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 Trangia 26 Jul 2020

It's more than a couple of decades since I last owned a bike, so I am totally out of touch on what's available and what would be best for my needs? I am fit, mainly as a result of regular country walking, and in my mid 70s, so I am looking to do cycle rides of 20 to 30 miles mainly on hard surfaces, although a bike with the ability to go off road on good tracks and cycle paths would be an advantage. Speed isn't an important factor, but a lightweight bike would, I suspect, be less tiring than a heavier one, and bearing in mind that I am not as strong as I was a decade ago  ease of lifting on and off the car is another factor. I am not over technically good, so ease of maintenance/adjustment/puncture repairs is another factor. Budget wise I would hope to find something for between about £200 and £400 if this is possible to meet these requirements?

About 20/30 years ago , I had a "lightweight" 24 speed aluminium based framed Marin which as described as a "hybrid suitable for both road and off road tracks", but in the event it proved to be hard work on both - too heavy and hard work to maintain a reasonable touring speed on roads, and too flimsy off road, and extremely uncomfortable without shock absorbers.

I would welcome advice and suggestions?

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 Al Randall 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

At the age of 71 I took up mountain biking last year and can't get enough of it.  Having said that it was an e-mountain bike together with the increase and improvements made to trail centres that clinched it for me. It's well outside of your budget but I can't recommend it highly enough.  It's so good it may have replaced climbing for me.

Al

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 Steve Clegg 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

I would welcome advice and suggestions

Full body helmet?

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 robert-hutton 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

Have a look at the latest cyclo-cross / gravel bikes with 1x groupsets, a lot nicer to ride if you live in a hilly area.

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 webbo 26 Jul 2020
In reply to robert-hutton:

Except in most cases gravel bikes are not that light.

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 robert-hutton 26 Jul 2020
In reply to webbo:

> Except in most cases gravel bikes are not that light.

Correct, but don't think he was wanting stages wins, compared to bikes from 30 years ago they will be light and more comfortable than an out and out road bike.

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 Fergal 26 Jul 2020
In reply to robert-hutton:

He won't be finding a gravel bike in that price range, B.S.O territory.

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In reply to webbo:

> Except in most cases gravel bikes are not that light.

Lighter than anything the OP will be looking at in £200-400 price bracket.

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 Run_Ross_Run 26 Jul 2020
In reply to webbo:

That's not necessary true. My Renegade Elite adventure bike is 8.5 kg, lighter than my orbea road bike. 

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 webbo 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Run_Ross_Run:

8.5 kg and light don’t really go together when talking about bikes.

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 Run_Ross_Run 26 Jul 2020
In reply to webbo:

Righto 👍🙄

Post edited at 22:36
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 GrahamD 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

In that price range I'd look at Decathlon.  Get a decent road bike that allows you to fit up to 35mm tyres.  If you need more than that you are in trail bike territory. 

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 peppermill 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

Basically Decathlon. Also Halfords surprisingly enough. I had a Carrera Zelos road bike for a couple of years. Sure it was heavy at about 14kg (!) but rather nice to ride, probably the cheapest road bike with proper shifters at £220. 

That said, i wouldn't be surprised if the shelves have been stripped bare at that budget after lockdown!

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 veteye 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

I don't know your circumstances, but I would suggest that you are likely to want to keep the bike for several years. So I would look at it at cost per use, and try to up the budget, as I suspect that you could get a far better bike for ~£700 plus. It would be lighter and the gear function would be more fluid. I would also think about getting a hybrid again. Biking is not entirely a comfortable business, and suspension adds loads of weight.

I would also get tyres that are reinforced, so less likelihood of punctures through foreign body material, so less maintenance.

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 ianstevens 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Run_Ross_Run:

Hate to break it to you, 8.5kg is objectively heavy for a road bike these days. 

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In reply to veteye:

> I would also get tyres that are reinforced, so less likelihood of punctures through foreign body material, so less maintenance.

There is only one tyre - Schwalbe Marathon Plus.  Fit those and replace when they look worn and you simply won't get punctures.

(Continental also do a similar one, that said).

Post edited at 10:03
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 robert-hutton 27 Jul 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

> Hate to break it to you, 8.5kg is objectively heavy for a road bike these days. 

It's only heavy if you put a 9 stone rider on top of it.

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 bigbobbyking 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

Sounds like you want a 'gravel' or 'adventure' bike. Looks superficially like a road bike, but can wit wider tyres and generally have a more relaxed geometry.

A problem you may run into is finding something in your price range as it sounds like the bike industry has just about sold out of bikes < £1000 this year. You might have better luck checking gumtree or ebay for something second hand?

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 ChrisJD 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

If your budget is £200 - £400, then ticking all your wish list will be tough.

2nd hand might be the way to go, but that has its obvious issues.

And availability new at the moment could be tough - all stocks low.

I'd also suggest looking for a flat bar option as well.  Will be much kinder and comfortable for your wish list.

.. if you can stretch the budget a very long way, then there are some very cool electric-e-gravel bikes out there now as well.

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 neilh 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

I have been told there is a lead time of 3/6 months for bikes in that price range. Certainly the bike shops I have been to lately have had nothing available.

i suspect that will be your start point, buying something that is available now.

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In reply to Neil Williams:

> There is only one tyre - Schwalbe Marathon Plus.  Fit those and replace when they look worn and you simply won't get punctures.

That's not actually true. Just after I had moved back to the UK I treated myself to a new pair of Marathon Pluses, my pair from Finland had done probably over 10,000 kms and the sidewalls were looking a bit dodgy. Anyway the brand new ones got a bit of glass through the back tyre on about the second day of usage!

I argued the toss with Chain Reaction as their blurb said punture-proof and they had Schwalbe's riding over broken glass video on their product page. They were a bit miffed about it (I think Schwalbe's website says something like "although no tyre can be guaranteed to not puncture...") their website did say puncture proof - and they weren't! So slightly begrudgingly they sent me a replacement!

Having said, those tyres have done maybe 6000 7000 kms since and haven't punctured again. I've also got a  pair of Marathon Tour Plus that have never punctured despite being used on very rough terrains for years. So I accept it was a bit of freak thing, but I would say you can expect a puncture once for every 20,000 kms of use?

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 Run_Ross_Run 27 Jul 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

> Hate to break it to you, 8.5kg is objectively heavy for a road bike these days. 

I know and I didn't at any point say it wasn't. 

My response was to a statement about gravel bikes and how they were heavy in comparison to other bikes. I've seen gravel set ups around the 7kg mark so aware what's out there. 👍 

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 Nik Jennings 27 Jul 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

> Hate to break it to you, 8.5kg is objectively heavy for a road bike these days. 

This made me curious, so I just did a quick google search for “average weight of a road bike” and one of the top links was a review of the average weight of a range of carbon bikes. Average weight? 8.2 kg, not a million miles off the “heavy” 8.5 kg... and I’m not sure how many carbon bikes you can buy for £200-400 but I suspect not many.

Of course you can get much lighter bikes, way below the UCI minimum weight limit of just under 7kg (which whilst a chunk less is still not “that” far from 8.5kg). But this is hardly helpful information or in any way relevant to the question asked.

In response to the OP, sorry don’t have any personal experience but given your budget I’d agree with all the Decathlon suggestions.

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 Run_Ross_Run 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Nik Jennings:

👍 

My point exactly. 

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In reply to TobyA:

Only time I've ever had a puncture on Marathon Pluses is when I've let them wear too far - but every rule needs an exception!

The MK Redways are covered in thorns and glass, and with normal tyres I get something like one every couple of weeks.  With the Marathon Plus, pretty much never.  Note it has to be the Plus (or Plus Tour, that's just different by having more tread), the original Marathons are nowhere near as good.

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 GrahamD 27 Jul 2020
In reply to TobyA:

I bought some Marathon pluses for my daughter's bike as she was always getting punctures. I still haven't managed to fit them ! Every time I try to get the second side on the rim, the first side gets unseated

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In reply to GrahamD:

If you were local I'd come round and have a go because I've never been defeated by various different Marathon model and rims combos! To be honest, since going tubeless I've found tires harder than Marathon pluses to put on!

Maybe it's just the rim, but have you tried really pushing the bead of the tire into the "well" in the centre of the rim? I wrote this recently on my otherwise near abandoned blog after having a good tire fight with some new vittorias:

"When I first tried putting a Trail Tech on my rims it was a total battle. Having mounted different Schwalbe Marathon models over the years - famed for being hard to fit - this was upsetting as it calls into question my a) self-appointed expert tire changer status and b) manhood. After composing myself, wiping away the tears, and watching a few YouTube "how to fit tight tires" vids for inspiration, I had another go and by really forcing the beads of the tyres into the well of the rim and working down, managed to get it on. Oddly the second tyre went on the second rim more easily, although I still wouldn't say it was easy!"

Some Aussie bloke on youtube really did make all the difference! I went from breaking tire levers to get almost all of the tire on with just thumbs - one tire lever just got the last couple of centimetres over the rim!

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In reply to Neil Williams:

Yeah, I've got Marathon Winters (with studs) from my time in Finland, and although they grip amazingly on even sheet ice, I've snakebite flatted them a couple of times bunny hopping up curbs inelegantly and hitting potholes I couldn't see under the slush. Never had that with the Marathon Pluses (either the standards or Tour model).

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In reply to GrahamD:

They can be challenging to fit, what you need is a good set of tyre levers, ideally metal-reinforced plastic.  I've also heard it said that you can make it easier by cable tying the tyre to the rim but I haven't found the need.

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 GrahamD 27 Jul 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Thanks, Toby.  Since daughter isn't currently using her bike much and has been OK with Gator Skins, I might have another go at fitting them to my Winter bike, preferably when I'm not rushed

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 Trangia 27 Jul 2020

In reply:

Thanks. Some helpful responses there. It seems that right now the problem is going to be in finding anything.

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 robert-hutton 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

On Facebook search for road cycling uk marketplace you will find loads of bikes at all price ranges, you will get someone telling you to stear clear as they all stolen but in my experience it's mostly bikers wanted to upgrade, there is also a cyclo-cross marketplace.

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 SteveX 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

We bought two bikes from Decathlon, my wife has been fine but the gears on mine never seemed to work properly even after taking it back to Decathlon several times and eventually getting the bike replaced. Eventually I took the bike to a local independent repairer who sorted the gears for £35 and now its fine.
 

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 hbeevers 29 Jul 2020
In reply to SteveX:

I bought a starter road bike (rc500) from decathlon just before lockdown. Really pleased with it.

Worth watching some YouTube on gear indexing. You can do it yourself easily, mine were way out initially but are good now.

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 ScraggyGoat 29 Jul 2020

Might be worth seeing if you can hire a couple of different types of bike, to see what you like.

Don't rule out an electric bike, nearly all the 'oldies' I know (including some whom are mere whippers compared to you, and some that are well beyond 80), whom have one rave about them, however they are above your price range....

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 ianstevens 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Nik Jennings:

> This made me curious, so I just did a quick google search for “average weight of a road bike” and one of the top links was a review of the average weight of a range of carbon bikes. Average weight? 8.2 kg, not a million miles off the “heavy” 8.5 kg... and I’m not sure how many carbon bikes you can buy for £200-400 but I suspect not many.

> Of course you can get much lighter bikes, way below the UCI minimum weight limit of just under 7kg (which whilst a chunk less is still not “that” far from 8.5kg). But this is hardly helpful information or in any way relevant to the question asked.

> In response to the OP, sorry don’t have any personal experience but given your budget I’d agree with all the Decathlon suggestions.

I stand corrected! Would love to know the method behind calculating that average, and wonder how many BLOs it includes. For some detail, my road bike is 6.8 kg, and school/gravel bike about 9kg. The first rather expensive, the second in the not cheap but not crap category (i.e. 700-1000). Somewhat skews the perceptions I guess.  

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 Nik Jennings 29 Jul 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

Not correcting you at all, I was just curious. And you are absolutely right that bikes can go a lot lighter than 8.5kg, certainly not disputing that. I’m sure the majority of keen middle aged+ road riders with a reasonable disposable income will be on bikes weighing well below 8.5kg, they won’t all be speedy though... ;)

What’s a BLO? I’m no bike expert, only been riding for a few months on my girlfriends spare bike (Covid cycling convert...). Like I said your statement about 8.5kg being heavy made me curious, I’m certainly not professing to know much about much. Just wanted to dig a bit deeper into the statement.

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 ianstevens 29 Jul 2020
In reply to Nik Jennings:

You were correcting me, but that’s absolutely fine because I was wrong and you had the effort to actually find out rather than guess like I did! Much appreciated too - some actual data rather than skewed perception. Fortunately I’m still to right side of middle aged to get a decent pace on ;)

BLO or BSO is a bike-like or bike-shaped object - it’s a disparaging and somewhat snobby way of labelling bargain bucket bikes which constantly break and need a lot of care and attention (think regular indexing of gears etc) due to using the cheapest possible components. Go on the Halfords website and sort by ascending price for examples. 

Hope you continue to enjoy it! 

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 colinakmc 30 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

Surprisingly no-one has suggested the most obvious thing to the OP, that in the last 25 years bike tech and prices have both soared. If you want something that’s fit for its intended use and also nice to ride, it costs! So £2-400 is going to be challenging even second hand. The Covid factor is also noticeable - I’d been looking desultorily on eBay for a cheap MTB that I’d feel ok about parking at the foot of a hill (nervous about leaving the “good” mtb) but in the last 4 months prices seem to have soared.

On the other hand, I bet 80% of the folk who have cleared the shelves of the bike shops recently will have them on Gumtree and eBay by October. So there may be some better buys to come....

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 ChrisJD 30 Jul 2020
In reply to colinakmc:

that price point has been pointed out as 'challenging' as well as the COVID availability factor.

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 Uluru 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Trangia:

As others have said for this price I'd look for a second hand bike. I have a Giant FCR 2 as my second bike which has flat handle bars. I've used it on road and off road (not on mountin biking trails obviously but on canal tow paths and the like) it isn't the lightest bike, around 9kgs but can be lifted into the car without too much trouble. Before I bought my road bike I cycled a few 100 mile rides on it and whilst it was harder work it is a really comfortable bike.

Perhaps look for something similar to this. 

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