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Buying Advise - best bike for £1k for 12 mile London Commute?

MRLorenMRLoren Posts: 5
edited November 2018 in Road buying advice
I'm transitioning from an XC MTB background and gearing up for a 12 mile London Commute, and the odd half day out probably no more than 50 milers? I've signed to the cycle to work scheme and trying to keep the costs around £1k and looking for the best bike right now, and going to invest imminently (looking for BLACK FRIDAY DEAL). To disc or not to disc? Currently looking at the Merida Scultura 500 Disc, Cervelo R2 105, Fuji SL 2.3 Disc, Ridley Noah Ultegra Mix Carbon, or Specialised Roubaix? All slightly different bikes. I am more naturally a sprinter, and less bothered about comfort, especially since I'm not looking for endurance. I'm more likely to do a triathlon, than do an epic endurance. Any advice would be hugely appreciated.

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Whatever you get you want full mudguards and the ability to take wide tyres. Panniers would also be on my list.
  • A Planet X London Road https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/bikes/road-bikes/london-road would seem to fit the bill and a 1x with hydraulic brakes can be had for £800. The only issue is how it would work with the cycle to work scheme.
    'Hello to Jason Isaacs'
  • Depends on the route.

    Having done it for a few years I'd say
    - Ability to fit mudguards is a definite plus but not critical if you want to ride every day through winter.
    - Panniers if you want to carry heavy loads as rucksacks are uncomfortable for long journeys
    - Wider tyres are generally more comfortable but I never had an issue on 23mm
    - Disc brakes help in the wet but I never had an issue with caliper brakes at 75kg.
  • Be careful. Some places don't accept Cycle to Work for the sale price of bikes and only for their RRP as otherwise they don't make any money.
    Check with the retailer if this is the case or not.
  • Brompton is probably your best bet... you can go quick on a Brompton and can fold it when you need to. No lock-the-bike dramas.
    12 miles are a good distance for a Brompton... 50 might be a stretch, but if it's reasonably flat, I don't see why not...

    Don't underestimate the feel good factor of passing MAMILs on carbon bikes on your folding and leaving them for dead
  • I was thinking of the Planet X London but in the end went for a Triban RC520 from Decathlon. Have been very pleased with it on my commute, 20 miles each way (not daily), and leaves plenty of change for pannier rack/bags and mudguards. It has mostly a Shimano 105 drive train and hybrid discs which work well and plenty of stopping power.

    https://www.decathlon.co.uk/triban-rc-520-disc-road-bike-navy-105-id_8554421.html
  • cougie wrote:
    Whatever you get you want full mudguards and the ability to take wide tyres. Panniers would also be on my list.
    Was thinking of mudguards, though not massively interested in panniers as that would be for a tourer. Thanks though
  • Brompton is probably your best bet... you can go quick on a Brompton and can fold it when you need to. No lock-the-bike dramas.
    12 miles are a good distance for a Brompton... 50 might be a stretch, but if it's reasonably flat, I don't see why not...

    Don't underestimate the feel good factor of passing MAMILs on carbon bikes on your folding and leaving them for dead

    I have never seen this happen in any meaningful sense.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    You can do without panniers if you don't need to take much to work. Keep it light on the back - you can't take the weight that you would hiking on a cycling position.

    Your back will object.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Brompton is probably your best bet... you can go quick on a Brompton and can fold it when you need to. No lock-the-bike dramas.
    12 miles are a good distance for a Brompton... 50 might be a stretch, but if it's reasonably flat, I don't see why not...

    Don't underestimate the feel good factor of passing MAMILs on carbon bikes on your folding and leaving them for dead

    I have never seen this happen in any meaningful sense.

    I've chased and dropped racers on my Brompton. Can't say what their frames were made of though.
  • Depends on the route.

    Having done it for a few years I'd say
    - Ability to fit mudguards is a definite plus but not critical if you want to ride every day through winter.
    - Panniers if you want to carry heavy loads as rucksacks are uncomfortable for long journeys
    - Wider tyres are generally more comfortable but I never had an issue on 23mm
    - Disc brakes help in the wet but I never had an issue with caliper brakes at 75kg.

    Mudguards are a good shout
    Don’t think I need panniers as I’m never going to tour on it.
    25mm tyres then?
    Just think everyone will have disc brakes soon. Better stopping power and kinder on the rims
    Thanks
  • Fenix wrote:
    Brompton is probably your best bet... you can go quick on a Brompton and can fold it when you need to. No lock-the-bike dramas.
    12 miles are a good distance for a Brompton... 50 might be a stretch, but if it's reasonably flat, I don't see why not...

    Don't underestimate the feel good factor of passing MAMILs on carbon bikes on your folding and leaving them for dead

    I have never seen this happen in any meaningful sense.

    I've chased and dropped racers on my Brompton. Can't say what their frames were made of though.

    I've dropped Bromptons on my mountain bike and have never been over-taken by one. Seen a few quick ones, but the benefits don't stand up against the speed gains of one of the bikes I'm looking at though. Never seen anyone enter a bike race on one.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    A few people have done Ride London on them. They're not as fast as a decent road bike - but they're very capable. I
    f you have the legs - they'll do well. Check out the Brompton World Champs on Youtube.

    If you want the option to bail out of your commute one way due to bad weather and you can get the bus or train in - then the Brompton does make sense.
  • MRLoren wrote:
    Fenix wrote:
    Brompton is probably your best bet... you can go quick on a Brompton and can fold it when you need to. No lock-the-bike dramas.
    12 miles are a good distance for a Brompton... 50 might be a stretch, but if it's reasonably flat, I don't see why not...

    Don't underestimate the feel good factor of passing MAMILs on carbon bikes on your folding and leaving them for dead

    I have never seen this happen in any meaningful sense.

    I've chased and dropped racers on my Brompton. Can't say what their frames were made of though.

    I've dropped Bromptons on my mountain bike and have never been over-taken by one. Seen a few quick ones, but the benefits don't stand up against the speed gains of one of the bikes I'm looking at though. Never seen anyone enter a bike race on one.

    Your so called speed gains might amount to 1 mph out of town... within London I suspect you'll be quicker with a Brompton... you can fit in narrower gaps in traffic and you can weave among cars easier, which in turns makes you faster A to B.
    If you are only interested in "look at me" speed, then a Brompton is in my experience about 1 mph slower than a race bike... not a lot.

    The added bonus is that a 5 years old Brompton goes for about 75% of the price of a new one,,, any race bike struggle to sell for 25% of the original price after 5 years...

    But what do I know...
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    MRLoren wrote:
    Fenix wrote:
    Brompton is probably your best bet... you can go quick on a Brompton and can fold it when you need to. No lock-the-bike dramas.
    12 miles are a good distance for a Brompton... 50 might be a stretch, but if it's reasonably flat, I don't see why not...

    Don't underestimate the feel good factor of passing MAMILs on carbon bikes on your folding and leaving them for dead

    I have never seen this happen in any meaningful sense.

    I've chased and dropped racers on my Brompton. Can't say what their frames were made of though.

    I've dropped Bromptons on my mountain bike and have never been over-taken by one. Seen a few quick ones, but the benefits don't stand up against the speed gains of one of the bikes I'm looking at though. Never seen anyone enter a bike race on one.

    Your so called speed gains might amount to 1 mph out of town... within London I suspect you'll be quicker with a Brompton... you can fit in narrower gaps in traffic and you can weave among cars easier, which in turns makes you faster A to B.
    If you are only interested in "look at me" speed, then a Brompton is in my experience about 1 mph slower than a race bike... not a lot.

    The added bonus is that a 5 years old Brompton goes for about 75% of the price of a new one,,, any race bike struggle to sell for 25% of the original price after 5 years...

    But what do I know...

    Bromptons are great at accelerating quickly and nipping around traffic. They do also hold their value amazing well. But I'm fairly certain that I'd be faster across 12 miles on my R5 than my Brompton, they are a lot harder to hold a good speed on the flat with and climbing with them isn't the best as they flex. Unbeatable for purely city bike though where you might used mixed transport and have no security worries.

    Spesh Allez is always a good shout at around 1k. Great frame and I think they take guards. I've still got my original Allez which now sits on the turbo.
  • I've just ordered the new Ribble Endurance AL (R7000) for £999 via the cyclescheme.

    It'll handle your commute (mudguards / wide tyres etc) and not weigh the size of a small moon for when you want to ride it outside of the commute. They also have the Gran Fondo on there for similar money.
  • Stueys wrote:
    MRLoren wrote:
    Fenix wrote:
    Brompton is probably your best bet... you can go quick on a Brompton and can fold it when you need to. No lock-the-bike dramas.
    12 miles are a good distance for a Brompton... 50 might be a stretch, but if it's reasonably flat, I don't see why not...

    Don't underestimate the feel good factor of passing MAMILs on carbon bikes on your folding and leaving them for dead

    I have never seen this happen in any meaningful sense.

    I've chased and dropped racers on my Brompton. Can't say what their frames were made of though.

    I've dropped Bromptons on my mountain bike and have never been over-taken by one. Seen a few quick ones, but the benefits don't stand up against the speed gains of one of the bikes I'm looking at though. Never seen anyone enter a bike race on one.

    Your so called speed gains might amount to 1 mph out of town... within London I suspect you'll be quicker with a Brompton... you can fit in narrower gaps in traffic and you can weave among cars easier, which in turns makes you faster A to B.
    If you are only interested in "look at me" speed, then a Brompton is in my experience about 1 mph slower than a race bike... not a lot.

    The added bonus is that a 5 years old Brompton goes for about 75% of the price of a new one,,, any race bike struggle to sell for 25% of the original price after 5 years...

    But what do I know...

    Bromptons are great at accelerating quickly and nipping around traffic. They do also hold their value amazing well. But I'm fairly certain that I'd be faster across 12 miles on my R5 than my Brompton, they are a lot harder to hold a good speed on the flat with and climbing with them isn't the best as they flex. Unbeatable for purely city bike though where you might used mixed transport and have no security worries.

    Spesh Allez is always a good shout at around 1k. Great frame and I think they take guards. I've still got my original Allez which now sits on the turbo.

    My fastest commute on the Brompton

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1938901881

    My fastest commute ever

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1268932590

    In the latter I took a slightly different route that avoids the pedestrian bridge over the M42... typically that works out at 1 km/h faster over the all commute.

    So the real difference is 2 km/h, or just over 1 mph... I think I could get a closer match if I used the Brompton more often... I don't have many data points for that one.
    Just noticed both times were done in November... strange coincidence
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    My fastest commute on the Brompton

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1938901881

    My fastest commute ever

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1268932590

    In the latter I took a slightly different route that avoids the pedestrian bridge over the M42... typically that works out at 1 km/h faster over the all commute.

    So the real difference is 2 km/h, or just over 1 mph... I think I could get a closer match if I used the Brompton more often... I don't have many data points for that one.
    Just noticed both times were done in November... strange coincidence

    I clearly need to get a bigger gear on my 2 speed! I'd like to try the Kojack tyres that come on the CHPT3, apparently the standard ones are pretty heavy to push along
  • Stueys wrote:
    My fastest commute on the Brompton

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1938901881

    My fastest commute ever

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1268932590

    In the latter I took a slightly different route that avoids the pedestrian bridge over the M42... typically that works out at 1 km/h faster over the all commute.

    So the real difference is 2 km/h, or just over 1 mph... I think I could get a closer match if I used the Brompton more often... I don't have many data points for that one.
    Just noticed both times were done in November... strange coincidence

    I clearly need to get a bigger gear on my 2 speed! I'd like to try the Kojack tyres that come on the CHPT3, apparently the standard ones are pretty heavy to push along

    Yeah, my wife's 3 speeder has a mean 85 inch gear, which is a grind, but flies on the flat smooth tarmac. I have just ordered an S2L for myself, so that will be a lighter 75 inch, more of a spinner. Standard tyres on both... I think they are good enough, certainly they don't hold me back.

    Back on topic, I find it funny that people want a race bike to commute in London... I've gone that route in my days, but it was the stupid choice... how to massively complicate your life for no real gain
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    My Brompton is the S6 and came with Kojaks. They do seem fast. The small wheels make a lot of sense for commuting.
  • Fenix wrote:
    My Brompton is the S6 and came with Kojaks. They do seem fast. The small wheels make a lot of sense for commuting.

    It's the ability to fold it and put it under your desk that is life changing... no more massive D locks and insurances and whatnot... it's also the ability to catch a bus or the Tube if you have puncture in the dark or suddenly the weather becomes a bit too much... it makes so much sense on so many levels
  • My race bike cost 300 quid and I sold it for 150. It was my only bike and did year round commuting, trips to the shops, races, training and weekend rides.

    So about the same capital loss as a Brompton, 1/3 of the outlay and a better all rounder.

    I doubt the Brompton bars are much narrower than a road bike anyway.

    Plus the weather in London is hardly ever THAT bad, at least not without warning.
  • kingdavkingdav Posts: 416
    edited November 2018
    I use a caadx with road tyres on my 14 mile each way commute. I've tried a few different bikes over the last couple of years and built this one up to try and get the best thing for me. Working out very well so far. I wanted 1x for simplicity and hydraulic discs, I find my rim brake bikes fine on 99% of commutes but the braking really suffers when it's properly raining. I wanted wider tyres for comfort and surefootedness in the winter and to fit mudguards.

    There's a thread here.
    viewtopic.php?f=40044&t=13093121

    It's a little bit out of date now as I've added the mudguards, you can see those here.
    viewtopic.php?f=40052&t=13100185

    I've done about 1500 miles on it now, all good.

    edited to add... I didn't want to lug a rack round the whole time for panniers and not keen on rucksack, maybe use this bike for winter club runs, so I am using a used carradice sqr tour i picked up for £30. It's been great, I can fit my laptop and some clothes in it no problem and most days when I've nothing to carry I don't have it on and am free.
  • Used pashley with a 50cal on the basket
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