Bike choice and fitness

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Claireysmurf
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by Claireysmurf »

Dear all
Thank you. I am blown away by the range and quality of suggestions, and please do keep them coming. I will try and address some of the many points:
My current cycling style is probably fairly good in terms of maintaining cadence but I do have intermittent spells of ambitious speeds that tend to leave me needing a break (so probably my own style of intervals or a nod to pace myself better).
My ride on Wednesday was a little over-ambitious - some of the hills felt a bit too punishing on the 3 speed Brompton. This with colder weather brought on an asthma attack. However, that is not normally an issue.
I do feel that heavy ponderous bikes can put me off.
My concerns regarding posture are related to several osteopath visits before I re-started cyling which were probably caused by doing a desk based job and commuting up 120-155 miles a day for two years. I am not normally in discomfort riding the Brompton or the Kona. However, the Carrera just felt wrong; I must admit this may in part be due to being overweight and I am sure that the geometry of the Carrera was fairly aggressively racy
I think that the Audax suggestions sound very appealling and there appear to be some decent deals on Dawes Clubman (and less so on the Century).
I find a Moulton an attractive proposition but am a little put off by cost and my perceived disadvantages of the Brompton (lack of confidence in its handling on rougher roads at higher speeds). I also am starting to realise I am more conservative than I had imagined when it comes to bikes.
The only time that I have felt at all impressed with the Kona was when riding it around a country park on a muddy math; it suddenly made sense. In view of it being a nearly new bike, I think it is worth keeping for less intense leisure rides (and as a spare for friends to use).
Claire
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s1965c
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by s1965c »

I have a CB Regent, which I've used for touring and commuting. It has an alloy frame and rather relaxed geometry. The original tyres were OK, but I've replaced them with Marathons. With my Brooks B17 fitted, it's a great bike for loping along all day. The tyres made a bigger difference to the ride than the frame material does. For a budget touring bike, I have no complaints at all.

Like you, I found a full-on road bike (Specialized Allez in my case) to be uncomfortable. Fast, but not fun to ride.

I've also ridden a new Dalesman. It's a nice bike, but I found I got on better with the Sora shifters on the Regent than I did with the Tiagras on the Dalesman. I've not done enough miles to form a proper opinion, but I wasn't gagging to buy one after I rode it. My lad and I share a 90s Dalesman (3 x 7 speed downtube shifters) and even though it's a little too big for me, I enjoy riding this one a lot. The boy had a late 70s 531 Galaxy before this one, and he finds the Dalesman far nicer to ride.

However, my "best" bike is a Thorn Brevet (very similar to the Audax Mk3) that I built up from a NOS frame. Now that IS a very nice bike and should go on your short list IMO. It's a very well thought out frame that wants to be ridden.
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horizon
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by horizon »

s1965c wrote:However, my "best" bike is a Thorn Brevet (very similar to the Audax Mk3) that I built up from a NOS frame. Now that IS a very nice bike and should go on your short list IMO. It's a very well thought out frame that wants to be ridden.


I agree. The problem is cost - £1200 is an awful lot of money but still doesn't reach these bikes (AFAIK). But if you know what you are looking for then second-hand becomes a possibility. And that also adds to the consensus that an Audax bike is what is wanted: I think working out the right type of bike is the most important thing - after that it's budget and brand.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher
reohn2
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by reohn2 »

A couple more bikes that sprang to mind whilst I was riding today,
Salsa Vaya,the 2 or 3 :-

http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya/
http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya_3/

and Salsa Casseroll

http://salsacycles.com/bikes/casseroll/

Nice bikes :) you maybe pushing the price up a little though.
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boris
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by boris »

you have got a hybrid (lighter tyres will make it feel better , like marathons or paselas in 32 ish as was mentioned above, I would inflate to 80psi); and a great folder. Now you need a lightweight. I am a great fan of steel, but to get 853 light frames you have to pay quite a lot.
I am pleased with a scr2 , which is the old version of the Defy. Light, not too low at the front. You do not need to use the drops at all, but they are there for high speed descending or headwinds. I change the stem: shorter and/or higher etc according to what I am going to do. It takes tailor-made mudguards.
http://www.cyclestore.co.uk/productDeta ... goryID=960

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-gb/bik ... 318/49828/
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Claireysmurf
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by Claireysmurf »

I just this minute sold my little old Mini so I have 115 crisp £20 notes in my pocket. That is meant to be my tuition fees for my next semester at Uni.....but......shiny bike.....can I resist....
LollyKat
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by LollyKat »

Last year I treated myself to a Thorn Audax Mk3 and absolutely love it - it is so much fun to ride. It is all steel so not the very lightest (though there is a carbon fork option), but is nippy and responsive while at the same time very stable on fast downhills, even on poor surfaces. It handles brilliantly yet is really comfortable to ride, too. I asked Thorn to leave the steerer quite long so that the handlebars are level with the saddle.

It comes with mudguards (no toe overlap, though) and braze-ons for front and rear carriers. It is not designed for camping loads but is ideal for B&B touring - max recommended load is 15kg spread fore and aft, though I don't carry anything like that. I have also found the powder coating to be very tough indeed.

My husband has a Croix de Fer but even with chunkier tyres for winter use he finds it gives rather a harsh ride, presumably because of the straight forks.

The Thorn is a bit more than your original budget but now that you have sold the Mini maybe you should consider it. They do a 14-day no- quibble money-back guarantee - if you don't like it you can return it.
reohn2
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by reohn2 »

I too have a Thorn Audax Mk3 and can agree with everything LollyKat says about them,they a very good bike indeed but IMO the complete bike package as sold by Thorn is overpriced IMO.
If you wanted a Mk3 the best route would be to by the frameset then either build yourself or get an LBS to supply the groupset and wheels then build it for you.

BTW If you're budget is increased take alook at Spa's Titanium Audax :shock: :D
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Audax67
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by Audax67 »

Ayesha wrote:
Audax67 wrote:If your prime aim is to get fit then what you do has to be fun. The weight of the bike and its rolling resistance do make a difference to this: you'll have much more fun if you feel as if you're flying along under your own power than if you're slogging and counting the aches.



That, I'm afraid to say, is a myth.



Sez you. The point is that if it's fun you'll do much more of it than if it's not. We don't all have the determination of an anchorite.
Have we got time for another cuppa?
Vorpal
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by Vorpal »

Claireysmurf, welcome & well done. My advice:

1) Ride lots of different bikes. It will help you figure out what you want in your new bike, as well as giving you the opportunity to find just the right bike. I've only ever bought two new bikes in my life. Both were bought after going around to lots of shops and trying lots of bikes. I got a little help in fitting from the shops. I wouldn't buy a bike I hadn't ridden, unless it was built especially for me.

2) Ignore BMI. BMI alone is not a measure of whether someone is overweight. Muscle is denser than fat, so anyone who is strong will have a higher BMI than someone who is not. I used to receive regular requests from the company medical department to take them up on their healthy living classes because my BMI put me in the overweight category. My response was that when anyone of them could make my 28 mile commute with me, I'd take their classes.

3) Ride your bike. Fitness will improve quickly. Don't worry if your weight/BMI doesn't go down. Some people actually gain weight because they are replacing fat with muscle (see 2). After an enforced period of activity a few years ago, I returned to fitness. My weight & BMI didn't change, but clothing/dress size went down by 2 or 3.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
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Mick F
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by Mick F »

Audax67 wrote:
Ayesha wrote:
Audax67 wrote:If your prime aim is to get fit then what you do has to be fun. The weight of the bike and its rolling resistance do make a difference to this: you'll have much more fun if you feel as if you're flying along under your own power than if you're slogging and counting the aches.



That, I'm afraid to say, is a myth.



Sez you. The point is that if it's fun you'll do much more of it than if it's not. We don't all have the determination of an anchorite.
I agree with both points of view.

I have never been fitter - in my whole life! - than when I was riding the Raleigh Chopper towing a concrete block, then doing JOGLE on it. The bike weighed in at a massive 44lbs and combined with a 50lbs loaded trailer it was hell on wheels to get up hills.

However, to ride on a fast lightning-quick bike is FUN. More akin to driving a sports car. If it's fun, it is FUN to do and you will look forward to the exercise. If it's hard work and Not Fun, you are likely to find an excuse not to do it.
Mick F. Cornwall
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Claireysmurf
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by Claireysmurf »

What are the key differences between a cyclo-cross bike and an audax bike please?
A couple of LBS have suggested cyclo-cross machines. I visited Sunset bikes in Cathays in Cardiff today; hadn't heard of Audax!! I did spot a Charge Filter which a quick search shows to be a cyclo-cross machine but too flawed for me I think.
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horizon
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by horizon »

Claireysmurf wrote:What are the key differences between a cyclo-cross bike and an audax bike please?
A couple of LBS have suggested cyclo-cross machines. I visited Sunset bikes in Cathays in Cardiff today; hadn't heard of Audax!! I did spot a Charge Filter which a quick search shows to be a cyclo-cross machine but too flawed for me I think.


HA! The trap awaits like a Venus fly trap looking for a fly. I accept I don't know much about bikes actually, but this never ceases to amaze me. To me it's simple: man wants to ride slick road bike; road bike won't do filthy commute; bike maker spots cyclo-cross; cyclo-cross sells as fast commuter (this is fine); new cyclist wants tourer (heavy or light) - bike shop hasn't a clue; spotty youth or hard bitten roadie seizes his chance - tries to flog cross bike as tourer. This is not OK.

I don't want a cross bike but I would be the first to accept that they are really well suited for fast commutes and lots of other rides. But they aren't tourers, Audax or otherwise - why cannot the bike shops just admit they don't stock tourers due to low demand? Why the slippery snakery?

I'm open to other views on this.

PS A cross bike might suit the OP just fine, but IMV that's not the point.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher
eileithyia
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by eileithyia »

Claire remember this is 'cross' season, or half way thru it. A bike shop that is trying to sell you a cross bike knows they will probably not sell it to a 'real' cross rider (unless they have bent their bike around a tree), at this time of year and will be left with stock that they will have to discount in a few weeks... so lets sell it to an unsuspecting newbie.

Cross bikes are designed to be ridden fast off road in cyclo-cross races, they usuall have a biggish clearance (big gap) tween forks and wheels and brakes so that a build up of mud is avoided.
Seriously top cross riders have two bikes in an event and someone washing their bike each lap to get rid of the mud!
It is designed ot be ridden over rough ground and to be slung over the shoulder and carried when the going gets really tough.
The larger clearances probably means mudguards can be fitted and this why bike shop was trying to fob you off with it.

The road bike you described will have had quite severe angles making it fairly short wheel based which is probably why you did not feel comfy on it.

You do need to get to a few shops and try riding around on a few bikes to see what feels comfy.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells
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531colin
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Re: Bike choice and fitness

Post by 531colin »

Claireysmurf wrote:What are the key differences between a cyclo-cross bike and an audax bike please?........


Claire.....I'm not going to tell you.
I want you to get as many test rides as you can, then you will know for yourself.
I will never forget the young woman who came back from a test ride so excited, she was bouncing off the walls.
I asked her why, she said she had a road bike, and she didn't know there was such a thing as a drop handlebar bike where she would be able to take her hand off the bars or look behind without wobbling.
Get the test rides. When you find the right bike, you will know. That bike will be more of a bargain than anything thats reduced. (I expect you thought the Carrera was cheap, but if you don't enjoy riding it, it isn't)
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