How do you decide?

chris-s

New Member
Location
Truro
I'm about to get back into cycling with a shiny new road bike. Currently I've been using my wifes old mtb so have no kit or gear at all. With so much to get, pedals, shoes, shorts, helmet, pump, tubes, tools etc, how the heck do you choose?

I've spent the best part of the last few days perusing the forum, reading reviews and googling and think I'm nearly there now, but there is so much choice and such variation on prices it's enough to drive you mad!

Chris
 
I like to base my choice on budget (that usually narrows things down a bit) / recommendations/ reviews / past experience/ and occasionally taste.
 

Alan Whicker

Senior Member
I'm the sort of person that won't part with cash without reading about 300 reviews, even for the seven quid lock-on grips i'm buying tomorrow. (Disclaimer: I'm from Yorkshire). I've always found Specialized helmets and gloves very good.
 

MacB

Lover of things that come in 3's
Like Mr Whicker I'll read endless reviews, change my mind 100's of times and still make mistakes. To be fair my mistakes have tended to be cheap things and the pricier stuff has been better, the old buy cheap buy twice bit. My initial priorities may have been slightly different as they were all commuting orientated, but some bits hold true:-

1. don't wait until your nether regions are sore, get padded shorts, waist or bib, bib are generally more highly regarded and are certainly better if you're of ample girth - I bought a couple of cheap pairs of waist shorts first and they got a bit of use before I bought bib shorts, they've not been worn since. If budget is a concern then Prendas are a good source, bit like buying old, or naff teams, football kit. It's good but you're cycling around with 'Scunthorpe United' emblazoned on your legs. I reckon you pay about half the price the same quality of kit would cost you elsewhere. I'd also get some chamois cream, I use Udderley Smooth, but Assos is very well rated. By the way, you don't wear anything under cycling shorts, you probably knew that but just in case.

2. get the bike setup right, either via the shop or by an online calculator, this will at least give you a reasonable starting point. Get some good mitts(fingerless gloves) as well, try some on and make sure you've got your bike with you to feel how they interface between your hands and the bars. If the gel is in the wrong place it can be more uncomfortable than no gloves at all.

3. make sure you've got what you need to deal with small mechanicals and punctures, all in a handy saddle pack. So one or two spare tubes, puncture kit, multi tool, chain tool if not on multi tool and powerlinks for joining a chain. I also carry some nitrile gloves, tyre levers and a few zip ties. I'd recommend the Topeak Road Morph as a pump unless you want to go with gas cannisters. If you haven't got one you'd also benefit from a track pump at home, the Joe Blow II is well rated. I'd also say it's worth a practice in the garage, take the wheels, tyres and tubes off and then reinstall. Nothing worse than getting stuck roadside over something silly.

4. pedals and shoes - well I prefer BMX style platforms and decent grippy trainers, so no help if you want a clipless system. but nothing wrong with starting out like this until you decide.

5. top half - I don't wear a helmet so no advice there - I'm a big fan of natural tops, merino wool and sports wool blends, being my favourite, but they are costly. If you go with cheapo synthetic tops, I got some for commuting, expect them to pong pretty badly after just one ride. The better synthetics are treated with anti bacterials to guard against this. A lightweight shower proof is useful, the Montane Featherlights are much in evidence with others I've ridden with. They scrunch up to about cricket ball size and can be strapped under the saddle. You could also consider base layers, arm warmers, a buff and sunglasses.
 
OP
C

chris-s

New Member
Location
Truro
Some really good advice there, thanks. I think clothing is the most tricky part since it's so much more 'personal' unlike a pump which works the same for everyone.

Many thanks

Chris
 
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