Hercules Ryders ACT 105 Review

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.

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31 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by nik on November 9, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    thanks for putting up this review
    i booked this bike today

    Reply

  2. Posted by skld on November 10, 2008 at 4:43 am

    nik: great! this is a good bike in its range. i’m sure you’ll like it :)

    Reply

  3. Posted by k.m.sidharthan on November 27, 2008 at 6:24 am

    i am planning to buy a bicyale for around rs 7000. please tell me which is a better option ryders act 104 or 105

    Reply

  4. Posted by skld on November 28, 2008 at 6:51 am

    k.m.sidharthan: Sorry, I don’t know much about the 104, so I can’t give you an opinion on that. I would suggest you ask around in a forum like http://www.bikeszone.com/forum

    Reply

  5. Posted by nik on November 28, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    I got the bike on the 23rd. Commuted to work on the 24th – a total of 36 kms. First impression is good – I got the dealer to fit in metal fenders. I have taken them off for now – will put them back on before the rains.

    Reply

  6. Posted by skld on December 2, 2008 at 7:25 am

    nik: thats good :) I feel that removing the plastic fenders was a good decision… The new fenders will be of much help during the rains.

    Reply

  7. Posted by vignesh on December 20, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Will that stylish fender will damage the legs?? Coz the shopkeeper told me it wont!!

    Reply

  8. Posted by skld on December 22, 2008 at 7:15 am

    No, the fenders wont do damage to the brakes. The fenders are pretty flexible and won’t damage anything. The only problem is that during rains, they allow a lot of muddy water from the road to be splashed over the rider.

    Reply

  9. Posted by dharmedra tyagi on January 24, 2009 at 9:35 am

    am planning to buy a bicyale for around rs 7000. please tell me which is a better option ryders act 104 or 105

    Reply

  10. Posted by skld on January 25, 2009 at 4:41 am

    dharmendra tyagi: I have not ridden a 104, so I can’t comment on it. Try handling both cycles in the shop and only then decide. It’s better to ask around in a cycling forum (refer comment 4).

    Reply

  11. Posted by Anshuman Atre on February 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Hi,

    Was considering buying this bike, with the fenders changed. How good are the brakes?

    I am finalizing between ACT 105 and Hero Thuder MTB. They say the latter is lighter but the brakes are real bad in the Hero bike.

    Also how good are the gears?

    Thanks!

    Reply

  12. Posted by skld on February 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    The brakes on the ACT 105 are quite good. The bike stops almost immediately when the brakes are applied (if adjusted well). I feel that brake shoes don’t last very long.

    The gears are fine. Gear shifting is not very smooth, and the gears need periodic adjustment, but it is not so much of an issue. There are adequate gear ratios for climbing almost slope in the city.

    The presence of front shocks in the 105 is what distinguishes it from the Thunder. But it’s not like these shock absorbers have much of an improvement on the ride quality.

    Reply

  13. Posted by xlmoron on March 14, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Hi, Nice review. I am a 30-year-old Chennai-ite toying with the idea of going to office in a bicycle. I saw your review on bikeszone too. Wondered if you could tell me how much difference the gear system really makes? My office is around 5K from my home. Might go for long rides on ECR here occasionally. Don’t have any hills around to try.

    I am a bit partial to single-geared cycles for their simplicity of design and easy maintenance. But if gears would make riding much easier and pleasurable, wouldn’t mind going for them.

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Posted by skld on March 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm

      xlmoron: It’s nice that you are thinking about cycling to office! A distance of 5 Km is a very good candidate for daily commuting by cycle :)

      Multiple gears on a bicycle are really helpful if you are planning to ride on a lot of uphill trails. With a single speed bike, you’ll probably have to walk up the hills, but on a geared cycle, almost any slope can be cycled while seated on the saddle. Also, if you want to go very fast on some stretches (flat or downhill), the gears will be of help. The downside is that gears require maintenance and ajdustment from time to time. Geared cycles don’t improve your efficiency – they just make it easier to go up slopes and allow go faster down the slopes/flat terrain.

      For 5 Km rides without too much of an uphill stretch, I feel that a single speed bike is the best choice. Like you said, they are really simple and require very low maintenance. Single speeds are as – and in many cases, more – pleasurable to ride than geared bikes. If the route that you take has slight inclines, you can always get a bigger freewheel (which will give you a lower gear) to make it easier for you and your knees. A month of riding should get you in a good enough physical condition to make your ride a breeze. If your route has good roads, a road bike like the BSA Mach, Hero Hawk etc. are good choices.

      About the longer rides, again it depends on the terrain – if there are too many slopes, then a geared cycle is recommended. Also, on long rides, having multiple gears will allow you to continue pedalling uphill (at a very low gear) even when you are tired. With a single speed, you might have to get off the bike for a few minutes to catch your breath.

      Also, I haven’t posted a review on bikeszone… that must be someone else’s :)

      Reply

  14. Posted by XLmoron on March 15, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Skld, Appreciate taking your time out to answer my query. Spent the better part of yesterday reading up on geared and ungeared bikes. Have never tried a geared bicycle till date. Thinking of asking an office colleague for a test ride before getting one for myself. Thanks again for adding to my knowledge.

    And, oops! Wasn’t that other review yours? Must have spent a little TOO much time reading up on cycles. Brain totally addled. Now I find myself double-checking this to see if the reply is in the right post. :D

    Reply

  15. Have been riding the ACT 105 for almost 2 years now. A little over a year in Bangalore (went everywhere with it and averaged some 50km a day) and now 6 months in Hyderabad. I reckon the bike is g8 for Indian Cities. Tough, light, good braking action, value-for-money. Initially had very bad splatter problem with the Back Plastic Mudguard – fixed it by simply adjusting the guard lower and closer to the wheel. The High Guard may look stylish but keeping it closer to the wheel does the job better – takes care of most of the splatter. Started with a single speed Hero Mountain Bike – used it for 2 months before switching to the ACT 105. The former was good for conditioning but moving to the latter made a HUGE difference in the overall riding. Both Bangalore and Hyderabad has lots of ups and downs so those gears really help. Would say that overall – I have been very happy. Would highly recommend this model.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Swapnil on October 22, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Hi, I am 30 yr old and would like to start cycling as an excercise and maybe later on move on the long distance cycling. I saw the act 105 liked the looks, had an atlas rebel as a kid and after almost 12 years getting on the cycle would be difficult. Am getting the bike for a price of 6700 INR. Is this price good enough as al the dealers I went to told me different prices and this is the best price offered to me and secondly I would like to know how to use the gears. I see that on both the sides of the handle grip there are these things…dont know what you call them, I want to know how to use them..I still cant get the funda of what 21 speed gear really means…please can someone explain me this…Thanks in advance…

    Reply

  17. Posted by Swapnil on November 2, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Hey guys, can someone plz respond to my earlier message as I am getting my bike on the 4th of this month. I have already told the dealer to get it for me…Please guys…thanks…

    Reply

  18. @ Swapnil: My personal take is that 6700 INR is a good price for the bike. I paid more :D… Which city are you riding the bike in? That would really determine how much gearing you do. Of course since you are considering cycling as an exercise, you might want to choose a route-terrain where you can get maximum benefit. Ideally lots of variations is good as it gives you natural ‘interval’ exercise.

    With regard to the gears, you have a knob on the right that has 3 settings – thats for the 3 front gears. Depending on the position, it will slide up or down to the right gear (chainwheel). There are three sprokets – or wheels with teeth – of three different sizes in the front and 7 at the back. The knob on the left has 7 settings for the seven back gears. For both front and back, settings 1 to 3 and 1 to 7 takes you from the bigger wheel/sproket to the smaller one. So for the best speed ratio, you select 1 on the front and 7 on the back thus getting more turns for your pedaling – but loosing power. When you climb a hill, you would want to increase the settings from 1 to 2 to 3 on the Right Gear – this causes the chain to slip from the bigger to smaller sproket on the front giving u a higher power ratio. Lowering the Back gear (on the left) from 7 through 1 also does the same thing. The various combinations – 3 in front and 7 at back gives you 21 possible gear settings. Generally thou you may find that you don’t use all the settings – this really depends on the terrain and your cadence.
    Read these links for more info:
    http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/bicycle4.htm
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears.html

    Cheers,
    - Happy Pedaling.
    P.S. I use the ACT 105 myself so I am happy with it – thou I also use the older one and don’t have first-hand experience with their newer model.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Swapnil on November 19, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Rish, Thanks a lot for replying. I got my bike on the 4th as I had mentioned earlier. I stay in New Bombay. Got the bike from this shop called Gupta Cycles at sector 14 opposite to MG complex. I ride in the city in the early morning. Planning to take it to work, however there is no place to park the cycle as I am sure most of the guys will mess with the gears and screw it up. In Mumbai or atleast where I am from, cycling is considered as old fashioned and a primitive mode of transport. Dont know anyone who is “into” cycling. If you are from Mumbai and have a club or so kindly let me know about it as I plant o do long distance cycling too. As of now I am just getting used to the gears and th elongest I have beenon the bike is 16 KMS but not at a stretch, say took a break for half an hour.
    Thanks once again for your reply. Let me know if I can post me email so that I can actually be in touch with cycling enthusiasts…!!! Take care all.

    Reply

  20. Posted by Jomy on January 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Hi I am new to this site. I would like to buy a bike but am confused to go between the ryders ACT 104 and 105. I would also like to know about the ryders Act 110S and all their prices. Please recommend me the best one. ( below 7000K if possible)

    Reply

  21. Posted by swapnil on January 16, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Hey people cycling is going on great…ABout my act 105…I havent got used to the gears as of now however I feel in the course of time I will. The bike is good and the shocks though were a pretty hard earlier, seemed to have loosend a bit. Still cycling in the early hours of morning. Please let me know if there is a cycling club anywhere in Mumbai, navi mumbai, vashi would be better thats where I come from.
    Happy biking people!!!

    Reply

  22. Posted by Manu on February 14, 2010 at 4:48 am

    I bought this cycle, i liked it very much (but there is a problem with my gears, i don’t care). I’m sure u will also like it.

    Reply

  23. Posted by sandeep on April 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

    hi. I really like the 105, but unsure if it will be ok for my height. I’ve looked around and no one seems to have an assembled piece anywhere. Iam 5’10”. will it be fine for my height.?

    Reply

  24. Posted by MadManx on April 7, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Sandeep, the 105 will be too small for you. I’m 5’8 and the bike was small for me and not very comfortable.

    Reply

  25. Posted by BHARATH on April 18, 2010 at 7:35 am

    hi.i’m bharath from Coimbatore. i bought the act 104 max model and it is better than the act 105 model because i like do bmx tricks with my bike. my friend bought a act 105 but the front shox began to funny noises after doing a few stoppies(applying the front brakes firmly and stand only on the front wheel).so i got the act 104 model. though it has a carrier it is great for doing wheelies. i commute to school every day for about 28 kms.great

    Reply

  26. Posted by vikram on September 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    sum1 tell me sharp what is the finest multi-geared bike around 5500 INR. I hav to cycle 20 km each day. The road is almost flat terrain but there is nasty roughness too. I also want good speed n stunt abilities in that

    Reply

  27. Posted by Swapnil on September 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Hey people…let me m know if there is anyone around Navi Mumbai or mumbai…am interested to go on long rides within the proximity of mumbai….dont know anyone who is into cycyling…do mail me at suleswapnli@gmail.com… take care all !!!

    Reply

  28. please bring cycle to karmanghat hyderabad

    Reply

  29. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply

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