With international cycle brands finally making their presence felt in the city,Puneites are warming up to the idea of cycling
Lance Armstrong,bought the sport to the forefront with his amazing run at the Tour De France,our very own movie star Aamir Khan popularised the geared cycles in the movie Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander from the erstwhile 90s and it has taken the combined efforts of both of them to finally get the city crowd moving towards investing in what we term as swanky bicycles.
About five or six years back if you walked into a cycle shop and asked them for 21 speed,or 18 speed cycles for mountain biking or even all terrain biking you would probably laughed out of the shop,with the owner handing you a normal hard tail cycle to fulfill all the purported needs that you asked for,but now the scenario has changed drastically, says Anil Verma proprietor of Sai Baba Bikes.
Elaborating more about the various international brands in the city he adds,Some of the better known international brands like Cannondale,Trek,Firefox,Pinocchio and Lumala are amongst the brands that are a huge hit amongst riders of all ages these days. The cycles usually feature state-of-the-art technology and also incorporate various features that were otherwise alien to the Indian cycle market.
The biking culture,which is relatively new to the city,is a fall out of the recent trends of the IT industry. During the IT boom many of the international IT firms in the city would transfer the local engineers abroad. These engineers came in contact with the biking culture that is innate to most European nations. As a result of this when they moved back to India along with them they bought along the trend of biking. However as the local players in the market catered only to the mass crowd,a need to bring in these international brands was felt,he adds.
Seconding this opinion is Vijay Chikara of Dream Sporting Gear that sells specialised biking protective equipment says,The biking culture is fast catching up with the urban crowd because they do not get a lot of time to exercise,so they instead cycle their way to work or even use it as a recreational sport. As a result they invest in cycles which even though expensive provide full value for money.
About the protection gear used Chikara says,With the city traffic being as disoriented as it is,the need for protective gear is high. Besides most of these foreign cycles use double suspension which can put a lot of strain on a persons back if he or she rides the cycle incorrectly,thus using protective gear like spine guards,shin pads,elbow guards,knee guards minimizes these chances. Some of the better known brands that people go in for include,Axo,Alpinestars,Marushin,Prowell,Firefox and Daiiya.
The imported brands start from Rs 6000 onwards and go right up till 2 lakhs. They feature hydraulic suspensions,disc brakes,and adjustable gel filled saddles,power braking,and a host of other features that are not found in Indian bikes. Although the Indian bikes like the Ranger Swing 21 are decent options for first time riders,they are still not on par with brands like,Trek,Firefox,and Cannondale. The high-end cycles from brands like Trek and Cannondale cost right up to seven to eight lakhs. What is even more interesting is that people are turning up to buy these expensive cycles even in the times of recession. Cycling is finally coming of age in this over polluted city,adds Verma.
While local cycle brands still rule the roost owing to their customer sensitive pricing,foreign players are slowly clawing their way in. And with a brand conscious class of people fast emerging who are willing to spend money the future is sure looking sunny for them.
Dart series: Rs. 6000- 24000,(features include,mono shock suspensions,dual suspensions,disc brakes,Kenda Tires,Rock Shock-shock absorbers)
3700 series: Rs 11000 onwards
4000 series: Rs 15000- 24000
6000 series: Rs 50000
7000 series and higher end models,usually pre-ordered: Rs 50000-2.5 Lakhs
Knee,elbow,shin pads: Alpinestars Rs 2100- 2500
MX jerseys: Alpinestars,Axo Rs1600- 2000
Alpinestars – Rs 7500-8500
Bionic Protection Jackets:
Includes full upper body protection,and kidney protectors,and spine guard armour by Alpinestars,Rs 12500 (used only for off road or mountain biking)Helmets
Prowell,Firefox:Rs 900- 1800
Marushin:(for mountain biking) Rs 12000