By Happy Earth

Guest post: Kinetic Road Machine Smart

Customer Narayanan G of Bangalore reached out to us yesterday with a review about his experience with the Kinetic Road Machine Smart. We love unsolicited feedback like this and are lucky to have passionate customers. Here is what he had to say.

[START QUOTE]

Some of you may know already, I ride a Btwin Triban 3 Road bike from 2013. Prior to that I used to ride a Btwin Rockrider 5.1 and I sold it to get onto a road bike. Until 2015, I used to ride my bikes more and also done a few 120 + KM rides on weekends. However from year 2015 to 2016 my rides have come down gradually to almost a complete stop in 2016. These were the excuses:

  • Traffic near my residence have increased drastically and also one-ways introduced. Wrong side driving on one ways is common and lots of accidents in vicinity
  • Pollution increase, and breathing in more and more bad air and toxins during rides
  • Cannot ride daily due to office timings and distance. I stay at Bangalore – Whitefield and work in ECity. Almost 28-29 km distance one way. I take the office bus daily and leave by 6:45 AM and reach home back by 7:30 PM or later.
  • Office commute by bicycle was not an option owing to distance, pollution, laptops to carry, dress code at office and traffic issues and worry about accidents.
  • Just riding on week end was not enough, and strength/endurance was getting reduced. Couldn’t do more than 30K/day during those week ends in 2016.
  • Some personal stuff or more excuses, even the week end rides gets called off, leaving to no rides.
  • 2-3 minor accidents during 2016 rides, in one instance I rammed onto a motorcycle guy when he just overtook me and suddenly stopped.

Leaving the bike hanging onto the wall hanger, I almost decided to sell it since I was not finding a viable solution to the issues I was facing. Also the body mass kept increasing and reached a point of feeling lethargic, bloat like feeling and having joint pains.

I badly wanted to restart my cycling and stumbled upon few articles, videos about Home trainers for bicycle. On doing more reading and research, I started thinking about buying one since the trainer almost solved most of the imp issues I was facing.

Mainly came across home trainer from Decathlon (MRP 8K approx) and Kinetic (starting from 20K). I was able to personally check out both and ride them with my bike for some good amount of time, to help me with my decision. Decided to buy Kinetic Fluid Smart Trainer (MRP 30K INR), which comes with inbuilt sensors which can connect to Mobile Apps. Using which we can track the rides and monitor the Time, Distance, Speed, Cadence etc.

Narayanan’s trainer setup

Things I liked about Kinetic Smart Trainer:

  • Rides smooth and almost feels like riding on real road-like. Simple to setup and use. Decathlon home trainer felt more jerky/vibrating
  • Superb build quality, feels strong and sturdy. the flywheel and the resistance unit is built-to-last. Decathlon home trainer felt more plastic/Chinese
  • The amount of research gone into the trainer is obvious. And the options you get to customize / enhance your training options are also more.
  • The confidence from product dealership and availability of lifetime warranty was confidence inspiring. I personally saw few instances where warranty replacements done with new units
  • Seamless connectivity to Mobile App. More than 3 months of almost daily usage, not even one instance of connectivity issue (on iPhone App).
  • Mobile App keeps a track of all trainings history. Can see your progress over weeks/months
  • Helped my ride my loving bike inside my home. I was able to ride at least 5-6 days of the week during last 3 months. No worry about accidents, pollution etc
  • Gave me flexibility to ride whenever I get time, irrespective of day and time and weather. Just get onto the bike and ride, just switch on Bluetooth on phone and connect. And stop when you need to stop.
  • Ride listening to music / watching TV. I realized the intensity of the training changed based on the track I was listening
  • Trainer helped me overcome the challenges I faced, and I didn’t have to sell my current bike

Some recent Stats:

> During Dec 2016, I was able to do 17.5 KM in one hour on trainer. This was after almost 1 year of break from cycling. After 3 months, I am doing 26 KM/hour and doing at least 30 Minute to 1 hour of riding daily, depending on time availability

> Daily riding on trainer along with some minor diet control I was able to reduce my weight by 6 KG in last 3 months.

Next:

> Plan to continue the daily rides and increase the intensity, duration, distance slowly and steadily.

> Plan to take out the bike and try some long distance rides in near future

> Some more strength/endurance training, weight training etc for core strength improvement

[END QUOTE]

Great stuff Narayanan, we are glad to help you on this positive journey – happy training!

A visitor on a touring bike

It’s been a busy time at the office but we had a pleasant break today when a visitor rolled in on his touring bike. Julien is from France and has been touring on his bicycle for about 4 years now. We spent a good bit of time chatting about his experiences in India and touring in general. He also had a lot of advice for us about gear. It was insightful for us to talk to someone who has basically been living off his bicycle for 4 years. Here are some tidbits.

Discussing gear with Julien

 

  1. Since he cycles more than he walks, he said it takes a little getting used to regular walking when he is on rest days.
  2. He doesn’t use a cycle computer, log distance covered or use a dynamo hub. In fact, he has had his phone stolen a number of times and doesn’t really depend on having one.

    These tires have done more than 10,000 km!
  3. He swears by his current Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour – his current set has lasted him since Kyrgyzstan. Since then he has been to Kazakhstan, China, South-East asia and all of India. He prefers these tires to the Marathon Mondial.
  4. He carries a water filtration system made by an American company, Sawyer, and loves it. Says he can safely filter water for drinking from any tap or water body. On the topic of water, in addition to all his water bottles (some were large), he also has a 10L hydration pack made by MSR. He typicallly fills it up before setting up camp for the night – should cover cooking, washing and all overnight usage.
    Water Filtration System that seems to be available in India

     

  5. In the red bottles he carries fuel – petrol or kerosene which can be used by his stove when cooking. Since even small villages have petrol available, he has no trouble refilling.
  6. His left crank arm is black and his right is silver! He needed a spare one and a bike shop spared one of a different colour – when you need to get back on the road, you take what you get.
  7. Since he basically lives off his bike, everything he uses is on it – including about 4 kgs of winter gear!

    Bike vandalized :(

We were introduced to Julien under unfortunate circumstances last June. He was camping by himself in Ladakh when a group of drunk men attacked him and his tent. He fled to return with the police but by then they had damaged his bike and gear – he was in need of a new fork among other things.

Luckily we had a Surly Troll fork that suited his bike. We were glad to see that he is happy with his replacement fork and that incident in Ladakh did not perturb him or his planned travels. He was full of praise for rural roads in India and the many friendly people he has encountered on the road.

Surly Rigid Fork

 

His one year visa expiring soon, Julien took leave from our premises and set out to Ooty via Mysore. From there he will proceed to Cochin before flying out of the country but he is not done with his travels yet – he is off to a new country but plans to return back to visit parts of India. We are glad for the time spent with you Julien, safe travels and may our paths cross again!

Add some functional bling!

What’s life without a little colour? When spending good money on components, it is good to have choices. For a while now, we’ve been offering bicycle components from Chris King USA for your builds. CK offers top-shelf headsets, BBs and hubs in a variety of colours.

Chris King Headsets

 

To take things further, we now offers a selection of skewers and seat collars from Salsa Cycles. These are available in multiple colours, many of which match the CK components.

 

 

What does this mean? Let’s look at some possibilities. If this is your headset

 

 

 

See what you can do by adding a red seat collar

 

Adds a nice touch, does it not? Here’s a Cross Check built with dual scheme in black and red. Black seat collar and red skewers to match the headset.

 

Like it? The possibilities are many – let your imagination run wild. That Cross Check above (built by Blue Lug) also brings in a little red from the Gevenalle shifters and cable housing.

 

You can also add colour to your bikes in the form of coloured rims, spoke nipples, bottle cages, pedals, bar tape, bar end caps and handlebar grips. We have multiple colour options for all these, in addition to the previously mentioned cable housing, shifters, headsets, BBs, hubs, skewers and seatpost clamps.

We look forward to our friends and customers expressing their creativity and individuality with these options. Let’s make extraordinary bikes, let’s bring your dreams to life.

Touring can be life changing

Surly LHT customer Ganesh is back from his tour and posted this on his Google Plus page. Copying the entire post as we think the message is significant!

—Start Quote–
I recently got 250 pictures, out of 1000s, printed. Arranging and organizing them gives me a sense of the journey that I’ve just completed. I have just returned home after riding 8000kms on a bicycle over the last 7 months(July 7th,2014 to Feb 5th, 2015). My journey has taken me from Srinagar to Katmandu, a mountainous/hilly stretch over 4 months taking me through the back roads of Ladhak, Himachal Pradesh Uttaranchal and the Terai of Nepal. I turned back into India, from Katmandu, riding through framing villages of Bihar, the Gangatic plains of UP, the badlands of MP and hitting the coast of Maharastra and down home to Manipal, Karnataka.

 

Ganesh and his LHT

Just two years ago, I was an average engineer working a regular office job. Going through a personal crisis, and to this day I can’t reason why, I decided to buy a bicycle. I still remember those initial days, when a 5 minute ride would leave me in so much pain that I would dread riding it again. But, I stuck with it and was soon climbing the many hilly roads leading to Manipal. This gave a tremendous boost to my confidence and my self-esteem was slowly but surely recovering from an epic crash it had taken. Over the next 6 months, I rode that bicycle regularly come rain or shine. In the evening, after work, I got myself involved in the mechanics by working along side the mechanics at St.Antony biycle works Udupi.
By this time, I had three things working for me – good aerobic fitness, a sound working knowledge of a bicycle and enough money in the bank. After quite a bit of research, I invested the money in a good touring bicycle – Surly Long Haul Trucker. This soon opened up new avenues. I was now planning and successfully executing 3 day solo trips through the western ghats. These were not an end in themselves, rather, they were just training for a multi month ride in Himalayas that I had been secretly planning. I kept my grand plans so low key, that my Parents knew of it only 3-4 months before my departure.
I’ve heard, quitting one’s job is a difficult decision and I’ve never heard of anyone quitting their job to ride a bicycle through the Himalayas. But after a year and half of hard work this was one of the easiest decisions that I’ve made. Once they heard me out, my boss and the CEO of the company were very supportive.

Riding the mountains has to be one of the most exhilarating experiences – one day I am narrowly avoiding being wiped out by a landslide, the second I am pushing my bike up a noodle width trail to cross a 5000mt pass, the third I am spotting snow leopards in gorges, the fourth I am playing Jenga with a couple of sherpas, a seductively hot Dutch girl and a couple of Aussies in the middle of nowhere. But the plains were no less boring. Here I was joined by Leonie Palmer a British adventuress who I rode with from Varanasi to Goa. I first met Leo in October, when were part of the same Woofer class at NOLS India, Ranikhet. We did a short trek to Gaumukh thereafter and were thick as thieves by the end of it. She then went to Thailand and Lao for a bit of bike touring herself before heading back into India. Being partners in crime, we were able to suck all the juice out of the many places we rode through – Paan tasting in Allahabad, Kite flying in Chitrakoot, Trail walking in Mandu, Scrambling and costeering in Goa – a mad,mad,mad,mad ride all the way. Along with her, I discovered a slice of India that I had never seen, but more importantly, positively change her views of India which had taken a bad hit after a brief visit 20 years ago.

The experiential learning that takes place on such journeys is inimitable – my Hindi isn’t as appalling as it once was, my bargaining skills are polished and I revel in it now, my knots stay tied, I am proud to say that I can pack a bag and a complete thorough bath with just a glass of water is just one of my many super powers.

Lao Tzu says that a Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In many ways, it feels like my journey has just begun and I have only taken a few steps. But, WOW, what steps they’ve been! The world is a different place for me now and there are challenges all around. My dad sums it up best when he said “The world hasn’t changed. It’s still the same. What has changed, is the way you see yourself!”

–End Quote–

Sweet wheels

Check out these wheels that are headed to the Tour Divide. Stan’s NoTubes Arch Ex rims, Chris King rear hub, SP Dynamo thru-axle front hub. This picture is from a wheelbuilder in California but we are so kicked to be stocking all of these über brands in India!

One sweet looking set of wheels.

Back To The Future

A blog post? In 2015? Well, yes.

We’ve been cleaning up house! After months of procrastination, the website has had a bit of an update. Hopefully it looks more current.

We’ve also decided that blogs do have a function in the age of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There’s information we’d like to put out here that may be too long for social media or may prove useful enough to come back to. Feeds aren’t easily searchable when you want to look up something you saw a few months ago.

So, we’ll give it a shot.

Before we go. Here’s a picture of the Surly Travelers Check that we shipped yesterday. The customer sent in this photo today. It’s a special bike and we’re not likely to sell another of these for a while.

First Travelers Check