Friday, August 26, 2011

Bicycle for transportation purposes

I was being asked recently during a radio interview (BFM 89.9 fm) what would be the suitable bike for commuting to work? Well, it can be any bike. You can go for road bike, mountain bike, folding bike, City bike, Mini bike, Fixed Gear bike, etc. It all depends on your preference and situation. The most important thing is you need to enjoy your ride with the bike. Or else in no time, you will quit riding! From my observation, most of us bought a bike that is not practical for commuting and utility purposes. What being sold in the market was mainly focusing on cycling as a sport or leisure. You need to establish your scenario so that you can select the suitable bike.

There are a few simple rules that you need to observe:

1. Safe Parking
If you need a bike that you can safely parked without worrying much, then you should consider buying used bike. I would highly recommend steel bike e.g the old Lerun diamond shape steel bike. As long as you don't find any major fault like cracked frame, or required extensive repair, the bike would be good for your commuting purpose. You could also consider buying Japanese recondition bike. A folding bike is another good option as you can carry it wherever you go.

2. Ability to hold luggage
If you do not want to burden your shoulder with backpack or with messenger bag, then you should consider fixing basket on your handle bar or a rear carrier. A Japanese recondition bike is the best for this purpose. Most of the old steel bike also have the braze-ons for you to fix the carrier and basket.

3. Riding position
If you prefer an upright riding position which is more relax and would be willing to go for slower speed, then a Japanese recondition bike or folding bike would be a good option. A steel mountain bike riding position is normally slightly forward, so you could go faster.

What would be my pick?
If you need a practical bike for commuting and utility use, I personally favour the used steel diamond shape mountain bike (Lerun or other reputable brand). It is an excellent multipurpose bike. Throw in a rack and panniers, and it can become a very reliable touring bike. Try to look around at the junkyard, your neighborhood for grounded bike, or at your local bike shop. If you are lucky enough you could get a brand new old stock Lerun for a very good bargain price. Make sure it's the older generation if it's Lerun bike. The new generation is not so good. Do minimum repairs to bring it back to life. Try it out for a few rides to see whether it suits you or not. If the components is still in acceptable conditions, then just leave it as it is, till it really worn out.

The Japanese recondition bike is also a good option. Even though it's a used bike, it's built is very sturdy as it's meant for day to day use. It it much more durable compared to the cheap bike being sold in market that are of comparable price as the latter bike is normally fitted with low quality materials and components. The price range of the Japanese recondition bike would be between RM 200 - RM450 depending on the design and components fitted to the bike.

Folding bike is also a great option because of it's ability to fold. It is allowed in the LRT. I would recommend either 16" or 20" model. The biggest advantage of folding bike is the ability to integrate your commute into alternative transport. Since you can fold the bike and carry it with you, it is virtually thief-proof.

If you don't carry much stuff and prefer to carry it on your shoulder, then you could opt for fixed gear bike or fixie. A reasonable quality and nice looking fixed bike is normally around RM500-RM800.

Choose the bike that fit into your scenario and start replacing all those driving trips to riding your bike.


Unknown said...

Salam. Where is this taken? I like that small little bike in the background. :(

Unknown said...

this photo

azizan abd aziz said...

Wsalam. Picture was taken at a bike shop in Batu Pahat, Johor. I am not sure whether the small little bike is 12" or 16" model.