The first of a four-part weekly series to help readers prepare for the upcoming OCBC Cycle 2015

Splurge on components, not a top-of-line bike frame

Adrian Ng says that one should choose a bike that allows the cyclist to touch the ground with the toes. His advice is one should not buy a bike to impress others but to pay more attention to the components.
Adrian Ng says that one should choose a bike that allows the cyclist to touch the ground with the toes. His advice is one should not buy a bike to impress others but to pay more attention to the components.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The first of a four-part weekly series to help readers prepare for the upcoming OCBC Cycle 2015

THERE is no need to splash the cash. That is the message from Adrian Ng, an endurance trainer for the Singapore Cycling Federation, for the cyclists who are just beginning to take a serious interest in pursuing the sport.

With makes and models that can cost thousands of dollars on the market, it is easy to fall prey to the temptation to buy a top-of-the-line model that comes with all the bells and whistles.

But Ng, 34, a private coach with 12 years of coaching and training experience, had this piece of advice ahead of this year's OCBC Cycle: "For a start, one should not splurge on a bike."

He urged cyclists to look beyond a bike's frame and instead examine the group set, which consists of the brake levers, brake calipers, cogset, cranks, chain rings as well as front and rear derailers.

"You should focus on getting better components rather than an expensive frame," he said.

"The group set is the most important factor in purchasing a bike and it wears out the quickest.

"So money should be spent on the group set rather than the frame, regardless of whether it is steel, aluminium or a carbon make.

"With a budget of $900 to $1,500, one should be able to get a bike with a good group set."

When selecting a bike, it should allow the rider to be well-balanced with both the feet on tip-toes on the ground.

Ng added that those who want a more accurate measurement can choose to go to a bike fitter.

For those who already own a bike, Ng encouraged them to make sure that it is in optimum working condition prior to a race.

"Brakes, tubes and gears may lose their integrity if they have not been used often," he noted.

"The gears should be able to be shifted well, the brakes should be working well and the skewers for the wheels should not be rusty.

"You should also send your bike for a full service before you start on your training and preparation."

Helmets, gloves, shoes and shades should also be essentials for a cycling event.

"More money can be spent on helmets so that one can choose a helmet they really like and will not mind wearing it often.

"Speaking from experience, you will stop wearing your helmet if you don't really like it," said Ng.

Quality gloves can be purchased from as little as $15.

"Fingerless gloves would be a better choice because it would be more comfortable for the fingers and easier to brake," he added.

Once you have invested in a suitable bike, make sure that you maintain your equipment well as this prolongs the lifespan.

Ng advised: "After a ride, your bike should always be washed and wiped dry.

"Each joint of the bike should also be lubricated to prevent rusting."

He added that the shoes should be wiped "but not washed so that the integrity of the material will not be compromised".

Anti-bacterial spray can be used to sanitise the shoes.

More importantly, he had this piece of advice for cyclists: "It's all about enjoying the ride and making every cent worth its ride."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'Splurge on components, not a top-of-line bike frame'. Print Edition | Subscribe