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Help for a fellow beginner cyclist?

ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
edited August 2016 in Road general
Hi All!

I have been cycling to work for few years now, covering 3-5 miles each way with Boris Bikes. I feel I reached the point I want my own bike and I am hoping to get guidance here.
I would appreciate if you could help me understand which brands do what, which one is better than others, and what type of bikes are out there and their features (road, touring, MTB...).

I know this is a lot of stuff and even just pointing me to the right website would do.

I will be mainly riding to work, covering up to 5 miles each way on tarmac. I need something reasonably fast, but not carbon fiber fast. Happy to go second hand and would like to keep it below £300-500. Installing mudguards on it would be nice.

Let me know and thank you!

Posts

  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Does your workplace offer Cycle2work? A government-backed scheme to help you buy a new bike and minimise the amount of tax paid.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Popping over to the commuting forum may help too :)
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    If its just for tarmac then stay away from anything with suspension - at the cheaper end it wont work very well anyway and it will be very heavy.

    If you can get a bike with carbon forks and which can take reasonably wide tyres like 28mm then that should be enough cushioning for you.

    I would get myself over to Decathlon and have a look/try a few out if I were you - you can buy a new bike for second hand money there!
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    thanks guys.
    I seem to understand that I need a hybrid bike. Personally, I would like a drop handle. Suggestions? I have heard things about Specialized Allez and Sirrus. Surely I will need to install a back rack and mud guards (using it to go to work...).


    Ideas?
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    For a commuting bike mudguards make a very sensible idea.

    I'd go with a backpack myself for a 5 mile commute but it depends how much you carry and what your dress code is.

    Check out Decathlon and their range of Triban bikes. They get good reviews.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Sirrus is fine - but straight bars.
    Allez is a good bike - but it's a road/race bike. You can commute on it - but unless they've changed it you'll be using Pbrackets for the rack and mudguards will be limited to the roadracer type - I do commute on mine but I use a small backpack with just the essentials in. If I need more stuff or it's really bad weather I'll take my Tricross in as I've got the rack and proper fixed guards on it.
    The Tricross is also more upright sitting position than the Allez - which I understand to be a bonus when you're in traffic (my commute is in the countryside) - as you can see better. So all-in-all I'd avoid an Allez as a dedicated commute bike.
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    OK...over the weekend I tried a road bike and let's say I understood the meaning of "comfortable ride" :)
    For commuting I will definitely need a flat bar bike, I can't see myself riding in traffic bent over the handle bars.

    Speaking of which: Sirrus seems to be the consensus bike, but it is a bit too sporty for me. Purely in terms of style, I would like something more of a classic look, with gears, pretty much like this:

    http://www.reidbikes.com/bikes/vintage- ... -roadster/

    Any suggestions? Something possible to find second hand would be great.

    Thanks!
  • Creme have a few 3 speed options if they would be any good and of course if they would be in your size;
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/crem ... prod124521

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/crem ... prod124535
    The path of my life is strewn with cowpats from the devil's own satanic herd.
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    Thanks!
    I would probably stick with 6-7 speeds. My commute is relatively flat, with occasional uphill bits and decent long stretches.
    I am quite fit and in fact I am more worried about being fast enough on the road rather than being able to climb uphill.

    As far as you know, is it possible to replace sprocket sets afterwards, perhaps shifting towards a harder set?
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,957
    If I may muddy the waters a little?

    Choosing a drop handlebar bike doesn't necessarily mean you'll be bent over the handlebars. If you're too stretched out and struggling to look forward then there's every chance whichever drop handlbar bike you chose was too big for you.

    Yes, some bikes are much more aggressively set out than others but none should be useless as soon as you need to see where you're going in traffic.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    good that you brought that up. I agree with you on drop bars and I love that look, but in fact that bike felt a bit small (I could stretch much more).
    It made me realize that I can't ride that sort of bike with normal clothes, such as jeans. Or better, I can, but it won't be very comfy.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,957
    ponch10 wrote:
    good that you brought that up. I agree with you on drop bars and I love that look, but in fact that bike felt a bit small (I could stretch much more).
    It made me realize that I can't ride that sort of bike with normal clothes, such as jeans. Or better, I can, but it won't be very comfy.

    How tall are you and what size frame was the bike?

    You could do 5miles in jeans, IMO. I do every so often - to commute - and it's fine.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    i am 179cm and that was 54cm.
    the sales assistant sized me immediately as 56cm, but he did not have a 56 I could try.

    To be fully honest with you, I did not feel comfy around the crotch area while pedalling. Of course I can do 5 miles with it, but I wonder if it makes sense to temporarily sacrifice the comfort of my jewels if I am never going to wear lycra and ride for 50 miles in one go?
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,957
    You see if you were on a bike a size too small, I imagine a fair bit of seat post showing (to get the correct saddle height) and so maybe an 'unrealistic' saddle-to-bar drop. That could easily give a skewed version of the bike's fit.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    Oh I see, so too small forced me to actually be more bent - that seems plausable.

    I understand when looking at "city bikes", such as a more classic hybrid, sizing changes a bit. Besides go to a shop and try it, is there any reliable way I can guess what I am (S, M, L) ?
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,957
    ponch10 wrote:
    Oh I see, so too small forced me to actually be more bent - that seems plausable.

    I understand when looking at "city bikes", such as a more classic hybrid, sizing changes a bit. Besides go to a shop and try it, is there any reliable way I can guess what I am (S, M, L) ?

    I'd say not.

    I bought my last frame off ebay and based my decision on the measurements supplied by the seller and knowing what measurements work for me - from the benefit of experience. For example, a Trek M will not necessarily measure up like a Specialized M.

    If you have never ridden a road bike before, for any decent length of time, you don't really know what works for you individually. So you at least need to sit on a few in the shop to get some sort of an idea.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
  • OnTheRopesOnTheRopes Posts: 460
    Do not underrate the comfort of mudguards. Honestly if your bike is for commuting the whole thing will be more pleasant a lot of the time.
    Proper fitted mud guards, not the clip on things.
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    OnTheRopes wrote:
    Do not underrate the comfort of mudguards. Honestly if your bike is for commuting the whole thing will be more pleasant a lot of the time.
    Proper fitted mud guards, not the clip on things.


    I agree. I will definitely install guards if they don't come with the bike. Can't afford to ride it only on sunny days in London, you know :)
  • leemehleemeh Posts: 16
    The Bobbins Beat sounds the right sort of spec for you, 7 speed, already loaded up with midguards etc. These sort od bikes are heavy and clunky though.

    I know that retro effect looks pretty cool, there is a retro bike shop I walk passed everyday that sells these and Foffa bikes. I always look at them with a smile. That said nor sure I'd want to live with one on a daily commute. For this sort of money they will be entry level steel frames. I personally think riding daily an alley frame with similar components will just feel easier to live with long term. I had a Scott Sub for years doing a journey of this distance and it was perfect
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    Leemeh wrote:
    The Bobbins Beat sounds the right sort of spec for you, 7 speed, already loaded up with midguards etc. These sort od bikes are heavy and clunky though.

    I know that retro effect looks pretty cool, there is a retro bike shop I walk passed everyday that sells these and Foffa bikes. I always look at them with a smile. That said nor sure I'd want to live with one on a daily commute. For this sort of money they will be entry level steel frames. I personally think riding daily an alley frame with similar components will just feel easier to live with long term. I had a Scott Sub for years doing a journey of this distance and it was perfect

    This is a very good point and what I was looking for. Obviously I like the looks of these bikes, however £400 for a brand new bike which resembles 40 years old looks does not seem right. This is the sort of bait that most hipsters would be caught on, and I am definitely not in for that.
    I did not know about Foffa - they look just the same as Bobbin Noodles.

    So are you saying that even an entry level Specialized Sirrus (second hand max £200) would be lighter and more enjoyable than these faux vintage things?

    Bear in mind that:
    - I don't mind fixing mudguards and rack on a bike that doesn't have them
    - I would rather go for the real vintage deal - which I suspect it will be very unpractical though.
  • ponch10ponch10 Posts: 22
    to whomever contributed....I finally settled for a Sirrus Sport 2015.
    It might sound banal, but it has the right specs for a first bike, and second hand was a steal!

    Thanks All!
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