Going back to a bike

smoiu

New Member
Hi there, i've not been on a bike in over 10 years but like many people the cycle to work scheme has made me decide to change that and cycle the 12 miles to work rather than walk and get a train :smile:

I've read up on the c2w and thankfully my employer has agreed a £10 nominal fee to 'transfer' the bike to me after the 12 month contract so i don't think i'll be falling in any of the potholes which others seem to have suffered from when taking up this offer, and colleagues who have taken advantage of it seem satisfied.

Originally i was looking at spending £700 for a bike plus accessories but i've decided to up my budget to £850 now after speaking to a few people who have skimped and got cheaper bikes only to end up spending more in the long run. I was thinking that £650 for the bike and about £200 for assorted accessories would be a good split, as i've read countless posts on here urging people to avoid buying cheap d-locks and i have no helmet, lights or anything else for that matter.

I've done plenty of research speaking to friends who are cyclists and i've been hooked to this site for longer than i'd care to admit but i think it's time i picked your brains now, as i want to make sure i make a good decision :laugh:

My company uses Evans for the scheme and my commute to work consists of about 3 miles across footpaths and very poor country roads, and then about 9 miles on roads. I live on top of a hill as well which is probably something i ought to consider.

Because of the mix i didn't want a road bike, and while some people have told me to look at cyclo cross or touring bikes the few ones which were in my price range didn't catch my eye.

The bikes which stood out on evan's site were the crosstrail range, which seemed pretty much designed for what i'd want, i particularly liked the idea of locking suspension so i could enjoy a smoother ride along the really bad roads and then lock them off for when i was on the roads or uphill. Though as i've not riden for 10 years i'm basing this purely on what i've read :ohmy:

i was originally looking at the crosstrail elite here but since upping my budget this comp version seemed a better fit.

Would you guys say this would be a sensible choice for me? I went into the store and the assistant was positive about it being a good fit for me and after test riding it i did feel like it was a good choice, but i was riding it apprehensively around central london in heavy traffic which quite honestly petrified me, rather than in the essex countryside where i'd actually be using it so i didn't want to rush into a decision :biggrin:

He also tried to push a few more hybrids on me like the cannondale bad boy and scott sub range but the small wheels didn't fill me with confidence for long rides, it just felt like i was too low down and i didn't fancy cycling down a main road on it, the higher seating position and bigger wheels on the specialized was definitely a plus point in that respect.

I also looked at a few cross bikes which were only in my price range because they were 2009 but i didn't really like the seating position. That may be something i'd get used to though? I've only ever ridden mountain bikes before so i guess even though that was a while ago it's still going to have an impact.

He said i ought to think about getting some new tyres for the crosstrail mind, as apparently the stock ones aren't very puncture resistant which didn't fill me with confidence :sad: I kind of expected the tires on a £650 bike to be pretty decent! i mean they felt fine when i was riding it but if im going to have to spend another £50 on replacing them i'd rather do it while i have a 40% discount.

He also claimed that replacing the quick release bolts with a set of anti-theft bolts, which seemed seriously overpriced, would be a sensible idea. Good idea or not? He seemed like a pretty genuine enthusiast and knew i'd be ordering it online at a later date rather than buying from him so i don't think it was a case of selling crap for commission, but it seemed ridiculous that they're selling bikes in london with quick release parts given the crime problem, only to push secure bolts afterwards!

lastly (honestly) what d-lock would be a good fit from evans? i won't be skimping but the vast array of locks is quite daunting, i'm sure i can pick a good helmet, set of lights and speedo etc out but i don't want to buy the wrong lock for obvious reasons :huh:

Thanks a lot for reading all that lot, I can't believe how much i've just written for my first post on this forum but i didn't want to miss out anything :biggrin:

Any pointers you guys can offer are greatly appreciated, as i say i've spoken to people but it's obvious there are people here who not only know what they're talking about but also answer this type of question regularly and from reading those threads give good answers, so i want to take advantage of that!!

Cheers,
smoiu
 

Norm

Guest
Blimey, that's a way of saying "Hi" :laugh:

Greetings, Smoiu, welcome. I'm just going to pull a couple of bits of that out for now.

Firstly, you should not agree the sale price with your employers until the time of the sale. If you agree the price before then, it makes it a hire purchase agreement, not a hire agreement, and that makes it taxable in full. I'd strongly recommend you tell your employers that too, because there'll be tears before bedtime if someone gets caught.

The Crosstrail is a good bike for your route, IMO. I have lock outs on the front of my MTB but I very seldom lock them. With the right pedalling technique (stay in the seat and don't lean too hard on the bars), they bounce very little and they do smooth out the crap tarmac.

With regards to the cyclo-x bikes, though, think carefully before dismissing them as they will (sweeping generalisation here) be faster on the tarmac because they are lighter, stiffer and have the drop bars to get down out of the wind when necessary. I have a regular route which is 6 miles off road and 4 miles on cycle paths & roads and my MTB and cx bike take almost exactly the same time for that. Because your route is more roads, I would expect the cx to have quite an advantage, though it depends if that is important to you.

You might look at changing the tyres but I'd run it with the stock tyres for a while to see how they fare on your route. I have the same tyres in a smaller size on my bike and they have proved pretty tough, without a puncture in 300+ miles.

QR skewers make life much easier so, unless you live / work in a dodgy area, why take the backwards step? If you are that worried, get a cable to loop through your wheels and the D lock.

Be wary picking lights. If you are likely to be riding away from street lights at night, you will need something pretty powerful and that does not mean £30 of Cateyes. Hope Vision1 would be my recommendation for the front, £70-£80 to buy but worth it. And a Smart 1/2 watt for the back.

I'd also suggest a good track pump. £25-£30 to buy but worth every cent when it comes to sorting your scoot before riding.

HTH. :ohmy:
 
OP
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smoiu

New Member
Norm said:
Blimey, that's a way of saying "Hi" :laugh:

Greetings, Smoiu, welcome. I'm just going to pull a couple of bits of that out for now.

Firstly, you should not agree the sale price with your employers until the time of the sale. If you agree the price before then, it makes it a hire purchase agreement, not a hire agreement, and that makes it taxable in full. I'd strongly recommend you tell your employers that too, because there'll be tears before bedtime if someone gets caught.

The Crosstrail is a good bike for your route, IMO. I have lock outs on the front of my MTB but I very seldom lock them. With the right pedalling technique (stay in the seat and don't lean too hard on the bars), they bounce very little and they do smooth out the crap tarmac.

With regards to the cyclo-x bikes, though, think carefully before dismissing them as they will (sweeping generalisation here) be faster on the tarmac because they are lighter, stiffer and have the drop bars to get down out of the wind when necessary. I have a regular route which is 6 miles off road and 4 miles on cycle paths & roads and my MTB and cx bike take almost exactly the same time for that. Because your route is more roads, I would expect the cx to have quite an advantage, though it depends if that is important to you.

You might look at changing the tyres but I'd run it with the stock tyres for a while to see how they fare on your route. I have the same tyres in a smaller size on my bike and they have proved pretty tough, without a puncture in 300+ miles.

QR skewers make life much easier so, unless you live / work in a dodgy area, why take the backwards step? If you are that worried, get a cable to loop through your wheels and the D lock.

Be wary picking lights. If you are likely to be riding away from street lights at night, you will need something pretty powerful and that does not mean £30 of Cateyes. Hope Vision1 would be my recommendation for the front, £70-£80 to buy but worth it. And a Smart 1/2 watt for the back.

I'd also suggest a good track pump. £25-£30 to buy but worth every cent when it comes to sorting your scoot before riding.

HTH. :biggrin:
Thanks a lot for the fast reply :biggrin: Yeah I have a habit of rambling on; being succinct has never been a strong point of mine :biggrin:

I thought the whole point of agreeing a nominal fee was to avoid the prospect of the taxman getting angry, but i'll have a word with accounts and see what they say to your concerns. I know a couple of people who have been more than happy with their bikes from c2w so hopefully it's alright.

Yep I was certainly not dismissing a cx bike as an option, hence why i'm looking for as many opinions as possible really! It's just that the first feel was that i really prefer an upright frame, and im not sure if it's worth trying to get more used to something else or if i should just stick with what feels natural - I can always put bullbars (?) on the handlebars should i find i need a different hand position on long routes can't I? Or is the difference really that great.

My speed is never going to be fantastic though, i carry about 20+kg of stuff with me in my backpack most of the time so although I'm a fairly fit person and run 10miles comfortably every week I don't expect to be setting any speed records. I looked at the possibility of luggage racks but they probably wouldn't help as I need my backpack for the rest of the day while i'm out and about.

I'll definately need very good light options for my bike in winter but i'm unsure what i'll be getting right now. I have a (in my mind) very powerful Fenix L2D torch which i currently use for my walk, and they do a bike mount for that. I may be wrong but I'm highly doubting a bike light will have more power than my fenix so i was thinking of just getting a solid but not amazingly powerful set of front and back lights to do me while the evenings are long, and then in winter seeing if the fenix in a mount alongside that will a good option, which I have a feeling it will be judging from the bike lights I've seen coming down the road.

I'll stick with QR then and a cable+D-lock option regardless of what bike i get, although as i say i'm not sure where to start with picking one.

accountantpete said:
29lbs is heavy for a bike especially with hills - do you really need the front suspension forks?
I carry a lot of stuff around with me so i'm not sure the weight will make too much difference, as for front suspension, i really have no idea if i need it or not. I figured with pot holed roads, muddy footpaths and general bumpyness on my route to work it would be preferable but I've not had a chance to try it out on the route so i really can't be sure, what conditions would you say require front suspension forks?

On the subject of muddy paths, i'll be needing mudguards when it's wet to avoid the dreaded splatter, what would be my best option fro adding them simply in the winter?
 

Norm

Guest
The Fenix torch should be fine, there's a few on here that use them so you'll find more with a quick search.
smoiu said:
I thought the whole point of agreeing a nominal fee was to avoid the prospect of the taxman getting angry, but i'll have a word with accounts and see what they say to your concerns. I know a couple of people who have been more than happy with their bikes from c2w so hopefully it's alright.
Absolutely not alright to make any agreement about what happens at the end of the hire period. From the DfT's guidance notes:
8) Can the employee keep the cycle at the end of the loan period? There should be no automatic entitlement for the employee to take ownership of the cycle and cyclists' safety equipment at the end of the loan period. If the loan agreement (technically a hire agreement under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (CCA)) allows for ownership of the cycle and cyclists' safety equipment to pass to the employee upon the exercise of an option, the doing of any other specified act by either party to the agreement, or the happening of any other specified event, the resulting agreement is likely to be hire purchase in which case the tax exemption available for a loaned cycle may not be available.
If the price for a sale at the end of the period is agreed in advance, it makes it a hire purchase rather than a rental agreement and that is taxable. It's a very quick and easy thing to sort, just make sure you don't have anything in writing. :laugh:
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
smoiu said:
My speed is never going to be fantastic though, i carry about 20+kg of stuff with me in my backpack most of the time so although I'm a fairly fit person and run 10miles comfortably every week I don't expect to be setting any speed records. I looked at the possibility of luggage racks but they probably wouldn't help as I need my backpack for the rest of the day while i'm out and about.
Carrying a weight on your back can get a bit wearing over more than a few miles - I think, even if I needed a backpack during the day, I'd prefer to carry stuff in a pannier on the bike. It's a matter of taste to some extent, I know some folk don't mind a rucksack, but it's worth thinking about. Maybe go with the rucksack to start with, but think about whether you can add a rack to your bike later if you come to prefer the idea of panniers...

(And a rack can be fitted easily enough to a bike with suitable fixing points (bosses) and can usually be fitted even to a bike without them, with a bit of lateral thinking and P-clips).

On the mudguard question - why just for winter? It can be rainy and muddy in summer too, I'd just fit a pair and leave them there...

Anyway, enjoy it all! :tongue:
 

gouldina

New Member
Location
London
Arch said:
On the mudguard question - why just for winter? It can be rainy and muddy in summer too, I'd just fit a pair and leave them there...
+1.
We live in Britain and having a smear of brown stuff up your bum and back is not an attractive look IMO.
 
OP
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smoiu

New Member
gouldina said:
+1.
We live in Britain and having a smear of brown stuff up your bum and back is not an attractive look IMO.
Good point well made! I'll check out the fixed mudguards then, i was originally just looking at these.

On the subject of locks would a combination of these

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/abus/centuro-860-110cm-lock-ec007496
and
http://www.evanscycles.com/products...bracket-ec006265?query=Evolution Series 4 STD

be good, or should i spend more on the D-lock and less on the cable?
 

Jaguar

New Member
Location
Norfolk/Suffolk
smoiu said:
i carry about 20+kg of stuff with me in my backpack most of the time
Oh, I hate sweaty back! Get a rack & panniers :smile:
A 6 mile ride should take you about half an hour. To save weight, can you leave a good D-lock at work? and carry a light lock with you? (I am lucky, I can just use a Poundshop lock on my Galaxy, nobody seems to think it worth nicking)

smoiu said:
I'll definately need very good light options for my bike in winter
I use really cheapo lights from Wilkinson, but a v.v.good (imo) Night Vision jacket
 
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smoiu

New Member
Jaguar said:
Oh, I hate sweaty back! Get a rack & panniers :biggrin:
A 6 mile ride should take you about half an hour. To save weight, can you leave a good D-lock at work? and carry a light lock with you? (I am lucky, I can just use a Poundshop lock on my Galaxy, nobody seems to think it worth nicking)


I use really cheapo lights from Wilkinson, but a v.v.good (imo) Night Vision jacket
I'll see how the backpack goes i think and get some panniers if i find it too much, but i doubt leaving the lock at work is going to be a possibility, I'll need to lock it up at home as well unfortunately and don't want to be buying two D-locks so it will have to stay with the bike.
 
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smoiu

New Member
I'm being pushed away from the Crosstrail by a lot of people as apparently because my commute is 3/4 roads the suspension and extra thick tires will be a hinderence.

Would this be a better fit for me do you think or should i stick with the crosstrail comp? I like the option to go further offroad that the suspension will give me - nothing extreme, just a few rides round national parks and stuff - but if the Kona will be tough enough to do that and will perform better on the road then i should look at that too i guess.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
I ride my Crosstrail Sport on roads - similar proportion of my journey - still manage decent speeds, with the suspension locked :wacko: Not like my lighter hybrid but not bad when get going and the tyres help with the potholes which are everywhere!

Have you had a test ride?
 
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smoiu

New Member
Yeah i test rode the crosstrail elite but only a 5 minute round the block ride in london - not exactly similar conditions to my commute! Unfortunately as the stores are in the centre of london that's where im limited to though, and having not riding in 10 years, riding in the centre of london consists more of me worrying about what on earth the traffic is doing than evaluating the performance of the bike!
 

Norm

Guest
My money would go on the Crosstrail.

Life is not a race, sometimes things which are built for comfort rather than speed are good. A rigid bike might be faster on tarmac but the Crosstrail Comp is only 2lbs heavier than the Kona Dew Deluxe, and I'd happily take that extra weight for the extra comfort of front suspenders.

If speed is that much of an issue, check out a cyclo-cross bike too. The Kona Jake, Genesis Vapour or Specialized Tricross will, IMO, be faster on tarmac than something like the Kona Dew Deluxe.
 

Crankarm

Legendary Member
Location
Nr Cambridge
Hi Welcome.

How about a hardtail such as the Kona Cinder Cone at £749.99 or the slightly more expensive Caldera at £849? I think they both have lock out on the front shock and are very nice rides. Kona frames are up there with the best, light and strong. You could put slick tyres on it or something like the Conti Travel Contacts which get very good reviews. These are a slick tyre down the middle with nobblies on the edge for off road. You could also fit a rear rack, something like a Madison Summit (Shimano) which is light and strong for £25 and get some cheap panniers such as the Altura Arrans which would be more than adequate for first off. You'll also need some shoes with SPD pedals. Locks - an Abus Granite D-lock is a must. Anything else is an imitation of a good lock. Be wary of cable locks as they can be snipped quite easily. Also some basic clothing - shorts, socks, jersey, leggings, gloves, mitts, hat fleece, neck fleece and rain jacket - Altura and Endura do good stuff reasonably priced. Lights - Smart rear light £1.99 from CRC. Helmet - Giro Indicator for £26 (Halfords). It has an adjustable cradle.

Oh and membership of British Cycling, LCC or CTC for their 3rd party insurance schemes plus ALL the other benefits.

As Norm said I would stick with the std tyres at least for the first year or until they wear out unless you have cash to burn.....

HTH.
 
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