(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…