/ Boring bike suggestions, please
I've not been bike shopping for long time so need some pointers. This will be used for short-distance daily city commuting, occasional touring (camping, so load carrying), and minor off-road excursions. So I'm thinking rigid, 26" wheels, steel (probably). Focus on dependability and relaxed riding enjoyment. Life partner, not holiday fling.
What's the minimum I should sensibly look at spending? Suggestions, for both spec and specific bikes?
If the above, then probably you don't want the below...
Either a no suspension sporty hybrid with 700c wheels (I had one of these for years - http://www.wiggle.co.uk/felt-qx85-disc-2013/ and it was superb) or possibly a bottom of the range cyclo cross bike (I up-graded from my felt to this http://www.wiggle.co.uk/boardman-cx-comp/ which for some reason they don't seem to sell in the UK but there are similar things about).
The cyclocross bike is slightly faster due to the more aero position I guess and with lots of hand positions possible on the bars pretty comfy on long rides. The Felt had hydraulic brakes which were better than those on the Boardman, and a nice thing to have for city riding.
I've used both for bikepacking (no rack) but both take a rack if you want and mudguards for winter.
Another vote for the Hybrid with 700c wheels option
The Boardman Comp or Team models look good; alternatively one of the Trek 7.2, 7.3 or 7.4 models.
Not Cyclocross, I think. Too much testosterone. The predominant use is going to be traffic jamming.
The Felt hybrid is the right kind of thing. Any strong arguments for 700c, apart from slightly reduced rolling resistance? The last time I looked at bikes Evans (I think) were making an argument for 26" on touring bikes, though why I am not sure. The advantage for us (the bike is for my partner) is that it could then also be used for modest (and unskilled) mountain biking.
you dont need to ride them in that style. Advantage of the cyclocross is you get most of the speed of a road bike with increased toughness.
700c is surprisingly quicker. Dunno why Evans would argue one way or another. In theory 26 will be tougher but then you can get plenty tough enough 700c for normal use. Think it is something those so inclined could argue minor pros and cons for hours.
Boardman hybrids aint bad, what i use for the commute.
Mountain bikes are all over the 29" wheels now. Go cyclocross. Really its ideal for what you've described, any preconceptions you have are just that, ride one and see. 26" wheels are moving towards the minority both on and off road.
(I don't own a cyclocross bike, i have a road ike for roads, a mountain for mountains, and a pub bike for everything else)
> Any strong arguments for 700c, apart from slightly reduced rolling resistance?
My wife has had an earlier version of a Trek Hybrid with 700c x 28 tyres, for approx 10 years. I cycle a lot more than her but when we cycle together I ride my old MTB with 26" wheels; and when cruising, the wheel & gearing difference evens out the difference in our performance.
I think you have a few choices as others have said. If you are looking for long term bike then worth spending more up front to get better spec, rather than upgrading as the cheaper parts wear out. I would think £500-1000 price range would get you something very nice.
Cyclo-cross bike - very versatile and will do a bit of everything, perhaps not so great in traffic due to the 'head down' riding style, but plenty of cross bikes have fairly relaxed geometry so probably not too much of an issue. Most of these are aluminium, rather than steel but I would be looking more at the geometry and spec rather than frame material. Most have capacity for mudguards, racks and big winter tyres, many now have disc brakes.
Popular choice seems to be the Specialized Tricross series. Also have a look at Planet X Uncle John, Charge Filter (steel), Genesis Crox de Fer (steel), Jamis Nova, Kona Jake/Jake the Snake (steel), Boardman CX etc, Orange CX 9, etc
Could also look at various do-it-all flat bar commuter/hybrid/light touring bikes, like the Cotic Road-rat, Boardman, Dawes Galaxy Cross, Kona Dr Dew, etc.
Personally I'd probably go with a cyclo-cross bike for all round versatility.
Would look at one of the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative's hybrids.
Unless you just go for the best of everything and have a bespoke bike all bikes are built to a price so there'll be compromises. That doesn't mean to say you can't get good bikes at a particular price point. One of the most keenly contested price points is £1000 since that's the limit of bikes under the government's bike to work scheme so I'd look at bikes in the £900 - £1000 range.
I'd go with the cyclocross suggestions, as a do it all type of bike they take some beating. My wife has one of these - http://road.cc/content/review/60850-kinesis-crosslight-fivet - has bosses for a pannier so you can go touring with it and is good enough for light trail use though I wouldn't use it for blasting round the routes at Glentress for example. Price ranges from £930 to £999 depending on options.
Interesting that the review picks up on the brakes as my wife noticed this from her very first ride - they do bed in though and a brake pad change sorted things out.
Spesh Tricross disc is very comfortable, rugged, great with mudguards and great in mud and snow. Also very stable with rack and panniers and good on a turbo. The only downsides are that it's fairly heavy and there's toe overlap.
Old steel road bikes have a much more relaxed geometry than modern race style road bikes (there used to be a difference between race and road bikes). You can ride them off-road because they're strong enough, and anyway they're a tuppence so you don't really care. Cheap Shimano SIS components are easy to replace.
Having said that, I like fancy new bikes and my retro bikes are some of the most carefully looked after in my stable.
A cyclocross bike correctly set up sounds like it would work well. Alternatively there are a few manufacturers who make touring bikes which would also fit the bill. I've heard good things about Surly but I've never actually ridden one.
The main trick is don't spend too much money on the frame, but think about the components because they're the bits that will wear out and be expensive to replace.
I agree that the most expensive components aren't right for this situation, but I reckon, for example, it is worth spending the extra money for Shimano 105 components over Sora. They will work better and last longer.
All but the cheapest, crappiest, most shady frames will work and last, and as long as you get one fit for purpose you won't be disappointed. The exception to that is when you are buying carbon, where the cheap frames are noticeably poor performing.
So when buying a whole bike, when I presume you will cut out any frames that aren't fit for purpose, ignore brand names and look for the best deal on components. I.e. for a road bike, alu Trek with Tiagra ~1000 quid is worse than alu Kuota with 105 for the same price.
I've been using my Specialized Tricross for the last couple of years now for pretty much the same activities you describe in your OP. Took it properly off road for the first time a few weeks back and it performed much better than I'd expected it to. Granted, with my relatively skinny tyres I was occasionally losing more traction on the steep uphill sections with very lose stuff compared to those on mtbs, but overall it was pretty decent. The gearing was really good on this sort of terrain too, although the flip side is that I can sometimes find myself running out of steam on long slow downhill roads.
On the whole, it's a nice responsive bike that isn't really too heavy for the sort of things you're talking about.
If there's two of you, then it might make sense to go for the same wheel size so you can carry inner tubes which will work for either bike.
From a selfish perspective, I have a Trek hybrid with a small frame I'm looking to get shot of ... ...
I bought a Trek 7.1 FX in 2006 (I think) - done thousands of miles and still going strong. It's tough enough to bump along the odd bridleway and non-technical off-road paths and when I bought it came with mudguards and a rear rack. For £375 you can't go wrong with this sort of workhorse
A friend of mine has a Specialized Crosstrail disc: essentially a flat barred hybrid 29er with rack & mudguard mounts, triple with 8-speed cassette, £400.
He's used it on 50 mile road rides and 2 hour off-road routes with no problem. Seems like a good value, tough, general use bike.
Might be an option?
> you dont need to ride them in that style.
A genuine question - why do cyclocross give too much testosterone and what cycling style are you referring to? As I said, genuine question: I don't see what you are talking about here. THanks.
I gather they're not twitchy and testosterone fuelled style bikes, but more relaxed on road and fairly capable off road.
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