30 miles a day -- which bike?

dog3074

New Member
Hi all,

I'm hoping that some of you more experienced cyclists will be able to help me here. I've started a new job and decided to commute to work through cycling as it's a great way of maintaining fitness. I initially looked at the cycle to work schemes but the prospect of forking out over the year to pretty much give the bike back seems a little daft to me so I'm going to buy one. The thing is I haven't ridden a bike in so long I really don't know where to start and am a little worried that if I go to a shop I'll get shafted!

I've decided that for the kind of distance I'll be travelling (15 miles there, 15 back) a road bike would be best but really don't know whether to go to a shop and get a brand new one or look on eBay for a slightly older one but with slightly better components if you get what I mean. The two 'new' bikes I've seen on the net were a £830 Corratec Dolomiti and a £625 Giant Defy 3 but I can't tell the difference between them and was really hoping on only spending the £400 mark.

Really what I'm after is a couple of suggestions re makes and models - I'm not bothered about 'designer' makes or having the latest model (I'm quite happy to be seen in a 2008 model!) but I'm really ignorant of what makes a good bike; I saw a Raleigh bike for £499 but is Raleigh any good??

Also, apart from lights and a helmet do I need anything else? Do I need those padded shorts or will I get away without them? Really cost is the most important thing but I want something that will last...

Ladies and Gents..... over to you!
 

Willo

Well-Known Member
Location
Kent
Can't speak for your company obviously, but my Cycle 2 Work scheme payment factor in some nominal sum to take ownership at the end of the year's payments, and all others that I know in other schemes are the same.

In terms of what bike, others on here will be more qualified to advvise, but from going down the same route last year do arm yourself in as much knowledge as possible, think carefully about what you want to use the bike for and try and find a decent shop and ask them for some guidance (you can always play back anything on here to get a 2nd opinion on that). Whatever you choose, I'd always try and sit on a few makes/models and try and get a test ride if possible. I changed my choice (to a Specialized Allez) after sitting on a few bikes. I'm sure a hybrid would serve your purpose, but in a similar situtation I plumped for a road bike as I wanted to get out at the weekends also and the bike makes me want to get up and out; it's whatever motivates you. I would budget for some extras (e.g. Upgraded tyres, pedals if you get the bug and want to go clipless), clothing (padded shorts a must), proper pump (track pump is a great, if not essential, investment for keeping the tyred pumped up). I took the decision to go for a decent frame that fitted me well on the basis I could upgrade the components around if/when I wanted to. As it worked out, 8 mnths later and I'm completely happy with my entry level Allez.
 
You're welcome Andy. As far as clothing goes, you'll have to consider whether you will be able to shower when you arrive at work because you will sweat at that distance. Good 'wicking' clothes should do for most of the year - I commute in cargo shorts and a t-shirt (but then my commute is much shorter) but in winter you cannot spend too much on good gear. I have a Gore waterprprrof jacket, Altura Winter Cruiser tights, overshoes and Specialized winter gloves with liner. An endura 'wicking' long-sleeved vest underneath keeps me nice and cosy. And lots of reflectives on my rucksack. Once you get into it there is no going back, commuting by bike is a hoot.

Bill
 
This is all the bike you'll need:

http://www.rutlandcy...Smoke-2010.html

That's the 2010 model (but they have 16" framed 2009 models for a knock-down £200)

If you are going to ride all-year then you will need those mudguards and this bike will take a rack if needed. Wonderful value.

Bill

Nice bike, but I would fancy the 47mm tyres for a 15mile ride. I think it has grip shifters too which will get really uncomfortable on the ride. A good fast bike would be a flat bar road bike, like a Sirrus. Faster lighter but still robust and adaptable. I use to use mine a Sirrus sports for a 17 mile commute, with guards and a rack
 

Jezston

Über Member
Location
London
Hi, just my thoughts - I shall state I am far from an expert on these things, but I'll share what I've learned doing a not too dissimilar commute to you over the last year or so.

I initially looked at the cycle to work schemes but the prospect of forking out over the year to pretty much give the bike back seems a little daft to me so I'm going to buy one.
It is a bit confusing at the moment, but I don't know of anyone yet who's had to pay out much at the end of the year - most I've heard of is £70 and that was for a £1000 bike. Still only paid about £700 for it overall so unless money isn't an issue it's still worth considering.

The thing is I haven't ridden a bike in so long I really don't know where to start and am a little worried that if I go to a shop I'll get shafted!

You are unlikely to get ripped off by a bike shop, staff in such stores are rarely paid on comission, you might just not get the best advice especially if the shop has a limit range.

I've decided that for the kind of distance I'll be travelling (15 miles there, 15 back) a road bike would be best but really don't know whether to go to a shop and get a brand new one or look on eBay for a slightly older one but with slightly better components if you get what I mean. The two 'new' bikes I've seen on the net were a £830 Corratec Dolomiti and a £625 Giant Defy 3 but I can't tell the difference between them and was really hoping on only spending the £400 mark.
What kind of ride will you be doing? Will it be all on-road, or will there be the odd towpath or track? Will there be much in the way of hills or is it a fairly flat route?

Personally I'd buy new for the peace of mind and factors like warranty and hopefully a proper set up. I wouldn't be looking second hand unless you really know your bikes and know exactly what everything is and how to gague their value.

For that distance I would recommend something with drop handlebars rather than flat bars just that they will give you more hand positions - your hands and wrists will get pretty tired and uncomfortable over long distances if stuck to one position. Having said that, you could fit 'butterfly' bars to a bike that's designed for flat bars to give yourself more hand positions, but they do look a bit ... unusual ;)

Really what I'm after is a couple of suggestions re makes and models - I'm not bothered about 'designer' makes or having the latest model (I'm quite happy to be seen in a 2008 model!) but I'm really ignorant of what makes a good bike; I saw a Raleigh bike for £499 but is Raleigh any good??
Again, let's get more of an idea of what your commute actually is before we recommend stuff.

Also, apart from lights and a helmet do I need anything else? Do I need those padded shorts or will I get away without them? Really cost is the most important thing but I want something that will last...
You'll find the first few times you ride your err pereneum (sp?) will get a little sore, but will toughen up! If you still hurtin', you can always get some shorts or padded seat cover later. Again, also depends on the kind of ride you are doing. Over 15 miles, you may find it a good idea. Clothes will be important over those kind of distances, and won't be cheap. You can get away with mixing in a bit of outdoor wear to save money (I do) but where it gets expensive is when you want clothes that are both waterproof AND breathable - cheaper waterproof stuff will NOT be very breathable! If you will only be riding in fair weather, then a cheap jersey with the handy pockets at the back can be yours for under £30. I think Sports Direct are doing some perfectly acceptable Karrimor cycling jerseys for a tenner. Oh yes, I'm wearing one as I type. Really must take a shower!

Oh yes that's another important point ... you do have showers at work, right?
 
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dog3074

New Member
Thank you so much to everyone for taking the time to offer advice, it's certainly really helping.

Some more information - the cycle to work scheme we use is cyclescheme.co.uk which seems to operate the same with a nominal charge of 'market value' being applied at the end if you want to keep it. It's this bit that I'm a little concerned about because if I'm paying a monthly fee of, say £90 for 12 months I should have really already paid for the bike by the time it's at the end so how much does Market value actually mean? I did hear of someone only paying £1 but it's the uncertainty?

In terms of the route - it's pretty much country roads the whole way with no streetlighting so decent lights are a must. I work shifts so will be cycling fairly late during winter.

The route is about 15 miles there and 15 back. I'm 5'8" and built like a rugby player - does this affect which bike would be best? There's a shower and everything like that at work and I plan to keep all my work gear there to change into so I think a rucksack would be okay negating any costs associated with panniers etc.

I think that's pretty much everything - thanks again

Andy
 

glen101

New Member
Thank you so much to everyone for taking the time to offer advice, it's certainly really helping.

Some more information - the cycle to work scheme we use is cyclescheme.co.uk which seems to operate the same with a nominal charge of 'market value' being applied at the end if you want to keep it. It's this bit that I'm a little concerned about because if I'm paying a monthly fee of, say £90 for 12 months I should have really already paid for the bike by the time it's at the end so how much does Market value actually mean? I did hear of someone only paying £1 but it's the uncertainty?

In terms of the route - it's pretty much country roads the whole way with no streetlighting so decent lights are a must. I work shifts so will be cycling fairly late during winter.

The route is about 15 miles there and 15 back. I'm 5'8" and built like a rugby player - does this affect which bike would be best? There's a shower and everything like that at work and I plan to keep all my work gear there to change into so I think a rucksack would be okay negating any costs associated with panniers etc.

I think that's pretty much everything - thanks again

Andy

you won't be paying £90 per month. on cyclescheme max bike and accessories limit is £1000. i think mine came to £992. i pay about £60 per month for 12 months. the "discount"
works out about 40%
 

g00se

Veteran
Location
Norwich
The cyclescheme thing (we use the same firm at my work) should save you 35-45%. Up until recently, the final payment to take ownership was effectively another month's payment but the tax people are starting to be a bit strict with some firms and so cyclescheme are getting the bikes to be valued at the end - either by the owner or original supplier. So far, it looks like these 'valuations' are much the same as before.

Where abouts are you based? Some folks on here might be able to recommend some decent local bike shops.
 

Fattman

Active Member
Location
Roydon, Essex
When I took up riding to work about 4 years ago I was looking at hybrid flat-bar type bikes. A friend of mine said "get a drop-bar straight-out road-bike or you'll regret it" basically on the understanding that it will (a) be the fastest option and (B) be useable on racy-type jaunts e.g. club runs, Sportives etc. I took his advice (got a £750 Specialized Allez Sport) and I really think he was right! It has been fun, fast and I've gradually 'upgraded' bits over the intervening period.

On the subject of lights; I was fortunate enough to get an Exposure Strada light from Mrs Fattman as a Christmas present. It is very expensive, but it is unbelieveable as a bike light; you can ride in pitch darkness at speed, and oncoming traffic treats you more like a motorbike, I cannot sing its praises highly enough! Now I've got the opportunity to give advice, I am: if you are serious about riding in the dark for any distance - get this light!

Finally, back light - got one of these - Cateye TL LD1100 - super bright, surprisingly good battery life, and you can run the two sides independently (one flashing, one fixed). Have had several other riders ask me about it & one car driver pulled alongside and said how good it was!

Sorry to come up with expensive options - I know you explicitly say you're looking for not too much expense - but the step-up in potential safety is, I think, worth it.

Oh, and finally - leaving your kit at work - great idea, I do this and the joy of riding unencumbered is not to be underestimated!

Good luck!

Matt
 
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