Newish commuter looking for new bike advice.

Cycool Posts: 51
edited March 2014 in Road beginners
Hi All

Been commuting on and off on my MTB which I've added road tyres to but it's just not comfortable or ideal for the
6 mile road commute I do each day. I'm now going to add a child seat to the back for weekend jaunts with my little lad so have been given permission to get a new road bike in the next month! I've looked at what feels like million of options for my £650 maximum budget and now have information overload. These are what I've got down to, I think, unless anyone suggests any others in my budget:

Ribble Winter Trainer, love the look of it and has mudguards and good components from the outset £675 ish delivered. Main worry is fit as would be buying from the internet.

Cannondale CAAD 8 Claris 2014, again looks lovely but only 16 gears, would be from my LBS so could get proper fit and they would throw in a free service. £649.99. Worry about lack of gears, lesser components, no mudguard fixings.

Planet X RT-58 Alloy, Nice looking, nice spec (similar to Ribble) but sizing again is a worry.

Never thought it would be so difficult to spend money. I don't want to get it wrong. I'm happy to upgrade components as I go but would need to stick to what's delivered for a while.

Any advice gratefully received!

Edit: Would prefer new if possible as not a big fan of ebay or gumtree.
Trek 4500 Disc
Ribble 7005 Audax


  • rafletcher
    rafletcher Posts: 1,235
    For commuting I would say 'guards are a must (others will not :) ). As to sizing - both Ribble and Planet X have frame geometry on their sites. Ribble used to be well known for having longer top tubes (a 56cm frame would have a 58cm top tube, so you'd drop a size to get that right maybe.)

    You could invest in a simple "bike sizing" - I had one for £35 - or do your own here ... orBike.jsp

    which gets you the same info for free.

    Both Ribble and Planet X are reputable companies with (IME) reasonable customer service - and are (unlike say Rose or Canyon) UK based.
  • Cycool
    Cycool Posts: 51
    Thanks, I really do love the Ribble Winter bike, it just looks a bit more 'classic' than the new Specialized and Cannondale offerings. I went through the Ribble size guide and it recommended a 58cm frame based on my body specs. I'm 5ft 11 3/4" with 33" inside leg. My legs are seemingly in proportion with my torso and my arms are pretty regular length, i.e not ape-like and not T-Rex like. Not very scientific I know. It's a lot of money to spend for me right now and want to get it right so I'm not buying again in the near future. I'm looking at the basic Shimano specced Special Edition Winter Trainer and they offer a few options on the gearing which has also added to my confusion. What would be the best options to choose given that I am riding all on-road, mostly flat with a
    couple of slight hills and a couple of motorway bridges? The hills are more very light gradients, but feel rough right now for me as I'm not that fit at the moment. Sorry for all the questions but just want to get it right. Thanks in advance.
    Trek 4500 Disc
    Ribble 7005 Audax
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    Personally for me full length mudguards and pannier rack fixings would be a must for any commuter bike. As for gearing, as I tend to carry a big work bag or overnight gear, then a low gear ratio suits me (I'm also not that fast compared to a lot of people on here).

    Any road bike should be easier up hills than your mountain bike, unless your carrying a lot of weight. For gears, assuming you go for a compact front gear (50 teeth and 34 teeth gears) then look at the top and bottom numbers for the rear gear cassette - the bigger the top number, the smaller the gear ratio. The smaller the bottom number, the faster the gear ratio. Eg 34t at the front and 30t at the back will be an easier but slower gear than 34t at the front and 25t at the back. 50t front and 11t back is faster that 50t front and 12t back.

    Many 10 speed systems have narrower gear ratios than typical 8 speed systems, which makes the 8 speed system more versatile. This is because ten speed systems mainly aimed at faster "performance" riding - eg competitive racing, time trials etc. So the actual numbers of teeth are more relevant than the number of gears.
  • Cycool
    Cycool Posts: 51
    Thanks that's very useful information, not ordered the Ribble yet but will be in the next couple of weeks. Just like the look of it and it offers a good package for the price I can afford.
    Trek 4500 Disc
    Ribble 7005 Audax
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,540
    If you are looking purely for a commuting bike then consider a cyclocross bike. They are robust but give you much the same riding position as a road bike. I made the switch this winter and although it's slightly slower the 'cross bike has made for a more comfortable ride on the potholed industrial roads and city streets.