Returning to cycling after 50 years

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby bigal999 » 19 Jul 2018, 11:28pm

Hi I have just got a specialized rock hopper pro to learn to ride again as it has wide tyres and was going very cheap.
I am 63 years old and have in the week I have been riding again got up to 1miles on a good day.
I am looking for a new hybrid bike now one that is at home on the road and ok to use off road. Need to get in training for my first cycle holiday next June.
Can any one sujest a bike that would be suitable. I have £500 to £600 to buy it . I would like the following features if possible 1. Hydraulic brakes 2. Some front suspension. Just so confused with all the different bikes around. Most shops I ask just push bike at me and say there brand is best.

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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby tim-b » 20 Jul 2018, 6:55am

Do you need front suspension? At that price the quality won't be the best, it will add weight, cost and sap your energy
A rigid fork will perform well off-road until you hit the really rough stuff
Decathlon is good value with their 520 (flat handlebar version, no discs) under your price range, or a Boardman HYB 8.6 (discs) within your range, and you should start to see some end of season bargains everywhere soon

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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby Norman H » 20 Jul 2018, 7:03am

Welcome to the forum.

It's early days yet, I wouldn't be in too much of a hurry to add a second bike. Continue to ride the Rock Hopper, perhaps fit some more road orientated tyres. Your fitness will improve and you'll get a much better idea of the sort of bike that will best suit your future style of riding. It's also worth considering second hand. The classified section on this forum often has some real bargains within your budget.

Others will no doubt have their own opinions but I would also question the need front suspension on the new bike, especially within your budget.

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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby foxyrider » 20 Jul 2018, 8:51am


There are lots of bikes and brands out there which will suit what you are looking for. I agree with previous posters that the front suspension is maybe something to perhaps reconsider or at least reassess and make sure you get the right thing.

Hybrids come with basically 2 types of suspension and neither do very well across road and offroad. For road riding (not that I think you really need it) is designed to smooth small unevenness, it won't work through potholes, down kerbs etc. For off road riding it's the opposite, on road, unless it's lockable, you will waste a lot of energy just making it bounce without it improving a lot of comfort.

The brands I think offer good bikes of this type are Cube, Giant, Trek - other brands often aim more road or offroad but not both.

Given my skinny tired carbon race bike can cope with unmade surfaces (better than some of Derbyshire tarmac roads!) you don't have to worry too much about the trail riding aspect.

I would look for a rigid forked machine, maybe something like a Trek 7 series, if you aren't paying for forks you will get better gears etc for your money.
Convention? what's that then?
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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby whoof » 20 Jul 2018, 8:58am

If your Specialized Rockhopper Pro is one of these ... o/p/128989
then you already have a bike with hydraulic brakes and front suspension. Change the tyres to ones aimed at road riding rather than knobblies and you pretty much have got what you where asking for and will have saved £550.

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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby Alan O » 20 Jul 2018, 9:01am

I agree that, unless you want to to seriously bumpy off-road riding on it, you're unlikely to need suspension on the planned new hybrid - and if you did need it, you're unlikely to get good suspension on a new bike at that price.

So firstly, what kind of off-road do you plan on your hybrid? If it's stuff like cycle paths, canal towpaths, hard-earth tracks, a bit of gravel, but no technical MTB terrain - I ride a lot of that on my old rigid touring bike, and its 32mm tyres are pretty good at soaking up mild bumpiness.

With a budget of £500-600, I also agree that Decathlon should be near the top of your list, as they're renowned for offering good-value bicycles.

There's also the second-hand market, and there are lots of bikes going for silly money. I've bought a couple on eBay, though that can be a risk, especially if you don't know a lot about bikes. But if you're careful and only buy locally, inspect the bike first, and pay cash on collection, you can reduce that risk - though having someone with you who knows about bikes is a very good idea.

Anyway, most important thing last - great to hear you're back on a bike!

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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby Mud-Plugger » 20 Jul 2018, 9:14am

You can easily 'hybrid-ise' the RockHopper with an adjustable or upright stem or a 'riser' type handlebar, (or both) and some 'do-it-all' touring tyres like Schwalbe Marathon Plus. The benefit being that it already has most of what you want, other than perhaps mounts for luggage racks/mudguards.

A fatter saddle and maybe a suspension seat-post takes the sting out of longer days. About £100 for the mods, or less.
Last edited by Mud-Plugger on 21 Jul 2018, 7:58am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby Vorpal » 20 Jul 2018, 9:40am

What do you want to accomplish by getting a new bike?

I agree with others here that a new set of tyres, designed for road riding, will make riding on the road much easier and more comfortable.

If you are uncomfortable on the bike, it may not be set up correctly for you.

Have a look at member 531colin's guide to set-up ... 02017a.pdf
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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby peetee » 20 Jul 2018, 9:42am

Get your current bike assessed for a service or overhaul. If it was cheap the chances are it is tired and is hard work to ride. It was a decent machine once and could be again with the proper care. Taken to the right place they will talk to you about what you want/need and quote you first so you can make your mind up re that cost Vs a new bike.
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Re: Returning to cycling after 50 years

Postby LollyKat » 20 Jul 2018, 9:48am

If you want it for touring, it helps to have mounts for luggage racks - wearing a rucsack gets tiring over a day. And I regard mudguards as essential, as on a tour you can't choose your weather. Riding all day in the rain is a lot more comfortable with guards to keep the water off your feet and back.