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Buy The Best You can Almost Not Afford

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The above is generally a fail-safe strategy. It is something that has often been used on bikeszone.com for newbies, who are often perplexed ("But I only have 20k! But this looks so nice!...). This is a collective thought many of us have formulated over the years. Most of what follows may seem obvious on reading - yet one wonders what the incremental money gets there. Its a fair question - so here are concrete examples of what a bit more money gets you for different items:

Accessories

  • Gloves - Good gloves will have padding at the pressure bearing areas. Better gloves will have gel padding, instead of foam. All that translates to reduced/no numbness in the palms during long rides
  • Shorts - Good shorts will have quality chamois (seat area padding). Better shorts will have higher quality seat pads, multi density, ergonomically designed and what-not jargon. The material would also be a bit better. Though frankly, for shorts, seat pad is what matters for a budget shopper
  • Jerseys - Good jerseys will have a decent moisture wicking material, comfortable to the touch.A really nice jersey will feel great even if you have been riding for a few hours.
  • Headlights - Good lights will have more lumens (more light output) and a better reflector (resulting in a better beam spread). Better lights may have smaller size, really high lumens or really long life etc.
  • Taillight - Good lights (like the Trek Flare 3) are visible farther, esp in fog, and often at better angles. Better lights will be blinding and a pain to the riders behind you, or may just be smaller.

Bicycles:

  • Frame - Better frames would be of advanced materials / lighter and have lovelier paint finish (Yes, that is the #1 reason most Indians buy Cannondale MTBs - the looks). You may also move from desi steel frames to decent imported alloy/steel frames to lightweight carbon frames as you spend more. Titanium frames (on bikes costing well above 1L) apprently have the strength of alloy and the comfort of steel / carbon.
  • Fork - Good road bikes would have a carbon fork, while entry level may have a simple alloy fork. For forks with suspension, this may mean stuff like more suspension travel (50-100-160mm), or light weight or having the ability to lock it remotely (from the handlebar)
  • Derailleur / Shifters - Better / higher derailleurs (often rear ones) give you better / smoother shifting, shift more predictably under load ("no missed changes"). The expensive ones reduce weight as well.
  • Wheels - Better wheels would be wheels that may be sturdier (e.g double walled for MTBs), or lighter (road bikes), or have a dynohub (to run lights directly, without battery)

This list is by no means exhaustive but is meant to be a directional guide to the benefits of buying the most expensive bike/cycling item you can almost not afford. God speed.



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Story | by Dr. Radut