great braking. But there are hordes of other things. two hours). Good braking gives you confidence. someone who rides regularly should not have to put up with a cycle that falls apart.

it is better to have fewer. especially if you are on a budget. So let's now talk about features and where you need them. it goes on. it helps a little on rough roads but imposes a weight penalty. no matter how potholed it is. 3: SELECT YOUR REQUIRED FEATURES From section (2) above. Newflash . the roads are crap. In mountain biking.even a decent budget fork costs over Rs 10. loosen up those purse strings. it should be clear that for a given price point. has all the disadvantages above and doesnt even work very well. (d) Bike frame: Most modern frames are made of Aluminum these days b/c it is lighter (high-end frames for racing are made of carbon fiber. A steel bike with a steel fork in the front (so no suspension) can actually be a lot more comfier than a cheap Al bike with crappy front and rear suspensions. You *especially* don't want a cheap front suspension -. unless you are a loco MTBer.where you live. Tire type. (a) Rear Suspension: Let me keep it simple. But steel is making a comeback and for a good reason . Of course.5 lakhs on a bike yet).. the more features you want. Good rim brakes are better than cheap disk brakes. Yeah. If you are on BikesZone as a first-time bike buyer. Yes. gearing carefully thought out for the kind of riding the bike is intended for. but if you think you fall in this category. places to fix waterbottle holders or racks. I know . how fast are you going to be riding in the wet anyway?).000 . higher-quality features than a lot of features of shoddy quality. You do not need front suspension to ride on tarmac.that is true for most of us in India. avoid rear suspension like the plague. as opposed to WANT.000). it is going to make your bike heavier and so slower and it will NOT make the ride any more comfortable. Full suspension is for extreme trail riding. It is going to suck. (c) Disc brakes: Disc brakes are nice to have. the less the quality of each of those features is going to be. you dont need suspension to ride on these roads. you are going to have to pay more. Yes. So be careful about selecting features that you really NEED. Disc brakes are useful in the sense that they work better in rain and mud (esp mud) but by using proper techniques. handling penalty and speed penalty (not as efficient as a rigid front). are easier to adjust. And if you want a lot of features and high quality in each of them. you pay a . You dont need it. cost penalty (top-end full suspension forks cost over Rs 35. (b) Front Suspension: You need front suspension ONLY if you plan to ride a lot of trails. no suspension whatsoever) steel bike. with lots of roots. there is also the argument that sometimes having a bike that you really like can inspire you to ride more .. Trust me. Trust me on this. tire pressure and choice of bike frame (steel vs aluminum) will make a bigger difference in ride quality.steel absorbs road vibrations a lot better and so makes the ride a lot more comfortable (atleast in the sub-Rs 50k bike range). but by no means a necessity. rocks and bumps and a good full-suspension design is *not* cheap. one of the hottest new bike styles is a rigid (ie. but I am assuming you are not at the stage of spending Rs 1.anatomically designed saddles and brake levers. you can stop quite well with rim brakes as well (and besides. If expert MTBers can use this to ride trails. Remember those Rs 5 lakh racing bikes I told you about? They dont have disc brakes and they are ridden a lot faster than you or I can manage. easier to maintain and better value. and your budget is under Rs 1 lakh. you can use a rigid bike to ride on the road.lot to be said for that.

especially if you are not very flexible or have a few extra pounds on the waist. which is nice for extended rides.. low-end 700c tires on my road bike to the high-end racing trail tires on my MTB . the tradeoffs can be worth it. And they are great for off-road riding.weight penalty compared to a similarly-specced Al bike. 700x28 to 700x32 tires are for general use and 700x35 or fatter tires are for touring. Typical mountain bike tires tend to be in the 2. there is a great thrill of being hunched over in the drops and flying at speed. They look hardcore. which are the larger. not necessarily a greater *range* of gears. Everyone likes those big.2 thickness range (thinner tires are more for racing).the cheap 700cs destroy the MTB tires on the road. then get fatter tires. However. Gears are advertised in a range of numbers. gears are your friend. to reduce the rolling resistance . It takes 1 ride to get used to drop bars. which can be comfier. you dont need too many gears (or even any gears). If you are riding mainly in flat terrain. Try to get them in a slicker tread (less knobs) if you are going to be riding on the road. and 8 or 9 gears in the rear. Rubbish. fat mountain bike tires. even then). or comfort is more important than going very fast. with 24 speed or 27 speed being quite common these days. and the difference in speed compared to a mountain tire is mindblowing (I say this from personal experience. In road bikes. A lot of people are also put off the thought of drop bars (those dont need heavy knobs for road riding. drop bars let you get into a lot more aerodynamic position and let's face it. They look bad-ass. go with what makes you comfortable . But if you want to ride hills. skinnier tires that you see on road bikes and which are intended for tarmac use. So a sample tire may have its size given 26x2. If you are going to be riding relatively short distances. but that fear is unfounded.. to boot) and can have a deceptive amount of grip: a lot of people avoid them b/c they are afraid of falling or skidding out. they look pretty cool to see and to ride . fat tires add a big degree of comfort.0 or 700x25. They look big (and we are mostly guys. but unless you are racing (and often. you are better able to fine-tune and get the perfect gearing for . However. representing the width of the tire (in inches. thinking that they are harder to handle. Drop bars give you a few more hand positions.just make sure you get it for the right reasons and not based on misconceptions that one is harder to manage than the other. 700x23 and 700x25 tires are for racing.even for a staunch MTBer like me. get skinnies. which means 3 gears at the pedals. rams horn like bars you see on racing bikes). This means that with more gears. There is a second number along with this. where you are carrying 15kg+ of cargo on the bike. or 700c. More gears typically means smaller spacings between each gear. for 26" tires or mm for 700c tires). (f) Handlebars: A lot of people prefer straight handlebars (which are used predominantly in Mountain Bikes). Ultimately. Larger air volume + lower pressures == built-in suspension and a plush ride. (g) Gears: Gears are good. skinny tires roll a lot faster (with less effort. It isnt even a contest). having compared the basic. where they provide extra cushioning and oodles of grip. so bigger is better. and you need more practice/skills in order to manage. These are typically written as 3x8 or 3x9. on tarmac. And if you want to go fast. It does take a ride or two to get used to them. (e) Tires: Tires typically come in 2 flavors: 26" diameter. however.). The benefit of those is that you ride in a more upright position. So if you want to go fast.0-2. which are the fat bad boys that go on mountain bikes and are used for off-road riding.

comfier position . without getting into a lot of details on gear ratios.on a cheaper end. by all means buy a mountain bike. Merida is the world's largest manufacturer of bikes and is also a good option to consider.a general-purpose bike. .upright handlebars . the ideal bike is a hybrid bike. it is hard to not get seduced by mountain bikes.8 slicks. but for most beginners. These are not going to be cheap. I have yet to see a Firefox bike that I would take on a trail. This gives you a good mix of speed and efficiency.front suspension or all rigid .000+ for a good. will still give you years of service and performance.know the intended usage.focus. Madone and Roubaix.5-26x1. but there is a lot of generic componentry on them as well and there isnt a lot of feedback on these bikes yet. the more money you will need to spend. you want all-rigid. get a road bike. Cheaper and good options include LA Sovereign Urbano 700c. to ride around for exercise and maybe even go on an occasional trail or two.any situation .they may cost a little more than generic brands. they look cool and they had macho names like Sultan. although it is not as much of a premium brand as the other 2. trail-worthy mountain bike with front suspension that works. If you want to race/go fast. which combines the best of both mountain bikes and road bikes. So dont fret too much about the number of gears . So naturally. especially with budget gear shifters). 4: SOME RECOMMENDATIONS: When you go to a bike showroom. there are cheaper options but they will more or less suck. The more rough your intended trails. Think again. Leviathan and more. and there are some combos which are not supposed to be used. then consider the B'twin Rockrider bikes sold by Decathlon. But now you are getting a bike that is built for speed and with components that. svelte and have names like Pista. Some of the specs look good. For such people. while on the budget end of the scale. instead. they are brawny. on how easily the gears shift (especially the ones in the front .typically 700x28-700x35 or 26x1. depending on the wheelset. Companies to look at: Trek & Cannodale are 2 top global brands in India . this is a good starting point.thinner tires than found on a mountain bike (but fatter than on race-oriented bikes) . even a 27 speed geared bike really has around 14 distinct gear ratios. closer to Rs 40k for a Trek or Cannondale. Are you REALLY going to be bashing around on mountain trails? REALLY? Or will you just do it once or twice. and which is robust enough to withstand the shocks and impact of trail riding. but primarily use on tarmac . at a higher . you are going to want to buy a mountain bike. more or less .there is a lot of overlap. Umm. Expect to spend north of Rs 30k for a Merida. Road bikes are doesnt mean that it will necessarily become easier to climb a big mountain with a 27 speed geared bike vs a 24 speed geared bike. If you want to go trail riding. Expect to pay atleast Rs 20. Some features of hybrids: . Jet. and then stick to using this bike as an urban commuter? Remember what we started this thread with . Yeah. but you will get a quality product that works well (compared to a lot of other bikes which look like mountain bikes but which will die within half an hour on the trail). If you are on a tighter budget. They are amazing pieces of technology. Avoid Firefox for actual trail riding. most people seem to be looking for a bike that they can use to go to work. However.those tend to be a bit temperamental. Also.

Road Bicycles In India. sporty.mountain bike helmet. you are more inclined to ride Hercules & BSA. even though my bike costs a LOT less. Something to think about. bikes.cycle clothes. To use a car analogy: Mountain bikes are the SUVs of the bike world . a bike is shockingly good value. BMX Bikes.mtb store. it keeps me fit. practical for daily usage. holidays. a lot of people buy them to ride on tarmac.bicycle shop. who lives and drives in Delhi.cycle bikes. not very practical for general usage (but daaaammmn. put-a-grin-on-your-face-and-make-you-think-you're-Lance fast?). Kids .. but remember what I rode earlier: it is a bikes. you can go for a front sus if you want. Road bikes are the convertible sports cars of the bike world . More utilitarian. it reduces my carbon footprint and it is FUN. is planning to buy a Ford Endeavor (when he can get by with a Zen) and shakes his head in puzzlement at my mountain bike's price. My friend..cycling jackets. Hybrids.cycle parts. did I mention "fast"? As in. LA-Sovereign Merida India http://www. good value for gear. Bianchi and Trek both make good hybrid bikes for a fairly reasonable price of approx Rs 20. but there are other choices which are better for this application. konaworld Firefox Bikes. And if you buy a good bike.ticyclesindia.cycling equipment. which works. go-everwhere bikes. international-standard bikes. A lot of people think we are insane to spend the money we do on bikes. on the other hand.p. Some popular manufacturers:http://www. cars. My response to that .budget..bmx bikes.bicycles retail. etc).A. Trek Bikes. MTB Bikes it gets me outdoors.html Giant Bicycles / Bikes / ?????? Bianchi 2009: Home Cannondale Bicycle Corp. Compared to the many other things we spend so much money on (clothes.I ride my bike daily. I will end with an editorial.mtb hel CICLI PINARELLO Btwin . tough.road bike store. And just like SUVs. have fun and stay fit.cycling shop uk.. are the minivans and sedans on the bike world. http://www.cycling clothing.000 or so and these are again. mobile phones.

f5. Trek's (4300. Some recommended bikes by me:Mtb's :. Road Bikes:. Merida. LA Blackline's. Hybriad's:.). scott & LA Urbano. Trek 3700 & 4300. Courtesy:. Merida matts.Bianchi. f9. Some LA-Sovereign bikes as mtb.Trek. . Hercules ACT 110 or Kona DEW or Trek 7100 as hybriads. LA Urbano as road-bike. Hercules ACT 110. Cannondale & Ducati Bikes:Track & Trail Firefox is authorised distributor of Trek bikes in India.Bicycles Indian distributers of Bianchi.All Cannondales (f4. f7. Bianchi. Anand Sharma. 6000 etc. For a beginner & budget concious rider I will recommend:cannondale F9 or F8. lefty etc. Merida. ducati.s. Regards.pinerallo. f8.).Bikeszone. colnanago.

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