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Recommendations for an all-rounder for a late teenager ?

Bear with me, its a bit of a long read..

My son is in his late teens, he should be driving by now but COVID has added 12 months to his learning and availability of driving test.

His old ‘refurbished’ Raleigh road bike is a bit of a mishmash of parts, from deep alloy rims on quando hubs through to single speed chainset with 44/18 gearing not much use other than flat terrain (not much of that in S.Wales!). Its pretty much on its last legs but has done him OK pre and during lockdown for exercise; the biggest problem being punctures due to the state of our roads, plus a mix of cycle paths from towpath (currently off limits !), grasscrete paving and tarmac. Moving from 23c to 25c tyres has helped a little , but the time has come for something more robust, and enable the likes of the towpaths for alternative rides .

Requirements..
Flatbar – definitely no drop bars
At least 1 x 8 gearing, but 2 x 7 or more would probably make life easier on some of the inclines
Chunky tyres – both for looks, ride quality and puncture resistance
Disc brakes – albeit mostly mechanical at this budget
Budget - £600 max, but ideally less than £450 because he will leave it outside when visiting friends houses (when rules allow)
New or ex-demo/display (lol – who has those at the moment ?)

Sounds much like a flat bar gravel bike, olde skool MTB !

Having looked online for several weeks, the likely candidates so far..

Vitus Dee City – nice chunky 47c tyres, and low price of £350 are plus points; Downsides – 1 x 7 (38T – 11/28T) Tourney gearset is a bit basic and has limited range but far better than his single speed and you can’t have everything for £350

Raleigh Redux 1 – very similar to above, 1 x8 gearset (40T – 11/34T), similar 47C tyres. Downside is £485 price tag and availability of large frames getting very low, particularly when it seems to offer little more than the Vitus above.

Vitus Mach 3 VR – 38C tyres, 2 x 8 gearset (50T/34T – 11/28T), better components that the Dee City, but at top of budget at £580

Giant Escape 3 / 2 – 38c tyres with clearance for up to 45c. We have Giant retailer in town and a Giant retail store 30 miles away so after sales support should be good.

Boardman MTX 8.6 2021 – 27 speed Deore, suspension fork and hydraulic discs are pluses, the 37C tyres are getting a bit narrow but looks to be some clearance to get up to perhaps 42cin future. £500 seems OK for what you get. He has reservations about looking at a 37c tyre in a less than close fitting suspension fork though.

The likes of the Forme Winster and similar hybrid commuters are dismissed on the grounds of the tyre sizes, amny are using 35c or less – he wants a decent sized tyre width to look at and for some puncture protection. The Specialized Sirrus is also out on budget.


Then there’s the ‘leisure end’ of the MTB offering, where something like a Marin Bolinas, Giant Talon, Lapierre Edge and Forme Curbar 4 or 3 plus tens of others come into play.

I know a lot of folks commute on MTBs with inefficient and noisy tyres, and in some ways a MTB might be a more robust option but I can’t help thinking for 60% use on tarmac a ‘pumped up hybrid’ might better suit ?


The Giant Escape or the Vitus Dee City appear the safe bets currently.


Anyone got any views or other thoughts ?

Posts

  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,914
    Well, it looks like you've narrowed it down to about 8 options.... :smile: so I may not help by adding in any more.
    Do you need disc brakes?
    What gear range does he really need?
    How important are looks to him / you?

    A Marin Kentfield 1 might be worth a consideration, but patchy availability might rule it out.
    Looks good (IMO) has 40mm tyres, it's 1x7 altus and with a 38 chainring and 11-34 cassette it gives you the gears you will probably use and none that you won't. Price around £465.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,491
    For a bit of weight at the cost of a strong frame and wide tyres for a hybrid https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/carrera-subway-all-weather-edition-mens-hybrid-bike---s-m-l-frames-229822.html £400 before 10% British Cycling membership discount. 27.5" wheels

    Don't know how much wider you can go with tyres, but https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/boardman-hyb-8.6-mens-hybrid-bike-2021---silver---s-m-l-frames-366198.html is ~3.5Kg lighter than the Subway. 29er/700c wheels

    https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/boardman-urb-8.6-urban-hybrid-bike-2021---s-m-l-frames-423974.html is a similar ~11Kg weight, but would 3-speed hub gear give enough range? 29er/700c wheels

    Or what I have for commuting https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/voodoo-marasa-mens-hybrid-bike----18in-20in-frames-445471.html , can take a 29er/700c 2.35" slick up front and a 50mm slick on the rear without a full length mudguard. Decent gear range, ~13Kg.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • mountaingoatimnotmountaingoatimnot Posts: 185
    edited 3 March
    singleton said:

    Well, it looks like you've narrowed it down to about 8 options.... :smile: so I may not help by adding in any more.
    Do you need disc brakes?
    What gear range does he really need?
    How important are looks to him / you?

    A Marin Kentfield 1 might be worth a consideration, but patchy availability might rule it out.
    Looks good (IMO) has 40mm tyres, it's 1x7 altus and with a 38 chainring and 11-34 cassette it gives you the gears you will probably use and none that you won't. Price around £465.

    To answer..

    Do you need disc brakes? Rim brakes are easy to maintain and work reasonably well, but even mechanical discs give better power , more so in the wet (supposedly). There are not that many options from bigger brands with rim brakes these days, and tend to be lower quality components all round as a result. Happy to be corrected though.

    What gear range does he really need? Good question ! He struggles with the single speed, but that's no great surprise on hills. He wont be riding steep trails or big hills so we've discounted some MTB offering which use single granny rings. Bearing in mind his fixie is 44T - 18T, then we've assumed something like the Vitus Dee City with 38T chain ring and 12-28T cassette would give him a reasonable range for inclines and enough speed to not hinder other road traffic. Something like the Lapierre Edge Hardtail would give wider range though, 24/42 chainrings and 12-32 cassette,

    How important are looks to him / you? Looks wise, a dark colour for a more stealthy visual, nothing bright or flashy colour. Full mudguards and racks are a real no no. He's not much of a fan of tan side wall tyres either. The less obvious the bestter in some respects - we are not in a high crime area, but he's also not the best at chaining a bike up at destinations (in fairness his current fixie looks like a basic uni student bike, and not worth nicking unless someone didnt want to walk home)

    A Marin Kentfield 1 might be worth a consideration, but patchy availability might rule it out.
    Looks good (IMO) has 40mm tyres, it's 1x7 altus and with a 38 chainring and 11-34 cassette it gives you the gears you will probably use and none that you won't. Price around £465.

    We did look briefly at the Kentfields online - he wasn;t too impressed by the looks (tan sidewalls, contrasting fork and a long headtube from recollection?) The Altus gearset is pretty reliable. A good shout though. We also looked at the Kona Dew, quite similar but again the tan sidewalls weren't a selling point.
  • For a bit of weight at the cost of a strong frame and wide tyres for a hybrid https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/carrera-subway-all-weather-edition-mens-hybrid-bike---s-m-l-frames-229822.html £400 before 10% British Cycling membership discount. 27.5" wheels

    Don't know how much wider you can go with tyres, but https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/boardman-hyb-8.6-mens-hybrid-bike-2021---silver---s-m-l-frames-366198.html is ~3.5Kg lighter than the Subway. 29er/700c wheels

    https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/boardman-urb-8.6-urban-hybrid-bike-2021---s-m-l-frames-423974.html is a similar ~11Kg weight, but would 3-speed hub gear give enough range? 29er/700c wheels

    Or what I have for commuting https://www.halfords.com/bikes/hybrid-bikes/voodoo-marasa-mens-hybrid-bike----18in-20in-frames-445471.html , can take a 29er/700c 2.35" slick up front and a 50mm slick on the rear without a full length mudguard. Decent gear range, ~13Kg.


    Thanks for those options

    First one a flat no - mudguards and racks are not cool !

    Boardmans are nice looking (to me personally) - the ''narrow'' tyres are an issue, and
    not a lot of scope to go much wider , if at all. No range given for the 3 speed hub gears, bust suspect perhaps not enough to keep him happy

    He's not looked at Voodoo - my recollection of the brand is of the early models appearing in Halfords (2011 ?); they got great reviews in terms of value for money, won plenty of best buys..
  • Have now ruled out..

    1. The Raleigh Redux 1 - offers next to nothing over the Vitus Dee City

    2. the Vitus Mach VR on price - the extra chainring and slightly different cassette off little over the cheaper Dee City - just a smidge more hill climbing ability, but mostly the differences are in the higher speed range. The narrower tyres and the extra £230 cost just doesn't make sense either

    3. Boardmans - the narrow tyres are just a no no, especially in a suspension fork.


    Whilst that seems like progress, we've now realised the Forme Winster is a 42c tyre, so potentially back in the mix !

  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,914
    Running out of alternatives I think.

    There's the Orbea Carpe 40 disc hybrid, but a bit over £500

    Slightly left field there's the Fabricbike commuter, Chromo frame, SRAM 8 speed but narrower tyres at only 32mm. https://www.santafixie.co.uk/fabricbike-commuter-bicycle-black.html?gclid=CjwKCAiAp4KCBhB6EiwAxRxbpICV_WQdAJiYQ3IFszf3Kd9Jw4aDhRzq0KlZT5Uo2pxjNTTe7IB-7RoCN7EQAvD_BwE
  • Thanks for all the comments

    @singleton we had the Orbea Carpe 40 on the radar - we couldn't find any ino about clearance for wider than the standard 38c tyres. With the Giant Escape 3 at £100 less, and the knowledge it could handle up to 45c width, the Orbea got dropped - pity because i think its a great looking ride.


    After all the debate/ suggestions etc etc , and some searching for available options, we are at..

    Giant Escape 3 disc - town bike shop has one, 38c tyres would do for starters but would probably be swapped out within months for WTB riddler 45c or something similar i suspect. So £479 bike potentially becomes £580-600

    Scott Sub Cross 50 - comes with 45c tyres and 28/38/48 crank with 11-34 cassette to plenty of range. Availability means ca 150 mile round trip to collect one, or wait until Nov for the local bike shop to get one.

    Vitus Dee City - can't get away from those 47c tyres and £349 price tag !
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,914
    Re the Giant and tyres.

    If you know you want to change the tyres, and are willing to use eBay then it might not cost that much.

    Best would be to remove the standard tyres immediately and get them on eBay as "new/other" rather than using them for a few months and selling them as used.

    Buying replacements off eBay such as these:https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WTB-Riddler-700x45c-Gravel-Tyres-Pair/124611904574?hash=item1d0372c43e:g:uuMAAOSwLCdgQQPx

    or https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/KENDA-K1185-PIEDMONT-Bike-Tyre-size-700-x-45C-ETRTO-45-622/223707413108?hash=item3416003a74:g:sRoAAOSwezddpkRv

    You might need new tubes as well, but all-in you might end up with a cost to change of a lot less than you stated.
  • After some more debate and a few phone calls yesterday, he decided on the Scott Sub Cross 50. Semi knobbly 45c tyres should be a good compromise for road and towpath use. The extra chain rings might not be all that necessary but he has them if needed. No need to change tyres, and should be built/set up this weekend, albeit it will be next weekend for collection.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 5,598
    How late is he? Can't you just make him get up earlier rather than buying him a bike I'm order to get to things in time?

    😉
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame ??
    Tall....
  • There’s two types of teenagers..

    Those who are never late because they never plan anything
    Those who sleep 16+ hours a day and complain there’s no time to do anything

    I guess there’s also the 0.01% that don’t fit the above !
  • Collected the bike yesterday from Hargroves in Swindon. Fantastic service, friendly staff and COVID safe collection. In and out in under 15 minutes including buying a few bits n bibs in store.

    Initial thoughts are the frame looked more graphite grey than bronze but having got it home and in better lighting there’s a definite bronze hue. Does look great in the flesh, and after its ceramic coating it should have a decent level of paint protection. Just need to add some helicopter tape to protect the frame in areas where a lock will rub.
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