First commuting bike advice

Cerveza

New Member
Hi. I've started a new job and it's much more commutable (8.5 miles) than my previous job. I'm new to the commuting world and looking for some advice.

I'm looking to spend £250-300 including the bike and accessories. A friend of a friend has a boardman comp 2016 in good condition with the gears being serviced last week by halfords. He wants £200 for it. Will brand new hybrid bikes that are similar priced be better?

I'm going to get the following on accessories...

Rack - xpork - (Amazon): £11.19.
Panniers - HONPHIER - (amazon): 18.99.
USB Led lights - Balhvit - (amazon) 12.99.
Helmet - trespass crackster - (amazon) 11.99.

I'm going to wear my gym clothes with a hat, gloves and leg thermals to start with and see how sweaty I get.

I'm yet to pick a mug guard if anyone has recommendations. If there is anything else I've missed please let me know :smile:
 

boydj

Guru
Location
Paisley
That's a good distance for a commute, but you'll have to build your fitness up to make it doable every day. There's also lots to learn about staying safe on the road - and a lot of that is not obvious to a non-cyclist. Doing the Bikeability training would be a big help.

Your pal's Boardman is likely to be a better buy than a new bike in the £200 to £300 range. It will have a lighter frame and better quality components and wheels, though it may need some servicing tlc from somebody who knows a bit about bikes if it's not been used much.

If you can stick with it for the first five or six weeks, you'll soon pick up the fitness and start to enjoy the cycling.
 
OP
C

Cerveza

New Member
That's a good distance for a commute, but you'll have to build your fitness up to make it doable every day. There's also lots to learn about staying safe on the road - and a lot of that is not obvious to a non-cyclist. Doing the Bikeability training would be a big help.

Your pal's Boardman is likely to be a better buy than a new bike in the £200 to £300 range. It will have a lighter frame and better quality components and wheels, though it may need some servicing tlc from somebody who knows a bit about bikes if it's not been used much.

If you can stick with it for the first five or six weeks, you'll soon pick up the fitness and start to enjoy the cycling.
Thanks for the reply Boydj. Noted about learning how to be safe on the road. 2 miles of the commute is on a cycle track never the less I'll be researching how to stay safe.

Do you think the board man would be a good bet for a first commuter bike? May try and get him down a little
 

brucers

Veteran
Location
Scunthorpe
Boardman's are generally accepted as being good value for money new and that follows on for 2nd had (depending on condition etc). I had a Boardman and let my lady ride it. She liked it so much, it is now hers.
Depending on where you are going to park it, you may need a decent lock.
 
OP
C

Cerveza

New Member
Boardman's are generally accepted as being good value for money new and that follows on for 2nd had (depending on condition etc). I had a Boardman and let my lady ride it. She liked it so much, it is now hers.
Depending on where you are going to park it, you may need a decent lock.
Thank you brucers. Any pointers on what to look for when inspecting a second hand bike? I've had £150 accepted. The owner used to use it to commute to work but hasn't used it for a few years. Says the gears were serviced by Halford recently.
 

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
I'd suggest a different approach. That's a fair commute to start with if you're starting from zero, so maybe break yourself into it gently.
Also, if you're not already, get familiar with fixing punctures.
As for commuting you want a bike that will be reliable, easy to maintain and with relatively cheap consumables such as chains, cassettes etc. Puncture resistant tyres are probably a must. Don't forget a comfy saddle.

I'd suggest a trawl of whatever second hand sites you use and have a look at rigid (no suspension) MTBs - the older the better. Perfectly decent ones can be had for next to nothing, they are easy to work on for the mechanically challenged (me!)

They can take big tyres for comfort, have good gearing for getting up hills, have fittings for racks and mudguards and are perfect for loading up and taking weekend spins.

Another advantage is that they are as common as muck and less likely to get stolen.

Your £200 would get you a bike and most of what you need, possibly with some change.

They're not the coolest, certainly, but I commuted 40km round trip on one for a few years in all kinds of weather.

Good luck!
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
As for commuting you want a bike that will be reliable, easy to maintain and with relatively cheap consumables such as chains, cassettes etc. Puncture resistant tyres are probably a must. Don't forget a comfy saddle.

I'd suggest a trawl of whatever second hand sites you use and have a look at rigid (no suspension) MTBs - the older the better. Perfectly decent ones can be had for next to nothing, they are easy to work on for the mechanically challenged (me!)

They can take big tyres for comfort, have good gearing for getting up hills, have fittings for racks and mudguards and are perfect for loading up and taking weekend spins.

Another advantage is that they are as common as muck and less likely to get stolen.

Your £200 would get you a bike and most of what you need, possibly with some change.
Personally, I wouldn't spend more than about £25 buying a commuting hack, and my bike of choice would either be a 1990's vintage steel framed Raleigh Pioneer hybrid or a fully rigid steel 26" MTB from the same era, with either option having a 3 x 6 transmission, mudguards, and retro-fitted with Schwalbe Marathon tyres. A commuting or utility hack bike is just a tool for getting you from A to B all said and done, and it needs to be both mechanically reliable and as unattractive as possible to thieving scumbags and no more than that. When it really matters that you don't get delayed by punctures too often, the tyres are actually the single most important thing on the bike, and on most of my bikes, retro-fitting them with Schwalbes has actually been more expensive than buying the bike itself - as I always source bikes used and pay as little as possible for them.
 
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Cycleops

Guru
Location
Accra, Ghana
The SH Boardman should serve you well. Just one word of advice, don't always buy the cheapest gear, it might not work out to be the cheapest in the long run :smile:.
Are those panniers waterproof?
You'll need mudguards if the bike doesn't already have them.
Also as above, puncture resistant tyres are well worth fitting from the get go.
 
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brucers

Veteran
Location
Scunthorpe
Thank you brucers. Any pointers on what to look for when inspecting a second hand bike? I've had £150 accepted. The owner used to use it to commute to work but hasn't used it for a few years. Says the gears were serviced by Halford recently.
Check there is no wobble at the crank (pedal arms), wheels and front fork. Look at condition of tyres ( worn or cracked), spin the wheels (see they are straight), make sure the seat post is not stuck. Take a test ride, testing the brakes and that all gears click in. Take note of any odd noises and how it feels, question anything that seems odd. Finally, turn the bike upside down, looking at condition and ensuring the frame number is still intact.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Does it have disc brakes? If so, not every pannier rack will fit, look for a disc brake compatible one.
Helmet wise, much better to go to a shop and try one on even if it costs a bit more, it needs to fit and be comfortable. Decathlon are good for cheaper kit. Lidl have their cycling stuff in from the 8th
 

Spiderweb

Not So Special One
Location
North Yorkshire
Thank you brucers. Any pointers on what to look for when inspecting a second hand bike? I've had £150 accepted. The owner used to use it to commute to work but hasn't used it for a few years. Says the gears were serviced by Halford recently.
£150 seems pretty good for a 2016 Boardman Comp.

Decent helmets for £10-£15 at Planet X. Always better to try for fit & comfort, you obviously can’t do this when buying online so measure the circumference of you head. I bought a cheap Planet X helmet and I’m delighted with it.
https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/helmets/

Planet X are always good for socks at between £2 & £3. Their Merino ones teamed with an ordinary pair are good in winter.
https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/clothing/footwear/socks.

Buffs, Neck tubes or whatever you want to call them are great for winter.
https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CLPX365NT/planet-x-pro-365x-neck-tube

Lots of decent USB rechargeable lights.
https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/LIJOFLASH/jobsworth-3w-flasher
https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/accessories/lights

Spare inner tubes.
https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/wheels-and-tyres/tyres-and-tubes/Inner Tubes

Lots of other cheap gear at Planet X too, pumps, bottles and bottle cages, pannier racks. Bear in mind they do charge postage.
 
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icowden

Senior Member
Location
Surrey
Don't overpack / overpannier... You may find that you don't need to carry that much on the bike (depending on your job). E.g. A suit or trousers can be kept at the office, so you just need a rolled shirt and underwear. Similarly you might only need a towel at start and end of the week.
 

boydj

Guru
Location
Paisley
Thanks for the reply Boydj. Noted about learning how to be safe on the road. 2 miles of the commute is on a cycle track never the less I'll be researching how to stay safe.

Do you think the board man would be a good bet for a first commuter bike? May try and get him down a little
The Boardman should be fine for the commute. If it's not got mudguards, then you should have them fitted (or do it yourself). Nothing worse than a wet bum on the commute and they protect the bike as well. Get yourself a track pump too. One of the main causes pf punctures is low tyre pressure. Keep your tyres close to the max advised on the side of the tyre. Tyre quality is a factor too, but I wouldn't change tyres that have plenty of life left in them.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Tyre quality is a factor too, but I wouldn't change tyres that have plenty of life left in them.
Tyre quality, or rather tyre puncture resistance, is a massive factor. Over the last year, I have had four visits from the Fairy. All were on unprotected tyres and none of them were on Schwalbes nor on a part-worn set of Michelin City Protect Plus I'm also running. My more puncture-prone tyres are used strictly for local journeys only. I would not run any unprotected tyre on a commuter I was riding 8 1/2 miles on. Two or three miles, possibly, and probably only on the front tyre. Rear tyres get more punctures, so even if you want to keep using existing ones to get the full mileage out of them it still makes sense to fit a Marathon or similar tyre to the rear, where it is more likely to be needed.
 

hillrep

Veteran
boydj has good advice!
My other advice is not to start off by trying to do the cycle commute every day, but once or twice a week, or even one way one day and back the following day (if there is suitable alternative transport) and build up from there. Also, you don't have to try hard unless you want to, pootling along is fine!
 
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