Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, there has been an increase in bicycle sales – as people turn to this carbon-free form of socially distanced transport, as well as a low-cost form of exercise and recreation around the island. Others use bicycles for work as food delivers and couriers since they can be used on roads, pavements and park connectors, as compared to the greatly-handicapped Personal Mobility Devices.
Cycling culture is also being supported by the government, as a way to reduce car usage. Under the Singapore Green Plan, Singapore’s cycling network will be tripled from the current 460 km to 1,320 km by 2030, and some new HDB towns like Tengah are piloting dedicated infrastructure for cyclists.
Whether for commute or leisure, here’s an overview of the various options and considerations for beginners buying their first bike.
What To Consider When Buying A Bike
When choosing a bicycle, you would first need to understand is your use case for your bicycle. Questions such as if you would need to use the bike for short or long commutes, whether you would be carrying cargo, and what places you would be riding on are essential.
Weight and foldability would affect portability, and that may be a key issue if you want to carry your bike around, access public transport, or be transportable by car.
You would also need to consider the fit of the bike. Your height and size are general considerations when choosing a bike, and you would need to make sure that your bike fits you well.
Finally, you would need to consider the material of the bike. The two most common materials for bikes are Aluminum and Carbon. However, each material has its strengths and limitations. Carbon frames generally are lighter and more comfortable, but are more expensive and are more prone to cracks when crashing. Aluminium frames are heavier but are cheaper and more durable if you fall. Also, take note that mid-range aluminium frames are generally better than cheap carbon frames.
Overview Of Types Of Bikes To Consider
There are many different types of bicycles in Singapore, with various features to serve different purposes better. With the considerations you have in mind, you may want to consider these common bicycle types in Singapore for your first bike purchase.
Designed for smooth roads and pavements, road bicycles are suitable both for fitness, racing or long-distance commuting.
With smooth and skinny tires, light frame, and drop handlebars for aerodynamic positions, road bikes are built for speed on roads. Subtypes of traditional road bikes include cyclocross bikes or touring bikes, which are stronger and can carry heavier cargoes.
Example of entry-level road bike: Triban RC 100 7SP Road Bike, S$370.00, Decathlon
Built for off-road trails and dirt tracks, the mountain bike is designed for users to go through all types of rough terrain.
Features such as suspension and shock absorbers, and heavier and rugged wheels, make the mountain bike heavier and sturdier as compared to other bicycle types. Often, mountain bikes are classified into Hardtail or Full-suspension bikes, with hardtail bikes having only front suspension and full-suspension bikes having both front and rear suspension.
Example of an entry-level hardtail mountain bike: Rockrider ST 520 27.5 8SP Mountain Bike, S$450.00, Decathlon
A mix between the road bike and the mountain bike, Hybrid bikes can be useful both for commuters or leisure riders.
Hybrid bikes generally have upright handlebars and seating positions like the mountain bike, while having the lighter frames of road bikes. Other than that, they can either lean towards mountain bikes with front suspension or have the smooth and thin wheels of a road bike.
Example of entry-level hybrid bike: Rockrider ST 100 27.5IN (26IN XS) 21SP Sport Bike, S$350.00, Decathlon
Fixed Gear Bikes (Fixies)
The popular choice for hipsters, fixie bikes are ideal for short terms commutes due to their single-gear system. This means that the bicycle moves only if you pedal, as the single gear prevents coasting.
Designed simplistically, the fixie bike might not even have brakes as its single gear mechanism can act as one. You can even ride backwards, useful for navigating crowded or obstacle-laden streets. The single gear system also means that maintenance is more straightforward, with many components of other bikes missing from the fixie.
Do note as of 2021, brakeless bikes are banned in Singapore. Thus, if you are looking to buy a fixie bike, you would need to buy one with a brake attached to it.
Example of entry-level fixed gear bike: Fixie Classic,S$388.00, Fixie SG
Often bikes designed for comfort, aesthetic and casual riding, city bikes can come in many shapes and sizes for travelling between neighbourhoods.
The most common type of city bikes is the cruiser bikes you see in neighbourhoods. Cruiser bikes are designed with a comfortable and upright position in mind. With comfortable seats, wide tires and upright handlebars, such bikes are often used for short-distance commuting.
Example of entry-level city bike: Aleoca DF-24 Inch Signora City Bike, S$149.00 now, original price S$170.00, Giant
Ideal for those who want to take public transport while riding or have little storage space, foldable bikes are portable and small bikes that can be brought around anywhere
Generally, foldable bikes are small and have smaller wheels, but there are larger options with bigger wheels. However, those larger options may come at a disadvantage in terms of portability. Make sure to choose one that suits your purpose the best, as folding bikes can come in many different shapes and sizes to suit the rider.
Do take note that if you want to bring your foldable bike onto public transport in Singapore, the bike must not exceed 120cm by 70cm by 40cm when folded and must be folded in MRT stations, bus interchanges and in trains and buses.
Example of entry-level foldable bike: Bolt Classic® Foldable Bike, S$298.00 now, original price S$372.00, Bolt
Additional Accessories And Gear To Consider Purchasing
As with all sports, you may also want to invest in gear and accessories to aid safety and convenience for you. Sports Singapore states that a few items are essential to safe cycling.
Essential gear includes a helmet that meets approved standards and appropriate bright clothing to improve visibility and avoid any entanglements between your clothes and the bike.
Accessories needed include a bell to warn pedestrians and slow-moving cyclists about your presence, mirrors to help see around the bicycle, either on the handlebars or stems, and lights to help in low visibility.
Do take note that it is mandatory to have a white light at the front of the bike and a red reflector or light at the rear, as part of the Road Traffic Act. Red lights are prohibited from being on the front of the bike, while the rear of the bike can only have either a red light or reflector.
You may also want to invest in accessories such as a basket, saddlebag or pannier for storage. Other options include a water cage for hydration or a lock if you are planning to leave your bike outside.
|Item||Price (From Decathlon)|
|Helmet – Rockrider Mountain Bike Helmet ST 50||S$15.00|
|Bell – Elops 100 Bike Bell||S$4.00|
|Lights – ST 520 Front/Rear LED USD Bike Light Set||S$28.00|
|Lock – 120 Accessories Cable Lock with Key||S$10.00|
|Pannier – 100 Bike Front Pannier 8L||S$15.00|
|Water Bottle Cage – Triban 500 Bike Bottle Cage||S$10.00|
In general, you can expect to spend about $80 to kit out your bicycle with the essential accessories.
Where To Purchase And How Much?
In terms of price, regular and cheap cruiser bikes are often the most affordable, costing around $100 to $300 at brands such as Aleoca and Decathlon. Specialised road and mountain bikes can set you back from $500 to more than $1,000 for entry-level bikes. Ultimately, you might want to stick to a budget in the hundreds for your first bike and upgrade if you’re going to pursue a hobby in cycling.
As for where to purchase a bike, it is always recommended to go to your neighbourhood bike shop. Such bike shops can help you find and customize the best bike for you to try out before the purchase.
However, if there isn’t one in your vicinity, you may consider buying from Decathlon for cheap bikes. If you are looking at more expensive options, specialised stores such as Hup Leong, Hello Bicycle and Rodalink provide more options.
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