Monday, December 22, 2014

Merida Ride 100 - First Ride Impression

Merida Ride 100
This is what the Merda Site says about their Ride series of bikes “Cobbled passages and poor roads range among the greatest challenges for road racers. Therefore our R&D experts have created the RIDE for elite athletes looking for some comfort. Our UCI WorldTour TEAM LAMPRE-MERIDA appreciates how the RIDE takes the edge off bumps and smooths out vibrations… Their construction also allows for tire widths up to 28 mm.” 
About 3 years ago when riders started considering road bikes for India there was lot of scepticism going around. Many started off with cyclo-cross bikes before the racing scene became competitive enough to consider true road bikes. It is really pleasing to know that now we have come to a stage where there are different categories of road bikes available.
Specs and Aesthetics 

Notice the internal cable routing

The bike comes with Shimano Claris Brifters, Shimano Claris FD, and Shimano Sora RD
The Merida Ride 100 looks too good a bike on paper for its price. It comes with Carbon forks, tapered head tube, internal cable routing, stylish curved top tube for a very sweet price of Rs 51,000.  The matt finish paint and subtle graphics provides a very classic look.
The Ride
I took out our demo bike for my training ride to see how good it was on the road. The ride was from Hi-tec railway station to Icfai Business School & back – about 60km of reasonable good roads with occasional bad patches and a few climbs.
I had not read the Merida website on the rationale behind these bikes when I took it for a ride. But I am glad I did not, because the design philosophy was very apparent and I sure was not influenced. For an Aluminium framed bike, it was very good in handling patchy sections and absorbed the vibrations quite nicely. The power transfer was smooth and the bike is balanced pretty well when you climb out of the saddle. Both the wheels have 32 hole hubs and the lacing of spokes look cool.
This was my first ride on a Claris brifter and I had no issues in shifting. The brakes though didn’t have the bite and wasn’t confidence inspiring.  The saddle was little too narrow to my liking, but it could be just a matter of personal preference.

What I liked
  • Fameset - Handling "desi" roads and excellent vibration damping
  • Endurance geometry
  • Expensive looking features and looks
What I thought could be bettered
  • Brakes – adjustability
  • Mounts for rack and mudguards

The Verdict
This is an ideal and very nice looking “first” road bike for any rider. Bad patches near your home before you reach nicer roads will be much easier on this bike. Also the slightly relaxed geometry and carbon forks will make it an ideal brevet horse as well. There is clearance for 28c tyres.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas gift recommendations for your cycling buddies

Christmas is  around the corner, and many of you might  know a friend or two who ride bicycles. At TBA, we all ride and that means most of the products that we stock  are already tried and tested by one of us. Here we give you a list of 10 products that we have shortlisted for presenting to your cycling friends. The reason why they are here is simple - because we swear by them.

SKS Slide Cage, Reviewed by Krishnendu Basu

I have used this for a 4 days kerala tour in the month of July this year. the speciality is the bottle cage is designed in a manner so that you can pull the bottle out from the side rather than from top. This is great for riders riding smaller frames . Smaller frames means smaller seat tube which in turn means not enough place for a 750 ml bottle to be pulled ot form top. Many times, a rider compensates this by using a 500 ml bottle. The SKS cage solves this issue.

Gift this to : It is a great bottle cage for just any rider, but invaluable for someone who doesn't have enough space for a regular size bottle on seat tube.

Costs : Rs 820

'Your First Triathlon' by Joe Friel 
Triathlon is becoming popular in India and is a great way to stay fit. Joe Friel is one of the most respected Coaches in the world and this is a great book to train for your first traithlon.

Gift this to : Aspiring triathletes

Costs : Rs 950

Camelback Podium Big Chill , Reviewed by Krishnendu Basu

This undoubtedly is my favourite water bottle on bike. Easy to squeeze and keeps water cold for more than 1.5 hours on a hot day (when the bottle is filled to his capacity). But the best thing I like about these bottles is the valve design. You don't need to bite the nozzle and the throw is awesome.

Costs : Rs 999

Gift this to : Just any rider

Paceline Chamois Butt'r 

We would be honest to say that this is one item that none of us at the store have tried, but I am going to try it out next week on the mumbai-goa ride. This is however a very popular accessory among long distance riders and lot of randonneurs swear by it.

Gift this to : Long distance riders

Costs : Rs 1000 for a box ( contains 10 packs)

Zixtro Evo Saddle Bag , Reviewed by Dani Singh

I have been using this bag for the last 6 months on Merida MTA. I have done a couple of brevets and use it for my everyday commute  as well. What I like about this bag is -
  • Can easily take 2 Tubes, Toolkit, Patch Kit, Nutribar without an issue
  • The material as well as the zipper is waterproof, so don't need to worry about it when it is raining.
  • Its hardcase which means will take impact in case of a crash.
  • Installation is very simple and can be fitted or taken off in a few seconds.
Gift this to : A recreational or endurance rider looking to carry a few things on the ride.

Cost : Rs 1890

Park Tool Chain Gang , Reviewed by Chitti Babu

This is great gift for riders who like to maintain their bike. I have been using this as a standard servicing tool at TBA for the last 1.5 years and am very happy with its performance. The pack consists of a bottle of degreaser, the chain cleaning unit and a cassette cleaning brush . The chain gang helps a rider to do a super quick cleaning job of the drivetrain. The unit also accumulates all the dirt and muck, so there is no dirt and grime spilled on the ground.

Gift this to : Riders who like to work on their own bike.

Costs : Rs 2300

Hitech Haraka Running Shoes, Reviewed by Gokul Krishna

I was reading the book Natural Running and understood the importance of a low profile sole. The idea is that a soft, low profile sole with minimal drop allows you to simulate natural running. Natural running helps in attaining some of the key aspects of running like mid-foot strike, high cadence and an upright posture. The Hi-Tec Haraka is a low profile running shoe. It can work both as a training shoe and race shoe. A softer sole may result in slightly lesser life (I have used it for more than 4-5 months, without any issue, though).    This will suit a runner who is trying to improve his/her technique and has done reasonable mileage already. Not the ideal shoe for an absolute newbie.   Pricing is extremely good for such a well made shoe. I particularly like the no-nonsense packing and deeply personal message. Gives us the assurance of shoes made with care.
Cost : Rs 2490

Gift this to :  Gift this to a runner who is trying to improve his/her technique and has done reasonable mileage already.

Merida Agile Road Helmet, Reviewed by Ashish Joshi

I picked up this helmet when I upgraded to my road bike a month back.   I picked this up because this is one of the best budget road helmets I have come across. I use the 53-58 cm size  which fits perfectly on my head. The large vents  keeps your head cool even on a hot day with minimal sweating. It is lightweight, has simple graphics and I like the fluorescent harness.

Costs : Rs 2700

Git this to : A rider who is in the lookout for a lightweight and aerodynamic  helmet.

Zixtro Bug, Reviewed by Gokul Krishna

Does your friend commute to work or ride a bike for regular errands? The Bug will significantly up their coolness factor. A very compact bag, the Bug slings across one shoulder and has a waist strap to keep it extremely comfortable while riding. A tab or a small laptop / netbook will fit in bag. There are enough compartments to organize the space. The quality of the inside layers and material is superlative. The bag also has a net to keep the helmet outside the bag. I have commuted with this for a fair bit of time and have found it to be a great companion.

Cost : Rs 3890

Gift this to : A rider who uses bicycle to commute/run errands

Nightrider Lumina 750 , Reviewed by Krishnendu Basu

I have been using the older version of this – The Lumina 700 ,for the last few months and have used it extensively on roads and trails.

Off road usage :The light has a wide beam pattern which is excellent for off roading. Throw is very uniform and the screw on clamp is rock solid.The helmet clamp comes with the standard package and is very useful for trail riding. Battery backup is good for 3-4 hour hardcore trail ride. the enclosed battery makes the unit compact.

On Road usage : At times the throw is little wider that you may think is enough, but that could be beacuse the light is tuned for off roading. On regular indian roads, a combination of Low mode and walk mode is enough ( with short usage of higher modes) will give you close to 10 hours of riding.

Gift this to : Riders who are looking for a bright, lightweight, rechargable and super reliable light.

Costs : Rs 8000