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Bike commuter for London

GrzegorzGrzegorz Posts: 9
edited July 2015 in Commuting general
Hi

I'm planning to start cycling to work around 4-5miles one way. The road will be mainly on a quieter roads but slightly uphill on my way back.

I've been observing cyclists for a while and it seems that roadbikes dominate the streets (at least by numbers).

Taking into consideration London conditions and budget of £1000-1500 (would prefer to stay closer to a £1200)
what road bike would you recommend?

My criteria are:
1. Comfort
2. Speed
3. Handling in wet conditions (I'm not planning on cycling in pouring rain but the morning drizzle can happen)
4. Weight (I'd would be interested in your experience how much difference does it make when you drop 1-2kg off the bike as in the price range above I've found bikes between 7.5-10kg). I have slightly hilly section on my way back but not sure whether the difference in price justifies the difference in quality.

Is carbon fibre not recommended for commuter bikes?

One of my picks would be:
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/fuji/sportif-11-le-2015-road-bike-ec108532

or similar in Carbon:
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/fuji/gran-fondo-23-2015-road-bike-ec069061#BVRRWidgetID

Cheers,
G.

Posts

  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,161
    Do you have secure parking? or at least safe street parking?

    in terms of the bikes.

    questions 1/2/4 are broadly similar in that you need to try the bike to try it out, in terms of weight, clearly it has a effect though more perception than hard facts.

    3 re wet or at least moist weather, as a commute bike I'd advise the Sportif decent disk brakes on a urban commute bike, racer tyres tend to have better grip though they also tend to be more fragile. Tyres are clearly thin so there isn't much rubber on the ground but grip unless you really try is normally fine.
  • GrzegorzGrzegorz Posts: 9
    I will be limited in my choice to EvansCycles as they are the only shop my employer has an agreement with on Ride2Work scheme.
  • imatfaalimatfaal Posts: 2,716
    I will be limited in my choice to EvansCycles as they are the only shop my employer has an agreement with on Ride2Work scheme.

    You might want to double check your savings - Evans can be quite expensive. It can be a false economy to buy a bike which is more expensive just to receive a tax saving which might be less than the discount available elsewhere.

    You can get a hell of a bike for 1200 quid - my commuter was just over half that and I still love it over ten thousand of miles later.

    Comfort and good fit are more important than trimming a kilo from 10 to 9. Remember you weigh around about ten times as much as the bike - and it is a dreadful realisation that you have spent serious cash on carbon fibre this or that and then you are sticking 2kilos mass of laptop in your panniers

    Remeber to budget for Helmet, lock, lights, waterproof bag, clothing (if you can change at work). After getting used to it you might well want to think about rack and panniers (so get a bike that can accept them)

    Always but always try out any bike you are gonna buy
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Gensis Day One Disc
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/genesis/day-one-disc-2015-singlespeed-bike-ec073921

    Add mud-guards and spend the rest of the money on good be seen lights (e.g. Exposure Trace set), helmet, gloves, lock (e.g. Abus u-mini 401) etc.
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,157
    Are you sure you want a road bike? I commute 7.5 miles and have recently been forced to try various bikes (I kept breaking things!). I have a background as a road cyclist and racer BTW.

    My road bike (with rack and guards) was nominally faster, but was more uncomfortable due to narrow 25mm tyres and the drops. Narrow tyres don't insulate you from the poor road surfaces, and also don't give as much grip in the wet / greasy conditions. I could use the bike for extra miles around Richmond park for training (or winter club runs).

    My mountain bike was more comfortable, but the wide bars made getting through gaps hard, the 2 inch off road tyres made it hard work, and the upright position was a killer in the wind.

    My hybrid was set up almost like a dutch style bike. Quite a revelation - sitting almost up straight was really comfy, could see over cars (including MPVs) and through busses if I stood up. Speed off the line was faster (no clipless pedals to clip into) and 35mm tyres rolled well but also insulated from poor road surfaces. I could lock it up anywhere without worry too. I had mudguards, rack and dynohub. I'd say this was the best tool for the job, only a bit slower than teh road bike, but safer, and more comfortable.

    I'm currently using my wife's hybrid (a giant escape). Similar to the above but a lower bar position. Slightly faster into a head wind, less comfy and slighlty poorer visibility.



    I'd say have a good think about how you want to ride, and the route, to see which style of bike and riding will suit you best.
    If you are all in zone 1 and spending most of your time at traffic lights then I'd get something dutch style (but without the weight if poss). Mudguards, rack, dynamo and swept back bars.
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/norco/city-glide-8-2015-hybrid-bike-ec075283
    http://www.velorution.com/electra-loft-mens-3i/

    If you are going a bit further then a hybrid (Giant escape series, or Boardman are examples) with guards rack and dyno make a lot of sense. Personally I'd only go for drop bars if you have decent stretches of commute where there are no red lights, or you want the bike for other uses such as lapping Richmond Park or heading out on longer rides at the weekend (genesis Croix Der fer, Whyte road bikes look great, discs are a bonus in the wet). Having somewhere safe to lock the bike up at both ends becomes important.

    MTBs with road tyres are a compromise, but if you only have space for one bike and like MTBing then two sets of wheel gives some flexibility. Although a cheap hybrid for commuting (with rack and guards) and lock it up on the street is a an alternative. May be the same cost as a spare set of wheels...

    Carbon / titanium race bikes are pretty pointless for commuting are not practical, but then how many people drive to work in a sports car or on a Ducatti 999? If that is what floats your boat then fine, enjoy the pose! I used to use my race bike when heading off for midweek races after work. On the rare bits of free road it was a dream. I hate wearing backpacks though.


    On your points:
    Comfort is key I think. Wide tyres that roll well, guards to keep you dry and cleaner when the road is wet (even if it is not raining), pannier bags so you don't get a sweaty back from a backpack.
    Speed: Depending on your route the bike may not be the deciding factor. For me (Putney - Oxford Circ) 10 mins of the 45 min commute is due to red lights. The MTB added 5 mins at most to that time. Being lucky with lights make more difference that the choice of bike.
    Wet weather manners: Good tyres (wide), disc brakes a positive, mudguards make the wet journeys better.
    Weight: I wouldn't focus on that too much unless you have to carry the thing up and down stairs. Do you carry a laptop or work papers? Will you stop to pick up milk and stuff on the way home? A litre of water is a kilo so 4 pints of milk and a bottle of coke have added 4 kilos immediately.....


    At the end of the day it is a personal choice, but hope my reasoning above helps you make your decisions.
  • imatfaalimatfaal Posts: 2,716
    Are you sure you want a road bike? I commute 7.5 miles and have recently been forced to try various bikes (I kept breaking things!). I have a background as a road cyclist and racer BTW.

    snipped

    At the end of the day it is a personal choice, but hope my reasoning above helps you make your decisions.

    Agree with all the above. However - my hybrid needed some work and I used the posh CX bike for the commute one day and it is just fun. Two weeks later and I still haven't swapped back; very silly but sometimes it is good not to be sensible
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,757
    I built my commuter up from a bare frame and have configured it the way it works for me.

    26" wheels with 1.5" slicks, decent blend of light weight and fastish rolling, flat bars but unfashionably narrow at 580mm for convenience, flipped stem and flat bars to keep the front end low, MTB twist shift for lighter weight and to declutter the bars (no shift levers) and 1x9 gearing as it's all I need so saves weight and is more convenient.

    I would consider 700c wheels with similar width tyres but they won't fit in the frame as the chainstay gap is very narrow behind the BB.
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