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Looking for some pointers, commuter/xc for £750-

DarmaDarma Posts: 5
edited August 2016 in MTB buying advice
I've been off biking for some time, but I used to really enjoy what I guess would be called XC on a hardtail.

I got a Boardman Road Sport about a year ago (I really like the look of racing bikes) and have barely used it. It's a great bike but I really can't get along with drops, pedal cages, or having brakes on the drops. Also, a very rigid bike isn't a good choice where I live as the roads are pretty poor. All in all it was a very, very bad choice.

I'm looking for a bike I can use for daily getting to work (very short commute) and some other commuting (maybe max of 5 miles?). I'm also looking for something I can take to some trails or footpaths and generally take on holiday with me if I want to do some off-roading.

This will hopefully be something that gets used and relied on a lot so I'm happy to go above the usual £500 limit and see what I can get for £750, but I'd really like to not spend any more than that.

It'd be great if I had a fork with a name I know on (like RockShox and Manitou), good disc brakes, etc. I'm seeing SR Suntour forks around a lot, are they any good now?

What are people recommending nowadays? I've been out of the hardtail market for a little over 10-years!

Thanks for any help.


  • Ive a Trek XCaliber 9 2014 and I cant recommend them enough, its had some upgrade since Ive had it a few years but Evans have got the Xcal 8 2016 on sale at the minute for £650? ... e-EV242018

    Others will be able to recommend more but from personal experience it fits everything you are looking for, mine is used as a daily 90% road commuter and gets taken for regular plays on trails and trail centres and hasnt missed a beat
  • DarmaDarma Posts: 5
    I was looking at the X-Caliber 8 @ Evans. I've decided to have a look at Halfords tomorrow at the VooDoo Bizango. It seems to be what everyone is recommending at the moment and the price is sub £500 with the discounts they currently have on it. If it feels good I'll buy one of those I think. Should know by lunchtime.

    Thanks for the reply :)
  • DarmaDarma Posts: 5
    Okay, I had a look at the Bizango but I didn't buy anything yet.

    I wanted to ask what the general opinion was between the Bizango (currently at £480) and the Boardman Team (currently at £680)

    I like the look of the Boardman more and I like that there's only one cog up-front, I like the Avid discs, RockShox, etc. I did enjoy the stance on the Boardman aswell, I do think riser bars would be nicer though and can't understand why they've gone for flat/low bars. I like that it has Mavic wheels...

    I liked the riding stance of the Bizango more or less equally with the Boardman, maybe very slightly more. I didn't like the feel of the bike though. The finish on the frame is unpleasant to the touch and it feels noticabley cheaper in finish than the Boardman. The forks I tried in the store were extremely soft too, but that's probably got more to do with how it was set up (I also had to pump the tires up myself before I could have proper ride on it).

    Here's the specs on both, what do you folks think?

    Voodoo Bizango

    Approximate Weight (KG): 13.2kg
    Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc Brakes
    Forks: Suntour Radion Air sprung with lock out
    Frame Material: Alloy
    Gender: Mens
    Number of Gears: 20
    Pedals Included: Yes
    Suspension: Front Suspension
    Wheel Size: 29"
    Bottom Bracket: Shimano Octolink spline bottom bracket
    Cassette/Freewheel: Shimano 10-spd 11-36T
    Chain: KMC X10
    Chainset: Suntour XCM 22/36T
    Fork Lock-out: Yes; Lever type
    Fork travel: 120mm
    Forks - Adjustable damping: Yes
    Frame: Double butted aluminium
    Front Brake: Shimano Acera M355
    Front Hub: Formula DC-20 15mm
    Front Mech: Shimano Deore M610
    Gear Shifters: Shimano Deore M610
    Geometry: MTB trail
    Grips: VooDoo Yellow
    Handlebars: VooDoo
    Headset: 1 1/8th semi intergrated ball bearing
    Pedals: Wellgo alloy
    Quick Release Front Wheel: Yes
    Quick Release Rear Wheel: Yes
    Rear Brake: Shimano Acera M355
    Rear Hub: Formula DC-20
    Rear Mech: Shimano Deore M610
    Rims: VooDoo double wall alloy
    Saddle: VooDoo
    Seatpost: VooDoo
    Stem: VooDoo
    Type: Mountain Bikes
    Tyre Size: 29" x 2.25"
    Tyres: Maxxis Ardent

    Boardman Team 29er

    Approximate Weight (KG): 12.6kg
    Brake Type: Hydraulic Disc
    Forks: RockShox Recon Silver air fork with 120mm travel and through axleRockShox Recon Silver air fork with 120mm travel and through axle
    Frame Material: Alloy
    Gender: Mens
    Number of Gears: 11
    Pedals Included: Yes
    Suspension: Front Suspension
    Wheel Size: 29"
    Bottom Bracket: FSA PF30
    Cassette/Freewheel: SRAM XG-1150, 11-SPD 10-42T
    Chain: KMC X11 11speed
    Chainset: FSA Comet Compact, 1x11, 34T
    Fork Lock-out: Yes
    Fork travel: 120mm
    Forks - Adjustable damping: Yes
    Frame: Triple Butted X7 alloy with Smooth Welds
    Front Brake: Avid DB5 Hydraulic Disc Brake - 180mm/160mm Centreline Rotor
    Front Hub: 9mm QR - 32 Hole
    Gear Shifters: SRAM RD-GX 1x11 Trigger
    Geometry: Boardman MTB Hardtail
    Handlebars: Boardman - 720mm(S, M, L) - 31.8mm with 0mm Rise, 9-Deg Bend
    Headset: FSA Orbit C-40 ACB/Industrial 1.1/8" to 1.1/2" Tapered - Integrated
    Pedals: Wellgo Platform - 9/16"
    Rear Brake: Avid DB5 Hydraulic Disc Brake - 160mm Rotor
    Rear Hub: 9mm QR - 32 Hole
    Rear Mech: SRAM RD-GX 11 Speed
    Rims: Mavic XM319 - 32 Hole
    Saddle: Boardman MTB
    Seatpost: Boardman - 31.6mm - 350mm(S+M) 400mm (L) with offset
    Stem: Boardman - 60mm - 31.8mm
    Type: Mountain Bikes
    Tyre Size: 29" x 2.2"
    Tyres: Continental X-King Tyres

    I feel as though I'm leaning more toward the Boardman, but do you folks think that would be a silly choice based on the price difference? Or, if that's the way I wanted to go, does the componentry warrant the extra outlay?

    Thanks again for the help.
  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    The boardman is slightly better equipped and a bit lighter.. So on paper I'd say the extra cost is justified, If you prefer the look and feel more and you can afford the extra, then your decision is pretty much made for you, I would say.

    That said if you use it for its intended purpose, it won't stay nice and shiney for long so don't get too hung up on fancy paint jobs.. Equally you have to like the look of a bike to some extent, it will make you want to ride it more.

    The difference in ergonomics is small you say, so it may be some slight handle bar or saddle adjustment will compensate.
    I doubt the shop will have spent too long setting the fork pressure, saddle height etc. For a quick demo.
  • DarmaDarma Posts: 5
    Thanks mattyfez for the reply.

    I should be picking up my Boardman this afternoon, so I'm quite excited :)
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