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CycleScheme & Choosing a New Bike - A Few Questions

CakeLovinBeastCakeLovinBeast Posts: 312
edited July 2011 in Road beginners
Morning all,

I've found myself (finally!) in the lucky position of working for someone who offers the CycleScheme and I'm in the process of weighing up my options. I've decided on a road bike as I already have a mountain bike and I want to make the effort to do the commute (a hilly 17 miles) at least a couple of times a week. I've never owned a road bike and so I'm surprisingly clueless when it comes to know what to look for - so I'm spending a lot of time researching at the minute.

I was mainly wondering if there was any real point in looking at any cheaper options? I'm reasonably fit - I football twice a week, run twice a week and mountain bike when I can squeeze it in. I don't want to buy a £500 bike to then find that I want to upgrade in six months time. I'm OK for kit (I'm sticking to baggies for now anyway, I'm not really a lycra person) I've got a lid/locks, etc. The only thing I was really thinking was pedals/shoes, but I thought I'd prefer to spend close to the full whack on a bike and use my MTB clipless for now until I can afford some decent shoes/pedals in a couple of months time. Does this make sense do you think? Is there anything else that I might need that I might have forgotten?

Additionally, are there any "must-consider" bikes for me to look at? Ultimately I know I need to go and look at them in the flesh, but I want to have a bit of a shortlist for my wanderings. My employer prefers Halfords, which means either the Boardman Road Team (or the Road Comp as a cheaper option), but they will consider shops that sell bikes not available at Halfords. So far I have the Cube Attempt and the Ribble Sportive Bianco on my list.

Finally (sorry for the essay), can anyone recommend any decent bike shops in Devon, ideally around the Exeter/Torbay area, where I can go and have a good chat about the kinda things that I should be looking for?

Thanks!
Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic

Posts

  • I've just been giving a mate a load of bikes to look at over the past few days that are within the £1k budget for CTW scheme....

    there's loads about that have a decent spec on them for that price. He was also looking at the Boardman Team Road so in the end i told him to go into Halfords and see if they had any of the 2010 Boardman Team Carbon bikes left as they are selling them off for £999. He's getting one sent over from another store for pickup next week.

    A very happy person.
  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    I'm not really a lycra person !

    I give it 6 months tops :lol:
  • Thanks Olly :)
    danowat wrote:
    I give it 6 months tops :lol:
    Yeah, I know, I'm just trying to hold on to a bit of my moutain biking heritage... Ultimately, I know that I'm just a little too competitive and I'll end up getting some anyway, but I like to kid myself that I can resist for now :lol:
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • I've just started road biking too, I went from thinking maybe to get a road bike to picking mine up in less than a week.

    I'm a baggy man too, you'll not catch me in lycra any time soon.

    I just went for a set of m520's for pedals so I could use my mtb shoes. They work well and no reason to change for the time being.
  • I've just started road biking too, I went from thinking maybe to get a road bike to picking mine up in less than a week.

    I'm a baggy man too, you'll not catch me in lycra any time soon.

    I just went for a set of m520's for pedals so I could use my mtb shoes. They work well and no reason to change for the time being.

    Nice one, that's good to know, thanks!
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • danowat wrote:
    I'm not really a lycra person !

    I give it 6 months tops :lol:

    And a week later the razor will be let loose on the legs :lol:

    If you are going to be using the bike for commuting then stick with the MTB shoes they are far better for walking in
  • And a week later the razor will be let loose on the legs :lol:

    If you are going to be using the bike for commuting then stick with the MTB shoes they are far better for walking in
    I'd probably do the legs before I donned the lycra to be fair! I've already discussed it with my girlfriend at home last night!
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • welcome to the world of road bikes, like you last year i bought my first road bike on the cycle scheme, i bought cheap incase i didnt like it, soon after i bought a new road bike cash, and now im that hooked on road bikes im thinking of buying another bike but for a lot more money :lol: , as for the lycra...yes i was a bit aprehensive being a big lad (actually in good shape tho) but i wouldn't cycle on my road bike without it, you wont look a plum eveyone wears lycra :D
  • king_jeffersking_jeffers Posts: 694
    you wont look a plum eveyone wears lycra :D

    Op, this is coming from someone called "fat lad in lycra" be warned :lol:

    Your braver than me, I'm sticking with the baggies :wink:
  • you wont look a plum eveyone wears lycra :D

    Your not dragging us down with you, even with such compelling evidence!
  • you wont look a plum eveyone wears lycra :D

    Op, this is coming from someone called "fat lad in lycra" be warned :lol:

    Your braver than me, I'm sticking with the baggies :wink:

    i should change my name :lol: i dont carry much fat but when you have a 52" chest im larger than the average bike rider 8)
  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    No one cares if you wear lycra.........as long as its not pro team kit........... :lol:
  • I wear black.
    With black detailing.
    Over a black base layer.

    Obviously, I have reflective bits, and a bright yellow jacket, but other than that, I prefer to go for the understated approach! ;)
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    The Cube Attempt has had very good write ups, Bike of the Year isn't it under £1k?

    The Cannondale is an upgrade path.

    The Boardmans have great reviews.

    Have you tried a Hybrid Pro Boardman, just like a road bike without drops? Just picked mine up and it'll be my first ride to work on it tomorrow.

    And I will never wear Lycra, it's not a good look.
  • joelsim wrote:
    The Cube Attempt has had very good write ups, Bike of the Year isn't it under £1k?

    The Cannondale is an upgrade path.

    The Boardmans have great reviews.

    Have you tried a Hybrid Pro Boardman, just like a road bike without drops? Just picked mine up and it'll be my first ride to work on it tomorrow.

    And I will never wear Lycra, it's not a good look.
    Thanks for that...

    I did like the look of the Cube, and I've read a few reviews, but it's a case of not being very knowledgeable about road bikes and needing to find a decent LBS in a fairly limited amount of time (scheme is only open for applications for 2 weeks a year). I'm going to hit up the local (big) Halfords on the way home tonight and see what the crack is there regards the Boardman bikes.

    Whilst I'm not anti-hybrid, I would like to be able to use this bike competitively at some point in the future, so I'd prefer to keep drops I think. I'll try both out though, now that you've said that, and see how I feel.

    Cheers again.
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • Thought I'd re-visit this thread rather than start a new one... Hope that's OK...

    I'm having a bit of a 'mare... Well, not a proper 'mare, but more that I feel I can't find the info that I need. I don't know any LBS' around here - I moved to Devon from the Geordie Shore a few months back, so I'm still getting my bearings a bit. I'm trying to get a feel for what size bike I should be looking for and I just don't feel like anybody really knows.

    I've been to the two places closest to where I work: CycleSurgery and Halfords, respectively. Neither of the two places have got staff who make me feel confident in what they're talking about - I've been told everything from "I need about an inch clearance between crotch and top tube", to "it depends on how you feel comfortable and what kind of rider you are"... I'm not sure how I'm supposed to know what kind of rider I am before I've ever owned a road bike! I've sat on a 56cm Cube that felt a bit small, and a 58cm one that felt relatively OK. I've also had a sit on a large Boardman that the staff told me was a 55, that felt the biggest of the lot. I just don't know what I should be looking for, and I don't know where to go to find out...

    I'm away from tomorrow for the weekend, and then I've only got until next Friday to get my order in for Cycle to Work. I realise that there's a certain amount of personal preference involved in riding style, but surely there has to be someone/somewhere that can inspire a bit of confidence I'm sure that there must be some decent LBS's around, but I don't know where the hell they are
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • Im new to Roadies also , had the same problem about a month ago . I work for Royal Mail ( yes i know ) and they are tied to Halfords for the CTW scheme. In the end after loads of reserach and umming and aaahing i went for the Boardman Hybrid Comp ,Exeter store didnt have it in stock so got it in Newton Abbot. The Manager ther was very helpful and despite Halfords bum rep generally he set the bike up nicely , no issues so far. I had some squeaks and creaks early on but this seems to have settled with a couple wet rides and pads bedded in

    Now heres the deal... I went for that bike because i was MTB for years wasnt sure if i would adjust to drops / riding position etc. Its basically a road bike with flat bars and its great , i love it and well and truly got the bug. Problem is now i am looking for a drop roadie to add to it so i have both ! The missus will kill me but its inevitable i know its gonna happen soon !


    So if anyones got a used Spesh Allez 2009,2010 or similar thats what im after , 6'2 so large frame reqd !!....just dont tell her indoors!!


    As for LBS in Exeter , all good from what i hear as below

    try Richards Bikes Exeter , very good rep
    The Bike Shed Exeter
    Partridge Cycles , Kennford
  • cloggsycloggsy Posts: 243
    I was lucky and managed to get a 2010 Boardman Team Carbon (£999) The new Team Carbon is £1300! If I'm honest the 2010 has a better spec than the 2011 (IMHO!)

    Good luck with your purchase!
  • jawoogajawooga Posts: 530
    Morning

    I'm new to this lark, but I spent as much as I could on a bike through Cyclescheme, then bought spd pedals/shoes shortly after. That said my spd shoes are more mtb than road, which sounds like you've already got.

    Bike shops:
    Partidges (Kennford) and Bike Shed (Exeter) have both got a large amount of bikes, and are very friendly to go in and chat about what you want. Partridges have a little strip of tarmac you can ride your bike around.

    Hot Pursuit cycles in Kingsteignton seem to be good as an LBS. Small place so can't stock 100s of bikes but they have tools, clothes, some bikes, and do repairs.

    Finally, I found myself in Ashburton recently and went in to Big Peaks, which is on the outskirts of town (Exeter side) on the trading estate. They have a lot of bikes and gear and are also very friendly.

    Oh, and I agree with Olly re. trying to get last year's model. I got a Kona Jake the Snake 2010 for ~£1k through Cyclescheme. Then about a month later, the 2011 was brought out and the 2010 stock in most places was being sold cheap ~£750...!
  • Thanks all,

    Sorry for the slow response, but I've been away in London over the weekend. I've had a chat with a few people and things seem to be falling into place a bit more now... Someone I know recommended Colin Lewis cycles over in Paignton, so I'm off over there this evening for a bit of a chat with them too...

    I've been to both Exeter & Newton Abbot Halfords - both places say that there are none of the 2010 Team Carbon left, which is a bit of a bummer. Assuming I can get one in whatever size I need, I'm going to be looking to get a Cube Attempt I think.

    Cheers again for all of the help
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • divekrisdivekris Posts: 4
    Just out of interest has anyone see any reviews on Merida road bikes?

    Looking at a Merida 91 as my first road bike and it rode well but not been on anything else. Local LBS just does Merida (or a very nice Villiers one for £3K!!). The guy said it would suit me as it isn't hard core racing bike and I am going to use for commuting and also want to start triathlons soon.

    Looking to spend roughly £750 so I can get all rest of the gear for £1K as part of the C2W scheme.

    Another LBS about 12 miles away does Defy so prob look at a Defy 2 as well.

    Can't see any customer reviews on Merida apart from their own site. These bikes new for 2011 so that's prob why.

    Thanks
  • OK, so a mixed day so far.

    Phoned up the cycle to work "special order" line (i.e. if you want a non-Halfords bike). Turns out that it's still Halfords, they'll just attempt to get you bikes that they don't usually stock. I was told that they categorically didn't have any 2010 Boardman Team Carbon left and that if I wanted a Cube Attempt then I'd need a favour from God, because they're like rocking horse doo-doo to get hold of. Ultimately, it turns out they could get me an Attempt triple, but not the compact (which is what I was after)...

    On a positive note, I've been working down the road today, and on my way back into the office I called into a different LBS who actually knew what they were talking about. I've been given decent advice on sizing/gearing and the guy in the shop actually commutes almost the same route as I will be doing, but in reverse.

    With that in mind, I'm welcoming comments on the following rides... I know I need to choose for myself, but all feedback is welcome:

    - Cube Attempt. Pretty much my first choice right now, but don't think that Halfords is going to be able to source me one.
    - Boardman Team Road. It should be a no-brainer after the Cube, but for some reason I can't make myself love it.
    - Wilier Lavaredo. Looks pretty, but is it as good? Need to change the tyres...
    - Focus Cayo 105. Doubt that Halfords would be able to get one (are Wiggle the only suppliers of them?)
    - Cannondale CAAD 9. Don't know loads about this one, but gets pretty good write-ups
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I'd go for the Cube Attempt triple. Failing that the CAAD 9
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