Ride2Work advice

Guanajuato Posts: 399
edited June 2013 in Road buying advice
I know the 'what bike is best for £x' threads are pretty meaningless really, and its a case of try them out. But I think I need some advice on what to go for.

My employer is shortly going to be launching the scheme, using Evans, so we're tied to whatever Evans stocks - not too much of a problem as they've got a decent range, and a shop 5 minutes from my office. I know I want a comfortable bike that will soak up some of the nasty roads round here. Lots of steep hills in pretty much any direction - even my flat rides are 1500ft climbing in 20 miles. Budget is the Ride2Work limit of £1000.

I currently have a Carrera TdF and do struggle up steeper hills (15%+) so lower gearing is wanted.

I've reduced what I'm looking at to a shortlist of 3 and a half bikes (will make sense!). Each gives a different plus, but also negatives. All have carbon forks and are supposed to be designed to soak up bumps to some extent. In no particular order:

Moda Bolera. It seems to have got good reviews and be a great all-rounder. Evans do 2 versions - one with decent wheels and microshift gears and one with Tiagra and cheap wheels. My Carrera has Sunrace shifters, which are the (even) cheaper version of microshift, so I don't think that's a problem. I also have a set of better than budget wheels and I can swap the cassettes if I get the Tiagra version (£10 cheaper). So both are sensible.

Norco Valence A1 Again, reviews have all been positive on this one. The frame is supposedly good at absorbing lumps and bumps due to the Synapse-like rear stays and carbon seat tube. The real positive is its 105 components (except rear cassette, which is Tiagra). At the moment, they'll also throw in £100 of accessories in addition to the £50 with the R2W scheme. I may well need commuting lights, a decent helmet, mudguards and possibly new pedals.

Trek Domane 2.0 The obvious choice for the ploughed fields that pass as roads round here. I'm not too sure that a triple is what I'm after though - the other 2 have wide range rears and compacts, and I don't think I'll ever need to go as low as 30/30. My current bike has a 28 rear and 52/36 chainrings. On the steepest I probably could do with an extra couple of cogs, but 34/30 of a compact would probably be better. Evans don't do the Domane 2.0 with a compact.

Once the scheme is set up, I'll be able to arrange a test ride - I was told they can't take a deposit for test rides until the scheme is operational. I've got a regular short 6 mile half-hour loop I do that'll be a good test of the bikes - a couple of short steep climbs, an undulating twisty set of back lanes and a quick stretch on a badly potholed main road. Hopefully that sort of length test ride won't be an issue.

I'm signed up for a 70 mile hilly ride around the Trough of Bowland in July, so I hope to have it all done by then and got a few miles on the new bike. So far my furthest ride is 40 miles of similar hilly terrain. By the end, my legs were on the verge of giving up on the slightest hills. I'm hoping a couple of easier gears will help with that. In terms of sizing, I'm 5'11", but shortish legs and long body (I'm just a tall Cav :mrgreen: ). Sized up on an Giant (it was the easiest to get at!) at the shop the other day and suggested going up a frame size from what would be the normal advice for my height (56" instead of 54").

I guess the real question is which is most important - Microshift/Tiagra/105, Compact/triple, decent wheels/budget wheels. The last one probably isn't that important, as my current wheelset is pretty much equivalent to the American Classic Victorys on the standard Moda and I can always swap those.
I think the perfect bike would be the Domane frame with the Norco components and Moda wheels.
Well done anyone who's bothered reading all that! 8) Here's hoping for some good advice/opinions.


  • johngti
    johngti Posts: 2,508
    Norco or Moda if it were me. And if the Moda, I'd go with better wheels and microshift gears.
  • Guanajuato
    Guanajuato Posts: 399
    Its been a long time - the scheme was held up by other issues at our end. After a test ride, I decided to go with the Trek. The Norco and Moda just seemed really skittish on the cratered roads I ride in comparison. The Norco just didn't fit right - 57cm was too big and 54cm was too small. The 105 hoods felt far too wide for my hands - I was getting pain in my hand after a couple of miles on the test ride. The Trek just seems to be more stable over the rough stuff. I'm a convert to the triple too. Changing up/down on the front is much less of a jump than a compact, and the gearing goes so low that I'll get up almost anything (just slowly). Still don't fancy Hardknott or Wrynose, particularly in summer with all the tourists.
    I'm not too keen on the white handlebars & saddle - they're already looking scruffy after just the test ride and 9 miles last night.
  • Levi_501
    Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
    I have ordered the Trek Madone 3.1, which is little over your budget. However, I looked at the IIRC 2.1 or 2.3 which looked fine bikes.
  • brh77
    brh77 Posts: 242
    Remember that there are Evans partner stores that have a different range- for example Leisure Lake Bikes- that will accept the Evans voucher. I wanted an entry level Tri bike- and I got one in the sale at a partner store and got a TT bike (alu one) for £999..... I think Hargroves are on that list too- and I think Primera Sports too.