Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

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Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby Draconiz » Sat Feb 02, 2013 23:36 pm

To let you in on the background of a potentially crazy purchase, I commute to work every day, it's a 20 min ride with heavy traffic, very steep hills and sometimes a bit of off roading if I take the route past the river/ stream.

The roads aren't exactly smooth and there's often a lot of debris on the road so was aiming a getting an upgrade on my current mountain bike.
If nothing else, to save the weight. My current mountain bike (which is in top condition) is a little on the heavy side (17.8kg) for tackling the hills and traffic so was looking for something lighter.

Been looking at the Trek 2013 Mynx and the Marin 2013 Bear Valley in terms of budget and style. I've no idea what they weigh as no website will tell me.
Was wondering if anyone had any experience with either Trek or Marin and could help a little with my decision! Obviously if they're heavier then I'm not going to pursue the idea. I looked at hybrid but haven't seen any that take my fancy in regards to riding position etc. plus they don't tend to have suspension!

I don't know a lot about bikes, so the jargon is a bit confusing, I mean, which of these has the best brakes/ gears?

Any help greatly appreciated.
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby supersonic » Sun Feb 03, 2013 00:01 am

The Bear Valley is bloody awful lol - I'd avoid that one (heavy, budget fork, lots of cheap kit). The Trek is better, as you'd expect for the extra money, but is still rather portly for an MTB at this price (about 28lbs looking at the spec).

How taxing is the offroad? If is more mild paths and trails then I'd look at a hybrid type bike such as this:

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... 65534#tab2

It will be swift on the road, yet tackle lighter offroad paths with aplomb. If an MTB is a must, with suspension, the the Boardman MTB range is worth a look.
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby Draconiz » Sun Feb 03, 2013 00:15 am

To be fair, I prefer the look of the trek one over the bear...lol

Their appears there are 3 versions of the Mynx....was looking at this one: http://www.trekbikes.com/uk/en/bikes/mountain/cross_country/mynx/mynx#/uk/en/model/details?url=uk/en/bikes/mountain/cross_country/mynx/mynx...cheaper than the Marin by a few quid:

I did look at hybrids, but from other sites I looked at I figured with a more upright seated position it might get a bit annoying on the roads, and possibly off balancing. I forgot to mention I also carry a rucksack with my lunch and a change of clothes which is bulky and heavy (especially over winter and im carrying a jumper!)

The route I take (ok, seems a bit lame compared to other commuter stories) is down a pretty steep series of hills leading onto another which has a pretty steady volume of traffic and a lot of industrial vehicles (which drop a fair bit of sharp lumpy stuff on the roads), when I'm going off road it's either onto poorly maintained pavements (bad I know, but it's either that or face the traffic behind me which is trying to get up another hill!) or if I take the route that avoids most of the roads it's a little dirt track by the side of a river, equally poorly maintained.

I'll see what the local bike place says about the weight of the trek - if it's mega heavy then I'll keep looking.

I looked at the boardman bikes in halfords on their web and they look pretty good. The only thing that put me off was that the only half decent women's bike I could see was white with pink bits on it. I'm not a fan of pink. Pus my current bike was put together at halfords and the screws tightened by another halfords and then everything was generally put as it should be when I got it serviced elsewhere - so I don't trust them too much...and I can't put a bike together myself, I'd be as useful as some of the halfords staff...ok, I know they're not all bad, but with bikes everything is important to get right not just 'it'll be ok'...

:0D
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby supersonic » Sun Feb 03, 2013 00:49 am

The geometry of 'hybrids' (well all bikes really!) vary enormously ie very similar types of bikes can have very different ride positions. Of course trying them in the shop for size is a good idea if you can.

The entry level Mynx looks quite basic too. Sure these will be lighter than what you have, but are not the best examples of MTBs around (though it can be said for a lot of 2013 bikes).

Don't be afraid to try men's bikes too! As above, a geometry varies so much, you may find that some fit better, though you might want to change the saddle. In fact many ladies bikes are just men's bikes with wider saddles and silly paint ;-).

It is definitely worth learning a few basics with maintenance ie bolt tightening and the like. Even if the bike is built to perection, parts bed in, and some parts need periodic checking and adjusting. Luckily is fairly simple and lots of good guides on the web (and here).

I'd avoid the Marin and cheaper Trek at least.
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby Draconiz » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:42 am

To be fair, most bikes under £900 are a bit basic I guess, but I can't really stretch beyond £600 for cycling to still be the cheapest way to get to work - my current bike cost me around £300 and I thought THAT was expensive til I saw the average price of some of the performance mountain bikes (I'd love to be able to justify and use something that expensive!!)

:0)
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby supersonic » Sun Feb 03, 2013 14:24 pm

Depends where you buy from - places like Halfords and Decathlon cut the middleman out and pas saving on to you. Also take a look at place like Paul's Cycles. They have new old stock at bargain prices. A few examples:

http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.p ... b65s2p3695

http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.p ... b67s2p4207
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby Godders1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 14:56 pm

£600 will get you a fine bike. You REALLY don't need suspension and a MTB though. If you want one fair enough but don't be under the illusion that you need suspension and humongous tyres because there are some slightly rubbish surfaces on your route. Relatively wide tyres (i.e. 28mm plus) on rigid forks will easily cope with canal towpaths etc and remain comfortable (the wider you go the more comfortable it will be but the trade off being the ride becomes more sluggish).

I'd highly recommend getting on a few different types of bike before splashing the cash. My girlfriend rides a trek FX hybrid (men's frame) and that's a pretty low riding position for a hybrid.
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby MichaelW » Sun Feb 03, 2013 17:50 pm

What size and weight are you?
The basic model of a lightweight cross-country style MTB with rigid chromoly steel, aluminium or carbon forks and some medium-fat slick tyres is a good solution.
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby Draconiz » Sun Feb 03, 2013 18:24 pm

I see what you mean about the bikes on Paul's cycles, they look good however Norfolk is a fair trek from where I live!

So I'm sort of limiting my choices a little I guess.
I think part of the problem is that as well as being a half decent bike to start with, I also have to like the look of it.
I'm slightly fickle like that.
Last time I went into halfords to look at a bike I liked I was told they wouldn't sell it to me as it was technically a men's bike...so that put me off a little!
In an ideal world I'd want to get a bike from somewhere that actually puts some of fort into giving me good advice - annoyingly that means I have to wait til I've got a free weekend to to out to Matlock to a shop that's been recommended for their overall bike selling ethics.
Equally annoying, the only bikes they seem to have on their website are the trek and Marin.

I know suspension isn't overly important or even vital to my ride. I've ridden a bike before without suspension and found my arms ached a lot from the road vibration. Soon as I got a bike with suspension i noticed the difference - so not real going back!

Realistically I just need a bike that feels sturdy as I spend a lot of time within centimetres of traffic, quite often I need to get up kerbs pretty sharp ish to get out the road and I'm not confident a road bike would do that, and I feel a bit safer on something with a bit of substance to it that can be thrashed around if I need it to be and I'd be mega pleased it it weighs less than my current bike.

Aside from suspension on a bike, I've noticed (maybe I'm looking in the wrong places) its insanely difficult to get a hybrid at 17". 16" feels too short when I put my feet on the ground and 18" a bit too far out of reach. I've found at 17" I can quite effectively put my favourite brake (good ol righty) to best effect. But again that's just probably me.

The hardest thing is, I don't know what are good brakes wise or gears or anything and I'm trying to compare new bikes to my current one (Apollo Firecracker) which is tricky to impossible.
I think thus far I'm leaning towards the trek. As far as I can see its got the option to lock the suspension so if I need to I can.

This is more difficult than buying a car!
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby supersonic » Sun Feb 03, 2013 18:29 pm

17". 16" feels too short when I put my feet on the ground and 18" a bit too far out of reach


But they ain't all the same ;-). Just look at the top tube measurements. I have 18 inch frames that are 20mm longer than 21 inch frames!!! It is just one measurement from many.
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby Draconiz » Sun Feb 03, 2013 18:43 pm

That's true...
Like I said, I know next to nothing about this.

Even taking one for a test ride would be little pointless, a 5 min carfeul go round a car park doesn't compare to 5 mins with heavy traffic and a heavy rucksack (which is close to 6kg - incidentally not fun for uphill or strong winds or ice)!

I've seen a couple of hybrids with suspension, but I'm a bit dubious though as I read somewhere the suspension on hybrids is a bit hit and miss, or if it's good it's probably to the detriment of the quality of other components.


All I can tell about this one istat it has different kinds of gears that the mynx: http://www.thebikeshop-nottingham.com/www.thebikeshop-nottingham.coms/info.php?p=12&pid=5218424&ack=9 and apparently 'women specific handles' whatever that means!
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby supersonic » Sun Feb 03, 2013 18:50 pm

You're getting their ;-)

Hybrid suspension tends to be heavy, budget forks with no damping so are more of a hindrance. Sadly that is the case with the Neko - the fork has no oil damping so will be very bouncy. This is why if suspension is a must it is better to get a decent mountain bike, as you can always change the tyres.

What other shops do you have locally?

This is the best, by far, on that site:

http://www.thebikeshop-nottingham.com/w ... 0277&ack=9
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby Draconiz » Sun Feb 03, 2013 19:09 pm

Getting there slowly...
I know enough to know that cheap suspension will be as useful as replacing the front forks with cake and that really cheap bikes won't be much fun to ride and will get abandoned in my garage.

I don't really have anything 'local' that doesn't involve a drive (annoyingly). Theres a place called 'freewheel' in Nottingham city centre (which doesn't show it's bikes online), and a few other bike shops dotted around the outskirts of the city as well as halfords. So to view bikes in them all is a long day of driving around and I'm convinced the other half won't be very good humoured about it.
The one I was considering going to is way out in Matlock which is at least 30mins drive so if I go there I'm pretty much committed to buying from them on the day to avoid another journey so I wanted to be a bit more sure before I went!

I considered joining the cycle to work scheme to get money off a bike, but I checked and no matter the value of what I put through my savings were 0%. And with some places there's a minimum spend of £1000...not ideal...
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby supersonic » Sun Feb 03, 2013 19:14 pm

The one I linked to is really good for the money (if they have an left!) - decent fork, good gearset, hydro brakes and some nice looking componentry. £450 is a really good price.
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby Draconiz » Sun Feb 03, 2013 19:22 pm

Thanks, I'll see if I can get in to look at it, and it's well within my budget too - even better ;0)
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Re: Not sure what bike to get - any advice?

Postby The Rookie » Mon Feb 04, 2013 16:53 pm

My Nephew has one of these for just the usage you describe http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... 65534#tab2 he's found it very fast on road (not ridden for nearly 10 years and already averaging about 18mph) with enough volume in the tyres to keep it smooth on gravel tracks.
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