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New road/commuting bike

edited December 2013 in Commuting chat
Hello, just been redirected here from the Road bikes forum...!

So I'm after a new bike - for the last few years I've been dragging myself around on an old road bike from a recycled bike shop. It's done the job, but it's getting old and I'm ready to step up to something better - plus I've go the opportunity to take part in the cycle scheme with my new job, so wanting to take advantage of that asap.

I've got to say I find this all bewildering - there's so much advice out there, but I'm not much of a techie - I like being outside riding my bike/doing other things, not sat inside reading pages of reviews!! I dropped in on Evans Cycles today and was recommended (and tried) their Dolomite three, and enjoyed it thoroughly (they're previous years version is much reduced, so could get the dolomite four for a similar price), but really don't have much knowledge/experience to compare it to. It's in my budget (I'd like to not not exceed £700), but a fellow commuter also recommended the Ribble Audax 7005, and thought it looked pretty!! I enjoyed the shifters being part of the brakes (a big improvement on my bike's suicide gears! I was quite sure I'd find the gears with the thumb lever (again, sorry, I've forgotten the name but I hope that makes sense).

So, any advice? I'm mainly commuting in London, cycling about an hour a day through all but heavy snow, but will probably do some longer cycles if I've got a bike that's up to it! Budget of up to £700, though could do £750 if it was going to make a big difference. Ideally would take panniers, but I don't use them at the moment so could continue to manage without.

So yes - any advice on where to be looking?

Posts

  • I've recently changed my commuting bike from a 9 year old Claude Butler hybrid to a cyclocross. I wanted to move to drop bars but also wanted disc brakes as I found my old bike hard to stop in the wet. The recent weather has reinforced that this was the right choice for me.

    Before 2013 the Shimano Sora shifters has a thumb level but their ones for this head had both up and downshift at the break level.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Does it live inside?

    Depending on where in London, I'd personally chuck together a single speed/fixed. Gear it right and you'll get super easy commuting, winter cometh, and be able to tackle most hills.
  • iPete wrote:
    Does it live inside?

    Depending on where in London, I'd personally chuck together a single speed/fixed. Gear it right and you'll get super easy commuting, winter cometh, and be able to tackle most hills.

    Hi - thanks. I should have added that I'm actually from Bradford in the hilly north - I wouldn't want to be without gears around there, and may move back within a year (I'm on a year contract with my job, and don't know what the future holds after that!) so would like something that would give me flexibility in that area. It would live most of it's life inside when not on the road, or under a covered/sheltered area.

    Thanks!
    Andrew
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    In no particular order I check these websites for bikes:
    http://www.winstanleysbikes.co.uk/
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/
    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/

    If you could squeeze a bit more out of your wallet you could get a carbon framed bike:
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mekk-3g-potenza-sl40-sora-2013/
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mekk-2g-poggio-p15-sora-2013/

    But for under £700 I would recommend something with a 105 groupset - I have 105 on my bike and its great. Something like this maybe?
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/battaglin-s11-105-2013/
    Or this:
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/vitus-bikes-zenium-vrs-105-road-bike-2013/rp-prod85585

    If you see something you like just post a link on here and ask for peoples experience of the bike or their opinion. If you spend £700 you should end up with a decent bike though - as long as you work out what size you are and nobody on here slates it then it will be good!

    If it were me I'd also budget for replacing the brake blocks with something better such as Swisstops. I'd probably also buy better tyres, depending on what it comes with. At the moment I like Vittoria Rubino Pros, and if a bike came with Vitoria Zaffiros I'd definitely replace them!
  • Oh thanks! All very helpful.
    The Ribble bike I'd been looking at is this one: http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/bbd/road- ... BRW&bike=1

    And the 2013 Dolomite 4 is here (though not sure if they'll do that one through the C2W scheme): http://www.evanscycles.com/products/pin ... e-ec044212

    There's so much choice out there though, it's bewildering! Surely it just has wheels that go round and sommat to sit on? :mrgreen:

    Andrew
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    Don't worry to much about the groupset if the bike is mainly for commuting. Find a decent comfortable frame that suits you and go from there. My commuter is a 2013 Genesis Equillibrium 00 and has sora gearing- absolutely fine for getting about, although if you have hills a slightly wider cassette may be better. Also think about things like mudguards and panniers. I prefer a backpack but some like panniers and that may influence your choice in bikes.

    Honestly, go and try a few, see what suits and go from there.
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • If it's a commuting bike you're after then I'll quickly put my 2 penneth in after less than 2 years of experience...:)

    +1 to the cyclocross - but get a commuter biased one rather than a proper racing one. They have (or should have)...

    - fitting for full mudguards - you and your bike need mudguards, full stop. Proper mudguards give better coverage than clip on ones...and dont mark your paintwork, move and rub on the tyre just because you've gone over a bump or it's raining.

    - clearances to fit wider tyres (28 and above) - for crappy commuter roads you really notice the difference between a 23 and a 28+...much nicer ride.

    After that if you can get something in the sale with a disc brake then that'll be better in the wet.

    Whatever you decide, test ride a few!
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    I spent a year commuting on a standard road bike - fitted raceblades when it was wet and wore a backpack to carry clothes & lunch in ...
    Absolutely nothing wrong with it - but once it got into winter I found the amount of censored being dished up by the road (my commute goes past a farm yard) was clogging up the mudguards - so I needed a bike with more clearance on those.

    I ended up with a Tricross - Specialized's (dirty word atm) "do it all" bike - and it is a do it all bike - it's got the mounting points for mudguards (except on the forks) and racks - it can take wide tyres or skinnies. It's drop bar so you can get a good pace going on the road and it's fine on offroad tracks like the Wiggle Fallen Leaves MTB/CX course in the New Forest last weekend - all with just a swap of wheels/tyres.

    I still have a road bike and occasionally use that for commuting in the dry - but if it came down to only having one bike I'd probably go for the CX for practicality and I'd hate myself for loosing the road bike ...
  • slowbike wrote:
    I spent a year commuting on a standard road bike - fitted raceblades when it was wet and wore a backpack to carry clothes & lunch in ...
    Absolutely nothing wrong with it - but once it got into winter I found the amount of censored being dished up by the road (my commute goes past a farm yard) was clogging up the mudguards - so I needed a bike with more clearance on those.

    I ended up with a Tricross - Specialized's (dirty word atm) "do it all" bike - and it is a do it all bike - it's got the mounting points for mudguards (except on the forks) and racks - it can take wide tyres or skinnies. It's drop bar so you can get a good pace going on the road and it's fine on offroad tracks like the Wiggle Fallen Leaves MTB/CX course in the New Forest last weekend - all with just a swap of wheels/tyres.

    I still have a road bike and occasionally use that for commuting in the dry - but if it came down to only having one bike I'd probably go for the CX for practicality and I'd hate myself for loosing the road bike ...

    yeah pretty similar to my story, except I went for a Charge Filter cyclocross due to a ridiculously low price I was able to get it at (plus I fancied checking out a steel bike)
  • Unless you can get a great deal on new then go for secondhand: it's by far the best you'll get for your money.

    And, yes, for practicality, CX bikes are hard to beat. They're not as lively and responsive as a good road bike but will do the job more reliably and consistently.

    I'm a huge fan (Hugest fan?) of disc brakes - I've had a Volagi (disc braked road bike) for nearly two years. If you can, get disc brakes.

    You'd do a lot worse than to get a used Boardman CX.

    ETA - avoid cycle schemes unless you need to have the finance. You'll do much better with secondhand or shopping around for a great deal. You'll get neither with cycle schemes
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • +1 for CX.

    I commuted for years on my MTB with slick tyres, but it merely wore out parts and the mudguards didn't really cut the mustard. I shelled out £600 for a ridley x-bow with tiagra from CRC, added SKS longboards and Schwalbe Durano tyres. Since September it's been just over 1000 miles of trouble free commuting.

    I'd have loved disc brakes, but got a good deal. Changed the pads to swiss stop and it's good enough for my needs (and I weigh 108 kgs). It's comfy, sturdy, quick and amazingly clean with the mudguards having done their job. Just a shame there's no-one to race from So'ton to Brockenhurst.
  • Agree re. ignoring the groupset if you're commuting in London. Will save some money too.
  • So asking the question on here appears to give you about 5 million more choices as everyone will recommend what they have as the most suitable bike for commuting on.

    To try and answer your original question I would say go with Pinnacle from Evans for a few reasons:

    Firstly you have ridden it and enjoyed the ride.
    It is a higher priced bike that has been discounted because it is not the current model.
    It is new so you can buy it on the ctw scheme whereas 2nd hand you would not be able to do this.
    The 4 has a better groupset than the Ribble and you have not ridden a Ribble. They are good bikes but so is the Pinnacle.
    The Pinnacle will take bigger tyres, mudguards and a rack, try to buy them with the bike and get Evans to fit them for free. It also has a better back up than the Ribble because you can walk into the store if there are any problems.

    All sounds like a no brainer to me!

    By the way I ride a Planet X Kaffenback 2 so no allegiance to the Pinnacle.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    So asking the question on here appears to give you about 5 million more choices as everyone will recommend what they have as the most suitable bike for commuting on.

    To try and answer your original question I would say go with Pinnacle from Evans for a few reasons:

    Firstly you have ridden it and enjoyed the ride.
    It is a higher priced bike that has been discounted because it is not the current model.
    It is new so you can buy it on the ctw scheme whereas 2nd hand you would not be able to do this.
    The 4 has a better groupset than the Ribble and you have not ridden a Ribble. They are good bikes but so is the Pinnacle.
    The Pinnacle will take bigger tyres, mudguards and a rack, try to buy them with the bike and get Evans to fit them for free. It also has a better back up than the Ribble because you can walk into the store if there are any problems.

    All sounds like a no brainer to me!

    By the way I ride a Planet X Kaffenback 2 so no allegiance to the Pinnacle.

    I agree with a lot of N_P's post:
    It's better to buy a bike you've ridden and liked than taking a punt on a bike you haven't ridden and might hate if you did.
    Getting the shop to fit the rack and mudguards saves you the hassle and if you're not mechanically minded/can't be bothered then this is great.

    However, if you can find a CX bike with disc brakes which is within budget and you can ride to make a judgement on, then consider doing that. CX or CX style bikes have a lot of versatility, so if it's your only bike this would be a good thing.

    Another content Planet X Kaffenback owner.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    What cycle to work scheme does your company use? Pointless recommending anything until we know what you can buy!
  • everyone will recommend what they have as the most suitable bike for commuting on.
    .

    Funnily enough, I have:
    An MTB
    A Brompton
    A steel single speed
    3 Carbon road bikes

    And I recommended an aluminium CXer (even though I sold mine) :wink:

    I think I can therefore be seen as reasonably objective :D
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • everyone will recommend what they have as the most suitable bike for commuting on.
    .

    Funnily enough, I have:
    An MTB
    A Brompton
    A steel single speed
    3 Carbon road bikes

    And I recommended an aluminium CXer (even though I sold mine) :wink:

    I think I can therefore be seen as reasonably objective :D

    I may have exaggerated with everyone but then I did start off with 5 million more choices.... :D

    NP
  • Thank you for all the advice, I really appreciate it.
    I've just ridden a Genesis Vapour - a cylcocross bike - at my local bike shop, and really liked it. It's in the sale and that, coupled with the cycle to work scheme saving would mean I'd be getting a £1000 bike for significantly cheaper. It felt good when I took it for a spin - fast and strong and reliable, and I could put skinnier tyres on in the summer if I wanted to, and it would happily take a rack if i decided to do that, and full mudguards. I was quite surprised at how wide the handlebars were - a lot wider than my current road bike - but I got used to it quite quickly and it felt comfortable.

    Does anyone have any comments on that particular bike, a 'Genesis Vapour'? http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/adv ... oss/vapour

    Thanks again for all the advice!
  • Here's a perhaps more accurate link: http://www.londonfieldscycles.co.uk/?q=2 - the version I rode didn't have disc brakes like the one on the first link.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    Here's a perhaps more accurate link: http://www.londonfieldscycles.co.uk/?q=2 - the version I rode didn't have disc brakes like the one on the first link.
    I don't see the Vapour on the above link, but found a non-disc 2013 Vapour here for £700 (sizes 54 & 56). I don't know if they do the C2W scheme.

    It has quite low gearing, oriented more towards off-road than on-road. That may or may not be a good thing for you.

    I've heard not very favorable reviews about the Planet X C2W scheme but if you're thinking of dropping £1000 on the Vapour Disc in the first link or £700 on the non-disc version in my link, then consider the Kaffenback 2. £800, disc brakes (better ones than the ones on the Vapour disc), the same drivetrain but with more road oriented gearing and still with the clearance for mud guards and fatter rubber.
    Have a look at the Kaffenback thread for more info and one of the London based owners might be able to help you out with a test ride (or you could go to Sheffield, like I did).
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • Here's a perhaps more accurate link: http://www.londonfieldscycles.co.uk/?q=2 - the version I rode didn't have disc brakes like the one on the first link.

    Get disc brakes.

    Will the shop do the sale price AND Cycle Scheme? In my experience, that's pretty unusual.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • TBH I spent the best part of a year umming and ahhing about a bike. In the end I just bought one (after riding an acquaintance's Ridley of a similar build) and... Was it worth it?

    Financially? Yes by the end of next academic year.
    For my back? Straight away.
    Enjoyment? Can't say I love getting up 1/2 hour earlier, until on the bike that is, and the shower at work is very good.
    C2W? Wouldn't have got me my present bike.
    Would I have got a better deal by waiting a bit longer? Yes, but that applies to tech, TVs, cars etc. If you need it you get one. I wanted my bike, got it and very happy.
    Are there better bikes out there for the money? Probably, but eventually I got bored of forums and endless navel gazing. There has to be a bit of pleasure in life and for me. my commuting bike gives me that. Plus I spend 1 1/2 hours on it 3 days a week (75 miles a week).
    My advice? Get a bike that fits. It won't be perfect, but if it's new it'll feel amazing compared to anything else.
    Last word? X = N + 1
    Dan
  • Hello.
    Thanks again for all the advice. I got an excellent deal on the Genesis Vapour Cyclocross I linked to earlier - with the fact the bike was in the sale and with the Cycle to Work scheme it was almost half price, with a rack and some skinnier tyres included too. Took it for another ride before settling on it and it felt great (though everything did after the bike I've been riding for the last four years!) and will be a great introduction to 'proper' bikes - can't wait to get it out on the road!
    Thanks again - all your advice was really helpful,
    Andrew
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