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need advice on inexpensive hybrid for everyday commuting

bartizbartiz Posts: 8
edited June 2015 in Commuting general
Hello forums!

I'm looking for rather cheaper low end or entry level bike for everyday work commuting and maybe some occasional "weekend journeys" as well as city bike, but I guees anything can do for a city bike (rather shorter distances). Rather short distances (~4 miles to my workplace). I'd like to spend something between £300-£400.

I'm thinking about something equipped with mudguards (to save up trouble), rack and preferably lights since I might be returning late. Maybe I'm wrong but seems to me like equipping bike with fenders etc. might be more expensive than already fitted bike.

Not sure about suspension fork, some come with lock, not sure how handy that is. I'm used to MTB and enjoy some offroad, just not sure if I will. I think suspension might be nice for getting through kerbs. ;-) Been told that V-brakes are cheaper to maintain. Not sure what else can I add...

Note: My employer doesn't have cycle scheme and won't have one.

To get to point, what I'm thinking about:

Cube Touring
http://www.cube.eu/en/bikes/tour/tourin ... hite-2015/
Has everything required, mudguards, rack, dynamo lights, just too pricey - £450. :(

Very similar to one above, Scott Sub Comfort 40
http://www.wheelies.co.uk/p67016/Scott- ... -Bike.aspx
But also pricey and 2014 models on discount are already gone everywhere I guess.

Raleigh Pioneer 4
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/ral ... e-ec108616
Also above budget, however this one seems to be coming with suspension lock but doesn't have lights.
There's also Cheaper Pioneer 3 without suspension:
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/ral ... e-ec108617

Now these are very similar, both in appearance and price, looks to me like only brand on the frame is changing...
http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Ridgeback-Meteo ... _73650.htm
http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Ridgeback-Speed ... _73670.htm
http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Dawes-Discovery ... _76834.htm
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/jam ... e-ec072071
All them without lights, not sure if dynamo is that good and how expensive decent lights are.

Maybe something plain, would just have to fit all the accessory, as said before, not sure how much would all this be.
Giant Escape 3 (this one also comes with mudguards and rack for additional £50 - fair price?)
http://www.wheelies.co.uk/p73827/Giant- ... -Bike.aspx
or this clearance Cube LTD CLS (seems a bit too offroady, maybe new tires would do).
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/cube ... prod114136
But these would require from me to buy all the accessory, with additional expenses it would close under £400 I guess.

Any advice please?
Sorry for amount of links, hehe. Just too much too choose from. I guess most of these are very similar and just brand (or frame producer?) changes.

Posts

  • imatfaalimatfaal Posts: 2,716
    Get to a bike shop and try some out. There is nothing like just riding them to make the choice - some bikes just feel right and others never really suit.
  • bartizbartiz Posts: 8
    imatfaal wrote:
    Get to a bike shop and try some out. There is nothing like just riding them to make the choice - some bikes just feel right and others never really suit.
    This is good advice, but I'm kinda limited with that I guess. I've only tried Giant from one listed above as it was in stock at the store.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    bartiz wrote:
    I've only tried Giant from one listed above as it was in stock at the store.

    How was it? did you like it? If so then that might help choose, Giant is a good make but not charging quite as much of a premium for the name as some other brands...

    Having said that, if you have a Decathlon near you then it is hard to argue with their value:

    Everything fitted, well under budget but probably as good or nearly as good as brand names in your budget: http://www.decathlon.co.uk/hoprider-300 ... 07664.html

    If you want to spend more then: http://www.decathlon.co.uk/fit-300-flat ... 06479.html
  • zaneladzanelad Posts: 269
    I was looking for a cheap 2nd hand hybrid. I ended up buying the Giant Escape 3 from my LBS. £320 including mudguards.

    I'm very pleased with it. Smooth, comfortable and not slow.

    Much better than risking a second hand bike which my have hidden problems IMO
  • bartizbartiz Posts: 8
    apreading wrote:
    How was it? did you like it? If so then that might help choose, Giant is a good make but not charging quite as much of a premium for the name as some other brands...
    I used to have Giant MTB, served me well riding the woods. I'm really considering it, just not sure how much would I have to spend on all the accessory.
    apreading wrote:
    Everything fitted, well under budget but probably as good or nearly as good as brand names in your budget: http://www.decathlon.co.uk/hoprider-300 ... 07664.html
    Does anyone know how well does dynamo lights like that work at dawn and mb night if there's no much lights on road?
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    I think dynamo would be good for being seen, I would get some Chinese XML lights for £20 or so to see really well when it's dark though
  • RutlandGavRutlandGav Posts: 144
    I'd probably go with disks tbh. The cable operated disks on my carerra subway are actually weaker than most of the v-brakes i used to own, but i've always found v-brakes to be a maintenance nightmare. Fiddlly to align a new pad without one end or other overlapping the rim or rubbing on a tyre, and you get very few rides before they start wearing unevenly to the shape of the rim, so that they bind themselves on after a brake application.

    Don't cheap out on the lights they save your life and cheap ones cost more to run, in batteries and breakages, long term.

    I got some Lezyne Micro Drive , £50 on Wiggle. About the minimum i'd recommend for anyone. They charge off USB so you can top up at work and the rear is VERY bright.

    Like all lithium ion batteries, they degrade faster when stored at high states of charge.

    Charge it up just before you use it, rather than plugging it in at the end of a ride and storing them unused for days at full.

    If it is possible for you to store them somewhere cool , without them being stolen (utility room, the fridge?) do so.

    Finally, they have an indicator led which is a rudimentary state of charge gauge. Shows green when above 50%. If your ride is only an hour or so, you don't have to charge all the way to full.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Rear light, get the Moonshield 60 or the On-one copy, they are amazingly bright.

    I also use a Lezyne up front.

    Discs on a commuter for me as it gives better instant braking when it's wet, no need to squeegee the rim for the first rotation!

    As for a bike, check out the Voodoo Marasa from Halfords, very versatile and amazing value.
  • bartizbartiz Posts: 8
    The Rookie wrote:
    Discs on a commuter for me as it gives better instant braking when it's wet, no need to squeegee the rim for the first rotation!
    How difficult is maintaining of these? I've never had a bike with discs. A colleague of mine told me to stay away from discs, are they are expensive to maintain/replace in comparison with V brakes.


    Anyways, doing more and more research on bicycles in my price tag leaned me towards conclusion that everything considering components is usually very similar and not the best. ;)
    Things like cheapest possible front gears/shifters and slightly better rear. Meh.

    After the research the Giant Escape 3 seems a bit scary with it's Tourney Derailleurs. Do you guys think these would be worth upgrading later on to a two or three models above on a bike like this?

    Anyways, what does forums think about Dawes bikes value? Price vs what you get.
  • RutlandGavRutlandGav Posts: 144
    bartiz wrote:
    The Rookie wrote:
    Discs on a commuter for me as it gives better instant braking when it's wet, no need to squeegee the rim for the first rotation!
    How difficult is maintaining of these? I've never had a bike with discs. A colleague of mine told me to stay away from discs, are they are expensive to maintain/replace in comparison with V brakes.

    I've had my bike 6 months, worn out the chainset and rear derailleur and not had to do anything to the disks yet. Beats adjusting V brakes weekly / replacing pads once or twice a month.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    For what it is worth, in the old days when I had V brakes, I didnt have to adjust them weekly or replace pads monthly either.

    Having said that, with hydraulic disc brakes they are even easier to look after and require no re-adjustment other than when you change pads, generally.

    The big thing is the stopping power, especially when its wet - for daily commuting the ability to do an emergency stop could save you from accident or injury or at the very least give you more comfort that you can take avoiding action quickly when a motorist does something stupid like turn across in front of you...
  • bartizbartiz Posts: 8
    I don't even know what disc would be any good, hehe. Well... more searching to go.

    I guess everyone has it's own experiences with brakes.
  • Zerotails99Zerotails99 Posts: 127
    Decathlon is the best for sub 500 pound bikes. Sizing is important so I wouldn't recommend buying online.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    The current mechanical callipers on my commuter were bought used and have done about 4500 miles on my bike with one change of pads and no changes of disc. Can't see V-brakes being any cheaper than that!
  • POHBPOHB Posts: 40
    The other way that disks work out cheaper in the long run is that rim brakes wear out your rims, especially if you commute in the wet with a lot of stop-start. I got fed up changing wheels every couple of years.
  • bartizbartiz Posts: 8
    edited May 2015
    After long search and research I've came to a conclusion that majority of bikes in this price are very similar. Derailleurs are usually the cheap shimano tourney or altus, aluminum 60xx frame, steel fork, ez-fire shifters branded stem, handlebar and saddle. And the main thing that changes from my point of view is just name on the frame.

    I'm not sure if all these components matters that much for simple user like myself. Well, maybe better shimano gear would last longer, but would it make much of a difference? I don't know that, nor have money to check it.

    So I've just found a nice discount on a last year's model and bought it from one of more popular (not sure if that popular tho) online bike stores. I've bought Marin, which is slightly overpriced brand in UK since it's US brand I guess. But I felt like I get a little bit more for a price of previous year's model, like rear Acera mech (does Toruney, Altus, Acera really differ that much?), aluminum rigid fork, schwalbe tires and suspension post seat which doesn't do that much as far as I can tell.

    The bike drives nice, fits me, however it came with not very well adjusted front mech - beauty of online buying I guess. Three youtube instructional videos and one longer evening of playing and trying made it better but not perfect - chain is still rubbing the front mech on some gears. Maybe another evening of adjusting is required, but so far I haven't been using these gears anyway.

    Maybe I'll change to disc brakes one day if it would be possible. Or I'll get rid of this bike and just get a new one after some time once I'll feel more comfortable with cycling and will want to dive deeper into this.

    Thank you all for your replies.
  • RutlandGavRutlandGav Posts: 144
    bartiz wrote:
    After long search and research I've came to a conclusion that majority of bikes in this price are very similar. Derailleurs are usually the cheap shimano tourney or altus, aluminum 60xx frame, steel fork, ez-fire shifters branded stem, handlebar and saddle. And the main thing that changes from my point of view is just name on the frame.

    I'm not sure if all these components matters that much for simple user like myself. Well, maybe better shimano gear would last longer, but would it make much of a difference?

    Glad to know I didn't get ripped off then, since all the components on mine are similar patchwork selection of whatever unused, generic, bottom of the range stock a variety of manufacturers had left over from previous model years.

    The most important thing, is , as you say, that the bike fits you. Drive train components can always be upgraded later of course, when they wear out.*

    A saddle that won't break your censored is one important upgrade you can do yourself, but by far and away the most important thing for a commuter are tyres not made of cheese. My hybrid came with a set of Kenda nobblies. Got three different punctures from thorns in the first 300 miles riding - unacceptable. Generic rubber and steel bead construction - heavy and weak. Got some Schwalbe super moto evolution X, 2.4 inch slicks with a greenguard belt, then added a layer of Panaracer Flataway kevlar felt on the inside to be sure - still lighter than the stock tyres, roll and grip better too. Then some slime inner tubes so if any thorns do get through, i should make it home. Two and a half thousand miles later no punctures.

    Of course, by the time you've bought all the accessories you need for your new hobby - lock, all weather clothing, lights, mudguards, touring panniers - you'll have spent as much as you did on the bike again. But it's worth it, this stuff makes such a difference to your experience of the ride.

    *edit - and really, what's the effect of these cheap drivetrain components?

    Well, it means you probably have an 8 speed cassette instead of a 10 or 11 & it'll be a few pounds heavier, no big deal. The more expensive stuff is no less prone to wearing out, especially if you commute in bad weather. The quality of the shifting has more to do with how well it is set up and the timely replacement of knackered cables and derailleurs.

    However, given that a drivetrain refurb entails a good few hours of amateur labour, not being able to ride a few days and no small amount of stress, spending a couple hundred on replacement bits for a nice upgrade rather than £40 for a direct like-for-like seems justifiable.
  • bartizbartiz Posts: 8
    edited May 2015
    RutlandGav wrote:
    Of course, by the time you've bought all the accessories you need for your new hobby - lock, all weather clothing, lights, mudguards, touring panniers - you'll have spent as much as you did on the bike again. But it's worth it, this stuff makes such a difference to your experience of the ride.
    That's true, kind of annoying too as you realise how many things you still need. Add all-weather glasses as insects and graves pieces falling into eyes are no fun.

    I think I did an overkill by buying chain lock that weights 3 kg. When I took it out from the box I thought, it's too heavy dumb censored ! :lol:
    But hey, why not add few kilos to your bike just for fun?

    EDIT: pieces of gravel, but have a laugh
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    bartiz wrote:
    Add all-weather glasses as insects and graves pieces falling into eyes are no fun.
    Pieces of Graves, wow, that takes some doing, that sort of thing could haunt you for a while!

    Aldi and Lidl are great for cheap and effective clothing for commuting. For my commute I wear cheap Polaris shorts, can be had off ebay for less than a tenner and work really nicely, Base layer T-shirt, work socks plus a second pair over the top in the shoes, helmet, then Aldi mitts (summer) or gloves (winter) with an Aldi soft shell for winter as well.
  • drummer_boydrummer_boy Posts: 236
    Depends what you're after. I just bought a 2nd Hand Specialized Sirrus off eBay for £145, and did the Newcastle Edinburgh sustrans route on it, with panniers. There are some 2nd hand bargains out there!!
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