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Beginner, advice on first purchase please!

robinsonprrobinsonpr Posts: 13
edited May 2013 in Commuting general
Hi I haven't ridden a bike for about 20 years and am looking at buying one now on the cycle to work scheme.

I will be commuting on it but not that far, is only about a 4 mile round trip on a bit of road and mainly tarmac cycle tracks.

But I am also looking for something I can go out with my kids on. So Tracks through the woods, towpaths, bridle tracks etc, nothing extreme but a little off roading I guess.

My friend at work is big into bikes so I asked his advice. He said he didn't know much about hybrids (he is a roadie) but he said a Specialized Sirrus or Trek FX seemed like a good choice.

My budget is around £500, and my scheme restricts me to buying from Evans cycles. I can up that budget a little if it means getting a much better model though.

So I went to Evans in Milton Keynes. I told the salesman the above and regarding buying a Specialized or Trek his advice was "please don't do that". He said I would be paying for the name and their own make Pinnacle offered similar specs and quality for less money. And then proceeded to try and sell me a bright green pinnacle Neon for £600. I didn't really warm to him or trust his advice so walked away. Plus they didn't have any Specialized or Treks in the shop.

One thing that put me off the Neon was it has REALLY skinny tyres, which to my mind looked like road only and would not be suitable for a little off roading with the kids.

I love the look of the Sirrus, not so much the Trek but it still looks nice. But it looks like the Trek has slightly wider tyres. Not even sure if I need to worry about tyre width though!?

What would you guys on here suggest I do, am very confused!

I can get to the Evans shop in Hendon if that's a better showroom.

Thanks in advance, and sorry about the lengthy post....

Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The guy in Evans speaks a lot of truth - shops 'own' brands can often offer much better value for money.

    Something like this sounds like it will suit you well:

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/pin ... 8#features

    leans more towards the MTB side of things, but has a nice spec for the money.
  • Thanks supersonic. I did see the Lithium range while I was in the shop but by that point I'd lost all faith in the salesman as a result of him saying "don't spend £500 on a Trek or Specialized" and then trying to flog me a £600 Pinnacle.

    I might try and get to the Evans shop in Hendon and see what the advice there is...
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I know I wouldn't buy a Spesh or Trek at full rrp around £500 ;-)
  • But would you buy that Pinnacle Lithium 4 at £500!? I clearly don't know what makes a good spec but it seems comparable to the Trek FX 7.2 disc which is less at £475...
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The Lithium has an improved spec - 27 speed gearset with superior components (smoother, lighter shifting), and hydraulic disc brakes, which are far better than those tektros. Well worth the extra 25 quid.
  • Thanks for the advice :- )
  • Hi There, 2 of my mates have pinnnacle hybrids, one has the £300 one,http://www.evanscycles.com/products/pinnacle/lithium-1-2013-hybrid-bike-ec044192 and another has a £500 one.Both are on their bikes everyday and both say what good bikes they are with no problems. I would have one.
  • robinsonprrobinsonpr Posts: 13
    Thanks Dandelion!
  • CuprasCupras Posts: 145
    What about the Specialized Crosstail Sports Disk?
  • robinsonprrobinsonpr Posts: 13
    I managed to get in a shop last week and having seen the sirrus, trek FX and pinnacle lithium it was clear that I wanted more mtb and a little less road. I don't want a full mtb so the Crosstrail sport is EXACTLY what I'm now considering! Thanks!
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The fork on it is bloody awful, undamped, flexy, heavy. Might as well just buy an MTB and stick thinner tyres on it.
  • robinsonprrobinsonpr Posts: 13
    Aaaargh :-\
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I'd take a look at this:

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/jam ... e-ec041500

    Excellent air sprung fork, good kit - put thinner tyres on it and hey presto, a hybrid!
  • robinsonprrobinsonpr Posts: 13
    Looks very nice, bit is a little over my price range, especially if I have to start shelling out for different tyres. I also like the idea of the bigger 700c wheels for the commute.
  • robinsonprrobinsonpr Posts: 13
    Sorry, another couple that took me eye. Appreciate any insight!

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/sar ... e-ec043459

    And these which are over my budget but could maybe stretch if really worth paying a bit more....

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/jam ... e-ec041536

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/fel ... e-ec046321
  • notnotnotnot Posts: 284
    Assuming it's not up a mountain or something, a 2-mile or so commute will be fine on pretty much anything you like riding - any bike will be significantly quicker than walking, and once you're fit it won't take long whatever you're riding. Can you try a few more bikes and see what you like? I'd just get something you like (and appropriate gear for wet weather etc!) so that you're more likely to use it!

    It might be worth trying some with drop bars/bull bars too (I prefer these, but lots of people like flat bars). What kind of off-roading might you be doing? - unless it's fairly rough, I wouldn't bother getting a bike with suspension (though, again, some people like having this).

    Unless you're a higher rate tax payer or needing a loan to buy, the C2W scheme doesn't save a fortune anyway. It might be worth seeing if there are any good used bike shops in your area, too - for example, you could get used to riding on a cheaper starter bike before upgrading when you know more what you'll be using it for.
  • MIP99MIP99 Posts: 3
    Like you I hadn't ridden a bike for years, but I've been doing a a cycle commute for a few years now, on road and canal paths.

    I bought a Ridgeback mainly because the LBS stocks Ridgeback and I know the guy will help me if I have a problem. I will likely be upgrading soon and I will be buying a Ridgeback or Genesis again mainly because the LBS stocks Ridgeback and Genesis, and the bike itself has served me well.

    The bike at the time cost about £300 - £400, but that model is discontinued, but I can see other Ridgebacks being sold on the Evans website under £500. I think the equivalent today would be their Rapide range - so an Element, Momentum or Velocity. I canalso see a Dual Track X2.1 which they say can do commuting and track.

    I can't tell you if these particular bikes are any good, so maybe ask the guy in Evans to let you try some of those and others?
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,483
    notnot wrote:
    Unless you're a higher rate tax payer or needing a loan to buy, the C2W scheme doesn't save a fortune anyway. It might be worth seeing if there are any good used bike shops in your area, too - for example, you could get used to riding on a cheaper starter bike before upgrading when you know more what you'll be using it for.

    That makes sense - do you know what the payback is at the end of the salary sacrifice - and do you know if salary sacrifice affects any tax credits you may have. These questions put me off going through my work scheme.
    MIP99 wrote:
    I bought a Ridgeback mainly because the LBS stocks Ridgeback and I know the guy will help me if I have a problem. I will likely be upgrading soon and I will be buying a Ridgeback or Genesis again mainly because the LBS stocks Ridgeback and Genesis, and the bike itself has served me well.

    The bike at the time cost about £300 - £400, but that model is discontinued, but I can see other Ridgebacks being sold on the Evans website under £500. I think the equivalent today would be their Rapide range - so an Element, Momentum or Velocity. I canalso see a Dual Track X2.1 which they say can do commuting and track.

    I have been riding a cheapish Ridgeback for eight years for commuting, towing children on canal paths and forest tracks, and a 45 mile charity ride last year. Changed the saddle last year and was impressed at how well the seat post is doing is after pulling a trail-gator for all the bikes life. If you want something for a wide range of uses with low maintenance I recommend a Ridgeback. Mine cost me 100 days bus fare, but obviously we all budget differently.
  • robinsonprrobinsonpr Posts: 13
    Hey all,

    I went to the Evans shop today and tried out a few bikes and picked the salesmans brain. Based on what I'm after and my budget (I decided to go up to 600!) he helped me narrow it down to these 3 beasts:

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/nor ... 4#features

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/jam ... 6#features

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/pin ... 6#features

    They didn't have all these in store, but I did go out on the Pinnacle Cobolt 3 and the Norco XFR 3 (next model down, they didn't have the XFR 2 in). Both felt quite similar really, I would have happily walked away with either.

    Unfortunately they didn't have any of the Jamis Allegro range in stock for me to compare against.

    So really torn between these 3 bikes. They are all similar price, and to my novice eye look like similar spec. Can Anyone offer opinion on these?

    Thanks!

    Paul
  • notnotnotnot Posts: 284
    One thing I'd ask is whether you need front suspension. Unless you're going on fairly rough off-road tracks (or are very sensitive to bumps on the path) you might find that suspension is more hassle than it's worth - adds weight to the bike, adds cost, and something else to go wrong! If you are wanting to get into riding the rougher terrain that needs suspension, I'd ask here or on the MTB forum about what the forks on these are like - no idea if these are good or not, but if you are getting a bike with suspension you want it to be up to the job!
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