Buying a bike, is a lot like choosing a wife. There so many types – road, mountain, full suspension, all-mountain, folding, fixed gear, touring, cyclocross and normal ones – that you always have to figure out what’s right for you before paying for it because they all cater to different needs.

Photo courtesy of www.123rf.com

Photo courtesy of www.123rf.com

My history with bicycles is definitely a lot more interesting than my love life haha. I’ve had over 20 bikes from years back until today. Ever since I began taking cycling as a serious hobby, almost all the bikes that I have bought are custom built. I prefer custom bikes over completed ones because the combinations don’t always meet my personal requirements.

Photo courtesy of Cyclery

Click here to read about bike fitting.

After multiple trial and errors, here’s what I found to be the top 3 things to look at before getting that bicycle you have your eye on:

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1. Wheelset

A good pair of wheels is vital to your bicycle. Your wheels should have super smooth bearing, preferably ceramic ones.  Of course, you also want your wheels to look good. The best profile for that is around the average 35mm to 40mm. The rest of the wheel’s build can be tweaked according to your personal preference. Things like material, aerodynamics, stiffness, responsiveness and momentum are adjustable depending on (what else?) your budget. A good pair of wheels will cost you anything from RM2000 to RM20000.

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2. Frameset

Framesets are important because this is what makes your bike last with you. If you’ve got the wrong size or material, problems will arise and sooner or later, you’re gonna leave the bike to collect dust cause it doesn’t suit you. A lot of frames are imported or made in other countries, so with Asians being comparatively smaller in build, we should always check on the size of the frame. Other factors would be the material (carbon fibre, aluminium, scandium, titanium, steel) and its design. These things would be a tad less significant and again, up to your preference.

Image taken from www.china-bearings.com

Image taken from www.china-bearings.com

3. Bearings

Like I said earlier, bearings are key to your bike. Your bicycle has several parts that moves and that includes the wheelset bearings (front and rear), bottom bracket, pulley, headset and pedal bearing. Everything that moves on your bike (except you) do so with the help of bearings. So even the smallest restrictions will have a great effect, especially when it comes to long distance cycling. Go for ceramic bearings, because they’re naturally smoother and has a lower affinity to heat. Chrome steel and stainless steel bearings are fine but they expand when exposed to heat (thus restricting optimum performance) and they corrode in the long run.

Anyone who comes to me for these advice, I’d recommend bike fitting for a custom built bike. But if you’re not looking to break the bank, just pay a little more attention to these details when you get a bike!