Please help me choose between these bikes.

elcani
elcani Posts: 280
edited April 2008 in Commuting chat
I am about to purchase a bike through Ride2Work at Evans Cycles. My first choice, the Gary Fisher Mendota is not available until the middle of May, so my impatience is making my consider other options. Absolute maximum budget is £550. These are the bikes I'm considering:

Gary Fisher Mendota (be patient and wait) £500 http://tinyurl.com/4yxzw9

Cannondale Bad Boy 650 £550 http://tinyurl.com/4eyvew

Charge Tap £500 http://tinyurl.com/42xd76

Specialized Sirrus Elite £500 http://tinyurl.com/3l4myd

Felt QX85 £575 (Everyone else sell this for £550, so I'm hoping Evans will match that) http://tinyurl.com/4hhrq5

I'll be using the bike mainly for fitness and weekend riding, between 10-30 miles, mostly on country roads. I live in a hilly area, so lightness is a priority. I was originally leaning towards a more MTB-style hybrid, but now I'm starting to think the more road-type bikes be better as they are probably lighter and quicker. The Felt in particular looks like a nice bike, but I can't really find any reviews. Having said that, the Bad Boy looks very cool and is deeply tempting!

I'm not really sure how much difference in weight and 'speed' there is between the bikes I've shortlisted, so any advice would be appreciated. Would the 26" inch wheels on the Bad Boy have a significant negative impact on speed?

The Charge Tap is another interesting option - but I don't know much about the Nexus hub gears. Are they suitable for out-of-town riding?

I originally went for the Mendota as it looked light, quick and well-specced, particularly the fork. Do all carbon forks makes a big difference to comfort/performance, or is it more about marketing at the lower end of the range? I could hang on and wait for the Mendota, but I'm interested to hear what other people think.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Comments

  • mrwibble
    mrwibble Posts: 980
    edited April 2008
    Bad boy, but then I have one. Great bike but make sure you get the 700c version and probably a computer with a cadence.
  • SPOODZILLA
    SPOODZILLA Posts: 128
    For the style of riding you want to do I'd recommend a proper road bike. Much lighter than the ones you've linked (especially for the £500+ your spending), much faster too. And more comfortable for the longer weekend rides.

    I've got a Giant FCR3 (£350) which his my commuter, its basically a road bike with flat handle bars. Bigger wheels (700c), thinner tyres (23-25mm) and more efficient riding position than a hybrid or mountain bike. Tried commuting on my XC bike and was amazed at the drag created by chunky tires. Disc brakes on the GF are just extra weight and ott braking power for roads.

    The Specialized would be my pick of the bunch you've selected. But I still think you should look at road bikes.
    Road: 2006 Trek 1500
    Off: 2009 Carrera Fury

    I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • elcani
    elcani Posts: 280
    Cheers for the replies.

    Are the Specialized, Charge and Felt not similar to the Giant FCR3 (Evans don't sell Giants, unfortunately) in terms of their 'roadiness', or am I wrong about that? All the bikes I've mentioned apart from the Bad Boy 650 have 700c wheels. Annoyingly, the Bad Boy 700 costs £669, which is too much.

    Another factor is that within 9 monhs or so I may be using the bike to communte to an d from work in Manchester, so I might appreciate something more 'urban'. I'm a bit concerned about a road bike's wheels suffering with kerbs and potholes.
  • mrwibble
    mrwibble Posts: 980
    Get 700c wheels because you will be able to go faster compared to a 26" wheel. The frame on the bad boy is far superior than the other bikes which is why it is more expensive and you do get hydraulic brakes. Trust me, save the little extra and get the bad boy..
  • elcani
    elcani Posts: 280
    Sadly I cannot go to £669. The budget has been stretched to absolute breaking point at £550. I have to stop somewhere :cry:
  • mrwibble
    mrwibble Posts: 980
    http://www.boardmanbikes.com/

    the performance hybrids have had very good reviews, the mid-price model is very good.
  • elcani
    elcani Posts: 280
    The Boardman does look nice but is exclusive to Halfords, and I have to buy through Evans.

    Cheers
  • elcani
    elcani Posts: 280
    Has nobody got any more experience of any of these bikes?

    Cheers
  • alexB
    alexB Posts: 2,199
    Where is it going to spend the day?
    Next to you in the office I hope!

    If not, spend about £100 on a lock, depending on where you'll leave it, or you'll be lucky to get to the end of the year without having it nicked.
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    I'll vote for the Sirrus, wish I had that model with the nice Carbon bits...

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • elcani
    elcani Posts: 280
    edited April 2008
    It will be spending the day...at home. I live less than ten minutes walk from work, so the ride to work aspect of the situation will not actually be taking place. This may change in the future, however.
  • rukh
    rukh Posts: 16
    ElCani, whilst I haven't ridden the bikes you mention, I'm in a similar situation and have been test riding lots and lots of bikes recently!

    With tyres, I'd definitely go for a 700 option - but I'd make sure to get the 28c (as opposed to the 23 or 25) as it will give you a much smoother ride.

    As for handling bumps and potholes, you might want to consider the cyclocross bikes, which have quite sturdy frames!
  • SPOODZILLA
    SPOODZILLA Posts: 128
    Road bikes are not made of glass, I think cyclocross might be over doing it a bit! I cycle from Bury to Trafford every day on the FCR through the centre of Manchester on 25mm tyres running at 140psi. I weigh 15.5 stone. Never has a problem with the bike mechanically or comfort wise. When your riding any sort of distance daily, the lower the road resistance and lighter the bike the better IMO.

    ElCani - Back to your pick list, Sirrus I like, Charge looks good and low maintenance. The only real difference between these 2 and a road bike is the road bikes more comfortable handlebars. If you can test both, do, its the best way to find out what you like. I've seen many an arguement on here over drops vs flatbars for commuting and weaving in and out of traffic. Having done 9 months on a flatbar racer I can say I yern for the ability to get down on the drops and really give it some!! Oh, and just having more options to rest your hands on for the long straight roads in and out of the city.

    Good luck with your choice!!
    Road: 2006 Trek 1500
    Off: 2009 Carrera Fury

    I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • sonnyb
    sonnyb Posts: 35
    The only issue I have with drops is the position of the gear levers. On flat bars they are far more conveniently located. I have a Boardman Urban Pro, which is very light and I feel its flat bars are more comfortable than drops, but I am only 5' 4" and 10 stone so for me its riding position is fairly stretched.
  • elcani
    elcani Posts: 280
    Cheers for responses. Instead of narrowing down my options, I seem to add bikes to the list every day. I've been considering the Genesis Day 02 2007 (£500) in particular as it looks very quick.

    However, in the last couple of days I've driven on some of the small rural roads that I plan to ride on and I was pretty shocked at their condition. BIG potholes, gravelly bits, generally very lumpy and bumpy. Reading a few user-reviews of the Shimano R500 wheels (standard fit on the Genesis), they seem to be rather weak, with lots of punctures and broken spokes. I'm happy to upgrade components but would rather do it when they wear out rather than because they simply aren't up to the job in the first place.

    Anyway....the Specialized seems to be getting a lot of votes. Do people think the wheels will handle some cruddy roads?

    In terms of flat bars or drops, I'm not really up for complete arse-in-air riding (it might lead to lycra purchases) so I reckon adding bar-ends to whatever I buy will give the extra hand-positions that make long rides more comfortable.