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Minimum spend for a decent commuting bike?

girv73girv73 Posts: 842
edited March 2009 in Commuting chat
Inspired by the cheap bike test article in this month's C+, where a £40 Tesco bike failed to travel 17 miles on a tarmac cycle path, I got to wondering: if you were to buy a brand new bike for commuting, what's the minimum spend you'd need in order to get a ride that will last at least a couple of years?

I've a feeling it's around the £300 mark myself. Sub-£100 you seem to takes yer chances on whether the bike will explode on it's first ride, with wheels, cranks and pedals being the major failure points. At £300 you get some rigid bikes from recognised manufacturers using branded (if low-end) components; LBS and online cycling stores carry few bikes below this mark, whereas non cycle specific retailers have quite a selection.

But what about in between? Can you get a decent commuting bike for £150? £200? £250? Where's the cutoff?
Today is a good day to ride

What's the minimum spend for a brand new commuting bike that will last at least a couple of years? 0 votes

Below £100
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£100-£150
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£150-200
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£200-250
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£250-300
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Over £300
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Posts

  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,414
    I've said £250-£300 but whenever I start looking I get drawn up to the next model but some shiney nugget, then the next one up, then the next one up. In the end I won't settle for something I can afford and go into a huff :lol:
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    Depends on what type of bike.

    You can easily get a hybrid/commuter for £250 and it be good in terms of quality. My Giant M2 2008 cost me £250 and nothing was wrong with it, except I outgrew it and went roadie.

    I don't personally think you can get the same quality in a road bike for that money.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • girv73girv73 Posts: 842
    DDD I guess I was thinking more of MTB-alike bikes, as that's what's available throughout the price range I'm thinking of. You're right, you can't seem to get a road bike as cheaply as a hybrid / commuter.
    Today is a good day to ride
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Does anyone have the April 2009 edition of C+ that they no longer need which they could put in the post to me? I could send you the postage, or owe you a pint or something in exchange...
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,718
    biondino wrote:
    Does anyone have the April 2009 edition of C+ that they no longer need which they could put in the post to me? I could send you the postage, or owe you a pint or something in exchange...

    Might be interested in the or something in exchange :shock:
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    I went to the mucipinal recycling centre the other day. The dump to you. I happened to be there at the right moment and got a 1980s Peugeot MTB for free. I have put a fresh set of tyres on it, a new saddle, new grips and swapped the front wheel for another front wheel from another skip bike. Total cost 50 quid. I reckon it could commute for a year or two
  • girv73girv73 Posts: 842
    @vorsprung, that's not a brand new bike though, is it :)

    There's little doubt a second hand or salvaged bike would be better value for money than buying brand new.
    Today is a good day to ride
  • The best budget bikes I've seen in recent days that could cope admirably with commuting duty include...

    Commencal Normal 2008/2009... £225/250 at Merlin Cycles (good frame and XCR fork, v-brakes but disc ready hubs)
    BeOne Aspire 1... £240/300 at Chain Reaction (good Tora fork, Deore shifters/mech)
    Saracen Pylon 8... £300 at Rutland ebay store (killer price for Alfine hub gear and hydraulic brakes)

    I was tempted by all three, but in the end, I went for the Saracen. At that price, it makes the Planet X "Alfine Alpina Pompina" deal look very ordinary, as it still needs many bits to make a road worthy bike (which will push the cost up to at least £600). Granted, I'm a bit concerned about the logivity of the single wall EX-S rims, but if the worst happens, I get the hub gear re-built on something decent.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • sarajoysarajoy Posts: 1,675
    I spent £190 on my old hybrid. It was more of a shopper in style really.

    It fared me well to and from uni and then to and from work for a several years, but these were 2-mile rides, maximum, and biggish hills were no-go, you'd really have to give it welly at the bottom to fling it as far up the hill as possible before your momentum dropped to zilch.

    So in a flat place - shortish distances - £200 is fine.

    I spent just under £400 for my current bike, then around £200 of bits and bobs to go with it. God bless the cyclescheme!
    4537512329_a78cc710e6_o.gif4537512331_ec1ef42fea_o.gif
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    £200 will buy you a carrera subway, personally a decent bike for the price.

    Still would pay a little more and go Giant, Trek or Ridgeback.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,609
    You should have has an over 600 and over 1000 pound category IMO. But then again I'm a rich, elitist, bike snob according to some threads!
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • girv73girv73 Posts: 842
    @NitrousOxide: I use a Commencal Normal Disc 2008 for commuting. RRP was £500 but I picked it up for £250 :)

    @sarajoy: was that hybrid new? Did it not have gears or something?

    @DonDaddyD: why would you pay a bit more for Trek etc?
    Today is a good day to ride
  • sarajoysarajoy Posts: 1,675
    girv73 wrote:
    @sarajoy: was that hybrid new? Did it not have gears or something?
    Brand new, plenty enough gears, just a bit censored : http://www.falconcycles.co.uk/CORP/cb/classicW.html (albeit mine was bought in... 2005 maybe? So it was mauve)

    EDIT no, 2006: http://www.falconcycles.co.uk/CORP/cb06/classicW.html
    4537512329_a78cc710e6_o.gif4537512331_ec1ef42fea_o.gif
  • Ridgeback speed - looks like cack but will last forever.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,718
    After dabbling with Halfords own brand I then bought a Saracen RAW 3 which weights about 4 tonnes and came with the worst finishing kit that frankly never worked after a couple of months struggling I removed eveything apart from the frame and forks and replaced it all with Deore LX 9 speed and Mavic crossride wheelset, total transformation it's a dream to ride now smooth and deadly silent still heavy but fast and agile I prob spent £600+ on it not including tyres but that's another expensive story.

    My Ridgeback Storm should have been £500 new but a brother of a friend works for the company and got me a good deal :D that totally stopped my MTB riding for almost a year, it's a great bike with amazing road style speed, hydro brakes, I can easily ride it as fast as most roadies where it falls down is in super long distance rides, it's a little too upright and the flat bars begin to make my wrists and hands ache.

    Next came the Trek 1.7 with zero customer service and bike fit or prep from the LBS in Salisbury I was disappointed esp as its a £800 bike never the less I quickly learnt to set up or change the various parts, I now get a great deal of enjoyment from it but don't ride it as my main bike.

    That honour was my steel single speed c£100, an old Raleigh 531 steel job with ever changing gear ratios, light and fast, cheap and easy to clean, that was until I built my cyclo cross bike now everything has changed, its a lightweight speedy road bike with hybrid/sportive comfort and beautiful lines, oh I'm so confused :D

    Amongst all that I have my hand built Mercian steel tourer which is British classic and a dream to bimble bumble around on, long days in the saddle are no problem.

    Have I missed any? nope don't think so :roll:
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,718
    Ridgeback speed - looks like cack but will last forever.

    Ridgeback Storm, sweet :D

    2770586503_65755de663.jpg
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    The Carrera Gryphon is a great bike at £279, rides fast, well specced etc.
  • Jay dubbleUJay dubbleU Posts: 3,197
    My Giant was 350 - I think its brilliant in spite of the comments I get on here about hybrids - I guess it depends what you want from the bike - I wanted something reasonably quick for the commute but tough enough for trail riding - works for me 8)
  • RoastieRoastie Posts: 1,968
    I voted 100-150 because that is more realistic - but you can get away for less than 100 quid all in.

    As a project, I decided to give it a bash. I hopped on eBay and picked up an old late 90s steel framed GT MTB with rigid fork and all the braze ons required for a proper town bike. It was amazingly clean and looked like one of those bikes that has spent the 9 of the last 10 years in a garage. Oh, I paid 48 quid.

    A friend needed a bike, so she is borrowing it at the moment, but I figure if I throw another 50 quid at it for lights, proper mudguards, decent tyres, rack and a few other bits and bobs I'll have a nice, reliable winter commuter/rugged tourer for less than 100 quid. :)
  • londonlivvylondonlivvy Posts: 644
    I commuted for two years (10 miles each way in london, approx 4 days a week) on a £250 Specialised crossroads and found it a perfectly good steed with minimal maintenance (brakes/gear cables). At the end of that period the gears started slipping to an annoying level and my LBS told me that pretty much all the moving parts were worn out (cassette, rims, etc etc) which would cost me £250 to do. Ah.

    But I also learned (to my great surprise at the time) that bikes need to be washed. And had I actually washed it at any point in the two year period, it would undoubtedly have lived longer.

    That said, I released it into the wild (ie left it unlocked in my street) and it was recycled by a local youth who seems happy to clunk along.
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    I commuted for two years (10 miles each way in london, approx 4 days a week) on a £250 Specialised crossroads and found it a perfectly good steed with minimal maintenance (brakes/gear cables). At the end of that period the gears started slipping to an annoying level and my LBS told me that pretty much all the moving parts were worn out (cassette, rims, etc etc) which would cost me £250 to do. Ah.

    But I also learned (to my great surprise at the time) that bikes need to be washed. And had I actually washed it at any point in the two year period, it would undoubtedly have lived longer.

    That said, I released it into the wild (ie left it unlocked in my street) and it was recycled by a local youth who seems happy to clunk along.

    You're one of the good people... I like good people...
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • malc101malc101 Posts: 115
    I am currently looking to get myself a cheap commute bike so not to risk my other bikes being nicked.

    I have set my budget at £100 and will see how it goes. So far I nearly won a 97 kona hanana on ebay for £80 but wanted the orginal P2 forks so wimped out as the extra would put me over my budget.

    I am also watching a few oldschool mountain bikes which should all sell for under the ton.

    Oh yeah my £100 would ideally cover the single speed conversion and petrol costs!
    MTB - 2013 Giant Trance X 29er 1
    Road - 2005 Lemond Maillot Jaune with 2013 105 and 2014 Fulcrum 5's
    Winter Hack - 2005 Marin Rocky Ridge with 1x9 and Rigid Conversion (On Going)
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Covering the petrol costs for a pushbike should be pretty easy :)
  • I love my commuting bike, it had been abandoned beneath our office. I cleaned it up, got the quick release skewers etc changed, had the gears serviced and replaced a tyre from an old MTB I had. Total cost £60 and it's great, ideal for my purposes.

    I'd pay more than £300 if buying new, but the idea of recycling a bike is good. Green on many fronts.

    What is not quite so good is I'm out of work after today.....job vacancies in Bristol anyone?!
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    I'd say the answer is depends. What kind of riding do you do, on what kind of surface, over what kind of distance, and how often?

    Bumping up and down kerbs for example will wreck the wheels of a super cheap bike rather fast, riding a cheaper road bike any decent distance every day will also wear things out pretty quick. If you are mainly on canal/riverside cycle paths then a more robust style of bike would be the go, on the roads there would be no point in buying a MTB.

    And is your price the "new" price, excluding any further spending? For a cheap bike for example you'll get cheap tyres, more money spent at the time of purchased or subsequently would get a better set of more puncture resistant tyres so you spend more time cycling and less time fixing flats, important when commuting and to a schedule.

    And better components should last longer too, so less of a spend on replacing [email protected] parts sooner.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    Ridgeback speed - looks like cack but will last forever.

    You and I might think it looks a bit suspect but my 12 year old daughter had love at first sight with a white step through frame model in the LBS

    It seems quite a nice bike for 279 quid
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