Are you thinking about taking up cycling to improve your fitness levels? Or is it a childhood hobby you’re looking to discover? There are tons of benefits of cycling and If the answer’s yes to any of them, then buying the right cycle is the first thing you need to ace (no, the one you rode as a 14 year old may no longer be suitable!)
There are a lot of things to consider when buying a bicycle- for example, what kind of terrain you’ll be riding on, how long you’ll be riding, how much time you’re willing to spend in maintenance, and why you want to cycle - is it for recreational or fitness purposes?. Sure, it can be overwhelming - but that’s why we’re here! Read on for everything you need to know about buying a cycle suited to your needs:
Where to purchase - Online vs offline
If you’re wondering what mode of purchase to consider, keep in mind the following about shopping for cycles both online and offline:
- You may find multiple websites selling similar products, so you could get a better deal
- Delivery is taken care of by the retailer / e-commerce portal
- However, you cannot actually see or test the model in real life until the purchase has been made
- The biggest benefit of buying offline is that you can see the physical features of the bike and test it out to see if it suits you
- Sales persons in specialised bike shops are knowledgeable about the sport and models, and can advise you on the best cycle for your need
- However, you may find offline stores limited in terms of variety - you may not find exactly what you’re looking for, and you could have a waiting period of 2-3 months
Across online and offline modes of payment, ensure you check for r returns/replacement guarantee, warranty if any, strength of the brand (is it proven, has high ratings and reviews, across major platforms), servicing options.
Once you’ve decided how to buy your cycle, here’s a checklist to keep handy when making your choice.
What to Consider when Buying a Cycle
How to buy a cycle? - a question that sounds quite simple but tends to get a little complicated as you approach the moment of truth (that store with a hundred cycles displayed can be daunting!) Let's try and make things simpler.
Be clear on why you’re choosing to cycle. Is it going to be just a way to unwind and up your fitness levels? Or are you seriously considering it as a sport? This will have a major impact on the kind of bicycle you choose.
Type of Bicycle
As mentioned earlier, the type of bicycle you buy will depend on factors such as the terrain you plan to ride on, how often and how long you plan to ride, and of course, your budget. Here’s a quick overview of the kinds of bicycles you’ll find in the market
- Mountain bike
These are designed to withstand shocks and handle bumps, rocks, and muddy trails. They come with lower gears as compared to road bikes, flat handlebars, and full suspension. Check out Urban Terrain’s range of mountain bikes here.
- City bike
A city bike, as the name suggests, is built for rides on flat, urban roads. They’re easy to maneuver and require minimal maintenance, making it perfect for activities such as running errands or cycling to work. Urban Terrain has a great range of city bikes for you to choose from.
- Road cycles
These are built for racing and fast riding on paved roads. They usually come with high gears that allow riders to hit high speeds, and with low handles so the cyclist can bend low and cut air resistance.
Type of Frame
- Once again, the kind of frame material you choose will depend on your budget and how you intend to use the cycle. The are four major materials to choose from:
- Aluminium is fairly affordable and lightweight, ideal for shorter rides on smooth terrain. With the proper design, it’s fairly durable and long-lasting.
- Carbon fiber frames do a relatively better job of absorbing shocks and road vibrations, but they are usually the most expensive. However, it is relatively more susceptible to damage from falls and collisions.
- Titanium frames are long-lasting and lightweight. They’re optimal for mountain bikes and can be repaired easily. However, these too are quite pricey.
- Steel is long-lasting and heavier than other materials. It’s ideal for custom bike designs but can be a little expensive.
Type of Gear
Choose a gear type based on the kind of riding you’re looking to do and how much maintenance you’re willing to put into it. There are a couple of major types to choose from:
- Hub gears have service intervals ranging between 3000-5000 km, and are great for commuters looking for a sturdy, low-maintenance ride. Hub gear systems range from 3 to up to 14 gears, and are thus suitable for different kinds of terrain.
- A derailleur is a toggle-operated mechanism that allows cyclists to shift chains from one sprocket to another. A sprocket is a mechanical wheel with small notches designed to rotate and engage with the links of a chain or belt. Most derailleur setups have 27-30 speeds, which means you can easily find the optimal gear for the terrain you’re on and the speed you’re riding at.
Wheel sizes follow different standards (European, American,International Organization for Standardization or ISO etc), so choosing the right one can be especially tricky. You will ideally need to sit on the bike and gauge what’s right for you.
Before making the purchase, make sure you do your research on:
- The wheel diameter
A larger diameter would result in a smoother, more stable ride, but will make it harder to change directions. Conversely, a smaller wheel diameter will make turning, acceleration, and deceleration easier, but will also mean a bumpier ride.
- The wheel width
Higher wheel width equals more stable ride, which makes it more suitable for first-time riders. Lesser width results in lower rolling resistance which makes your cycle faster.
Servicing, Accessories and Spare Parts
On regular use, cycles will inevitably need repairs and replacement parts - first, check for the model’s compatibility with accessories such as bells, bottle holders, air pumps, chain covers, wheel guards etc. And once you buy it, make sure to keep up regular maintenance. Here are a few tips:
- Fill air as per max pressure specified on the tires, keep it 10-15% lesser than that for better grip.
- Wipe the cycle frame and handles with a damp cloth after every ride to remove dirt. At least once a week, simply wrap the chain with a dry cloth, and then backpedal the drivetrain through it to wipe off the exterior muck. Alternatively, you could also use baby wipes. Once the chain is reasonably clean, you can re-apply lubricant as needed.
- Buy an allen key set to help tighten bolts that loosen due to regular usage.
Before you ride off into the sunset….
Once you’ve got the bicycle that’s just right for you, you’re ready to embark on a life-changing fitness journey.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with the range of bicycles available at Urban Terrain, a pan-India brand characterized by the 4 Cs:
Content - Mobile app tech to track your rides, popular routes, analytics
Coaching: Nutrition sessions, personalized diet plans, PT sessions
Care: Free at home installation across 29,000 pincodes and initial services
Community: A rich community to workout with, community events, group rides and trainings
Check out all the models on www.urbanterrain.in
Lastly, always remember - helmet on, earphones off, and pay attention to the road!