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Buying my first proper bike

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by xahend, 1 Jan 2017.

  1. xahend

    xahend Member

    Hi guys,

    I'm looking to buy my first proper bike after practicing on one I loaned from a friend and liking it. I've never bought a bike before, am a self-taught newbie, and I think my friends bike is a 21 speed mountain? bike but I'm not sure (I have pictures of said bike from when I was asking for beginner advice on another thread).
    It's quite sturdy, slightly heavy, and the saddle is low enough from the handles for me to feel comfortable.

    Also, should I buy from Halfords or a local bike shop? I've heard that buying from a local would be better, but is this the case for someone as ill-informed on bicycles as me?

    Will appreciate any tips or advice :smile:

    IMG_9195.JPG IMG_9196.JPG IMG_9191.JPG IMG_9193.JPG IMG_9194.JPG
     
  2. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Staff Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    Where about are you? Some may be able to recommend shops local to you to try. Of the big retailers I know Evans allow you to take any bike you are considering for a test ride, and I'm sure others will do. I've tended to use my Local Bike Shop (LBS). And have you an idea on budget?
     
    xahend likes this.
  3. biggs682

    biggs682 Smile a mile bike provider

    Location:
    wellingborough
    Yep that looks like an mtb hardtail .

    What kind of riding are you hoping to do ? On or off road?

    I would suggest visiting as many shops as local listen to all, why not consider second hand?

    If local to me in Wellingborough I would happily offer to help and if you are after or fancy trying a road bike you could try one of mine and see how you get on just don't rush .
     
    xahend and Drago like this.
  4. cyberknight

    cyberknight Guru

    Location:
    South Derbyshire
    Yup, unless your riding off road you dont really need suspension as it adds weight and on roads/ canal paths etc the tyres should give you enough cushioning .

    Re halfords, like any multi chain business they have good and bad shops dependent on staff at that store, you can get good deals especially if you join british cycling you get 10 % discount in store even o non bike stuff .
     
    xahend likes this.
  5. vickster

    vickster Guru

    Location:
    Sutton
    Are you male or female? As that is a women's bike (not that it especially matters, although if a shorter female a women's bike might be better sized)

    I'd go to Evans as above if you have one close and try a few bikes out.

    Also the type of bike will depend what surfaces you plan to ride. As a beginner, secondhand might be the way to go and upgrade when you are more into cycling and more confident :smile:
     
    xahend and biggs682 like this.
  6. biggs682

    biggs682 Smile a mile bike provider

    Location:
    wellingborough
    having just read Beginner cyclist with speed issues[/URL i can see that you are in Essex at mo and Exeter later in year . so i still advise to go and try as many bikes as people let you before deciding where and what to buy
     
    xahend likes this.
  7. greekonabike

    greekonabike President of the 'Democratic Republic' of GOAB

    Location:
    Kent
    If you're mainly going to be riding on the roads/cycle paths it may be worth getting a 'hybrid' rather than a mountain bike. They generally don't come with front suspension and are much lighter (normally) than the mountain bike you are borrowing. Just because they're lighter doesn't mean there any less sturdy though. They're designed to be easy to ride, quick and lightweight. They also have narrower tyres that make cycling on the road a lot quicker.

    In regards to Halfords vs LBS.

    Halfords do some nice bikes but I'd personally stay clear of the Apollo range and the Ridge range. They do some nice Carrera bikes and similarly some nice Boardman bikes. A lot of people agree that they are good bikes for the money and they generally have a good specification. However, it seems to be hit and miss on whether your bike is assembled correctly by Halfords. I'm not saying it's definitely going to happen, I'm just saying that if you do get a bike from Halfords make sure you get someone who knows about bikes to give it a check over for you. Your local bike shop is probably going to try a lot harder to win your business, you're also likely to have a much wider range of choice there. If you go into your local bike shop and tell them what you need the bike for they are going to try and sell you one to suit your needs. The guys at Halfords aren't as likely (in my opinion) to do this and will probably try to sell you whatever is trending at any given moment.

    I'm not sure what you're budget is but my Giant Escape Hybrid was just over £300 as it was last years model. You could still get some good deals by talking to your local shops. They might have something lurking in their backrooms.

    GOAB
     
    xahend likes this.
  8. xahend

    xahend Member

    @summerdays I'll be in Exeter when I buy my bike / as I'm a student my budget is unlikely to exceed £200-ish but let me know if this is unreasonable to expect.

    @biggs682 unfortunately I'm too far away from wellingborough to even consider the trek - but I appreciate your advice and will check out as many local shops as there are quite a few. I'm looking to ride mostly on trails and alongside the river Exe - Exeter is also quite hilly. Will be avoiding roads as I don't feel ready for it yet.

    @cyberknight but I kind of like the extra weight of the bike because I thought it helped me learn how to balance more / thanks for the heads up on the discount!

    @vickster I am a short female so I'll be sticking to the women's sized bikes. I'll check to see if I have Evans near me but I don't think so. Will consider second-hand though, thanks for that!

    @greekonabike mountain bike tyres look sturdier though, and in my mind that means less wear and tear? Correct me as I'm probably wrong

    Buying from Halfords sounds tricky then as I don't know enough about bikes myself to judge whether the person assembling it knows what they're doing.

    Judging from everyones advice, local bike shops seem the way to go, and there's no shame in second-hand.
     
    MarquisMatsugae and biggs682 like this.
  9. cyberknight

    cyberknight Guru

    Location:
    South Derbyshire
    The weight of the bike is not the biggest factor in balance, if you prefer a hardtail then as long as you enjoy it thats the main thing .
     
    xahend likes this.
  10. MichaelW2

    MichaelW2 Über Member

    Excessive weight on a bike is always a bad thing.
    It sounds like you are looking for a bike for a small female for pootling around town, commuting, shopping, easy trails and recreational riding.
    Get the best bike you can afford. Factor in the cost of any public transport you currently pay for but wont have to. A good bike will last 10 years of daily use with about £100/ year of maintainance. What is your budget?
    Select the correct size.
    Budget for the bike + some accessories as required: lights, mudguards, luggage rack, helmet, pannier bags, lock, puncture repair kit, bike oil. You can negotiate for freebies rather than cash off. Don' t forget some insurance for you rather than the bike. Most bike club membership includes 3rd party which is the one you need.
    I would strongly advise a tyre upgrade on any low end bike to one with better puncture protection. You can fit road or mixed use tyres on MTB wheels instead of off road knobblies. Schwalbe Marathon are a standard commuter tyre and the Marathon Plus has maximum protection.
     
    xahend likes this.
  11. Grant Fondo

    Grant Fondo Parks, Hotels and Palaces, Europe Endless.

    Location:
    Cheshire
    Personally i would go s/h on a 200 quid budget...affording a lighter and better quality ride will get you into cycling whereas a heavy halfords type thing may put you off, particularly when you hit the Devon hills!
    To give you an example i just sold an 8kg ghost road bike in immaculate condition for £280....what was i thinking
     
    MarquisMatsugae, xahend and Cycleops like this.
  12. smutchin

    smutchin Cat 6 Racer

    Yeah, you'll almost certainly get better advice/service from an lbs rather than Halfords. I don't know Exeter but I just googled bike shops and judging by their website, I reckon these guys look good:
    http://www.exetercycles.co.uk/
    - they sell both new and second hand bikes too.
     
    MarquisMatsugae, xahend and Cycleops like this.
  13. dim

    dim Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge UK
  14. xahend

    xahend Member

    @MichaelW2 I'm not looking to cycle for commuting or shopping just yet - mostly trails and recreational. Will consider your advice, especially about upgraded tyres

    @Grant Fondo The hills are so intimidating, especially Forum Hill. I've just looked at road bikes and the saddle on them seems higher than the ones on mountain bikes - is this something I can get adjusted? Am I basically just getting the frame of a road bike with mixed use tyres?

    "Mixed Up? If you do a lot of riding on mixed surfaces - e.g tarmac, towpaths and trails, look for a tyre with a smooth central section and pronounced knobbles on the outer edge - this will run smooth on tarmac but give you plenty of grip when cornering on loose surfaces." - found this on the British cycling website, is this what I should be asking for in the shop
     
  15. Grant Fondo

    Grant Fondo Parks, Hotels and Palaces, Europe Endless.

    Location:
    Cheshire
    @xahend....the difference in taking on a big hill on a 7kg road bike and a cheap mtb is MASSIVE....lots of CC ers will testify to this....hill climbing is also one of the great joys of cycling..if you have the legs!
     
    xahend likes this.