June 14, 2015 by Akshat Khanna
I remember the first time I saw the movie Premium Rush, I was left completely fascinated by the idea of riding a fixed gear bike. I mean, riding without brakes, not being able to coast, weaving through peak hour traffic, sounds like something that someone with a death wish would do. But then, what bigger adrenaline rush can you get if not this!
After a lot of pondering over whether I should get myself a Pure Fix, I decided to take the plunge on the 21st of May and gift myself a sweet looking Pure Fix Juliet and a pair of gold wheels on my birthday.
Fixed or Single Speed?
Q. What are fixed gear bikes?
As stated on wikipedia – Most bicycles incorporate a freewheel to allow the pedals to remain stationary while the bicycle is in motion, so that the rider can coast, i.e., ride without pedaling using forward momentum. A fixed-gear drivetrain has the drive sprocket (or cog) threaded or bolted directly to the hub of the back wheel, so that the rider cannot stop pedaling. When the rear wheel turns, the pedals turn in the same direction. This allows a cyclist to apply a braking force with the legs and bodyweight, by resisting the rotation of the cranks.
For someone who has always been used to the idea of coasting on the bike, riding fixed seemed like a strict no-no. The Pure Fix original series bikes come with both fixed gear and freewheel riding options. It takes a simple flip of the rear wheel to switch between the two modes. I had dabbled with the idea of riding my commute in fixed gear mode but Bangalore traffic made me think twice about this. So I initially setup the bike in single speed mode.
The first ride
The first thing you notice when you ride a single speed bike is the absence of gears (duh!). Those short nagging inclines on which you typically shift down and cruised leisurely start demanding that extra bit from you. Initially, there is some involuntary reaching out to gear levers only to find yourself grabbing thin air! But then, to be honest, the feeling you get trying to power through those sections of the road (or those flyovers) in the city is so very fulfilling!
The frame of the bike is made up of high tensile steel and the stock grips did a good job at dampening out the road vibrations to a good extent (I do wear gloves when I ride my bike). Also, Pure Fix has done a great job with the frame geometry – neither too aggressive not too upright. The shoulders were not over-stressed and the wrists and elbows were in a relaxed position throughout the ride. Besides that, the bike felt responsive and alive and the 44/16T gear ratio ensure the bike was adequately geared for the varied terrain one generally comes in our city.
The other point of note was the lack of a rear brake (the Pure Fix comes with only with a default front brake). The lack of a rear brake when riding single speed is actually quite unnerving and I definitely recommend installing a rear brake to commute safe on city roads.
Fixed gear mode : Activated
The first thing I did the next day when I reached BUMSONTHESADDLE was to change my rear wheel to the fixed gear mode (approx. after 22 kilometers of riding in single speed mode). I needed the confidence that it would provide when it comes to having rear braking ability and since I had decided not to get myself a pair of rear brakes (for me, the beauty of a Pure Fix lies in its simplicity. And having an additional rear brake set on it just didn’t do justice to how I see that bike).
Immediately I could feel the difference in stopping power. Yes, it does take time to get used to the fact that you cannot afford to coast on a fixed gear bike. But then, its actually turned out to be so much more fun! The heightened sense of awareness, the thrill in trying to manouver through traffic while not keeping a foot down and the joy derived from constant pedalling no matter how the legs feel ; Its like magic! I actually felt more in control of the bike when riding in fixed gear mode than when it was in single speed! In simple terms, riding a fixed gear bike is like trying to tame a wild animal. It does take some time, but at the end of the day, its worth the effort once you get the hang of it. Will I opt to go back to riding it as a single speed? never ever ever never!
I’ve been commuting extensively with this bike and with each passing day I end up falling more in love with it.
Oh yeah, one more thing – the attention one ends up getting while pedaling down the streets on one of these beauties! From people on two wheelers to smoke spewing BMTC busses, their looks say it all. You know you have one hell of a good looking bike! ;)
- Well designed frame geometry – Responsive and comfortable! Perfect for riding inside the city.
- The 44/16T gear ratio is ideal for riding around within the city limits. Neither is it way too hard to pedal up those city flyovers, nor do you find yourself spinning out on flat stretches.
- The high tensile steel does a good job at adequately dampening out road vibrations.
- The deep dish wheels are literally bomb proof and can handle our Indian roads very well. They tend to stay true for a longer time than regular road bike wheels.
- The Wellgo aluminium pedals are of real good quality! Something that caught me completely unawares when I bought this bike. Broad base with pins to provide that extra grip one needs while riding fixed.
- Looks! For someone like me who is very particular about how their bike looks, Pure Fix have done a fantastic job at coming up with gorgeous looking bikes that can be customized to a great extent. From bullhorn handlebars and coloured wheelsets to coloured bartape, chains and saddles. You can do a lot to jazz up your bike just the way you want.
- Fantastically priced!
- My front brake pads wore off within fifteen days of riding my bike. I would recommend everyone to get a pair of koolstop brake pads along with the bike. They are very competitively priced brake pads and offer excellent stopping power while being durable.
- The bike is designed keeping the urban commuter in mind. If you intend to use it for longer distances a nice saddle upgrade would be worthwhile.
The ideal commuter bike that looks great and rides really well for city roads. So be it your go-to bike to head to your workplace or to pick up some stuff from your nearby grocery store, this is all you need. Also, the fixed gear aspect adds another fun dimension to this bike. And for the price tag on it, it surely packs a bang for its buck! All in all, this is one bike I will be riding for a long long time to come.
To view the complete collection of fixed gear bikes and accessories on our online store, click here
June 11, 2015 by Akshat Khanna
For those of you who have been commuting on their bikes regularly, riding in the rain can be a really fun and fulfilling experience. But one thing that tends to be a bit of a bummer (pardon the pun) is having a wet backside at the end of it all. I mean, imagine heading out to meet your friends for a casual get-together and you end up at the venue with a trail of dirt on your bum. Not only is that embarrassing, but also feels totally uncomfortable.
Fenders! The trusted, traditional solution comes to our mind. But lets be honest about it, not everyone like the look of those mudguards on our swanky looking bikes. Plus, they do not serve much of a utility on non-rainy days. For someone like me who is a tad too particular about the aesthetics of their ride, fenders were never a viable option. That’s when I decided to get my hand on one of the Ass Savers. To think of it, the quirky name had a part of myself sold on the product already. And the unique design of it had me wanting to test it out in these pre-monsoon Bangalore showers.
- Say bye bye to wet bums! These ass-savers do just what they claim; prevent your bum (and your back) from getting a trail of dirt on it.
- Easy to install and remove. The instructions printed on each one of these are clear and you can get them mounted on your bikes within thirty seconds.
- Do not damage the aesthetics of the bike like how a fender does. (but again, that’s a very personal thing)
- Sits well under the saddle. Does not flap and neither does it get loose upon hitting a rough patch on the road.
- Light in weight. Almost negligible in weight actually (for all you weight conscious roadies out there)
What the Ass Saver is not
- It does not protect the back of your thighs or the lower half of your legs. But then, it’s an ass saver, not a fender. :)
- As I mentioned above, it does not offer complete coverage to the rider, so if someone is dressed to go to work, then you might want to consider a change pair of clothes once you reach your workplace.
How to choose the appropriate Ass-Saver for your bike
- Mountain bikes – Wide Ass Saver
- Road bikes (23c to 28c tires) – Extended Ass Saver
- Hybrids and commuters – Original Ass Savers
- Road cyclists, the pro-peloton (Lotto-Belisol, Belkin), continental teams, and development teams have all adopted and used Ass Savers in recent years for training and racing.
To view our collection of Ass savers on our website, click here
June 11, 2015 by Akshat Khanna
The main function of a handlebar is to provide support to the rider and to enable the rider to maneuver the bike. Handlebars also serve the additional functionality of supporting your cyclocomputers, brake-callipers, lights etc.
There are several types of handlebars available. Some of the main types are drop bars, flat bars, bull horns, and pista bars. Each bar serves a particular purpose and it is essential to figure out the type of handlebar which suits you best.
The correct handlebar will put yourself in a position where your upper body is supported well without putting undue stress on your shoulders, wrists and neck.
Drop bars are characterised by a perfectly flat central section, whose ends are curved. The curvature is such that, it goes outward first and then curves inward, dropping below the handlebar and hence the name “drop bars”. They are commonly found on road and single speed/ fixed gear bikes.
Drop bars provide a good number of support positions. If you want to reduce the drag at high speeds, you can hold onto the drops, which help you to get into an aerodynamic position. While cruising at a normal pace, the hands can be rested on top of the drops. While climbing, the flat portion of the handlebar can be used. Hence, as observed, this type of handlebar provides good supporting positions and is pretty comfortable.
Types of Drop bars
STANDARD BARS : These are the most commonly used type of drop bars, which you can see on most of the road bikes.These bars serve the three basic purposes as stated above. They are specified in terms of their reach, depth and width.
TRACK BARS : As the name suggests, Track bars are mainly used on Track bikes. These bars are characterised by a smaller radius of curvature, than your standard road bike drop bars. They are designed for track cyclists, looking for aggressive dynamics. These bars are generally designed for use without brake levers.
ERGO BARS : The characteristic feature which helps us differentiate ergo bars from other drop bars is that, while other drops have a somewhat perfect curvature, ergo bars feature a small straight section at the centre of the curvature of the drop, which helps the riders to have a comfortable, yet firm grip on the drops.
DROP-IN BARS : Drop-in bars are a modification of the standard drop bars. The drops in drop-in bars are extended laterally inwards, in a direction parallel to the central portion of the bar. When the rider holds onto this extended part of the bar, it helps him/her to get into a lower, tucked kind of position which helps in reducing the drag.
Bull-horn bars are most commonly used on fixies and single-speed bikes. The conventional bull-horn handlebar consists of a fairly flat central section, with ends which are curved upwards in the forward direction, making an angle of approximately 30 degrees with the horizontal. The appearance of these bars basically gives them the name, as they resemble the horns of a bull.
Flat bars are most commonly found on MTBs, hybrids and certain singlespeed bikes or fixies. They are characterised by an almost perfectly flat central section, which slightly curves inward towards the rider. Flat bars provide a steady position for the rider to hold on to, while riding over uneven or rough terrain, as a result of which they are seen on MTBs. Although they allow the rider to have a stable position, they don’t provide a lot of different options/positions to grip the bars, which can cause discomfort over long distance rides.
One good way to tackle this would be to use bar ends. They end up offering an extra grip position and riders can alternate during their rides for added comfort.
These are a variation of the flat bars. They differ from flat bars in the respect that the central section rises to about 10mm to 45mm to form the ends. These bars offer a more comfortable position for riders who find it hard to reach out to their flat handlebars on their MTB or Hybrid.
Aero bars are typically used in time-trials. These bars are fixed on the central section of the bike’s handlebars.
Aero bars are used by riders to get into a compact, tucked-in, aerodynamic position. In this position, the drag due to the air resistance is minimum, thereby allowing the rider to utilise his/her energy to the maximum extent.
Some aero-bars also come with risers (which may or may not be adjustable) to suit the rider based on how much they can tuck in to the aero position (which puts a lot of stress on the core of an individual)
To view our collection of handlebars, click here
June 10, 2015 by Akshat Khanna
Tyres, form the most basic component of a bike and one of the most important component as well, simply because of the fact that without tyres, not only bikes, but no form of road transport can exist!
To start things off, Road bike tyres range in widths from 20mm to around 30mm width, with the size being constant at 700C. The most common sizes being 23mm and 25mm. In this write-up we shall be discussing these two types of road bike tires in detail.
Thinner tires mean smaller contact area with the road surface. Hence rolling friction/resistance is reduced.
These tires are slightly more aerodynamic than their other counterparts (25c, 28c, 30c and 32c tires)
Smaller contact surface between the road and the tires mean that every small bump, pothole or bad patch of road can be felt by the rider in the form of road buzz
The chance of pinch flats (punctures caused due to riding at lower pressures or bad road conditions) also increases
Ideally suited for
Time trial races
In the velodrome
Slightly wider contact surface with the road (many consider it just the optimum amount of contact for regular road riding!) which provides a more plushier ride than a 23c tire
Chances of pinch flats (flats that happen when you ride under pressure. They look like a snake bite on the underside of the tube) reduce by a fair bit and the tire can be pumped to 15-20 psi less than what’s specified on the sidewall without increasing the chance of a pinch flat.
Slightly wider profile should make the tires slightly less aerodynamic than the 23c tires.
The wider size means that the contact patch between the road and the tire increases. Hence the rolling friction should increase by slight amounts.
Best suited for
Sportive events and Brevets
Road cycling stage races
Did you know?
In the Paris-Roubaix, riders are known to have used tyres as thick as 30mm.
That said, on smooth surfaces, these tyres seem inferior to the narrow tyres.
However, recent studies have shown that when the two are compared on an overall basis, the wider tyres gain an edge over the thinner tyres.
The explanation they had for this was as follows – Each tyre is flattened over a load. When the prototypes of the two tyres were inflated to the same level, the wider tyres deformed over their width and to a lesser extent along their length. The thinner tyres on the other hand, being slimmer, flattened to a larger extent along their length. As a result, the wider tyres were more “round” than their slimmer counterparts, thereby aiding in the rotation action, making motion easier.
Other factors to consider when buying a road bike tire
Weight of the tire – As a rule of thumb, saving 1 gram of weight on the wheels of your bike is equivalent to saving 2 grams on other parts of the bike. So yeah, lighter the tire, the better it is!
Puncture protection – A lot of tyre manufacturers have different was of making their tyres on the higher end of the spectrum more puncture resistant using different methods. This does end up adding a bit of weight on the tire, but then, if you are doing your training rides or riding on terrain where chances of getting a flat tire are high, its generally worth the compromise.
Colour – Sounds less important than the other things we discussed above, and it surely is. But lets be honest, a good looking pair of tires that match with your bike will not only make you want to ride more, but also make your ride look way more swankier than it already is ;)
To view our collection of tires available on our online store, click here
May 26, 2015 by Rohan Kini
Mountain biking is fast becoming a part of life for many city youth
Nice writeup on the mountain biking scene in Bangalore!
MOUNTAIN BIKING CLUBS
Know of more in your city? Do let us know!