Forum home Commuter cycling forum Commuting general

Considering taking it up. Recommendations for bike?

anewmananewman Posts: 70
edited July 2013 in Commuting general
Hello everyone,

My journey to work is approximately 6 miles (one way). I have walked this twice to date, there and back. I found this quite satisfying, if very time consuming. I have begun considering commuting on a bike. There are some cycle/canal tow paths I could take for the route, and there are showers available at work. I also live close to some mountain bike trails, though I don't think I'm likely to give those a go in the near future.

I'm in my 30s, male, I would not consider myself particularly fit. 6' 3", inside leg I believe about 35". I weigh just over 20 stone (~130kg). One of my concerns is whether that would be too much for an aluminium framed bike. I have previously been overweight, and lost it without any real effort by walking everywhere. Once I had finished University the long-term unemployment, plus learning to drive and getting a car, mean I piled it all on again. My last experience of a bike was a cheapie BSO, nearly 10 years ago now, which I rarely used.

I feel I would probably be best off with a hybrid bike. I like the idea of flat handlebars as they're what I am used to. I was hoping for recommendations of bikes to look at? My budget I would have to say £300. Possibly up to £500 at a big stretch, but I'm aware I also need to budget for other things such as a helmet, lights, and a lock that can't be removed in under a minute with side cutters.

Some that have caught my eye include:
Giant Escape 3 ... -2013.html
Charge Zester 2012 ... -Sale.html

Any thoughts would be very welcome. Cheers :)


  • Hi anewman

    The thing to do if possible is go along to a bike shop and try them out. Sometimes the bike that looks the best on paper isn't the one for you. If it feels good for you, that could swing it (both the bikes on your list are good btw).

    Have fun finding your bike. And welcome to the forum!
    Ecrasez l’infame
  • jeepiejeepie Posts: 495
    Hi anewman,

    How about this? For commuting in my opinion the simpler the bike, the more reliable it is, the better it is.


  • fatsmokerfatsmoker Posts: 638
    You could pick up something really cheap on Gumtree to see if you like cycling. Once you get the bug, which is almost certain, you can upgrade to something more like your budget. If you ride something crappy for a while it can help you realise what you actually need.
  • davidmt83davidmt83 Posts: 218
    jeepie wrote:
    Hi anewman,

    How about this? For commuting in my opinion the simpler the bike, the more reliable it is, the better it is.


    On paper it's worthwhile consideration but I'd say if you've never tried a single speed before then do before buying this. I didn't, bought a vee-1, and returned. If there are any hills whatsoever on your route you may struggle on a single speed. If you've not heard or read much on cadence you may find the spinning of pedals quite unnatural and not what you expect.
    Cannondale Synapse 105 Disc
  • edhornbyedhornby Posts: 1,780
    all the above is good for the bikes, get a cheap one from ebay or similar to get you started

    halfords are good for sensible priced helmets

    locks - either a Krytonite New York/Fagghedaboutit or an Abus Granite gold
    "I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, how good is that"
    --Jens Voight
  • DrLexDrLex Posts: 2,142
    This Cannondale is just over your budget, but at a good price and probably your size - worth considering if you're wanting a flat bar.
    Location: ciderspace
  • anewmananewman Posts: 70
    Thanks for the replies. Yes I think a single speed bike would be best avoided. The way to the canal tow path is up a hill that even my car struggles to get up, and I think it's best to cycle somewhere with as much separation from motor vehicles as possible (except for cycling on the pavement of course).

    The Cannondale Fatty looks good, but the name would describe the rider quite accurately :D

    Having had a quick look on Gumtree it seems likely the issue I'll have is most have smaller frames than I would like.

    Are 700c wheels much of a benefit?
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    The charge is a bloody bargain if they have one in your size but it is very much a commuting/urban bike. It has a great spec and good hydraulic discs. I ride a scourer myself (the model down) and would say if you are on roads or decent cycle paths you are fine. It won't do mountain biking though. ;)
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,483
    Recommended this today already ... k-speed-13 I've had one for eight years- used for commuting, canal paths with kids, sponsored charity rides. This is the bottom of the range for Ridgeback, they do better equipped faster bikes within the £500 price range, but this is only £300.
  • anewmananewman Posts: 70
    I've finally gone to a good handful of bike shops today to see them in the flesh. Evans, Tredz, and another I forget the name of, and Halfords. All bikes seem to have their positives and negatives and spending ages cogitating over what to get.

    One I have seen that I am leaning towards is the Cannondale Quick CX 4 hybrid ... _56439.htm at £549 What attracts me to it is that it is closer to a mountain bike than a road bike with not suspension. It seems to have a well-built frame and comes with wide tyres 700x35c. I'm not intending to use it for mountain biking, but one of the cycle/tow paths I am likely to regularly use (though not every day on the way to work) is in very poor condition. It is pictured on the internet with V brakes, but actually has mechanical disc brakes. As I haven't cycled at all for over 10 years, and rarely cycled before then, I am being open minded and seeing this more as a stepping stone to something else eventually (maybe in 2 years), than a be all end all decision.

    One thing I am concerned about with the bike above is it uses a quick release seat post clamp. Me being around 19 to 20 stone, I'm wondering if this would be a weak point on the bike - or how easy it is likely to be to replace with a allen key based retention mechanism?

    Many thanks :)
  • lux666lux666 Posts: 18
    Have a look to Btwin Fit 5 ... 39798.html i bought it few months ago and its great. i have 107 kg and so far bike is ok. add sks raceblade long, some light, diffrent tyres. i have very bad experience with halfords so i would avoid them.
  • sandhunsandhun Posts: 24
    Can't believe you walked 6 miles to work, that must have taken ages.

    Congratulations on deciding to get a bike. I agree that a Hybrid would be suitable for your purposes.

    You'll enjoy some lovely cycling to/from work which will naturally put you in a good mood. Plus you'll be losing weight as a result. It's a win-win.
  • bigmonkabigmonka Posts: 361
    sandhun wrote:
    Can't believe you walked 6 miles to work, that must have taken ages.
    :lol: that's just what I was thinking!
  • bigmonkabigmonka Posts: 361
    If you think that you may take up cycling as a hobby rather than just commuting then make sure you pick the bike that you'll want in 6months time or it'll get very expensive! The suggestion of a cheap gum tree bike to try cycling first is a good one.
  • anewmananewman Posts: 70
    bigmonka wrote:
    sandhun wrote:
    Can't believe you walked 6 miles to work, that must have taken ages.
    :lol: that's just what I was thinking!
    Lol yep 1 hour 45 minutes one way, and slightly longer on return journey. Coupled with a full day of work. Not much time left in the day for anything else, but great being able to listen to a full album.

    I had seen other recommendations for the Fit 5, though it seems rather road-oriented. I.e. a road bike with flat bars. Also seems it doesn't have much clearance for wider tyres. I came across a 10 percent discount for a local bike shop online where I could order, park outside, and collect - so went for the Cannondale Quick CX4 - even though I was aware of its lesser shimano components and higher cost. Having seen some of the state of some of the cycle paths around here I'm glad I went for something slightly more rugged with wider tyres.

    Only been out twice so far. Last time for 12 miles. Took some time getting used to the gears. In particular that on left front lever shifts down, whereas on the right it upshifts. Had an unfortunate incident trying to downshift before a hill, but upshifted instead. Queue hurried dismount/falling off. At least managing this distance means I should be able to manage a commute, though concerned about the uphill profile of the return journey.

    Having read some posts here about saddle height, and watching videos on Youtube, I've found I always had the saddle height set wrong in the past - probably part of why I found riding a bike a big effort before. My usual approach has been to set it so I can reach the ground with my feet while sat on the saddle. I've been raising the height of the saddle gradually to try force myself to learn to mount and dismount correctly, and the cycling itself does seem to be getting easier.
  • Big_PaulBig_Paul Posts: 277
    Halfords are doing the Subway for £279 at the minute, and although Halfords assembly of bikes is very hit and miss, for that money you could get it checked over by a LBS. It has 26' wheels so you'll have a great choice of tyres, and it has disc brakes. It's not the prettiest bike by a long shot, but it's not dear and you'll be able to sell it on if (when) you get the bug and want to upgrade,
    Disc Trucker
    Kona Ute
    Rockrider 8.1
    Evil Resident
    Day 01 Disc
    Viking Derwent Tandem
    Planet X London Road
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    The Voodoo Marasa (Halfords) is worth a look, basically a 29" (same size as 700C) rigid mountain bike with road biased tyres, they are tough, pretty fast on road also will go off road just fine, My Nephew has one, uses 700cX32mm slicks on the road and the original 1.95" tyres off road. Hydraulic disc brakes from Shimano means stopping is no issue. Pretty much like the Subway but much better in every respect (cost about £360).
Sign In or Register to comment.