Looking for my first hybrid

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
pete146
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Joined: 23 Jul 2017, 9:04am

Looking for my first hybrid

Postby pete146 » 23 Jul 2017, 9:08am

Hi

I'm new here, and just looking for some total beginner advice!

I haven't owned a bike since I was 16 - over 20 years ago. My memories include forever putting chains back on, repairing punctures, and trying to stop brakes squeaking!

I realise that things have moved on a LOT. I started researching bikes online today and realised that I was entirely lost.

I wouldn't be using a bike to commute, or train, or race, or climb mountains. It would be to go for leisurely bike rides with my family, and occasionally to get to the shops rather than taking the car. Maybe in the future an hour long blast on my own after work. So, I'd use it on the road (but not particularly quickly), on grass, on bridle paths etc. Based on what I've read, I think a hybrid is the way to go?

I really don't want t spend a fortune - but neither do I want to be constantly having to maintain the bike. I love the idea of a belt rather than a chain, and a gear hub - but I think these things may be beyond my budget.

So, having read lots of reviews - the below are bikes that I am considering going to look at:

B'Twin - Riverside 500 or 900
Carrera - Crossfire 2 or 3, Subway 2,
VooDoo - Marasa

These are all £200-£400

OR, I could push the boat out and look at a Boardman for £500-£600 - The MX Comp, MX Sport, Hybrid comp.

In my situation, where would you recommend I start??? Do any of these bikes stand out as 'better than the rest' for my needs? Do any of them have any particular bad points? Would I notice the difference if I paid the extra for a Boardman? Am I better looking at the B'Twin simply to avoid Halfords?

Any help and advice you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks in advance :)

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freiston
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Joined: 6 Oct 2013, 10:20am

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby freiston » 23 Jul 2017, 1:35pm

Maintenance and repairs will not go away no matter what you buy (but good maintenance generally means fewer repairs) I wouldn't go for any suspension - not necessary for your usage, adds to the cost (or drives the spec of the other components downwards for a given bike price) and is one more thing to maintain/go wrong. Almost anything will work for your intended use but generally speaking, there is a point in budget at which components become more reliable. I'm taking it that mudguards and luggage carrying are not a concern (but it might be worth considering how easy it would be to add these in case you decide you want them at a later time).

I took a quick look at the bikes you mentioned and also at Evans hybrids. I'm not a bike-buying expert and personal taste plays a big part but this one from Evans at £400 rather took my fancy - Pinnacle Neon 2. My biggest reservation is the gearing - it has a reasonable bottom ratio if you're not tackling big hills and carrying loads of weight (34front/32rear), the top is a bit on the high side imho (50front/11rear).

I know nothing about hydraulic brakes and so couldn't comment on them - but I do find modern rim brakes sufficient. One of the bikes on your list has 27.5" wheels - if I recall correctly, there was some discussion about the cons of this wheel size.

Hopefully someone will come along who can give more specific buying advice.
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)

Alan O
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Joined: 23 Sep 2016, 4:51pm
Location: Liverpool

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby Alan O » 23 Jul 2017, 2:20pm

Hi pete146,

I know just what you mean - I came back to cycling last year after a gap of around 20 years too, and I didn't understand half the words people are speaking these days.

I can't help with any specific modern bikes, but...

In your place, I'd go for basic simplicity and avoid fancy fancy knobs, doodahs and gubbins - the more basic a bike is in terms of features at a given price, the better quality and more reliable it's likely to be.

So I definitely wouldn't go for suspension - it's costly to do well, and on a modestly-priced bike would mean compromising on the quality of the basic parts. And from your intended usage, it really doesn't sound like you need it.

And yes, I think a hybrid is probably the kind of bike that would best suit your intended use. There are some pretty decent ones out there these days which look like a lot of fun.

Alan

pete146
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Joined: 23 Jul 2017, 9:04am

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby pete146 » 23 Jul 2017, 3:10pm

Thanks both for the advice.

Freiston - Baring in mind my lack of knowledge, what are the things about the Pinnacle that would make you like it more than the ones I mentioned?

Am I likely to notice any significant differences between a bike at £250 (EG Carrera), a bike at £400 (EG Pinnacle), and at £600 (EG Boardman) considering the type / amount of cycling I will be doing?

Thanks again

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ChrisOntLancs
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Joined: 20 Oct 2016, 9:47pm

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby ChrisOntLancs » 23 Jul 2017, 3:30pm

i can vouch for the marasa, having owned and ridden one to death. they're an absolute work horse and besides a couple of bent mech hangers, i never had any problems with it. the price is also often reduced to £320 also, so maybe snipe yourself a good deal.

I MISS THAT BIKE SO MUCH and have to say overall that it's far better than the £479 btwin i'm currently riding.

my only gripe (which might be a pro for you) is that the wheelbase is very long, as the bars are wide, so it isn't fantastic in the city (which is what you'd expect from a bike with slick tyres). that said it's great for just "going anywhere" even on the ropiest of canal paths, and it's really comfortable for long rides. i switched to road for a quicker commute but i do miss the leisurely cycling i used to do on the voodoo.

this is sort of pouring out from the heart so if you have any specific questions i'd be happy to answer them.

one of my friends has a subway, which probably would have been a better bike for myself, but it's a lot sportier than the voodoo. the handling is a lot quicker, but it's another bike that's great for spending all day on. it's a little heavier than the voodoo and the tyres are a little slicker, but it's quite capable off road (his main ride is to salford through dirt paths, then through manchester)

pete146
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Joined: 23 Jul 2017, 9:04am

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby pete146 » 23 Jul 2017, 4:07pm

Thanks ChrisOntLancs

The Marasa is really starting to catch my eye!

One question - not knowing which gears are best etc, the biggest difference I can see between the Marasa and the Subway 2 is the wheel size. The Marasa has 700C, and the Subway2 has 27.5". Other than that they both have rigid forks, allu frames, 27 speed Shimano, Hydrollic disc brakes etc.

What would be the difference the wheel size makes to riding?

Mattyfez
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Joined: 22 Dec 2014, 7:24pm

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby Mattyfez » 23 Jul 2017, 5:24pm

The marasa is a cool 2kg lighter.
I think that would swing it for me out of those two bikes.

The rest of the bike specifications are much of a muchness IMO. They are very similar.

Also 27.5inch wheels are the same as 650b
This article might help as it explains the difference quite well http://road.cc/content/feature/171905-650b-future-road-bikes-roadcc-investigates
Last edited by Mattyfez on 23 Jul 2017, 5:33pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ChrisOntLancs
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Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby ChrisOntLancs » 23 Jul 2017, 5:32pm

i should have warned you that i'm not so technical minded :oops: so i'm not sure i'd attribute any of this to the wheels alone.

put simply i think it's stability in the voodoo vs maneuverability in the subway. i think the voodoo is better at rolling over bumps, but the subway is better at avoiding them. when the voodoos off road i found i had to commit to my lines a lot, but on the subway i had a bit more freedom to make it up as i went along. again with tarmac the voodoo is great at going fast in a straight line, but if you have a lot of obstacles the subway is definitely more nimble. i never bothered filtering in the voodoo for example, but it was great at accelerating away from lights.

i have done quite a bit of riding on the subway, as i used to live with the owner, but i don't really have enough experience to say yey or ney on it unfortunately.

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freiston
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Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby freiston » 23 Jul 2017, 6:50pm

pete146 wrote:Thanks both for the advice.

Freiston - Baring in mind my lack of knowledge, what are the things about the Pinnacle that would make you like it more than the ones I mentioned?

Am I likely to notice any significant differences between a bike at £250 (EG Carrera), a bike at £400 (EG Pinnacle), and at £600 (EG Boardman) considering the type / amount of cycling I will be doing?

Thanks again

Things that attracted me to the Pinnacle - no suspension forks; Claris groupest (I consider this to be a significant jump up from acera/altus/tourney); V-brakes (I like rim brakes); rims that are named/branded rather than generic (and the Jalco DRX20 rim gets built into bikes costing over £1000). All these things make me think that it is a superior bike to the rest - my only caveat is whether the gearing ratios will suit you - which I can't know.

Whether you'll notice the difference is another 'unknown' too (gear ratios aside). Personally, I would expect the better components to perform better than the other bikes both in terms of operation and longevity.
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)

Mattyfez
Posts: 350
Joined: 22 Dec 2014, 7:24pm

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby Mattyfez » 23 Jul 2017, 7:34pm

That pinnacle looks interesting.. I've no idea what claris gears are like though, the ratio seems a bit limited. I always thought deore was the next step up from acera /altus. But that's a light bike. Worth consideration I think. Might be a bit harsh on mixed terain.

I think I'd give it and the marassa a look out of what's been suggested.

On paper the marassa looks more versatile, the OP mentioned grass and bridalways, and has hydraulic disc brakes which are a nice addition imo. the pinnacle would be more of a road machine. A road bike with flat bars if you will.

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Tinnishill
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Joined: 15 Sep 2013, 9:58am

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby Tinnishill » 23 Jul 2017, 8:36pm

Hallo,

Good luck with the bike buying. What some shops describe as a "hybrid" bike is also sometimes called a "trekking" or "town" bike. There was an article in a recent club magazine which reviewed some decent entry level bikes; you can find a pdf of the article at:

http://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default/ ... 703062.pdf

The main CUK website is a bit clunky and confusing to navigate; here's some short cuts to some other articles you might find useful.

http://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle/size-bike-need

http://www.cyclinguk.org/article/cyclin ... ice-checks

http://www.cyclinguk.org/article/campai ... ike-stolen

http://www.cyclinguk.org/article/cyclin ... oking-bike

Cheers.
Agitate, educate, organise.

pete146
Posts: 4
Joined: 23 Jul 2017, 9:04am

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby pete146 » 23 Jul 2017, 8:49pm

So - I'm going to Cycle Republic tomorrow to look at 2:

My first choice (if it fits as it's clearence) is the Boardman Hybrid comp
Reserve choice, in case I don't like / can't get the Boardman is the VooDoo

The Boardman is the 2016 model that's being phased out, but it's reduced from £500 to £400.

I don't think there is much between them, but from what I read, the Boardman has very slightly higher spec components. Really depends which one fits me best, and which I enjoy riding most - I think I'll be extremely happy with either!

Many thanks for all the help, I'll let you know how I get on.

Mattyfez
Posts: 350
Joined: 22 Dec 2014, 7:24pm

Re: Looking for my first hybrid

Postby Mattyfez » 23 Jul 2017, 9:04pm

Good luck, the boardman at that price is a fine bike too.

What matters most is which you find most comfortable, so trying them out is absolutely the best test.