Buying a bicycle in Bangalore

(It turned out to be a long post, but I hope this helps you buy the right bike)

7th May 2009

I had a tough time selecting the right bike for me! When I come to think of it, it actually took me much longer to pick a bike than it took me to buy a car!

Why do I need a bike?

1. Weight wise, I am a bit (hmm… actually a lot) on the heavier side, so I wanted myself to engage in a physical activity, which gives me a good workout (Running is great! But running alone becomes a pain sometimes…)

2. I am becoming a bit cautious of how we (humans) are screwing up this world for the generations to come. Be it Global Warming, Pollution, Energy Crisis, Obesity!

3. Most of my weekends (actually it’s just the Sunday that we take off) include catching-up with my sleep, watching a movie, occasionally reading something etc…. all the boring stuff that I am sure you guys do as well. I wanted to get out and explore places around Bangalore (and what better way to do it than on a bike)

(enough now! I am sure you have similar reasons)

How much was my budget?

So the first thing I got asked when I went to bicycle shop in Jayanagar was “How much is your budget?” Well, I hadn’t thought of a figure yet, I wanted to get an idea of how much do bikes cost these days! I said “close to 3000, and I want a bike with gears” (because as far I can remember when I left cycling around 12 years ago, bikes used to cost around 1000 for a decent bike and I thought the rates would have tripled at max). The shopkeeper smiled, and said “sir itne mein to kuch nahi milega”. I was surprised. Was it just Bangalore or do bikes now cost much more than that? I came back and googled for the brands that I could recall. It was Hero and BSA. Spend a whole day researching on net and found out that there is a new Indian brand that has come up called Firefox. So I almost finalized on a couple of bikes and they were all between 6,000 and 8,000. I though that’s ok, I can manage to spend that much on a bike. It would get me in shape and I would have fun over the weekends – all this while saving the world! I was about to go to a shop the next Sunday, and I googled for reviews of a Firefox bike. It somehow took me to bums on the saddle website, and I thought let me check them out. The bikes on their websites were expensive, starting from around 17,000. I thought let me checkout what’s so special about these bikes anyways…

I called up Rohan and he said I could come on a Saturday morning. I was traveling to Delhi for work, so I visited BOTS 2 Saturday after that. The first question that I got asked was “What do you need the bike for?” (Ah! Finally, a question that I had the answer for!). Rohan explained the differences between different TREK models that they had, why were they costlier than Heros and BSAs of this world. Guys at BOTS were kind enough to let me test ride a few models of TREK and I could understand what he was saying and how could that be potentially correct, but I had to ride the hero and firefox bikes that I had kinda short listed to really feel the difference.

I went back to the same shop in Jayanagar and he somehow agreed to let me ride the bikes in 50 meters circles within his shop. I could feel a world of a difference between any of the 6-8K even 12K firefox bike and the TREK 3700 (the entry level bike ~ 17,000).

So I was in a fix again! I wasn’t sure if I would ride that much to justify the 17K that I put into a TREK bike. So I gave myself a week to let it settle down in my mind and if the fire to ride a bike was still so strong I would go and buy a TREK.

During that week, someone mentioned that there is a big store called Decathlon that we should go and checkout and see if LifeMojo should become a reseller for them. I had a look at their website and wow, they had bicycles starting from 25K. I googled decathlon bikes and figured out that these guys are a good brand in Europe. I spoke to them over phone and they said they are coming out with a big store near Surjapur and their entry level bike starts around 11K. I thought it might be worthwhile to wait for them to setup the store and checkout their bikes as well. I checked with Rohan and he said they might have good bikes in India too.

Then I got super busy with LifeMojo and couldn’t get time to check out any of the bikes for a couple of weeks.

The fire was still on! I came back from a trip to Delhi and Hyderabad and the first thing that I wanted to do was to get a bike and start riding. I had decided on TREK 3700 and the only brand left to checkout was Decathlon. I went to the store and rode almost all the models that they had.

Decathlon is a bit slow in updating their website with the latest that they have. So I couldn’t check the specs of the bike before making the decision. I relied on Rohan’s feedback, tried their 5.1 and 5.2 models. I had kind of made my mind about the 5.1 because of how much it costs, but when I tried 5.2, I fell in love with it. It is a super neat bike!

Finally took the plunge, bought the 5.2 and am super happy with it now.

27th September 2009

The cost justification

Justifying the cost of buying an expensive bike is the major cause that I have heard for people to go with sub quality bikes… So here is what I have been doing with the new bike:

1. Sundays: I ride every weekend either on Nandi Hills, or in the BBCh events.

2. Weekdays: I ride 4 out of rest 6 days around 25 Km each day. (A bonus that I hadn’t thought of)

3. I have lost 6 Kg since I bought the bike.

4. I am already thinking about upgrading to a Road Bike ( which would cost even more ? )

How good is the Bike? Here is a review that I wrote after a month of riding and I still feel the same way about the bike.

I hope this helps you make a good decision on buying a good bike…

32 comments ↓

#1 Kiran Jonnalagadda on 09.27.09 at 11:04 am

Thanks, Namit.

I deliberated for over a year because I wasn’t sure I would ride it after buying it (my commute at that time was 20km from Hulimavu to Rajajinagar and I was in no shape to bike it). I finally took the plunge after moving to Langford Town, but bought a “cheap” Rs 6000 aluminium bike, because I wasn’t sure I would use it enough. I didn’t. For two years, the farthest I went on that bike was 5km, and that was from the shop to home. My daily ride was a mere 1km each way.

Today I do 30km 2-3 days a week quite comfortably, and I’m finally convinced about spending on a good bike, although it’ll have to wait until later in the year when I can afford it.

Incidentally, how much did the 5.2 cost?

#2 namit on 09.28.09 at 9:28 am

@Kiran I bought 5.2 for 15.5 K from the Decathlon Store (as a reseller) MRP is I guess 17 K.

#3 RR on 01.06.10 at 7:45 pm

Hi

Good post , I am also thinking of buying a bike.

I still dont get what makes a bike so expensive ? I see some bikes selling from 40K and above ? How can a bike be so expensive – are they simply cashing in because some people have money to burn ?

Thanks

#4 namit on 01.06.10 at 8:12 pm

@RR

Initially, I had trouble understanding why the hell are all these bikes so expensive. Now after riding one for a while, I can feel that the components are actually superior to the ones that I can find on Indian brands. Everyone says the most important thing is the frame and I have no idea on how to judge the quality of the frames. So, I take companies’ and riders’ word for it and trust that they would be good. As far as the set of shifters, brakes (i guess) and derailleurs are concerned, I guess SRAM and Shimano have a huge range of products that you can have a look at. And the *are* really different.
I would say don’t worry about it right now and buy the bike you are comfortable with. I guess everyone realizes what they want, once they start riding…

#5 Satish on 01.18.10 at 10:56 pm

Dear Friend,
Nice to see sharing your experience. I am also planning to buy a bicycle. Getting confused which one to go for. Last weekend I had few shop visits near K R Market. I found Hercules ACT 110 and Hero Octane bikes. Now I am getting confused of which one to go for. I am planning to take bike to office on every Friday (The current plan). My office is around 8-9 Km from my home. I want to go for a very comfortable, less strainful bike to cover this distance.
Would you like to give some suggessions to me!!!

#6 namit on 02.25.10 at 9:28 am

@Satish when I was considering to buy a bike, I tried them all out. I think it was Rohan @ BOTS who said “Buying a Bike is like buying a nice digital SLR vs a automatic digital cam. A good camera pushes you to do great things…” This is something that I totally understand now. If I had any other bike that I tried, I might not have had the courage to go on long weekend trips. It is about your comfort with the bike that you ride! I guess you should ride them and decide which bike is best for you…

#7 sunil on 06.08.10 at 6:21 pm

Hi Namit
This is excellent review. I just had been to a RR cycles, Yeshwathpur. And the owner was nice to allow me to try few brands there. And first one i tried was BTwin 5.3 I think. I just fell in luv with this thing. Then I realised the difference between good bikes and cheap ones.
Now it is always on my mind. called up LifeMojo to book one. They asked me to goto their Sarjapur road reseller store and try out all models and decide which one suits me.
Can;t wait to have one soon and start enjoying my rides.

#8 Munegowda on 11.04.10 at 10:49 am

Helpfull reviews
i’m a bangalorean currently residing in mandya. I always wanted to own a good cycle n bought hero hawk for 3k. Now i would like to buy more sturdy n good bicycle to visit nearby tourist places in and around mandya n mysore. Can anybody give me the details bout models n prices of bycycles rangin between 5k to 10 k. U can mail me on mgowdakc@gmail.com or 9844442744. Any place in mysore would be more helpfull.

#9 Ravi on 11.09.10 at 8:06 pm

I was thiniking twice , thrice i donno about buying a bike worth 20k.. now i think its ok.. you guys have already gone through this phase.. i wil buy one soon..

#10 Anand on 01.16.11 at 1:24 am

Hi Namit and others who have blogged here.. It is good to share experiences, specially for topics like these, where we may not expect to find much information on internet, let alone for Bangalore. I plan to buy a bicycle. It would be for short distance riding like upto 3 kms or so. After reading the posts in this blog, I plan to visit RR Cycles, other cycle shops in Gandhinagar and Chickpet. There wouldn’t be much difference in branded cycles. The local ones as everyone is saying would be lesser, both price wise and comfort wise. I would look for second hand too on internet.

#11 Aditi on 02.01.11 at 11:22 am

Hi Namit,
Its a great post..thank you for your time on this valuable review…I own a Hercules MTB…till now i was happy with it…however, now since i started cycling to office regularly, which is a good 30 km to and fro, and also cycle around 30-40 kms on weekends, i feel little uncomfortable on my MTB…i’m planning to buy a better road bike…it would be great if you could suggest some models…

#12 namit on 02.01.11 at 2:41 pm

@Aditi Thanks for the kind words. Rohan Kini @ BOTS (http://www.bumsonthesaddle.com/) is the best guy to ask for the perfect fit for you. I have a BTwin Sport 1 (coz it was the most affordable road bike I could find) Let me know if you want to try it before you buy…

#13 Aditi on 02.12.11 at 11:23 am

Thank you Namit, I will contact Rohan…by the way, is BTwin a good brand?

#14 Bhushan on 04.01.11 at 10:43 pm

This is very useful article. Are la-sovereign bikes good ones? I am looking to buy the Alfa model. Any comments on this? The website is: http://www.la-sovereign.com/popup.php?qry=75&color=1

#15 hanumanth on 04.06.11 at 8:34 pm

hello namit and others
i enjoyed going thru all the posts. it has been most helpful. i too have been thinking of buying a bicycle for many a reason, as stated in the posts. thanks for the tips and i think i too will call rohan and ask his advice for the right bike for me. tks agn!

#16 Nibras on 06.24.11 at 7:00 pm

Gonna one. Thanks for the post. Same dilemma – but gonna buy it :)

#17 Karthik on 10.15.11 at 12:41 pm

Great post mate!
Just what I was looking for.
I am in a similar situation as you were earlier. Sold my last cycle 10 yrs back. Want to get back to cycling now.
Was a middle distance runner in school days.I just run to keep up my fitness these days.

Met this guy at this restaurant yesterday who came in a Btwin cycle(never heard of it before that , Hero and BSA is all that I knew about)
Had a long conversation about his bike and why he chose this new brand.
I was thinking of dropping by to BOTS that you have mentioned at jayanagar. But it looks like BOTS has only firefox there?
The guy I met yest told me that Btwin makes better cycles that firefox. Correct me if I am wrong here.

I am currently in a rush to search for a good cycle.

#18 Praveen on 10.24.11 at 12:52 pm

yesterday eveing i bought Btwin 5.2 in byatran pura near yallanka it cost me 14.9 i really loved this bike …..
just waiting to go home for first ride on it…..
will update experience after taking small warm up ride…….

#19 Anantha on 11.03.11 at 3:43 pm

Hi all, I have seen ppl crazy about buying BULLET but makes me more happy to see ppl planning about cycling. Me too a proud owner of TREK 4300, before buying that bike I had rented TREK 4300-D for our first cycle trip from Hassan to Udupi. I never after a very long gap, say 6 years ago, or imagined of cycling such distance over up and down the hills in two days. I thought I was good at cycling but it was the Trek bike which made me think like that. Then I decided to buy my own Trek 4300 and did lot more cycle trips :) I would suggest all to rent different brand cycle on every weekend (might cost 200-300 max per day), ride max kms as much as you can and then decide as per your budget. Feel free to ask Rohan (bumsonsaddle) cause he will suggest as per your need and frame size as per your height. GO GREEN!!

@Aditi: BTwin is good brand too. You too can have a trial run in Decathlon located at Sarjapur Road.

@Namit: nice blog and good to share your experience cause it really helps a lot others to take one step forward to buy the cycle :)

#20 Anusha on 11.10.11 at 11:34 am

I am Thinking of buying a bicycle…… can ny1 suggest me which 1 I should go for?

#21 Krishna on 11.26.11 at 8:22 pm

Hi Namit

1. Between the bike that you bought and Trek, which was more comfortable? Had you chosen over Trek just because of the price difference?
2. Does Dcathalon store also sell Trek?

Thanks in advance

Regards
Krishna

#22 SD on 12.08.11 at 10:20 pm

Hi Namit et al:

Like many posted on your blog, I left my cycling 15 years ago. The last was on a used multigear MTB i had bought in Canada when i moved in there. I wanted to teach my daughter cycling and we had got her a quad bike a while ago, while she rode in then in our independent house terrace, the moment the side wheels came off, the bike got pushed to a corner and time ran by. I couldn’t have taken her outside as we lived on a busy street and i was not too comfortable having her learn there.

We recently moved to a apartment complex that has a huge area around. This raised my enthusiasm and i got her old bike greased and cleaned up to get started. The moment she got on it without the side wheels, she didn’t want to go nowhere and without support wheels and I went and got new support wheels added in the shop nearby. After coming back home and when she tried it, I realized that the support wheels were much lower than they should making it hard for her to peddle. That’s when the idea of getting he a new bike came in. Besides this i felt she had outgrown her bike that she got few years back, she is just about to be 8 now.

So began the search. I stay close to Metro and had a membership, i figured let me go check there. They had a few BSA bikes for her but nothing was quite in ship-shape to buy, the folks in the shop took my number and said they are expecting new stock and would call me in a week two weeks time. This was Diwali time then. My next stop was Decathlon. I went there and checked out the bikes. They had few that was of her size, but none with support wheels. I took her with me and she just wouldn’t get on them as they didn’t give her the comfort.

Finally, after few weeks of wait, i went back to Metro, didn’t know of BOTS or any other shops then and saw a tall enough bike from BSA with side wheels. As nothing else was available, i debated for a while and went ahead and bought it at ~4K. I found a local cycle shop on the way and got it overhauled and got it ready for her to ride. As support wheels were there, my kiddo was excited to try it out and she took it around the block for a few days and i saw her confidence in peddling well while holding the handle straight. One evening, we decided that we would get the side wheels removed and I promised her that she would be able to bike on her own in under a week. Hesitant she agreed to go with my plan. And it was a sunday the most shops to remove were closed. The folks from the building maintenance came handy and they helped remove the side wheels. The security office folks has a pump that was useful to inflate the tyres and so we were ready.

What followed for a structured training program, i initially tried to hold the carrier at the back while she tried to peddle and soon enough i realized that my back was going for a toss so came a brilliant idea to hold the handle bar in the middle and help her peddle. i have never taught biking to anyone before and i learnt on my dad’s old cycle eons ago just on my own. Luckily this worked like a charm.

Each day we tried to do 5 rounds around the block which is almost 5kms. There were all variants (flat, uphill, downhill). By day 3 i could let go of the handle and she started pedaling few rounds before screaming for me. and by the end of day-5 she was on her own. Phew…mission accomplished.

It has been two weeks since that and she has been doing great completely on her own. I run behind her just to be sure she is okay, but she does not need me for anything but to carry her water bottle. i also had her do some circles in the garage area so she gets more confidence and that she is doing quite well. This is when i started to feel that may be i should get myself a bike so we could go biking together.

I like adventure stuff like hiking and all and am into it well enough, but biking is something, i have not been keen on. My work place is 30 kms away (one way) and with the allergies i have got i am not sure i could get to use bike to go to work. more over i am not confident as yet that i could. I think i am relatively fit, but my regular swimming habit has come to a stand still after moving to the apartment. Though there is a private pool nearby, its seldom clean and there is less motivation to go there. Having gotten into hiking a bit and getting to the everest base camp early this year, i have more plan in the coming summer and i feel i am not getting my body to stay fit.

So, like most who wrote, i started looking for bikes, thought MTB could be a better start, also felt perhaps getting a used bike is better and kind of made my mind to spend 8-9K to get a decent used one. Logged on to Quikr and all to see if i could find a good one, no luck there yet. I already have too many vehicles in the house, with 2 cars and 2 bikes, trying to invest into something on a bike that too like 15-20K will surely come under budget review in the house and will get shot down as I myself am not sure that i would be able to go biking such long distance. I hope i do, but its too early to say.

Also, some folks said firefox is not great it rusts, you should get a trek or a cannondale or something like schwinn. These are all new names to me and a quick check of BOTS website tells me that the price of a bike starts of 25K. I am not sure i am there yet to go make such an big spend on it.

I like someone’s idea to rent bikes over weekends and try it out, which i will do. I wonder what your thoughts are on a used bike, still in good shape and maintained well, how hard are they to find around here in bangalore.

I would appreciate some thoughts on this from you and folks who are reading this.

#23 Rahul on 12.11.11 at 8:57 pm

I am convinced on that fact that the investment on a expensive bike pays off.

I have left cycling around 15 years back , those days i used to cycle a lot , i miss my first bike the BSA SLR. Today i want to get back to this activity mainly for the fun of biking and keeping fit .Today biking is the trendiest thing with all the global brand being available in India. I want to try out different models before i invest on a expensive bike .Do we get these bikes on rent in Bangalore?? so that i try them out. Since i have been out of action for long time i want to be convinced that i dont have any health issue like knee pains etc before i invest.

Any suggestions….

#24 gani on 12.17.11 at 11:11 am

Hi namit…im just thinkin to buy a bicycle.visited some sowrooms in SJP road..and i couldn’t able to decide whether i should go for Hercules Rodeo A300 or Hero Octane…n my money range s between 8k-10k…help me out..

#25 jaskeerat on 01.17.12 at 12:02 pm

Hi Namit.. for a long time i have been dilly-dallying on buying a bike vs buying a bi-cycle, so i decided to google how much does a bike cost and how convenient is it to bike around in bangalore, that is the time i came across your website, and on reading the post have instantly decided to buy a bi-cycle! Thank you for an insightful review & sharing your experiences..

I hope many more people get into biking for a cleaner planet & a healthier lifestyle!

Regards

#26 satyarup siddhanta on 02.08.12 at 7:40 am

Any shops in bangalore you want to recommend? Where I can get after sale service too?I am looking for Btwin 5.2 …or 5.1 not sure, only after riding I will decide.

#27 namit on 03.05.12 at 6:15 pm

Try out BOTS : http://www.bumsonthesaddle.com/
Rohan is a great guy, he will help you decide and fit your bike.

#28 Bharath on 05.27.12 at 4:00 am

Did anyone get a chance to check out LIVESTRONG FX from TREK?

http://www.trekbikes.com/int/en/bikes/road/fitness/fx/livestrong_fx/#

This seems to be a good bet for those looking for a fitness bike.

Inputs please.

Regards,
Bharath

#29 Pankaj on 06.07.12 at 10:24 am

Hi all,

Adding my two bits of advise, The cycle you buy makes a difference between whether you will continue to ride after the initial josh or stop and dump the bike. A good bike has a very good chance that you will continue to cycle and a bad cycle there is a very good chance that you may stop after the initial josh wears off.
It has been my story so far I had quit cycling some 22 yrs ago and then one day 4 years ago i thought let me start cycling again but i was not sure if i will be able to make it hence i went and brought a second hand cycle Hercules with gears, The cycling experience was soo bad that i thought i did not have it in me to cycle after such a long period. And i promptly dumped the cycle in the garage after couple of years the bike got stolen from the garage(I hope the guy who brought it from thief doesn’t suffer like i did and quit cycling all together) Then one fine morning i saw some one cycle past me in a shining bike and that again set me off in the direction of cycling this time i did a fairly good research and decided to buy a good quality cycle but with my previous cycling experience, i was not too sure how long this new found zeal will last hence i wanted to invest in a good bike but not too very expensive.
Since i was on a project in Hyderabad i had some time with me so rented a couple of bikes in Hyderabad from a shop called thebikeaffair.com they have a good scheme were in if you buy a cycle after renting it for a day or two then they don’t charge you rent also. few days of cycling on the rented Btwin 5.0 i thought it was ok and i went out and brought a Btwin 5.0 Mind you my wife was dead against buying the bike as she was conviced that i will dump it after a week, but since then it has been about two months and i have been riding and i am feeling pretty good about it. I hopping that cycling would help me quit the butt also.

My only advice is don’t crib while buying a bike and regret it later, buy a decent bike and chances are that you will be hooked to cycling

Regards
Pankaj

#30 Venkatesh M D on 06.25.12 at 5:10 pm

Hi,
I have one query. I have decided that I will buy a bike. The agenda it to use it for commuting to work place which is 13 kms from my place. I have only one fear in my mind which is that in Bangalore it often rains. Would it be safe driving in such weather? What are the cautions I need to take?

#31 Antony K S on 08.14.12 at 10:56 pm

Hi,
I am 48 & after almost 26 years, I started cycling about 6 months back on my son’s Schwin Frontier sport, loved it & thought it was the best until I happened to ride my niece’s cannodale. I ride 30 to 35 kms daily on the Schwin & on Sunday’s it is 50 to 60. Now I want to upgrade to a better cycle but undecided between picking up Cannondale or a Trek. My budget is about 30 to 35k. Can someone guide me. I am 5.4

#32 Ashwin on 08.18.12 at 3:54 pm

Hi,

First of all, cheers to namit for the excellent review. Good job bro. Now, cheers to the rest for sharing their thoughts. I was on the verge of buying a bike this weekend, that is today. But now I guess I’ll wait and give it more thought on which one to go for. Thanks to all the above who have written on this page. And feel free to post if anyone wants to give any kinda advice/suggestion.

I am a pilot in the navy and in vizag at the moment. Stay near the hills and my idea for buying a bicycle is for recreation and keeping fit. Intend to cycle about 20 k daily on hilly road terrain.

Thanks and regards.

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