This blog is dedicated to those who are on the lookout for their first bike. Hope it will be useful.
1. See what type of bikes suit your need : Primarily 3 kinds :
a )Mountain bikes (called MTBs) : Designed and built for off road riding. Characterised by fat knobby tires for grips on off road conditions . Example, Cannondale F9, F8, Fe, etc or our own Hercules Act105, Hero Thunder MTB, etc
b) Road bikes : Designed for speed and distance. Comes with drop bars and sleek tires . Eg, cannondale CAAD series or our own hero hawk.
c) Hybrids (also called city bikes) : Falls somewhere between Mountain bikes and road bikes. Designed for city usage. If you are looking to buy a bike primarily for commuting or long distance weeknd rides, but might also want to do an occasional trail riding( easy ones), this would be the bike. Eg, Cannondale Quick 5, Merida crossway 20V, Schwin sporterra, or hercules act110.
If you are new to cycling and finding it difficult to decide what kind of bike will suit your need, it will be a good idea to ask the sales person to let you try the different kinds.
2. Fitment: Once you know the type of bike suiting your needs, next step is Bike Fit and Size. Most important thing here is the FRAME SIZE. For a rough estimate refer the following link.
Most Indian bike comes with the standard frame size which might suit somebody between 5’5”-5’11”. So if you do not fall in the range, you should be more concerned about the size of your frame. All international brands available in India, like schwinn, cannondale, trek, merida, kona, giant etc comes in different frame sizes though.
Please note there is much more to bike fitment than frame size. It’s not the last thing as far as bike fitment is considered. Refer the links below for more on bike fitment and why you need to consider things beyond the frame size.
The geometry of the frame varies with models and brands, even for the same size of frame. For example, the top tube can be longer in one, meaning you might need to lean forward a bit more than one with a shorter top tube. For more accurate fitment, you can refer one of the fit calculators available online. One of them is
So it makes sense to consider the whole geometry of the bike rather than just the frame size. Also, it’s always a good idea to test ride the bike to see if you like the fit before buying the bike.
3. Above 2 points taken care of, you now need to select bikes based on quality of frame and components. Few pointers here to so your first bike do not turn out to be a junk bike.
Note that the points mentioned below are generally standard features for any decent bikes. But worth checking out if you want to go for something cheaper.
• Alloy frame and alloy components: Aluminium alloy will not let your bike rust. And they are much lighter than the steel framed bikes. Ensure the handle bar and the seat post is also of aluminium alloy which are generally compromised for steel stuffs in lower end bikes. Again, there are some high quality steel bikes that aren’t too heavy, and they generally also come with an excellent paint job to avoid rusting. However, those wouldn’t be any cheaper than any good aluminium frame.
• Aluminium alloy rims - avoid steel or chrome plated steel rims. This will translate into very poor braking power under wet condition. Even under normal dry condition, braking power is considerably lower when compared to aluminium rims. Even 4-5 times.
• Brakes levers: Make sure the levers aren't plastic as they flex badly. With regular use, they will just snap very soon
• Cartridge bottom bracket: Old adjustable cup and cone bottom brackets are poorly sealed and are prone to coming loose.
• Hubs: While riding a better bike, the bearings in the wheels will allow to coast while others have to pedal to keep up.
• Aheadset or thread less headset: Much better bearings and more reliable than the older quill stem and threaded headset.
• Disc brakes: Disc brakes stop better in the wet but usually add cost. Don't go for discs over other essential features (like alloy frame, alloy rims,etc). And a decent rim brake is much better than cheap disk brakes, as the later will keep annoying you to no end. If you can’t do without discs, ensure they come from one of the established brands like Avids, hayes, shimano, etc.
• Full Suspension bike : Avoid, unless you are ready to spend. Full suspension at the lower end of the market (at the least below 25k) is heavily compromised. They are very heavy, undamped, and pulls down the more essential specs elsewhere.
• Beware of cheap bikes: Good bikes mostly come with components from Shimano, SRAM, Compagnalo, or other established brands. But the important thing to note is these components comes in various models/versions. So it’s not whether it is Shimano, but whether it is Shimano Tourney or Shimano Alivio or Shimano Deore and so on. If the bike says, "shimano equipped", that’s a crap bike, because it doesn't mean anything. These kind of bikes tend to thrive on the customers ignorance. Good bikes don’t have any stickers saying "shimano equipped".
Bikeszone has an excellent article on bike selection and fitment, written by vandit. Perhaps one of the best you will ever come across. Please refer the link below