which type of bike please?

mrsbaggins

New Member
Location
West Midlands
Hi all! my first post here!

I am very new to cycling and am wanting to buy a bike through the cycle to work scheme using up all or most of the £1000 allowance. Thing is I havent a clue on all the different bikes out there. I have been to two local shops and told them the sort of riding I anticipated and they both gave completely diff types of bikes. Some cynical colleague said they are more likley trying to sell the bikes they have the best dealing swith but I dont know.

basically I would like a ladies bike, used mainly for commuting but also for canal paths, forest trails and cannock chase type of riding. any suggestions as to which type may be best please?
 

Cyclist33

Guest
Location
Warrington
Sounds like you need a hybrid. Not sure why you feel the need to go for the full thousand as at your stated level and riding aims I wouldn't have thought you need to go over 500 tops. But anyways... I did a quick trawl at evans cycles dot com and they don't do much ladies-specific at that price, but I found some with a low-ish crossbar. How about this on your budget? http://www.evanscycles.com/products/scott/sportster-p1-solution-2010-hybrid-bike-ec020665

And this on mine?

http://www.evanscycles.com/products/trek/navigator-20-equipped-womens-2010-hybrid-bike-ec016801

Cheers
Stu
 

BrumJim

Forum Stalwart (won't take the hint and leave...)
Unfortunately there is no right answer to this question. Although "Hybrid" looks like the best way forward, the word "Hybrid" is such a catch-all that it covers most options anyway.

My first advice would be to avoid spending £1000 on something that you aren't really sure is what you are looking for. So your options are either:
1) Hiring or trying a load of bikes to see what fits your requirements.
2) Getting something considerably cheaper, and upgrading when you have a better idea.

Forest trails and Cannock Chase cycling looks like you need something with suspension, at least at the front. Commuting lends itself to lockable front suspension and option of road tyres. However this depends a lot on how far you are commuting - the further you are going, the more road-orientated you will want your bike to make it easier, how fit you are, and what you actually enjoy doing, rather than what you think you might like.

Cynical colleague is probably being a bit over-cynical. Bike shops don't make that much from new bikes, and it is probably more a case of what the person you were talking to thinks would be a good idea. I was looking for a fast commuter just less than a year ago, and was offered a bewildering choice from an aggressively shaped Road bike to hybrid with front suspension. Being a speed freak, I ended up with the road bike, and would therefore suggest something like a Cyclo-cross bike for you. Which is probably very wrong.

Summary - try, hire and know what you want properly before spending £1000. Give yourself 6 months to make your mind up.
 
No such thing as a "hybrid" really, though my interpretation is of the 700x35 slightly-knobbly tyred flat bar bike.

Forest trails do not NEED suspension. It can be a bonus in some ways but "NEED" - nope!
But..Cannock Chase - I don't now it but it souned (correctly) like the sort of place that has a bike hire centre. If they hire things other than MTBs then perhaps hire a couple of different styles of bike for a really good "tryout"?
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
Mrsbaggins PLEASE don't make the mistake of buying a so-called lady's frame. The frame design is imperfect in engineering terms because there's no cross bar to brace it against the bending effect of your weight so the frame has to be made much stronger in compensation and is consequently much heavier.

You need to look at and ride as many bikes as possible but my guess is that you need something like a hybrid, which combines the comfort and gearing of a mountain bike with the speed of a road bike. That Scott Sportster looks good but I agree that you don't really need suspension, it's just additional weight and complication. For your budget you can get a really light, fast and comfortable cruiser which will be good on tarmac and on towpaths, forest trails etc. Keep looking until you find a bike shop that gives good advice.
 

arallsopp

Post of The Year 2009 winner
Location
Bromley, Kent
Hello, not much to add to the above. I can understand that £500 off is more attractive than £300 off, but I think you'll find it hard to get value for the £200 extra you'll have to throw in to get it.

It might be worth looking for flat bar road bikes, or non-suspended MTBs, but really at that price point you're into 'specific bike for specific job' territory.

Worth asking if the £1k can include accessories, as that way you can buy helmet / shoes / clothing / lock / bottle / lights. Easily £300 there.
 

g00se

Veteran
Location
Norwich
Further to what Globalti said - there are some 'women specific design' WSD frames that are the same shape as reguar bikes but supposedly the geometry is slightly different to fit female body proportions. They also tend to be pink, lavender or a fruitly off-white - which, I think, is the main selling point rather than the WSD itself :biggrin:
 

hotmetal

Senior Member
Location
Near Windsor
Agree with much that's been said already. AVOID the 'lady's frame' unless you insist in wearing a crinoline skirt and protecting your modesty à la 1800s, but if you are going to buy a decent bike DO consider women's specific design because women's bodies are different to mens, they generally have longer legs and shorter torsos, so geometry is different. How much of a difference it makes I can't say, not having ridden any pink bikes recently! Also, make sure you're getting the right frame size - that's very important but can be difficult to judge for yourself, especially if you're comparing bikes at different points along the Mountain–>Road continuum.

I don't know what Cannock Chase is like, but if you're thinking of commuting more than riding in the woods, a 700x35 wheel would help on road, but still be fine on towpaths and gentle trails. Flat bars help with becoming accustomed to riding as well as looking ahead for hazards on your commute. A mountain bike is obviously the thing if you're intending to get serious with off-roading, but will weigh more and be harder work on road. Also to be avoided (generally) are cable-operated (non-hydraulic) disc brakes on budget mountainbikes - you're better off with v-brakes.

I agree with whoever said to try a few different bikes before you buy, because the CTW scheme means you only get one chance, and a grand is a lot to spend on a first bike when you haven't yet discovered what you need exactly. Have you got any friends that could let you try their bikes out?

Also don't forget all the other stuff that you will inevitably come to need for cycling, especially commuting, such as lights, lock, helmet, gloves, pump & basic tools. That adds up to more than you think even before you start getting all the 'proper gear' like cycling shorts and jackets.

Happy shopping and enjoy your new hobby!
 

MacB

Lover of things that come in 3's
Give us some details, your size will matter, especially if 'MrsBaggins' is at all descriptive:biggrin: As others have said there's a much greater choice if you aren't going womens specific. Then give us an idea of intended useage and short term aspirations.

I suspect the final suggestion will be along the lines of a £300-400 hybrid that will tick your requirements. If you get bitten by the cycling bug then one bike won't be enough, if you don't you won't have blown too much. If the bug does get you then a few hundred miles will see a fair change to how you view cycling and your understanding of your own needs. At this point you can then start making elaborate plans for a bigger spend. Plus you'll still have the original hybrid that can become your shopping/commuting specific tool.
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
Mrsbaggins - what height are you? The WSD bikes are meant to be particularly good if you are small. I'm 5'6" and so I've just got a standard bike - but next time I buy I might look at the WSD ones as well - just to compare. WSD bikes don't have to have the step over frame type - but that might be what you want to make it easier to get on the bike or as I suspect - easier to wear skirts and cycle in.

Why not get down to a bike shop and see if you can take a couple of different types of bikes out for a test ride.
 
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mrsbaggins

mrsbaggins

New Member
Location
West Midlands
thank you everyone who has replied. went to 2 local bike shops and they basically told me to look at the brochures which doesnt help as I dont know that much. Did find a shop 200 miles away while I was there which was extremely helpful and they suggested a sporster P2 I think it was which also comes in a ladies tye frame with different size stem etc but very similar crossbar wise.

for the record I am quite short which may make a differnce . 5'3" on a good day 5'2" otherewise. Not the youngest of things either!

I understand what you say about not really knowing what i want but I really want to go for the cycle scheme while my place has it in force as I get a sneaky feeling they may pull the plug on it soon and dont want to miss out completely
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
Where abouts are you in the country and someone may be able to recommend a bike shop. Of the big chain shops, Halfords won't let you ride a bike for a test ride whilst Evans will let you.

By the way I re-read my comment and don't want you to misunderstand:
as I suspect - easier to wear skirts and cycle in.
I meant that I suspect (not having tried it) that it is easier to cycle in a skirt on a low step-over frame - not meaning that I suspected you of wearing skirts. It was more referring to myself as I'm always after nice clothes that I can go out in and still cycle.

OK so you aren't sure ... what style appeals to you and why? Where do you think you will be riding most of the time...?
 
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OP
mrsbaggins

mrsbaggins

New Member
Location
West Midlands
I didnt take any offence ! I wear trousers most of the time anyway.

at the moment I will cycle to work and back but leisure wise I like forest trails and that kind of thing,not seriously off road mountain stuff with no definate paths
 
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