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/ Road bike for beginner

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handofgod on 08 Jun 2018

Hi,

I've had a hybrid for the last 10 years which has now seen better days, so I'm looking to upgrade to an actual road bike with dropped handle bars.

My budget is £1000 which is quite a significant amount for me, so I really want to make sure I'm buying something semi ok rather than a turkey.

Please can someone recommend some possible bikes ideally with website links to the retailer.

Many thanks in advance.

 

GrahamD - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

I don't think you will get a turkey for that money from any of the big makers.  More likely you may end up with a bike that doesn't fit you or is not the right bike for the type of riding you intend to do.

For a purchase this personal I would always go to a proper bike shop and talk to the people there, try before you buy etc.

Don't forget to budget for pedals !

Hat Dude on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

I've had a PlanetX Pro Carbon for 5 years, done approx 10,000 miles on it and can't really fault it

https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/bikes/road-bikes/pro-carbon?utm_source=masonrybanner&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=MASRBProCarbon

I did already have a better set of wheels than the ones which were standard and would advise this as the the 1st of the inevitable upgrades that you will become addicted to.

 

GravitySucks - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Hat Dude:

Me too !  Got the Pro Carbon with a full Ultegra (6800) groupset for a penny under a grand, unbelievable value. Ok so not the greatest frame but certainly good enough for most occasions.

Hat Dude on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Forgot to mention that I went along to PlanetX in Sheffield to buy mine so I could get the right size.

abr1966 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

£1000 gets you a good bike as its a very competetive price point with the bike to work scheme. Usual value companies like Planet X, Ribble and so on are good but as others have said it really depends what you want to use it for and the correct fit is the most important aspect.

Personally ive had a Planet x pro carbon in the past which was a decent frame and ride their RT57 at the moment which is very good for the money I paid for it.

 

Have a look at the websites but there is a difference in a frame with gentler geometry compared to a more racey position....

Post back on here as there are quite a few roadies to offer opinions!

cb294 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Buy used. You should be able to get a bike orginally sold for twice the money and maybe one season old. The difference in performance is staggering around that price range (spending 5k or 8k will make much less of a difference).

CB

JLS on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

A bit under budget at £800 but this'll be bomb proof.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/ultra-900-af-road-bike-105-id_8377261.html

I got the Ultegra version for £1050 last year and am very pleased with it.

Their latest Ultegra version doesn't now look quite so good value for money at £1200 but is still worth consideration if you can stretch the buget.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/ultra-920-af-road-bike-grey-ultegra-id_8402811.html

You can't really go too far wrong if, for your £1000 budget, you can find a bike with a FULL 105 or FULL Ultegra group set and a set of Mavic wheels.

 

 

 

richlan - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to cb294:

Yeah, buy used ! ;-)

I have Giant TCR Advanced 1, around 6-7 years old, immaculate condition, carbon, full Ultegra gorupset, compact chainset, yours for £850, was a £3500 bike when new !!

TobyA on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Your're going to get a very good bike for that amount, like others have said you don't actually need to spend that much for a good 'un.

I reckon the biggest issue is deciding what you want it for, and what features you want, to make sure its the right bike for you. That's actually more complicated. For example are happy just riding on tarmac? Or do you want to sometimes ride down a canal tow path or an old railway line that is now a lovely quiet safe Sustrans route? If the latter, it might be worth looking at a gravel or cyclocross bike (basically a road bike with more space for fatter tougher tires). I do most of my riding on a CX because half of my commute is along a very quiet canal towpath - much nicer than riding in traffic. 

Like others said, if you want to do lots of cycling and don't already have them, factor in the cost of decent pedals and shoes. Fortunately these aren't necessarily stupidly expensive - but you might want to spend 80 to 100 quid on them, so look for a less pricey bike accordingly.

Decathlon is the place to go for just pure value for money, although if you do want to look at gravel and CX options, Evans, Wiggle, Planet X and others all have good, reasonably priced options.

 

kevin stephens - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Buying second hand can save money but 90% chance of wasting your money because you end up with a bike that is the wrong size.  Fit is crucial for a road bike to be comfortable and efficient.  if you are new to road cycling you are unlikely to have experience to get it right.  So you need to get a new bike from a proper bike shop, ideally a small independent but if not Decathlon or Evans but make sure the staff have sufficient know how and time to get it right for you, ie explain the fitting process.

In terms of spec £1,000 should het you shimano 105 group set and carbon frame, you will also need clip in pedals, shoes, padded shorts etc, however you could start with flat pedals and normal shoes and get the clip ins later

nniff - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Buying second hand can go badly wrong if you don't know your way around a bike (and probably even then).  On the other hand you could do very nicely out of it, if it fits.  Decathlon for my money, however

 

B'TWIN Ultra 900 AF Road Bike - 105 as JLS said - leaves you with enough  for pedals (Shimano SPD-SL from somewhere for about £30), some Decathlon 900 full carbon sole shoes (utter bargain @ £80 and comfy to boot) and even some roadie kit (the top of the range Decathlon 900 stuff is very good and very reasonable - £45 for a pair of bib-shorts.  Their runner's summer arm warmers are brilliant for summer mornings/evenings and are £4 a pair.  That leaves you £40 for a jersey and Decathlon 900 ones come in at £35.  Sorted.

The blow £200 on a pair of Oakleys ;o)

handofgod on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to JLS:

So is the group set the most important changeable component?

 

handofgod on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to kevin stephens:

So it sounds like I'm going to have to get my fat lazy ass into a store to get sized up... ;-)

Just kidding; so size is crucial. This is basically why I've held off splashing the wonga on something from an online retailer.

What are the deciding factors when sizing? I'm 6,1.

kevin stephens - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

lower leg length, thigh length torso length, arm length, shoulder width, flexibility etc

kevin stephens - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

> So is the group set the most important changeable component?

tyres first, then wheels then groupset

M.isterW on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Size is everything. I picked up a bargain for my first road bike only to realise some months later that it wasn't the right size and no amount of adjustments would make it comfortable. For my second road bike I went to a good bike shop, that was recommended to me. They measured me, sat me on a bike then swapped out the stem and bars until it was exactly right. I was between two frame sizes so we tried both frames with different length stems to find out which was best. Then I took it out for a ride before parting with any cash. That was over 10 years ago and I still ride the same bike. 

nniff - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

That's not the simplest of questions, but probably Large.  A number of factors come into play, all to do with the length of your own components - so long legs and a short torso would be a different fit to shorter legs and longer torso.  I'm 6' with a 33 inch inside leg and long arms and have one bike that is 'medium,' another that is 'medium to large' and one hand-made one that is a standard large but with the head tube brought back towards the seat tube by 1cm.  For the first one, the large was plainly too big, but all three feel very different to ride - the first is a slightly relaxed gravel/winter bike/commuter, the second is a flat, stretched out racer (even without the stem slammed, and the third is somewhere is between, but on the sportier side.

handofgod on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Hi all,

So I've narrowed it down to one of the following:

www.decathlon.co.uk/ultra-900-af-road-bike-105-id_8377261.html

or

www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ribble-evo-pro/

I plan on pulling the trigger this weekend and walking into one of these store with a grand on the hip ready to splash my hard earned readies. But which one should I go for please?????

 

Post edited at 11:27
thepodge on 13 Jun 2018

Basically just pick the bike you like the look of most, any bike in that price range will be perfectly fine for what you want to do with it. 

kevin stephens - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

The decathlon seems to be the best balanced package for value

GrahamD - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Which do you like the look of most ?

Personally I wouldn't go for an option where I couldn't try before I buy if that makes a difference.

handofgod on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to kevin stephens:

Do decathlon offer specialist bike advise and fitting service or is it like buying a pair of runners from JD sports?

 

felt - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Remember that the ratcheting on Mavic wheels is very noisy, so don't choose that if you like a quiet ride when freewheeling.

nniff - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Not sure that Ribble has that in stock in your size, which might be a deciding factor.  At that price point, I'd go for alloy rather than carbon anyway - but my views are above in any case

 

 

 

Rigid Raider - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Having seen a few people go through the same process my strong advice would be to go to a decent local bike shop and get a proper fit, most will charge you £50, which is refundable when you buy the bike. A pal of mine whose back was ruined by years of rugby went to see Paul Hewitt near Leyland, spent an hour on the fitting on Hewitt's jig then got a super Orbea. He was brand-new to road cycling but loved the bike and has never had a moment's back pain while riding.

Edit: here is a useful article on starting out cycling: http://road.cc/content/feature/189632-6-things-every-new-road-cyclist-needs

Post edited at 13:29
JLS on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

I can't see £300 worth of extra value in the Ribble. (I assume you are looking at the 105 version)

It would be interesting to see if there is a significant weight difference. I suspect any difference is pretty marginal i.e. within 200g. I'd be swayed one way or the other by 500g. Quoted weights in the spec are likely to be bollocks but if you can actually put them on some scales...

As well as the Decathlon bike I got last year, I have a couple of Ribble bikes which are fine.

Maybe it'll just come down to the aesthetics and the one you think the looks best.

Rigid Raider - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Decathlon do keep their prices low by fitting extremely poor quality wheels to their bikes in the almost certain knowledge that riders will already have their own wheels or will soon upgrade. 

DubyaJamesDubya - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to kevin stephens:

> tyres first, then wheels then groupset

You're saying you'd consider the tyres as the most important???

JLS on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Rigid Raider:

>"extremely poor quality wheels"

Mavic Aksium are a pretty robust are they not?

handofgod on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Rigid Raider:

What makes a poor and good wheel?

weight?

 

Rigid Raider - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Mavic Aksiums are good intermediate wheels, yes. 

In the case of Decathlon's cheapest wheels, the quality of the materials meaning spoke tension is poor and the bearings don't last well. That they are assembled with insufficient grease doesn't help so they wear out pretty fast, especially if water gets in. Last time we bought a new front wheel it cost only £25 and the store had quite a good stock of them. The freehubs on the rear wheels are also pretty poor quality. 

Somebody said you can have cheap, light and strong but only two of those at any one time.

When buying good wheels you pay for high quality materials meaning less metal can be employed with greater tensions giving a stiff, light wheel. I use Mavic Ksyriums and once bent a spoke by unclipping inwards and catching my heel. Thought no more of it until a few weeks later when it snapped with a loud bang and the wheel went out of true straight away, unlike a traditional wheel with 32 or 36 spokes, where you can often limp home. The ends of the broken spoke separated by about 2mm showing how much tension was in the spoke.  I called at Chevin Cycles who dismissed me with "You'll need a new wheel mate!" Then I called at Ilkley Cycles whose mechanic Joe fished in a drawer, found the right length spoke (no mean feat in itself), fitted it and sent me on my way after accepting £5.00.  Great service but it probably explains why Ilkley Cycles went out of business!

Post edited at 14:29
kevin stephens - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> You're saying you'd consider the tyres as the most important???

No that wasn't the question.  We were asked what should be the first to upgrade, tyres are the most cost effective upgrade, particularly as rubbish tyres are often fitted to new bikes

GrahamD - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> Decathlon do keep their prices low by fitting extremely poor quality wheels to their bikes in the almost certain knowledge that riders will already have their own wheels or will soon upgrade. 

I very much doubt that that is the Decathlon customer demographic.

In any case Aksiums are fitted as standard to much higher spec bikes than these (Cannondales ~& 2000 offerings e.g.)

JWTM - on 13 Jun 2018
Rog Wilko on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

I bought a new bike for the missus a couple of years back. I got an all-carbon frame from Ribble and got a Tiagra groupset with triple chainrings (not so easy to find in the UK) from somewhere in Germany. Could probably find the name if you're interested. I already had suitable wheels, saddle and pedals, so just needed to buy bars, stem and seat pin. This came in at about £800. It's a lovely bike, light as a feather and my name is the opposite of mud, as it helps her keep up (almost) on the hills, as I'm still on a heavier aluminium machine.

PS: triple chainring is very much not the fashionable thing anymore, but we still love 'em. 

nutme - on 13 Jun 2018

For a £1000 you could get so-so frame with Sram Rival / Shimano Ultegra and cheap wheels.

Or Shimano 105 and a bit better frame or wheels.

Today Ultegra and 105 are very similar and main difference is 105 being heavier by 300g. Ultegra looks a bit cooler (subjective) as well. But performance and lifespan is identical.

Wheels are easiest upgrade you can make in future. For another £1000 you will be able to get lighter and more aero set.

For a first bike a good fit is very important. Worth checking out in shop before you buy. Even if you are planning to get a bike from online retailer you could order same model from Evans with store delivery and check it out. They take a deposit, but return it in full if you don't like / want the bike.

LastBoyScout on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to GravitySucks:

> Me too !  Got the Pro Carbon with a full Ultegra (6800) groupset for a penny under a grand, unbelievable value. Ok so not the greatest frame but certainly good enough for most occasions.

Had one of those as a hire bike on holiday and was diappointed in the stiffness of the frame, as it seemed to flex quite a bit out of the saddle, but it might have just been the wheels.

LastBoyScout on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

I'll second (third, whatever) the other comments about getting a proper bike fit for the riding you want to do. Budget around £100 for someone to do it properly. Most bike shops will then discount that off the price of the bike if you buy it from them, but, if they don't have what you want in your budget, they should give you the print-out of frame measurements and cockpit adjustments and you can use that to buy a bike anywhere - effective top tube and stem length are your starting points.

Don't necessarily dismiss eBay for decent second hand road bikes. I bought a barely ridden Giant Avail for my wife for about £130 - the rrp was over £800. Was bought for a company charity ride but the owner decided she preferred mountain biking and it was just sat in the garage. Likewise, I got a Whyte for me for less than 1/2 price from someone that bought it to cycle to work and then changed jobs. DO check for damage (bent forks, cracked head tube/bottom bracket, etc) and be very wary of it being stolen, though.

malk - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

note 52/36 chainset on Btwin. 50/34 more suitable for most people?

have you looked at the triban 540? a little heavier but more versatile with capacity for 32mm tyres, a more relaxed geometry and mounts for guards/rack..

Lord_ash2000 - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Hat Dude:

Another vote for the Planet X Pro Carbon got one as my first road bike for about £1000. I got the slightly upgraded wheels as an option and it's been fine so far with about 2000 miles under my belt now. 

It's hard to judge how good it is compared to other bikes as I haven't ridden anything else but I've no problem keeping up with people on much more expensive options.

At an amateur level, l I think it is all about getting the right fit as a few people have already mentioned. Getting too hung up on 50 grams here and 100 grams there in weight means nothing really. You'll ride more and just get fitter and faster way before weight starts to play a massive role in things. But to ride more you want a bike that is comfortable for you and which you enjoy riding.  

 

becauseitsthere - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to LastBoyScout:

As last boy scout says have a look at 2nd hand. 

If you have cash then you'd be looking at full carbon and Ultegra with great wheels in the 2nd hand market. Prob a 2.5k rrp bike. Also often from owners fanatical about their bikes and in great nick. The only issue is getting the size right.  

Rigid Raider - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Buying second-hand is indeed a great idea but would a beginner be sure to be getting the right size and a bike that isn't being flogged because it has a problem? 

My strong advice to any beginner is to forget ideas of saving loadsa cash and go and buy from a decent local shop, not a bike supermarket. Get a bike fit and do the job properly because the shop owner will want you to keep coming back and spending money on bits and pieces. Buying the wrong bike will just put you off and nobody will benefit. Too often I have been asked to "sort out" a bike somebody has bought and on seeing it, got that sinking feeling thet they've bought a pup.

Any dealer will give you 10% to 12.5% discount or the same value in accessories. 

handofgod on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Rigid Raider:

Many thanks for all the top advice to date.

Selecting the correct bike size keeps popping up but when I look at bike sizes there is normally S,M,L,XL. 

I'm 6'1 185cm, so looking at the size guides, would be a L frame right? so why or how would a shop offer me anything different or are you referring to how the shop sets the bike up i.e. seat height, handle bars etc?

Also, can anyone recommend a decent independent bike shop near or around Ilkley / Otley or even Leeds.

I hear Chevin cycles are a bunch of bandits but that was from a friend who had a big experience with them some years back.

thanks

GrahamD - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

Bike sizing is a good general guide but depending on your torso and leg lengths a size up or a size down might be appropriate.  After trying it out, I went for is a frame size up on what the shop originally recommended for my best bike.  You can fine tune with changing the stem.

Rigid Raider - on 16 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

At 6'1" I'd say you are defintitely a Large or a 58cm frame. 

Can't recommend a good shop though I know there are some independents in Leeds. I'll ask my walking buddy who lives there.

Rigid Raider - on 18 Jun 2018
In reply to handofgod:

My long-term walking buddy who lives in Leeds recommends Woodrups on Kirkstall Road who have given him excellent service. He says there's also Drakes and he thinks Ilkley Cycles has reopened under new ownership. 


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