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Well, never thought I'd be here

CedrynCedryn Posts: 6
edited July 2008 in Road beginners
Why'do you ask?

Well for one, until six months ago, I hadn't done any exercise for 25yrs. For two, I was 3 stone overweight and for three, I'm a hardcore biker (motorcycles that is!).

So, what changed? Well, I made a New Years Resolution to lose weight (and perhaps) get fit. Then shortly afterwards, some work colleagues challenged me to do the Welsh 3000s (or 15 Peaks), which for those that don't know, is one of the toughest walking challenges in the UK.

So, I set off to get fit (rowing machine and exercise bike etc.) followed by lots of walking, as you may expect.

For those now getting bored, hang on in here, since I do have a few questions(well, maybe one) later on.

So, to continue. In the quest to get fit, I got my 5yr old unused Halfords MB out of the garage. By now, the weight loss (Atkins diet, but by now I'd started to hate meat and in the end, all I fancied was Spam and eggs - don't ask!) was working well - 2st dropped.

The last time I had a bike when I was a teenager (racer with cowhorns), my Dad maintained it, so not knowing what tyre pressues to put in, I thought, well, same as my motorbike, 35psi will do and off I went.

Well it was good exercise and it did the trick - the final stone came off and I was ready for the walking challenge. On the way, I learnt the correct tyre pressures, changed the knobbly tyres for narrower slick tyres, got quicker, but, perhaps the most surprsising thing (for me anyway!) was, I really began to enjoy this cycling thing.

To add to this, I live in some fantastic countrysiide in North Wal;es - what have I been missing all this time?

Ok, still with me? We're close to the question now.

Last week I did the bike 2 work thing (on my Halfords £90 thing), 18mls each way. I arranged to meet a work colleague on the way. Well, I think you can guess what's coming, He turned up on his road bike with all the gear and the penny dropped!

Undettered, I did it again today, yes, on the Halfords thing(knowing now it's a piece of c**p) and yes, it's got to go.

Well, my minds made up, it's not going to be a full on road bike but a hybrid road bike. Budget I guess (for a beginner like me's gonna be £500 - £750).

Question?

Is it better to go to a local reputable bike shop and have one made (possibly more expensive?) or something off the shelf like a Dawes 601 or the Boardman (I know - Halfords!).

Oh, hang on, I do have another question. If you were having one made, where would you put your money - frame, wheels, chainset?

Any other advice would also be appreciated.

From someone who may be here for a while - who knows?

Many Thanks

John

Posts

  • I would go to an independent shop because if you're lucky, and you're a good haggler, you may get a good quality bike for less money than you'd get a nasty one from a retail chain.

    Personally I wouldn't have a bike made unless I was a really odd shape or I was going to spend 3 hours a day on it. There's a lot of choice in bikes these days, and made-to-measure is pricey.
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    How about a cyclocross bike rather than a hybrid?
  • Marko1962Marko1962 Posts: 320
    If you were to buy a hybrid can you be sure you won't soon regret buying it and hanker after a lighter, faster bike? I did and it only took a month of hybrid ownership to get there. I have three bikes now, 1 hybrid that the Mrs now uses and two drop bar bikes one for use when the sun comes out and a steel Graham Weigh for when it doesn't...

    Just something to thing about if the cycling bug should bite you ;)
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    I very much doubt you'll get a made-to-measure frame on that budget. Off the peg is the way to go and a local bike shop is likely to have more knowledgable staff than Halfrauds.

    Get the best frame you can afford and don't worry too much about wheels and components as these can always be upgraded later on when you wear the originals out :wink: .
  • Slow DowncpSlow Downcp Posts: 3,041
    When you say getting the LBS to build one up, I assume you mean off the peg frame but spec the parts (rather than full custom build)?

    If so then this is better, but you have to know exactly what you want, or it's not going to be worth it. I prefer this ruote so that I can spec bar width, shspe, stem length, saddle, tyres etc, but as you're relatively new to cycling you may not have set preferences for these items yet, so off the pegs may be the way to go - you can still pick up some bargain 2007 models and it won't be long before 2008 start to get cleared out in readiness for 2009.
    Carlsberg don't make cycle clothing, but if they did it would probably still not be as good as Assos
  • JoeTJoeT Posts: 18
    Well done for getting fit enough to do an 18 miles each way commute in such a short time! I do a similar distance 3 times a week (21 mls ew), and it really makes a huge difference to my fitness.

    If you really want a hybrid then I can recommend a Specialised Sirrus Elite, which is what I bought last summer when I got into cycling. It's essentially a road bike with flat bars - don't expect to take it off road.

    However, like Marko11962, I soon found that I wanted a proper drop handlebar road bike. I finally bought a second hand Pearson Touche off ebay in March, and haven't used the hybrid since. I find drop handle bars far more comfortable than flats, and the drops give you more riding positions which is important when you're doing lots of hills.

    - Joe
  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    Well done!

    Are you sure you want flat bars? As Joe says, there are more hand positons with drops.

    I'm just asking becasue you could end up with a fleet of bikes that you don't want, so take your time and discuss things with your LBS

    If it's a good shop, he won't mind how often you go back and ask questions.

    What happend to Cow Horn bars? :lol:

    We all had them......
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    Welcome to the wonderful world of cycling Cedryn, good to hear how you got into it. You don't know how lucky you are, living in amongst all those lovely hills! Enjoy mate!
  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    You are not alone , I was a director of the B.M.F. back in the early 1990s, but family etc meant I packed in the motorbikes. At a recent 50th birthday bash it was amazing how many motorcyclists had switched to cycling, some for health reasons, some because their points tally was getting a bit on the high side, others just loved cycling, which is why we have to stop fighting each other, we are all cyclists at the end of the day and the sooner there is respect to and from both camps the better.
    Be prepared for the bug to bight hard, it's a drug and once hooked it's incredable, 10 miles become 50 in a very short space of time.
    I would say go and talk to a reputable family run bike shop, you'll pay more but you'll get a service that chain stores and the internet do not provide. Once you know exactly what you want, that is the time to shop around.

    Enjoy I am

    1999
    5' 4"
    11 1/2 stone
    max ride 15 miles
    time all day

    2008
    5'4"
    9 stone
    Fred Whitton 113 miles 4000m climb
    time 8:05

    Blood presure down to normal from high
    resting heart rate down from 65-50

    new clothes from hide all to show off :lol:
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    welcome John and well done indeed for that huge weight loss.
    I have been trying to diet for years and yo -yo'd up and down.

    If you are going to spend 80% of your time cycling on tarmac I would recommend you go for a road bike with drops. I rarely use my drops but there are plenty of nice hand holds on the tops and the brake hoods .
    A hybrid is going to be a compromise bike. It will be extremly difficult and expensive to upgrade later and what ever you do with it it will still remain a compromise.

    you really do not have to spend £700 to get a reasonable quality bike. There are thousands of people out there with sub £400 Ribble or Giant bikes that are really excellent bikes

    Ribble Cycles have a sale at the moment and are offering their blue winter trainer frame as a fully made up road bike for about £300.00 I think which is a bargain.
    I'm sure you could ask for them to change various components and still get a good bike for less than £400.00

    I would strongly recommend that you do not get a bike built at your local bike shop (lbs) .I'm afraid that the likeihood is strong that being a novice they will either spec the bike too high (expensive) or use all the mis-matched 8 or 9 speed or obsolete parts they can get rid of and it will cost you twice the price of a good pre-built bike. Sorry but that has been my experience. You need to know exactly what you want spec -wise before you get a bike built at a lbs

    There are lots of us on here that will be only too happy to source a suitable bike for you
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-GB/bikes/road/
    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/BikeBuilder.asp
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    well done on your progress to date - it sounds pretty similar to my own story in 2006.

    My ZX636 is still in the garage too - but where I cycled over 2000 miles last year the ZX6 only managed 850! - saturday mornings are now a case of "bike or motorbike??" and the bike often wins!!

    my revelation though - was coming into summer 2007 3 stone lighter than the year before and thinking "so this is how my 1-piece leather race suit is meant to fit!!"

    he he

    keep it up and enjoy it
  • feelfeel Posts: 800
    Yet another motorbike to bicycle here. Only one stone lighter in the last year, but much improved shape :lol: . My morini is now sorned and just today i have let the insurance run out on my guzzi as it has only done a couple of 100 miles this year max compared to my bicycles which must be easily 1500.

    I can see the point of a hybrid but if you already have your halfords hack i would bite the bullet and go for a road bike with drops. This time of year is quite a good time to buy as the LBS (local bike shop) is beginning to think about discounting their 2008 models to clear space for 2009 models which tend to start arriving aug/sept. Their is a lot of choice about. The most important thing is to to work out exactly what your budget is - and then exceed it by £200 :wink: You tend to get what you pay for with the big brands so get one that fits and that you like the look of.
    We are born with the dead:
    See, they return, and bring us with them.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Whereabouts in North Wales are you?
    I like bikes...

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  • CedrynCedryn Posts: 6
    Thanks guys for the warm and helpful response.

    It was interesting to look at the statistics of the response. The most significant was 50% advised to go for drops. In particular it was mentioned there are plenty of handholds. I thought there were only two – bad back and not so bad back! Perhaps someone can explain . Also, two had changed from a hybrid, I’d be interested to know why? Is it the need for speed?

    The next interesting fact was 40% recommended going off the peg. This is where I’m leaning, I actually popped in Grahan Weigh’s in Shotton(close to work) earlier this week and maybe where I’ll go. I guess this is a bit of a road bike mecca, counting the nr of road bikes upstairs. Anyone had experience?

    I’m glad a few people commented the frame’s the most important (although I guessed this) but the mechanical components not so, since these can be changed. Uhm, interesting. My motorcycling instinct would have been to go for the best from the beginning (if you can afford it). A question here – can you really tell the difference between low quality mechs eg. Shimano Sora compared to Shimano Dura Ace?

    Finally, 25% bikers?. Quite a surprise really, considering all my biker mates are big and fat.
    • John C – Shame on you, get back out on a motorbike quick, especially after your lofted position. Impressive stats though – I’m sure that’d kill me.
    • gkerr4 – Shame on you too. Only 850mls. Make Sundays for your motorbike.
    • Feel – shame on you also but I’ll let you off since you’ve got two nice bikes. I had an old Ducati 900ss for years and I’ve still got my old Jota.
    Only joking really, I know where you’re coming from. For info, I’ve got a customised Buell XB12s , the Jota and my old Triumph chop.

    Almost forgot - Reddraggon, I live in Trelogan (between Prestatyn & Holywell).

    Thanks for your help

    John
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,685
    Another ex biker here, gave up the PTW due to family, time & financial pressures. However, I was already an ex-cyclist (lured by speed without the pedalling) and now it's come full circle.

    Within your budget I suggest you check out the big brands as well as what GW can do for you, which will mean visiting more than one shop. But that is part of the fun, and certainly not a chore. Make sure you get to try some out, they're all different. I'd heartily recommend the Giant SCR range and I'm sure the likes of Bianchi, Trek, Specialized etc are equally good bikes for the money.

    Don't reject Boardman purely because they come from Halfrauds, they are well built and very well-spec'd bikes for the money. Some of the mechanics apparently know what they are doing. That aspect is a lottery, though you could always pay a LBS a small amount to sort out any issues if they're oiks at your local Halfords.

    Most people who ride any distance on the road prefer drop bars, though it takes a bit of getting used to after flat bars. Gaining and maintaining momentum comes more easily, the bikes are invariably lighter and a joy to ride. That's not to say it's for everyone, but it's great fun.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Cedryn wrote:
    The next interesting fact was 40% recommended going off the peg. This is where I’m leaning, I actually popped in Grahan Weigh’s in Shotton(close to work) earlier this week and maybe where I’ll go. I guess this is a bit of a road bike mecca, counting the nr of road bikes upstairs. Anyone had experience?

    I've been there, it seems pretty well run. My nephew nearly got a bike from there, although he couldn't afford it in the end.

    There were a few really good second hand bikes in there with Chorus and Veloce when I last looked - you could probably get a quality second hand bike, or a decent one built up by him for your budget.
    I like bikes...

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  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Marko1962 wrote:
    If you were to buy a hybrid can you be sure you won't soon regret buying it and hanker after a lighter, faster bike? I did and it only took a month of hybrid ownership to get there. I have three bikes now, 1 hybrid that the Mrs now uses and two drop bar bikes one for use when the sun comes out and a steel Graham Weigh for when it doesn't...

    Just something to thing about if the cycling bug should bite you ;)

    That was my experience too. I went for a hybrid because I thought that the last thing I wanted was to be bent double on drops. The bug definitely bit and within weeks I realised that I wanted a full on road bike.There was a serious fault with my hybrid so I was able to exchange for a Giant SCR3.

    Have fun choosing
  • JoeTJoeT Posts: 18
    Cedryn wrote:
    It was interesting to look at the statistics of the response. The most significant was 50% advised to go for drops. In particular it was mentioned there are plenty of handholds. I thought there were only two – bad back and not so bad back! Perhaps someone can explain . Also, two had changed from a hybrid, I’d be interested to know why? Is it the need for speed?

    I tend to use four positions on drop handle bars: hands either side of the stem, hands holding the outside of the first bend, hand on the straight leading to the hoods, on the hoods ... damn 5 positions ... and drops proper (which I only tend to use when I'm trying to keep momentum up a hill).

    My wife uses my hybrid now; she came back from a 30 miler on saturday complaining that her hands hurt - exactly what I found with flat bars.

    Hybrids such as the Sirrus are really similar to road bikes, so the change wasn't about speed. Anyway, being a beginner like you the biggest speed gains are to be had from upgrading the engine, rather than spending extra money on the bike :)
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Oh defo go for drops. I started with a hybrid, but the day it got stolen was fantastic as it gave me the excuse to buy a proper roadbike which is just infinitely better. In fact I went from £350 hybrid to £3500 Italian racer in about 4 years I think (via 3 other bikes), the bug bit hard, but I've not regretted a purchase for a second. Taking up cycling is one of the best decisions I ever made and it has changed my life.

    Go to a decent LBS and not Halfords and test ride as many bikes as you can. Off the peg is fine if you get fitted properly. Also there is a BIG difference between Sora and Dura Ace but not nearly such a big difference between 105 and Dura Ace. Personally I prefer Campagnolo, I run Chorus but my winter bike has Shimano Ultegra. Lastly I'd advocate beginning a stretching regime after riding. Cycling tightens your thigh muscles and tightness there can cause back pain, so keep limber.

    Go for it and good luck, buying a new bike is great fun - (but go for drops or you'll just end up upgrading in 6 months time).
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  • boyse7enboyse7en Posts: 66
    I'll add another vote for getting a proper road bike with drops (and, if you haven't got them already, clipless pedals)

    I'll also add a vote for motorbikes, I've got a Ducati Monster which I ride to work on the days I don't cycle (which is all of them at the moment as I am between bikes :( )
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    I really want a motorbike but I can't be bothered to do the tests and I know I'd just buy something ridiculously fast and end up killing myself...
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
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  • CedrynCedryn Posts: 6
    Well, listened to all the advice and went to the LBS and ordered an off the shelf frame .................with drops. Ready Thurs.

    Service was very good, - sized up on a jig. Managed to haggle a little to to get a triple chainring (lots of hills here), and mudguards for winter (saves on washing powder + washing machine + wife = easy life).

    I'll also probably go for the clipless pedals but being a rufty tufty biker - lycra's out!

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Welai chi ar y ffordd - see you on the road

    John
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    I really want a motorbike but I can't be bothered to do the tests and I know I'd just buy something ridiculously fast and end up killing myself...

    the tests aren't that bad - do an intensive course (are you a car driver already? that helps!) but they do get harder by the year.

    you might end up buying something ridiculously fast - but you don't have to ride it that way - even litre class superbikes are pretty docile to ride really - they might look like they just want to rip your arms off and throw you in a hedge but actually they are all pretty civilised. I have a 600cc sports bike which is outrageously fast (yes - you don't need 1000cc) but it can pootle about town or country with me on it just as well.
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