All good recommendations from what I see. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but have learned quite a bit about biking along the way. I have been riding now for abnout 5 years and have owned 3 bikes with my latest a Merida. I've toured through 5 different countries in the region and have logged thousands of kms. When choosing a bike you have two basic choices - road bike and mountain bike. Mountain bikes are typically more versatile can be ridden on all sorts of terrain and can be outfitted with all kinds of accessories to include panniers to carry your groceries. I ride with the Udon Riders Club and we ride a mix of mountain and road bikes. I prefer mountain bikes because I also do a lot of touring and this kind of bike is sturdier to carry additional weight.
When choosing a bike size (fit) is the most important factor. I am 5'10" and ride a 20" Merida. This 20" measurement is taken from the center of the crank to the top of the seat post opening. There is normally a sticker on this tube indicating the length of the tube. All other dimensions are the based off that central figure. A shorter down tube will alter the distance to the handlbars and the distance to the pedal cranks which could make for an uncomfortable ride.
Here is a good website to help you chose a bike: http://www.mountain-bike-world.com/buy- ... -bike.html
Here are my recommendations:
1. Mountain bike/road bike: recommend an alloy frame mountain bike. Alloy frames are lighter making pedaling easier. remember you are the motor.
2. Suspension: Front suspension is usually adequate for most riding. Try to get a front "air fork" as it will be lighter than a steel spring loaded fork.
3. "V" brake vs disc: Disc brakes are becoming more popular, less expensive and lighter in weight and will provide better stopping distances.
4. Size: Sit on the bike and ride it if possible to see how you like the feel of it. Your back should be at about a 45 deg angle leaning forward and your leg should be nearly straight when on the down stroke.
5. Safety: Buy and use a helmet all the time. I have been hit twice now and my helmet defitely sve the day for me.
6. Riding clothing: designed for comfort and visibility. Riding shorts come equipped with a large cushioned pad toi help absorb road shocks.
7. Cost: Expect to pay around 12-15,000B for a decent bike here in Udon.
8. Where to buy: Parrot's recommendations are all sound. There are basically 4 decent bike shops here in Udon Thani. I like Pepsi's bike shop on Sri Chomchuan Road because he is a well respected rider and will help with fiting the bike. The owner of the bike shop at the 5 way intersection close to Robinsons speaks english and is also very helpful His name is Peter. Road bike has a large selection of bikes and is located just north of makro on a side soi next to a tire shop.
Here is a great bicycle website: www.crazyguyonabike.com
Hope all this helps. Fire away if you have additional questions.