Newbie trying to get into Road cycling

jimbogarner Posts: 9
edited August 2013 in Road beginners

A little introduction to myself - I have always loved watching cycling - especially the 3 main ones, however, I have never been able to afford to actually take it up myself. I enter competitions left right and centre to try and win a bike but no such luck, however, I have decided this year I am going to buy a bike (Albeit an extremely cheap once!), even if it is 40 years old and rusting, I am going to do it just to allow me to finally get into it!

I am hoping some of you guys will know some inside places to try and find some cheap road bikes - I have found a few on the usual suspects, Ebay/Preloved, however, I can't seem to find very much.

If anybody knows some cheap places where I could find some to allow me to take up my passion properly then that would be great also any tips/advice on what to expect (Other than a lot of pain :wink: )




  • NewTTer
    NewTTer Posts: 463
    Whats your budget?
  • djwc
    djwc Posts: 39
    I've just got myself into cycling. I'd literally never ridden a bike before about 3 weeks ago, now going on 20+km bike rides with my girlfriend as often as we can!

    If you can afford £40-50 per month you can get yourself an entry level bike. I got myself an Orbea Aqua T23 from Cycle Surgery, who have quite a few outlets around the south and you can pay a 10% deposit, and the balance over the next 9 months. For example mine was 500, so I paid 50 deposit, and will pay 50 per month for the next 9 months. A good option in my opinion to get yourself into it!

    Hope that helps!
  • Hi,

    Unfortunately as I said my budget is tiny. I really couldn't afford to go past £100 however ideally I would like to spend as little as possible!

    It may be worth me looking into the spreading the costs option, my only worry is it is an uncertain time for me at work at the moment so I will have to wait until i know more boaut job security as I dont want to end up with the liability of the contravt if our work decide to lay some people off.

  • boxxer750
    boxxer750 Posts: 33
    There seems to be a lot of low budget/retro bikes on ebay for under £100. You wont get great quality for that price but at least it will get you out on the road. Just remember you get what you pay for so spend as much as you can afford on a descent frame and then you can upgrade bits as time goes on. Also may be worth a look at carboots/local newspapers/mags etc. You never know what people have in their garages that they want rid of.
  • cesco
    cesco Posts: 252
    I was in a very similar situation when I started! I had always followed the Tour, and had gotten into watching the "other two" as well as the Belgian classics too. I had always cycled to school and kind of missed that feeling. I got to borrowed an acquaintance's road bike once, and even though it was waaay to small, I fell in love with the feeling. I knew I had to get my own bike. I also had some time on my hands. Unfortunately that was due to being unemployed, so I had almost no money to spend.

    That's when I found an 80s steel French bike in my parents' garden. And it was covered in like 3-4 inches of snow. Yes, snow; and not only that, it had been neglected in the garden throughout the entire winter and longer. That's between abuse and sacrilege, am I right? Anyway, it was a hand-me-down from my (now late) grandfather to my brother, who had (obviously) written it off, and bought a newer bike instead. However, when he said "written off" I merely saw a challenge.

    I am not the most technically skilled person, but I do love working with my hands and learning stuff. Like I mentioned before, I did have some time on my hands. The internet was a valuable source, especially Sheldon Brown's website is recommended. I disassembled the bike, cleaned all the parts, and was then left to scrape together replacement parts of things that were broken. I obtained these by handmedowns and scouring marketplaces and budget shops. I ended up with nice matching handlebar tape for free for example, someone just had it laying around. Try not to be too critical. I needed to settle for MTB/BMX style pedals and a regular seat; and I didn't care if I looked ridiculous or if they didn't give me the best performance. I was able to go for a ride and that's what mattered. I got my first jersey from Aldi. Looking back, I waited too long to get a helmet. The money I would have saved for groceries if I hadn't bought it in a Poundland type of store, wouldn't have been of much use with a cracked skull anyway.

    Anyway, I'm sorry I got carried away. Bottom line is: it can be done! Ingredients: luck, patience, perseverance/determination and ideally some elbow grease. If you're able to find an old (steel) frame with working wheels and a simple group set, you're halfway there.
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    For £100 you're going to have to buy second hand, as you won't get anything new for that price. Plus although you want to get into road cycling, for that budget you'll get better deal by looking at the likes of a hybrid.

    I think the best advice here is to get a decent make, e.g. Trek, Scott, Cannondale, Specialized etc even if it's a bit of an age.
  • HebdenBiker
    HebdenBiker Posts: 787
    Mate, don't know where you're based but try googling Cycle Recycle in your area.
  • HebdenBiker
    HebdenBiker Posts: 787
    OK. Where do you live and how tall are you? There are a few bits and pieces out there on Ebay if you're prepared to collect. This has a decent enough frame for the money.

    I've just been on a cycling holiday with a few friends. I was riding my 1985 Orbit Gold Medal (Reynolds 531 frame from cycle recycle, £30) and my friends each rode old steel bikes that had been sitting around in people's garages for decades and they'd been given, or swapped for a bottle of whisky, in one case.
  • Hi,

    How easy/hard is it to modify and improve a bike cesco? I am a hands-on person, however, never with bikes so I wouldn't know where to start.

    I have found an old 1970s 5-speed road bike for £45 which I could get, however, I would like to eventually try to upgrade it as much as possible (Or once I am earning a tad more money to get a new bike completely), how easy would this be?

    I have never heard of cycle recycle so I will definitely give that a go thank you!

    Thanks everybody
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    it's not hard to work on bikes and there are plenty of videos and web sites around ( has a lot of info).

    but you will need some specialist tools if you want to do most things yourself. i don't know too much about old bikes, but some necessary tools may be hard to get. your local bike shop should be able to do it, but then you have to pay. depending on the bike, spares may be very hard to get.

    i do most of the work on my bikes apart from setting and removing headsets, and fiddling with suspension internals on the mtb's.
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • cesco
    cesco Posts: 252
    Hard to tell how easy it is going to be for you. I'm pretty hands-on as well, but knew nothing about bike refurbishment/maintenance, except for fixing punctures and I even sucked at that. But there's plenty of sites to help you on the way. Make sure to learn them as much beforehand as you can, cause you might need special tools. Also: googling stuff with greasy fingers is not great. Speaking of which, after a while you'll start worrying more about getting those clean than being able to fix x or y. Keep track of parts, bolts, washers, and in some cases bearing balls and remember where they go.

    70s/80s bikes are the best for this kind of stuff. Personally I liked the pastime and learning a lot about the mechanics.
  • Well I took the plunge today. I came across a bike which had been advertised for only a couple of days but has recently had new tyres, inner tubes, chain and a fresh respray for £65 (I think the reason it had not sold was the listing didn't state most of this, I found it out through inquiring!) Fully working, just requires some final cosmetic TLC but other than that i'm really happy with it! I shall go pick it up tomorrow and hopefully get some pics up later on.
  • HebdenBiker
    HebdenBiker Posts: 787
    Brilliant stuff. Enjoy your riding and post a photo of your new bike
  • Collected it today, really please with it, seems in good condition, a few things which need to be done....
    1> Needs to get it serviced, the brakes are shocking and it seems a little unbalances.
    2> Front brake caliper needs to be tightened as it moves slightly
    3> Handle bars need some new grips (See photo #2)
    4> Other general bits and bobs

    The guy was a bike repairer but has never repaired a Road bike before, he made some downgrades which I would like to re-upgrade (IE the pedals).

    A couple of questions.... is there anyway to change the gears so that they are changed at the handle bars rather than where they currently are which is the old style gear changing on the frame?

    Let me know what you think, honest opinions are more than welcome as it was only £65 :)


  • doug5_10
    doug5_10 Posts: 465
    Looks like a lovely retro project. A service will probably cost about the same as what you paid for the bike in the first place. A morning spent on YouTube/Park Tools/Sheldon Brown and you'll be able to give it a once over in the afternoon with basic tools.

    Handlebar Tape is cheap and wrapping is a cinch (YouTube again). Current tape has been wrapped by an imbecile, you start at the bottom of the drops and tape (neatly!) at the stem.

    I would then get your position sorted, even on an old racer there should still be some saddle to bar drop. Brake hoods could also do with coming up a bit, looks very uncomfortable!

    Do you know how old the gear/brake cables and brake pads are? These are a cheap replacement and could solve/prevent several issues.

    As regards the shifters, I would keep the period downtube shifter. I think you would struggle to find a single RH STI shifter in 6? speed (can't tell what you have from the picture)
    Edinburgh Revolution Curve
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    it will cost more than you paid for the bike to get sti shifters, ( £150+) and they may not work with the front and rear mech and you will probably have to get them new (£100+) , and then may need a new rear wheel (£30+).

    i don't get the bit about the guy being a bike repairer, but has never repaired a bike. that means he is not a bike repairer.


    just noticed there is no front mech.

    on closer inspection, the front fork looks like it might have taken an impact, seems to be bent slightly backwards.
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • It is only a 5 gear as i wasnt too bothered by the number of gears.

    The brake cables were apparently new on, so I will give changing the blocks a go and see whether that makes a difference.

    Will go and get my tape at the weekend so that will go on then, not sure what colour scheme to go for though, I initially wanted yellow as I have seen a yellow seat I like and I thought it would look smart with the yellow on the bike but they all seem to be a darker yellow, so I may just end up with Blue or White,

    Seat position will be done Friday as well before I go for ride.