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C2W: bike buying advice

mgriff54mgriff54 Posts: 5
edited January 2016 in Commuting general
Hi everyone, I have a couple of newbie questions and would really appreciate some advice!

I have joined the cycle to work scheme and my policy is £320 plus up to £50 ‘free’ on accessories, both bike and accessories must be purchased at the same time from Halfords in-store (so effectively £370 spend, max £320 on the bike).

I’ll mostly be using the bike on a cycle route that is a mixture of canal paths (pretty smooth and flat, but not completely tarmac). I haven’t ridden for years so will start with low mileage.

I’ve been looking at the following two hybrids as the best options for my price/requirements.

However they had neither in stock for my size so the store is getting both for me to try in-store tomorrow with the aim of me picking one to ride away with. Does anyone have a preference/disliking for either bike? Any particular pitfalls for either that anyone’s aware of?

They had a too-big carrera subway 1 and boardman hybrid sport in stock and my initial impression was I preferred the boardman – the frame looked better without exposed welding but I asked about the narrowness/slickness of the tyres. The Halfords assistant then said that the boardman was not far off a roadbike with hybrid handlebars and doubted whether it could handle anything at all off-the-road, saying the boardman was the better bike for roads but the carrera the better all-rounder.

On this advice I walked out the shop leaning towards the carrera but saw online that whereas it’s easy to get different tyres for the boardman, the carrera has 27.5” wheels that even Halfords hardly stocks! If I get a puncture I don’t want to be spending time trying to find a decent tyre that fits, so now I’m genuinely 50/50 over each and have to decide which to get tomorrow. Main things are durability and ease of maintenance.

Any opinions would be most welcome!


  • The Boardman is the better bike, but will be harsh off road - think it comes with 28mm tyres, will probably take up to 30 something for a soother ride

    The Subway is pretty bombproof, but heavy. I had one of the older ones and it was fine up and down a towpath and the tyres will absorb some of the bumps

    The 27.5 tyres are probably more common than you think - they are often listed as 650b

    The Boardmans are probably being discontinued so will become scarce - may be worth reserving one, there's no obligation to buy

    Your voucher should be valid for several months so there shouldn't be a rush to redeem it

    Sign up to Halfords emails - there are often 10% off online flash deals, a lot are just for a couple of hours in a day. If you can reserve a bike during that time you could get a few more options
    The Voodoo Marasa and Boardman Hybrid Comp are both £350, but would be under your £320 with 10% off.

    Ask about British Cycling discount. £26 for the year gets you 10% off instore. Officially not valid on C2W, but often accepted
  • Thanks for the reply :) Unfortunately the £50 accessories voucher runs out after this week hence the preference to do it quickly...
  • Does the £50 voucher have its own code? Should be something like 00221234. If so you could set up an order containing a bike and accessories and then use the voucher to make a part payment on the order before it runs out.
    The accessories would be paid for but there would still be an open order if you changed your mind on the bike and swapped to another one (within the budget)
  • Unfortunately Halfords have thought of that - according to the terms it can only be redeemed in-store at the same time as handing in the 'letter of collection' for cycle to work.

    It's basically an incentive to join cycle to work in the first couple of weeks rather than waiting longer (I assume it helps their sales figures!)
  • Foiled again!

    General advice - check the web price, not just Halfords if it's branded accessories, so that they can price match to get you the best deal

    And personally I'd go for the Boardman with some mudguards and lights and then maybe add wider tyres later on
  • Thanks for the advice, went for the Boardman in the end. Decided almost immediately, then waited over an hour for Halfords to process c2w!
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