Author Topic: New bike advice  (Read 560 times)

UK Dancer

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New bike advice
« on: July 05, 2018, 05:07:01 AM »
Advice needed from you wonderful people:

My previous bike died last month after nearly 12 years of stalwart toil (bought for me by my parents as a 15 year old) and as a result I have no idea where to look to get a decent deal on a new (to me) bike. Like all self-respecting mustachians, I was using it to go to and from work every day, circa 4 miles each way on fairly standard city roads with several major hills. I'm currently walking this, which is lovely for being out in the sunshine we're enjoying at the minute, but is swallowing up 45 minutes of my time each way, which is an hour and a half of lost time that I'm not even getting a huge amount of exercise from so I'm really hoping that it won't take long to get a replacement!

Essentially I'd love some advice on two things:
1) What bike should I be looking at getting?
2) Where should I look to get it from?

Relevant factors:
  • There's a cycle scheme at work where I can buy a bike and pay for it over an extended period by salary sacrifice, thereby saving on the tax accordingly and delaying the payments at 0% and therefore gaining an advantage with delaying the payments against inflation. However, I believe this means I'd have to buy a new bike as I think the scheme only allows new bikes.
  • I'm not intending to use it for social/casual riding at all, just the 8 miles per day
  • I'm not fussed about it having capacity for panniers or anything, I currently just take a rucksack one day a week to take a week's worth of suits/shirts to work and then leave them there
  • E-bikes look cool, I love the idea, especially in the hilly city I live in, but I think it'd be too much of an excuse for me to be lazy, so I'm inclined to go with a manual powered bike unless people have experience to the contrary?

Thanks for your help!

never give up

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 10:34:14 AM »
Hello UK Dancer. Fellow commuter here. A hilly 45 minute walk is much better exercise than you think. Walking is also my back up option when I have a mechanical and its a fairly good workout.

I always think the key requirements for a commuter are:

1. Bomb proof tyres
2. Sufficient gearing for the terrain/locality of the ride
3. Ability to fit mudguards

For your distance you could do the commute on almost anything. Do you prefer drops or flat bar? A flat bar bike will be cheaper as will be seen as casual use rather than a roadie. A hybrid/flat bar bike also allows you to get your head up which is useful on a commute.

Yep cycle to work is a good way of buying a new bike. If your scheme is with Halfords then the Boardman hybrids are very highly rated. If your scheme is with Evans then the Pinnacle range are very good.

Alternatively there is always the second hand option. Often friends/families can have bikes in a garage that are never used. Any opportunity to buy one from someone you know & trust has looked after the bike?

An bike would be very expensive. What's your budget?


GuitarStv

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 11:01:19 AM »
Good news!  You're only commuting 4 miles, that means that nearly any bike will work just fine for you.  Other good news!  You can optimize a bike for just about anything . . . so tell us what you want and we'll make recommendations.

Do you want the bike to float up hills and be fast?  Look for a light bike that lets you get your body into an aerodynamic position.

Do you want it to be great to ride in crappy weather?  Look at something with disc brakes, eyelets for mudguards, clearance for wider tires.

Do you want it to be very mechanically robust and require little maintenance?  It's hard to break a fixed gear bike with high spoke count wheels.

Do you want to float smoothly over the rutted and cobbled hellscape that is the road in front of you?  Get a bike with a suspension.

Do you want to work as hard as possible on your trip on a very heavy bike in an upright position for maximum wind resistance?  Dutch city bike for you.



Generally, commuters want super tough tires because it sucks to puncture when you're trying to get to work.  Schwalbe Marathon Pluses are the toughest tire I've ever seen, and can be purchased in most common tire sizes after you settle on a bike.  They're incredibly heavy though.

It's usually possible to change the gearing on a bike by swapping out the cassette if you find that you need things to be a bit easier on the hills.

Even if a bike doesn't have specific eyelets for them, it's often possible to fit certain types of mudguards.
 
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robartsd

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 11:27:10 AM »
What kind of death did your 12 year old bike suffer? My bike is over 20 years old, I abuse it in many ways but it still suits my needs well enough. While several of my components ought to be replaced, I don't consider my bike anywhere near end of useful life. Might the best solution be repairing your old bike? If the frame itself is damaged it might not be - if one or two components need to be replaced it's probably worth fixing.

E-bikes are pricey, but they can be worth it as a gateway to increased cycling. A pedal assist e-bike is not going to make you lazy (you might get lazy with the type of e-bike that doesn't require you to pedal, but if you're concerned about an e-bike making you lazy you probably wont). Since your post didn't indicate that an e-bike would increase your utilization of cycling, I don't recommend getting one if frugality is your primary goal.

The most important thing about any bike is fit - simply is it comfortable for you to operate. You'll want adequate gearing for you commute. If you can, use gearing you actually used on your old bike to determine the gearing you need on your new bike. If the bike you are considering uses different sized wheels than your old bike you can use this formula to compare the distance a selected gearing drives the bike per rotation of the cranks: wheel circumference * front gear teeth / rear gear teeth. If you're considering a new bike, find reviews of the bike and/or it's components to get an idea of the quality. If you're considering a used bike, you'll need to evaluate the mechanical condition. The best values in used bikes are often bikes that need a little mechanical care - taking care of deferred maintenance (lubrication, replacing chain and gears, replacing brake pads, adjusting sifting, replacing control cables) can do a lot to increase the performance of a bike that has been neglected.

dashuk

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 12:10:43 PM »
4 miles each way and no non-commuting use? Any old second hand rigid or hardtail mountain bike that doesn't feel too much like it's made of pig-iron. I say MTB because gear range and because there's just more of them kicking around to choose from.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres.

Also second the question of what happened to the old one. Most things can be replaced.

UK Dancer

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2018, 03:04:30 AM »
Thanks for all the advice! It sounds like I might be best suited to having a look around and see what's available second hand bearing in mind the solid tires/gearing/mudguard/wider tires/disk brakes situation.

Old bike definitely can't be repaired, it lost an argument with a taxi that ignored the fact I was already on a roundabout and pulled out across me, so I hit him going at about 23-25 mph... Buckled front wheel, snapped one front fork, bent frame body, dislocated my shoulder, two chipped teeth, several large gashes and a snapped pair of glasses that made trying to see well enough to sort anything out very interesting!

The good news is I should hopefully get a chunky insurance settlement from his insurance firm that can go straight into the Vanguard ISA, given that the taxi's passenger verified he was in the wrong and gave me his details to be a witness, but the bad news is I'm definitely not going to be able to repair the bike!

Rinch

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2018, 06:46:11 AM »

Sounds like a horrible accident. Hope you're ok. I definitely wouldn't bother trying to repair a bent frame unless you're massively sentimentally attached to the bike.

The short answer is probably any second hand bike will be fine. I just bought a new (to me) bike last week for commuting. I got a 90s Dawes Super Galaxy touring bike for about 130GBP off ebay. They still make a version of the same bike today and it is worth about GBP 1000 new.

Touring bikes are great because they are comfortable to ride as they have slightly more upright position than standard road bikes, have lower gear ratios for when you need to tackle hills without too much sweating and are solid enough to last for ever if you look after them.

If you buy a crap new bike with crap components stuff will break after a few years. If you buy an old bike from a reputable brand that was made with good components it'll last for ever (if you can avoid the taxis). I've never really liked the idea of the bike to work scheme. I'm not prepared to go into debt for something that you can get for a hundred quid.


robartsd

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2018, 09:07:49 AM »
Old bike definitely can't be repaired, it lost an argument with a taxi that ignored the fact I was already on a roundabout and pulled out across me, so I hit him going at about 23-25 mph... Buckled front wheel, snapped one front fork, bent frame body, dislocated my shoulder, two chipped teeth, several large gashes and a snapped pair of glasses that made trying to see well enough to sort anything out very interesting!
Ouch.

Yeah, that's way too much damage - only thing to do with that bike is salvage parts that were not damaged and scrap the rest. Most of the rear components should still be usable (possibly even the front brakes). Definitely keep your saddle if you liked it. Unless it was a particularly high-end bike, these components won't be worth all that much money, but they can be a great source for fixing up other old bikes. You might shop for a used bike at Recycle Bikes and donate your old bike to them for parts.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2018, 11:50:12 PM »
The short answer is probably any second hand bike will be fine.

This. For 8 miles a day, as long as it is a reasonable size for you it'll be fine.

I just replaced my bike for 20 and a couple of hours cleaning off Gumtree. It isn't the world's most beautiful bike, but it has two wheels, brakes and gears and gets me from A to B, for a slightly longer commute than yours. If I decide that I want something fancier I can upgrade later and take my time to find the right one.

I normally get bikes from a local charity that refurbishes bikes and teaches maintenance skills. If you are buying off Gumtree or eBay, you can check the frame number first to reduce the chance that you're buying a bike that's been reported stolen.

Runner5

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2018, 01:15:31 AM »
Hello fellow Sheffielder!

If you're in the market for a second-hand bike, there's a cobblers on Ecclesall Road that, bizarrely, also sells second-hand bikes that might be worth a look at! Also there's ReCycle bikes in Meersbrook.

Sorry to hear about your accident - for all our 'green city' credentials it really is terrifying on the roads sometimes!!

UK Dancer

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 05:16:52 AM »
Hey Runner5, great to see another Sheffielder on here! Where's the cobblers on Eccy that sells second handers? Might be worth a visit at some point. Was also vaguely aware of Recycle, had them in mind to go for a chat too.

Runner5

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Re: New bike advice
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2018, 08:46:12 AM »
Hey Runner5, great to see another Sheffielder on here! Where's the cobblers on Eccy that sells second handers? Might be worth a visit at some point. Was also vaguely aware of Recycle, had them in mind to go for a chat too.

It's Robinson's Cobblers - just before the little shopping centre with Tescos if you're coming from town :)