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Its going to be a long winter!

LeicesterLadLeicesterLad Posts: 3,908
edited November 2010 in Road beginners
How does everyone on here afford their gear?

I baught an old raleigh record sprint in the summer for commuting to work, knowing next to nothing about road cycling, i have since, in my own mind become completely obsessed, the cycling bug has taken a hold of me, big style, now here comes the flip side.

The raleigh is ancient, but a comfortable ride, especially with a very kind donation from a forum member of some very comfortable bar tape! DO NOT GET ME WRONG, i love the bike, it does what it says on the tin, not the fastest or lightest bike in the world, but perfect for a newbie looking to get fit and eventually progress further BUT the frame is too big for me, i can reach the hood's and drops, but it doesn't always feel natural, its bareable. The back wheel is far from true, spokes nakard etc, and as its an old 12 speed freewheel with the old 126mm clearing there is the faff of cold setting etc to relace the wheel without an extensive search for an old original, its currently running on 6 gears, as only one cable is in tact - i will be getting this sorted at the LBS if the derailers are in good enough nick. but mainly the frustration is killing me! I dont want a carbon fibre bike, i just want a bike that fits, and is tough enough and comforable enough to withstand long sunday morning rides and sportifs. I have literally no money, and i log on here every day to a zillion posts like 'what to get with £1000' or 'my new bike', i see peoples winter hacks worth more than i could ever dream of spending on a bike right now, theres never sod all on ebay or in the paper where i live and now i have this bug, this obsession, this want to go forward, to just up the pace and enjoyment, how do you all do it? :x where do i go from here? its going to be a very long winter!


  • morstarmorstar Posts: 3,896
    I'm riding an old 1980's Raleigh with 126mm spacing and just out of interest I stuck a 130mm wheel from my commuting bike in to see how difficult it was to fit.

    I had read several people commenting that cold setting wasn't necessary. Verdict, it isn't. Flexing the frame by 2mm each side takes barely noticeable force. I couldn't discern the extra effort from the normal effort of simply jiggling the 126mm wheel into place.

    If you've got friction shifters, there is a good chance you could go to 8 speed using them and buy a budget modern wheel.
  • How does everyone on here afford their gear?

    Its easy for me :D

    I do not smoke, drink/alcohol or gamble and I have been car free for 6 years + I am single, no nagging wife/partner to buy shoes for etc

    my bikes are my only vice :D
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    I don't have a massive budget either. I bide my time and wait for bargain new buys or used bits on ebay. I've got three really good bikes bikes with decent parts (road, mtb, tourer) and I've spent well under 2k on the lot.

    You mention getting the LBS to sort the bike, there's your first problem. You need to get handy with the spanners yourself or you'll never do it all on a budget. It's not hard, just needs a bit of self confidence :-)

    I once paid someone to fit some trivial parts to my car. I was embarrassed that I couldn't do it myself, so I taught myself. A few years later I could happily take an engine to bits and fit a head gasket, solve fuel injection problems, etc. It's not rocket science, you just need to take the first steps. - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • random manrandom man Posts: 1,514
    I know exactly how you feel Leicester Lad. I got the bug this year and I seem to find something new to spend money on every time I go out on my new bike, purchased on Cyclescheme.
    I believe that if you buy what you can afford eg Aldi gear, and keep your bike in good nick then you can try and save towards a more expensive bike and clothing.

    Cycling would appear to be a cheap hobby when you first start but it can soon bite into your bank balance if you let it. The important things for me about cycling are: it keeps me fit; I get out in the fresh air and clear my mind of everyday censored ; I've always got something to work towards eg touring.
    It would be great to have a new carbon bike or a bike for every eventuality but the main thing is that you've got a bike to get out and get fit on.
  • MattC59MattC59 Posts: 5,433
    I don't put in an expenses claim for 4months. Any cash expenses I write off at the time I spend the money, then when I claim I get a big lump of money :D I know this isn't a effective way of saving, but if I claim £50 or so back every week or budget on that cash being paid back to me, It'll get absorbed into the account and spent.

    Last year I bought a new Trek1.9, I've just put in a claim and could afford a £3k bike (if I hadn't got my wedding to pay for !!) I bought a set of wheels earlier in the year, but the other half doesn't know about them :D

    Not very inefficient, I know, but with today's interest rates I'm not losing a great deal of interest and I'm not frittering it away.

    (probably not overly helpful if you don't have to put in expenses claims :roll: )
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • Keep using the Raleigh over the winter, it will be perfectly good enough,ive recently inherited my dads pride and joy,an 82 Raleigh Record Ace and compared to my Scott CR1 I thought it would be censored , but after going out for a 20 mile ride I really like it, the fronts a bit high on the hoods but that means the drops are perfect, i could stay on them for ages and i soon got used to the friction shifters, the only thing it needs is clipless pedals, so far from thinking of covering it in a sheet and forgetting about it i,m gonna be getting some miles in on it over winter,and on the subject of bike gear i bought a pair of bib longs from Aldi for a fiver and they lasted me for three years and 15k miles, Lidl do some good cheap gear from time to time as well.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,706 Lives Here
    How does everyone on here afford their gear?

  • ShutUpLegsShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    Can you increase your income in any way? Having a hobby or passion usually gives motivation to work harder or improve your financial situation to invest in your interest.
  • JohnBoyUKJohnBoyUK Posts: 206
    I think everyone will have a different story.

    I'm very lucky I've got a half decently-paid job. For the last 2 years I've slept on my parents sofa after my divorce rather than rent somewhere and in that time, I managed to save sufficient for a 20% deposit on a 2 bed flat in SE London...and of course while I was saving and not going out, trying to avoid the pub at all costs, my mates got me into cycling! So ended up spending my beer money on my two new bikes and a few bits and bobs, the clothing etc etc.

    Now I've into my flat, its a completely different story though. The days of seeing something and thinking "oooh I want that" are well and truly over. TBH, I've got everything I need now, so wouldnt see me spending much more anyway.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    Leave Leicester, move to London, get a highly paid job, live in a tiny studio flat, don't drink, drive, smoke, gamble or go out and spend every cent on bikes....
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • MattC59MattC59 Posts: 5,433
    JohnBoyUK wrote:
    ........ I've got everything I need now, so wouldnt see me spending much more anyway.

    I'm the same, whilst I'm constantly looking at shiney goodies for my bike, I don't buy them often because I already have the kit I need*. eg. I'd love some carbon bars, but do I need them ??? Nope, not really.

    Road cycling seems to have a relatively high initial cost, then as long as you look after your kit, the on going costs are relatively low.

    Buy the best you can afford, or the good stuff where it counts and look after it, the on going costs are then pretty small.

    * Note: I do have rather a lot of pairs of gloves though !!
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • gtitimgtitim Posts: 225
    Yes it can be expensive at the best of times. I often find myself perusing wiggle and getting sucked in to almost buying something light and shiny. Sometimes I have to slap myself and say "do I REALLY NEED THIS???" 9 times out of 10, not really. So long as you can continue cycling, and enjoying doing so, ignore what everyone else has. They might have a shiny carbon bike, but they may also be in arrears on their mortgage (or living with mum and dad) who knows, who cares. Just cycle :)

    Happy Cycling.
  • The trouble is that this site is mainly about £'s and the latest bit of must have exotic bike kit. It's the same on a BMW site that I visit.

    You don't need to spend a fortune to be able to enjoy cycling.

    Leicester Lad - keep away from this forum and places like Julies Cycles and Websters Cycles until you have a few more quid to spend on this hobby. :wink:
  • I had a Btwin Sport 1 for a while. It's a great bike and fantastic value for money at £270. Bung on some crud roadracers and that's winter sorted.

    I know that's still £300 which a lot of people don't have but when you consider the price of bus fares and/or petrol it will pay for itself in no time.
  • inseineinseine Posts: 5,772
    How does everyone on here afford their gear?

    Work hard at school, develop your skills, get some qualifications, get a good job......... (shall I go on?)

    I'm only being (semi) serious :wink:
  • LeicesterLadLeicesterLad Posts: 3,908
    Thanks for all the Replies, nice to know im not the only one on a tough budget.

    Im civil service, so redundency is more likely than any gain in pay or promotion! so i wont be getting any extra cash there!

    Nice to see it might be possible to fit a new wheel with 126mm spacing without cold setting the fram, ive had a scan on the net and can get new rear freewheel to fit a 6 speed quite cheap, but there are limited makers, and i don't know what the quality will be like, but it cant be any worse than whats on it at the minute! Just gotta keep an eye on the pennies i guess, try not to blow wads of cash on Christmas :x

    Thanks for all the advice!
  • APIIIAPIII Posts: 2,010
    Have a look on ebay for freewheels. I picked up a 5 speed block in tip top condition for 4 quid.
  • nochekmatenochekmate Posts: 3,460
    I don't know your height but I've got an old Claud Butler frame (no forks) that you can have FOC (although it will cost you petrol to do the 40 min drive from Leicester, which is where I assume you are based.

    Frame is 58cm - suit 6ft rider.
  • LeicesterLadLeicesterLad Posts: 3,908
    nochekmate - that is an extrememly kind offer, unfortunately im only 5'' 7 so cannot take you up on it :cry:

    The frame isn't really that big a problem, it's more the bent wheel, but hopefully i can sort that with a bit of force! then its just ride ride ride untill the money i would have spent on petrol mounts up enough to splash out!
  • andy46andy46 Posts: 1,666
    JKHinton wrote:
    How does everyone on here afford their gear?

    Its easy for me :D

    I do not smoke, drink/alcohol or gamble and I have been car free for 6 years + I am single, no nagging wife/partner to buy shoes for etc

    my bikes are my only vice :D

    you've just described me :lol:

    although i do have a little cheap french car :oops:
    2019 Ribble CGR SL

    2015 Specialized Roubaix Sport sl4

    2014 Specialized Allez Sport
  • laelae Posts: 555
    For parts and tools, I scour forums, vintage bike forums, freecycle and most importantly car boot sales and bicycle jumbles!

    For example, last week at a car boot sale I got a much-needed large saddle bag (including two inner tubes) for two quid, and a pair of leather cycling gloves for 50p. You can get basic tools like spanners for a quid each, and pliers and socket sets and so on.

    Also, although it's nice to support your LBS, they usually only stock the more expensive brands - for example, my LBS sells inner tubes for a fiver and the cheapest inner+outer brake cable you can get is a tenner. On the net you can get both for three quid - granted, they aren't the same quality, but you're not going down Ventoux! and will provide enough technical info to get you started with maintaining and repairing your bike yourself. has a very good forum that often has parts and frames going for cheapy cheap. Also, just as a temporary measure for your frame size conundrum, have you tried using a shorter stem? Usually they're around 80-100mm, but I've got one that's only 40mm with a tall post so the bars can be higher up - it makes the steering a bit snappier but it gives a less stretched, more upright position. I think I only paid 5 or 6 quid on ebay for it.
  • laelae Posts: 555
    ^ more car boot stuff today - I got a Campagnolo Nuovo Record rear derailler AND a pair of Normany high-flange hubs for... wait for it... three pounds! I'll be cleaning and polishing the hubs and selling them on ebay (high-flange stuff is popular with fixed-gear riders at the moment) but the derailler is going to my slowly-increasing pile of vintage C-Record parts (already got hubs and shifters, from a car boot sale, tenner for the hubs and 50p for the shifters). I'm just waiting for someone to bring a 1960s Bianchi frame to one and price it at a fiver :roll:

    The guy had loads of stuff in plastic bags - I had to root through it all (there was lots of cr*p) to get the good bits, but it was worth it.

    Saw someone else selling Speedplay pedals inc. cleats for a fiver.
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    Join freecycle and keep a eye out for bikes on offer, i picked up 2 this week and having stripped one for spares the frame + fork are now on ebay .
    Mostly MTB`s though but i did once get 2 bikes out of a skip and made £40 out of them.

    Get on the Aldi + Lidl email list so you know when their cycle stuff is coming out as you can save a lot of money if you use their kit compared to brand stuff.
    Wilkinsons sells cheap lube,inner tubes etc

    As for your wheel would this fit? check with the supplier about axle length etc 1st though ... ... t_103.html
    FCN 3/5/9
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 18,919
    birthday, bonus & christmas for new bits & if you want something out of these periods claim its a consumable and therefore needs replacing or it doesn't work :)
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    matthew h wrote:
    birthday, bonus & christmas for new bits & if you want something out of these periods claim its a consumable and therefore needs replacing or it doesn't work :)

    Heck i use x mas for consumables this year i an after..

    Bottom bracket
    FCN 3/5/9
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    Just noticed you're in Leicester, give this place a try:

    They're a cycling charity and I spoke to someone who knows them a while back, can't remember why though! Anyway, not only do they sell complete bikes from 40 quid but they do parts for next to nothing.

    I worked in Leicester 20 years ago, bet it's changed a bit since then! - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • I'd have said the expense comes with how much carbon you want. Me, well I have a well paid job and no other hobby as such so, sometimes, easy come easy go!

    Stick something aside everyweek/month and watch it build into your first dream machine Leicester lad.

  • keep at it mate i was in same situation and had to do most bits and repairs myself oh the joy did not know one end of a spanner from the other. just keep plugging away, have a look in the local free news sheets som bargens to be had out there. :)
  • There have been many articles written recently citing the statisic that the cycling market is driven by 35 to 45 year old men. I don't know how old you are but when you reach that age bracket you tend to have more disposable income than when you were in your 20's. Most of us are secretly spending money on new gear instead of our secretarys and sports cars. Sorry it's not a very helpful reply, but I think men of that age are also much more likely to be spending time on forums talking about what gear they've bought, giving a false impression of what you actually need to enjoy the hobby. I also used to be into photography and that was a very similar pastime, in that you felt driven to spend, spend, spend to improve your game. When, in fact, naturally talented people could take a brilliant picture with a box brownie.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    I got my daughters current bike from the dump or "recycling centre" as these places are called these days

    It worked as supplied but I have put new tyres, new cables, new saddle and fitted a different ( also dump sourced ) front wheel on it

    Whenever I go to the tip i always look out for bike parts or bikes. There is less about every year, thanks to businesses that recycle bikes, ebay and demand for the one or two bikes that are there.
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