Beginners blog

MrAverage

Regular
This is a bit of a read with no real purpose other than as a ‘newbie’ to this forum and as someone trying to get a bit more time in the saddle I wanted to share a few things that may be useful to others in a similar position:
I bought a Boardman ADV 8.6 [gravel or adventure] bike. I debated between this and a hybrid bike but went with this option as I was persuaded by a friend that a drop bar [rather than straight handlebars] gave the option of dropping down to a racing position which is handy when pedaling into a wind and the flexibility of having a few different riding positions.
The same friend recommended carbon forks although the case for that was less clear but I went with it and as I don’t have a frame of reference for comparison I can’t comment on the value of doing so. Apparently as well as making the bike a bit lighter carbon forks absorb some of the bumps better.
I am 5’ 9” and went with a medium frame size. The saddle only needed to be raised slightly – just enough to mount a rear light on the seat post. I think I probably could have went with a frame size up but due to shortage of bikes physically in stock I wasn’t able to try them out. Medium seems fine though.
The chainset [if that is the correct phrase – front cogs] are smaller than most standard road bikes but maybe not as small as mountain bikes which means you might run out of gears when going fast eg down hills but that has not been a problem for me so far and I have been glad of the ‘easier’ gears for going up hills which might have been a challenge with a standard chainset
The tyres are wider than a normal road bike and probably similar to a hybrid [38mm] – I think this makes for a more comfortable ride and even if the bike is not taken off road very much they are good for our pot hole infested roads.
I ordered my bike online from Halfords who seemed to have a decent range of bikes available and I opted for the [free] in-store delivery and build service. This was probably the most negative part of the story so far, the build was not good. Gears did not work [chain would not move from small front ring to larger front ring and vice versa] also the brakes [mechanical disc] were not sharp especially the front brake – I did try the recommendations on-line re bedding in. So I had the bike back a few times and got at least a partial resolution – they ended up having to replace one of the gear cables. I did buy the maintenance plan as well and I will take in on for its free service at the appropriate time. I still have another gear related problem – when the chain is on the bigger of the front rings / cogs and I apply load [pedal hard / going up hill] the chain jumps from cog to cog of its own free will. I think this is just an adjustment and might try to read up on it here or else bring it back in to the store.
I also recently bought a set of shimano EH-500 pedals which are standard ‘flat’ pedals on one side and SPD pedals that you can clip the appropriate shoes / cleats into on the other. I have used the flat side of the pedals and they are good but I am still waiting on my shoes coming to try the SPD side.
All in all I am really enjoying getting out on the bike more and really glad I stumbled onto this forum – I have already really benefited from some of the great advice and general banter
 

weareHKR

Well-Known Member
Nice write up.
Welcome to the forum, the Halfords story is all too familiar, unfortunately, I experienced these type of issues first hand when collecting Christmas presents for friends who have spent a fair bit of cash on bikes for their kids.
I always give them a once over, I've even asked them to put the bike back in the build stand so I can see gears changing properly, although I've not come across any issues there.
Usually find loose pedals, brake levers, even handlebars, last time I that happened the lad came over with an Allen key, asked where his torque wrench is?... I really don't think he knew what I was talking about... :rolleyes:
Anyway hope you get everything sorted & enjoy your cycling... :training:
 
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mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
– when the chain is on the bigger of the front rings / cogs and I apply load [pedal hard / going up hill] the chain jumps from cog to cog of its own free will. I think this is just an adjustment and might try to read up on it here or else bring it back in to the store.
Probably. If the adjustment is only slightly off, it may only "autoshift" or "ghost shift" when the frame flexes a little under heavy pedal pressure.

Good luck!
 
OP
M

MrAverage

Regular
Nice write up.
Welcome to the forum, the Halfords story is all too familiar, unfortunately, I experienced these type of issues first hand when collecting Christmas presents for friends who have spent a fair bit of cash on bikes for their kids.
I always give them a once over, I've even asked them to put the bike back in the build stand so I can see gears changing properly, although I've not come across any issues there.
Usually find loose pedals, brake levers, even handlebars, last time I that happened the lad came over with an Allen key, asked where his torque wrench is?... I really don't think he knew what I was talking about... :rolleyes:
Anyway hope you get everything sorted & enjoy your cycling... :training:
The safety implications are worrying never mind getting a service to match the expenditure. Not everyone has someone like yourself to call on
 
OP
M

MrAverage

Regular
Probably. If the adjustment is only slightly off, it may only "autoshift" or "ghost shift" when the frame flexes a little under heavy pedal pressure.

Good luck!
Thanks. That helps explain it, I hadn't considered the potential for the frame flexing. I will try some adjustments (after a little research):reading:
 
Hi, Mr Average

I found this book helpful when I was trying to under who to adjust various bits on some road bikes I was attempting to tinker with

View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=zinn+road+bike+maintenance&i=stripbooks&adgrpid=59014658811&gclid=Cj0KCQjw28T8BRDbARIsAEOMBcxcwx6iLknM5vtm4NqqYCFgjCEmIw7Kj851o3piNI0DxqX21WC197caAh3vEALw_wcB&hvadid=259047794549&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9045815&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=6039786850923055275&hvtargid=kwd-313626699989&hydadcr=12128_1840985&tag=googhydr-21&ref=pd_sl_6bspatwv1d_e


It's a bit pricey but I've gone back to it a few times. It's something you can dip in and out of. I'm fairly sure the principles would be the same for gravel bikes, but stand to be corrected by the more learned members :notworthy:^_^

Even if you're confident enough to do the work yourself - often tools can be expensive - I found it helps to have some idea of what to say to the bike shop/mechanic.

Am very much a newbie to road cycling. So far I found the most challenging thing is trying to buy clothes online. There's such big differences between the brands. I think I have s, m, and L shorts - they all fit properly - it's bonkers.
 

ianrauk

Tattooed Beat Messiah
@GoodLifeSpud
Agree with your book choice. It's my go to tome when bike tinkering.
 
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