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Recommendation For An Bicycle

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Most my driving recently has only been doing a couple of miles a day so have decided I'd be better off with a bike. Just not sure what type to get. I'd want panniers permanently attached for my gym kit, laptop etc are a must as are mud guards. I'm thinking either touring bike, road bike or hybrid but they all seem to have their pros and cons.

Everyone seems to be riding road bikes round here, but I can't help thinking they aren't the safest thing in the urban environment when you're crouched down, also the brake levers are only accessible when your crouched down right? I'm not interested in setting speed records just want something to get me around as safe as possible while carrying some kit. I'm also thinking you can't easily add on mud guards and panniers?

Want something under £200, so im not going to freak out locking it up outside when I have to.

Here's a touring and hybrid bike I've seen online which might fit the bill, but honestly I'm just really guessing at this point:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Muddyfox-Voyager100-Bicycle-Cycling-Brand/dp/B00TU4CQSQ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Muddyfox-Tempo200-Hybrid-Bicycle-Lightweight/dp/B00WIBMCXM/

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Riding for commuting - In the past, I picked up a tourer or something for £20 at the car boot, fix it up (great to learn the skills in maintenance). Lock with a D-Lock to something solid at work. I'd use two locks, a cable for the front wheel, and a D-Lock for the frame to a solid post and rear wheel. This bike might get nicked or vandalised if left out whilst you are at work.

And then I might have a another nicer bike for £200 for pleasure. Mountain/hybid bike with slick tyres if you intend to stay on tarmac, or racer, depending on how far you go.

I am a veteran in bikes, I've had 2 stolen.

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I recently changed my pannier for baskets, something like this.

c566b2a7a526f6248fd4ee5e0e06652c.jpg

While deeply unfashionable, they are far more convenient than panniers - just drop your bag in them and take it out at the end of the journey. No clips or bungees.

I've got a 12 year old hybrid for my short commute each day, which works fine.

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I'd vote for a hybrid over a road/racing bike too - especially if you're only going a few miles.

Keep an eye on gumtree or other second hand sites, but am I right in assuming that since the summer is ending the big bicycle shops will have their yearly discounts soon? Might be able to pick up a bargain.

You might want to change the tires to take into account the wet/icy autumn and winter weather - but other posters can advise if this is necessary or not!

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Ebay or Gumtree, I guess.

I've just got two new bikes for myself and the wife - £30 for both on Gumtree. Both in nice condition as I got them from overenthusiastic 50 year olds who decided that they wanted to ride bikes and then a couple of years later decided that they needed to tidy up.

Panniers, mudguards and just about everything else are nice and easy to retro-fit.

I'd out-unfashionable imp and suggest that a front basket is very useful indeed.

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See what you're comfortable sitting on. And as for panniers, better something that clips on to a rack, so you can carry them with you when you park the bike.

A £200 bike will be a drudge rather than a pleasure to ride, and may need constant maintenance (unless perhaps you get something dutch-style indestructible). But if your motivation is getting from A to B and they're not far apart, that should be OK provided things work and doesn't put you in active discomfort, and provided you're not someone to procrastinate over simple fixes.

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Stop guessing! I don't like the look of those linked. I haven't done a detailed look but Muddy Fox is one of those fallen brands.

A tourer sounds good. But you're going to be hard pressed to find a new one within your budget. Do look second hand. However, the value of proper tourers is well understood by those in the market so you're less likely to get a bargain than if you track down a suitable hybrid or old school suspensionless MTB. Either of those will make a decent utility bike and tourer.

You want a bike that's not flash, isn't too slow, carries luggage, and is equipped for all weathers, day and night.

I share your thoughts on drop bars. They don't make sense in traffic or when cycling for transport. Personally, I don't get on with them when doing longer rides either - but they're very popular so maybe it's just a personal thing.

This is nice http://www.ridgeback.co.uk/bikes/touring/world/expedition but out of budget.

For luggage, I'd just get something big and voluminous that you dump other bags into. Alternatively, if you're an office dude, you can get briefcase panniers (Ortleib, Altura, Carradice all do them) that you just unclip and stride into the office.

Don't forget lights. I don't bother with the cost and hassle of hyper bright rechargeables. I have two cheap LED front lights running on AAs and ditto on the rear. These days they're plenty bright enough and dual redundancy means you don't need to worry about batteries dying.

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Ok thanks peeps so I need to forget the road bike and find a hybrid/tourer, will check out gumtree and bike shops for discounts.

A £200 bike will be a drudge rather than a pleasure to ride, and may need constant maintenance (unless perhaps you get something dutch-style indestructible). But if your motivation is getting from A to B and they're not far apart, that should be OK provided things work and doesn't put you in active discomfort, and provided you're not someone to procrastinate over simple fixes.

Not too bothered about maintenance, have kept my 20 year old car on the road for the last 5 years, I'd much rather fix a bike in the warm indoors than keep fixing my bloody falling to pieces car in the rain and cold.

Stop guessing! I don't like the look of those linked. I haven't done a detailed look but Muddy Fox is one of those fallen brands.

A tourer sounds good. But you're going to be hard pressed to find a new one within your budget. Do look second hand. However, the value of proper tourers is well understood by those in the market so you're less likely to get a bargain than if you track down a suitable hybrid or old school suspensionless MTB. Either of those will make a decent utility bike and tourer.

This is nice http://www.ridgeback.co.uk/bikes/touring/world/expedition but out of budget.

Cheers will look second hand for a tourer aswell. By looks of it muddyfox is owned by sports direct so you're right it's probably a fallen brand like Karrimor, saying that I picked up an excellent karrimor eVent jacket from SD for half the price of an big brand one.

That tourer looks great but yeah well over my budget, would be afraid to take it out the house!

Some more questions I've got...are swept back handlebars more comfortable than straight bars? Do you lose much performance with them? Does front suspension make much difference on the road or would you normally have it locked out?

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Worth keeping any eye on Halfords for offers. I realise that Halfords gets a bashing from bikie types but some of their bikes are absolutely fine and they do discount nicely from time to time. I once had a Carrera as my main commute and it was a great machine for the price and purpose.

This one seems to have eyes and fittings for rack etc http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/hybrid-bikes/carrera-subway-2-hybrid-bike-2015

The tyres look a bit knobbly so I'd probably switch for something slicker and more puncture proof. But it's not critical.

Found this write up of a bloke who'd failed to find a tourer to his liking and built up a Halfords bike instead http://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?t=36102

I've never ridden with "swept back" bars - but presume they give you a sit-up-and-beg posture. Whether that suits you or not is personal. The hardcore cyclists will tell you it ain't on for proper long distance riding. But I have my butterfly bars set up for a pretty upright posture and don't have any problems.

Bars, saddles, and posture are very personal and you'll only decide what works for you after a decade of tweaking and riding. I like a sprung Brooks saddle, an uprightish posture, and either bar ends or butterfly bars. But that's just me. I'm after simplicity and comfort rather than maximum speed.

I've never ridden anything with any type of suspension so can't comment from experience. But I've never felt the need for even front suspension on road riding (preferring fatter tyres as a simpler, lighter means of achieving the same outcome on-road). Logic tells me that suspension is a weight to carry around if you're not using it - and an energy absorber as well if you are using it.

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If you're going to be commuting on a daily basis, I'd be looking at 350 at a minimum and/or look at a reasonably reasonble quality used bike (lighter, better components). Bad components will be heavy, not last and generally not work as well - which is annoying if you're commuting.

The road bike type handle bars are actually really good for shifting your hand positions on - flat, in the line of the road, or on the drop bars.I'd recommend you go to a decent bike shop (not halfords) and ask your questions there/look for bikes. If you buy for 200 quid, you will be disappointed later on. Edinburghbicycle.com is a personal favourite of mine.

I'd probably either go for a hybrid bike or tourer if I was you - probably used for the budget you're looking at.

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You can fully access the brakes from the hoods in an upright riding position on a road bike as well as from down in the drops.

Riding down in the drops takes some getting used to though and can be uncomfortable, also dodgy in traffic etc.

Look at CX Cyclocross road bikes they are a compromise between a racer and a mountain bike used for cross country road biking (if that makes sense)

They have disc brakes too.

They also have a third way of accessing the brakes from the tops of the bars so you can ride on the tops (like a normal flat bar bike)

out on the hoods or down in the drops.

This is the mutts for £900 (£100 off at halfords at the mo)

http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/road-bikes/boardman-cx-team-bike

If you get an out & out flatbar bike like a hybrid or mountain, you will only have the one riding / hand position this can get tiring / uncomfortable depending how long you are riding for.

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Hmm. I spent almost 10 years trying to convince myself that I was a real cyclist who loved drop bars - but I entirely failed. Even on the open road - I simply never used the drops. It's quite a "low" riding position. Maybe OK if you're young, or if that's the way you shaped yourself to ride from youth - but I never found it rideable despite playing with and tweaking every possible adjustment and taking advice from anyone and everyone.

And, if you're not using the drops then you've only got the hoods and the tops - ie a narrower, less versatile, version of straight bars and bar ends.

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I found that not hooking right into the drops on the brake leavers and just dropping down on the very outer ends of the drops is a nice riding position, can't cover the brakes from there though.

To hook in on the leavers requires scooting foward on the saddle a bit, like wise you slide back a bit to central when you come up onto the hoods and further back when relaxing on the tops.

Also if you have a bit of a belly getting down into the drops can be uncomfortable.

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http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/products/revolution-courier-2-16?bct=browse%2fbicycles%2fcommuter-hybrid-bikes

This is what I think you are looking for. On sale. £300.

Amazing value.

Same price - they have a slightly more off road capable bike too. It's called revolution path. Front suspension and chunkier wheels/tires.

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Some more questions I've got...are swept back handlebars more comfortable than straight bars? Do you lose much performance with them? Does front suspension make much difference on the road or would you normally have it locked out?

Try different bars and see what suits you. I like drops, 'cos it means I'm not stuck with one posture all the time. I also can't get on with the brakes on lots of straight-barred bikes: some have small levers which can be quite painful to pull!

Another thing to look out for with some more novelty bars (like figure-of-8) is whether you can brake on the downhill while sitting in the seat: the risk is your weight is too far forward so you go straight over the bars.

Don't even think of any kind of suspension. It'll be a sick joke if you're looking at a three-figure price point.

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http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/products/revolution-courier-2-16?bct=browse%2fbicycles%2fcommuter-hybrid-bikes

This is what I think you are looking for. On sale. £300.

Amazing value.

Same price - they have a slightly more off road capable bike too. It's called revolution path. Front suspension and chunkier wheels/tires.

Chunky wheels are far-and-away the main thing that slows you on a bike.

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Chunky wheels are far-and-away the main thing that slows you on a bike.

I raise you chunky tires !!

Well knobbly ones more to the point.

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I've never ridden anything with any type of suspension so can't comment from experience. But I've never felt the need for even front suspension on road riding (preferring fatter tyres as a simpler, lighter means of achieving the same outcome on-road). Logic tells me that suspension is a weight to carry around if you're not using it - and an energy absorber as well if you are using it.

Suspension is of no use on tarmac, it's just a source of energy sap (far more than the weight it adds). I find it useful on stony, if not particularly rough tracks. If you do get suspension, which it doesn't sound like the OP needs, get one that can be locked out for road use. I find that works nicely for me, but I'm a long, long way from being a bike expert.

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Another thing to look out for with some more novelty bars (like figure-of-8) is whether you can brake on the downhill while sitting in the seat: the risk is your weight is too far forward so you go straight over the bars.

If by "novelty bars" you mean butterfly or trekking bars, you won't find them on off the peg bikes. The only model I know of that comes so fitted is from Dawes http://dawescycles.com/product/karakum-gents/ - 700 of your Earth Pounds.

I've retro-fitted them to my tourer and love them. More hand positions than flats plus bar ends - and many more than drops if you're not sufficiently flexible to actually use the drops.

Security on descents is where they excel, IMO (and the ability to sit up and look over traffic) - certainly compared to descending on the hoods where braking is more than a little iffy IME. But it probably all depends how you set them up as there are infinite possibilities for height, fore-aft position, and brake lever placement with butterfly bars.

The only downside I can think of is that people might mistake you for a German.

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The trouble with the UK is that we're a nation of cyclists. You need to look at what people do in nations where they just ride bikes.

If you just want to have a comfortable ride for a couple of miles to work or the gym or the shops or whatever, then look at what people do in other countries. The bikes in Holland are a great example.

483-3.jpg

  • Bars slightly bent back to fully bent back. This is quite ergonomic (stand with your feet apart and then bring your hands forward to slightly in front of you (a kind of Tommy-Cooper pose) - what angle are your hands in? That is your neutral position which you'll be most comfortable in.
  • sit up and beg seating position.
  • Gears not so necessary if you live in a flat area, but 5 speeds nice if there are inclines. 3-5 speed Sturmey Archer are magnificent if there aren't too many hills. Might be nice to have 10 speeds if you're in a hilly area.
  • No suspension, front or back.
  • Nice smooth tyres. Not too narrow. Definitely not wide.
  • Decent brakes are nice to have. Hub brakes are great (no maintenance, work in wet, etc) but are difficult to get in the UK.

A UK bike person will scoff at much of the above, but you're not (or don't seem to be) aiming to be touring around the country or racing or becoming an elite athlete. You just want to be mobile without using the car, so just get a 'normal' bike and get on with it.

But note that knobbly tyres will rob you of much much more speed than a £200 bike vs a £800 spend. Rear suspension saps significant amounts of energy on the road. Front suspension is just heavy, and, if cheap, heavy and useless even off-road.

This whole thing about expensive bikes vs bike-shaped-objects is some sort of modern joke. I am absolutely convinced that buying a £1000 tourer will give you a nicer ride and will allow you to be faster than buying a 15 year old Raleigh for £10 that was only £250 new anyway. But that old Raleigh will work well enough, and you'd never actually notice the difference from the £1000 bike if all you're doing is cycling to town occasionally. And the big difference is that you'll not be constantly worrying about justifying the cost or about leaving it out because someone will steal it.

And someone will want to steal any bike, so get a good lock.

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Interesting fact: the "Dutch bike" started as a copy of English Roadsters (think Pashley) - and for a long time the best bikes in Holland were, or were referred to, as "English Bikes".

When it comes to BSOs, I once operated a rather extravagant bike ownership model. I'd buy a £150 bike (a couple of steps up from a true unrideable Tesco BSO), commute >20 miles a day on it for a couple of years and then trade it in for another. It sounds uneconomic - but as it was an alternative to replacing worn out tyres, brakes, and transmission and loads of other bits, it wasn't that bad a strategy.

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When it comes to BSOs, I once operated a rather extravagant bike ownership model. I'd buy a £150 bike (a couple of steps up from a true unrideable Tesco BSO), commute >20 miles a day on it for a couple of years and then trade it in for another. It sounds uneconomic - but as it was an alternative to replacing worn out tyres, brakes, and transmission and loads of other bits, it wasn't that bad a strategy.

I had a similar model. I bought a £150 bike in 1997 - the difference is that bike is still going strong*...

My brother in law laughs at it - it weighs 15kg whereas his amazing machine weighs < 10kg. Still, he is a big guy and is way more than 5kg heavier than me - funny that he doesn't mention that part of the equation.

[he rides over 100 miles a week - but never ever rides the 3 miles to work. The whole world is upside down]

[*to be fair, I don't ride it that much - for a few years it was 5 miles commute plus the odd tour around Europe. But these days it only comes out once a week or so in the summer for the 3 miles ride to the office]

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[he rides over 100 miles a week - but never ever rides the 3 miles to work. The whole world is upside down]

Traffic? That puts me off riding to work (well, it's a good excuse).

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