Choosing a Hybrid

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by iwf, 2 Dec 2007.

  1. iwf

    iwf New Member

    Sorry, stupid Newbie question time again....

    I've finally agreed with those nearest and dearest to me that cycling to work and back is just the thing to help lose a few pounds and the thought that the Govt will contribute 43% towards the cost has had me trying out bikes and reading countless web sites for the last couple of weeks.

    Having spent the last couple of hours reading this site and being impressed at the wide variety of topics I thought I'd join.

    However I'm in a spin over what type of bike to get. My last was a Marin Hawkshead, not used much and given away to a relative.

    This time around my budget is around £500 plus £200 for bits and pieces.

    My journey is around 8 miles each way running against the tide in south west london. So far my preference has been for the Trek 7.5 or one of the Sirrus Elites. However friends have advised me to consider the stronger 26" based hybrids such as the Trek SU2 or Globes. All are much quicker than what I remember of the Marin, but the 700mm based bikes with their light frame and thin tires seem very quick.

    Though marginally slower the tails I hear are that the 26" based bikes will handle the roads of SW London better than the 700mm bikes and should i ever fancy a weekend ride off road I'm stuffed with the 7.5 or Elite.

    One thing about the Globe i tried was the internal gear thingy. Given I managed to de chain the 7.5 on its first outing I do fancy the simplicity of the Nexus, but it does seem a little old fashioned.

    So the 26" based bikes are stronger, but heavier; the 700mm faster but only really usable on tarmac.

    Anyone any views. Meanwhile I saw an interesting article on helmet cameras....

    thanks in advance
  2. MarkF

    MarkF Legendary Member

    You will a load more helpful replies than mine but in answer to your last point, I have just bought a Dawes 501 2007 model heavily discounted at £339. I have 700 x 35mm tyres and use it on the road, tracks through the woods and for the towpaths, unless it's muddy then it copes fine. If it's muddy, forget it!:biggrin:

    It's my third Discovery after a 201 and 301, I looked at Treks, Giants and Specialized but in the end familiarity won out. How boring.:biggrin:
  3. All things being equal 26" wheels are stronger than 700c by virtue of their size. The difference in rolling resistance between the two sizes is so small as to be virtually nil when compared to the main source of drag which is aerodynamic resistance. My view is that a commuting bike, assuming it fits you and is comfortable, should be reliable. At your budget it'll be hard to find a bike has crap parts so not really an issue for you. It should also be easy to work on. I'm not a fan of hub gears, getting the rear wheel in and out of a derailleur equipped bike takes seconds so replacing a tube out on the road takes just a few minutes, a feature you will be glad of next time you're stranded at the side of the road in the dark cold pishing rain. Hub gears arent really suitable for off-road use, they have a limited range and dont cope with the high pedaling loads very well. If you have the space it might be an idea to purchase two bikes, a decent new mountain bike for the weekends and something entry level or 2nd hand for commuting on. Eight miles is a fair distance but nothing that a pair of 26" x 1.5 slicks cant handle. The high mileage bike will be inexpensive to maintain, you wont cry when it gets nicked and your nice bike wont be subjected to the kind of day-in-day-out mileage which eats transmissions and wheels.
  4. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

    Greetings and welcome to CC, iwf!

    I think at this stage it might be best for you to get a bike suitable for your needs now! That is to say, something for a commute of 16 miles a day.

    As a viewing guide, cast your beady over these here

    and see which you like the look and description of.

    Once you decide cycling is more than just a means of transport, then you can look to start adding to your collection, as most of us here have done!

    For a total of £700 you should be able to get a lot of bike plus accessories.
    And there's plenty of good advice to be found here, so just ask! :biggrin:
  5. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    you're presumably commuting 10 times a week, I'd be buying a bike to do that and not worry overly about off raod

    any hybrid will handle tow paths and trails, proper mtb after that

    if you're vaguely serious about off road then get something for that
  6. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    I'd concentrate on something for your commute and worry about the weekend stuff later. I started cycling to work earlier this year (7 miles each way) and I ended up going with a cheap hybrid (A Claud Butler Urban 100 - £200), and fitted it out with mudguards, panniers, lights etc. I had been looking at things like the Sirrus and Giant FCR bikes but when I took them all on some little test runs it seemed to me that I had just as much fun on the Claud Butler as I did on the others.

    I decided that it wasn't really worth doubling the amount that I spent on the bike, especially as I figured that without really being sure what I would like in a bike at that point, it would be like pearls before swine. The Claud Butler is heavier than the other bikes, but after all the panniers, racks etc are added, I'm not sure how much difference it really makes. The tyres are fairly fat as well (700x40c) so I guess with a lighter bike with skinnier tyres I'd probably go faster, but I'm quicker than the vast majority of cyclists I meet on my commute anyway so for now I'm not bothered. I view my bike as a good utility bike - maybe sometime next year I'll get something faster to play with, but for now I really enjoy my Claud Butler.

    Anyway, I guess my point is that you don't have to spend a huge amount on a good commuting bike, which might leave you some spare cash for a dedicted mountain bike later on.
  7. Slim

    Slim Über Member

    Plough Lane
    I wouldn't worry too much about the strength of the wheels. My Sirrus Comp is strong enough to carry 16 stone through SW16 without any problems.

    FWIW - when I was going through the same process as yourself I was warned away from the Giant FCR as the Sirrus was deemed to be more robust.

    As suggested by others around here, take a few for test rides. You'll have a pretty good idea which one you like best quite quickly.

    Good luck.
  8. OP

    iwf New Member

    Thanks everyone for the speedy advice

    In my quest to learn everything there was to know about biking (a quest I failed miserably at, but hey I'm a boy!) I visited just about every Bike shop in London. To be fair I've only been trying them out at my local LBS in Brixton but I've listened lots..

    Having now tried around 8 bikes my fav is the Sirrus, but the whole 26" argument, which given my engineering background rings a few bells has had me going.

    I will go back and try out the more basic models and perhaps put more of the package price into the accessories. the great thing about the cycle to work scheme is all the bits are included. The thought that Govt will be contributing to my cycle shorts is quite amusing!

  9. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    the govt ain't putting diddle in

    the tax payer is paying for the lot

  10. John Ponting

    John Ponting Über Member

    Ian, hope you enjoy riding the bike as much as I enjoyed working to pay the tax to pay for the bike.

  11. The Muirwoods is tidy.
  12. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Is there really a big difference in strength between 26" and 700c wheels? I can't say I've ever really worried about the strength of my wheels (700c) - I bang over a loads of speed bumps at full pelt every day - should I be being a bit more cautious?
  13. PaulSB

    PaulSB Legendary Member

    I'm a big fan of Marins and would go for the San Rafael. I've had two, both stolen in the end, and used them for commuting, touring, canal towpath, fun with the kids, leisure riding (up to 80 miles/day). Very verstaile, comfortable and reliable.

    I think you're making too much of the wheel thing. I've only had one damaged wheel on any of my bikes in 15 years and have to say it's something I have never worried about.

    You might consider this though. Use the bike to work money to get the best machine you can, and then buy a second-hand hack for the actual commute. Unless you have really good cycle security I'm afraid theft is a real possibility. I had my beloved Marin stolen from a full secured cycle locker. I'm convinced I was watched and the cycle targetted.
  14. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    Just a quick word on the hub gear issue - a brand new modern hub gear can hardly be 'old fashioned'... The basic principle of the derailleur has hardly changed since it was invented, after all, just been tweaked here and there. Choose what works for you, and sod 'fashion'. For a daily commute, a hub gear has the advantage of les exposed stuff to get cruddy, easy maintenance, not easily damaged....

    And I'm with Tim and Paul on the wheel size issue - a sturdy 700c (so, not some ultra skinny carbon thing with 4 spokes) wheel should cope with commuting easily, so unless you're often going to want to throw yourself downhill on the bike, don't worry too much about it.

    And I pay bugger all tax, being a student, but what I do pay, you're welcome to!
  15. twowheelsgood

    twowheelsgood Senior Member

    Zurich Switzerland
    The wheel thing probably isn't relevant. As long as the wheel is built well, then there should be no issue for the use you anticipate. Afterall cyclocross is done on 700c.

    The only difference is the choice of tyres you'll have. There is a bigger choice of road tyres for 700c and a bigger choice of offroad tyres for 26".

    From personal experience, on a commuter bike each time a set has worn out I've gone smaller and wouldn't look back. I started out with 35c on my Marin, then went to 28c Panaracers and now I fitted the Bontrager select 25c that came with my Trek 1200. A rubbish racing tyre, but a really good fast hybrid tyre.

    I've had 2 marin hybrids, a San Raphael (which was stolen) and a Sausalito which I've had for the last 8-9 years. Back then, they were about the only choice you really had for a quality hybrid, nowadays there are plenty of options. Just don't get a suspension fork.
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