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Newbie Commute Bike

mstrmind5mstrmind5 Posts: 45
edited April 2016 in Road beginners
Hi All,

Complete novice looking to get my first bike to use to commute ~10 miles each way through London/SE London (terrain pretty flat). I'm 6ft, 13 stone, 34.5 inch inside leg. Read a bit on bike guides, reviews but still unsure what to look for and what price bracket I should be looking at for my first bike.

So should I look to be getting a new bike from a store with good aftercare, there's a Decathalon I could visit, or is 2nd hand bike viable (remember complete novice)? Are there any particular specs I should be making a priority (groupset,weight,etc)?

I also know I have to factor in accessories - what are the essentials, or advised buys for road/commuting?

I know these questions have already been asked before, but any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Posts

  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 12,703
    First, and possibly most important question. Will you be carrying stuff?
    Backpack or panniers? If you need panniers then that will reduce your options considerably.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • mstrmind5mstrmind5 Posts: 45
    Just a backpack, no panniers needed. Option to add a mudguard needed.
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,153
    For me I'd suggest:
    Cycle to work scheme, Giant escape 3 hybrid (or the escape city), full mudguards, a pannier rack, pannier bags, decent lock, some lights. Add on a rain jacket and gloves for inclement weather.

    10 miles would probably need a change of clothes so t shirts, shorts, jumper, tracksuit trousers, trainers would be an idea. The pannier helps your back stay non-sweaty and you can carry a change of clothes.

    Other similar hybrids are available, I've been impressed with the two low end Giants I've had though. The 35mm tyres are a good compromise of cushioning of censored roads surfaces (or gravel paths along the Thames). A hybrid is more heads up than a road / cross bike which I prefer fr commuting.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 12,703
    mstrmind5 wrote:
    Just a backpack, no panniers needed. Option to add a mudguard needed.
    Start with a Genesis Equilibrium (model to suit budget) as a bench mark and buy the bike that you like.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    mstrmind5 wrote:
    Just a backpack, no panniers needed. Option to add a mudguard needed.
    Just a backpack if you don't mind a sweaty back. I commute 18 miles each way with a rack and a rackpack on top rather than panniers. I leave trousers, shoes, trousers and towel etc. at work, so I am only carrying shirt, pants, tools and lunch with space to leave off a layer or so when warmer in afternoon when commuting home.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Definitely get mudguards for a commuting bike.
  • mstrmind5mstrmind5 Posts: 45
    Thank you all for your feedback, it's helped a great deal.

    As I have a decathalon nearby(ish), would you say it's worth considering looking at their lower to mid range b'twin racing bikes - so the 500 SE, 520, 540 and ULTRA 700 bikes.

    With that in mind would I see/feel any real-world difference for my use - commuting - between Shimano Claris, Sora Tiagra and 105?

    Thanks again.
  • sheffsimonsheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    mstrmind5 wrote:
    Thank you all for your feedback, it's helped a great deal.

    As I have a decathalon nearby(ish), would you say it's worth considering looking at their lower to mid range b'twin racing bikes - so the 500 SE, 520, 540 and ULTRA 700 bikes.

    With that in mind would I see/feel any real-world difference for my use - commuting - between Shimano Claris, Sora Tiagra and 105?

    Thanks again.

    Any of those Decathlon bikes will be perfectly fine for commuting, and I doubt you would notice any difference in those different Shimano groupsets.

    Mudguards are a must, I wouldn't bike a bike for commuting that didn't have mudguard eyes for fitting proper mudguards.

    IMHO commuting with a back pack is unpleasant, especially in summer.

    My local Decathlon has a bike workshop in-store, so I imagine servicing, repairs and warranty issues are straightforward.
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,153
    As a novice are you sure you want drop bars? Great if you intent to also use the bike to ride out into the countryside of 40 mile jaunts, but for commuting narrow tyres and drop bars just aren't as comfortable. if you want to race people on your commute then go for it though.
  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,319
    You say your commute is flat - so you also need to ask yourself if you need gears at all, or could you use a single speed bike? If the latter, then you'd save a lot of future maintenance and perhaps weight. Downside is you'd look like a Shoreditch Hipster! (Joke)

    That said, not sure what the options are for a SS bike with all the rack and guard fittings, but I'm sure there will be a good choice. I'm sure that if I were after something for flat city riding I'd consider this option - I commute in south lakes, so no gears is not an option!

    Re drop bars - not sure why the comfort has been brought into question, you can get a far greater range of hand positions on drop bars than flat bars, so don't let this put you off.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 12,703
    As a novice are you sure you want drop bars? Great if you intent to also use the bike to ride out into the countryside of 40 mile jaunts, but for commuting narrow tyres and drop bars just aren't as comfortable. if you want to race people on your commute then go for it though.
    More position options = more comfortable. I got a hybrid once. Never again.
    Make sure you can fit 25mm+ tyres though.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,153
    10 miles though London traffic: doubt the drops will be used ever. I've commuted the same distance into Oxford Circus and found a hybrid better at the job than my winter trainer / audax bike (and I'm a long time roady). Fatter tyres take the kick out of poor surfaces (and give more grip in the wet), plus last longer due to more rubber. A higher riding position helps to see over cars and through busses, and is easier on the back, aerodynamics for commuting are of low importance. Flat pedals are better than clipless (even SPD) when there are lots of traffic lights to stop at. Hybrids are cheap to buy and maintain.

    Not everyone's choice but in my view is a better tool for the job.
  • pblakeney wrote:
    As a novice are you sure you want drop bars? Great if you intent to also use the bike to ride out into the countryside of 40 mile jaunts, but for commuting narrow tyres and drop bars just aren't as comfortable. if you want to race people on your commute then go for it though.
    More position options = more comfortable. I got a hybrid once. Never again.
    Make sure you can fit 25mm+ tyres though.

    Offset by poorer field of vision, which is probably more important than variety of hand positions on a 10 mile each way commute.

    Horse for courses.
    Carrera Subway 2015
    Boardman Hybrid Team 2014
  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,319
    pblakeney wrote:
    As a novice are you sure you want drop bars? Great if you intent to also use the bike to ride out into the countryside of 40 mile jaunts, but for commuting narrow tyres and drop bars just aren't as comfortable. if you want to race people on your commute then go for it though.
    More position options = more comfortable. I got a hybrid once. Never again.
    Make sure you can fit 25mm+ tyres though.

    Offset by poorer field of vision, which is probably more important than variety of hand positions on a 10 mile each way commute.

    Horse for courses.

    True, and you could have this debate all day long - in the end it's down to the OP to choose which style he (or she) feels more comfortable using, but I would say that an upright position can always be facilitated with drop bars, riding on the tops. Having said that, the only time I ever use flat-bars is on my other half's hybrid so I'm not really that comfortable with them, so just my personal preference. My other half on the other hand is so used to them she finds drops a nightmare, so yes, horses for courses.

    Btw - don't get a horse, they cost a fortune to feed and vets bills!
  • mstrmind5mstrmind5 Posts: 45
    Thanks all - got a much better understanding fomr reading these replies to judge what I should be looking for now.

    I'll test ride in store some of the different bike versions, and also a friends flat bar bike on some roads, to see what I will be most comfortable using. Judging by the weather today in London, I'll also have to factor in clothing and the like for all weather conditions.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Just had a nice 23 mile hilly ride on my Specialized Sirrus hybrid this morning. Depending on the conditions and type of ride, I just sometimes prefer the hybrid to the drop bars bikes that I have. The hybrid has bar ends, so there is a couple of different hand positions.

    If I had a 10 mile commute in busy London traffic, I would definitely use the hybrid for a more upright position than even on the hoods of my road bikes, meaning better visibility.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,109 Lives Here
    mstrmind5 wrote:
    Thank you all for your feedback, it's helped a great deal.

    As I have a decathalon nearby(ish), would you say it's worth considering looking at their lower to mid range b'twin racing bikes - so the 500 SE, 520, 540 and ULTRA 700 bikes.

    With that in mind would I see/feel any real-world difference for my use - commuting - between Shimano Claris, Sora Tiagra and 105?

    Thanks again.

    Hi there. I'm too lazy to read the other responses so may have already been covered.

    Re 105/sora/tiagra etc: you will notice a difference if you ride them all back-to-back, but ultimately in my experience shimano is very reliable at the bottom end and will work fine, so it's more a question of how much refinement you want.

    105 is decent mid range stuff (on a fairly broad spectrum) and is functionally as good as th really high end stuff - it's just a bit heavier and maybe not quite the same shape.

    I rode a sora/tiagra combo on my first bike in '05 and it worked Perfectly 4 years later when I did 1000km in 5 days in the Pyrenees, and I don't doubt it's been refined since.
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 2,965
    The 500se has only space for 28mm tyres if you use half mudguards (IE ones that don't go under the brakes), or 23 with full guards.
    The 520 and 540 have space for 35 mm with no guards, and 28 with guards, and come with full pannier mount points as well .
    The 520/540 have both gone with a better bottom bracket tech (hollowtech) than that on the 500se, which should mean less maintenance.
    The ultra AF has no pannier points, but I believe have full guard points.

    Equally, if your going to commute in all weather, beware the 500se wheels have had issues with seal quality against water ingress into the hub, meaning more maintenance.

    That's from a 500se owner.
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
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