Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting general

Want to get into cycling commuting (which bike)

jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
edited June 2012 in Commuting general
So I want to start cycling again and get into commuting to work by bike which is about an 8 mile journey. I'll need to do some cycling before hand to build my confidence back up and learn routes etc, I have my friend's bike at the mo so as soon as I have some safety equipment I'll start doing that.

But I really need to know what bike to get after I'm ready. I was running out of time this past Sunday so I asked for a £1000 letter of Collection from my workplace to cover a bike and equipment. I'd be willing to use it all if necessary as I want something that will last but you all know more than me. (BTW my work uses Halfords for the Cycle 2 works scheme I believe)

I live in Bristol UK and my route would be fairly flat so that's pretty kool. I originally wanted a hybrid and more specifically the Boardman Hybrid Team shown here: http://www.boardmanbikes.com/hybrid/hybrid_team.html
But I've recently started thinking a touring bike might be better (Road bike with a bit of carrying capacity and slghtly thicker tires). Am I correct in saying a touring bike (not high end) would be a better bike for commuting? If so what sort of brands and bikes would you recommend to me?

Sorry guys I'm a noob but if I stay at this job I'm determined to get cycling and stick to it. Advice is welcome and much appreciated
«1

Posts

  • What do you need to carry? I commute a similar distance each day and I do it on a road bike (Scott Speedster S20). I have a backpack on with a 15" laptop, clothes, chargers, a camera and lenses in it. Probably about 5-8kg on my back I think. You'd be surprised how much you can carry if you've got a decent backpack.

    I love my road bike because it means I've got no excuses to be slower than any other cyclist on the road! I used to live in Bristol and had a bit of a shorter commute which I used a mountain bike for. It didn't bother me at the time.

    If I were you and I were starting again with £1000 then I'd buy a decent mountain bike and some skinny tyres that I'd use for the commute. I'd then take the MTB out on the weekends to Ashton Court for fun times! The Boardman bikes look great across the range so I don't think you can make a bad decision really.

    Hope this helps.
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    I too commute into Bristol, just a bit further than you're suggesting though it's rural mostly - so I ride a roadie with 25mm tyres. I sometimes also ride a singlespeed and a hybridised mountain bike - it's good to change things around a bit. The roadie is my vehicle of choice though. Are you commuting into central Bristol?

    £1000 is a big wedge - remember to budget for things like pedals and shoes, lights and a lock.
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    Would rather be able to carry stuff in a bag on the bike, would just be clothes and shoes really. Commute would be from kingswood to Aztec West for anyone that knows Bristol. No point getting an MTB because I have no wish to go biking on mountains etc. I just want an efficient way to get to work and get some exercise in. I would like a fairly fast bike that is light and comfortable. I thought about a roadie but I hear touring bikes have slightly thicker tires which are more beginner friendly and comfortable which appeals to me tbh.

    Oh and yes the £1000 would include safety equipment, clothing etc
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    This looks good (Boardman road race £650): http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... e=shopping

    This too (Specialized Secteur triple £650): http://www.jejamescycles.co.uk/speciali ... 76591.html

    I would just hope tires aren't too thin
  • Also consider a cyclocross bike (CX), It has a lot in common with a road bike, but room for much thicker tyres, mudguards, and rack.

    I bought a Dawes edge 5 months ago and absolutely love it for my 8 mile each way commute, very comfortable with an excellent turn of speed.
  • I've been using a specialized tricross for commuting 9-13 miles each way for the past year. I love it, has front and rear rack and mudguard mounts. You can get the sport model for £900 with disk brakes.
    Trek Domane 4.3. Merida One.forty 7.700. Merida CX 3. Voodoo Bizango
    "When the vulture flies sideways the moon has hair on his upper lip"
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    An everyday, general purpose commuting bike for 2x8 miles really needs to have a set of threaded eyelets for rear rack and mudguards and clearance for winter tyres + 'guards (700c x32mm at least). You need gears low enough for your worst case steepest/roughest/heaviest load ride. Wheel size (700c vs 26" MTB) makes a marginal difference.
    You can ride a bike with narrow clearances or no rack and 'guard fittings but you will end up strapping, zip-tying and clamping stuff to your bike. Better to start out with the potential built in.
    If you are not afaid of drop bars, then cyclo-cross style is very versatile. The Boardman disc-equipped CX is ideal. Disc brakes give the same braking performance in all conditions with no degradation in the wet. Boardman position their rear disc to be compatible with all standard luggage racks, not just special disc versions. You can do light-med style touring on a CX (eg 2 week Euro tours)

    Touring bikes tend to be heavier duty than CX or race bikes but weight about the same as a midrange hybrid. They have longer chainstays for carrying luggage with better balance. Some have discs but most use V brakes or cantilever brakes (which I use but dont really like). They make fine do-it-all bikes.
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    I commute to Aztec West... somene in my office commutes from Kingswood (once in a blue moon) and he's just traded up a touring style bike to a Cx (Giant something or other).
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    I'd recommend the Boardman CX, you'll have money left over to get slick tyres, locks, lights, guards etc
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • I bought a Specialized Sirrus Sport back in August as my first proper bike since I was a kid. It's a hybrid with skinny slick tyres. I really love it and it suits my commute just fine BUT having been bitten by the bug I now wish I'd gone for a proper road bike.

    Based on my experience, before you buy a hybrid have a proper think about where and when you will be riding.
    Black Specialised Sirrus Sport, red Nightvision jacket, orange Hump backpack FCN - 7
    Red and black Specialized Rockhopper Expert MTB
  • That Boardman CX does look pretty good. Would love me one of those!
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    craker wrote:
    I commute to Aztec West... somene in my office commutes from Kingswood (once in a blue moon) and he's just traded up a touring style bike to a Cx (Giant something or other).

    Ah Kool which office? I'm in LV

    MichaelW will reply properly to you later, no time this break
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    jae-so wrote:
    I hear touring bikes have slightly thicker tires which are more beginner friendly and comfortable which appeals to me tbh.
    Bear in mind you'll own the bike for maybe a couple of years or more but will only be a beginner for a week or two, and narrow road tyres don't slide all over the place and throw you under cars. The main diff is comfort; if that's your requirement that's fine but don't worry about riding on narrow tyres. There's no problem with them esp now that it's the height of summer. :)

    Once you've got an available budget in your mind after deductions for locks, lights, shoes (& hat if you want to) etc have a trawl around your local outlets and see what lights your candle. No point owning a bike that you dislike, and there's not a lot of difference at the various price points once you're past £500 or so.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I would suggest a Trek 1.2. G/f has one and it has been extremely versatile, it takes guards and a rack easily so makes a good commuter (she even does loaded tours on it), or stripped down is a great bike for day rides or sportives. You can probably find them for around £650. Similar models available from most brands, but not all accomodate both guards and racks. A CX would also be good, but unless wanting to go "off piste" the Trek 1.2 does load carrying as well, and the brakes and tyres are probably better, and the bike lighter. They also have a triple version.

    Get a lock like an Abus Granit X-Plus (about £70), SKS p35 mudguards (about £30), a Tortec Velocity rack (about £24), mini pump, tube, puncture kit, tyre levers, mini tool, waterproof jacket, lights (Smart 1/2 watt rear, Ultrafire 501b XM-L U2 front, batteries and charger, twofish lockblock mount), helmet if you want, mitts or gloves, suitable shorts or bottoms, consider spd shoes and pedals (spd's are good for walking in), Ortlieb back roller panniers, eye protection, chain lube. That's about it...

    Maybe travel towel and toiletries at work if you have the facilities.
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    MichaelW wrote:
    Touring bikes tend to be heavier duty than CX or race bikes but weight about the same as a midrange hybrid. They have longer chainstays for carrying luggage with better balance. Some have discs but most use V brakes or cantilever brakes (which I use but dont really like). They make fine do-it-all bikes.

    Yeh kind of why I wanted the Touring bike, something that lasts long but is comfortable and not heavy

    CiB wrote:
    Bear in mind you'll own the bike for maybe a couple of years or more but will only be a beginner for a week or two, and narrow road tyres don't slide all over the place and throw you under cars. The main diff is comfort; if that's your requirement that's fine but don't worry about riding on narrow tyres. There's no problem with them esp now that it's the height of summer. :)

    Once you've got an available budget in your mind after deductions for locks, lights, shoes (& hat if you want to) etc have a trawl around your local outlets and see what lights your candle. No point owning a bike that you dislike, and there's not a lot of difference at the various price points once you're past £500 or so.

    Yeh I thought about a race bike but I really would prefer slightly thicker wheels even when I get better at it. Comfort would be the main thing really and I thought a touring bike is similar to a race bike but just a little more suited to commuting. Thinking about spending around £650 on the actual bike.
    alfablue wrote:
    I would suggest a Trek 1.2. G/f has one and it has been extremely versatile, it takes guards and a rack easily so makes a good commuter (she even does loaded tours on it), or stripped down is a great bike for day rides or sportives. You can probably find them for around £650. Similar models available from most brands, but not all accomodate both guards and racks. A CX would also be good, but unless wanting to go "off piste" the Trek 1.2 does load carrying as well, and the brakes and tyres are probably better, and the bike lighter. They also have a triple version.

    Thanks mate, how does it compare to the Boardman Road Race, that is my front runner at the mo?
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    So yeh the Boardman Road Race is my frontrunner as I mentioned how do others compare to it? I'm a noob lol: http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... ogId=10151

    Others I am considering:

    Trek 1.2
    Specialized Secteur triple
  • I reckon the ideal commuter allows for:

    Speed
    Mudguards
    Disc brakes
    Pannier

    --Can't see past the Charge Mixer for this. I don't own one, just wish I did.

    Also consider gettinga spare bike for the days when the main bike is in for a service!
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    The Boardman is a nice bike and good value. It is of similar quality to the Trek, the welding is cosmetically (though probably not functionally) better. The gearing on the Boardman is higher (26 rather than 28 cassette, so maybe tougher for a beginner to get on with), but most importantly it doesn't appear to have mudguard or rack mounts (it may do but they aren't visible in the picture). Another downside is that whilst the Boardman bikes are sound, Halfords have a very variable reputation for setting them up properly.

    The Trek 1.2 will come from a proper bike shop and therefore should be a better buying experience (and can lead on to a much better time for service and repairs); it is lighter than the Boardman by about 500g (not very important, but still...); it is available in compact or triple (I would suggest triple if you have many hills on your ride); and I know from personal experience with g/f that it is a very strong and versatile bike. It is worth the extra over the Trek 1.1 because that has aluminium rather than carbon forks, which can be harsh. I also know it will take tyres of 25mm as well as mudguards.

    Maybe another bike to consider is the Ribble winter trainer; clearly great value, downside is dealing with Ribble who failed to sell me a bike due to not answering the phone or emails - made me think after-sales service could be an issue - maybe I was just unlucky.
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    ^ You clearly know your bikes, the thing is while I love your suggestions my cycle2work scheme is done with Halfords I believe so may have to go that route, say the Boardman did accept racks and mudguards, how would it compare to those 2 component to component? Also tire thickness how do I find this out?
    EDIT: also the route is quite flat and a lot of cycle lanes
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Ah, Halfords. Well, they do undertake to supply non-stock bikes, though they will always be at RRP, or on the other hand, several shops are accepting Halfords cycle2work vouchers, I found several just googling "trek halfords cycle2work". So there is no need to use Halfords.

    Where do you live?

    Specs are easy to find on the Halfords/Trek/Specialized or whatever web sites. Both the Boardman and Trek come with 700x23 tyres; the Trek will take 25's with guards or 28's without, don't know about the Boardman.

    Component quality is probably very close on all bikes in this price range; most manufacturers compete very closely an there are generally sound if not particularly light component at this price point. The minor differences between brands in terms of spec quality aren't important; what is important are things like double or triple; guards or not; 26 or 28 cassette, and maybe for you, maximum tyre width.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Ah, sorry, read OP, I see you are in Bristol, well Fred Baker Cycles ( http://www.fredbakercycles.co.uk/Articl ... 2Work.html ) take Halfords vouchers, as do Terry's Cyles in Yate (http://www.terryscycles.co.uk/ )
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    alfablue wrote:
    Ah, sorry, read OP, I see you are in Bristol, well Fred Baker Cycles ( http://www.fredbakercycles.co.uk/Articl ... 2Work.html ) take Halfords vouchers, as do Terry's Cyles in Yate (http://www.terryscycles.co.uk/ )

    Ah wow thanks so much man will have to go to them and look into it properly, it would be awesome if they took those cycle to work vouchers, great info here, I will have to go consult Fred baker on the weekend. Thank you so much for your help.

    So for you, you would choose the Trek over the Boardman? I think I'll have to test loads lol
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Well I like the Trek and the Boardman, but I think the Trek is more versatile, the Boardman more for someone who doesn't want rack or guards and is maybe more speed oriented (higher gearing).

    I have been amazed at how good G/F's Trek has been; we have done 3 or 4 long cycle tours with camping gear, we do fast weekend rides, and until we got specific "pub bikes" (heavy cheap undesirable clunkers for use round the city at night) it was used for work and the pub as well. I added some Planet-X model B wheels and changed it from 8 speed Sora to 9 Speed Ultegra using cheap secondhand parts (the current model comes with 9 speed Sora) which has made the bike even better, but in no way necessary. The lighter wheels did make a noticeable performance difference but its something you don't notice till you swap them.

    Maybe a clincher for me would be proper bike shop versus Halfords (much as I would like to give them a fair hearing I think it all depends on the individual branch and the skill, or otherwise, of their mechanic - some great, as good and as enthusiastic as any, some less so. Boardman do require the mechanics to be "Boardman Trained" but I don't know if this works all the time with the staff actually in store).
    thumbnail.php?stage=account&id=5202656&photograph=90996&size=480
  • If tied into halfords alone, I would be very tempted towards the boardman CX myself:

    http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... e=shopping
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    Nah not tied to Halfords, I just had a go on the Trek 1.2, seems like a nice bike and priced okay at £700, thanks for the suggestion to go to Fred Baker bikes, I'll use them, the service was excellent and the guy knows his stuff
  • izmologyizmology Posts: 5
    I use a Ridgeback Panorama. It's probably just above your budget, but It's a great tourer and as tough as nails.

    I had an accident on mine today and dented the car in front of me, but the ridgeback is fine with no lasting marks. It hit wheel first and I'm all bruised up, but not a single buckle to be found and it rode home just as it always does.

    I ride it over pot holes and all sorts with no ill effects and it comes with front and rear racks already fitted.

    I used to have a 2009 boardman road bike and it would have folded up by now with the punishment that this ridgeback soaks up on the holey streets of Coventry.

    After you've ridden the bike fully loaded, riding it with no panniers makes it feel as light as the boardman in relation to fully laden weight.

    Now I've ridden the Panorama, I'm in no hurry to get a new bike anytime soon, so yeah, if you're after a tough as nails tourer, the Ridgeback Panorama would be my recommendation. Not sure if they can be got from Halfords though.
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    Panorama looks good but way over my budget lol
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    Sooooo, work have basically said I am too late for the cycle scheme so time for Plan B. I'm just going to ride my friend's older hybid for a while until I get into the whole Cycle malarky and then I am going to buy a new bike in a few months once I know I will stick with it.

    Someone here mentioned the Ribble Winter trainer and to be fair it looks very good so I am leaning towards that at the mo, thoughts?

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... r-12-45501
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I would have (or maybe I did) suggested the Ribble trainer; it is clearly top value for money in terms of equipment. The downsides when compared to a Trek 1.2 are IMHO, the frame is possibly a bit of a harsher ride, and with old school geometry; the frame will accept 25mm tyres without guards or 23mm with (I think the trek will clear 25mm tyres with guards); dealing with Ribble (they are great value but I tried and failed to spend £1k on a bike with them and they wouldn't answer the phone or email - makes me suspect aftersales service would be qually tricky - nevertheless there are thousands of happy customers). Also, Trek give you a lifetime frame warranty; Ribble won't even discuss warranties. I think the Ribble would make a good tough commuter though, with excellent components..
  • jae-sojae-so Posts: 85
    Yeh I do like the fact that Trek have a warranty, I do wish Ribble had one, still it looks like the components you get from the , they look like superior specs for the price
Sign In or Register to comment.