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I'm sure it's history repeating for you guys ;)

PleaseRelaxPleaseRelax Posts: 11
edited January 2015 in MTB buying advice
Another hapless newbie strolls into BR.com; Hello!

I've read the FAQs (inc "Got £300-500 to spend? Want a new bike? READ THIS!") and many reviews but need your expert suggestions please!

Setting the scene:
I am looking to buy my first bike in a while for 2 purposes - 1 all weather commuting and 2 weekend riding.
I can't afford 2 bikes!...
In fact I can barely afford 1.
Even with cycle to work i can only justify £200-£400 tops :(
I know you get what you pay for. I know if i spent a bit more....etc. 8)
I don't want to buy second hand as a) I wouldn't know what to look for :shock: and b) I'm sick of buying seconds :oops: ....I'd like something new.... for once! :wink:
I know a subway or something with rigid forks will probably be lighter and better but I don't want a subway (etc), thank you :)

This all being said a am trying to decide between a:
1) Carrera Vengance £299 http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... -bike-2015
2) Carrera Vulcan £379 http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... -2015#tab2
3) Decathlon R/R 500 £239 http://www.decathlon.co.uk/rockrider-50 ... 93150.html
4) Decathlon R/R 520 £330 http://www.decathlon.co.uk/rockrider-52 ... #avantages

The difficult bit is this:

a) I don't know enough to know if there much benefit in paying more at such (apparently) low end of the market. Apparently all the forks are bad. The Gears are bad. The frames are "made in Taiwan". I'm a fool for not spending more or buying second hand (which in both instances would like lead to a waste of money due to poor knowledge while im learning what i need/what i should look for to buy).
b) The nearest Decathlon center is an age (~100 miles) away so I cant get the bike sized / try one without loosing £40 petrol money and a weekend, so it makes it harder to buy from them, though I understand they are favoured over Halfords?? How would you guess size....I am 5'11 and wear 30 waist by 32 length trousers...does this mean inside leg is 32??
c) Those little issues bug me - Is Evans cycles better? Should i not risk buying on the net and go in person even if it means i get less for my cash? Is Halfords/product assembly that bad? Is decathlon the massmarket savior to newbie bikes? Why isn't the rockrider a 29er? What happened to the diamondback overdrive 29er? :|

I don't care about labels or future-proofing right now, just bang for buck. I kinda don't wanna spend much as it's for a 15-20 minute commute and the odd weekend of riding in Wales when there's no surf :P . After a year or two I'll probably upgrade and use this purely as my work commute / pub bike so I don't fall to pieces when it gets nicked...

It looks like the Dec RR 520 has some good bits (hydro brakes, locking forks, potentially better assembly) at low cost.
The Carrera however is local so I can try one. The Vulcan also has a frame that looks like it means business more, and has locking forks, hydro brakes but is assembled by Halfords!!

It's all a gamble - what should I do? :?:

I really appreciate any help/insight :idea: as I have scoured these and other forums, but most people seem to live near a DEC/have more money/not care. I have seen a lot of bike elitism I don't quite understand yet too; please don't judge, I am only a newbie! :roll:

Thank you again,

PleaseRelax.

PS. First post. I had to try all the smileys.




Posts

  • kiniookinioo Posts: 776
    a bit of budget stretch and its not 'brand' new' but 'as new' :

    if the size fits...

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/bicycles/voodo ... 1098221933

    and this may be a winner:

    http://www.gumtree.com/p/bicycles/voodo ... 1098135292
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    What cycle to work scheme does your company use, no single scheme* covers Halford's and Decathlon so you need to know where the scheme will allow you to buy before thinking of specific bikes.

    Most frames are made in Taiwan, including many of the very best, all bar one of my 4 frames was made in Taiwan, the worst one was made in the USA. Suntour make some very good forks, and also some shockers, but so does Rockshox.

    Of the ones listed the Vulcan or RR 520, the lower spec bikes just don't cut it and the small extra spend is well worth it.

    *Many public sector employees run multiple schemes giving you wider choice.
  • The Rookie wrote:
    Most frames are made in Taiwan, including many of the very best, all bar one of my 4 frames was made in Taiwan, the worst one was made in the USA. Suntour make some very good forks, and also some shockers, but so does Rockshox.

    Of the ones listed the Vulcan or RR 520, the lower spec bikes just don't cut it and the small extra spend is well worth it.

    Really helpful -thanks both.
    I figured as much.
    Out of the Vulcan and the RR520 what would you go with?
    I can't help but like the fact that the Vulcan has 27.5ers, but the RR520 is £40 less and ... not from Halfords.
    Spoke to the Reading branch bike team today - they seemed really helpful and on it.

    Is reassuring!
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Frames being 'made in taiwan' means your getting probably good quality from the world's most experienced frame building country. taiwan is a good thing in bike land.
    A Flock of Birds
    + some other bikes.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    The Rookie wrote:
    Most frames are made in Taiwan, including many of the very best, all bar one of my 4 frames was made in Taiwan, the worst one was made in the USA. Suntour make some very good forks, and also some shockers, but so does Rockshox.

    Of the ones listed the Vulcan or RR 520, the lower spec bikes just don't cut it and the small extra spend is well worth it.

    Really helpful -thanks both.
    I figured as much.
    Out of the Vulcan and the RR520 what would you go with?
    I can't help but like the fact that the Vulcan has 27.5ers, but the RR520 is £40 less and ... not from Halfords.
    Spoke to the Reading branch bike team today - they seemed really helpful and on it.

    Is reassuring!
    Which scheme? No good saying the RR520 if your employer uses Halfords, or the Vulcan if they use 'cyclescheme'!
  • The governement one...erm http://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/get-a-bike.
    I can use this for either.

    To be honest i don't care too much where the frame is made - I'm not expecting custom hand crafted carbon...
    I was merely making a point that as soon as people talk about budget bikes people with bigger budgets slam the buyer for buying a censored bike and being an idiot. Why the focus that bit I said soemthing about Taiwan?

    I was hoping for some useful insight like "the Vulcan frame has better geometry for more aggressive downhill riding as opposed to the 520 trails frame, also the 120 travel forks on the vulcan would support this too" or that "the rockrider looks like a better all round position for commute and I know "X" has had one - they are reasonable investment".
    Maybe even that the "cassette/axle/gears/forks/quality of the build on bike "y" is better, i'd recommend that".

    Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any real advice for newbies on every forum I've seen - just people directing kids to gumtree and ebay to recomend a bike they don't want or understand.

    I've been on bass/guitar forums, surf forums, PC bulding forums, game forums... everyone so willing to help.
    From most comments I see on bike forums it's like getting blood from a stone, or asking a question to a politician - it's always evaded and another question asked!!!

    Cheers guys, more elitism plz x
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    AFAIK that scheme doesn't include Halfords, so narrows it down a bit.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • I was merely making a point that as soon as people talk about budget bikes people with bigger budgets slam the buyer for buying a censored bike and being an idiot.

    Not seeing how Decathlon being 100 miles away is losing a whole weekend - my local Decathlon is 60 miles away and involves a ferry trip - even that is doable in 5-6 hours round trip.

    Anyway - back to the plot - yes your budget is tough - and yes you'll get a lot of people on forums willing to spend much more of your money than you have to allocate to this hobby/pastime (like I've seen happen on astronomy forums ("that 'scope is censored , you need one *these*" at 10x the price), photography forums ("that lens/body/printer is ..., you need one of *these*" at 10x the price, ... - there's a pattern of people doing that everywhere).

    You've done your research (as I did mine) - came up with some possibilities - the answer now is to look deeper at those - if there's one that grabs you, you're more likely to use it - but here's the hard part - then stop looking any further and wondering if the other one would be better.

    In my world I went for the best frame & forks (in my judgement) with the poorest attachments (since everything attached to the frame is basically a consumable) and ended up buying an ex-hire bike (refurbished - but £silly cheap - so better frame/fork/headset than I'd have got otherwise) which has seen me through the last 10000km (in under 12 months) and - as I expected to do - I've replaced the chain (4 times), cassette (3 times), tyres (3 rear, 1 front), both wheels (being a lardy lump, I knacked the bearings in both) & chainring (only the largest one)
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    So of your selection the RR520 has a fork that works. Decent hydraulic brakes. The rest of the components are secondary.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Cyclescheme is one scheme supplier and nothing to do with the government at all (.co.uk not .gov.uk) - The official name of the scheme is ride to work as that is what you are meant to do with the bike. You can't use Cyclescheme at Halfords.

    Without meaning to sound rude, it appears you don't know much about the schemes and how they work, please make sure you do as the final payment(s) often catch out the unwary, for example you aren't actually buying a bike, but renting it for a year.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    No idea whether they do cyclescheme but 5star reiview here

    http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/cate ... -13-47865/
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Thank you, as a PA you are acceptable.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • Thanks Rookie (I'm sure you're not) and Cooldad (I'm sure you are) for taking the time to reply.

    Kudos for not being baited by my frustrated comment!
    Without meaning to sound rude, it appears you don't know much about the schemes and how they work, please make sure you do as the final payment(s) often catch out the unwary, for example you aren't actually buying a bike, but renting it for a year.

    BTW - Great advice, not rude but useful. I figured the details wouldn't be complex, but they are. And Halfords aren't in it???
    Whhhhaaaaatt?
    Re: The scheme - you're exactly right. It's bike "hire" for 12-18 months, then you can purchase for 18-25% of it's value, or hire for a further 36 months by making a one-off payment, 3-7% of the original value. After those 36 months, you keep the bike, without incurring further cost.
    Is it a Government Scheme?
    Yes. Within the Government’s Green Transport Plan, there’s a tax exemption which allows employers to provide cycles and safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit. Technically speaking, employees actually hire the bicycles from you, buying them at the end of the salary sacrifice period for a Fair Market Value payment. Cyclescheme will collect this Fair Market Value payment for you, and we can also offer highly competitive finance packages from well known providers.
    The employer buys the bikes and safety accessories at full retail price. The balance is recovered from a reduction in the employee’s gross salary, and employers also benefit from National Insurance contribution savings. The net result? You save money on every bike you process through the scheme!

    Anyways thanks to you guys, I'm still thinking of using the cycles-scheme.
    Now i have to decide between the Two.Two and the Decathlon 520.
    if there's one that grabs you, you're more likely to use it - but here's the hard part - then stop looking any further and wondering if the other one would be better.

    Wise words, thankyou!
    My heart wanted the Carrera Vulcan... because the geometry made it look more like a downhill machine / more aggressive, however my head said the Dec was likely to be more value.
    Now the Vulcan has *gone* and having had you plant a seed about the Calibre I just have to figure:

    a) Do i really want to drive to (glorious) Reading for the Dec Btwin 520, or should i put that money towards the £100 more expensive Calibre?
    b) Are the Dec forks dampened? They seem to be rebound damped :S It seems the Calibre has better pieces and if so....
    c) Can i buy a WHITE bike (urgh)....

    After all this, could colour really sway me??

    Praise indeed to you two, thanks for saving me from much stupidity and self inflicted frustration.
  • Not seeing how Decathlon being 100 miles away is losing a whole weekend - my local Decathlon is 60 miles away and involves a ferry trip - even that is doable in 5-6 hours round trip.

    I totally exaggerated for the sake of the story. It's a 2h drive, no biggie but it's still a cost and a hassle unlike going to a local shop. Fair point; I'll man up.
    You've done your research (as I did mine) - came up with some possibilities - the answer now is to look deeper at those - if there's one that grabs you, you're more likely to use it - but here's the hard part - then stop looking any further and wondering if the other one would be better.

    Loved this. This comment should be stickied, but then.... you'd ruin this whole cyclical consumption thing the economy relies on :P
    In my world I went for the best frame & forks (in my judgement) with the poorest attachments (since everything attached to the frame is basically a consumable) and ended up buying an ex-hire bike refurbished - but £silly cheap - so better frame/fork/headset than I'd have got otherwise

    Oh and this wouldn't help the economy much either!
    I'll probably do this late on down the line when i know what I *really* want form a bike, or I need a diffferent feeling set of wheels.

    Thanks dude.
  • Oh and this wouldn't help the economy much either!

    Ah, but it helps my personal economy - plus I get (at the end) exactly what I want at a price I'm willing to pay. Sure XYZ wheels might not be as fast as ABC Wizzowheels - but they still go round and you can save up for the ABC Wizzowheels if that's what you ultimately want whilst wearing out the XYZs... so I bought two pairs of wheels - must be good for the economy ;)

    Also makes it easier to get past your CFO if you buy "a bike" and subtly upgrade it part-by-part as the existing ones wear out or limit you in some way. Said CFO is far less likely to spot XYZ wheels being switched for ABC Wizzowheels later down the line (especially if you keep to the same colour scheme lol)
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Halfords run their own 'ride to work' scheme, it's just your employer chose a different scheme (thee are several out there).

    As for helping the economy, I'm not sure buying a bike almost wholly made in Taiwan (just about every component and also the assembly) with just 15 mins PDI at Halfords by someone on close to minimum wage makes much of an impact really. Probably help the economy more buying a used bike (no effect on the balance of payments) and spending money to get it up to scratch.
  • I was only messing about the economy thing, having a giggle yknow :P
    Thanks.
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