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Newbie commuting dilemma!

edited September 2010 in Commuting general
I thought I'd made my mind up! A 2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc.

Then I read a load of threads and topics on these forums and I'm suddenly feeling maybe my choice isn't that wise. To be honest my budget isn't huge. Probably no more than £500, which I'm quickly learning isn't a great deal in the biking world.

Basically I want a bike that will do me for my 8 mile each way commute into work. The route is a mix of cycle paths (40%), roads (40%), and a bumpy country path (20%). I want to be able to go on routes in the countryside at the weekend, no insane downhill action but something a bit rougher than tarmac.

Any advice on models would be amazing. Should I go for maybe Specialized's hybrid Crosstrail or something similar? Would the Hardrock be too sluggish? Any help would be greatfully recieved.


  • second hand maybe, ebay is your friend

    or for new Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative

    they do own brand (Revolution) ranges of urban commuters, mountain(y) bikes and what sounds best for you Cyclo Crossers (waits the flames) all under and up to the £500 point. you could even go for one of their standard tourers and just about hit the money.

    are you in work and if so do they do a bike to work scheme that may help you spread the cost over a year and buy something a bit more pricey if you fancy a more fashionable label. you could put some of the £500 towards it (either ask work in advance and /or do it on the QT tho, technically work buy the bike, lease it to you for a year (+) and invariably give you the option of purchasing it from them at the end for a usually nominal 5-10% of voucher price - there is a slim chance that work could opt to not offer to sell the bike to you and you've lost any up-front payment you've mde to it to it)
  • t0pc4tt0pc4t Posts: 978
    I'd ask if you really need front suspension, I don't for my commute and had rigid forks fitted to my cube a few weeks back, much lighter
    Whether you're a king or a little street sweeper, sooner or later you'll dance with the reaper.

    Cube Curve 2009
    Giant Anthem X4

  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    The hardrock is a decent entry-level MTB for regular off-road use (ie its no wannabe) but the forks add quite a bit of weight to the front. Lots of people commute on hardrocks; if you replace the knobbly tyres with some semi-slick touring style rubber you will go faster. The frame comes equipped with threaded eyelets for rear luggage rack.

    Most hybrids come with weighty forks so you dont gain much going the hybrid route.

    Specialized frames are made by Merida but with the addition of a sticky label which costs a lot.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    As I see it you have three options

    MTB, front sus, decent enough bike to be reasonably light, but it will always be about 6lbs heavier for your commute than a more dedicated bike, you'll want to run it on a suitable compromise tyre for the on and off road stuff of the commute and change tyres (or wheels as well) for the weekend.

    Rigid fork commuter, either a cross or a rigid forked MTB, ideal for the commute, less use for the off road stuff at the weekends

    2 bikes, shop around, one for the commute and one for the weekends, most decent bikes go for a maximum of 50% of sale price used, so sorted, example decent speck Carrera Vulcan, practically new at the weekend sold on ebay for £220, I got one for the daughters BF and put it on the road for £105.

  • Thank you so much guys! This information has been really helpful. I think I'm going to stick with the Hardrock for now. It's a good starting place and it gives me options for the weekend.

    Thanks again for the advice! :)
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    I thought I'd made my mind up! A 2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc.

    This looks fine to me. I used to commute 8 miles each way from Tooting to the City on my 2002 Spesh Rockhopper and have done a month's worth of my present, 15-mile each way commute on it. Heavier than my road bikes, sure, but it's a good workout, and you just need to swap the nobbly tyres for slicks.

    I've also used it for off-road duathlons, cyclo-cross and hauiling the kids over bike paths. It's served me very well.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    Autumn is when 2011 bikes come out. You should be able to get some pretty good discounts on 2010 models if you shop around. That'd certainly help your budget.

    Evans has a wide selection and some good discounts which bring a few more bikes into your price range. ... lete-bikes
  • As I still consider myself a n00b when it comes to the commute, I can confirm that's the next bike I'm looking at or the next model up depending on how much I want to put through the cyclesheme ;) . It's slightly heavier than my Spec Crosstrail but like yourself I wanted something with a bit more guts now my 2 eldest girls have decided that they want to do more of the rough stuff (god help me! :) )

    I'd have kept using the Crosstrail but I found with the marathon plus city tyres weren't very grippy and the thought of resorting to the car if I trashed the bike at the weekend just feels wrong that and the wife said I could have a new shiny thing :lol:
    Specialized Crosstrail - Commuter/Everyday
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