i dont know what im looking for in a bike. i need recommendations please

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by matthewnunn, 14 Apr 2010.

  1. matthewnunn

    matthewnunn New Member

    i am looking to get two bikes, male and female mountain bikes. £300 each. what would you buy and why? ive heard Claud Butler are good? is that right? what would you buy for £300 each? maybe up to £350 each.
    i then need some lights, helmet, locks and a drink holder.
    ive been to pedelrevolution and mandelin cycles in norwich, ive told them what i want to spend but they cant seem to recommend anything. I just get told you need to decide what you want but i dont know what im looking for in brands or bikes??
    We are going to be using the bikes on the road, paths and wooded areas.
    matt from norwich
  2. g00se

    g00se Über Member


    An issue you have is that you want to mix road and off-road. Mountain bikes - though popular on the road - are are waste on tarmac. They'll be slow, heavy etc. When you say, wooded areas, do you mean jumping rocks and logs, or just pootling on packed earth? If it's the latter, a hybrid may be better.

    The term hybrid covers a lot of bikes, but in this case I mean a mountain bike style frame with larger road-type wheels (700c size rather than mountain bike 26inch) and thinner tyres. This will be fine through the woods and much much faster and easier on road.

    The other issue is suspension. You do NOT want full suspension bikes. Full sussers are for cycling up and falling off of mountains. Like me, you live in Norfolk.....! Also, a decent full susser starts at about £1000 so any cheaper than that are toy bikes from catalogue shops ;)

    Now, some folks will get front suspension, but again, it can be OTT as it will waste effort going along normal roads. But then again, if you're not planning on haring along and if you're going through the woods a fair bit, it might smooth the ride out. Most folks say front suspension makes going up hill a lot harder (as your effort goes into 'bouncing' rather than progressing) but not many hills around here.... Note though, if the bike has front suspension, then the components will be of a lower quality compared to a similarly priced bike without front suspension.

    Now makes, at this sort of price, all the bikes are effectively made in the same Asian factories with similar components - so it's more a matter of trying a few out from the more respected makes.

    So try out 700c wheel hybrids (with or without front suspension) from companies like Trek, Specialized, Giant, Scott, Kona, Cube, Claud Butler.

    For those sorts of bikes, the shops in Norwich I would recommend are Pedal Revolution, Cycles UK (Jarrolds), Streetwise (Nelson Street), John Borwell (Spencer Street).

    I would normally say steer clear of Halfords, but the Halfords Metro (Castle Street) in the city centre are quite good and they did have some ridiculously discounted 2009 Kona Dew hybrid bikes a month ago - so that would be worth a look.
  3. colinr

    colinr Well-Known Member

    What he said. Where are you planning to ride? If the most off-road you're going to go is Marriott's Way I wouldn't touch suspension. Looking at CyclesUK site, £350 gives you a lot more choice than £300.
  4. OP

    matthewnunn New Member

    its going to be more marriotts way, biking the the parents and just getting fit. I dont think i can be doing with jumping off things, too scared.
    i think the hybrid is for me i think, i probably would like front suspension. I would like a comfy seat though but not a bulky one. so if im going to get a hybrid with front suspention for £300-350 what would you get?
  5. g00se

    g00se Über Member

    These seem good - but also look for similar bikes from the other Makes.

    Pedal revolution: Trek 7100 (7200, 7300 etc if they have them discounted - the bigger the number, the more expensive). The FX range is the same bike but with no from suspension i.e. FX7.1 FX7.2 etc.

    Streetwise or John Borwell: Specialized Crosstrail
  6. g00se

    g00se Über Member

    Tip with the saddle, don't be put off by the narrow ones. They only support the two sit-bones - you'll get used to it. Padded seats can be worse in the long run as the padding can push up into your bits and cause all sorts of long term problems.
  7. colinr

    colinr Well-Known Member

    I like the look of the Crosstrail, but I buy bikes on how they look. You really don't need suspension for a light trail like Marriott's Way, so if you're mostly going to be riding smoothish surfaces you'll be quicker with a regular fork. I gather you can't really go wrong with Trek or Specialized though.
  8. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Have a look at the entry level Crosstrail for you and the Ariel for her (unless she is tall with long limbs, if so you may want two Crosstrails :smile: £350 each (has front suspension which isn't lockable unfortunately - you need the £450 Sport variants for that)



    Talk to your friendly LBS, they might do you a deal for two or at least chuck in some kit

    Trek don't have anything rugged enough for woods IMO - I looked at ALL the options and bought a Crosstrail :biggrin:
  9. paddy01

    paddy01 Senior Member

    Exmouth (Devon)
    I would also not rule out buying second hand of you're looking at the £300 to £350 bracket as you'd be looking at picking up a bike a year or 2 old which would have cost double your budget when new and although older is likely to be of a higher standard than buying new at that price.

    The trick of course is to know what you're buying, of course this place comes in handy for that :smile:
  10. PaulSecteur

    PaulSecteur Specialized fanboy

    For lights have a look in halfords, then get on ebay and save at least 50%.

    Just bagged myself a set that should be £75 for £25.
  11. g00se

    g00se Über Member

    Also, if you're buying extras, and you know the ones you want, it's good to get them at the same time as the bikes as you could get a lot thrown in if you chance your arm.
  12. Cyclist33

    Cyclist33 Guest

    My Claud Butler has never let me down - it's not a mountain bike or a rugged hybrid either though.

    The Giant Escape is pretty good - all Escapes in the range have very light and strong frames, a decent standard of brakes and gears. The M series are styled as mountain bikes and have 26" wheels and are more controllable. The R series have road wheels and are better for tarmac. Good choice though for 300 odd quid.

    I really don't think you will need the suspension and at your budget it won't be very good anyway so save money, weight and face and don't bother. The GT Zum 2 that Halfords are doing for £330 is a great hybrid, same class as the Giant Escape M, better brakes for the price though.

    Felt QX is quite a nice one too. The QX65 for this year retails at £330 I think and they do his n hers. They look great too.

    Get down to the bike shop(s) and have a sit-on and a test ride!

    The bike shop was right when they tried to pin you down to telling them what you want the bike for, and you do know what you want it for.

  13. MacB

    MacB Lover of things that come in 3's

    I'd echo a lot of what's been said, a proper MTB is only required if you're going to be doing serious stuff off road. The stronger frames, disc brakes and suspension are all designed to cope with high impact and fast descents. For the quality of bike to be able to handle that then the forks alone could cost more than you're looking to spend. Cheap suspension is heavy and you use a lot of energy bobbing up and down rather than moving forward.

    If you're only thinking light trails, tracks and roads then a hybrid style compromise is the best allrounder. Like others I would favour the 700c wheeled versions but again there's a broad variety in this area. They range from almost a flat barred road bike up to a full on MTB with bigger wheels(aka a 29er). You may well get bitten by the cycling bug and then the skys the limit but, in a first bike, I'd look for versatility. All the manufacturers do something along these lines, look for hybrid/29er/cross in the descriptions. My priorities would be:-

    tyre clearance - you can always run skinner tyres as and when but upper size limits are quite often dictated by the frame. For versatility I'd want something that would take up to 700x35c with guards.

    fittings - frame should have clearance and mounts for guards, rack and two(or more) water bottle cages. You don't have to fit any of these things but it's nice to have the option if ever required, versatility again.

    Beyond that it comes down to personal choices re frame colour, material and pricepoints. I recently picked up a second hand Edinburgh Courier Race for one of my sons. It's a well made and simple machine, just the 8 gears and works well on and off road, they're £330 new:-


    At these pricepoints you seem to get a bit more bang for your buck going with a brand like EBC or Decathlon than one of the main names. But they all seem to offer something similar that would fit your needs.
  14. JtB

    JtB Executive Rooster

    North Hampshire
    My family and I have got Claud Butler mountain bikes. This is the one I've got and it cost just over £300: http://www.mailordercycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m1b0s2p7392

    I'm happy with the one I've got now, but I had a problem with the first one I received which eventually had to be replaced. Our mountain bikes take a lot of knocks (especially the kids' bikes) and they do take regular maintenance and adjustments to keep them operational, but I guess that's the same with any mountain bike.

    My eldest son's mountain bike currently has slic tyres (for the road), and even with these tyres, I absolutely hate riding his bike on the road because its just too slow (compared to my 1970's steel frame Carlton racer).

    I'm not sure how much off-road abuse a hybrid will take, but it sounds to me like your priority is 'on-road' so I personally wouldn't look for anything with suspension. I'd go for light weight, comfortable riding position and a gear ratio that allows you to efficiently transfer your energy into forward motion on the roads (especially going up-hill).
  15. jethro10

    jethro10 Über Member

    Lake District, UK
    Can you explain this for me please.
    First I've heard of it and can't find any evidence of this.

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