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What bike to get?

josh_1871josh_1871 Posts: 27
edited December 2012 in Commuting general
I'm able to get a bike on the cycle to work scheme but can only go through Halfords or Specialized.

I've heard mixed stories about Halfords, that the Boardman range is good but set up poorly. Would it be wise to buy the bike and go to a local store and pay them to fit it better? If so, any estimates as to how much that would be?

I want a road bike but feel commuting through London a hybrid or maybe even a fold up bike will be better.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Cheers.


  • Hello Josh and welcome to the forum.

    I'm afraid at first you're only going to get questions rather than answers as some more detail is required. First question is: how far are you travelling? You can commute a couple of miles on pretty much anything, but longer distances may mean thinking more about the type of bike. If it will be all on the roads then a road bike will be fine, and if you are thinking of using it for weekend rides this is definitely the way forward. Plenty of people on here will tell stories about buying a hybrid/mtb and then pretty quickly moving on to a road bike.
    Boardman and Specialised are both good makes. It's true that bikes from Halfords have a hit and miss reputation, so if you buy from them by all means have it checked over by someone if you're not too handy with a spanner. If you can locate a Specialized dealer then try before you buy (I don't think Halfords are too keen on this).
    And don't forget to factor in purchasing things like lights, a pump, helmet (if you want one), a good jacket etc.
    Ecrasez l’infame
  • BarteosBarteos Posts: 657
    A cyclocross (with road tyres) will be a better option than a road bike.
    Plenty of clearance for more sensible tyres than 23mm and enough room for full length mudguards.
    ...and just as fast...
  • I recently bought the Boardman CX for commuting & I'm extremely pleased with it. Some Halfords branches have a poor reputation but I've had no problem with 3 different branches. Check everything yourself though.

    IMO a CX is a more versatile bike than a hybrid. Nearly as quick as a road bike but very comfortable with wide tyres. Disk brakes & the extra brake levers with the Boardman CX give you confidence when riding through traffic.

    CX bikes are popular for commuting & there are several options. Plenty of topics on the forum about this.
    Winter commuter: Planet X London Road
    Winter road bike/commuter: Specialized Langster
    Best road bike: Planet X RTD90
    MTBs: Giant XTC 650B / On-One C456 singlespeed
    TT bike: Planet X Stealth
  • Halfords on line are doing the Tifosi CK7 Audax bike (road bike with a bit more clearance and mudguards) for £879 at the moment: ... yId_165710 Good range of sizes and can take a rack.
  • commuting 8 miles each way a day (will probably do this once it starts getting lighter).
    thanks for the help...think ive come to terms that a fold up is not for me, especially given the cost.

    so its a straight toss up between hybrid v road and specialized v boardman.

    dont want to spend more than 600/700 really. cheers.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,475
    If you go down the hybrid route you can't go wrong with the specialized Sirrus in any off its spec levels. I would suggest the carbon forked ones are probably better but that's up to you. Make sure you get decent lock for it and make sure you lock it properly, the people that lock just their front wheel up and return to find that's all that's left is unreal. If new to cycling then factor in for lights and something hi viz plus helmet if you want one. If you trawl through some of the previous posts on here you will get the idea of what you need. Either way enjoy commuting. Nearly forgot mudguards.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • cheers. will have a look at that one. worried about having a nice bike around london though with thieves etc - maybe worth getting insurance.

    will i be compromising much speed on it in comparison to a similar spec road bike? i dont mind if its only a little bit because will able to reap the benefits of being able to cycle on most surfaces without punctures.

    also, how much quality difference is there between the £800 and £400 versions for example? much of a muchness or worth going a bit more high end - given that I am relatively new to cycling but keen to take it quite seriously over the next few months and would eventually like to do some long distances like london to paris etc
  • If you intend to do some long distance riding then don't go for a hybrid as the flat bars limit hand positions for long hours in the saddle.

    You will likely need a rack and mudguards though so this cuts down your choices. As has been said before Halfords branches may be a little hit and miss but they do sell some decent bikes. Both Carreras and Boardmans are excellent bikes and great value for money. I have personally ridden over 20,000 miles so far on my Carrera Vanquish commuter bike fitted with a rear rack and full mudguards so unless I got the only good one in the world I would say that these are a very good bike.

    If you want to stick with Spesh then your best bet would be to go with the Secteur range for their flexibility and comfort. The Crux may be an option but probably outside of your price range and will be a bit heavier.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    For everyday utility riding, get a bike with threaded eyelets for rack and full-length mudguards and the tyre clearance to use them properly with at least 28mm tyres. You can always use the bike stripped down with narrow tyres.
    Many people riding racebikes end up hacking their bike with clamps, straps, zipties and velcro to add bits.
    My choice of braking systems would be either a long-drop calliper or a chainstay-mounted cable disc.
    Can Halfords get any UK distributed bike?
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    There are a number of internally geared hub otption for under £1k. For a ultility bike they are hard to beat. I currently have Kona paddy wagon, it a drop bar single speed. I have often thought about rebuilding the rear wheel with a 5 speed sturmey archer hub.. the conversion would not cost much and it would be the ultity bike I use it as. A paddy wagon uses 28mm tyres and has sufficent clearance for mudguards. not available on the cycle to wrok scheme but could be done for less than you would spend on that anyway.

    Also what about a touring bike. Rack mounts, mudguards, clearance for wide tyres and disc brakes again not on the cycle to work scheme. I think that scheme is quite restriuctive and pushes you down the route of buying bike the big names produce which is maybe not what you actually need. too many sport hybrids about these days. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • A road bike will certainly be the quickest option - however mine doesn't come out of the garage during the winter & I will only use it for my commute when the weather is good. That is why I have a CX bike in that it will take proper mudguards, bigger tyres, etc. It is about 3-5 minutes slower than my race bike on my 15 mile journey to work.

    I've never ridden a hybrid but would imagine it to be a bit slower than a CX or touring bike. Drop bar handlebars also give you more hand positions which is advantageous.
    Winter commuter: Planet X London Road
    Winter road bike/commuter: Specialized Langster
    Best road bike: Planet X RTD90
    MTBs: Giant XTC 650B / On-One C456 singlespeed
    TT bike: Planet X Stealth
  • thanks. think i've been swayed towards a CX as the best overall bike
  • CX bikes are incredibly versatile. If I could only have 1 bike then it would be a CX. I'm extremely pleased with my Boardman - it is a brilliant bike especially for the money.
    Winter commuter: Planet X London Road
    Winter road bike/commuter: Specialized Langster
    Best road bike: Planet X RTD90
    MTBs: Giant XTC 650B / On-One C456 singlespeed
    TT bike: Planet X Stealth
  • Dark_Side_has_Cookies_by_TakoroMisashi1.jpg
    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
  • Just got a Specialized 2013 Elite Disc FlatBar Road Bike (had to cos some censored stole my boardman hybrid !) - commute 10 miles each way, bike came with 28mm tyres, and has space for mudguards etc..

    So far - approx 80 miles - find the specialized really good - noticeably quicker (not sure why?) than the hybrid

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