After nearly 3 months of researching on the web, talking to a few friends and visiting a few shops I finally bought a Schwinn Searcher Sport from R and R cycles in Ulsoor. This post is a summary of a few basic concepts that I learnt as well as a few websites, blogposts and discussion threads that discuss the subject of buying a bicycle. One thing I realised very quickly is that there is numerous choice of cycles now available in India - Indian makes and imported ones. The choice of cycle depends on the budget and the purpose of usage : daily commute to/from work, weekend rides, cross-training, long rides, racing etc. The usage also determines the type of cycle:
Mountain Terrain Bike or MTB for off-road riding
Road bike for racing or fast riding on roads
Hybrid bike for a mix of the two - primarily road riding with occassional off-road
Here are a few options in increasing order of budget - this is certainly not an exhaustive list.
1. Single speed bikes would do good for local commuting but not efficient if one wants to cycle for the purpose of 'cycling' (Rs 3K - Rs 5K)
2. Hercules Ryders ACT series start from 7.5K. The latest release is ACT 110 that is more for the purpose of commuting and fun ride with friends! See here for a user's review of this cycle.
3. Hercules Mach is the basic model of a road bike that should cost around 6K - but this does not come near any of the other international brands
4. LA Sovereign is a Taiwan based product that has a series of MTBs starting from 8K. ("Navigator" is a good commute bike and seemed to have been quite popular in Bangalore till recently
5. Firefox has a very good series of MTBs (starting from 13K) and also road bikes at a relatively lower cost
6. Schwinn has number of hybrid bikes starting from 13K range as well as a few MTBs.
7. Decathlon has a series of MTBs branded Btwin/Rockrider starting from Rs 12K. Read here for one user's comparison of Merida with Btwin.
8. Merida is a another brand that has several MTBs and also a hybrid bike.
9. Cannondale starts from 20K and goes upto 2 Lakhs. Cannondale F9 is very popular among cyclists in Bangalore.
10. Bianchi has a couple of Hybrid bikes that are worth for commuting and riding. Starts at 28K.
11. Trek is one of the most trusted brands used by many serious cyclists. Trek 7100 is a good hybrid bike for 21 K. There are other series starting from 25 K.
There are a number of bicycling forums in Bangalore/India where various bicycles have been reviewed by users and which have discussion threads on the topic of buying a cycle. Here are a few links that I found useful.
Want to buy a bike? READ THIS FIRST
The Bike Affair
Bikeszone-cycle cycle reviews
I chose the Schwinn Searcher Sport as I decided on a hybrid bike which I can use for cross-training and occasional road racing and ocassional long rides. I had started with a budget of Rs 15,000 and was planning to go for Schwinn Searcher. However, at the last minute I switched to the Searcher Sport which has 24 gear combinations instead of 21 and ended up spending Rs 17.5K including a stand, lock and mud-guards. So far I have been using the cycle for cross-training riding a total of about 25Km two days a week - the experience has been quite satisfactory. .
Finally, a couple of general sites that I found with a wealth of information about bicycles.
How to buy a bike