Everywhere you look, people have taken up cycling. five years ago, you could count the number of cyclists at Independence square on one hand. Today, numerous bicycle gangs run daily rides to accomodate all their members.
When buying the perfect bike, it’s easy to get lost in the choices. There are road bikes, mountain bikes, commuting bikes, city bikes, touring bikes and hybrid bikes.
If you shop by brand, you are making a style decision, not a performance one. When deciding which bike is better suited to you, it’s the model that counts. To find the best bike, first pick your price range, identify the ride feel and find the features you prefer. Thereafter, look for models from various brands that meet those criteria, and make a well-informed decision.
There are four varieties of mountain bikes: cross country (XC) bikes, which are of lightweight and fairly rigid design to cater to uphill racers; trail bikes, which are suited for anyone who ventures off-road as and when they prefer; ‘all mountain’ bikes, which are versatile and can handle any terrain; and downhill bikes, which are built for steep slopes and demanding terrains, and complete with high-quality, heavy- duty disc brakes. however, mountain bikes generally require riders with endurance, core strength and balance, bike handling skills, and self-reliance.
Most modern mountain bikes have some kind of suspension (hardtail or dual suspension); 26, 27.5 (650b) or 29 inch diameter tyres, and a wider, flat or upwardly- rising handlebar that allows a more upright riding position and more control. They also have a smaller, reinforced frame, usually made of wide tubing, and tend to use hydraulic disc brakes and lower ratio gears to facilitate climbing steep hills and traversing obstacles.
Made for Mountain bike racers
Founded in 1972, Merida is one of the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers. Designed in Germany, Merida bikes are manufactured using state-of-the-art technology at its global head office and manufacturing facility in Taiwan. The Merida Big Seven range was especially designed for mountain bike racing.
The Merida Big Seven 100, a hardtail mountain bike, is ideal for a start-up mountain or cross-country rider. The Big Seven series is based around a 27.5- inch wheel size, which offers the bal- ance between the agility and handling of 26-inch wheel bikes, and the low- rolling resistance, stability and easy ob- stacle clearance of 29-inch wheel bikes. The bike’s 650B wheels also accelerate faster and respond better.
A companion for cross-country riders
Cross-country mountain bikes are designed to be lighter and more agile to handle climbing and descending moderately technical terrain. The Giant XTC 29er is built for those who are also after speed and rigidity.
The bike’s 29-inch wheels provide more grip and a smoother ride over obstacles than smaller wheels. Furthermore, despite its weight, the bike is recognized for its stability and agility.
Bianchi Ethanol is a versatile, fast and responsive bike made for un- even terrains. Its ultra-lightweight carbon frame, high-end parts and performance make it ideal for cross- country and mountain biking.
The fully-carbon frame has been tweaked from Bianchi’s previous 26-inch, wheeled carbon hardtails to accommodate the larger wheel, which allows this bike to ride faster. Furthermore, its XC attributes make climbing effortless.
Mastering the art of speed
Trek Bicycle Corporation is famed for its acquisition of Gary Fisher Mountain Bikes, and launching the Gary Fisher Collection. Known as the one of the inventors of the modern mountain bike, Gary Fisher continues to design bicycles for Trek to date. One such design is the Trek Superfly 5. The Superfly range is made of crazy-light aluminum and features carbon XC rockets that aren’t just fast, but the fastest. But its lightweight body ensures a comfortable ride even when climbing, mountaineering or riding uneven trails.
Compared to other styles of bicycles, road bikes share common features such as narrow, high-pressure and smooth tyres to decrease roll- ing resistance; derailleur gears; and lightweight construction. like in mountain bikes, there are several variations of road bikes. They include touring bicycles, which are robust, comfortable and capable of carrying heavy loads; hybrid bicycles, which can be used on pavements or unpaved trails; utility bicycles, which are traditionally for commuting; and flat bar road bikes, also called fitness bikes, which are road bikes fitted with MTB-style shifters, brake levers and a flat handlebar.
frame materials also have a direct bearing on the strength, durability and weight of a bike. steel was a common material in the past; lightweight and strong aluminum or aluminum alloy bike frames are the most common mid-range frames in the market; titanium is used in most top-of-the-line mountain bikes; and carbon fibre is at the higher end of both price and quality.
A road-racing machineWith its ideal balance of light weight, stiffness, strength, handling and aero- dynamics, the Cannondale SuperSix EVO Carbon is a comfortable and fast ride. Its responsiveness and effortless shifting of gears make it ideal for climbing, while the carbon frame soaks up bumps better than most aluminum-frame bikes.
Its low at the front and stretched out design encourages riders to go faster and experience its capability of belting along the road, attacking summits and climbs, diving into corners and hur- tling downhill.
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO Carbon is an easy bike to ride, and comfortable despite acceleration being slow due to its heavy wheels.
A giant among entry-level road bikes
Cycling is an activity of myriad purposes. It can be a fun activity to do with friends, a medium to run quick errands, a morning fitness activity or a weekend jaunt. For those just taking up this sport, the Giant SCR 0 is the ideal companion. This road bike has a light- weight AluxX aluminium frame, and is a smart mix of weight, performance and affordability. It also offers recreational and sports roadies the opportunity to own a per- formance bike. Steering stability is an added bonus on this bike, especially its ability to hold a line on the road in close proximity to heavy traffic. The short and fairly upright riding position is also a definite plus towards the end of a long ride when your back and shoulder muscles are often stretched beyond their comfort zone.
Bianchi’s vibration-cancelling superbike
It’s called Countervail (CV) – a structural viscoelastic carbon layer embedded between carbon layers at critical areas of the bike’s frame and fork. It’s not additional material, but a cleverly woven pattern of fibres that prevents road vibrations reach- ing the rider. This is what makes the Bianchi Infinito CV stand out among its competitors. Of Italian- make, the Infinito CV is a fast, fatigue-reducing and stylish bike that delivers a comfortable ride, with added advantages of speed and stability. The 55cm frameset weighing at just 990g only adds to the bike’s superb traction and stability on every surface, agile handling, and relentless speed.
A better performer With trimmed features
Despite its 2015 introduction, the Trek Emonda SL 6 is already a best seller in the island. Selling points for this lightest range of road bikes include its components and price factor. Emonda may be an anagram (Madone, Domane and Emonda are anagrams of each other), but it’s also derived from the French verb emonder, meaning to prune and trim away. This is at the core of the design, without any extraneous material and features.
The perfectly balanced, ultra-responsive Emonda SL 6 is a good mix of lightness and handling prowess. The bike is also fast and has proved to be a great climbing machine.