This post has been a veeeeeeeeerry long time coming.
This was supposed to be my first post but shit happens and I was too sleepy to write anything meaningful.
The bike in question is my awesome bicycle, the Trek 4300.
Trek is an well known manufacturer of quality bikes from Waterloo, Wisconsin. The 4300 is one of their cheapest bikes in the category of mountain bikes. But most of you will cringe when I tell you that this bike costs Rs 22,805 (yes Chuti, I checked the bill and its correct). What’s cheap everywhere else costs as much as a cheap moped here in India. Why is that? Two words, quality and reliability.
The search for a bike started in early 2009, when I was supposed to be studying for numerous competitive exams. It can be assumed I spent more time browsing bike websites than studying, hence I ended up in NITK (not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong!). At that time, there wasn’t much choice. Cannondale had just entered the Indian market, along with Bianchi. Trek had already been here for a couple of years, courtesy Bums On The Saddle (BOTS), the place where I bought my bike. I knew I wanted a mountain bike, ’cause all the crazy pavement riding I do wouldn’t have been possible on a skimpy road bike. So the choices were narrowed down to the Trek 4300, the 4300D and the Cannondale F7. The 4300D 5k more than the 4300 due to disc brakes instead of V brakes like the ones which were on the 4300.
The 4300 had a decent mix of parts for its 23k price tag, but the fork was again an RST ( which, if i forgot to mention sucks big time, no compression at all unless you’re jumping on the handlebars. Wish I had done my homework). Also the disc brakes on the D were pretty comparable to the V brakes on the 4300 in dry weather. But when things go wet, the brakes just used to squeal and the bike used to coast to a stop after a relatively long distance. The disc brakes also squealed like a crying baby, but they had the same stopping power in all conditions.
I convinced myself that I wouldn’t cycle in wet weather and if needed I could upgrade to discs quite easily ’cause both the bikes had similar frames. (I was very wrong about the easy part. If I need to upgrade to discs, I need to change the hub so that I can fit discs. Plus I have to buy new levers and shifters as the original ones are integrated with the shifters. And the discs themselves are quite expensive. Most of the times i would have to buy a complete wheel set. The total of all these upgrades would come up to $300-500 , which is more than the cost of the bike itself.) And, as you may all know…….. I’m ah……..very cheap. So, I bought the 4300 and haven’t looked back since.
Its been a very enjoyable two years on this bike and I believe I might keep it for a very long time after upgrading some parts which are utter crap. For starters, the fork has to go. But upgrading the fork means I have to switch to disc brakes as higher level forks do not have V brake mounts, leading to the above mentioned upgrades and a very empty pocket (add about $300 for the cost of a decent fork). So until I get a job, I have to live with what I have, which ain’t half bad.
Otherwise, the bike has been a dream, compared to the crap on Indian roads. I very much respect the doodhwala cycle as its very good bang for the buck and apparently you can reach very scary speeds on it with its thin tires and slim profile.
Brands like Firefox are total ripoffs for what they offer. Instead of a simple diamond or double triangle frame, they make weird shapes which are not ergonomically comfortable and energy inefficient due to their pointless front and rear suspension. The rear suspension is most often just a heavy spring which saps your energy as you bob up and down, instead of letting you put the pedal to the mettle.
One commendable bicycle, amongst the mind numbing stuff that the Indian companies churn out to lure unsuspecting buyers, is the BSA ACT 110, which ticks all the correct boxes for a decent looking and handling bicycle.
The quality of components is one of the reasons why the bike costs as much as it does. They feel sturdy and not as if they are about to give way to the pull of gravity when you’re really trashing the bike. Take the tires, for an example. You can always tell whether a bike is good by looking at its tires. In my two years of jumping on two footpaths, drifting, stoppies and whatever, I haven’t had a single flat and I’ve only had to fill the tires less than 15 times. The last time I touched the pump was two months ago.
People pay 30k for a crappy phone (genrally an Iphone, I have a soft spot for Androids), but when they hear the price of my bike, their jaws reach the floor.
My bike will still be in working condition if it falls of a ten foot ledge. But the phone will be replaced in less than 3 years. SO whats their point? Effectively my bike is way cheaper than the phone. I rather have a crappy phone worth 3k and a bike worth 20k. Its how you look at it. Dual core, my shiny ass (as Bender would say). Are you utilizing atleast 30% of what the phone’s can do? I can honestly say I’m utilizing atleast 80% of what my bike’s capable of ( for the remaining 20%, I need to master the bunny hop. As of now the rear wheel seems planted on the ground, whatever hocus pocus I do).
Some accept the fact that I’m a bike nut and they like me for it, whereas the majority think I’m insane. Well, control an MQ9 Reaper with that 1Ghz Snapdragon equipped <what you have>, and then we’ll talk (don’t we all wish we had pressed the button which killed Osama’s right hand man? No? Well, I do).
My aim for the future is to own a freeride capable downhill bomber and rip down A line at the Whistler bike park, in Canada, the native habitat of the mountain cyclomaniac.
Well, that was a random post full of bike related ramblings. Hope you enjoyed it. I most certainly did ’cause I’ve been wanting to say these things for a long time. And by any chance if you come across a video called ‘Reddy Epic’, do watch it and don’t tell me about it.
Next time>>>>>>>>>>>> Hazards of cycling on the roads of India (or Get off the road, you freakin’ retard!!)
Adios, Muchachos, I’m off to shred some gnar. (Okay, not now, tomorrow. It’s 11 p.m. and some people don’t take kindly to treading on ‘their’ footpath (stupid land encroachers)).
Error 404/3 >>>>> Brain implosion. Fall out area: 300 feet as moved by an ant.