JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWSWORK) - The trend of modifying bicycles, to the extent of even removing the gears and brakes, has become increasingly popular among youngsters in the past two years.
These modified bicycles, which can cost up to RM500 to alter, are usually used for racing.
They are usually secondhand, and the riders usually purchase the parts and modify themselves.
A bicycle shop owner, who only wanted to be known as Tan, said the trend of lowering the bicycles started about two years ago.
"Many of them modify the bicycles themselves as we do not do it due to safety concerns," he said.
He added that the boys usually wanted the brakes and gears to be removed.
Tan said they could not stop the boys from buying parts such as handles, sport rims and tyres, or other accessories, and doing the modifications themselves.
He said the parts cost between RM15 and RM200, for handle, sport rims and tyres.
A worker at another bicycle shop Maylani Sarkam, 35, said two of the teen cyclists who died in Saturday's accident were regulars at the shop located along Jalan Tebrau here.
"They usually loiter around our shop on Fridays and Saturdays during the evening to wait for their friends before riding to Dataran Bandaraya but since the incident, everyone is missing," she said.
She added that her shop never modified bicycles, and only sold bicycle parts like double forks and handlebars.
Another shop owner who wanted to be known as Chee Hong, 39, said he often warned the young riders not to remove their brakes as it was dangerous, but they continued to do it themselves according to trends.
Chee Hong added that most of them did their own modification as no repairmen would be willing to do it due to safety regulations.
"By removing the brakes and lOwering the bicycles, their bicycles will become faster," he said.
"The teens who visit my shop are riders from Taman Pandan, Tebrau and Masai," he said, adding that he was not sure if they were from the same group as the teen cyclists involved in the tragedy.