Metroplus

It is the cycle of love

Gokul Krishna (left) and Krishnendu Basu of Bike Affair showing their own brand of bikes-Astr   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Love for fitness is one thing and giving up a well-paying job to follow fitness as a passion is another. Well two young men — Gokul Krishna and Krishnendu Basu were determined, hence pedalled their way to start a Bike Affair. This affair however, gave birth to an offspring — home grown and organic — Astr, the first custom-made cycle, wheeling out from Hyderabad.

However, they are honest about their role. “The two us aren’t sitting and crafting or welding the cycle parts together. We have conceived, designed, selected the material, sat with boutique craftsmen, tested and finally rolled out the brand,” reveals Gokul.

One thing led to the other and from being leisure cyclists, they became crusaders of fitness and then dealers with the best cycles from around the world. It was during this time, Gokul came across a ‘fixie’ and was delighted and mesmerised by its dynamics. For a non-cyclist, a fixie is a cycle with a fixed wheel which as a rule are fixed-gear bicycles and a single speed.

“Astr comes with a single speed fixie. Fixies are bikes that have a fixed rear cog which means that the rear wheel doesn’t rotate freely when you stop pedalling. The wheel moves in tandem with the pedal rotation, it can rotate backwards if you rotate the pedal backwards. This means that you need to continuously pedal while moving and can have great control on the bike. You can actually use your leg strength to brake. Astrcomes with a flip flop hub, with the provision to put a freewheel as well. I would describe a fixie as a bike with more control and a bike that remains connected with the cyclist,” describes Gokul who not only travelled to different countries to look for a suitable fixie, but when he finally found one, he travelled with one to the cycle workshop where more work on the design, engineering and mechanics were to be put in together.

Krish and Gokul’s love for cycle varies. While Krish loves the touring part of it, Gokul wants to use it as a means of everyday commute. But their combined research and knowledge of cycles made them come to one choice — steel for the metal to be used in their brand.“Four years of research, trial and error, cycling trips, only made us more hopeful of using steel as a brand. We also wanted it to have a minimalist look for Astr. We are quite pleased with the final outcome. The first model sidewinder, with a frame that’s made of 4130 chromoly steel. This is very high grade steel which is very strong and hence can be made with thinner tubes and still provide the required strength. The frame tubes are also double butted (the thickness of the tube varies along the length of the tube, with higher thickness around more stress areas and thinner where stress is less). As a result the sidewinder weighs in at just 9.5 kg for a 52cm size bike,” explains Gokul.

Other features include minimalist and classic looks of a bike. The lugged fork, quill stem, lugged seat post clamp and cross stitched saddle complete the look. “The bike comes in five colours, including a complete chrome. “We have other models like Shadow, our limited edition bike for true connoisseurs. It is a piece of art that moves beautifully. The frame is made of Columbus Chromor triple butted tubing with an elegant twin top tube. The high polish components give it a beautiful shine which is complemented by a leather saddle and cream walled tyres. The rare bull horn handle bars add to the charisma,” explains Krish enthusiastically.

In all this bike enthusiasm, are the two men getting to maintain a smooth married life? “We are,” they laugh.


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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 4:41:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/astr-cycles-it-is-the-cycle-of-love/article7915712.ece

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