FAQ: Steps to buying a bike
Version 1.1 (13 Sep 2004): Yap Chi Wei, Mark Chan, Aaron Chia & N. Sivasothi
Note: this was written in 2004, so typical entry-level bike models may have changed.


I: Steps to buying a bike

  1. Fit is paramount - Get a good sizing (read through webpage links below) and if the saddle hurts and the stem length is wrong, ask for changes. You are usually entitled to a 1st tune-up FOC as well, so ask for this as the new cables will stretch.
  2. Test ride the bike - your comfort is a premium and might go against advise; e.g. Some prefer a bike bigger than measurements suggest. If it feels good, you ave the right bike.
  3. Compare prices. Once you want a particular model you can call up shops. It is apparently not good form to bargain since margins are not high, so find the cheapest and save your skills for the accessories to be bundled with the bike. But it's not just about price; the service and comfort you have with a shop is more important than saving a few bucks .
  4. Accessories - while you are buying the bike, grab your accessories, and they are likely to offer you a decent deal than when making individual purchases.
    • helmet,
    • gloves,
    • lights: rear (red) and front (white) blinkers (legal requirement in Singapore; see "How brightly lit are you?"),
    • water bottles & bottle cages,
    • speedometer,
    • rear-view mirror (if you do road biking),
    • puncture repair kit (there are $5 kits so you could but that elsewhere),
    • extra tubes,
    • portable pump,
    • bike stand (there are light-weight models; very useful for recreational riders), *heh-heh*
    • basket (useful for neighbourhood cyclists)
    • upgrade to cleated-pedals or add pedal cages (if you want to)
  5. Ask about after-sales service. You will have to send your bicycle back for tuning as the cables will stretch after some use. Minor are adjustments usually free. You will also need to service the bike from time to time and replace cables.
  6. Togoparts Marketplace is worth checking out. Buy bikes in the older range of models when the new moddls come to town [Sep 2004]. But see Ground effect's guide to buying a second hand bike.
  7. Progear and HASA for upgraders. If you are the sort that enjoys upgrading these brands offer value for money with stock components you can subsequently upgrade. For a budget of $500, these may probably offer the best specs, and the frames and their weights are comparable to mid range branded bikes at a fraction of cost. The uncles who hang out at RodaLink have expensive (sponsored) racers but their off-road bikes are Hasa & Progears - credibility from riders who know their stuff.

Have fun and take your time. It'll be an enjoyable experience!


II: Links for sizing a bike

  • Florida Dept. Transportation: State Pedestrian/Bicycle Programme: "Buying a bike". A simple pdf brochure with advice on sizing abd buying a bike.
  • Rockville, Maryland: Department of Recreation and Parks: "Bicycling in Rockville". A simple page on proper bike and helmet fit.
  • Dick Rafoth's Cycling performance tips: "Bicycle sizing". In particular, see the comprehensive list of tips in section II by Andy Pruit.
  • Sheldon Brown's "The revisionist theory of bicycle sizing". A good essay that explains why there so much fuss these days about getting the correct size - because you finally can! With links to other pages.
  • Colorado Cyclist's "How to fit your custom bike". A detailed treatment meant for custom bikes but there is useful information for the rest of us.


III: Some recommendations [Sep 2004]

Where to buy

  • Togoparts has a Marketplace which usually has good deals: e.g. getting bikes from the older 2004 or 2003 range since the new 2005 models are almost in town.
  • and a list of Bike Shops.
  • "When buying a GT or Norco, I have had good experiences with Hup Leong."
  • Bikeshops with low prices are Seng Chu Hin, TEF, Hup Leong, and Tiong Hin. See Togoparts list of Bike Shops.

What can you afford

  • S$640 - above-average components (all frames nowadays are pretty good) that should last a long time."
  • $450 - Scott YZ3, GT Avalanche 3.0, GT Aggressor, Kona Lanai, Kona Hahannah, or Giant Boulder.
  • $1,000 - Kona Cindercone, GT Avalanche 0.0, or Scott Expert Racing.

Scott recommended

  • "Word is that Scott bikes (if you buy complete bikes) have one of the best values in town. Never heard anyone complain about their Scott bikes before."
  • "For women: Scott Luna sounds like it's got women-specific sizing & geometry. I'd reckon that women-specific bike sizing & fitting does work, or at least it's better than buying a small made-for-male bike & trying to make that fit.
  • Go to http://www.khcycle.com.sg to check out the RRP of Scott bikes. Shop pricing could be between $50 to $100 below the RRP, sometimes even more. E.g.  Scott Montana at KH is $650, and at CycleCraft, its $580.