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help choosing the right bike please

pitch black smellpitch black smell Posts: 18
edited May 2012 in Commuting general
hi guys, I'm new to cycling, and having pottered around on an old cheap mountain bike for the last few months, I've decided to bite the bullet and go for something decent.

using the cycle to work scheme to purchase something to take me 23-24 miles each way , maybe 2 or 3 times a week.

I know I'm going to have to build up to it , but I reckon it's do-able ....even for someone like me ! (40 , 6'4" and 16 stone)

my 1st problem is choosing the right bike.

reading up as much as I could, and taking advice from guys in work who cycle, I quite liked the look of the Specialized Crosstrail Comp 2012 from Evans at £700.

when I went to see it, they didn't have it in stock, but are getting it in for me to see.....but while I was there, the sales guy was asking what kind of riding / mileage / frequency etc and advised me to look at the Canondale Bad Boy Fatty R6 at the same £700 price.

now not being too technical, or knowledgable on bikes, I can see that the Canondale is a ridgid front fork and the Specialized has suspension.......my question is this :-

"which will be better suited to my needs.....and ultimately, is there anything else that I should be looking at ?"

my ride to work will be about 50% roads and 50% cycle paths / lanes. 23-24 miles each way and maybe doing it 2-3 times per week.
2012 Specialized Crosstrail Comp

Posts

  • Godders1Godders1 Posts: 750
    You don't need suspension on those surfaces. It will just add weight to the bike and it's something else to go wrong.

    I would test ride a few different types of bike, lots of people prefer more road type bikes for commuting. Cyclocross and "light tourers" are popular as they can take luggage, guards, fatter tyres etc.

    Others are perfectly happy with hybrids. Get out and ride a few and see what feels right for you.

    That's some distance (although like you say do-able)! good luck and enjoy.
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    +1 to Godders- forget about suspension!
  • zn533zn533 Posts: 66
    Get a cyclocross bike. Mountain bikes and hybrids are fine for shorter distances, but I'd hate to do more than about 10 miles on one.

    Don't be scared of the drop handlebars - they give you many more hand positions, which can relieve strain on your back. This is important if you'll cycle 50 miles or so a day. They have space for mudguards, all-purpose tyres and rack mounts if you want to use panniers. They are extremely versatile: road racing, distance touring, light off-road, they'll handle the lot. If I only had one bike, I would have a cyclocross bike.

    Cannondale CAADX would be my number 1 choice.
    Also check out the Boardman CX and the Specialized Tricross.

    I know they're a bit more expensive than your other choices, but consider it an investment. One of the above will probably be all the bike you'll ever need.

    Unless you're doing serious off-roading, suspension is really quite pointless.

    Good luck!
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    Yep, no suspension, seriously consider a bike with drop bars. Something like a cyclocross or tourer than allows racks and mudguards to be fitted.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • Gizmo_Gizmo_ Posts: 558
    No offence, but for someone completely new to cycling 50mi per day is quite a long way.
    Scott Sportster P45 2008 | Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra 2012
  • madtammadtam Posts: 141
    How much pottering around have you done ?
    If you have regularly ridden an hour or two on a mountain bike off road then 23-24 miles on road will be a bit of a stretch to begin with should be OK. Off road riding is different to road riding as it is more intense with less recovery and wind down time. On the road you can ease off and still keep rolling nicely but off road even down hill you have to work all the time to avoid crashing.
    Have you ridden a road bike with drop handlebars before ? If so, and you haven't found it too weird or uncomfortable then thats probably the better choice for the distance. If you haven't ridden one then you must try and seek out a demo or borrow one or something to see how you get on.
    Hybrids are fine and coming from an MTB less of a dramatic change, they work pretty well in stop start city traffic conditions but are never going to be as good for continuous mile eating.
    Avoid suspension for commuting unless your commute involves some serious off road trails. It adds weight, expense and complexity as well as potential extra servicing and problems.
    As mentioned cyclocross machines offer a decent compromise for commuting and would be better on faster roads than a hybrid as well as coping easily with cyclepaths/lanes, towpaths, reasonable bridleways etc.
  • Gizmo_ wrote:
    No offence, but for someone completely new to cycling 50mi per day is quite a long way.


    yeah , I know , but I'm not looking to do the full hit straight away.

    my initial plan is cycle about 4 miles to the train station, train into the city, then another 7-8 miles on the bike to work. That gives me about 12 miles each way to start with, and as my fitness improves, so will the length of my commute on the bike.

    Cyclocross is something I need to look at by the sounds of it, and forget the Specialized Crosstrail.

    Thanks for the info so far guys, and I'll keep you posted on my progress.
    2012 Specialized Crosstrail Comp
  • Gizmo_Gizmo_ Posts: 558
    If you have that option I would be tempted to say that you should get a folder - 7-8 miles is very doable on a small-wheeler. If you start to hate the train part of the journey, then buy a road bike and do the whole trip.
    Scott Sportster P45 2008 | Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra 2012
  • voodoomanvoodooman Posts: 183
    I'm waiting for a specialised tricross in my size to arrive at Hargroves, so I can try it out. If it fits I'll be using it for a 12 1/2 mile commute. I cannot face doing it on my mountain bike, and the panniers and mudguards mean I wont get a sweaty back or covered in filth. I want the one with disc brakes, as road bike brakes are scarily shite in comparison. The tricross comes in some big sizes too (FYI I'm 6'6" and 16 1/2 stone).
  • u33dbu33db Posts: 68
    Gizmo_ wrote:
    No offence, but for someone completely new to cycling 50mi per day is quite a long way.


    yeah , I know , but I'm not looking to do the full hit straight away.

    my initial plan is cycle about 4 miles to the train station, train into the city, then another 7-8 miles on the bike to work. That gives me about 12 miles each way to start with, and as my fitness improves, so will the length of my commute on the bike.

    Cyclocross is something I need to look at by the sounds of it, and forget the Specialized Crosstrail.

    Thanks for the info so far guys, and I'll keep you posted on my progress.

    What exactly is the "cheap" mountain bike you've got?

    If its got an alloy frame and you're handy with the spanners you could just upgrade it using new or used parts?

    Doing this would save a lot of money and give you something that'd be comparable in performance to a hybrid, probably with a better spec for the money involved.

    There comes a point where money on a bike doesn't really translate to a faster journey.
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