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Absolute beginner to cycling!

hhhrickhhhrick Posts: 14
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
I have recently been riding around the roads on my mountain bike and feel it’s a hobby I really want to get into so decided it is time I bought a bike more suitable to the road and start taking it more seriously, the only problem is I have absolutely no idea what I am looking for or what is good/rubbish so am hoping you guys could help me out.
Firstly I don't even know what type of bike to go for, a full road bike or hybrid, or even if hybrid bikes are any good?? I have around £900 to spend but could stretch this to around £1000 if I had to. So far the only advise I have been given is too buy the best bike I can possibly afford so it will last me longer as I get better, but I just don't know what the best bike I can afford is. So far I have been told to check out the Boardman team carbon, planet x SL Pro Carbon Ultegra 6700 or the Condor Italia, are these actually any good & are they suitable for me? Also I have no idea about components so when the sites are asking you to choose what components you want I am totally lost, I have no idea what is good and what is utter rubbish! I don't even know what size bike I need too, I am sure this is the least of my worries as I can be measured for that. Please can you give me some advice of what to do/recommend a good bike for my price range & situation?
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  • buy a road bike...

    as it's your first proper bike i'd try and get one that you can have fitted so you can get the right size. So that'd be the boardman
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    I can't really see the point of a hybrid if you already have an mtb, get a road bike for the roads.
    +1 from me for the Boardman, really pleased with mine, although I don't doubt that the other bikes mentioned are also good.
  • M8 find a Local Bike Shop (LBS) and not halfords, speak to them, failing that there is a sticky on what road bike to gets for your money, also you may / will end up with more than one bike, furthermore you need to consider shoes, helmet bib shorts et al, I would honestly recommend something in the £700.00 region, with a Sora or if you can a 105 Shimano Groupset. You have winter coming so 1 of two things will happen, you will griz it out over the winter months and ride, or have a nice Alu coat stand whist it's chucking it down and freezing.

    After that is said and done, have a look at the Cube Range the Aerial or the Peloton
  • As already said, if you don;t know what size, buy from somewhere that will do a proper bike fit and let you test ride the bike. For your budget there are a LOT of good bikes about so you can afford to be choosy, and shop around if need be. I'd also say go for a road bike - a hybrid is pretty much just a MTB with slicks on.

    Where are you based?
    Carlsberg don't make cycle clothing, but if they did it would probably still not be as good as Assos
  • a full road bike is definitly the way to go
  • I am based in Preston, Lancashire. I think I will go to a local dealer to be fitted as I don't want to end up with a bike the wrong size but I am just worried that as the people at the shop are essentially salesmen they will try to sell me a bike that isn't very good and I'll have no idea, and do you pay alot more in stores than online? I have also looked at cube bikes, are they any good as I really like the look of them. Should I be bothering trying to get a carbon frame as these seem to start at £1000 but does that mean I will end up with a poor quality one as I can only afford the cheapest one and will a carbon framed bike be any benefit to me?? Thanks for all your advice and hopefully further help!
  • Road bike all the way.

    As others said, head to a good bike shop. If at all possible go when it's not so busy cos most will give you decent advice/fitting given the time. It might cost a little more but in my experience it's worth it if you've never had a road bike fitted.

    Have a good read of the "which bike" threads as there is loads of info already there which will be useful. But you can get a decent £1k carbon bike. If anything the compromise will be with the components, although not necessarily.

    Enjoy!
  • Cube are great bikes m8, I wouldn't bother with Carbon just yet; that can be your next bike :wink:

    Online may be cheaper however when your wheels need truing or your gears need indexing you can either pay for the service use the internet and do it yourself or get your LBS to do it, mine has done it for free, as issues arise not long after buying a bike, small ones but still, also theres the bike servicing, generally your first service will be free, if not try another bike shop.

    Remember cycling shoes and some good pedals will make a difference to the ride of the bike, SPD cleats are fine to start also they are bomb proof, I will not get into a debate over which are better Speedplay / SPD-SL ect, but needless to say they are all an improvement on flat pedals.

    Last point winters coming, think Overshoes, Waterproofs, Windproof gloves, Lights

    Welcome to the brotherhood! :)
  • hhhrick wrote:
    I am based in Preston, Lancashire.

    Then you want to go straight to Hewitt Cycles and not worry about a thing!
  • Evil LaughEvil Laugh Posts: 1,412
    What about Ribble, aren't they in Preston? Probably get better value for money there and a nice carbon bike for £1000. I'd imagine you'd have a good choice of racing or relaxed geometry for that money too as they build on a range of frames.

    The Ribble Sportive does look nice!
  • Evil LaughEvil Laugh Posts: 1,412
    Actually you may be better going there as if they build you a bike I'm sure they could help you choose the right size and shape bars, stem etc before they build it rather than buying a bike out of the box that's the right size but then realising you want to upgrade/change bits afterwards.

    Planet x would do the same thing I guess but ribble seem to have a vast selection of bits to build from whereas planet x seem to have a more limited choice.

    Please someone correct me though if I'm wrong.
  • Yeah I was looking at the ribble bikes as everyone from where I live loves Ribble because they are a local firm and I obviously like the fact that they are british built bikes but are they ny good? Would the Ribble sportive be a good choice? The shop is closed for renovation at the moment so I would need to try and contact them to fit me for a bike. All the componants seem to be campagnolo, are these any good as I thought I should be looking for shimano componants?? for an extra £57 I could buy it with shimano 105 groupset, is it worth stretching to that as I am really stretching my budget to breaking point then. Also are they better than cube bikes as they look real nice :)
  • +1 for the Ribble sportive!! has to be one of the sexiest bikes for that sort of money!!
    Genesis Core 20
  • skyd0gskyd0g Posts: 2,540
    The Ribble shop is currently closed for re-furbishment, but they should be able to help you in their warehouse site.

    I'd also say check out Paul Hewitt Cycles in Leyland, for a good fitting and a range of bikes.

    You may also want to look at the Dolan bikes (based in Ormskirk) - dealers include Formby Cycles and Middleton Cycles in Ormskirk.

    Try all of the above & see which you prefer as well as who you feel gives you the best advice. :wink:
    Cycling weakly
  • Returning to cycling I bought a 'fast' hybrid, a Dawes 501. It was fine for pootling about but it lacked buzz. So I tried an old road bike for £100 (a Nigel Dean) with narrow tyres and HELLO remembered the fun of cycling fast! I still ride it and it is still fun 2 years on. But it is now second to my new bike, a Cannondale CAAD 9, after recommendations here and a test ride. I've had it two weeks now and love it, the noise it makes, the responsiveness, the sureness on the road! I guess I'd draw up a short list and take some test rides to decide.
    .
    "Let not the sands of time get in your lunch"

    National Lampoon
  • feelfeel Posts: 800
    You are on a road bike forum so 99% of people will say "get a road bike". You have to ask yourself what do you aspire to and where do you want to ride.
    Do you see yourself tearing round well made roads are you fit and competitive?
    Does pootling round lanes with a partner and a picnic sound appealing?
    Do you fancy camping weekends under pedal power?
    Will you commute on the bike - will it ever have to be parked up outside?
    Do you want to be able to eventually ride 100 miles in one day?

    The answers to these could all lead you to different bikes and the advice that people can give.
    We are born with the dead:
    See, they return, and bring us with them.
  • Try Focus, Cube, Canyon and Felt. You'll probably get better value for money from any of these than from the major manufacturers like Specialized, Trek, Scott etc etc although they are less readily available and yuo may have to search for LBS that sell these brands. Try to get as much Ultegra in the groupset as possibly, It's unlikely you'll get Dura Ace at that price.

    As for hybrids, I would not disregard them completely. It depends on what cycling you are planning. If you are not going to be doing club runs or lengthy rides clad in lycra and if you are more likely to use the bike for commuting, shopping, short trips with the family etc etc then a hybrid will be fine. Try to go for a "racing hybrid" which leans more towards the road bike model than the MTB.
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • I live in the countryside so will be doing alot of riding aroun roads tht may not be perfect but we do see alot of riders aroun our area, I'll be doing alot of the riding on my own and I doubt I'll get to the point of 100 miles in a ride but who knows, but I can pretty much rule out biking/camping weekends, and if I can avoid Lycra I will! I may use it commute sometimes but not that regularly butwhen ido it would be parkedbup outside. Let me know if these details make a difference. I'm still clueless as to whether campagnolo componants are any good and if I really need a carbon fibre frame.
  • hhhrick wrote:
    I live in the countryside so will be doing alot of riding aroun roads tht may not be perfect but we do see alot of riders aroun our area, I'll be doing alot of the riding on my own and I doubt I'll get to the point of 100 miles in a ride but who knows, but I can pretty much rule out biking/camping weekends, and if I can avoid Lycra I will! I may use it commute sometimes but not that regularly butwhen ido it would be parkedbup outside. Let me know if these details make a difference. I'm still clueless as to whether campagnolo componants are any good and if I really need a carbon fibre frame.

    Carbon gives a softer ride than aluminium, generally speaking, but at the £1k mark, I wouldn't discount aluminium in favour of carbon necessarily. Aluminium usually has a number attached to it - go for aluminium with a 5 or 6 at the start, 7 is much heavier and chunkier. You get 6061 or 7005 aluminium for example.

    It sounds to me that you would be OK with a racing hybrid, you can attach panniers if necessary. If you're not planning on joining a club or getting kitted out in lycra a road bike is not necessary. Campag vs Shimano vs SRAM components, it's all more or less down to personal preference. Try a few bikes out. Parking outside will not make much difference although with any £1k bike make sure you have a couple of VERY good locks!
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • Evil LaughEvil Laugh Posts: 1,412
    And insurance.
  • What I did was get fitted at my local LBS so I knew exactly what I was looking for. Then with that knowelege on board i started lookin at the second hand market. You get alot more bang for your buck. For £1000 you could probably get a fully kitted out dura-ace or ultegra if its a more expensive frame. Definately worth looking into @ least. Unless your dead set on a new bike that is. but there really is alot out there, check out eBay.
  • Evil LaughEvil Laugh Posts: 1,412
    Or just get a cheaper 2nd hand racer (Trek 1.2, Allez etc), see how you get on with it, what you like about it, what you don't and then take your time to decide what you wanna censored your grand on, sell the old bike for minimal loss or even profit and Bob's your uncle.
  • feelfeel Posts: 800
    Headhunter gives some sound advice in "try a few bikes" you really do need to try as many as possible - it can be difficult though. The other thing you have to bear in mind that you will probably want to spend at least £200 on other things eg a £1k bike may well not even come with pedals and then you will need shoes, helmet, a jacket, saddle pack, lights, pump, track pump. Many things can (and will) be added later but don't underestimate start up costs. The other thing is if you are like most people - within a year you will probably want another bike - so your first one can be a bit of learning curve.
    Sounds like a relaxed position road bike or fast hybrid is most likely to suit. You need to try some out preferably for 30 mins plus. Ever had back/ neck problems? drop handle bar bikes are tougher on them than flat bars. Next you will be asking double or triple :wink:
    A friendly LBS (local bike shop) can be invaluable before and after purchase if you buy stuff/bike from them. I would not recommend buying from an internet dealer - it might save you a £100 but the advice you can get from someone local to you is invaluable, especially as a novice.
    We are born with the dead:
    See, they return, and bring us with them.
  • Well I had been totally sold on getting a road bike but now I am considering a hybrid again, I hope to be doing 30-50 mile rides, does that make a difference between choosing what type of bike to go for? I do alot of weight training at the gym and have been working on core strength, will this help me prevent back problems which alot of people mention in these forums on road bikes, i dont really have any back problems but don't know if I would get any pain on a road bike.
  • hhhrick wrote:
    Well I had been totally sold on getting a road bike but now I am considering a hybrid again, I hope to be doing 30-50 mile rides, does that make a difference between choosing what type of bike to go for? I do alot of weight training at the gym and have been working on core strength, will this help me prevent back problems which alot of people mention in these forums on road bikes, i dont really have any back problems but don't know if I would get any pain on a road bike.

    I would say if you intend to start to do a lot of 30-50 mile rides, perhaps head out with a club at some point, do some sportives and other fast riding and may be even *gasp* wear lycra, then go for a road bike.

    If you think most of what you will be doing is going to the shops and back, carrying heavy loads, cycling with the kids/family with frequent stops and other more practical cycling then perhaps aim for a hybrid.
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • Hard to say if you'll get back problems from cycling. But as someone who has had a back problem road cycling has actually helped my back tremendously. The physio at the back class I used to attend recommended the benefits of cycling and being active, warning about the dangers of backs slumped on sofas!

    As for your other question - does it make a difference which bike to go for on a 30-50 mile ride. Yes! Hybrids are generally heavier than road bikes, the tyres wider = harder work, especially on hills. But there are advantages to hybrids too as headhunter points out and may be your are not too bothered about your average speed and so on. Have you a mate who has a hybrid/road bike you could try? Dont splash out without getting a feel of the difference between the two species! A quick go down the road out of bike shop may not be enough to go on to make a sound decision.
    .
    "Let not the sands of time get in your lunch"

    National Lampoon
  • Hello mate - I bought a 2008 Giant TCR Alliance Zero. Carbon forks and a blend of carbon and aluminium on the frame. I paid £800 new - a massive £450 off the retail price of £1250. It is fast, has good components (SRAM Rival) and I love mine. I'm sure you could still find them onlone for this price.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,409
    It sounds to me as if you mainly want to get into cycling for cycling's sake (as opposed to for practical transport / commuting) - in which case get a road bike. And I hate to say this, but you WILL probably succumb to lycra... It's so much more comfortable and practical for riding, once you try it you won't want to go back. Think of it as the proper clothing for the activity, just like fleeces & waterproofs are for hiking and speedos are for swimming.

    There aren't really all that many bad bikes in your price bracket, don't worry too much about getting something that is rubbish. You might get better value for your money going for one bike as opposed to another, but you're not going to get a rubbish road bike for a grand from any reputable bike shop. Campagnolo or Shimano (or SRAM) is a matter of preference, they all work very well, although the higher in each of the ranges you go the better the quality.

    The most important thing is fit, in the widest sense - getting a bike which is the right size for you and has the right feel. Try as many as possible, and ask for advice on sizing as often as possible...
  • If I can chuck my two penneth worth in, why not look at something like the Specialized Secteur Sport, around £530 or so? Or the Specialized Allez Sport/Elite at £500/£800 from memory - slightly more racier geometery.
    You said that you were stretching your budget at the top end, and these bikes will give you a fairly relaxed riding position over an out and out 'racer' and still give you a few sheets to buy the extra bits you'll want and need over the coming months.
    As for lycra, if you're going to be doing regular rides of any distance, you'll definitely want it. Even if it's only the shorts to stop the seam of whatever underwear you wear leaving that nasty red raw sore bit on your inner thighs!
    As others have said, there are lots of v. good bikes out there for that money, and it'll be a difficult choice, but you'll know the one. Everyone will have an opinion/comment but no one can make that decision for you.
    Thought about the Boardman Team Carbon? Rave reviews from cycling press and got a good set of components for £1,000.
    Good luck
    Limited Edition Boardman Team Carbon No. 448
    Boardman MTB Team
  • hhhrick wrote:
    I doubt I'll get to the point of 100 miles in a ride but who knows, but I can pretty much rule out biking/camping weekends, and if I can avoid Lycra I will!

    You WILL get to the point where you want to knock off your first 100 mile ride!!! 3 months after hopping on a drop handlebarred steed for the first time (and struggling to stay upright!) I managed a 119 mile charity ride, and was surprised by how easy it was. I finished the distance in 7 hours and wasn't even knackered (although my bum and feet and had enough). Next year I'm aiming for 5.5 hours.

    Lycra: when your legs start getting that chiselled look, and the gut disappears, you'll LOOK good in lycra, so you WILL start wearing it! Friends I ain't seen for a couple of months keep asking me if I've been seriously ill recently cuz of my weight loss :D

    Leaving the bike outside: Keep it the living room where you can admire it! At work I park it next to my desk, no probs. It comes in handy for riding to the fax machine. Don't ask your boss, cuz that will give him a chance to say no. Just go ahead and do it!

    Like the other guys say, don't forget to budget a couple of hundred for gear. I was surprised when my bike arrived in the post without pedals, so they'll be at least £30. Then there's shoes (at least £50), and lights. Decent shorts are at least £30 per pair. Get two. I got a pump with a pressure gauge, so I don't need a separate track pump, but it cost £30. Get two decent locks as well (pref 3) if you leave it anywhere. And a bumper-sized tub of Sudocreme (after a week you'll know why). Budget creep becomes a bit of an issue, TBH.

    Shimano/Campagnolo: try bikes with both. Personally I prefer Shimano cuz that's the first one I tried, but neither make is "better", but just watch out for the name on the groupset. With Shimano, Dura-Ace is best, then Ultegra, then 105, then Tiagra (I think), and Sora is at the bottom. Hop on a Tiagra-equipped machine, then try something better and decide if you want to spend the extra. Personally I'd see 105 as the absolute minimum, and Ultegra if you can stretch to it.

    As someone pointed out, winter's nearly here. Riding in the rain ain't fun, so maybe use the next few months (plus Christmas!) to increase your budget? It'll be good research time too.

    Good luck!
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