September 05, 2015

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Rim Vs Mechanical Disc Vs Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Mountain bikes and hybrids/fitness bikes come with three major brake set options - rim brakes, mechanical disc brakes and hydraulic disc brakes. But how does one decide which kind of brake set should they go for while looking for a bike? Well, we've got just the gyaan you'll be needing to make this decision.

How do brakes work?

All brake sets work in a very similar way. When the rider pulls on the lever, the cables or the fluid help compress the brake caliper. This in turn causes the brake pads to come in contact with the rim (in case of rim brakes) or with the rotor (in case of disc brakes). Hence, slowing down the bike or bringing it to a standstill.

Rim Brakes

Rim brakes come in several different types - v-brakes, u-brakes, cantilever brakes or direct pull brakes. On most of the entry level mountain bikes and hybrids with rim brakes, its the v-brakes that will be predominant.

Pros

  • Lighter than disc brakes
  • Less expensive than disc brakes
  • Mechanically very simple to maintain
  • Easier to repair in the middle of the ride if something goes wrong.

Cons

  • Braking is compromised in wet and muddy conditions
  • Brakes are less responsive and have less stopping power than disc brakes

Disc Brakes

On most of the non-entry level mountain bikes today, disc brakes have become the norm. They comprise of levers, cables or fluid depending on if its a mechanical disc brake or hydraulic disc brake, calipers, brake pads and rotors.

Pros

  • Respond consistently in all riding conditions
  • Braking effectiveness is not impacted by mud, rain, and snow because the pads and rotors are near the center of the wheel
  • Better stopping power than rim brakes
  • Require less force to be effective so easier on the hands

Cons

  • Heavier than v-brakes
  • More expensive than v-brakes
  • More complicated to set up and maintain than v-brakes

Hydraulic Vs Mechanical Disc Brakes

 

Advantages of mechanical disc brakes:

  • Easier to set up and maintain compared to hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Cost lesser than hydraulic disc brakes.

Disadvantages of mechanical disc brakes:

  • The level of modulation is less compared to hydraulic
  • Have to apply more pressure to brake than hydraulic brakes

With hydraulic mountain bike disc brakes, instead of a steel cable, hydraulic fluid pushes pistons inside the caliper, which compress the brake pads.

Advantages of Hydraulic disc brakes:

  • More precise control and sensitivity, which is good for technical riding
  • Don't have to use as much pressure to brake
  • Have a crisper feel than mechanical brakes

Disadvantages of hydraulic disc brakes:

  • More complicated mechanically to set up and maintain
  • Can not fix on the trail if they fail because of the special equipment that is needed

 

September 05, 2015

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Mountain Bikes : Hardtail Vs Full Suspension

For every biker looking to buy a mountain bike, the decision to choose between a hardtail and a full suspension bike is a very common one they are faced with. In general, baring downhill biking (where a full suspension bike is the norm), one can choose from either of the two options.

Hardtails

Mechanically simpler

Considering the fact that there is one less moving component set to take care of and run over maintenance cycles with, there is simply less to wear out or go wrong with the hardtail. This can only mean one thing - more time spent riding! However, as long as one runs their bike through a bike wash and clean up after riding in harsh conditions, this should not deter one from getting a full suspension bike. Also, a good full suspension bike will have components and pivots that can handle the abuse they would be put through during rough trail riding.

Cheaper

Simple logic holds true here. With the fact that there is one less component (the rear suspension) on a hardtail compared to a full suspension bike,  the cost of a hardtail ends up being cheaper than a full suspension bike for the same set of components on them (drivetrain, brake, frame material etc). So if you have a particular budget in mind, you will get a bike with better components if you go for a hardtail.

Lighter
The addition of a rear suspension and the pivots on the full suspension frame end up making the hardtail lighter. Manufactures do try to reduce the weight of a full suspension bike by using advanced material technology, but that ends up increasing the price of the bike.

Full Suspension Bikes

Better handling, especially on technical trails

The presence of a rear suspension means that the rider has better control over the bike on all sorts of terrain since the wheels track the ground better. This allows the rider to ride with more confidence and push the bike to further limits on technical and rocky terrain.

More Comfortable

With the rear suspension absorbing hits, your body doesn’t get pounded as hard by the trail. For long rides in particular, this means you’ll finish feeling a lot less beat up.

Faster

With the better control and handling that one is provided with, the fact that you will be more confident with the bike will allow you to push yourself and the bike faster. That is why downhill racers readily took to full suspension bikes the moment they were made available in the market.

Feel free to reach out to us to speak to one of our bike specialists to know more about the various mountain bikes that we have. We'll be happy to help you in this regard.

 

 

September 05, 2015

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Aluminium Vs Carbon Vs Steel Framesets

Most of the bike frames today are made from aluminium alloy, carbon fibre or steel. Yes we do have the occasional bike made from bamboo, or high end downhill bikes made from titanium, but predominantly its these three materials that dominate the cycling industry.

So you may ask, how do we decide on what should my frame be made up of while buying a bicycle?

Aluminium alloy

The 6061 aluminium alloy is the standard grade of aluminium used to make bicycle framesets. What defers from one manufacturer to the other is the welding and manufacturing technology used to make the frames using this material. Eg - Specialized bicycles uses their revolutionary Smartweld technology to manufacture some of the best aluminium bicycle frames in the industry. With advancements in material technology and manufacturing techniques, frames are getting lighter and stiffer day by day. All in all, a worthy cost effective option for bikes that can be used for daily commutes, weekend road/trail rides and your local city bicycle races.

Pros

  • Light
  • Strong
  • Stiff
  • Moulded easily
  • Won’t rust or corrode
  • Less expensive than carbon fibre

Cons

  • Harsh on rough roads
  • Can fatigue over time
  • Not easily repaired
  • Weak joints on the bikes at the lower end of the price spectrum.

Carbon Fibre

Most of the high end bikes are made from this material, and for a good reason. Be it the fact that carbon can be layered to make some of the stiffest frames that make them very race worthy, or the fact that it is the lightest of the three materials when it comes to making bikes that can accelerate out of the blocks with ease and help you climb up those steep gradients with lesser effort than on an aluminium or steel bike. For someone looking at getting the very best out of their ride experience, carbon fibre framesets are the way to go.

Pros

  • Lightest material
  • Strongest material
  • Stiffest material
  • Best shock absorption
  • Infinitely mouldable to any design
  • Flexible where it needs to be
  • Won’t rust or corrode like steel

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not all carbon is created equal (steer clear from cheap replicas and
  • Can crack/fracture
  • Strength and stiffness depend on design

Steel Frames

Steel has been available as an options for bicycle frame builders since time immemorial. The ease of availability and low costs associated with manufacturing and procuring this metal made it the preferred choice. The steel used for bicycles has undergone a lot of change over the course of time. Now a days one has the option to choose from the economical but sturdy high tensile steel option or go for higher end chromoly steel options. The better the grade of steel used, the smoother the ride, and in some cases, the bike ends up being lighter too. These bikes are also the easiest to repair and are ideal for touring.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Strong
  • Flexes enough for a soft ride
  • Most durable of all the materials
  • Lively feel
  • Easy to work with and repair

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Rust/corrosion
  • Flexes too much for racing

 

September 05, 2015

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Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Bike

By now you would have zeroed in on whether you would like to buy a road bike, a mountain bike or a hybrid/fitness bike. If you require help in that regard, then I would request you to go over the following guide first. (click here)

These are some of the factors to keep an eye out for while buying a bike.

Cost

A good bicycle these days can cost anything upwards of 25,000 Rupees. And this comes down to the fact that these bicycles are not just your point A to point B commuter, but is a lifestyle choice that will help you accomplish a lot more; be it getting fitter and healthier, heading out on that adventure you have long being wanting to do or whatsoever be your goal you plan to achieve with your bicycle. It is an investment that would surely have a positive impact on your life as a whole.

The more you end up spending on the bicycle, you will end up with better components (frameset, brakes, drivetrain components, tires etc)  on the bike, which will allow you to be more efficient while riding and also provide you with a machine that has the ability to be pushed to newer boundaries as you progress with your own riding abilities and skills.

Also, it is important to set aside a small portion of the budget for certain mandatory rider essentials like a helmet, floor pump, puncture repair kit, lights etc.

BOTS Tip - When it comes to deciding a budget for your cycling, ask yourself what is the maximum that you are willing to spend on the bike, keeping in mind the fact that you will end up spending another 5,000 to 10,000 on mandatory accessories that will need to be immediately purchased (accessories list).

The Importance of The Frameset

The frame is the heart of any bicycle. All other components like the drivetrain (derailleurs, cassette, chain), brake sets, tires are components that will wear out over time and can always be replaced.  But the frame is that part of the bicycle that is always going to stay. Good manufacturers and major bike brands spend a lot of time and effort in making light, durable, strong and stiff frames that will provide you with the best ride experience. With advancements in welding technology, carbon layering and metal alloy technology, frame sets are constantly improving over time. Give us a call if you need more information in this regard and we'll have one of our bike specialists fill you in with more information in this regard.

BOTS Tip - Beware of the Chinese rip-off's of frames of major bicycle manufacturers. Especially the carbon frame. Though the substantial price difference might seem to be really attractive, the levels of stress that these counterfeit frames can take is nowhere near their original counterparts. Here is a recent test that was done on these framesets to show the vast gulf in quality.

The Undue Over-Emphasis on The Drivetrain

A lot of aspiring riders end up putting too much emphasis on the drivetrain of the bike, so much so that they end up basing their bike purchase solely on the drivetrain and the cost! It's important to understand here that if two similarly priced bikes have major differences in their drivetrain components, they bike with the better drivetrain might have been compromised at some other place, be it the saddle, the brake sets, wheels, tires or maybe even the frame. Just remember, you are buying a bike. Don't base the buy just by looking at the drivetrain. It's the whole package that needs to fall in place. 

The Right Fit is EVERYTHING

 No matter how expensive a bike is or how good its components are or whether it is made of carbon fibre or aluminium, at the end of the day, if the frame size of the bike is wrong or the saddle height is set incorrectly, you are never going to be able to enjoy your riding to your fullest potential. And if these things are too off the mark, then it can actually lead to chronic back and knee pain. So the first and foremost thing to look for when buying a bicycle is making sure that it is the right frame size, and that the bike is sized for you.

To view our sizing charts, click here.

To know how to take body measurements to determine the right frame size, click here.

To learn how to do a quick bike sizing at home, click here.

If you still have any queries or questions regarding what to look for while buying a bike, feel free to give us a call and we shall connect you with one of our bike specialists at our cycling company.