I think I need a 'disposable' bike...


Active Member
Here's my problem: 15-year-old nephew is arriving from Australia next week (v short notice!) to stay with us until January. We are really happy that he can come along on our SaarLorLux tour (leaving 10 August), and we can beg/borrow/steal the camping kit, but we don't have a bike for him. He will need a bike for the trip (2 weeks) that he can also use to go to and from school for the 4 months until he returns.

I don't have the time or the skill to find one at short notice second-hand, I think, so I thought maybe a very cheap, horrible bike from Halfords or Tescos or something. With the sales on, I can see a lot of bikes - mountain bikes or hybrids - for around £100. We have a BOB trailer that he can pull (we'll need to slow him down anyway, so my 10-year-old doesn't get demoralised!), so we don't have to have lots of braze-ons etc, and the route is fairly flat (10-year-old again!) so the quality shouldn't be too much of an issue.

I thought I'd ask his mum to measure his inner-leg height and just buy one and cross my fingers. Is this a really stupid idea?


Velo, boulot, dodo
Perhaps have a look at Decathlon, you'll need to spend more than £100 though. Alternatively use eBay to search all bikes on sale within a given radius of where you live and see if there's something suitable on a buy it now listing.

Supermarket bikes are often very poor, not sure what Halfords are doing in the way of low-end bikes at the moment.

Rickshaw Phil

Overconfidentii Vulgaris
Buying new with only £100 to spend I think my money would be on this from Decathlon.

I considered this one before buying my current knockabout bike and in honesty probably should have gone with it as the bike I did buy (although the best to ride of my cheap bikes) has taken a lot of work and spare parts to keep on the road.

My final decision was based on it being about an 80 mile round trip to the nearest Decathlon or 8 miles round trip to the Hawk shop, which in hindsight was a mistake.


Active Member
I had a bike for 100 a few years ago, and it broke down in a weeks time. I almost had a nasty crash when the brake lever snapped. After replacing the brake lever, in a few days time the pedal came off from its axle. Again almost a nasty crash. After a few more weeks I got so fed up with having to do brake and gear adjustments after every two rides that I threw the bike away.


Legendary Member
I think £100 spent on a new BSO is money down the drain and, from bitter experience, it will cause endless stops on your tour to fix and replace bits.

However £100 with a bit of hunting will get a reasonable 2nd hand bike.
There is always E-Bay, but the local corner shop ads and local rag ads may well be worth a look.

Also a e-mail to all your work colleagues may produce a bike that has sat at the back of the garage for the last 5 years to either buy or borrow.

I've done several bike tours (abroad) with teenagers over the years, on at least two occasions we have had a person with cheap (newish) bike, both times we spent more time, effort and trouble on the those bikes than we did on all the others put together.


Well-Known Member
I'd have a browse on gumtree and pre-loved, I've picked up bargains from there before. I'd even join freegle and put a wanted ad out, you may even land a free bike.


I have my sons Giant Rock mtb that i'm willing to sell for £120 if any good to you. Will fit any kid between 5ft 4 and 5ft 10 in height. Brand new armidillo tyres and some Kenda's we took off,all with good tread.


This is a pic i took before fitting the armidillo tyres.

Pm me if interested. I live near slough


Active Member
Stockport UK
Decathlon bikes, while not the best, are decent and well made. They are generally okay to ride. Decathlon do actually seem to put some thought into them, and they are remarkably cheap for what they are. I really hope that's just that the company is French is prepared to forgo profit rather than manufacture in sweatshops (unfortunately, I suspect I'm deluded over that one).
I'd shy away from Halfords, as the cheap stuff seems designed more for looks than utility. That goes double for Asda/Tescos. I believe those things are called Bicycle shaped objects:


I'd definitely go for ebay. I've bought a few from ebay, and if you know what you're after, and how much you're prepared to pay, then you usually have a pretty good chance. Just put in the distance you're prepared to drive, so you're not looking through a million and one listings.

Thing with Bike Shaped Objects, is that they can ruin a person's idea about what cycling should be about for life. I had the misfortune of having to ride a cheap halfords machine once, and if I'd had to rely on that for a tour, I'd never tour again.
I have an old (but perfectly serviceable) no-suspension mountain bike that could probably be adjusted to fit a 15-year old. It's our household's 'guest bike', and sometimes gets used when it's snowy. If you were somewhere near me and I knew a bit more about you, I'd probably be happy to lend it to you for a couple of weeks.


Active Member
Thanks for all the replies so far. They were pretty sobering, so I have taken your advice and started watching a few on Ebay instead. Thanks, too, for some hints of offers for loan or sale - that was really generous of you, and I'm very grateful!

I had a bit of a breakthrough today - a colleague at work said she had a mountain bike that was not great but would probably do the trick. I will get a look at it tomorrow, and hopefully that will see me through. If not, I'll get back on here.

Really helpful - thank you!


pre-talced and mighty
Decathlon. Sturdy, well put together. Cheap components, but not disastrously cheap.

The single speed version of the Rockrider was seventy quid. A fantastic bike. Good enough to steal.


Bionic Subsonic
Another vote for the Rockrider 5.0. I had a 5.1 which got me back into cycling and the components, though cheap, all worked well. The Gadget Show were impressed with in when they tested it a couple years back as well. Otherwise look at ebay/local papers or put out an appeal on freecycle.


Senior member. Oi! Less of the senior please
The world
It is worth keeping a look out on Halfords pricing. Sometimes their £170-200 bikes, which do have an OK component set, are cut to around £120.

One issue for a road touring holiday may be that very knobbly tires will prove tiring and slowing. If the bike has them, I'd be inclined to replace them with slicks otherwise the lad may struggle to keep up with the rest of you and not enjoy himself much.
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