I'm looking to buy a bike, but DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!!!

johnson1985 Posts: 38
edited June 2011 in Road buying advice
Hi, I'm looking for a hybrid bike (max budget £270). I'm not a serious cyclist or anything, I just want a good bike for cycling around town, and on little bike rides every now and again maybe down a country path as well (but nothing too off-road!). So I'm not too bothered about getting an AMAZING bike with specifications that will be wasted on me.

I've found three different bikes that I'm trying to chose between:

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165534

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... 65534#dtab


I have been told that the carrera subway one is the best one of the three, and that it's at a great price. However, I just don't like the way it looks, and I get the impression that maybe the specification is a bit fancy for what I want (??) Or am I wrong??

Can you tell me why the subway is better, and if I need those better qualities?? Or should I go for one of the other two better looking bikes (in my opinion) with a worse specification??

Sorry if that all sounds confusing, but I really don't have a clue about bike spec's and I'm also horribly indecisive!!

Any help would be much appreciated!



  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    Gryphon is a flat bar road bike, will be quicker than the other two. I've got the disc version. It will cope with decent canal paths but will struggle if it's muddy or like a plowed field. Subway 2 is a MTB style hybrid, will be slower and heavier. More of a upright riding position.

    If the disc brakes are anything like the ones in my Gryphon, they're poop. Changed them to BB7.

    Also I wouldn't let Halfords build it for you, useless monkeys.

    Try out the shifters, Gryphon has X4, Subway 2 LE has EZfire, Subway 2 X4.

    Didn't like X4 small lever is too short, X5 is longer easier to flick. EZ fire top lever is pain to use, prefer Rapid fire. Also Bottom Brackets are rubbish Chin Haur, I'd change it. Also do a proper lube of BB thread since none is applied at the factory (would be fun to remove BB after 5 years of use, and found it's seized, scrapping the frame)
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • night_porter
    night_porter Posts: 888
    Well seeing as you freely admit you don't have a clue I am sure that explanation has helped you no end?

    Just buy the bike you like the look of and are comfortable paying the price of.

    If you get "into" cycling more then come back and ask again but for now buy what you are happy with.
  • fleshtuxedo
    fleshtuxedo Posts: 1,853
    Gryphon looks the best value and would be easiest and fastest on roads.

    Subway One might be better off road but don't think it would make any difference for your riding.

    Ridgeback is too ugly to even consider.

    So it's the Gryphon I'd choose.
  • lenclume
    lenclume Posts: 33

    First thing, if you don't like the look of a bike, don't spend money on it. You wouldn't buy anything else you don't like the look of - a car, a pair of shoes, a puppy - and it works the same way for a bike. If you don't like it now, you certainly won't like it more, or feel any pleasure riding it, when it's yours, no matter how much you've spent on it.

    Secondly, have you ridden any of the bikes? You need to get on the bike and ride it around. Not just around the car-park outside the shop. Get one that's your size, and spend a bit of time on it - half an hour or so, if you can, to see if it's comfortable and you feel good on it.

    And if the shop won't let you try a bike, go somewhere else. If they can't be arsed looking after you properly because you're not spending two grand on a bike, take your custom elsewhere. It's your money and you need to be comfortable with the bike you buy.

    The Subway
    Of the three bikes on your list, the Subway was probably described as the "best" and was originally more expensive because it has disc brakes. Disc brakes are a pain in the arse if you don't know what you're doing. It's designed more for off-road use - which means it will seem heavy on-road. Plus you don't like the look of it, so cross it off your list.

    The Gryphon
    The Gryphon is designed pretty much for what you want. As Flesh Tuxedo says, it would also be easiest to ride on the road. It has road tyres, but they're fat enough (28mm) to allow you to do the country paths you mention. And there's room to put bigger tyres (32mm) on at a later date if you want. Which means you can even put some narrow mountain bike tyres on if you want a bit more grip in muddy conditions, if you ever do want to stray a bit further off-road.

    Compared to the Subway, the handlebars look lower in relation to the saddle because the stem (the bit that the handlebars are attached to) is horizontal. But you can take that stem off (you just need an Allen key) and turn it upside down, and it will point upwards just like the one on the Subway. So you can ride with the handlebars in a more upright position if you want. Again, you need to try it to see whether you find it comfortable.

    The Ridgeback
    The Ridgeback is (a) horrible - sorry - and (b) more of a town bike. It's very upright, and you even might find the handlebars are too high for you, leaving you in a sit-up-and-beg position. Fine for pootling down to the shops, but hopeless once you get fitter and faster (and you will). Plus with that stem, you can't change the angle. But you won't know whether the height suits you until you try the bike.

    The shop
    Bear in mind that Halfords don't have a great reputation as far as bike shops go. Check most forums (fora?) and you'll see that quite often people have bought (far more expensive) bikes from them and taken them to another bike shop to get the bike set up properly - which means safely.

    Also, there are plenty of other bike shops and a great many hybrid bikes in your price range. Here are several to choose from in Evans (those Kona Dews, for example, are very nice bikes for your price range):


    Hope that all helps.
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    ^ Agree with disc brakes was setting up for 2 hours, afterwards was pulling lever and though is that it? Could just be me though, or maybe rubbish IO brakes, dunno... and V brakes would have been better and easier to set up. Hopefully with BB7 should be ok. if not... :roll: Gonna be pretty annoyed.

    Although disc brakes have advantages, no worry about having trued rims, don't wear rims down, same braking performance regardless of wet or dry, salty roads won't shorten life of rims.

    However the Gryphon has X4, if you want to upgrade them to X5 about £25.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • Hey cheers for the brilliant replies, and the detail lenclume, that's definitely helped loads. Well i think out of the three I'll deffo go for the gryphon, but I haven't yet looked at that link you posted, so my decisions may not be over yet!

    The only shame is if I do go for the gryphon it'll be the halfords people who put it together. I guess I could get an independent shop to make it for me, but I suppose they'll charge me for it. Any tips on checking its been build correctly?
  • father_jack
    father_jack Posts: 3,509
    Honestly just leave it boxed, and finish it yourself. Gears were set up, no need to adjust end stops. But of course check yourself.

    Just spend a couple of hours unboxing it and checking things over, lubing bolt threads etc.

    btw if you do get the Gryphon change BB, Chin Haur are known to snap, and since BB have no anti-seize, pretty darn important thing to do.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)