new commuter...new bike?!

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by karan733, 13 Apr 2010.

  1. karan733

    karan733 New Member

    Hey all

    First post here! Ive recently joined you all on the world of commuting to work and loving it so far ;) Im pretty overweight, about 95kgs, should be about 80 ish. I bought a second hand (dont kill me..) Raleigh Lithium full susp. bike with a 16'' frame. Im finding it too small but bearable for now with a 320mm seatpost which is halfway along the "Fit over this line" line.

    Ive forked out on new DB capliers front and rear, rotors, two new wheels from halfords, new Conti tubes and Conti Cityride tyres from wiggle, and a bit more besides which I cant quite remember. However, after all this patching up, I feel like im still riding a dud which is too heavy, incorrectly geared for commuting, and still too small.

    I was looking into either a touring bike or a hybrid in the next month or two if I can keep going and improving. I dont really know the difference between these two though, or what the pros and cons are, despite looking around the web. I think id like drop handlebars, but again, I dont know the pros and cons. Ive enjoyed having disc brakes because of the ease of changing tyres, and especially removing the front when transporting the bike (I dont have/cant afford a bike rack). All my experiences with rim brakes are bad because of rubbing etc, but is this a simple problem to solve if done right?

    So I was thinking of getting a new bike, something which has a bit of quality, although nothing silly as I have a very small budget. About £200 at the very most. :smile: But im more than happy to wait around and get a secondhand which has a bit of quality about it. Im really hoping for any tips you folks could offer me in this brave new world!

    Sorry to be asking so many questions! I have really enjoyed cycling so far and am hoping to take this up into amateur road races around the country - just for fun - so I can keep improving overall. I just know I need to move on from the ride im on now to get anywhere close to enjoying this sport as much as possible.

    Many thanks!
    Karan
     
  2. hackbike 666

    hackbike 666 Guest

    Welcome to the forum.:smile:
     
  3. OP
    OP
    karan733

    karan733 New Member

    thanks :smile:
     
  4. Chamfus Flange

    Chamfus Flange Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Woking, Surrey
    Welcome.

    Bikes are much the same as anything else: the more you can spend the better. So spend what you can afford and get a hybrid. You'll have similar few of traffic as now so you can keep an eye on the other road uses during your commute.

    And no matter how grim it gets keep going you'll always feel better in the end.
     
  5. Cedric

    Cedric New Member

    Hi bud! I've been commuting for about three years. I started with a crap bike, the secret to not getting frustrated is not to let your ambitions exceed the limitations of your equipment. Your bike's not right for you so take it easy, get off and walk for a bit if you feel like it, there are no "rules" to commuting and half walking half cycling is still much more fun than driving or public transport.

    I think you need a hybrid bike, I've had good luck with Gumtree, take a mate who knows about bikes if you can, I always leave myself a get out clause in case I'm not sure about the bike, ie, I say I'm coming to look at the bike but there's a guy selling a similar one in X so I want to have a look at that one too. Maybe your work would be interested in starting a Bike To Work scheme, it's not entirely the bargain it seems , but you pay in installments and it's good for your work's green credentials. Good luck! Happy commuting!
     
  6. OP
    OP
    karan733

    karan733 New Member

    thanks for the replies. Im keeping my eye on a few hybrids and tourers on a few different auction sites at the moment. One thing I really had no idea about was drop bars. I think I'd like them because the commute is a lot of rural so keeping up speed would be nice - anyone care to share the pros and cons?

    thanks!
     
  7. Norm

    Norm Guest

    With drop bars, you can ride on the "drops" (the curly bit), on the "hoods" (the top of the brake levers) or the "tops" (the flat bit).

    With straight bars, you can ride on the straight bit. Unless you get bar ends, which will give you a second position.

    At this most basic analysis, the drops give you more choices of position. :biggrin:

    There's obviously a lot more to it than that but bikes with dropped bars tend to be more road focussed. To get comfortable in the drops might be a challenge, as you are quite large (but not as large as some :biggrin: ) but it's not impossible as I've found a bike that is very comfortable for me in the drops.

    If you are contemplating road racing at any level, I'd think that moving to drops would be a requirement.

    Rim brakes can be set up to work as well as discs in the dry, although on wet or mucky roads, I think discs will always have the edge. With a quick release lever on the brakes, you can remove the wheels as easily as with discs.

    Either way, I think that you will find a (I'll take a guess) 10-15% improvement in time by moving from a full-sus which is too small to a properly-sized road bike, whether flat-barred or with drops.
     
  8. Dilbert

    Dilbert Active Member

    Location:
    Blackpool
    Karan,

    Welcome, I am in the same position as you, just started commuting and need to loose a bit of weight.

    Does your employer do a bike to work scheme and if not could you get them to do one - that will make you £200 stretch a bit further.

    Good Luck
     
  9. gouldina

    gouldina New Member

    Location:
    London
    Welcome Karan.
    I ride drops now and have previously ridden hybrids and mbs but if I was starting commuting now, I'd deffo go with a hybrid. Much more stable and maneuverable in traffic at slow speeds (oh yes they are!!!!) and easier to see things without adjusting riding position much.
     
  10. hackbike 666

    hackbike 666 Guest

    Au contraire I have always been comfortable with drops although my fixie doesn't have these.
     
  11. redjedi

    redjedi Über Member

    Location:
    Brentford
    Hi Karan and welcome.

    Definitely see if your work does the cycle2work scheme. It is a great deal as you save a lot of money and spread the cost out over a year.

    Go and try out some bikes at a bike shop so that you get the correct size, and if you're not too technical try and get a good relationship going with a LBS (local bike shop).

    If you're budget is only £200 I would suggest avoiding disk brakes. They aren't very good at that price.

    Give drops a chance, they are very comfortable and I use mine in London traffic everyday. I actually don't like using flats any more.
     
  12. +1

    They work well in the shop but require constant tweaking and become an irritation. AND to pay for the discs rather than a reasonable set of V-brakes, they come at the expense of other cost-cuts elsewhere.

    HOWEVER.....if you can get a frame with disc mounts then the option is always there to get new wheels and discs later if required
     
  13. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Location:
    Bristol
    Are you anywhere near an Evan's bike shop - they let you test ride bikes, as do some other bike shops. That might give you a taste of what its like on dropped handlebars.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    karan733

    karan733 New Member

    Im based in northampton, but ive been browsing evans' online store over the past few days eyeing up their deals - sadly nothing in my price range at the moment.

    Unfortunately my work doesnt do cycle2work, as its quite a small company and convincing the boss to do anything out of the ordinary is a real PITA. Hell, the first day I rode in I had to explain what I thought I was doing!

    Ive been eyeing a few deals on ebay, and really having to stop myself from bidding on everything. Question is - what do I look for in a second hand hybrid/tourer/roadie? Im googling everything I come across, and crossing checking with thebikelist.co.uk, but any tips will come in real handy!

    Im going to start measuring myself up later tonight, and then think about bidding on something the right size. Someone at work has already offered to buy my POS bike if I get another one :sad:
     
  15. Moodyman

    Moodyman Guru

    Karan,

    There are some real bargains to be had second hand if you know what you're doing.

    If you don't, you can land yourself a pile of sh1t that'll constantly need money spending on it. Believe me, I've been through this.

    From your questions, it seems you fall into the latter camp.

    My advice....if you can, stretch your budget a bit more and get yourself something new with a peace of mind - £250-£300 should get you a good hybrid which will last you a while.

    Then if you take up cycling / cycle commuting, you can buy a 'proper' road bike with drops.

    At £200 there's too many compromises which are more likely to put you off cycling than to encourage it.
     
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