Wheels for commuting
I am thinking of buying a bike for commuting and maybe leisure use in order to save money but more importantly get fit.
The commute is about 10 miles a day on 'conventional' roads.
Can any of you advise what to look for and what to avoid?
I have an Argos store card I am tempted to use to avoid the cash layout if nothing else and have set a nominal budget of £100 but that is not written in stone but it does not need to be top of the range but should be relatively light and comfortable.
It may be old fashioned but I don't like the idea of having the rear wheel spray mud and water up my backside so maybe mudguards might be useful?
I am looking at either a Hybrid or a Mountain bike.
My initial research suggest I should go for Shimano gears, handlebar gear change (twist grip), V brakes (maybe discs if not expensive) and brand names for shifters and rear derailleur, ie, Sunrun, Shimano, Revoshift, etc but if anybody knows of a budget setup with 'lesser' kit that does the job let me know
Any ideas, opinions?
I've read that unless you spend silly money then suspension is a no-no and go for rigid forks.
If I were to up my budget and still go down the Argos route what should I expect to pay for something decent?
For £100 look for a reconditioned or second hand IMHO. There are some outfits (like Edinburgh's Bike Station) who rescue unwanted bikes and sell them on for bargain prices: highly recommended with only £100 to spend. Check to see if someone does this in your area.
Mountain bikes are designed for off-road, which is Good, but are consequently less good on it, which is Not Good. You can make life a lot better with a set of slick tyres, but a decent pair will be £30+ so if I were you I'd avoid MTBs, or (at this price) MTB-a-likes.
You're right about mudguards, and also about suspension. You want to avoid discs for the same reason as suspension: done well they're great, but done well costs Real Money (TM) and I'm afraid we don't have that here.
If you're upping your budget (which I'd heartily recommend) I'd say don't go to Argos. Go to a bike shop, where you can try things out for size and feel and talk to someone who knows what they're about. Halfords may or may not count, it's very much down to the staff in individual stores.
For a ten mile commute a rack and panniers for any luggage is a lot better than a rucksack, so add budget for rack as well as mudguards. And don't forget lights too...
A no-frills hybrid should be workable from about £150 (before you spend your extra on ;guards and rack) IMHO, but if you pay twice as much as that you'll get a lot more for your money. The law of dimimishing returns will start to cut in above that. I think Guy's starter level of £200 is a good one. You can buy a bike for £100 but 10 miles a day will soon have inferior components suffering, and you along with them. And if you buy cheap and nasty to upgrade later, the frame is the key to the bike so it'll not really be worth it: you won't turn a Fiesta Popular in to a Ferrari by adding cool mirrors and alloy wheels...
Oi! Don't you be rude about Fiestas!!
"I would suggest something in the region of £300-500. Cheap bikes use cheap components which soon go out of adjustment and/or need replacing."
That's not really been my experience. Many a bike in the £300 plus range has the same frame as cheaper models from the same manufacturer, but with a few slightly more expensive componens added. These might be a bit lighter or more modern, but I'm not convinced they're always that much better. In particular the budget end disc brakes on £300 bikes are no better than V brakes imo.
Keep an eye on sales/clearance items. I commute across rural roads and a bridleway to work - 6 miles each way - so was looking for a hybrid. I got an MTB type with an RRP of £200 for £85 delivered from Argos website in January, a set of plastic mudguards from The Range (£7), a second hand pannier carrier (err...free from a skip) and a set of second hand panniers (£5 Charity shop).
Most expensive were the lights at £7 from ebay.
Think of the petrol money you will save. 6 weeks commuting and I have saved the cost back
Islabikes for your kids, geek? That's what our kids use, most impressed. And they keep their value well too (their Beinn 20Ls were sold on and made a big donation to ther current Beinn 26Ss). They now do a big-person sized model too, where all your money goes on useful stuff, but it's quite a lot over the £100 mark. It should give a good idea of how to sensibly spend more money, though.
Peter Clinch wrote (see)
Islabikes for your kids, geek? That's what our kids use, most impressed. And they keep their value well too (their Beinn 20Ls were sold on and made a big donation to ther current Beinn 26Ss). .
I didn't know about them, or I might have bought from them. One of the girls bikes is a Specialized, the other a Marin. I think that they will last another one to two years before they outgrow them. So they will have had around 5 years use out of them.
Te last bike we bought for my son has a small sized adult frame. He has outgrown it now, but it should be OK for at least one of my daughters indefinitely.
My son is now nearly as tall as me (6ft 2"), although he is only 14. He should really get a bike with a bigger frame. However, the next bike he gets should last him for many years.
Please make sure that you have good lights if you are going to cycle outside full daylight hours. In my opinion LED lights are the way forward with rechargeable batteries that hold their charge (and carry a spare set!).
Lights are indeed a good call, and on a 10 mile commute in winter in the UK it's entirely likley you'll need them.
LED certainly much better now than "normal" bulbs. Altogether better in pretty much every way. IMHO better than rechargeable batteris are dynamo hubs, so you never have a battery snafu. But again we're in to budget problems as a good dynohub and associated wheel build will suck up your original budget before you add anything else. It's worth bearing in mind for the future though, and other readers who'd rather not faff about charging batteries all the time might want to think about a dynohub too.
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