Calling all cycling fanatics! Are you prepared to kick your cycling adventures up a notch? If you’re in search of a new hobby, you’re in for a treat! Today, I’ll be revealing the three weapons that every rider should have in their collection. From versatile mountain bikes to compact foldable ones, these delightful rides will inject a healthy dose of fun and versatility into your cycling escapades. So dust off your helmet, and let’s dive into the world of two (or three!) wheeled awesomeness!
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, the mountain bike’s ability to tackle any terrain makes it the perfect weapon of choice for an adventurous weekend. Be it your neighbourhood park connector or mountain biking trail, the mountain bike can handle it all. These purpose-built machines are super sturdy, letting you trash it around without feeling guilty. Equipped with suspension and wide tyres, the MTB will absorb every little bump and give your buttocks the utmost comfort.
When buying an MTB, you can choose between a full suspension and a hardtail bike. A full suspension bike, as its name suggests, has suspension for both the front and the rear wheels. On the other hand, a hardtail MTB is a bicycle that only has suspension in the front and is more common on low to mid-range bikes. You may choose to invest in a bike with full suspension so that you can have added control of your bike. However, as investing in a full suspension bike will most likely set you back by about $5,000, I recommend giving hardtails a try. Though hardtails will be less forgiving on your bum, they have its strong points too. It is faster on flat roads due to its lighter weight, and having less moving parts also makes the bike easier to maintain. You should be able to get a decent hardtail from most reputable bike shops near you, costing around $2,000. Alternatively, you can get a decent second hand hardtail MTB from Carousell for under $1,000, making this option easier on your pocket. A hardtail gets the job done, and I think that these bikes provide the most value for your money if you’re just starting out.
If you’re a beginner who’s getting into the mountain biking scene, I’d recommend trying out Mandai Track 15 for a start. Being a wide track with no steep drops or sharp turns, I’d say that this is the ideal starter trail if you’ve never sniffed an ounce of mountain biking in your life, as you can slowly hone your mountain biking skills in a safe environment. Once you’re competent enough, you can start venturing into more advanced tracks and experience nature like never before!
Performance Foldable Bike
If the thought of mountain biking scares you, or on days that you’re planning to go on a leisure ride with your friends, a performance foldie will be your best friend. After all, the everyday cyclist wouldn’t be mountain biking every day of the week, and carrying a clunky object everywhere may start to get quite troublesome after a while. Most foldable bikes are lightweight at around 10 kg, and this makes it easier to cycle and transport.
For most of my life, I have been riding road bikes as I participate in competitions frequently. When riding the Birdy R20 for the first time, I was surprised by how similar it felt to my road bike. Not only was it easy to control, I found it surprisingly easy to pick up speed. Having many components that are frequently found on road bikes, the Birdy R20 well exceeded my expectations. Unless you’re trying to break cycling records or win cycling competitions, performance foldies have more speed than you’ll ever need. Reaching 30km/h is surprisingly easy, and even at those speeds, it handles effortlessly. With a performance foldie, you’ll have no problems keeping up with your kakis on their lightweight and aerodynamic road bikes. You can get your hands on a Birdy bike at around $2,000, making it a worthy investment.
The next obvious feature is, of course, that it folds. The Birdy bike holds the world record for folding at 4.9 seconds, and only takes a few minutes to learn. Even if you aren’t the fastest folder, folding and unfolding a Birdy bike shouldn’t take more than 15 seconds. Being so simple to fold and unfold makes taking the bus or train super convenient. I used to meet my friends to cycle a lot, and we stayed quite a cycle from each other. Finding a common place to meet was an absolute nightmare, and without a foldie, most of us ended up cycling on the road alone to get to our destination. Other times, a smaller group of us would meet for an absurdly early breakfast before meeting the rest of the group. With a foldable bike however, you can simply take the public transport before meeting your friends, which is a much safer option. You also save yourself the hassle of waking up in the wee hours of the morning.
Rarely do people commute with their performance bicycles, as it is often impractical unless they stay in the vicinity of their workplace. Taking your performance bike out everyday means that you need to lube your chain and derailleur much more often to maintain your bike’s optimal performance. Without the luxury of time, many people may view this as a hassle.
Compact Foldable Bike
To save yourself the hassle, I would highly recommend having a compact foldable bike as your main commuter. This companion will be lighter and more compact than its performance counterpart, providing you the utmost convenience for your daily commute. If squeezing and finding a spot on the train is a concern for you, fret not! Your new daily companion will surely blend in with the crowd. I’ve tried commuting with the Pacific CarryMe in the past, and I never knew that a bicycle could be so compact. While folded, it never intrudes into anyone else’s personal space, and simply feels like an extension of yourself. Its ergonomic design makes it feel so natural carrying it around that I often forget that I’m commuting with a bicycle.
I would recommend getting a single-speed foldie, because this would make maintenance easier by leaps and bounds. This means that you don’t have the luxury of shifting gears, but lesser moving parts means less parts that are prone to wear and tear. You want something that you can take around with you everyday without having to worry about maintenance. Unless you live at the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, having a single speed bike will take you anywhere effortlessly. For instance, the CarryMe is calibrated perfectly such that I have no issues climbing any hills I face on the daily, and I can push the bike that bit further if I find myself late for work. Having a hassle-free bike is an absolute must, and it can also be the perfect companion for running errands on the weekends. You can easily purchase a handlebar bag for extra storage on your compact foldie, and it’ll be the perfect vessel for you to dump your groceries in.
With a bicycle so compact, you can even bring your best ally with you, even on your grandest escapades. Having the luxury of bringing a bicycle overseas opens up a whole new window of opportunities. For less than $1,000, the CarryMe also comes with a compact hard case for you to bring with you on your travels, which means that you can fly with your new pal too! Imagine embarking on a makan trip to Penang with your kakis, and tackling the mountainous terrains of Genting Highlands after. The possibilities when you have a bike you can take anywhere with you is endless! Travelling overseas builds a whole new bond between a man and his machine, and is an experience to cherish for a lifetime.
So, what should I get?
Most of you probably know that one friend that has a storeroom filled with bicycles at home, but the truth is that you don’t need to spend your entire life savings on your coveted collection. You only need three bikes that will take you anywhere – A MTB, a performance foldie and a compact foldie. Armed with this artillery, you will have more than enough ammunition to last you a lifetime.