Complete newby needs help!!

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by SallyBee, 9 Apr 2010.

  1. SallyBee

    SallyBee New Member

    NW Leicestershire
    Hello everyone
    Hope you can help. I have decided to take up cycling for the good of my health! It seems a good way to get fit and I cant stand the thought of excercising whilst facing a wall or a room of sweaty persons. Plus we have some lovely countryside around where we live that would be great to explore.

    Im asking questions first here from people who actually use and love their bikes (rather than asking the bloke in the bike shop who wants my money!!)

    So a few questions I have are......

    I have been looking online and think that I will be needing with a hybrid bike (roads, lanes and tracks - not mountains!!) - any suggestions on a good one for a beginner £200-300.00

    How do I know what frame size I need?

    What is an open frame and why is it good?

    Whats a triple?

    Any other 'Kit' Or suggested bits I would need for my bike

    Any suggestions for comfy/well fitting helmets?

    I know I sound completely clueless - well I am so far!!! I know the lanes as far as I can walk in the time I have, but no I want more...

  2. Kestevan

    Kestevan Last of the Summer Winos


    First step is to go and find a decent local bike shop (LBS) in your area. That will let you find a bike that fits you, rather than taking a guess on on-line stores.

    The Carrera subway range from Halfords seems to get decent reviews - but be aware that Halfords mechanics are a mixed bunch (and that's being both polite and optimistic).

    I'm guessing by open frame you mean a step-through or ladies specific bike, it's a bike where the frame doesnt have a top tube (the horisontal bar that runs from the seat to the bit where the handlebars fit), rather the tube slopes down to meet somewhare nearer the pedals. They are easirer to mount as you can "step-through" the frame without swinging your leg over. Drawback is they can be heavier.

    A triple, or double refers to the number of chainwheels (gear cogs) at the pedal end. Doubles have 2, triples 3. A triple is usual on a mountain bike and many hybrids. It allows lots of gears, usually fairly low for climbing hills. If you're unfit/not used to riding, or touring with weights a triple can make hills easier.

    A helmet is not compulsory, and there are arguments for and against wearing them. If youe feel you want one, again go and try them on. Everybodies head is different, some helmets will fit others wont. Get one that feels comfy, and make sure it's properly adjusted.

    You will also need to look at a lock (buy the best you can afford), and possibly some lights. I'd also get some gloves.

    Anything else, including cycle clothes, computers, shoes etc are pretty much optional, and can be picked up as and when. Keep an eye out for Aldi/Lidl sales which come allong periodically.
  3. OP

    SallyBee New Member

    NW Leicestershire
    Thanks for the quick reply Kesteven

    I can feel the murk of confusion clearing

    Although I am a 'lady' I have no probs 'getting my leg over' - a crossbar that is!!!! and as Im currently rather unfit (to say the least) the lighter the frame the better I would think + more gears the merrier to help smooth out those hills.

    Thanks for the advice so far

    Anyone with any ideas of good bike makes - all info gratefully received.

    xx Sal.
  4. g00se

    g00se Über Member


    The best thing to do - especially as a novice - is to nip down to your local bike shops and try some out. They'll be able to advise on different bikes etc. But I would suggest the nearer to £300 you can go, the better.

    AS a newbie, I would say avoid buying second hand from ebay etc - but if one of your bike shops has second hand bikes, then that could be a good way to go. For that money, it would be a good idea to avoid any bikes with suspension - front and/or especially back.

    They can differ between makes as bike 'geometry' varies. That is, a bike's size is normally measured along the seat tube, but the bikes other tube lengths and angles can vary. So one model 54cm bike could be completely different to another 54cm. Best try some out in a shop. If you do go the way of buying a bike online, then look up the manufacturer's website for sizing guides - and if you can find the model on the wiggle website, then they often include the guides on there too.

    New name for the old 'ladies bike' frame - where there is no top tube so 'ladies' can ride with a big skirt. The advantage is still that you can 'step through' the frame to mount the bike which would be useful if you've got a child seat attached to the back or have limited mobility.

    The front chain-ring has three (derailleur) gear rings rather than two. Triples are common on mountain bikes and hybrids so you can get very low gearing. On road bikes, doubles are more common and triples are a bit sneered at and the smallest cog is referred to as a 'granny' gear :biggrin:.

    Decent lock (if you have - or plan to have - bike insurance, check that they may have a list of approved locks); mudguards if you're planning on travelling when it's wet; decent lights if you're going out after dark; pump (a cheap track pump to keep at home is very useful as it'll pump up tyres nice and quickly); if you're going far - puncture kit, spare inner tube, lightweight bicycle multitool.

    If you want a helmet, you'll need to try them out in a shop, as different makes and models fit different shapes and sizes of heads.

    Good luck and have fun...
  5. g00se

    g00se Über Member

    Doh - beaten to it :biggrin:

    At that price, most bikes are going to be similar in specification, so it's a matter of trying some out. But decent brands to look at include (but not necessarily limited to) Specialised, Kona, Giant, Scott...
  6. Norm

    Norm Guest

    Definitely +1 on visiting a shop. Most of your sizing questions (on frames and helmets, for instance) will only be answered by seeing if you fit. You'll usually get good personal advice from a local shop, as well, they'll be looking at what sort of riding you plan on doing (road / off-road, distance, pace etc) and what your goals are, as well as the basics like sizing.

    As for bikes, the Kona Dew gets good feedback generally and, if you can get to Nottingham, Evans have them on sale to just dip into your price range - although that seems to be only the larger bikes.

    As g00se says, any from those manufacturers should be fine.
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