Thursday, August 4, 2011


So you have just brought or are thinking about buying a new bike and confused about all the choices you has to make and which parts will work best for you and your budget. Lets Himalayan Single Track help you out.

Factory Built Bikes – A factory built bikes comes with the manufactures specifications; depending on the price of the bike you get a mix of good quality and low quality parts. By mixing the quality of the parts the manufacturer can control the budget of the bikes. For example you might get a really good suspension but only mechanical disc brakes, or you might get high end brakes and low end drive chain. 

Custom Built Bikes – Custom built bikes are made to order to fit your riding style, body size and most importantly budget. First you should determine the kind and amount of riding you will be doing and then we can suggest which parts and frame are best suited to you and your budget. For example if you are planning to ride mostly gentle on road and city riding, then we would suggest a cheaper suspension and better shifting components.

There are so many options when it comes to buying a bike so below are some of the components and terms you may come across when shopping for a bike:-

FRAME - This is the body part of the bike that supports you and all the components, you should always talk to a professional when buying a frame to make sure you get the correct size for you. The incorrect frame can result in a very uncomfortable ride.
DRIVE CHAIN – This is the part that propels the bike, its engine so to speak (of course the rider is the main part of the engine). Drive chain means – Chain, Sprocket, Front Derailleur, Rear Derailleur, Shifter and Crank. All of these components come in a varying range of qualities and prices. In Nepal it is most common to find Shimano and Sram Brands. Shimano is normally the best option as it’s is readily available and replacements parts. The more money you spend here the better performing bike you will get, 7,8,9 and 10 speed are available. 9 speed is most popular these days in Nepal and gives you a good range of climbing gears.

AIR SUSPENSION/SPRING SUSPENSION – The two main differences here are weight and performance. Air suspension is generally light and the ride feeling is much smoother. Air suspension is also adjustable which means you have control over the firmness of your suspension. Higher end spring suspensions also allow you to control “Rebound” which is the speed which the suspension travels back to its original position. Suspension also comes in a range of “Travel lengths” which means the amount the suspension travels up and down. For cross country riding 80 to 100 mm is recommended.

LOCKOUT – This is a function on the suspension that “locks it out” and makes it a stiff fork which helps you to save energy when riding on smooth services or doing a long “on road” climb.
HUBS – Choose the best you can afford. The hub is the central part of the wheel and the better quality you buy the better rolling speed and least resistance you will have. Plus the feeling will be much better. For cross-country riding and long climbs you will be thankful for a good solid high performance Hub.

MECHANICAL/HYDRAULIC DISC BRAKE – Disc brakes work on a rotor or “Disk” which is attached to the hub at the centre of your wheel set where V-Brakes work on the rim of your wheel. The position of the disc means it comes in less contact with dirt and mud and also gives less resistance which gives for a better performance and stopping power and also elevates the weakening of the wheels rims caused by the abrasiveness of V-Brakes. In Nepal Disc Brakes are recommended over V-Brakes and in fact almost all but the most basic bikes produced these days comes with some form of Disc Brake. There are two types of disc brake, Mechanic which is operated on a wire system and Hydraulic which is operated on an oil system. As a rule Mechanic disc brakes are cheaper and a little bit easier for the novice mechanic to maintain. But Hydraulic disc brakes have a superior feeling and performance. When choosing your brakes, you should always check the availability of replacement brake pads in your area.


Helmet – A helmet is the most important item when biking, after all you should always protect your head. You may be a good rider, but accidents always happen. You should buy the best quality helmet you can afford.

Spare Tube – Makes for a quick and easy fix for a flat tire.

Patch Kit – A set including special rubber glue, tire levers and patches to repair a punctured tube.

Multi Tool – A set of Alan keys and screw drivers that can help you do basic trail maintenance and adjustments to your bike to keep your ride smooth and hassle free. You should also make sure that your tool kit includes a chain breaker to fix broken chains. There is nothing more frustrating than a long walk home with a bike that can easily be fixed.

Pump – Small tire compact pump to pump up your tire should you get a flat.

Water Bottle – Essential to keep you hydrated while you ride. Not drinking enough fluids during a ride will affect your performance.

As you enjoy more cycling here are some items than can make your riding more comfortable.

SPD Peddles and Shoes – many people ask are they really required. SPD Peddles are special peddles that lock to clips you put on the bottom of cycle specific shoes. When buying shoes for mountain biking in Nepal you should look for a mid range quality shoe that will be comfortable to walk during those times you have to carry your bike. Super stiff shoes with ridge soles are normally just for professional riders and are not that comfortable for the beginner rider.

Cycling Clothes – Cycling jersey’s Slacks are purpose made for the comfort of Cyclists. Jerseys are light and comfortable ad normally have three pockets in the back which you can easily carry a pump, patch kit, an energy bar, some loose change and a multi-tool and other basics you need to get you through the ride.
Ride Computer – Be able to track your ride distance, travel time and average speed. Computers are a great way to help you improve your performance.

Lights – If you plan to ride at night time, investing some money in a good set of front and back lights is important – Be Seen and Stay Alive.

Carry with a simple first aid kit when you and  ride, accidents happen and it’s good to be able to patch up scratch and scrapes before they get infected.

Always ride with friends is a good idea to stay safe, in case of accidents and also you will enjoy more if you have some buddies to share your mountain biking experience with.

Be aware of dogs, and traffic, just a parting tip, some dogs can be nasty and like to chase and bit bikers!

 And our final and most important tip … have fun and enjoy your bike!

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