Cheap Bikes (£0-100)

ianwilliams Posts: 257
edited September 2013 in Road beginners
Got a question from my sister:

"Is there really much difference for the leisure cyclist between an Argos cheapie and a fancy bike?"

She and her husband don't cycle at the moment and this would be mostly for cycling on flat trails with their young child on a seat, or for a two mile commute. I can't think they'll be willing to spend much money. It will be a flat bar bike.

So is there much difference? Is a £300 Specialized going to be wasted on their type of cycling? Is a cheaper bike going to be a waste of money, or in any substantial way inferior?



  • lc1981
    lc1981 Posts: 820
    I would not advise anyone to buy a sub-£100 new bike, especially if they're going to have a child on the back. This article is worth reading. I'd be looking at second hand at that price.
  • lc1981 wrote:
    I would not advise anyone to buy a sub-£100 new bike, especially if they're going to have a child on the back. This article is worth reading. I'd be looking at second hand at that price.

    +1 to this.

    I had a Tesco cheapie as my first bike since my bmx in the 80's...due to my family being concerned that I'd get bored after 10 minutes and not use it again (thus dont spend much)

    So lasted exactly 11 rides and less than 100 miles. Seat would not stay clamped and kept falling down. Gears were almost unusable - like in the article I could use 3 or 4 out of 18, and they would jump and change gear by themselves?!?!. Brakes not great...cables would get caught when you turned the wheel too was bloody heavy (not a problem as I was trying to lose weight) and on my 11th ride the rear cassette fell apart leaving me with a 4 mile walk home in the dark through a dodgy estate.

    Second hand definately the best route for that price

    And those are the problems I can remember.
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    Jesus. That Asda bike weighs 1kg more than my expedition bike; and that thing has the beefiest wheels I've ever made!

    FWIW that expedition bike is based on a frame from an el cheapo Dawes; a bike so bottom end that Dawes did not even put their name on it. I paid £160 for it, new, in 2008. And I have replaced everything apart from the frame, the seatpost, the front derailleur and the left shifter. The wheels suffered from chronic broken-spoke syndrome. The brakes actually came to pieces (!). I actually still have one of the tyres, as emergency backup, but the other exploded while I was pumping it up. Saddle was awful, of course. Headset lasted almost 6 months before wearing beyond the point where it could be used. BB was one of those old-fashioned adjustable jobs; no seals, of course, so the grease just got washed out of it in the rain.

    Basically after 18 months most of the bike had been replaced.

    Ironically the frame is not that bad; aluminium 7005 series, 1.8kg without paint, rack and mudguard eyes.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    "Is there really much difference for the leisure cyclist between an Argos cheapie and a fancy bike?"
    Oh yes. There's a LOT of difference. £300 is considered low end, but £100 and less really is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Have a read of the reviews of the Trax bikes that Halfords sell, they are appalling things and have been known to literally fall apart within months.

    My sister bought an Apollo "full sus" MTB, which was £120 new. It is HORRIBLE to ride. The fork is so heavy that it pulls the bars round if you move them (my Giant hardtail doesn't do this, nor does my brothers Carrera), and it barely works anyway. The rear shock works a little better and happily absorbs all your energy as you try to move the damn thing along. All it's good for is pottering half a mile escorting a 4 year old to go see the Donkeys. Even then the gears refuse to stay indexed. I shudder to think what might happen to it if I rode it over anything more than grass :shock:

    If you want a bike that rides properly, will last years and has components that aren't made of cheese, spend some money. You will enjoy cycling far more because of it.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
  • It's perfectly possible to get a usable bike for that budget, but better to get a secondhand one from a decent bike shop that won't flog you an old banger.
  • £160 bike, parts replaced:

    Bottom bracket.
    Rear derailer

    Mostly within the first year of ownership, some because I had spares but mostly because bits wore out. .

    Fork, headset and stem are next on the list.

    Buy a cheap bike and use it properly and you'll end up replacing most of it pretty fast as it wears out quicker than higher spec gear.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • simonhead
    simonhead Posts: 1,399
    Not sure where th OP is based but there are a number of charities that refurbish bikes and sell them. They will be mechanically sound and if you hunt around you can normally find something pretty decent.
    Life isnt like a box of chocolates, its like a bag of pic n mix.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Before getting a proper bike again I had an Apollo hybrid ... A bit more than £100 but not a huge amount more. It was fine.... Great for family rides - even 7+ miles across fields.
    I rode a mountain bike trail with my brother once ... Didn't hang about - must've done 20 odd miles - I was knackered though!
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    Read this:

    I once got a nice Trek road bike with Shimano RSX gears for 60 quid, gave it a service and he's had no problems with it after three years. Bargains are out there. Look on ebay and gumtree. Better to get a decent used bike than new junk. - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • That's great, thanks guys.

    I'll pass it all on to my sister and leave it up to her to figure out. I definitely think she can get something good for a few hundred, especially at this time of year, and it'll be something that will last.
  • Check out decathlon bikes, many people rave about the triban 3 and they also have entry level mtb style bike called rockrider which can be had for around £100 last time i checked and they looked for the money very good.
    FCN 3/5/9
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,504
    Was trying to persuade my wife to get a second hand bike for our daughter rather than a cheap new bike but she knew best. 'I'm not getting her something second hand for her birthday'. Next thing I knew a 'full suspension' mail order bike turns up with the usual poor quality bolts that round off when you try to tighten them enough to hold a seat post in place and it's so heavy I can barely lift it so it must be a nightmare for a skinny 10 year old girl to try to ride around on. The wife also complains that she can't lift it into the boot to take it off anywhere.

    There was a second hand cross bike for sale at a race I went to yesterday, it was a bit old and a steel frame with 8 speed gearing but it was £120 and I'd much rather that than spending the same on an Argos or supermarket bike.