Hello, first post from a sometime lurker here.
Around a year ago I came a cropper on one of Reading's cycle farcilities leading to damaging my bike - a 1999 Dawes Galaxy (only owned by me for a couple of years). A replacement front fork got it on the road again but the newfound toeclip overlap, shortened frame and 1-2 inch higher front end don’t inspire confidence or spark joy in the ride sadly.
Before this happened I’d been saving for a second bike (having got quite into cycling) and so splashed out on a second hand Enigma Étape, which has been an absolute revelation. It’s not however something I want to leave overnight at work or take shopping.
So - looking for recommendations for a relatively inexpensive but fun to ride bike for commuting/winter rides (my commute is rural, 25 miles - often I will ride one way and leave my bike at work overnight). Requirements are:
- Fittings for rack and mudguards
- Responsive and light enough that it’s an enjoyable ride, rather than feeling like I’m powering an oil tanker
- Decent brakes (mild preference for rim as I’m a Luddite, but equally I hate the cantis on my Galaxy)
- Cheap to run - 8 or 9 speed is fine, not fussed for brifters
- Ideally would take 32mm or wider tyres for bridleways etc
Budget is around £500 - happy to buy secondhand even if it means waiting for something suitable, just need to have a good idea what I’m looking for! I have a few ideas already but don’t want to prejudice matters.
I'd suggest a flat barred road bike. They're light, responsive and can be an incredible ride, utilise rim calilper brakes with superb performance, most run using 8-9 spd systems and will take 32mm heavier duty tyres (NB. Something like Vittoria Ranonneur, which are fast and responsive to ride on, but heavy enough to cope with bridleways without an issue). I've never had issues carrying a heavy load, having routinely used such a bike for 4-5 day short tours over to the Lakes /Dales et al, loaded with tent et al
I've used a couple of flat barred road bikes as a commuter since 2002, the current being a Giant Rapid, prior to that a Saracen Helix. Decathalon used to do a superb example, but I believe they're limited to a single chainset at present?
I'd take the Giant Rapid range as a benchmark, prior to looking at the equivalents from other manufacturers. It's worth looking at the 2012, 2013, 2014 versions et al, as they're often at a cheaper price with no pragmatic downsides compared with this years version (Nb. Ash Cycles, stock the full range going back to about 2012)
On a pragmatic basis it's worth ensuring that they're fitted with rack mounting points (Nb. Though my Saracen version did 14 years using nothing other a couple of "P" rack clips). Also worth checking that a full rear mudguard will fit, as some bikes have insufficient clearance. And one huge negative factor I found in running caliper brakes all year, is that they are much higher maintenance than simple cantis/v brakes in the winter
Oh and your comment about your Enigma being a relevation is relevant! I've got a 3 year old Spa Tourer and had a previous steel tourer. Perfectly decent bikes, but riding one can be like going for a run wearing wellies, rather than decent running shoes
(NB. I presume you're aware of the bias on the forum towards bikes designed in the good old days, when everything was made of steel & leather with pigeons for rapid communication