Cycling

How To Choose The Perfect Bicycle For Yourself

Advertisements

Step 1 : Choosing the right type of Bike

1. Road Bikes

Road Bikes are designed to go really fast. The design philosophy is to be lightweight and be aerodynamic primarily riding on paved roads. 99% of all road bikes today are made either of aluminium or carbon frame components. On average, Road Bicycles weigh between 7-9 Kilograms.   

Most road bikes come with drop down handlebars, thin tyres and a frame designed for the rider to have an aggressive posture. Their posture is streamlined to help them with better aerodynamics and to move fast.

Road bikes as the name suggest excel on paved roads. A regular cyclist could easily travel at average speeds of between 25 – 35 km/h on roads without traffic.

Road Bikes are recommended for users who want to discover speed on paved roads as the primary purpose of usage. It is also ideal for individuals who are already athletic and want to get into an intensive non-impact cardiovascular exercise. 

Advertisements

2. Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid Cycles offer marginal off-road abilities of an MTB, while being able to maintain respectable on-road speeds in comparison to a Road Bike, all the while providing options to carry luggage. Similar to MTBs, most Hybrid cycles are made of aluminium, with a smaller segment made of steel. Hybrid bikes weigh similar to MTB bikes between 10 – 12 kilograms. 

Tyre width of Hybrids is a compromise of the thin efficient tyres of Road Bikes; and fat grippy tyres of an MTB bike. 

The frames of Hybrid bikes are designed to be ergonomically comfortable while maintaining reasonable sportiness. Hybrid cycles with emphasis on speed come with a rigid (non-suspension) fork either made with steel or carbon. 

Note : A special variant or mutation of Hybrid Cycles are Touring Cycles. Touring Cycles are designed to eat up large distances while carrying heavy loads for journeys lasting many weeks or months at length. Touring Cycles hence are designed to be very sturdy and comfortable. Speed is compromised for reliability and the frames come with enough eyelets and mounts to accessorize multiple luggage racks.

Being an all-round bike, Hybrid bikes are equally at home in the busy city streets, paved highways and country roads. Average speeds of Hybrid cyclists may vary between 18 km/h to 25 km/h depending on the road surface.

Hybrid Bikes are recommended for beginner cyclists or users who are looking at cycles to go on excursions exploring the city or countryside. With hybrid touring cycles, users can even explore the world.

Advertisements

3. Mountain Bikes

Mountain Terrain Bikes or MTBs are bulky in appearance, have fat tyres and have good ground clearance.  MTBs are designed to be used on rough terrain ranging from unpaved roads, gravel paths and technical trails. They are purpose-built to take on all types of terrain and gradients. 

MTBs are generally heavier than road bikes and the majority of MTBs are made of aluminium followed by a smaller segment made with carbon or steel. On average MTB bikes weigh between 10-13 kilograms.

All true MTBs have thick tyres on double wall rims. Most modern Mountain Bikes also come with a suspension.  Mountain Bikes having a suspension in the back in addition to the front suspension are known as Full Suspension Bikes. Most Mountain Bikes have wide straight handlebars and the riding posture generally varies between 45 – 60 degrees depending on sporty usage of the bike. 

Average speeds of MTBs vary between 10 – 11 km/h on technical single track trails to about 20 km/h on unpaved roads.   

MTB Bikes are recommended for beginner cyclists thanks to its hardiness and all-terrain credentials.  Indian urban roads often offer many opportunities for the MTB rider to test his/her MTB skills.

Advertisements

Summary

Road BikesHybrid BikesMountain Bikes
Meant for paved roadsSome off-road MTB abilities mixed with a compromised road bike design for paved roadsMTBs are designed to be used on rough terrain ranging from unpaved roads, gravel paths and technical trails
Lightweight aluminium frame and thin wheelsAluminium and steel frames with thin wheels, but thicker than a road bikeAluminium and steel frames with thick wheels and greater ground clearance
Drop down handlebars and aggressive streamlined postureFlat handlebars for comfort and ergonomic posture
Straight handlebars with a front as well as rear suspension with a straight or aggressive posture depending on type of ride
Average speeds on 25 – 35 km/hAverage speeds on 18 – 25 km/hAverage speeds on 10 -12 km/h on trails and upto 20km/h on paved roads
Ideal for people who want to discover speed or athletes who want intense cardiovascular exerciseIdeal for beginner cyclists or users who are looking at cycles to go on excursions exploring the city or countrysideIdeal for beginner cyclists thanks to its hardiness and all-terrain credentials or for individuals who want to cycle on trails
*Note : City cycles are not a part of this table since they’re mainly meant for commute and not for regular or leisure riding.
Advertisements

4. City Cycles/Crusiers*

‍The design philosophy of city cycles is to help the user commute short distances in urban landscapes without having to change out of their daily wear. The two main types of city cycles are Classic City Cycles and Folding Cycles. Both these cycles have an upright 90-degree riding posture, a wide comfortable saddle, with full mudguards and chain guards. 

Most city cycles are made of steel followed by a few aluminium cycles when the objective of the model becomes more about a fast city commute. Most steel frame Classic City and Folding cycles weigh between 14 – 16 kilograms.

Advertisements

Folding Cycles have a  unique feature, in that they can be collapsed into portable dimensions and transported by the rider transiting between different modes of transport. The folded dimension also helps in storing the bike in compact spaces.  
A commuter can get to a train or bus station on his/her Folding Cycle.  He/She can then instantly collapse the cycle and then carry it along till the destination bus stand and then cycle the last mile to the destination. The intermodal possibilities of folding cycles are endless.

Classic City Cycles and Folding Cycles have an upright 90-degree posture, a wide comfortable saddle, with most cycles fitted with full mudguards and chain guards. 

A city commuter can maintain an average speed of up to 15 km/h on short distance commutes between 2 to 5 kilometres.

Note : Electric Bikes have also now jumped into the scene for commute within the city. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a vast improvement in this type of bikes with longer ranges, more efficient battery and higher speeds.

City Cycles are recommended to commuters, looking at a comfortable cycle for commuting short distances in urban city landscapes.

Advertisements

Step 2 : Fix a budget

Quality bikes for adults start around around 12000 – 15000. (Many department-store bikes you see for less are cheaply made, poorly assembled, and will be 100 percent be un-fun to ride). But a good bike will last, which means you’ll get far more out of it. Hence it is important that you buy a bike that’ll last you for atleast a couple of years, because resale values on bikes ain’t very high. Here’s what you can expect for your money:

₹12000 – ₹15000 : A sturdy metal frame, rigid fork or basic front suspension, a wide-range drivetrain (anywhere from 7-24 speeds), rim brakes or cable-activated disc brakes. Usually, a quality MTB falls under this price range.

₹18000 – 27000 : This is the starting or an ideal range for an average hybrid bike. It also depends on a lot of factors including the frame and brand of the bike, but you can get a great bike that’ll last you for years in this range.

₹25000 – ₹100000+ : A decent road bike starts at this price, however you’re better off spending slightly more and buying one which will last you a long time and which you won’t grow out of. Road bikes very easily cross a six figure mark.

Advertisements

NOTE :

  • Buying a bicycle can be very tricky. Like buying a phone or any other piece of consumer technology, it is very important to set a hard budget or range before indulging in this activity, because a few thousand more and you’d get some additional features and then a little more and little more etc etc.
  • Although this is a major expense, this isn’t the only expense when you want to start this activity. You’d also need to spend some more money on buying some basic accessories which are very necessary.
  • For example – A helmet, some padded bike shorts, a bike lock (Yeah! Nobody is going to give you a lock for free), some headlights and tail lights, gloves, etc.
  • Be mindful and don’t spend your entire budget on simply the bicycle.
Advertisements

Step 3 : Where to Buy

There are multiple places where you can buy quality bikes these days. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Dealer-direct (online)

  • Pros: Access to a brand’s full line; better selection on prior-model year sales.
  • Cons: No test ride; Might not be able to avail retailer offers or get proper guidance with other accessories.

Online retailer

  • Pros: Often the most aggressive pricing for new bikes; prior-year sales.
  • Cons: No test ride; returns are a hassle; must assemble yourself.

Local shop

  • Pros: Brand-authorized; expert help; service plans and discounts; better guidance overall.
  • Cons: Often the most expensive; limited selection; might sell a prior year model if you haven’t researched well.

OLX/Others

  • Pros: Cheapest deals available; can buy new or used.
  • Cons: Zero warranty; prone to scams; must hunt for right model/size.
Advertisements

Step 4 : How to shop

1. Research

Once you’ve narrowed down your bike to one to three styles, it’s time to do some online research. Start with our best bike series, then head to manufacturer websites for more. Compare features like frame material, gearing, and brakes on different brands in your price range. Check the sizing, which varies from brand to brand, and use the size finder to determine what works for you. And yeah, think about colour and graphics.

Use the manufacturer’s dealer finder to find a shop in your area that carries the brand. Call ahead and ask if they have the model you want (or something close to it) in the right size. Ask whether you need to schedule a test ride. You’ll want to test the bike in conditions as close as possible to what you’ll ride in real life. Scout the area around the shop for any bike paths where you can safely sort things out, and find a good hill to test the gearing range and brakes.

2. Test Ride

Dress the part: Wear whatever you plan to wear when riding. Bring your ID and a credit card even if you don’t plan to buy that day, as you’ll likely need to leave them with the shop during the test. Ask shop staff to set up the bike for you—adjusting the seat, inflating the tires, setting the suspension will give you the proper fit. If you’re unfamiliar with how any parts work, ask for a demonstration.

A good test ride takes around 10 minutes. Get comfortable first, and ask the shop to re adjust anything that doesn’t feel right. Then, get out and ride!

Shift through all the gears, see how the bike handles around corners. Does the steering feel quick and responsive? Slow and stable? (There’s no wrong answer, just what feels best to you.) Are the gears low enough to let you climb steep hills at a comfortable pace? Do the brakes stop you quickly and safely? Is the bike comfortable to sit on?

Advertisements

3. Find And Reach Out To Veteran Bikers Around You/Online

It is very likely that you were influenced/motivated to buy a bike because you saw a close friend having fun while engaging in this activity. It could also be that your favourite influencer started cycling or you came across a biker’s happening profile. Ask them questions.

More often not (based on my personal experience), these friends or social media personalities are highly knowledgable and nice enough to help you out with your doubts. You may also get to hear things/guidelines from them which maybe a seller would intentionally/unintentionally omit or ignore. It could also simply be that talking about it led to certain considerations that you’d earlier not given much thought to.

It’s always good to talk about this and make a systematic decision.

4. Be Patient, Check All Your Options

Irrespective of which city you’re in, never buy a bike in your first visit to a bike shop unless you’ve decided on what bike to buy and are very well informed about it’s prices. It is good to navigate through 2-3 specialized bike shops in your area and see what they have to offer. Quite seldom, you may find some price differences (not huge) but more so, adjoining offers with the bike on accessories which make it worth your while.

Remember, a bike is a long term investment. If taken proper care of, it’ll pay you back more than it’s cost (not literally) in terms of happiness, joy, fitness and health.

Note : For more updates, please follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Advertisements

29 comments

  1. Wow! Just the read I need. Had to shift from running (which has been wow) to cycling. Injury. Still learning to love cycling. Planning to buy. India. Any pointers Bombay Ficus will be welcome.
    Thanks

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great write-up, very insightful and detailed. I just bought my first bike in nearly 20 years and went with a hybrid gravel grinder from Trek. I am pretty tough on everything I own so I went for the higher end package with better brakes and assorted gear. All said, at the end of the day it was about $950 USD, not sure where that lands on your financial spectrum but thought it might be useful to share. So far it has proven fun, durable, and useful for everything from pleasure rides to commuting.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “(Many department-store bikes you see for less are cheaply made, poorly assembled, and will be 100 percent be un-fun to ride).”
    Truer words have never been writ!
    Thank you so much for following my blog.
    Just wanted to stop by and this title caught my eye.
    (Wonder why!)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to The Sad Owl Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: