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Can't wait to get a bike - but have some questions!

mookboymookboy Posts: 39
edited November 2007 in MTB beginners
Firstly I'd like to say hi! Been lurking on the forum for a bit, and really like the friendly atmosphere and helpful souls that hang round here.

OK, bum licking over. I'm a bit of a portly 6-footer, I hit 30 a few months ago and I think the reality of someday getting to forty with a spare tire and a lazy lifestyle has started to hit home. I used to ride BMX's up until a good 8 or 9 years ago and I've not so much as sat on a bike since - getting into VW's hasn't helped. I'm hoping to get a bike within the next month or so, I have a budget of approximately £300. I'm lucky enough to live in the Yorkshire countryside (near Ilkley) and within a reasonable drive of the Lake DIstrict.

Anyway, I have a few little questions I was hoping someone could help me out with - this feels like a big, scary new world I'm entering and I'm a bit unsure about one or two things.

1) Obviously winter is getting a hold of the UK. What would the essential items I should be looking to get a hold of to make the most of a bike, and riding when the weather is censored ? I have a fairly limited 'extras' budget and want to make the wisest choices. I really want to maximise my use of the bike and not be prevented by some cold or wet weather.

2) Bike choice. I want to initially stick to cycling round the village and the surrounding roads, plus some fairly un-rugged country paths etc. Once I'm a bit fitter, I'd then like to try some more adventurous offroad stuff. What sort of bike choice would be a good all rounder for these things? Should I choose certain tyres or particular features to suit?

3) Are there any really well regarded books to look at, to suit a beginner?

I'm sure a few more questions will occur to me...

Posts

  • Andy BAndy B Posts: 8,115
    Well, a good start would be a bike like a Mongoose Tyax Super, or Elite. Both very good bikes with damped suspension forks, which is rare at £300. Damping is pretty essential off road, unless you like pogo sticks ;)

    Equipment: Helmet (obviously), Gloves (SealSkinz are waterproof & breathable, also available as socks), waterproof jacket ( the best ones are highly breathable), Hydration pack (for water & tools/spares)

    Just a basic starter list for you, loads more stuff you could buy, but the only real essentials are a good bike, a helmet & a sense of adventure & fun!
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  • dunkerdunker Posts: 1,503
    agree with Andy on the bike, one thing that will be essential if you hav'nt ridden for awile will be padded cycling shorts to wear under baggies or trousers as you will get a sore backside but it will get better the more you ride and get your seating position right for you.

    any set of lights for our low light winters will be good on the safety side of things too. hopefully you can get an lbs to throw lots of bits in with the bike purchase like a puncture repair kit, pump and maybe a multi-tool

    a good book to get would be "Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair" by parktool though they have a great repair section on their site www.parktool.com it's nice having the book too :)
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Not really answering your question, but can I recommend All Terrain Cycles at Shipley? They're in Salts Mill.

    They have a huge range of bikes from Giant, Trek, Iron Horse, Orange and others plus the accessories to go with them. In addition to this they offer some fantastic 0% credit deals over three years on ALL current model year (2008) Giants and Treks, even the budget models.

    Check out their website at http://www.allterraincycles.co.uk. If you are going to pay them a visit, try to do it on a weekday if you can so that it isn't as busy and you get the staff's full attention.

    And before anybody asks I don't work there and I don't get commission from them - I just happen to like the service that I get and I'm happy to recommend them.
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  • fumpsfumps Posts: 227
    Hi mate

    If your in Ilkley there is loads of shops near to you dude.

    I'm not that far from you either lol.
    I would go for a base layer, helmet & some seal skin socks as essentials.
    Make sure you have a pump, puncture repair kit, or self adhesive patches, spare inner tube, water bottle/ hydration pack as being thursty out that way could be bad and you need to drink the recommended 1 litre per hour of riding.

    Your in an exposed part up in Ilkley so i would just ride short distances in a fleece to see how you go, i did'nt shell out for wind stoppers or thermal stuff because i'm quiet good wit the cold it never seems to bother me.
    I'm glad i did'nt tbh as i went out over the weekend in a long sleive top & ended up taking it off.

    You'll learn what you need the most as you go, if you can make do with say clothes you already have, just use trakkies & stuff, you'll realise what you need & replace as you go on mate.
    Arrrghhh it's worse than i thought!!!!!
  • Father FaffFather Faff Posts: 1,176
    I'm in Ilkley too and use JD Cycles just over the railway from Tesco's. Although their prices are a little more than some they will often do you a deal and included in the price you will get lots of help and after-sales service. While they might not be able to discount a bike much (lower margins) they can discount accessories if you buy at the same time because there are higher margins on those. They are always very polite to me despite me breaking my £2000 mountain bike third day out.

    Anyway with a £300 budget you will be pushed to get something half-decent. The Mongoose mentioned earlier is always well reviewed. I know JD's do Commencal Combi's which also get good reviews but will cost you a bit more than £300.

    As for what to where in winter on the moors round Ilkley I tend to wear the following:

    Temperature over 0C - a fleece or thick cycling type garment with lightweight windproof pertex top over it, long padded lycra leggings (or shorts if it's very mild), good warm gloves (Endura do good value kit) and good warm, preferably waterproof footwear.

    Under 0C - I tend to reach for my Buffalo 6 Shirt which is a pertex and pile affair that I used to use for mountaineering but is okay on a bike and has lots of pit zips for cooling.
    In fact it tends to be a bit warm even at 0C - it is in its element at -10C.
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  • fumpsfumps Posts: 227
    Mr Faff??

    What kind of riding do you get in Ilkley??
    I'm in that end of Leeds (Rodley) so looking to start riding out that way, and always looking to find new trails
    Arrrghhh it's worse than i thought!!!!!
  • Father FaffFather Faff Posts: 1,176
    All sorts. The youngsters have their own Downhill Association and do battle in the pages of the Ilkley Gazette with Old Farts in Ilkley who think they should be banned. Us older and more fragile types do XC on local bridleways and on Ilkley Moor itself at all hours of the day and night. There's lots of good natural stuff and all you need do really is get some good OS maps and explore. If you want man-made stuff then there's Stainburn Forest of course just up from Otley.
    Commencal Meta 5.5.1
    Scott CR1
  • Fantastic! I'm fairly new to the area, hailing from Gateshead an' all that. I didn't realise there was that much going on round here.
  • fumpsfumps Posts: 227
    Nice one i think i'm gonna do some exploring.
    I ride in the Leeds Bradford cannal area , like Esholt woods & surrounding areas. Some really nice bits.

    Cool thanks for that

    Mookboy yeh man theres so much around this area you just have to look around theres bits & peices dotted around Leeds as well.
    Arrrghhh it's worse than i thought!!!!!
  • xcracerxcracer Posts: 298
    Definitely invest some nice warm clothes otherwise you will go out a couple of times, get frozen and p'd-off and throw the bike in the shed and leave it there!

    PS. Does anybody know how to cure my cold feet problems without spending £70-100 on winter boots? I tried endura thermal socks but they haven't worked the last couple of days. Do the Seal Skins socks work? Maybe this is for another thread?
  • Father FaffFather Faff Posts: 1,176
    Seal Skin socks are excellent because they are waterproof and do keep your feet warm.
    Commencal Meta 5.5.1
    Scott CR1
  • I seem to be narrowing down my list of bikes to only a few contenders - mainly governed by what local bike shops stock rather than internet orders.

    The shortlist is: Trek 4500 (£400), Trek 4300 disc (£370), Trek 4300 (£300).

    Obviously I wanted to maintain a £300 budget, so the further away from it I get, the less I have to spend on extras. Not really sure what to do tbh.
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    This is a good time of year to be buying - as it's coming to the end of the season, dealers will be trying like mad to get rid of their stock.

    Go to a few shops with a wad of cash ( and I mean notes) and your haggling head on. And be ruthless. Try it on at every end and side and get what you can out of them. Chances are you may well be a ble to pick up a perfectly good 2007 (or even 2006) model for not a lot of money with a few goodies thrown in. OK so it may not have all the latest toys and it won't be this season's "in" colour, but who cares? It's a bike and at least it will get you out and riding.

    Once you've done that you WILL find yourself justifying more expensive bikes and accessories...
    Give a home to a retired Greyhound. Tia Greyhound Rescue
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  • Thanks for all the advice and help everyone. I ended up spending more than my budget but I think it will be worth it. Not to everyones tastes, but the reviews and word of mouth was so strong that I have ended up getting a Carrera Fury 2007 model for £395 from Halfords (£110 off plus an extra 10%).

    I'm picking it up on Thursday. Not too impressed with Halfords customer service, and their bike area is a mess, but the bike was great and it seems better specc'd than anything else I could see in person for less than £400 locally. I'll be then hot footing it over to ATC's though for everything else, as they were so nice and helpful I do kind of feel bad for not getting a bike from there - but the Trek 4500 (my other choice) didn't seem as good value in comparison.
  • Andy BAndy B Posts: 8,115
    You got a bargain, the Fury is a great bit of kit!

    Enjoy!
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