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 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.
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.
Advantages of mechanical disc brakes:
Disadvantages of mechanical disc 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:
Disadvantages of hydraulic disc brakes:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.