Which cheap road bike?

Infamous Posts: 1,130
edited April 2008 in Road beginners
Hi first post.

I've been riding a cheap hybrid for a few months and want to get a road bike. I only ride for fitness and I (try to) ride 10+ hours a week.

Budget is around £250, so far i've narrowed it down to an Airlite 100 or a halfords carrera virtuoso. What do you think of them? any other bikes around that price?

I'm not bothered about the weight of the bike, just want something that will last for a while without braking.


p.s. I'm also looking at 2nd hand bikes, although i'd prefer a new one.


  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Have a look in Decathlon, they might have their 2008 bikes in by now.
    I like bikes...

  • DavidTQ
    DavidTQ Posts: 943
    Should be able to find Giant SCR's in your price range secondhand.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    The Saracen Tour 07 is at 250 from 350.

    I have an Airlite 100 and trust me you would regret buying it. It came with a creaking bottom bracket, which I paid to change myself as it was also one of the nasty semi sealed units.
    The wheels are pretty bad and after a good six months just try and turn a spoke nipple without it rounding off.
    The brakes are acceptable although harder to set up as they are single pivot.
    By now the frame is so flexy that I can hear the brake rubbing on he rim when I put the power down. It is definitely the frame and not the wheel as I got a new rear wheel which I have rebuilt myself to a very high standard.
    Plus it used to have the gears on top of the bars before I changed them. I could live with having to sit up to change the gears but the shifters themselves were awful. The outer cable was always at the correct length and still managed to both over and undershift.
    The stem was miles too long too.

    As for the virtuoso, I have never ridden one but have worked on a few. The problem I found was with the gears. The gears have a very small range in which to work before it rubs against the front mech. Within the shop I work at halfords bikes are notorious for going cheap on the things you cant see. The cabling will be poor and not rustproof, the bearing surfaces in the hub often wear out in a few months and the bottom brackets soon go too.

    The Saracen isnt perfect by any means. Its not amazingly light and it uses a mountain bike rear mech. Its only 14 speed and the stem is a bit too long too. But thats a 250 pound bike. It does have dual pivot brakes, a sealed bottom bracket, wheels that can still be adjusted in months to come and nice enough shimano sti brakes/gears.

    Sorry for the war and peace style saga but I couldnt let it drop.

  • I'd definitely recommend having a look around secondhand. I bought a Specialized Allez for £250 the other day (eBay) which is roughly half of what it costs new - its three years old.

    It seems in excellent condition and is a nicer bike than something you'd get new for that price.
  • iga
    iga Posts: 155
    Giant SCR 4 is £305 on Wiggle, Saracen Tour 1 2008 £325. Dawes Giro 200 (£199) and Dawes Giro 300 (£299), Claud Butler Criterium (£299) at Evans are other possibilities. For your budget I'd be tempted to go second hand though.
    FCN 7
    Aravis Audax, Moulton TSR
  • hammerite
    hammerite Posts: 3,408
    I'll second the shout of looking in Decathlon.
  • iga
    iga Posts: 155
    hammerite wrote:
    I'll second the shout of looking in Decathlon.

    I was looking on there for something else but they've only got the end of line Sport 2 at £279 left by the looks of things. Not a bad bet if they're still in stock anywhere. I guess the 2008 bikes are imminent.
    FCN 7
    Aravis Audax, Moulton TSR
  • richk
    richk Posts: 564
    I've got a Decathlon Sport 2 (~£270) & am pretty happy with it for the money.
    There is no secret ingredient...
  • Infamous
    Infamous Posts: 1,130
    wow thanks lots of help :)

    Is there anything I should specifically look for/avoid at this range (brands etc) ?

    Andyp2003+3+2> Where is the saracen tour 2007?
  • TheBoyBilly
    TheBoyBilly Posts: 749
    Google is your friend...... www.discountbicycles.co.uk/biz/index.phpend....

    You can buy a Tour fully assembled for £269.99 or "untuned and unassembled" for
    £229.99. Discount Cycles are on the Mahatma Ghandi Trading Estate, London SE24 which is a short walk from Herne Hill station.

    (just click on the Saracen logo)
    To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity - Oscar Wilde
  • lilactime
    lilactime Posts: 86
    i bought dawes giro300 6 months ago to ride while getting over a running injury . been excellent , no problems whatsoever , got the bug now and upgrading to £1000 bike . probly get last years dawes giro 500 for your budget , new , have a look on evil bay .
  • In defence of the virtuoso I've been commuting on one 11 miles there and 13 miles back since October and had no real problems other than the obvious wear and tear items like new tyres, new chain, bar tape, etc.

    Never had a better bike so can't comment on whether it's worth spending more, but I've finally managed yesterday to average 20mph on my commute so I don't feel much like I need anything lighter or "better".

    .. on another note I really hate my username, my girlfriend typed it in for me when I wasn't looking, how do I change it!
  • iga
    iga Posts: 155
    john-bike1 wrote:
    .. on another note I really hate my username, my girlfriend typed it in for me when I wasn't looking, how do I change it!

    I'd probably tell her face to face if I was you, hard I know, but the least she deserves :)
    FCN 7
    Aravis Audax, Moulton TSR