What do you get for your money?


Well-Known Member
I bought my wife a bike around £70 Asda I think, it was useless, my mother bought me a bike around £175 suspension front and rear, disc brakes, heavy, but which with what I carry, not really a problem, but the gears at rear OK 1 and 2 plus 5 and 6, but centre two always seem to be jumping up and down, was given a bike this time a road bike original cost around £850 the push buttons up and down for gears makes it some much easier, and it is also lighter, but not disc brakes, and no suspension, then wife got new bike £1,600 with motor built into pedal crank, disc brakes, suspension on front 9 speed with easy change and 4 options of motor assist.

The electric bike is by far the best, however remove price of motor and battery it is same as the road bike but with suspension and disc brakes. And even with motor switched off it is about the same effort to ride it.

So now time for me to get an electric bike, but how far to go up the scale?

Reason for bike is exercise and to get to places to take pictures, normally have ruck sack or panniers to carry gear, so even with a light bike, it's not that light once I include camera, tripod, and repair kit, the motor is to get up final hill home, on the cut tow path it's level so weight not a problem and motor not required.

So had one nasty going down Symonds Yat Rock when I realised my disc brakes needed adjustment and no amount of effort on brakes was going to stop me. Slowed me down, but could not stop, so clearly hydraulic would be better, that's if they will work with a disc which is blue hot? But other than that, and will not let it get that far out of adjustment again, the £175 mountain bike has been fine, would like better gear change, but see it as rock bottom price wise, does have advantage not too appealing to others so less problem with theft.

So when not needing to get to work on time or win any race, what is required for a good bike? suspension means less shock to wheels, and me of course, so want that if possible, it also means less likely to be thrown off with a pot hole, not sure about disc brakes, yes work well, but as it if needed is some thing else, good changing of gears, but does rear suspension come at the cost of good gears,? As to motor what it on crank as in wheel hard to start.

But as we go to more expensive bikes never ridden them, so a xyz gear change may really improve the bike, but since never had one I would not know. So what helps up hills and makes bike reasonable to ride, clearly for no effort 1000 watt motor and twist grip, but whole idea is to get some exercise so 250 watt is ample when on the crank.

So thoughts please.
Diminishing returns.


Hello decadence
It all depends on what you want from your bike. I have a nice Elephant Bike (refurbished postal worker’s bike) which cost £250 (for that price the company also ships a free bike to Malawi as part of its charitable work) and that does me well for cycling round town. I also have a Surly disc trucker which cost £1600. It was great for a 1800 mile tour (LEJOGLE). The components are robust, gears change crisply (although your problem may be gear adjustment) and it’ll give me many more miles of service.

When you get to much more expensive bikes (£5k +), if you are racing, you’ll notice a benefit - lightness, reliability and stiffness. More expensive wheels will roll better.

It all comes down to what you want. Speed? Simplicity? Long distance in comfort?


Legendary Member
Accra, Ghana
To answer your question you get what suits you. By that I mean what you features you find necessary. I would say disc brakes are more or less a necessity for most, they provide reliable all weather braking. Suspension might give you added comfort but other things come into play too.
What helps you up hills are low gears and lighter overall weight. If you're not sure what various components and better equipment do go to a specialist bike shop that deals in whatever type of bike you're after. They should be able to go through the various features and options so you can make an informed choice.
Good luck.


Well-Known Member
Reason for thread is to find if there are features on more expensive bikes which I am unaware of. The limit for riding a bike is to ride fast enough that you don’t need to steer to assist balance. Which is for me, between 2 and 3 MPH? However the smaller the wheels the faster I need to go.

The cheaper the bike the less likely it is to be stolen, so to have an expensive bike which is not required is making the bike less useable as you have to have heavier and stronger chains to lock it with. I have seen some bikes with built in lock, which clearly does not stop anyone carrying it off, but does stop some one jumping on it and riding off.

So the £175 mountain bike from Halfords is heavy, but rides reasonable, some niggles, twist grip gears are not best, prefer up and down buttons, and took a week to order new pads for disc brakes, and for the pad to pop out when warn is not ideal, neither is the way the brakes reach end of travel, so seem great until you need to anchor on, when you realise how ever much you pull the leaver your not going to get any more braking.

As to what happens with hydraulic disc brakes I don’t know, as electric bike is under a service contract, as I don’t have the soft or hardware to check the electric bike.

One thing I have noticed is with suspension pot holes do not cause so much of a problem, as to only front wheel suspension not so sure, I do think reason rear wheel on my Globe Vienna road bike failed was my weight, pot holes, and no suspension. However looking at road and hybrid bikes it seems rear suspension is rare. Also rear suspension means any rear rack has to be really strong as only connected to seat post.

So I have looked at Halfords range, simply as easy to compare different models, there is of course no perfect bike, there is always a trade off, so their cheapest electric at £500 but small wheels so at £680 is foldable so should be able to take it on bus, not sure on train, as it’s a heritage railway so not sure if they take bikes. (Llanfair – Welshpool), but 20 kg 6 speed, and motor in front wheel. My wife’s Carrera Crosspath seems to tick most boxes, disc brakes mid motor etc. However it jumps up to 24 kg and bike rake rated at 40 kg so can’t carry two bikes even without batteries.

As I go up in price weight drops, however since wife already has her bike to get within bike rack weight limit down to 16 kg or folding so will go in boot. However rider weight for folding bike knocks them out.

Anyway not really required until I move to Llanfair Caereinion, as I can manage hills here, so I have time, but still trying to decide how much to pay and what is required.


Hello decadence
It’s hard to advise on specific models. You seem to have given some thought to what you are looking for. I think it might be worth visiting some other bike shops and looking at a range of models and makes. Most bike shops will let you have a trial ride. In my experience you’ll soon get a better feel for what you are looking for and whether spending more money (than the £175) will be worth it.

BTW one of my favourite bikes (although sadly I’ve passed it to someone else) cost £0 - it was a Ridgeback that had been left at an Oxford college by an overseas student who had gone home. I was given it by the porters who were trying to clear their bike parking space. All it needed was a new front wheel and a replacement chain plus a lot of tlc. Money/price isn’t always the answer.
Personally speaking, I’m as happy on a sub 1000 quid bike, as I am on a 10 grand plus super machine. I know what suits me, and I know what to look for. The super duper Carlos fandango bikes are great, but I personally don’t need most of the things that make them that pricey. Nice to have, but absolutely not necessary. You’re paying for a lot of R&D, very expensive materials, and high end groupset components. For the majority of the time, this is ‘casting pearls before swine’ unless you’re actually competing, for your job, it’s pretty much totally unnecessary, and you’ll find that there’s not much difference in the overall results gained between a 1 Grand bike, and a 12 grand bike. There are a lot of deluded folk, who sincerely believe they can extract everything from a super / hyper bike, they need to get a grip, IMO. If you want a bike like that, then do it, life’s too short, don’t believe you need it, or having it will suddenly yield amazing, miraculous results though, you’ll likely be disappointed.


Deplorable Brexiteer
BTW one of my favourite bikes (although sadly I’ve passed it to someone else) cost £0 - it was a Ridgeback that had been left at an Oxford college by an overseas student who had gone home. I was given it by the porters who were trying to clear their bike parking space. All it needed was a new front wheel and a replacement chain plus a lot of tlc. Money/price isn’t always the answer.
I think the OP is going down the wrong route with expensive e-bikes, suspension, disc brakes etc. From what I make of the original posting, the most important requirements are a decent range of low gearing to manage gradients without killing yourself with the effort, sturdy tyres with enough air volume in them to be reasonably comfortable, and sufficient build quality in the bike that it actually works properly, all the gears are selectable, and it isn't a dog to ride.
Cheap full-sus MTB's and supermarket BSO's aren't a recipe for enjoyable cycling, so you need to go up a level on quality and forget about counting features per pound of cost.
The best bikes are the simplest ones made from decent quality bits, not the ones with the bounciest springs or the flashiest paint jobs. Suspension is totally pointless on anything but hardcore MTB use, and just adds weight and absorbs energy that could be going towards forward motion instead.
One of these would probably do everything you'd ask of it, with minimal cost, fairly low risk of theft (expensive e-bikes are thief magnets) and are a doddle to maintain on a DIY basis.
Pioneer Jaguar Offside.jpg

Bought it for £25 to pass on to someone, but liked it so much I decided to keep it. 1997 Raleigh Pioneer Jaguar, the top spec model at the time that would cost the equivalent of £450-500 in today's money. The original owner was an elderly chap who was forced to give up cycling completely, and it was clearly well looked after and not misused.
Proper mudguards, proper pannier rack, low gearing from the triple chainset, and the twist-grip gearchange actually works nicely - unlike the nasty twister changers you often find on BSO's.
I've put bomb-proof Schwalbe Marathon tyres on, which are 38 mm and absorb the worst of road shocks if inflated to an appropriate pressure. If I fail to get up a gradient in my bottom gear using the smallest of the triple chainrings, it won't be because I've run out of gears, it'll be because the front wheel wants to lift off the ground.
It's not super-light, but it rolls easy on it's tyres and given favourable road & weather conditions, an upper teens mph steady speed is attainable without making a Herculean effort.


I've got to agree with SJ above. Unless you're going seriously off-road, then suspension penalises you in several ways - It's unnecessary weight and cost and it makes the bike much less efficient on the road i.e. much harder to pedal, especially at the cheaper end of the market.

A hybrid with reasonably wide tyres, mudguards and a rack for carrying stuff is the most practical way of getting into utility cycling. Unless you live in a very hilly area, then a limited set of gears will suffice. Disc brakes are good, but again you pay for what you get and better quality rim brakes will be a better buy than cheap discs. Aluminium is much lighter than steel for the frame too.


Well-Known Member
This guy seems to be very minimalistic in his approach, no gears, no handle bars, only one wheel, only one brake (wonder how he uses that?) no lights, no bell, and only stopped once while waiting for gap to go through A frame, which he said was easier with his cycle as narrower.

The little girl in front of him was having a problem with incline, and I had gone down my gears, I was rather surprised to see how easy he seemed to get up the hill, OK I want at least two wheels, but it does point out no real need for all the extras.


Über Member
I was rather surprised to see how easy he seemed to get up the hill, OK I want at least two wheels, but it does point out no real need for all the extras.
His gear (in gear inches) will be same as the wheel diameter - so if you say 27" (approximately same size as the average bike wheel) , then that would be approximately the same gear on a bike achieved by using a cassette sprocket and chainwheel with the same number of teeth, for example 34/34 - low enough for most people.


Well-Known Member
Sorry be it a sprocket or a gear wheel to be a gear it needs some sort of gear wheel, I suppose there could be an epicycle gear box in the wheel, but unlikely, it is like a penny farthing bike but short of the farthing.

I must admit I was impressed, up and down slopes, around steep corners, I had expected to see him dismount as he came to the railway bridge, but no, he seemed to have more control than most have with a two wheel bike.

He was travelling from Chester to Shotton when I first saw him, not far past Saltney Ferry, so I followed him for some 4 or 5 miles, he just seemed to keep going at same pace up and down hill and around corners.

However it did point out one think, if you can balance well, cycling slower it possible, so can climb steeper hills. Same applies to using a trike, so maybe I will weight until I move and give it a try before buying an electric bike.
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