Which bike?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by dan1w, 25 Jun 2008.

  1. dan1w

    dan1w New Member


    I'm looking to buy a new bike under a ride2work scheme, which unfortunately is thoughtlessly being handled by a company based in Wales (I'm in Herts) operating through the internet. So, not wanting to waste the time of my LBS I'm having to buy the bike without a test ride.

    At present, I occassionally ride to work on an aluminium framed Diamondback r10 (clicky) 'fitness bike' or flat bar road bike with 25mm tyres, my luggage is carried in a 'messenger' bag. I find the ride quite harsh and often get numb fingers and sore wrists, the gel saddle is also very uncomfortable and has been the main factor in me not riding in more often. My commute is a 34 mile round trip consisting of unclassified country roads (one of which is poorly surfaced,) an A road, about three long and steep hills and ending in suburban London with occassional heavy traffic.

    So I'm looking for a bit of an all-rounder, ideally lighter and faster than my current bike, more comfortable and able to carry my luggage. I'm also looking to get rid of my SPD's which give me hot spots on the balls of my feet and upgrade to either SPD-SL's or Time's (is it possible to get shoes for these systems that you can walk on?). A firmer saddle would also fit the bill, though I don't think a Brooke's would be a good idea as a sore bum is most likely to have me heading to work in the car before it's worn in.

    My budget is £1000 max to include pannier bags, new shoes, pedals and a saddle if the stock one is poor, though I'd rather spend less.

    Top of my list at the moment is the Dawes Audax Sport, which is likely to be considerably lighter than my current bike and comes with 23mm tyres, however I don't know if the steel frame will compensate for the thinner tyres in terms of comfort. Also, the bike seems poorly specced for £670 with Sora gearing and Tektro brakes, the supreme version of the same bike has better compenents yet only weights .3 kilo less and costs £230 more. The bike also only has a double chainring which may not be good for the hilly section of my commute, how involved/expensive is it to change this to a triple?

    I'm also considering a Dawes Galaxy, but would be choked after spending the extra money only to find out the combination of 32mm tyres and 13kg weight gets me to work slower than my current bike. I assume it could take 28mm tyres?

    Not wanting to go on too long, I've also looked at the Specialized Tricross (would change to smaller, slick tyres) Kona Sutra (has discs brakes but the heaviest of the lot) or would consider any road bike that has mudguard and rack bosses, although it seems impossible to tell which do on most websites.

    I'm limited to the range on www.wheelies.co.uk

    Any info on any of the above, saddle choice, advantages of each pedal system, shoe recommendations etc as well as experience with any of the bikes or other bikes that may be suitable would be much appreciated!

  2. Maz

    Maz Guru

    I think a test ride is very important. What's it to the LBS if you don't buy from them? They must get that sort of thing all the time.

    I ride a Spesh Sirrus Elite which is a great bike, can take 'guards, panniers etc. It'd come well within your budget with plenty left over. Looks like you're after a dropbar bike, though.
  3. OP

    dan1w New Member

    Yeah, I'm after a drop bar.

    I did actually go to a LBS. They didn't have anything I wanted in stock and when I asked for a test ride on a Specialized Tricross they said no!

    I then went to Evans as I wouldn't feel guilty about wasteing their time and they didn't have a single touring bike in stock, nor the Dawes Audax. The guy that worked there said I could order in a bike to view via their website but having looked at it I don't think that is possible. They did have a fair few road bikes by pinnacle with rack eyelets, but the ride2work scheme don't stock them.

    I'm now also looking at the Ridgeback Panorama.
  4. OP

    dan1w New Member

    Okay, I test rode a Galaxy today, albeit way too big for me but it was the only one available in all the local bike shops. That is now off the list because I don't get on with bar end shifters, also don't like the look of sora STI's.

    That leaves me with:

    Ridgeback Panorama
    Dawes Audax Supreme
    Claud Butler Dalesman

    I also test rode a Giant SCR 1.0
    Really liked the 105 shifters, and the bike was nice and nippy, although didn't feel as light as I expected for a £850 bike. Much more comfortable than my current bike even though it is also aluminium. A bit twitchy, but maybe that's something I'd get used to.
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