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What bike for newbie - and confidence question?

knewboldknewbold Posts: 27
edited June 2012 in Commuting general

not really sure where to post this, so i have placed it in commuting

I havent cycled for a long time, and the last time i did it was on a raleigh, purchased from halfords,i hated it

looking at returning to biking, and heres roughly what im looking to do...

im looking to purchase a bike to ride on trails near me, most of these are gravely tarmac style tracks.....(yellow stone)

maybe doing a few miles to 10 miles after work.........

my goal for "roughtly in 6 weeks time" is to cycle to work

work is roughly 11 miles from home, but could be 15 depending on the route, i am unfit (and i mean unfit) so i intend going once a week to start with - then upping it to twice - and working up

now im totally out of the biking scene, and i would be looking at 200-350 spending money for everything i need.....

someone recomended the rockrider 8.1 which is over budget, but i looked on ebay and 300 quid would get me one at a push

is this suitable??

i dont mind 2nd hand, as its a value thing - but i dont know what to look for

its important that i can ride it on trails for leisure at first though.........

oh yes.......... more importantly, I used to have a motorbike, so im ok on the road.....but the thought of riding a cycle on the road terrifies me, so how do i get my confidence up??



  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    look at your route to work and see what kind of surface you will be doing it on then you can decide on which bike from there. 11miles is not a short commute but it is not unreasonable. I do 12.5miles on my road orientated cyclocross bike, it now takes me 50-55mins, but when i first did it on my mountain bike it took 1hour 20mins. Riding on pavements is slow, riding on the road is much faster, so what I did was start out allocating myself more time at the beginning. Doing little bits on the road that i felt safe on, and building that up with bits I saw other cyclists doing on the road to top. Now i do the whole route on the road, and that along with improving my fitness has constituted to the time saving.

    Look for a hybrid to start with, a cyclocross would be ideal but I don't know if you could get one within your budget.
  • knewboldknewbold Posts: 27
    the route to work would more or less be all road/pavement, thanks for the reply
  • Godders1Godders1 Posts: 750
    The rockrider 8.1 would be a pretty awful choice in my opinion. You don't need suspension and fat knobbly tyres for gravel tracks and riding it on the road for your commute would be a real slog.

    At that price point one of the entry level hybrids from the likes of trek etc would be fine. I would suggest looking at bikes with 28-32mm slick (or semi-slick) tyres and rigid forks.

    My other half has a Trek 7.0 FX (she doesn't like women's frames) and that's a pretty solid bike for £300.
  • I'd have a look on eBay - some really good deals to be had in the second hand market.. I've commuted for about 3 months now and to build confidence my best advice would be to get out and ride!! My commute is quite short - 4miles each way but I supplement that with weekend rides and taking my two kids out on in their bike trailer.. That's really helped my leg strength.. I did 10 miles pulling them around last night.. This morning felt like a breeze without the fully loaded trailer behind!!
  • knewboldknewbold Posts: 27
    the thing is with ebay, i have to know what im looking for in the first place, so its very easy for me to pay over the odds - as i dont know whats worth what. and component lists mean nothing to me.

    also some people say to have front forks, as quite a few hybrids do have them
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    the trouble with front folks is that you can waste loads of energy on each stroke pushing into them. If you get lockable ones then your carrying around all the extra weight for nothing. So don't bother unless your going off road.
  • knewboldknewbold Posts: 27
    edited May 2012
    thanks a lot, i will look at hard front forks.
    the off road isnt too bad, just standard trail type things - nothing too major. hilly - but mainly pressed stone type finish... a little loose top, with the odd stone
    ok - keep the suggestions coming, will be buying soonish

    (update to remove gravel word)
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    If it is gravel you will want some suspension, whether that is in the form of the front forks, or if it is just some bigger tyres that is for you to pick. I have 28mm wide tyres with a solid front fork, and ruts and mounds on the short bit of path I take can be quite uncomfortable.

    Go to a couple of local bike shops, most will take you go for a test ride for a few bikes to see what you think.
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    How about this?

    And spend £50 on some Schawlbe Marathon Plus tyres? It will be 100% reliable so nothing will go wrong which will give you confidence. No fiddling and fettling. You can go anywhere and don't have to worry.

    It's very reasonable too. It will be fine as long as you don't have lots of hills.
  • knewboldknewbold Posts: 27
    I like the look of it, it looks nice!

    but is a single gear a killer going up hill??? it would kill me surely
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    Yeah- depends on how hilly your commute is. There are massive benefits though in terms of reliability and confidence.....Also as you get used to it you'll get fit quick.
  • u33dbu33db Posts: 68
    Halfords is a dirty word on here but...

    ...they have a Carrera Subway hybrid going for £200 at the moment;

    Alloy frame, solid forks, low resistance tyres and reasonable components to be starting off with.

    Just make sure you or someone who knows what they're doing assembles it - i.e. not Halfords.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    That Subway looks good.

    And don't buy a bike with suspension if you're riding on bike paths and roads. At the price point you're looking at the forks will be genuinely rubbish. And very heavy.

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • London_FalconLondon_Falcon Posts: 150
    I have the sport version of this:- ... e-ec030741

    It would be a good fit for what you say you need right now.

    BUT there is a very real risk that you get a bit hooked and end up really wishing you had bought a proper road or cyclo-X bike. Looking through this forum you will see that advice time and again.

    My expensive solution was to use cycle to work to get a proper mountain bike and I will then, at some point, offload the Sirrus to get a road bike. Wish I'd done this from the start though!
    Black Specialised Sirrus Sport, red Nightvision jacket, orange Hump backpack FCN - 7
    Red and black Specialized Rockhopper Expert MTB
  • I reckon for a commute of >10 miles you'd really be better off with a road-oriented bike. They're just longer-legged and will eat up the miles with less effort even if they're not particularly racy. I'm speaking as someone who fairly recently switched from a rigid MTB (no suspension at all) with slick tyres to a road bike. The sort of tracks that you're describing sound like they could easily be handled on most bikes, I used to love them on my rigid MTB. So, unless you're really short, I'd go for something with 700c (road size) rather than 26" (MTB size) wheels and just fit cyclocross tyres.

    If you're around 6ft, I reckon this would be a great buy if you can get it for around £300 (I'm quite tempted myself):
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    Couple of things:

    You don't need front forks


    you don't need front forks;

    Now I know technically that is one thing, but it was such a biggie I thought it worth mentioning twice.

    I did a 100K run on the weekend on my Tricross Sport (CX bike) and 30 miles of this was on trails (Tissington mainly and another 3 mile stretch of bridleway). I''m running 28c tyres and at NO TIME did I need any suspension beyond that afforded by the tyres.

    I was the fastest thing on the Tissington Trail (topped 20mph on more than one stretch) and heard the comment from several people how easy I made it look. It's not ME, it's just that I don't have a needlessly bouncy bike.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • JSN01JSN01 Posts: 176
    I agree with the post above, the TRI CROSS is the best buy for the buck. it will give you allday comfort with the ability to have some nice road rides in the future, the 28c tyres will give you a smooth ride and be nice and stabile on tracks. you will also have a multiple choice of hand positions with the drop bars as apposed to flat bars. You do not need or really want suspension unless it fully locks out on the road or you will be wasting energy for no gain. Plus anything with decent forks will cost bigger bucks than what you want to spend. You can also fit mudguards, racks everything. The only other choice would be to look at a dawes galaxy, go forever and comfortable but heavy and can get costly even on fleebay.
  • Couple of things:

    You don't need front forks


    you don't need front forks;

    Now I know technically that is one thing, but it was such a biggie I thought it worth mentioning twice.

    Nice nod to Kryten there! Definitely true, I'll emphasise what I previously wrote:
    The sort of tracks that you're describing sound like they could easily be handled on most bikes, I used to love them on my rigid [i.e., non-suspension forks] MTB.
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    I ride a rigid a bit like the Giant Seek above but with more road than modern MTB geometry, near flat top tube. I can take it down my local red grade MTB trails on knoblies, black is too much for it, but I only need more than semi slicks for actual mud and snow. I'm now running it on slicks (1.6 Sport Contact at the back and 1.2 Gatorskin at the front) and have only found it lacking grip on mud, dry loose gravel can be sketchy but it's better with the 1.6 rear than before with both 1.2s, just don't brake too hard. Before too long I plan to convert it to drops, buy a CX or build a bike around a CX frame so see what you can find in that category or you'll be back here for upgrade advice within a couple of years!
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • ragged1100ragged1100 Posts: 147
    Just to be DO need front forks, otherwise you'll have nothing to attach your front wheel to...what you don't need is suspension forks ;) You can't get a decent pair of suspension forks for under £300, let alone a whole bike...a second had cyclocross bike is the way to go...will stand up to a regular commute and a bit of off-road and can fit rack & guards to this.... ... 0717858846
    Gawton Gravity Hub - "England's best permanent downhill tracks"
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    Rack, mudguards, 32mm tyres (maybe with the option for 35mm) and no suspension, should let you ride efficiently on the road but acceptable on typical sustrans/forest bike trail.
    A touring bike might be the best option. A decent, used Dawes Galaxy or similar can munch miles, cope with any weather and most trails. Lighter forms of hybrid bike are fine. Cyclo-cross bikes are very useful but you cant get cheap ones and there are not many on the used market.
  • I've been commuting by bike for nearly a year now and love it. Managed to do at least a couple of days most weeks through winter (7 miles each way).

    The way I got started was to map out a quiet route on cycle, and then for the first time out we made a day of it on a sunday to scope out the route, took a picnic along and sat in a park near work for a relaxed lunch before heading back.

    You'll be absolutely fine on a £300-ish hybrid - I started out on an old 90's mountain bike that I got fitted with stiff forks and slick tires. You *definitely* won't need suspension forks. For that distance I'd definitely look into some suitable cycling clothing though - I recommend padded undershorts, a lightweight jersey and for chilly days a short sleeve merino base layer (Endura Baa Baa is excellent). As you start doing it more, you'll probably want to get a couple of sets (wash one, wear one).

    The other thing to think about is how light will you be travelling? Can you keep some clothes and your bike locks at work? You might get away without rack and panniers. I started out with a big pannier crammed with stuff, but have now slimmed it down to a small sports rucksack with the absolute basics.

    You'll be surprised how quickly you get used to it, and how much you miss it (physically and mentally) on the days when you don't take the bike. I seriously don't think I've ever been in better shape, and when I started I was really out of condition.

    All the best, and enjoy :)
    Cannondale Bad Boy SLX - commute and/or bad weather
    Scott Speedster S20 - weekend and/or fair weather commute
  • shouldbeinbedshouldbeinbed Posts: 2,732
    Has anyone mentioned that you don't need suspension forks? :-D

    CX would be an ideal choice, from what you describe of your non road riding, a road bike would do, but as a total unfit newbie, a CX will be a little more forgiving, geared better & more comfortable. Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative's Revolution Cross bikes are another excellent VFM choice.
  • Godders1Godders1 Posts: 750
    Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative's Revolution Cross bikes are another excellent VFM choice.
    Nice but way over budget.
    knewbold wrote:
    ....i would be looking at 200-350 spending money for everything i need.....
  • shouldbeinbedshouldbeinbed Posts: 2,732
    Godders1 wrote:
    Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative's Revolution Cross bikes are another excellent VFM choice.
    Nice but way over budget.
    knewbold wrote:
    ....i would be looking at 200-350 spending money for everything i need.....

    I kind of assumed it would be obviously second hand at the OP's limit, but hey ho. Was more pointing out that there is more than just the Spesh out there.

    I picked mine up with 900 miles and a broken spoke (£4) on it for £180. If you can find the s**tbag that nicked it off my son it'll probably be a lot less than that now.
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