Buying a bike - where on earth do I start (2)

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by FIZZPIT, 22 May 2008.


    FIZZPIT New Member


    Following on from the previous posters thread....

    I too am in the market for a new bike but have absolutley no idea where to start and would like pointing in the right direction/recommendations.

    ** I will be riding on the road, usually around 20-40 miles on leisure rides.

    ** Would prefer a flat bar bike for easy access to brakes and more comfotable ride

    ** budget is around £300 - £400

    I appreciate you guys recieve a million of these types of questions, but any advice you can give will be greatly recieved.

  2. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    Hi FIZZPIT. I wouldn't necessarily agree that flat bars are more comfortable, although it is over 25 years since I last rode a bike with them for any length of time so I can't remember that well!

    From what you have said you would like to do then a so called hybrid would appear to fit the bill.

    Specialized Sirrus for example. Hybrids are a decent mix of comfort and speed.

    I wouldn't get hung up on any particular make as they are much of a muchness. Having said that bikes from the likes of Trek, Specialized and Giant sell in huge quantities and are good value due to the economies of scale. I would just try what your local bike shop stocks though.

    In some ways it is more important that your local bike shop is dependable than the exact model of bike you buy.

    Hope that helps.
  3. OP

    FIZZPIT New Member

    Thanks for the reply Chris,

    Having just done a bit more looking on the internet - I've come across the Giant FCR1. Although it's a bit more than I intended to spend, it seems to have a pretty good spec and fit's the bill.

    Have you any thoughts on this bike?

    Also, does it make a vast difference whether you buy a womens specific or a gents? (I'm female but most of the clearance 2007 stock seems to be gents versions(
  4. HelenD123

    HelenD123 Veteran

    I've got a gents version and find it fine. The best thing to do it try a few to see what dimensions suit you. The proportions on gents and ladies bikes are different so it depends on the relative length of your arms and body as well as you leg length.
  5. dodgy

    dodgy Guru

    Excellent, you're at stage 2 already. That's the stage when you start telling yourself "a few hundred quid extra and I could have widget 'x' instead of the poorer widget 'y'" :biggrin:

    Seriously though, I'm of the mind that you should always stretch a little, you'll reap the benefits in the long term, and if not, the bike will be easier to sell (as long as you don't spend £5000 on something mad :smile:).

    Ignore the marketing terms for gender specific bikes, if it fits you, then it fits you, regardless of its intended market.

  6. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    I have had a quick look at the spec and it looks nice (carbon forks, 105 gears etc).

    I am not really familiar with the options on various hybrids, but there are quite a few on here who ride them so someone with some actual product knowledge will probably come along soon!

    As far as gents and ladies bikes are concerned. The conventional wisdom is that women different body proportions to men, and also prefer a more sit up position (due to different anatomy!).

    However, Chris Juden at the CTC reckons that the proprtions of men and women OF THE SAME HEIGHT is very similar. It's just that women are typically shorter then men. And most bikes seem designed to fit relatively tall men. So make of that what you will.

    I would suggest that if you tall and willowy then a man's bike will probably be fine. If you are more petite then you may want to look at womens specific bikes, possibly with smaller diameter 650c wheels rather than 700c.

    I wouldn't worry too much about different types of men's and women's saddles as you may well end up replacing the saddle your bike comes with anyway to one that you find more comfortable.

    If this is your first bike, or you are unsure, you are best off going to your local bike shop to sit and ride on a few to get a feel for the bike rather than try to chase the cheapest deals on the interent. On the other hand, if you know your exact requirements on sizing then the internet may be the way forward.
  7. Jo25

    Jo25 Senior Member

    I am a relative newbie to cycling and this forum, but if you don't mind a comment from a novice, then here goes. My bike, which was my first for around 20 years is a Trek Hybrid and for the type of cycling I do (short commute and longer rides at the weekend) it suits fine - though I've not got much experience of other bikes.

    I would definitely second the opinion about going to your local bike shop and trying a few out to see what feels comfortable (plus trying a few LBS if you don't feel they are being that helpful). I am female but relatively tall (5'11" ish ) and felt much more comfortable on the 'mens' rather than 'womens' bikes, but as has been said, it is down to your height and what feels comfortable to you.
  8. OP

    FIZZPIT New Member

    Thanks for all the replies everyone.

    I'm about 5'5" (ish) so just average height - so perhaps mens bikes may be a little on the big side.

    As you have all said I will go to the local shops and have a look around - just have to find one with that bike....

    Nice to see fellow Yorkshires on the board :biggrin:
  9. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    Honestly, I wouldn't get too hung up with a particular bike or spec. Whatever you buy there will always be a better spec costing a bit more than tempts you!

    But a well fitting bike is worth its weight in gold, rather than a poorly fitting higher spec one. And as long as you pay a reasonable amount (which you are with your budget) you shoudl get a nice machine.

    Whereabouts in Yorkshire are you from? People may be able to recommend bike shops for you to try.
  10. Andy in Sig

    Andy in Sig Vice President in Exile

    I would suggest that on your budget you look for a second hand steel framed touring bike as they are just about the best allround bikes there are. Apart from doing what the name suggests, the fact that they are usually fitted with racks means that they are great for shopping and as they are pretty fast, they are good for commuting too.
  11. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    I'd second the second hand tourer idea as well... That said, I have a several years old FCR (no carbon bits...) and I turned it into a light tourer by bodging on a rack and stuff and it is lovely and quick (well, as quick as any bike is with me in charge of it;))

    With regard to flat bars - I also don't find them so comfortable, but then I also didn't get on so well with drops. I favour the sort of bars with a slight rise in them and a little bit of sweep back. The addition of bar ends may help though, allowing you to move your hands about. Mainly I'd say find a good bike shop and try a few out - no one has a 'standard' body, man or woman, and like clothes, you really have to try a bike on, so to speak. And then maybe allow for the fact that you may need to fiddle with it to get just what you want. None of my 3 bikes and one trike are standard spec from a shop...

    And welcome, by the way...:blush:
  12. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    I'm 5'5" and a half .... and I've got a man's bike. I think it is most important at the shorter heights but then I've not riden a woman's specific design to compare.
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