The Hercules Ryders Act 105 (https://www.ticyclesindia.com/productfeatures.asp?pid=118) is one of the newer MTBs from TI Cycles. This review is based on my experiences after having used this cycle for commuting on Bangalore’s roads for a few weeks. NOTE: This review is for the older Ryders ACT 105. TI Cycles seems to have introduced a newer version (with which I have no experience) with the same name, but some different features like quick release for the saddle, a different kind of stem, different mudguards and a greatly different colour scheme.
This bicycle has an Aluminium alloy frame making it lighter than many steel framed bicycles. It weighs around 17 Kg – lighter when compared to the normal Indian single speed bikes in the market (which weigh 20+ Kg), but heavier when compared to the Hero Thunder MTB (which weighs a mere 13 Kg!). The frame size is 18 inches according to the TI Cycles website.
The bike comes with 21 gears (the entry level Shimano Tourney) and Shimano indexed revo-shifters for shifting the gears in the rear while there are Shimano friction revo shifters for the front. Gear changing is not smooth, but you can live with it. The gears ratios on this cycle are more suitable for climbing rather than going very fast on straight roads or downward slopes. While cycling on Bangalore’s roads, I never have to use the smallest cog in the chainwheel. Overall, only 7-8 different gear ratios out of the 21 possible are useful for me.
The saddle on this cycle really impressed me. My previous cycle had a pretty hard saddle and it could get uncomfortable sometimes. The saddle on the ACT 105 has a different shape (wider at the back) and has a soft cushion on top which is depressed lengthwise (front to back) in the middle. There are also spring shock absorbers for the saddle. These features make for a really comfortable ride.
The seat post was too short – the seat height could not be increased much, and hence I needed to buy a new longer one.
The cycle comes with butyl tubes and nylon tyres from Wanda (size: 26″x1.95″) which have a good grip on the road. The air retaining ability of the tubes is also good. They need to be filled with air only every month or so. But when the tubes are inflated fully, the ride can get slightly rough because of the grips on the tyres and the aluminium alloy frame. The cycle has alloy rims. These are better than steel rims and provide a very good braking surface.
The brakes are V brakes both in the front and back. These are good when adjusted well and in my opinion, these are better than the calliper brakes that come with lower end cycles. On my cycle, the rear brake shoes can’t be lifted to the correct height resulting in considerably reduced braking power. This is probably a one off mistake, but I guess it would be wise to check for this problem.
There are front shock absorbers which are spring loaded. The travel for these can’t be adjusted. I have not found much difference due to the front shocks on normal roads with minor potholes and on untarred roads. The vibrations from the rough terrain are felt quite hard at the handlebars (and the rest of the cycle). There are no rear shock absorbers.
The handle bar is of the flat variety with bends towards its middle, so you can flip it or rotate it (up-down) about the clamp to increase/decrease it’s height or to change its distance from the saddle. It comes with bar ends. The grips are good.
Fenders come from the start, but they are of the flexible plastic kind. I would any day prefer the normal metallic kind of fenders that come with other bicycles. The worst part about these is that they allow a lot of muck from the road to be splattered all over the rider! These plastic ones may look good, but their attachment to the frame is not good and they can go out of adjustment with a little force. The rear fender is fitted to the seat post with a plastic attachment which could be broken and replacements are not available. Also, when applying the front brakes, the front fender comes in the way of the brake arms. This isn’t a problem for braking, because the plastic fenders bend easily and don’t provide much resistance to the brake arms, but then the fenders are not supposed come in the way in the first place. Another problem with these fenders is that they can get noisy on rough roads.
The cycle does not come with a carrier attached. There are other cycles in the market which have a carrier which is welded to the frame. Some of these look ugly and you have no option to remove the carrier. The 105 is good in this respect. A reasonable carrier that fits would cost around Rs 160.
A bottle holder is attached on to the frame from the beginning with screws and there’s also a plastic bottle provided. These are just show pieces and are pretty bad in quality. The bottle holder is likely to break easily and the bottle leaks from the top. The positioning of the holder on the frame is too low, so riding on a small puddle will cause the bottle to be splashed with muddy water all over.
The paint job is done really well.
Riding an MTB on tarred roads seems to require more effort, and due to the knobby tyres and the aluminium frame on this cycle, the ride can feel rough. This isn’t a problem and I feel the cycle to be reasonably comfortable for 20 km rides (on city roads).
Coming to the cost, this cycle should cost between Rs 6400 to Rs 7000 (the TI cycles website says Rs 7500 or so, but websites don’t put up the correct price), depending on how many shops you survey and your bargaining skills. Many shops did talk about rising prices and quoted rates of Rs 7200+. The TI cycles site suggests that some tools (Allen keys) are provided with the cycle, but I was not given any tools. Make sure you ask the seller to provide you with the required tools with the bicycle (I guess it should be free of cost). I was not provided with a manual either – maybe some shops give them. I got a 2 year warranty for the frame (welding problems and cracks/breaks) and handlebar, but not for the gears or other small components which are more likely to get damaged.