Sunday, December 27, 2009

The merida 2010 bikes

We received the first set of merida 2010 bikes this saturday evening - the merida 10V, 20V, 40V and crossway 20V. The bikes look stunning, and based on the first look, the specs seems to be upgraded quite a bit. On the MTB front, prominent were the the fork, the tyres and the brakes. Gone are the Suntour forks which have now been replaced by the RST forks. The brakes are now Avids instead of promax, and the tyres Merida instead of CST. What has gone down though was the shifter for Matts 40V, from acera rapidfire to EF50.
The crossway 20V combines looks with a pair of kenda 700c tyres, a reasonably light weight frame and lockable front suspension, and might be the kind of bike you are looking for your daily city rides.
A bit unfortunate, but not exactly unexpected are the prices - yes you guessed it right, they have gone up(refer below). Meanwhile, some pics ( Thanks to Malik for lending out his camera and helping me frame the pics, and to Karthik for his patience).

Details of the Merida 2010 adult bikes available in India at the moment are :

Merida Matts 10V (Rs 18.5k) :
Merida Juliet 10V Rs 18.5k) :
Merida Matts 20V ( Rs 22k) :
Merida Matts 40V (Rs 23.5k) :
Merida Matts 40MD (Rs 27.5k) :

Notable absentees from last year's models are merida 5V and 20MD.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On a World Tour

The other day we had an interesting visitor at the store. Ed Hurst is a tall and cheerful 29 year old New Zealander, a civil engineer by profession. He is like most of us, except that he is on a world tour on his bicycle.
Ed used to be backpacker, and had backpacked across various countries, but realised he wanted to see the planet in a manner that would let him appreciate the journey rather than just visiting a few spots. By July 2009 he had quit his job and had flown down to Bangkok with his bike, where he started his world tour.
1. Ed rode across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, and then flew down to Kolkata from where he stared his India chapter. He loves and misses the Cambodian food.
2. Ed has been in India for the last 3 months, and appreciates the diverse culture. Loves to meet and chat with locals, but finds the food a little too spicy.
3. He had ridden trough the alleyways of Kolkata, jungles of Kanha and Panna, the ghats of Varanasi and the orange orchards of Nagpur. He stopped over Hyderabad for 3-4 days, visited Golconda and came down to The Bike Affair store to pick up some accessories and spares. His tentative next destination is Hampi.
4. He likes to keep things simple. Doesn't use a GPS. Likes to ask people to check if he is on the correct route. He has also picked up a few Hindi words, but complains locals don't understand his Hindi.
5. He plans to ride to Chennai, Pondicherry, Kanyakumari, and then come up through the Western Ghats to Goa to Gujarat, and to the Himalayas. He keeps it flexible after that and would like to either take Pakistan- Afghanistan-Iran- East Europe route or Nepal-Tibet-China-East Europe.
6. Ed rides a Marin MTB sort of model (don’t remember the exact model name...might also be a custom made) bike loaded with tubus racks and ortileb pannier. He carries a tent weighing 2 kilos.
7. Doesn't cook. Tries to find a budget hotel for the night, and if he doesn't manage, puts up his tent where he spends his night. Always keeps some bread and Jam in his pannier for such occasions.
8. Not fussy about food and eats whatever he can find on the way.
9. Says that once he got used to his brookes saddle, its like sitting on a sofa.
10. He wants to cycle tour for 2 years, but again keeps it flexible and says he might stop if he gets bored.

The Bike Affair wishes him a sound and fun filled tour.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some useful accessories

Often in TBA, somebody buying his or her first bike would ask advices and suggestions on the essential accessories. So here’s a brief list that we thought could be helpful for people who are just about getting into cycling.

Most essential - and is better to get them along with the bike itself

1. Helmet: Will save your head and life in case of a crash. Look for a branded one as they go through different kind of stress tests.
2. Gloves: Will cushion your palms on bad roads, enhance grip on handlebar, and will save your palms if you crash.
3. Lock: Essential if you are going to park your bike in a common place like at your work place, gym or at the common parking of your building
4. Side Stand: Not quite super essential, but makes life so much easier when you have to park your bike in a public place. Most bikes we stock, apart from Merida, come without side stands.
5. Tail light: Very essential if you riding at night, especially on stretch that are not well lit. Will help car drivers notice you from distance. Important to get a good tail light that’s visible from far (50-100m at the least).
6. Head lights: Required if you riding on an unlit road after dark. They also act as safety light by making you visible to cars and mo-bikes coming from the opposite direction.
7. Bottle cage: Will hold a water bottle that will keep you hydrated. Generally most 1 litre pet bottles will fit in.
8. Spare tube: Especially if you are planning to join one of the group rides. In case of a puncture, it will save time for the entire bunch, as you can just swap the tube rather than fix patches.

You might as well get these - Will save you lot of trouble.

1. Portable pump: Essential when you have a flat middle of nowhere and want to replace yr tube/fix the puncture. In a group ride, you may have somebody carrying one, but not always. Will save you the trouble of looking out for an auto rickshaw and paying him some absurd amount to give your bike a ride.
2. Puncture kit: Essential when you are going on a ride to the countryside, where you may not be able to find a repair shop easily. Considering it is difficult carrying more than 1 spare tube (but you may end up puncturing both the tubes), it is essential to carry a puncture kit (tyre lever, glue and patches). Again, you might just be able to find somebody carrying one when you are on a group ride.
3. Allen key set or mini tool: Will need this at every step. Almost anything you want to tweak on your bike will require Allen keys.
4. Floor pump with gauge: It is important to check and inflate tyres to the correct tyre pressure every time you go for a ride. Riding on tires that are not fully inflated will lead to extra wear on both the tires and the rims. Do refer the ratings mentioned at the sidewall of the tyres while filling up the air.
5. Cycling shorts with padding (chamois): Very helpful for long ride. Prevents chafing and skin irritation.
6. Anti Pollution mask: Very useful if you ride through traffic and pollution. It’s much different from riding a motorbike in traffic because when you riding a bike, you tend to breathe harder. Get a one which is specifically designed for bicyclists.

Optional – Makes life so much easier, and cycling much more fun.

1. Cycle computer: Will show your speed, distance covered, max speed, average speed etc. Also helps when you are training. The display acts as a charm and will motivate you to keep going.
2. Dry fit cycling jerseys: Will help you from getting soaked up in sweat. Will also have pockets at the back to hold your valuables and snacks.
3. Water bottle: Will keep you hydrated on a ride
4. Saddle bag: To hold your valuables (like spare tube, Allen keys, puncture kit etc). Sits beneath the saddle
5. Mudguards: Is helpful in rain , especially if you are using your bike to commute.
6. Trouser clips: Very useful if you ride to work in office clothing. Will prevent your trouser bottoms getting caught in the chain ring. They generally also come with a reflective strip.
7. Hydration bag: Will keep you hydrated, without needing you to take your hands off your bike. Useful on a longer trip or while training too where you do not want to stop often to fill up your bottle
8. Rear rack: Essential on a multiday bike tour, relieves you from carrying a heavy backpack. Useful for people commuting on bike too.
9. Pannier: Useful for cycle touring. Helps divide the load in a symmetrical fashion.
10. Car racks: Fits on to the top or back of your car like an attachment. Can carry 2 or more bikes. Useful if you want to transport your bike, or drive down to a nice trail to ride.

Monday, December 14, 2009

If you need a reason to bike

This is for all 'would be cyclists' who haven't yet been able to convince themselves to start riding. So here goes a list of positives that you might be able to benifit yourself with once you take up cycling.

1. Good for heart and health: Cycling is not only good for your body but for your heart as well. Risk of high cholesterol, High blood pressure, diabetes and obesity is also reduced.
2. A fun way to lose weight: Sure, you can get rid of that tummy you always wanted to. And what can be a better way to do so than joining the HBC guys on a weekend rides? You meet like minded environment conscious fellows, get to see the green and beautiful countryside, and lose some pounds, all at the same time. Check out to know what’s happening on HBC.
3. Low stress exercise: Cycling is a low stress exercise compared to many other sports, which means there is very less chance for you to pick up any serious injury while you ride a bike. This makes it a good exercise at for people at any age group
4. Stress buster: Cycling, just like other forms of exercise, is known to release endorphin which is known to cause pleasure in you and thus wash away the bad mood. It is because of this that one feel relaxed and refreshed even after a long ride.
5. Good for your lungs and eyes: While cycling outdoors, you burn calories, like any other aerobic exercise. But the bonus is you get to breath in fresh oxygen and see your green country side and explore your town as you do so ( provided you start the ride early in the morning). If you haven't tried it already, join us in one of the Hyderabad Bicycling club rides.
6. An inexpensive commute solution: Riding a bicycle to work can not only reduce your carbon footprint, but can provide you with much need exercise in your otherwise busy schedule. Besides, most of the time, when the traffic is busy, a bike commute is as fast a car.
7. Gives you time to appreciate simple things in life: Bicycle helps you appreciate the subtle things of nature and see it from a different angle. While on a motorised vehicle, a lake is just a water body that we drive past, on a bicycle, it’s a place where you can hear the water ripples breaking the sound of silence, its a place that fills up your lungs with fresh oxygen, a place where you can watch the colourful kingfisher dive for his prey as you inhale the earthy smell of the soil after last nights’ rain.
8. Towards a greener planet: Together we will help reduces the demand for new roads and might just be able to stop paving the earth with asphalt and concrete.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cannondales and Schwinns in TBA

In line with our promise of multiple international brands under the same roof , we now have the Cannondale’s and Schwinns with us, along with Merida and Btwin bikes. In fact, we have been stocking Cannondales for the past few weeks (and as usual I couldn't manage updating the blog), but have received our first stock of Schwinn less than a week back.

Well, Cannondale is one of the premium international brands and are already in India for the more than 6 months. In fact, quite a few of our cyclist friends have been riding Cannondales. So I don't think they will need any intro here. On our first set of Cannondale order though, we were pleasantly surprised when the bikes arrived. All the bikes were first packed in cardboard boxes ( the usual bicycle boxes), which again were enclosed in an wooden cage like structure to avoid any damage. While the cardboard packaging was common for all the brands we deal with, not the wooden cage.

If you have noticed, Cannondale, Merida, Trek and other established international brands have very few models below 20K. What Schwinn will try to do is to fill this gap up and provide Indian consumer a choice of quality recreational bikes in the 10-20 k range in particular. And some of the bikes that are already in our shop do look amazing value for money. Check out the Schwinn Spoterra Comp in particular, and you will know what I mean.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bicycling gloves - why?

Experiance cyclists know the value of a pair of good cycling gloves. However, people new to cycling many times ignore the importance of a pair of cycling gloves. So heres an attempt.

1. One of the primary reason to wear gloves is the cushoning they provide.This is especially helpfull in indian conditions. Built-in cushioning in the palms absorbs road vibration and shock thereby reducing discomfort, and general fatigue.

2. From a safety perspective, they are probably the most important piece of apparel after an helmet. On an event of a crash, a good pair of gloves will save your palm. Last year I had one of those when I landed straight on my palm and skidded through. My gloves were part shredded and I couldn't move my wrist for the next few days, but they saved me from something that could have been much much worse.

3. When you are riding for long, your palm will tend to get sweaty. This will affect your grip on the handlebar. Most gloves will absorb sweat from your palm keeping it dry, in the process improving your grip.

When trying on gloves, open and close your fist to see how they feel. A good fitting glove is snug but not overly tight.

Reference :

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Merida MTA 510A - A quick review

Couple of weeks back I had the opportunity to take the 27 speed MTA 510 (17 inch frame) test bike for a 40+ km ride, part tarmac and part trail. Me and Karthik rode from Kondapur to Osman sagar via khanapur. On the way back, karthik guided me through a trail which I think lasted for around 4-5 km. While it was all fine on the tarmac, the bike actually sprung into life when we hit the trail.

A good bike is a combination of a good frame and good components. So lets talk about the frame first. The frame , which Merida calls 'advanced alloy frame', is very light, but still gives a solid feel. The frame geometry is however vastly different from the Merida Matts 20/40 series bikes. The top tube is a on the shorter side, providing the rider a more upright position. From people who have test rode this bike in TBA, we have seen beginners generally enjoy a relatively upright posture and hence like this bike a lot. That probably also explains the plush and broad saddle. This could also be a very good frame for people with shorter torso. Although the bikes doesn't come with any disc brake, the frame is disc compatible.

The components - they are very very good for the price. And together they make the ride very very smooth. Me and Karthik( who was riding a firefox target) swapped our bikes for a few km, and in his words "Wow ! Its is liking riding a honda city after a maruti 800". To me, apart from the deore shifters and derailleur’s, what makes this bike stand out are the RST Gila Pro Suspension Fork and the FSA headset. These two together combine to make this bike very responsive. Handling this bike is a pleasure, particularly on the trails, and gives the feeling of "Always in Control". Gear shifting was smooth and without trouble too. Unlike the Acera Rapid Fire shifters(that comes with Merida Matts 40 series bikes), the Deore shifters do not have the number marks to let you know which chainring/cog you are on , but this is something which is just about getting used to. The bike also comes with truvativ cranks, and CST tyres.
Overall, I found the bike a pleasure to ride. At less than 30K , this bike is steal for people comfortable with its frame geometry.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Btwin Rockrider Bikes

Lot of biking enthusiats have been enquiring us about the Btwin rockrider series of bikes. And we have them in stock now - the rockrider 5.1, the rockrider 5.2 and the rockrider 5.3. And we have them in various sizes for the right fit. In fact,we have them for the last 2 weeks and I am late with the post, as usual:)

Last saturday I took quick rides on the Rock Rider 5.2 and Rock Rider 5.3.

1. The bikes rode smooth, and the most attractive part is the pricing. Check for details.
2. The configuration for the SRAM drive train is especially good and generally comes only much more expensive bikes.
3. Very light weight.
4. In rockrider 5.2, we have a decent bike for starters, who doesn't have a budget of trek 4300 or Merida 40V, but would like to have a few more features than what a basic trek or merida offers. Of course, all this assuming he is not brand conscious.

Actually, theres nothing much to complain about if you keep the pricing in mind. Because anything better will surely increase the price. But still, a few points worth sharing.

1. Most of the components,leaving out the drive train and the brakes, are either Btwins own stuff or from hetherto unheard brands. Not that they aren't good, just that they are sort of unknown entities for me. But again, have come across only good reviews of these bikes so far. So, the componets should be pretty decent.

2. Wished the suspension fork was little more responsive. that about it for now. Now that you know where to get the rockrider bikes in Hyderabad, and that you also know a litle bit about the rockrider bikes too, only thing remains is coming down to TBA for a test ride!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Its been a month now

Well, its been a month since we last updated the TBA blog. Long days at work, responsibilities at home, busy weekends...blah , blah....lots of excuses.
So I thought we should give you an update first.

2 months since we started. Thanks to you all, we are getting a response which is way better than our conservative estimates. We started with Merida bikes. In course of time, we added Btwin bikes and lots of accesorries. Ofcourse, we still do not have good quality LED lights, mini pumps, the clipless pedals and shoes, and loads of other stuffs. Working towards solving that bit of the gap.

In the meantime, we have also relocated to a new place. Oh ya, agree the update is quite a bit late, considering many of you have already visited us at the new place. Blame it again on this lazy soul.
The new place is around 2 km from the original place in Kondapur where we were operating from, on the gachibowli miyapur road. Its an old indipendent construction, and resembles a bike shop just a tad better than in-apartment mode we were operating till date. Check the following link for the exact location,-95.677068&sspn=29.358024,56.162109&ie=UTF8&cid=15190755266798750726&hq=the+bike+affair&hnear=&ll=17.514743,78.364449&spn=0.129653,0.219383&z=12&iwloc=A

Time for a quick review of the new place. First the good things
1. Right on the ground floor and hence no stair climbing with bikes.
2. Now we have enough space to cater a truck load of bikes. Just need to sort out the finance aspect :)
3. Open area and ample parking space around.
4. Easy to locate, especially if you have checked it in advance on google maps.
5. No stern stares from apartment residents anymore.

And now, well the bad ones.
1. Asbestos roofing, meaning a hotter than normally hot hyderbad summer. But we have a few months in our hand to sort this out.
2. The place looks more like a workshop than a showroom, and I am afraid we will have to live with it:(
We are still in the process of settling down at the shop place. So please bear with us.
And do keep riding. Together we can make Hyderabad greener.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Offers on Bikes and Accessories

We have been giving away loads of free accessories along with Merida bikes. Please refer below page for details. This offer is valid only till 13Aug2009

There are also some cool promotional offers on Btwin range of accessories and apparels. This is valid only till 06Sep 2009. Please refer below link for details.

So hurry up and make the most of it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

TFN 2009

For those who do not know already, TFN stands for Tour of Nilgiries and is a multiday tour spanning around 900 km through hills and forests of South India. While it started as a casual discussion in an online bicycling forum, it became a huge success right away and drew a lot af media attention. This year’s TFN is the second edition and has been promised as bigger and better than last year. Check out their website
Registrations are ongoing, and not many places are left. So hurry up, and grab a seat for yourself in case you haven’t already!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Unpacking the test bikes

Last week we received our first stocks. The launch of The Bike Affair was planned for 15th August, on the occasion of the Freedom ride organised by Dina & Co. and the plan was to get the test bikes assembled beforehand. This would have given us a chance to get a feel of the bikes we were going to sell. The fact that the only merida bike I had ridden was a Merida sub 40V (for not more than a few hundred metres) made this even more necessary. But things didn’t go as planned. Lot of last minute things popped up, and we could only start assembling the bikes on 14th morning. We had ordered 3 bikes – Matts 5V, Matts 20 MD and MTA510A as dedicated test bike. We picked up the Merida Matts 5V as the first bike to be unpacked.

Unpacking the carton, we found the bike was neatly packed , and the shiny gray colour looked fantastic. Soon,we had our mechanic Krishna assembling our first bike, after which we filled up the tires. The bike was now inviting us for a test ride. So , in no time, we were on the street. Amit took the first ride, and I followed soon.The bike felt suprisingly smooth for an entry level MTB.

I had taken the day off, but Amit had to leave now. Next was the turn of the Red and Silver MTA 510A, which comes with Deore shifters and deraileurs. After checking out the specs online, I was eagerly waiting for this one. More so, as there isn't much details available online. The bike definitely looked good. The deore shifters looks cool, and the RST Gilla suspension fork looked way better than what the Matts 40V/MD comes along with.

I called up my Bro-In-Law, who works in ISB and stays close by. He used to ride a Schwinn road bike while he was in US a few years back, and has been without a bike since then( not to mention that I have succesfully done an implant on his brain and I feel the day isn't too far when he is going to get himself a bike). He was happy to join me for a test ride that lasted for around 8-9 km. We only rode on the tarmac, with occasional rough patches. Initial impressions are given below

Matts 5V: The bike rides amazingly smooth for an entry level MTB. The ride quality was good , the posture easy, and the saddle comfortable for the posture. Gear shifting was without any trouble. One thing that confused me was the revo shifter for the front derailleur, which unlike the others I had tried so far, shifts in small increments. Not sure if this is an advantage or disadvantage. It could be useful for minute deraileur adjustments when it rubs against the chain. But a mark on the actual shifter postion where it shifts the chain would have been useful.

MTA 510A : I only did a very small distance on that. So I will cover the gear shifting and drive train in a later review. But even then, the ride was smooth. The posture, again, was easy. Over all, could be a good value for money bike (refer for specs). Just one minor glitch. Though this model has been launched for the Taiwanese market, I would still have loved to see an english literature in the box.