What commuter/leisure bike query


New Member
Hi All

I have been lurking / reading for a while, and also test driving some bikes. Although what I have been reading has been very useful in getting my head around what is out there I still feel unsure what to get so hope some of you can help with ideas / advice.

I have ridden a ridgeback bullit for about five years and not looked after it so the chainset is completely shot. This feels like an opportunity to get something nicer rather than just stick a new chainset on.

I have 'butcher boy' style handlebars on my current bike as the hand position on straight bars doesn't feel right to me.

I have a short commute most days, less than 15 mins each way, and a weekly longer ride to the station and then up and down the hills of Durham city - still no more than 50 mins in the saddle on those days. All on roads but can include back lanes / potholes etc.

Most summers I go to France with the family and camp, and the bike is the vehicle of choice for retrieving children from around the site / local shopping etc.

Very rarely do I get the chance for a day out on a bike; more often a couple of hours.

What I know I want:
- lighter weight than what I have (not saying much), why carry more than I have to and it makes a difference.

- fast gears - I put a 52 front ring on my current bike which with 11 at the back is great for getting momentum on the down hill stretches

- intermediate sitting position - I don't want my nose touching the tarmac but nor do I want to sitting up straight.

- comfort for my wrists - I don't want too much weight on them and I want a good position.

I have been trying specialized bikes as we have a good local stockist.

The Sirrus feels nice and light, and although it is a straight bar the flats area where the hands rest feels good. It is great having all controls under your fingers at all times. I tried a comp as I was trying various frame sizes; too expensive but I really appreciated the feeling of power with that light weight a bike. But the gears aren't fast enough and I feel a bit too upright - found myself going up frame sizes to compensate which may not be sensible.

The tricross (standard one) has the 52 / 11 gearing that I want, still pretty lightweight, and seems pretty close to what I am looking for. I wish it was possible to get a stock bike with some sort of half drop type bar as it seems crazy to have drops I think I will never use. The hoods felt pretty good although I had to go a distance and experiment to find a good position - the answer seemed to be to bring my elbows in. In this position again controls are right there but the brakes don't feel that natural, you don't have the leverage you would have on the drops and you are pulling in an unnatural direction. Sitting position is perhaps slightly too front heavy for me but I might get used to it - or not... Hard to tell without a longer ride. Ability to adjust position a big bonus though.

They have a secteur but I haven't tried it yet.

I have been advised to consider 'touring' bikes but nobody seems to stock them locally and how can I buy something without trying it? And I don't have the free time to go round the country. (based in newcastle upon tyne).

Tourers seem to be heavier though. And perhaps don't have the faster gears from what I have seen?

Condor Fratello looks nice but not sure about the weight compared to the specialized and not one nearby to try.

Ribble bike builder concept looks great - get a bike to suit you - but I don't know enough and again, how do you buy without trying?

As for budget - yes I can afford the £700 for a tricross. It seems a bit over the top to spend more than that given my short distances and I don't want a bike that is too attractive to passers by and I have to be too precious with - I need to be able to park it outside shops etc. But it is my primary vehicle and given how much it costs just to keep a car on the road I could spend more if there was a reason to.

So my questions:

What other bikes should I be considering?

Is it feasible to tweak the specs by e.g. getting alternative front rings for the sirrus, or trying to find a half drop type handlebar for the tricross?

Am I right that coming up with the 'fantasy' bike setup on paper and buying without trying would be mad?

Thanks to all who have been bothered to read this far!!!


Alan Whicker

Senior Member
I'm no expert, but from what I can tell the Sirrus would suit your requirements pretty well. It's got a lot of fans. What you save from your £700 could be spent on your holiday in France :sun:.
Top Bottom