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Cycling Gyan - Culled from BikesZone & PedalYatri

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This is alot of information, sourced primarily from http://www.BikesZone.com , with gyan from the great Guadzilla( http://guadzilla.blogspot.com/ ), the RNair ( http://www.nairphotography.com/about.htm ), the Doc Rao ( http://www.rashminursinghome.com/ ), the Boni, the Gautam Raja ( http://www.gautamraja.com/ ) and many many others.

Before we start - remember God is: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

Contents:

You are New? The must-read guide for newbies at Bikeszone
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7624 (by el Guadzilla)
Why must you read this? Because BZ like any forum has its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. And a very high number of regulars with sharp wit and sharper logic, so no BS can fly. Read this first to understand the BZ tough love.

Buying a bike, READ THIS FIRST
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3268 (by el Guadzilla)
Before you ask a question like "I have Rs XXk to spend, what bike do I buy", pease read this in detail. This will help you understand a few concepts and will help you ask more informed questions and make the difference between the bike rusting away in the corner vs putting 5000km in the first year.
Why you must not buy a cheap bike with dual suspension/disc brakes for 5000 INR:
http://www.southcoastbikes.co.uk/articles.asp?article=NO_BSO
http://www.whycycle.co.uk/buying_your_bike/beware_the_bicycle_shaped_obj...
What a new cyclist whose done his homework looks like:
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8386
Read the above link - it details MANY steps and considerations to keep in mind & why one must have a decent budget!

Here are some further questions:
- You have a hard budget of Rs 10k:
RR300 / Mybike / Mybike 7s and off late the Mach City iBike has a few adherents.
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17412 has most of the details.

- You have a budget of Rs 20k:
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17412 has most of the details but again the RR300 is your best bet, though other options like the LA Sov Cheetah and Montra series come into the picture.

- You have a budget of around 30k (hard,2015) and you can't upgrade. The standard answer: Schwinn Sporterra / Fuji Absolute. Examples:
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=7747
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=8222 - Read to understand firsthand why people come with a 10k budget and spend 16-20k!

- Why do we keep asking everyone to spend atleast 30k as of 2015? Here's a firsthand experience of krishna who sold his ACT110+:
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=8046
- You have a budget of around 30-50k. You are going to be confused among some competent options.
Decent MTBs: Trek 4300/Merida 40V/Cannondale F7 (limited numbers for 27k). Trek 4300 is the Honda City of MTBs
Decent hybrids: Trek 8.2 DS / Bianchi Cameleonte 1
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=7540
- The all-encompassing golden gyan from Anand Sinha & Jeremy Yatt:

1. There are a couple of things that one should always bear in mind
when purchasing a bike.

The first is: Light. Strong. Cheap. Pick any two. If it's cheap, it
might be light but not strong. And if it is strong it wont be light...
The second is: F= Ma. So the heavier the bike, the more force (i.e.
muscle power) will be required. Especially when going up some of the
rather extreme hills in the Aravalis.

Obviously it becomes a compromise as not everyone has the luxury to afford the best and lightest specced bike. But the big mistake a lot of people make when buying new is to be impressed & influenced by the peripherals like suspensions and brakes. It's like deciding to buy a car based on the sound system rather than the engine and chassis. It's not necessarily wrong but it may not be the right reason to buy it. There is nothing wrong with rim brakes (in fact they work just as well, are more reliable and more serviceable) and dual suspension is a luxury for extreme downhill racers. A 21 speed is really limiting your ratios; 24 is the least you should look for.

I don't know the bike in question but a dual suspension MTB with disc brakes for Rs8k... it's likely to be a clunker. Which is fine for pootling down to the shops once a month but will make some of the Pedalyatri rides a bit more challenging than they need to be.

My advice, assuming that you are on a budget, is to try find a good second hand bike like a Trek 4300. Or maybe one of the other Pedalyatris knows of another make that you can get second hand which meets the criteria of a good frame and good basic componentry. Because, trust me, one of two things will happen when you buy a cheap bike:
1.. It'll make riding a mission to the point that you'll lose enthusiasm and give it up, making the purchase a waste of money
2.. You'll realise very quickly the deficiencies of the bike and you'll find yourself wanting to upgrade equally quickly, making the purchase a waste of money.
Lance Armstrong says "It's not about the bike" (which is easy for him to say when he rides the best that money can buy) but ultimately the equipment that you use can have a huge impact on your enjoyment of the sport and your ability to perform.

2. There is a nice analogue about cars and bikes I heard from Venu. He
basically segmented cycles into three categories depending on what you
want to spend.

- The 1st segments is pretty much anything under 10K. These may either
be duds with lots of supposed extras/features that will break down and
frustrate the rider, or will be a solid, but slow and heavy cycle.
These will include the Firefox, Atlas, Hero, LA Sovereigns etc This
is the Ambassador or Maruti 800 of the category.

- As you move to the 15K - 25K range you will find bikes that are very
competent for hard off-road trails and long distance rides. There is a
quantum leap in ride quality and handling between these and the 1st
segment mentioned above. These include the entry and mid level cycles
from international brands like Cannondale, Trek, Schwinn etc. This is
the City, Corolla, Civic, Safari, Scorpio segment - refined yet cost
conscious.

- And then you get into the 35K+ range which is really for
professionals and serious enthusiasts. The difference between these
and the 2nd segment is not that noticeable for most riders, and only
those who really push their cycles to the limit will be able to take
advantage of the improvements. This would include the Trek 6000 series
and above, Cannodale F5 and above etc. This is the Land Cruiser,
Outlander, Pajero and upwards segment - you're not really going to
notice the difference till you exceeds the limits of normal use.

Also - seriously consider buying a second hand bike. The three bikes
you identified all have a life span of more than 10-15,000 km so see
if you can find a second hand one.

And finally - yes there is nothing more important than size or fit so
please try the different sizes and don't go on what the salesman tells
you (he's usually trying to sell the size he has in stock, and is
fairly confident that the new rider has no clue about fitting). I
would strongly recommend you borrow a couple of bikes and ride them if
they shop does not allow you to test ride the cycle.

Train on a heavier or lighter bike?
Quoting RNair summarizing Doc Rao/Vandit etc from this post:

1. Heavy or Light does NOT matter as long as you train with precise intensity levels. A ZOne 4 is ZOne 4 whether it is on a light or a heavy bike. Only changing variation would be speed.
2. Base workouts are best done alone unless there others ride same bike and have more or less the same capability like in the Pro circuit.
3. The weight of the bike will influence your training if you carry it out with other people riding with different gear and capabilities. It could have a positive or a negative outcome depending on which side of the scale you are.
4. If you ride base with a heavy bike and ride in the company of others with lighter bikes. Don't be tempted to catch their wheel. let them go away. Focus on your ride.
5. "a more intense workout is a better workout" - Not necessarily! It depends where you are in the training cycle. It is very important to understand the progression of a training plan and how it influences your form and performance.

How to determine bike fit?
Guadzilla hath sprach here

Step 1 - adjust saddle so that when you sit, the notch just below your kneecap is aligned with the axis of the pedal
Step 2 - level the saddle. Use Clinometer or a similar phone app
Step 3 - sit in a comfy position: your hips should be slightly behind to counter-balance your forward torso - in your riding position, you should not be falling forwards
Step 4 - adjust the handlebars so that they fall where your hands naturally end up when you sit according to #3 above.
Step 5 - ride and enjoy.
Step 6 - adjust as needed (ask for more feedback here if you want).

Other links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAl_5e7bIHk - the link that finally helped me setup my bike right if the above description is a bit sparse
A good link on bike fit from Performance Bicycle: https://youtu.be/xxifl9JTeYA?t=109 (1:49 onwards)
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=FIT_CALCULATOR_INTRO - the authority!
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/727253-When-comparing-bike-dime...
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html - God himself!
http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/article/technique-how-to-get-your-seat-... - Seat height
http://www.brightspoke.com/t/bike-stem-calculator.html - Stem sizing
http://bikedynamics.co.uk/guidelines.htm
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
http://surlybikes.com/info_hole/spew/spew_bike_fit

How to pedal more efficiently, without injury?
Pedal at high cadence, using clipless pedals if possible.
High cadence ensures that pressure on the knee joints is minimized - so that you can keep cycling for longer distances and for many more years than otherwise. It is a natural instinct to 'pedal harder' when cycling with people who are faster than you. It is more important to pedal at the right gear with the right RPM.
http://www.bikesplit.com/bsa4.htm goes into it in detail.

The simple reason to choose clipless pedals is that it allows you to utilize the upward motion of the pedals appropriately - without being a wasted movement. Here is the inspiring story of a cyclist who used clipless pedals to overcome polio related impediments to cycling:
http://blog.manishym.com/polio-cycling-and-clip-ons

Which accessories to buy?

For those on a budget, accesories should be bought in the following order (look for a ~5-10% discount in Delhi if possible):

1. Helmet (Prowell, Rs 1400, Mar'10) + Taillight (Trek Flare 3, Rs 640, Mar '10). Prowell is a very good US brand. The Flare 3 is the cheapest BRIGHT light, visible from afar - and it scrimps on battery too :)

2. Headlight - Useful if you ride out early morning. Make sure its visible from afar. I use this el cheapo DX flash: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/flood-to-throw-zooming-cree-p4-wc-3-mode-le... - better order spare mounts here http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.8274 - the mount's a bit clumsy for my MTB, i broke mine during alot of puncture repairs.

3. Cyclo computer: I use the Cateye Strada Cadence. My review: http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=7526 - if you're an MTBer - buy something KNOWN to work on MTBs consistently (read the manual)

4. Other Essentials:
- Air Pump + Puncture kit + saddlebag: Because even puncture walas can sometimes be a few km off. Buy either the firefox kit (190) or in about 30 bucks, u get it all from open market. Tyre pliers are a waste for most MTBs as the tyres are meant tobe taken off/put on by hand.

- Bottle cage / BPA free bottles - You quite often get the former free - but even if you don't, buy one! Hint: Most stores who give such deals will have no remote clue of how to service your bike later, so its okay!

- Zinc oxide, either as diaper rash cream (Rashfree/8.5%) or Nycil (16%). Soothes skin rashes/friction burns. Nycil can prevent, rashfree can heal. Temporarily, Burnol can be used too.(2%)

5. Everything else-

- Cycling jersey - Not just cool but practical. Carries an enormous amount of stuff as well. DONT take cotton stuff but the dry fit material which wicks sweat MUCH better. Full sleeves is more practical given our country, though its less sexy :)
Get jerseys from your local club - every group worth its salt puts up jerseys these days. 1000 apiece roughly though YMMV.

- Bib shorts. Padded shorts are a must. Cheap thin swimming shorts can give you friction rashes down there. plain padded shorts will present an unsightly view and is less windproof in winters than bibshorts.
Love2Pedal (Love2Pedal.com) is vastly superior to Decathlon. Review http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=7640
http://www.decathlon.in/Cycling-Shorts-SHORT-BIKE-PERFORMEN is the Deca stuff.

- Bar end mirrors - very useful for india. http://www.decathlon.in/Cycling-Mirrors-3D-REAR-VIEW-MIRROR is good for flat bar bikes. Remember cheap helmet mirrors will vibrate, and they require a certain zen like patience for a good rear view. Cycle mirrors are easier.

- Fenders- if you wanna commute, or don't like scraping cow poo. Get it installed by the seller. My exp:
http://www.bikeszone.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8003

- HRM / clipless pedals - if you're a serious amateur, that is.

- Icetoolz' toolkit + a chain tool if required.



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