Monday, February 26, 2007

Buying a Mountain Bike????

A lot of people ask me, "hey how do choose a mountain bike?".

I am not an expert, but having ridden road and mountain bike for about 6 month, perhaps I can share what mistakes I had made during this six month so as not to be repeated by other readers.

Frame Size

Mountain Bikes generally comes in various sizes. Normally, the size would relate to the height and other discerning dimensions such as you crotch height and the length of you arm. As a rule of thumb, the following gives guidance to the size of bike u should choose:-

size 14.............................height 5ft 2in to 5ft 5in
size 16.............................height 5ft 5in to 5ft 8in
size 18.............................height 5ft 8in to 5ft 11in

If in doubt, choose the lower size. Normally, with corresponding size, the top tube of the bikes gets longer (The top tube is the horizontal tube connecting the fork of the bike to the seat post). The longer the top tube, the further away the handle is from you. I made a mistake of using a bike that has a long top tube and this is manifested in the handle being easily lifted during hill climbs. I could do better with a shorter top tube.

Another guide is that when u seat on the bike with seat properly adjusted, you should see that the hub is in line with the handle tube when u are to look down (ie the front hub is hidden from view by the handle bar).

Drive Train and Groupset

For beginners and upto the professional, stick to V-brakes, its much easier to service, easier to maintain and is light to use. Its gives u better feel and control. At the end of the day, it is u that determine the ride ability and speed of the bike. Skills and control is the one that gets u through. For normal Mountain biking, a minimum of 8 speed is adequate. If you can afford it, get groupsets of at least 9 speed Deore or its equivalent. The XTR and the likes could be overkill at this juncture because the weight saving and effeciency maybe wasted when one does not have the skills.

Hard Tail or Full Suspension

If budget is of constrain, stick to hard tail bikes. Sometimes, we tend to buy bikes which are overkill. Most of the time, when u ride cross country, u tend to ride off saddle anyway ie your butt is ridden off the saddle, hence u won feel the rutt and bump on your rear wheels anyway. So it is like riding a full suspension bike but at fraction of the cost.
So those are some of the tips that I can share with you on bike choice and decision making process that I went through. Will be touching on experience and tips of riding on a bike soon in next article.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Turning over a new Leaf

So much has been done in my cycling adventure. A lot of rides, some road some mountain biking and some interstate - what an exhilarating life I have gone thru during my "retirement". I have made friends with lotsa people, some young some errr old (my age). Retirement can be fun but sometimes tiring and hence having decided to move on, i have sought temporary employment at a premier Telecommunication company here in Malaysia. Maybe, this old fox can learn new trade - tackle new adventure.

Last week, it was quite challenging trying to get my butt of the bed, u know, the shifting of time from the casual 10:00 am to 6:00 am and facing the race to work. This sacrifice of battling to work not only to serve my need to keep myself busy but also to subsidise my daughters tuition fees. Though my thots did stray on getting a new Specialize Tarmac Carbon Fibre Bike and the Dopod 838, i better put that on my back burner.

This weekend, i very much look forward to my bike race in Putra Jaya and my ride to Janda Baik with the PCC. So, back to the rat race gang.......