Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Cycle buying Experience-11 Phases to RockRider 5.0

March - 2012
Hey all, this is Arun, a total newcomer in the world of cycling but not so new after reading posts in BikesZone. After almost an year of going through posts in this forum, I finally understood last saturday what being "Enabled" is like! yes I bought my bike and its the Rockrider 5.0. I know its an entry level bike in this forum but it sure is quite a big affair when the ppl around me hear the price. I just wanted to share my experience with future Bike buyers over here and hope it helps someone. I'd like to classify my research into phases since August Last year.

1. The "Lets buy a cycle" phase
This was the time when I met Viki a friend of mine during one of my treks. He was riding a Hercules Roadeo. I used to think its such a cool bike and with so many features. I used to compare it to my Hercules TopGear which I still have minus the gears. He used to go to office riding it and that was the inception of the idea in my brain. It was around May 2011 and the mind was set to buy.

2. The Hero Cycles Phase
Since I am pretty addictive to features, I was awestruck by Hero cycles. Specially Hero octane which had both suspensions and 2 disc brakes and aluminum body and all that for 8k! I had almost set my mind on buying it but my experience in trekking forbid me. I have to tell you about myself. I am a regular trekker and went close to 45 weekends trekking in the past year. Trekking also demands me to buy some stuff from adventure shops and online some of which is quite essential whereas some turns out useless too. Thus I started relying completely on google for extended prior research on whatever products I buy. After searching for Octane reviews in google I came across Bikes zone where I saw the amazing photo of Hero Octane -

3. The BikesZone "Read this before you buy a bike" and EXTRA RESEARCH phase

Like almost everyone in this forum, I went through the most important post in this forum which is one of the articles which I have read most number of times.

and of course how to forget the golden post - Strong Light Cheap - Choose 2
and the most useful of them all - shut up and ride thread :-P

This had started off the spark in me. I myself did not have a huge budget due to my treks which turned me a beggar by the end of the month. So I started collecting info about all the good reviewed low end bikes. Here I have one very Important suggestion to make. DO NOT OVERDO YOUR RESEARCH. I made that same mistake and due to that, I kept browsing just pages in this forum and time just flew by (without any purchases) and some stuff or the other came up which kept me off buying it for a few months. 

4. Mentally Reinstated mind for cycle purchase
After months of inactivity, I rode the cycle again. A simple ride from Chennai to Mahabalipuram on a rented (pretty decent) hybrid organized by Reaxon Cycling Club Chennai. That was what fueled the fire back to life and here I was flipping the pages of the forum yet again. This was too late though since it was already past February 2012 and the prices of almost all the cycles had been hiked :( A price hike and a missed good deal is a real turn off for a potential buyer. But if you are determined on getting it, price is just an obstacle u have to take care of.

5. The "Options" Phase
I had narrowed it down to the following options- Hercules ACT110, Schwinn Sporterra, Firefox Target, Btwin Rockrider, Schnell Coupe 1.0, Trek 71FX, GT transeo and GT Aggressor. I spent almost a month finding reviews of every bike. I took off ACT110, Target and Coupe off my list due to some negative reviews. I knew a few of these bikes were totally out of my budget but after reading so much about them and watching so many photos and video, my heart wasnt letting me put them off the list. My mind was even afraid that my heart might do something crazy (in mind's language) and get Canondale Quick 5 (i love that bike!) or something. But after visiting a lot of online websites I had learnt the art of controlling the hearts' desires to make a smarter and a more pragmatic choice.

6. The "Cycles showrooms and Test Ride" phase
Okay I was getting this questions a lot - Whats your use? and Whats your budget? I never really had an answer to any of those. I knew I might get any of the bikes among my options but I required the plunge or the push. So I thought what better way other than test drive and feel the cycles. More disappointment only followed. I visited close to 20 different cycles shops all over Chennai and I was really frustrated with the lack of knowledge among the dealers. Then I met the man - Suresh Kumar in my group - Chennai Trekking club. He said he was happy to give me a test ride and called me to his showroom. I was pretty impressed with his knowledge about bikes and their details too. Here I had the first love of my life to the pedalling wheels. The first cycle that I rode in my life was Schwinn Sporterra (I dont consider Hercules Top Gear at this level). It was more of a glide that a test ride. That time I understood the meaning of being ENABLED! This opened up a world of totally new class of cycles for me. I came to Suresh with the Sporterra with a stupid kiddish grin on my face like a man who met the love of his life. I will always remember this moment when I was just a bit too much impressed that I couldnt control my smile. I badly wanted to ride almost all the other cycles present in his showroom but my mind told my heart to quickly exit the showroom and take off that stupid grin off my face before I spent a huge amount of my savings. one thing was certain though - TEST RIDE IS MOST ESSENTIAL NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU RESEARCH.

7. The Push,motivation - "Ironman"
This is always a dream. I have heard about it a lot and even met an ironman in one of the treks (Dipankar Paul) but I was always to scared to admit it. I started reading blogs of different Ironmen and triathlon stories. I am a pretty good swimmer but i realized my technique was totally wrong and need quite a bit of working on it. So the whole week I was working on my Swimming rythm which made me realize that its not so stupid to follow the dream. These posts and Ironman gave me about 75% of the push.

8. The Plunge
The very much awaited day came. I received my incentive from office on mid march and I was all set to buy. Still mind wondering about 2 bikes: Sporterra or Rockrider. Sporterra my first love whereas I didnt want to make an unsmart decision by not test riding the rockrider. But I found out that I getrockrider only in bangalore. I was still in couple of minds about going to bangalore. But I am very ashamed of myself that the final Plunge came from the Congress Party. The government decided to hike the bidget from 10 to 30 percent . This was one of the reasons that made me instantly go to bangalore to ride the rockrider. The appointment was fixed and I was about to ride it in RR Cycles Ulsoor. Nitesh had pretty good knowledge about bikes and I was suprised and amazed to see the variety of bikes he had. Back on bangalore roads to every now and then i saw cyclists going here n there with cool helmets. I was wondering how long it will take for Chennai to come to this level both in terms of enthusiasm and the levels in the Cycle shops. But the thought of the budget made me think that it was not going to happen anytime soon.

9. Rockrider 5.0
I rode the bike and felt really good. It was not as light as sporterra or even as sleek and fast as sporterra. But this one had its own style. The first thing i noticed was how the Steel was absorbing all the shocks. the grip shifters were a bit tight but nothing that I cant get used to. Even the saddle was pretty hard on my bums, no wonder its called the rockrider. I loved the braking and the control and tried some wheelie and stoppie. I had to compromise on some stuff which was all acceptable for me (since the price was almost half that of sporterra 2012). I knew that somewhere deep down inside, since Im a trekker, Ill always have little bit of a preference to MTB over hybrids. Its the personality of the person which makes him choose the bike rather than the use, I thought. So I decided to go for it. Then and there. But sadly Nitesh didnt have M size and redirected me to RR Cycles Madiwala where I met Ramesh his brother. Another very kind hearted and generous person with great knowledge about cycles. I asked him what he would choose between Coupe 1.0 (which was priced higher) and Rockrider. He told me Rockrider anyday. There and then I knew it was time. I swiped my card and took the box.

P.S. I thought about my betrayal to sporterra but I thought next year (after budget 2013 is announced) I will purchase a Road bike which will make me fall in love all over again.

10. Post purchase
I had to take the bike from Cycle showroom till Majestic in an Auto and from Majestic to chennai in a Bus and then again Auto Home. Carrying the Bike is not an easy affair even in the box. So i sugest to buy the bike and get it delivered rather than carrying the box yourself (it is pretty tough to carry the huge box). After getting home i wasted no time in assembling the bike on my own. Assembling it was no big deal and can be done without any tools at all. The pedals seem a bit heavy though but its nice. I had to buy a 5mm Allen key to fix the handle bar and align the wheels though. After getting the air filled, I wasted no time in riding it and taking it to all possible locations near home. I got quite a few head-turns. Then I went to a nearby Firefox store who were used to me since I used to go there and check out all the Trek bikes one by one. I showed all the ppl there my new bike and they were impressed. I bought a Firefox lock, Firefox side-stand, Btwin bottle holder and an airpump with reading from the store.

11. And Finally, "I've Bought it, lets write our experience in the forum" phase

Cycle(with Btwin bell) - 9k
Travel (Chennai-Bangalore(with the cycle)-Chennai) - 1100
Cycle Pump - 600
Btwin bottle holder - 150
Firefox Lock - 290
Firefox side stand - 210


This is a link to the pictures on my Facebook wall. I have made the album as public for everyone to see. Please do like/ comment on photos if you want since I am an photography enthusiast too:

Thats what Ive been doing upon the cycling front for the past year. My future plans include the following things with Tamilnadu Cycling Club, Reaxon Cycling Club and Chennai trekking Club (have to start slowly thinking practical stuff too):
1. Regular Morning rides
2. Office Commute whenever possible
3. Long rides on the Weekends (Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Yelagiri, Nellore)
4. Atleast 1 trail per month.

Thanks to BikesZone for everything. i'm Researching on the accessories now

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