Some advice please!

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by MrSweary, 15 Aug 2012.

  1. MrSweary

    MrSweary Member


    This is my first post and I’d like some advice from the wise heads here. I’m an experienced London commuter but have just moved house and my ride has gone up from around 9 miles round trip to around 26. I’m coming in to the City from Twickenham and have worked out the best route for me which gives a mixture of safety, speed, ease and scenery so all good on that front. I cycle in with a fairy light backpack as I have nowhere to store clothes at work. I’ll be commuting 3 or more days a week year round.
    I’m thinking of using the company C2W scheme (as it’ll save me nearly 40% on the cost of the bike over its life) so I’ll probably end up getting my bike from Halfords. I’m aware of the pros and cons of buying a bike from them – suffice to say I’ll be getting it serviced / checked over by my friendly LBS.
    So, to get to the point I’d like some advice about bikes. I currently ride a fairly cheap Marin Hybrid. It’s pretty sturdy and not too heavy but some of the components are naff and with the opportunity to upgrade I’d like to go for something lighter and faster. My dilemma is whether to go for a dedicated road bike or a higher specced hybrid. I’ve been looking at the Boardman offerings (due to generally good reviews all round, good looks etc). I’m attracted to the road bars and weight of the Road Comp but also to the disk brakes of the Hybrid Team / Comp.
    I’m currently doing about 15 mph average over the course of my hour long ride which I feel is okay given traffic. So, do I go full road or stick with hybrid versatility?
    I’d be interested to get advice from other commuters. Are punctures a problem on road bikes? Are disc brakes a big advantage in heavy (London) traffic? Will a road bike survive a harsh winter on London’s mean streets? Any advice would be heartily appreciated.
  2. BSRU

    BSRU A Human Being

    Why not a steel bike, such as a a Genesis Croix de Fer or a tourer.
    When I was deciding on a main commuter I reduced the choice down to two, Genesis Croix de Fer or a Ridgeback Panorama, the Ridgeback won as it has nice low gears for going up steep hills plus it already comes with mudguards and a rack.
    BentMikey likes this.
  3. cyberknight

    cyberknight As long as I breathe, I attack.

    Land of confusion
    V for Vengedetta likes this.
  4. I'd stick to a road bike if I were you. I'm a pretty recent convert myself and have to say that I shall never look back.

    Hybrids are very good, but to me they limit other types of riding that I may want to do. I cant imagine pulling up at a club/weekend ride on a hybrid.

    If its for commuting only then perhaps a hybrid is a good plan but for me ...I just want to get as much from the bike as I can.

    Owning a hybrid might somehow define my riding...or perhaps myself. I would become a "commuter" not just a cyclist and I don't really like how that sounds, it feels limiting somehow.

    Perhaps N+1...

    BentMikey likes this.
  5. gaz

    gaz Cycle Camera TV

    South Croydon
    Get a road bike. Drop handle bars are useful as you have plenty of options to move your hands around and change body position.
    BentMikey likes this.
  6. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Atop a Ti
    If you are looking at commuting all year round in all weathers then a road bike with disc brakes is a very good call.
    I recently swapped to a road bike with DB's and the stopping difference is amazing, especially in the wet and when you are filtering busy traffic.
    gaz likes this.
  7. DanH

    DanH Well-Known Member

    Ianrauak - what kind of budget would one be looking at for a road bike with hydraulics?
  8. ianrauk

    ianrauk Tattooed Beat Messiah

    Atop a Ti

    Dunno Dan.
    Mine are normal cable pull disc brakes not hydraulic.
  9. Sittingduck

    Sittingduck Guru

    Boardman road bike, with drops :thumbsup:

    Fairy light backpack, eh? Should have no problems being seen, now the nights are drawing in!
  10. I nice cyclocross with mechanical disk brakes ( or full hydraulics is you have the cash ) makes a great fast commuter. just make sure to switch the CX tyres to something more road appropriate.
  11. Thomk

    Thomk Veteran

    The truth is that probably both options would work ok. I have a similar distance commute and usually use a road bike unless the weather is particularly bad in which case I use my steel framed hybrid with disc brakes and hub gears (pretty weather proof and easy stopping). As someone said you could do with 2 bikes maybe. If not the CX option mentioned by cyberknight is a very good one.
  12. OP

    MrSweary Member

    Cheers everyone - plenty of food for thought. I've been looking into the Boardman Team CX option per suggestions as the price is right and I think it will give me the best all round usability.
    Any other cycling I do is likely to be of the leisure / light trail variety with the missus in tow so this bike seems ideal.
    Looking into this bike it it seems some people have had problems with the BB not being properly greased and the Apex shifters aren't very popular but forewarned is forearmed as they say. The Halfrauds aspect fills me with dread but the 40%(ish) discount on our C2W scheme is hard to resist.... I shall go and have a look at it tonight and see if I can gauge whether the staff at my local branch have two braincells to rub together!
  13. jaynana

    jaynana Well-Known Member

    NW London
    i've done something like 3,250miles of london running over 11 or so months on a hybrid/commuter bike (specialised cirrus expert) before i changed over to a road bike with drop handles (bianchi impulso 105). i've done something like 250 miles on this new bike in teh last couple of weeks.

    being a recent convert, and a regular commuter to london, i'd fully recommend a road bike with drop handles. reasonably confident when i say - i'd never go back to a hybrid/commuter bike! so in love with this current pair of wheels! :smile:

    only haven't gone through a winter on this though..
    BentMikey likes this.
  14. arallsopp

    arallsopp Post of The Year 2009 winner

    Bromley, Kent
    - you can find a road bike with cable actuated disc brakes onboard.
    - the mounting points are IS / Post / something recognisable.
    - the cable brakes you've got aren't BB7s (if they are, stop now, you have perfectly good brakes, IMHO)
    - you're happy to go with cables for now, but want to upgrade some point in the next 6 months...

    Just hang out on Chainreaction, Fetch, Wiggle, etc, and wait for a set of hydraulics to go into the 50% off phase of reduction, then buy, fit, and you're good. Every set of cable actuated disc brakes I've bought are about £45 retail each (so contribute a max of £50 of the complete sticker price for the bike). Assume you can spend £150 getting a nice pair of hydraulics and there's your cost.

    £50 in the bin.
    £150 on the new brakes.

    Don't fit 'em until the pads on your cable ones are dead, and you can convince yourself you've saved another tenner, too :smile:

  15. gaz

    gaz Cycle Camera TV

    South Croydon
    Correct me if i'm wrong, but the biggest issue with hydro's on drop handlebars is the fact that no hoods/leaver combo accommodate hydro.
    You need something else to either switch the cable to hydro power or some sort of add on. Not cheap.
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