Cycling with others is motivating and enjoyable. (File photo)

It’s about the bike: How to pick a premium bicycle for your fitness goals

Do you need it for your daily commute or to exercise? Pick a product that can be used for various purposes

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Sahil Grover, a second-year student of Indian Institute of Technology Delhi cycles down the campus like his peers. He says, “Since the students of IIT Delhi are not allowed to have motor vehicles on campus, bicycles are an important means of travel. My Turbine bike is efficient, environment friendly, and saves me a lot of time, especially when one has to make multiple trips to the other end of the institute in a day. You can always see a large number of cycles going back and forth along the main road of the institute especially during lunch time, when most of the students go back to their hostel and then come back for the afternoon classes. With the new batch of freshers’ incoming, and hundreds of new cycles with them, the administration had to start allowing parking on the road leading to the Lecture Hall Complex due to sheer lack of space in the parking area. There are cycle fairs organized by nearby vendors every year during the advent of new students which is where most of the students buy their cycles from, although some get them from outside, or bring their own cycles with them.”

A fresher from the same college, Rupaditya Adireddy, a student of electrical engineering, calls his bicycle his “soulmate”. “Our campus is spread over 300 acres and just to go from my hostel to the seminar hall takes a good 15 minutes by cycle. On the first day, when I did not have a cycle, I walked 5 km and before the class would begin I was exhausted. Can’t imagine my life on campus without a cycle,” he says.

Cycling has had quite a journey in India. “During the pandemic, the global bicycle market grew by 26.1 per cent. And post-pandemic, the market grew by 10.5 per cent. During the pandemic, the Indian bicycle market grew by 30.4 per cent. Post-pandemic, it grew by 12.5 per cent,” says Nikhil Gunda, cofounder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Gear Head Motors, an electric vehicle provider.

“What’s truly fascinating is that the post-pandemic cycling movement has seeped into our cities. Governments and urban planners are taking note of enhancing cycling infrastructure by creating dedicated lanes, arranging cycling events, and building safer roads for cyclists of all ages,” he says.

Hero, Roadmaster, Hercules, Mach City, La Sovereign, BSA Ladybird, Firefox, and Avon are among the top bicycle brands in the country. Premium bicycles are made for various purposes and terrains: for mountain or adventure rides; hybrids combining road and mountain features, or environmentally sustainable electric bikes.

Cult.Sport’s Monstro mountain bike, priced at Rs 17,499, is meant for rough terrains. Its fat tyres ensure that riders won’t slip and shock-free suspension and double disc brake provide stability. Gear Head Motors has electric bicycles for different purposes: The L.20 series for daily commuting; model I for cruising, and model F for delivery and cargo.

Firefox Urban Eco, an electric bike that costs Rs 74,999, has city-specific ergonomics, a hydraulic disc brake, and a single power button. Equipped with battery capacity that gives a mileage of up to 90 km on a specific mode, Urban Eco delivers a top speed of 25 kmph.

A bicycle priced at Rs 25,000 is distinct from a Rs 5,000 one in quality, features, and performance. “A Rs 25,000 bicycle is typically crafted with lightweight and durable alloy frames, which not only make the bike easy to lift and carry but also ensures a smooth and comfortable ride. Conversely, a Rs 5,000 bicycle often features steel frames, which are heavier and more susceptible to rust and corrosion. A Rs 25,000 bicycle boasts advanced features like disc brakes, suspension systems, gear systems, alloy frames among others. These features contribute to improved performance, safety, and convenience,” says Sriram Sundresan, CEO of Firefox Bikes, a retailer.

Cycling as a fitness goal depends on a person’s health. “Generally, cycling for 30 minutes to an hour most days of the week can be a good method for maintaining cardiovascular and overall health. However, you can adjust the duration and intensity based on your individual level,” says Jashan Vij, a health and fat loss coach in Chandigarh.

“It is important to be erect and not bent. Proper cycling posture, maintaining the correct form is important to prevent discomfort, injuries, and strain,” he says. Keep your back straight and head up; relax your shoulders and grip handlebars lightly. Adjust saddle height to keep your hips steady and place the balls of your feet on the pedals, parallel to the ground.

“A semi-intense cycling session can also trigger an elevation in your mood and a reduction in stress levels, facilitated by the release of endorphins after the activity,” says Gauthaman Ramesh, a fitness expert at in Bengaluru .

“It (cycling) leads to improved cardiovascular health: Cycling helps to strengthen the heart and lungs, diminishing the potential for heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases and builds stronger leg muscles. Cycling can help to build muscle mass and endurance in the legs. This not only betters balance and coordination but also eases the execution of other activities like walking and stair climbing,” he says.

Your kind of bicycle

Before you buy a bicycle, consider where you’ll ride it: around town or on mountain trails. If you want to use it for a daily commute of around 15-60 km, go for an electric cycle with pedal-assist feature.
A bicycle should fit your height and it should be comfortable. Large handlebars are meant for long rides and smaller ones for swift moves in tight spaces.

“Don’t rush, test a few bikes. Feel how they roll, steer, and brake. It’s like trying on shoes; comfort is the key. Choose one that’s easy to maintain. It saves you time as well as money in the long run,” says Gunda.
“Buy from a reliable store. They’ll guide you right, ensuring you get a bike that matches your needs. Go for the right accessories. Look out or buy a helmet and a pump prior for safety and to avoid any kind of inconvenience.”
Premium bicycles have various gear options but more don’t always mean a better riding experience. Think about your terrain and pick gears that match your style. Aluminum frames are light and steel ones last longer. Electric bicycles have multiple pedal-assist levels to enable users to ride farther and faster. Check the charging capacity in an electric bicycle and its batteries.

“Maintain a smooth and consistent pedal stroke for efficient cycling,” says Vij. “Alternate between sitting and standing occasionally to prevent muscle fatigue. Learn how to use your bike’s gears effectively to manage different terrains and slopes. Always wear a well-fitted helmet to protect your head. Use reflective clothing and lights when cycling in low-light conditions. Follow traffic rules and signals when cycling on roads.”

Cycling with others is motivating and enjoyable. Learn group riding etiquette and hand signals for communication. Pay attention to how your body feels during and after cycling. Rest or adjust as needed. Remember to start with shorter rides and gradually increase both duration and intensity,” says Ramesh.

Cycle brand Price range (Rs)
Hero   50,900 -1.52 lakh
Firefox   6,500-75,000
Avon   4,490-30,000
Hercules   4,600-18,250
Mach   9,630-15,520
BSA Ladybird   3,800-11,000   5,000-11,000
Gear Head Motors   27,999-55,999

Source: Market research

Source: Business Standard

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