New to cycling I have £250, what are the do's & don'ts??

jamesscott Posts: 3
edited May 2013 in Road beginners

Recently caught the cycling bug, I borrowed a bike off a friend and now I am desperate to get my own.
I am only a student and before the student loan goes completely I have £250 to buy a bike, but I do not know what I should buy or what should be avoided.
I have currently been having a look through eBay and Gumtree as I seem to get a little bit more for my buck. I don't really know anything about cycling though so I am unsure what to look for.

Any advice is welcome.


  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    The best value beginner bike is the Triban 3. You won't be able to afford a new one but you may well be able to find one that someone has bought and then decided to upgrade to a more expensive bike.

    You will also need to budget for clothes, a helmet, a pump and a puncture repair kit. As far as clothing is concerned, you can do without almost everything apart from a pair of shorts but a proper jersey would be good too. If you keep your eyes open, you can get very cheap cycling gear from Aldi but they don't stock it all the time. There is usually an announcement here when the next cycling stock is coming in. Unfortunately you just missed one but there will be another along soon.

    By all means keep scouring eBay and Gumtree but if you don't know a lot about bikes, enquire here before buying.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I thought the new Triban was £250?
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    The new one is £299 ... 74036.html

    My suggestion, save up another £50 and then get it rather than take a lucky dip. As you mention you are new to cycling and imo buying 2nd hand you may not be able to spot any defects. No experience of this bike myself only that it review very well anywhere you look. It was reviewed in a cycling magazine and the reviewer liked it so much he bought it. I doubt you'll go far wrong. Have you factored in helmet, shoes, pedals, shorts, jersey, pump etc.........
  • Cleat Eastwood
    Cleat Eastwood Posts: 7,508
    Pay someone to mug you and 'nick' your mates bike for you :mrgreen:

    Its hard to give advice about ebay as people pay the price theyre prepared to pay - personally I'd give gumtree a wide berth - too many dodgy tales.

    Could you not save up a bit more - 250 could be a false economy in that you could end up spending much more fixing it. For another 130 you could get a carrera virtuoso rideable and quite a good spec for teh price.
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  • simon_masterson
    simon_masterson Posts: 2,740
    It's not a popular opinion around here, but an old steel racer is likely to be the best value-for-money, especially given how little one could cost. Just typing 'Reynolds 531' into eBay produced a first page of lovely looking bikes that would potentially be perfect: comfortable and light. The problem is that you can't necessarily see decay and neglect and obsolescence on the surface; caveat emptor.

    Therefore, this really depends on who you have around you, and how savvy you are at buying things. A secondhand bike will give the best value, if you get something good. What you likely don't want is something that's cheap because it's been neglected, as you risk making up the rest of the price replacing all of the worn out bits. A new bike won't have the same problem (though it may have cheap bits that fail because they are of poor quality), but there is a fair bit of kit you'll need. Even if you only bought a pump, some lights, a spare inner tube, a puncture repair kit and a helmet, you've still spent a fair bit of money, proportional to your budget. Reminds me of my student days!

    Do you have any bike shops near you? If they sell secondhand then they might be able to find you something. That's where my first adult bike came from. It may just be that a Halfords Carrera is your best bet; cheap, but perfectly functional, and it will leave you enough for some basic accessories. Does your friend know enough about bikes to help you?
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    We have a recycled bikes place where they will refurbish and re-sell donated unwanted bikes. I popped in and they had an old steel Peugeot racer in there, downtube shifters and all for £75. Paint and stickers slightly tatty, but a solid bike. It was lovely.
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  • Jim C
    Jim C Posts: 333
    If you have a wilko somewhere nearby, U can get a serviceable pump for 3quid. Spare tube for another 3quid. Puncture kit for 79p. Tyre levers for 49p. LED get U home lights for 3 quid. Don't waste money on spending more than is essential at the early stage. Lots of people ride bikes in football shorts and a tee shirt. All good :-)
  • nochekmate
    nochekmate Posts: 3,460
    If Reading is anywhere near you, this looks decent value and worth a look at the price ... 2c6eb6494f
  • goonz
    goonz Posts: 3,106
    If thats all you have I seriously suggest you dont buy anything from Rapha or Assos.
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  • jamesscott
    jamesscott Posts: 3
    So I have been reading around, and seem to hear good things about the Carrera TDF Road bike.
    It gets a good write up on bike radar.

    What do you guys think? ... 4ac442da24
  • Scotty-Gee
    Scotty-Gee Posts: 156
    The TDF was my first hack when I got into it. Good bike and got me out on the road which was the main thing about it. I've upgraded significantly since but used the TDF on the turbo over winter and building a TT ride out of it now for fun.

    It's solid, some components aren't great, it's heavy- especially the wheels- but great on a budget and I've put hundreds of miles on mine. It will get you out there for sure!
  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    goonz wrote:
    If thats all you have I seriously suggest you dont buy anything from Rapha or Assos.
    How could he? His budget is only £250 :wink: .
  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    jamesscott wrote:
    So I have been reading around, and seem to hear good things about the Carrera TDF Road bike.
    It gets a good write up on bike radar.

    What do you guys think? ... 4ac442da24
    It has been mentioned quite a bit here and I can't recall anyone having been disappointed with it as a first bike. I seem to remember that it has a traditional crankset rather than a compact so its suitability will partly depend on your level of fitness and how hilly it is round your way. If you live in Norfolk it will be fine. If you are a rather unfit Yorkshireman living on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales (ahem) then you would be better off with compact gearing.
  • blueneedles
    blueneedles Posts: 74
    hello, if you hav,nt managed to get a bike yet then as a budget rider myself i would suggest a vittesse sprint! i have borrowed one that ive been rideing for a few months now and its given me alot of confidence in road rideing..
    Its not the lightest or the best or quality but as a starter bike to get you into bigger and better ventures then IMO id say this should be well considered :)

    obviosly this would depend on how tall you are but to give you a rough idea my farther in law is 5ft-9 and im 6ft. with small adjustments to the bars,stem and seat (height/pitch) it is comfortable for us both. ... B0070VZRDC

    Now alot of people will be against buying online as there is no bike shop involved incase something goes wrong via post but for a biker on a budget with a wealth of tutorials on you-tube you can save on build costs and maintainance :o
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Do you need a race bike or a road bike that will double up as commuter/shopper/transport ?
    Utility road bike need threaded eyelets and clearance to accept mudguards and a rear luggage rack. You don't have to fit them but if you decide you want these, the eyelets make it much easier.
    Winter commuter road bikes really need room for 28mm tyres + mudguards. There is no real disadvantage to a bit of extra clearance.
    If you want to check out the used market arm yourself with a decent buyers guide. My personal list of things to avoid and look for is too long to post.

    A nice old steel racer can be a gem (mine is) and many factory aluminium frames from big brands continue to give good service. Midrange quality is better than entry-level so by something that was good when new.
  • declan1
    declan1 Posts: 2,470
    You can't just buy a £250 bike and then forget about it. You'll need tubes, a pump, clothing and tons of other stuff as well. As soon as you've bought the bike you'll realize how much stuff you'll need...

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  • pride4ever
    pride4ever Posts: 510
    Buy a Rapha jersey and pretend your loaded and you ride a Cervelo or something.
    the deeper the section the deeper the pleasure.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,584
    I have just picked up a 51cm Triban 3 (for my brothers gf) for £299.99 from a Decathlon store, and the quality is self evident, as is the lightness, plus the lovely carbon forks, I think it is fair to say an equivalent specced bike would be £500 as a genuine retail price.

    They seem to come up on ebay fairly regularly, or see if you can stretch your budget to £300 and check your local shop for stock, assuming you have one nearby.

    Mine had none in stock, but could see the warehouse had 28, so ordered in 3, one of which was for me.

    Sign up for a decathlon card in store, and your £300 purchase gives you £5 off your next purchase.

    Oh and just to clarify, the more desirable one is the outgoing model, which is the Triban 3 Red:

    The new Triban 3A (or White) is a lower spec and doesn't have carbon forks - for the same money.
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  • fishyweb
    fishyweb Posts: 173
    No one seems to have mentioned this so far but, if buying online rather than at a knowledgeable store, make sure you know what size frame you need. There are lots of guides for working this out on the interweb, and they would save you from the possibility of buying a lovely bike off eBay that you find to be the wrong size.
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  • volociroldster
    volociroldster Posts: 48
    edited May 2013
    I fancied a retro steel road bike to refurb and so bought an absolutely stunning and well looked after Raleigh Pursuit last year on e-bay for £120, and i mean it was really well looked after. The original chrome wheels were a bit pitted so i bought a set of polished aluminium rigida wheels (60 quid), stuck a b'twin road saddle on the bike to make it look a bit racier (15 quid), put a set of b'twin SPD pedals on it (20 quid), new pads (5) and just renewed the cabling and sheath (15), finishing touch has been the white trimmed Scwalbe Lugano's at £25 - this bike in my view is ruddy beautiful and has been tastefully updated whilst retaining its heart and soul. Does 40 plus miles regularly (i save it for sunny days only) and ticks along as if on rails. I ain't an expert but this has been a great way to learn more about how bikes are put together by having a play around at doing the basics for myself. All in this has cost around £260. It's comfy as hell - steel is massively under rated.
  • mr_eddy
    mr_eddy Posts: 830
    Don't forget that if you are new to cycling other than the bike you will probably need some extra's to make things more enjoyable. Given your budget I would go second hand, look for well known brands such as Specialised, Giant, Trek, Carrera, Boardman etc. Look for named parts especially on the drive train (gears) so look for Shimano/Sram or Campagnolo gears and brakes. If the bike has a non brand rear derailluer then it will probably be a cheap supermarket bike (these are poor quality and fall apart quickly).

    For your budget you should be able to get something like a Carrera TDF or older Specialised Allez for under £200. As long as you get something that has been looked after it should last for years to come.

    Finally you will probably need a helmet, get one from new I would not risk second hand but you can get one for about £25 from halfords / Evans or Decathlon. Also get some padded lycra shorts to put under your trousers and also basic light set for about £15, a simple LED type is usually good enough for town but if you cycle on country lanes maybe look at some more powerful versions. Also lastly maybe pick up a few spare tubes, a set of tyre levers and a decent pump.

    Going further down the line you may also want to consider some more technical clothing like cycle specific rain jackets and clip in pedals but I would not worry about this just yet.

    Bike / Helmet / Shorts / Lights / basic tools I would say is a good start