19-25 April 2013 #652

I want to ride my bicycle

Jomsom S2

Tired of the traffic and the snaking petrol queues, Yantrick opted for pedal power this week and hopped onto Chain Jomsom S2. We hear our dear leader Baburam Bhattarai, the poster boy for all things Nepali, was one of the first to take a ride. Now we’re not entirely sure if the former PM enjoyed Jomsom as much as Mustang, but the two-wheeler with its light suspension and smooth gear changes proved a good companion for Yantrick on the notoriously narrow and bumpy roads of Kathmandu.

A Nepali company called Chain started designing and assembling Jomsom S2 about a year ago at its garage (with parts flown in from China) with a simple goal: build bikes that are strong enough to survive the rigours of city riding and light enough to carry on those difficult slopes. Looking at how quickly Jomsoms are going off the walls the team seems to have succeeded. The bike feels equally at home on dirt and rocky trails as it does on gravel roads and can even withstand pavements, however it is not suitable for extreme biking.

The most basic Jomsom S2 model (Rs 30,000) is equipped with an impressively wide gear range. It has 21 gears and the speed can be shifted to seven levels. With an aluminium 6061 frame, S2 is well crafted, and includes a zoom suspension fork and handle bar, V brake, Shimano Acera rear and front derailleur. These features offer smooth shifting, near silent transmission, and long-term durability. And the kenda tyres ensure a comfortable ride even on potholed roads.

If you are willing to dish 20k more, you can get the S2 upgraded to include RST suspension fork, Trutaive handle, disk brake, Shimano Alivo rear derailleur, Maxxis tyres and tube, 27 gears, and nine speed. And for those who want their bikes a particular shade of grey (or red, green, blue) the makers are more than happy to customise colour, size, and parts to meet individual needs.

One of the main reasons to opt for a Jomson S2 over other brands is its competitive price. While most mountain bikes cost Rs 50,000 on average and a city bike between Rs 20,000 and 35,000, the standard S2 will make your wallet lighter by only Rs 30,000.

Epic Mountain Bike sells Jomsoms at its showroom in Jhamsikhel and even exports the two wheelers to Bhutan. The company is setting up a new branch at Naxal next month with plans of opening another in Dharan. The bikes can also be found in Pokhara.

Verdict: Jomsom S2 is an affordable bicycle for daily commute, running errands, and for short trails off the road. But if you need something more professional, look elsewhere.

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