New bike advice - help me spend my tax rebate wisely!

becmark Posts: 7
edited April 2008 in Road beginners
Hi, I'm a newbie to this forum so please be nice. I'm looking for a bit of bike advice. If I explain what I want to do, I'm hoping you guys can give me some pointers. I currently ride a relatively cheapie MTB on weekends, holidays and light evenings. Nothing too serious (family & work commitments prevent that) rides usually last 1 to 2 hours. Very occasionally I get to negotiate half or full days out and about.

I've developed an urge to go further and faster, in the time I have. A very fortuitous tax rebate means I now have £700 max to spend on a new bike. :D

I live in Norfolk so hills not an issue most of the time! The area where I ride has a lot of country lanes, pleasant in many ways, but they sometimes have a covering of mucho potholes, loose grit & horse poo! I need a road bike for sub £700 that won't feel too skittish and also a bike I can ride all year round (although I can keep my MTB for really filthy weather)

After some research - although I don't intend to do cyclocross, the spec of the Focus Mares Cross (Evans) looks excellent. Alternatively I was considering a Scott or Trek road bike.

All opinions welcome - help me spend the Inland Revenue's money wisely.


  • Barrie_G
    Barrie_G Posts: 479
    This was my second choice bike when I bought my new on recently, and you describe the same type of riding that I do, I can only say that the Felt F1X cyclocross bike that I bought (even though I haven't managed to get very far on it yet) is vastly superior for this type of riding than the MTB ever was :wink:
  • allaction
    allaction Posts: 209
    The Focus range is very well regarded both for value and specification. The kind of bike you are looking at seems to be a cyclocross or highbrid bike. The Boardman range has a pretty decent spec bike for similar money. The bike is apparently very good but the service at Halfords is patchy at best. Go to your LBS and seek there advice and actually have a go on what you fancy, it's like buying a car, you wouldn't just buy one off a reccomendation would you?
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    edited April 2008
    Hi becmark and welcome to the forums. I to live in Norfolk and a relative newcomer. I was looking at the Focus range as well due to the good value for money(my budget was the same as yours). However I went to Fatbirds @ Hunstanton and was well treated there and ended up buying a bike of similar spec' but more importantly fitted me well. I would suggest before buying online getting over there and just having a look(no I don't work for them). In the end I spent no more than I would have online and got a great bike :lol:
  • Zendog1
    Zendog1 Posts: 816
    I would'nt worry about the skitish bit - I have a Specialized Allez and it's no problem on the lanes. One thing to consider is mudguards . Most road bikes will not take full guards and come the winter wet and tractor muck you really appreciate the exta protection.
  • Gary D
    Gary D Posts: 431
    Also consider the Specialized Tricross.

    It is £700 list price and it has mountings for mudguards and a rack. It comes with 32C tyres but will take as narrow as 25C.
    I would say it leans more towards being an "on road" bike than it does a cyclo cross bike, but it is definitely strong enough and suitable for light off-roading as well.

    It is comfortable over moderate distances and I wouldn't describe it as "skittish" at all.

    It makes a very good all round, all seasons bike.

    You might also consider the Giant SCR range. I have no experience of them, but they often get good recommendations from other posters as a good all rounder.

    Hope this helps.

    Oh and I feel like I've been raped by an Orangutan :shock: And I've got legs like Girders :lol:
  • Gary D
    Gary D Posts: 431

    After having re-read your post and tried to also read between the lines, I will add to my previous comments.

    Ask yourself why you are considering a cross bike in the first place? Speaking from experience, I thought a Tricross would be a great all round bike and I could use it for on and off road.

    However, having owned mine for about 18 months, it has never been off road!
    If I go out with the kids at the weekend on cycle tracks I use my hybrid.

    Like you, I developed the urge to go faster and further and actually started thinking " I really should have bought a proper road bike" with narrow tyres, lighter etc etc. Consequently, I have now ordered my third bike and am waiting for delivery - suprise suprise it is a proper road bike!

    All I would say is think carefully about what you intend to use the bike for in the longer term. If you think your enthusiasm, fitness, abvility etc will all increase then you will spend all of the time cycling on roads - therefore go for a road bike straight away.

    If fitting mudguards is high on your list of priorities, then consider something like the SCR range or similar - or alternatively you can use removeable guards like raceblades.

    Oh and I feel like I've been raped by an Orangutan :shock: And I've got legs like Girders :lol:
  • Rich Hcp
    Rich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    I'd recomend a Specialized Allez.

    There are good deals around and you should get a 2007 Allez Sport for that money

    Giving it Large
  • PHcp
    PHcp Posts: 2,748
    With a very similar set of requirements to yours, I've just spent my tax rebate on a Kenisis Racelight T. Review here - ... 63/v/1/sp/

    There's a few placed that could build you one within your budget, including these-

    Or do what I've done, buy the reduced frame (discontinued brown colour, other colours + £20) and Visia fork from Wiggle for less than £200, add a pair of handbuilt wheels from a reputable builder and get the components of choice from Ribble and Ebay (in my case a Campag triple, Veloce, Champ and Record mix.)
    My budget of £800 has included a £60 workstand, pedals, pump, mudguards and bottle cages. I'm still waiting on the last few bits to finish it off, but on the spec I couldn't find anything close for the price. And of course as I’ve chosen everything myself I’m unlikely to be looking to upgrade until parts wear out.
  • hammerite
    hammerite Posts: 3,408
    how about a Willier, I think they look very classy!! If I was getting a new bike it's what I would get.

    one of these is £699