My first job came as a blessing in disguise and ended my one year of struggle to get a new start in my crestfallen career. Exhilarated by my success, I was explaining to my parents, on call, how I easily conquered the mind of the interviewer; though, some parts of the tale were deliberately exaggerated. My happiness soon melted away when I started commuting to office. My office is approximately 20 kilometers away from my home and I cursed every meter while travelling from pillar to post. I revised all the high-spirited curse words while hanging out from the bus and finally after 3 months I convinced my dad to buy me a bike. OK, fine! I am earning now. At least give me the initial deposit amount. My dad asked me to search for a bike and that bike should pass the three criteria: a) Good Mileage (Kitna deti hai?) b) Reliable Braking (ABS ki aukat nahi hai, disc se kaam chala) c) Low Cost (Beta Luna le le!)
After combining my objective technical knowledge of automobiles with the criteria given by papa, I came up with five criteria that can be used while purchasing a bike.
- Assess your requirements
Your first step should be a discussion with yourself. Why do you want a bike? What genre of the bike? What is your budget? How much variance from the cost of the bike can you manage? Which type of travel daily you do? Which type of journey you would be looking forward to in future? How are the conditions of the roads you are planning to ride? How often will you take your bike for a ride? You can also add some more questions to the previous array.
It is beneficial for us to first assess our requirements. Sometimes in haste, we make a wrong choice and regret afterwards. People with good earning can afford to buy more than one bike, but it’s not the case with middle class and lower class. If you like going for long rides, try cruisers. If you like to climb hills on bike, choose an off-road bike. If you need bike for daily commute, buy commuters. Even scooters are a good option if you want a comfort ride across city. If you want your bike to be agile as well as fast, go for naked roadsters. Some also prefer to buy a sports bike and like to vroom on roads. If you have to commute daily to office or college through traffic (in some case bumper to bumper traffic) and you have bought a sports bike, you might struggle while riding through the traffic. Even the fuel efficiency of the bike might go down.
So, it is advisable to buy a bike which suits your riding requirements.
- Riding Ergonomics
Problems in back, knees, wrists, neck, and shoulders are some of the common concerns that riders face. The posture of the body of a rider while riding a bike should be in harmony with the nature of ride he or she does. If the aim of a rider is highway touring, the handle bars should be high and up-right; the foot pegs should be fitted to the bike such that the knee angle (angle between the rider’s thigh and shin) should be around 90° or more. Hip angle (angle between upper body and thigh) should be more than 70°. For sports bike, the more you lean ahead, the less air drag you will face. Your leg should be crouched and hip angle should be less than 60°. Bikes meant for city commuting have wider handle bars than sports bike; sitting position is upright and the knee angle varies from 75° to 90°.
Seat height is also a major factor to be considered. Short riders should not select a bike with high saddle as they can topple while balancing. (Please don’t take it on your ego! Short bikes are more stable due to low centre of gravity.) The same goes for the other way around.
I suggest you to take a test ride before you make your final decision. Take your time to compare the riding positions of different bikes and select the bike that suits your body.
- Ride Quality
This is the most important criteria out of all five. Riding quality includes multiple factors like suspension system, engine capacity, torque, and power generated by engine, vibrations, etc. After spending a fortune on a bike, nobody wants their bike to have less power, hard acceleration, vibration in your hands (unless you are a fan of Royal Enfield), and other problems. The data provided by bike companies are collected under ideal conditions. Real output of a motorcycle varies from the manufacturers’ promise.
You should exhaustively check the ride quality of the bike you are planning to buy.
- Fuel Economy
If you are planning to buy low to medium cost bike, fuel economy should be one of the major concerns to keep in mind. The ones who are buying costly bikes don’t think much about the fuel consumption. If you ride daily, you should go for the bike that has good fuel economy. Fuel economy of a bike depends on the factors like engine capacity (larger the capacity more fuel it consumes), fuelling, gearing, and riding styles. Maintenance is also a major factor of fuel efficiency, but must be considered when you possess a bike. The economy of a bike is always less than the data provided by the manufacturer.
You should introspect about the balance between the fuel economy and power. Mostly a bike having high power and high torque figure is low in fuel economy and vice-versa. If you don’t like to ride fast, but are interested in saving some bucks on fuel, 100 cc to 150 cc bikes would be ideal for you.
The bike you want is more of your personal choice and budget than a general opinion, but make sure you get the most out of the spent bucks. When I was planning to buy a bike, I filtered three bikes of different brands. First two belong to the 150 cc segment and the third one has a 200 cc engine (It’s not necessary that a larger capacity engine generates more power or torque). All of them have the same price tag, but the third one successfully passed all the criteria I had set. And that decision was one of the few correct decisions I had taken till date.
That’s it from my end, folks! I might have missed a few criteria while buying my bike. If you can come up with any other criteria, then please share with us in the comments below. TheNerdTalks is always open for your opinion.
See you soon and take care!