/ any input on buy a affordable entry level road bike
18 should be fine, i started on 18 in the lakes and its not that bad.
I've got a cannondale synapse for sale if your interested? started on that but convinced the Mrs to let me buy a new Wilier so its sat unused now... PM if your interested.
It's not the number of gears but the range that's important.
A compact (50-34) chainset plus wide (13-29) range 10 speed cassette will give you 20 gears, and be a lighter solution than a triple - however this may not be an option on most £500 bikes.
I use this gear combination and have ridden up pretty much everything that North Lancashire can throw at you in terms of hills.
With a budget of £700 you can get the most popular 'winter' bike of club riders in Lancashire -- the Ribble Winter / Audax model - and it's certainly better equipped in terms of components than the entry level Scott or Trek. http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sed/road-track-bike/ribble-7005-audax-winter-training-campagnolo-equip...
If Cash is an issue, Ribble do it on a 9 month interest free finance package.
I've just bought a "specialized secteur sport". It is an entry level road bike. Mine is the compact (no hills here) but you can get a tripple.
It looks like the dog's but I haven't ridden it yet as its still winter.
Decathlon (plus Ribble and Bordman at Halfords) are probably the best value.
Decathlon has the best service.
U have a half price Viking from eBay. Also got someone to set it up for me cause I'm mechanically inept and struggled with the brake set up.
Decathalon is good and cheap for accessories.
I've got an "as new" Bianchi Nirone C2C in 55cm size for sale, which is an entry-level road bike designed for comfort on longish rides. Would suit a rider around 5'10", £680.00, I live just north of Blackburn on the Clitheroe road.
....and in answer to your question, yes, if you're new to road riding it would be worth getting a bike with a triple chainset because there are some steep hills around Bowland and the Ribble Valley. (Jeffrey Hill, Birdy Brow, Waddington Fell, Trough of Bowland, Cross of Greet, Nick of Pendle, Whalley Nab)
If you're looking for good advice, Richard at The Green Jersey in Clitheroe is an all-round Good Bloke.
...and yes, the Triban 3 from Decathlon is a great bike though the wheels are poor. Triban 5 is £499.99 and a little better in weight and spec but it looks a bit odd.
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