Bike advice for novice tourer

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Bea
Posts: 22
Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 1:16pm

Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 17 Jul 2009, 1:56pm

Hi guys,
I started cycling 1 year ago. Unsure whether I would be in tune with my new passion after the summer I bought a second hand -don't-even-know-the-brand- hybrid bike. Within one month I was commuting to work 8 miles each way, then I joined CTC and I'm out on regular Sunday ** rides, I went on a cycling holiday along the Danube putting in =60 miles in one day (not with my second hand bike though!) and I have signed up for a London-Southend ride this Sunday. I know I want to continue cycling more and more (C2C and LEJOG next year) and it's about time I upgrade my heavy (yet sturdy) old bike.
I have the opportunity with the cycle to work scheme. They operate with Halfords. I have read all the reviews in this forum about Halfords so I was quite depressed when I thought I'd only be able to get their "Apollo" or "Carrera" bike. However, I have now found out that I have more choices as I can actually go for almost any make: Bianchi, Dawes, Cannondale, Pearson, Scott, Kona, and many others. I read people loathing Halfords but as much as I'd like to go to my LBS I can't afford it at the moment.

Sorry for the lengthy background but my question is: I'm no Armstrong or Cavendish and I'm not intending to camp either. This will be my first proper bike with a view to longish rides and hopefully frequent weekend touring too. I've been trying to inform myself but I'd like a bit of experienced and unbiased advice about what bike I could go for in the £500-700 range.

Thanks!

BTW I'm a 36y female if that makes any difference!

random37
Posts: 1878
Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 4:41pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 17 Jul 2009, 2:29pm

You're in prime territory for an Audax bike. Nothing halfords do off the shelf will be that good, but if they could get in anything like that.
How about one of these:

http://www.byercycles.co.uk/bikeprice%2 ... R1008.html

saudidave
Posts: 337
Joined: 16 Jan 2009, 12:22am

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby saudidave » 17 Jul 2009, 3:02pm

Bea wrote:Hi guys,
I started cycling 1 year ago. Unsure whether I would be in tune with my new passion after the summer I bought a second hand -don't-even-know-the-brand- hybrid bike. Within one month I was commuting to work 8 miles each way, then I joined CTC and I'm out on regular Sunday ** rides, I went on a cycling holiday along the Danube putting in =60 miles in one day (not with my second hand bike though!) and I have signed up for a London-Southend ride this Sunday. I know I want to continue cycling more and more (C2C and LEJOG next year) and it's about time I upgrade my heavy (yet sturdy) old bike.
I have the opportunity with the cycle to work scheme. They operate with Halfords. I have read all the reviews in this forum about Halfords so I was quite depressed when I thought I'd only be able to get their "Apollo" or "Carrera" bike. However, I have now found out that I have more choices as I can actually go for almost any make: Bianchi, Dawes, Cannondale, Pearson, Scott, Kona, and many others. I read people loathing Halfords but as much as I'd like to go to my LBS I can't afford it at the moment.

Sorry for the lengthy background but my question is: I'm no Armstrong or Cavendish and I'm not intending to camp either. This will be my first proper bike with a view to longish rides and hopefully frequent weekend touring too. I've been trying to inform myself but I'd like a bit of experienced and unbiased advice about what bike I could go for in the £500-700 range.

Thanks!

BTW I'm a 36y female if that makes any difference!


Is your £500-700 before or after the CTW discounts? It makes a considerable difference to the choice. If it's before, a Dawes Horizon or Raleigh Royal would be prime candidates for a first decent quality tourer

nikruth
Posts: 34
Joined: 30 Jun 2009, 6:52pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby nikruth » 17 Jul 2009, 4:20pm

Hi Bea,
Like you Ive started cycling and commuting 6 hilly miles each way and want to upgrade from my old bike.I have a bike to work scheme available to me.I have set my eyes on a Dawes Horison and my employers choice of shops do not include a Dawes dealer.As it happens a colleague was after a Dawes Galaxy and it was very simple for the employer to include a local Dawes dealer in their policy... after much debate I am going with the tried and tested Dawes.It seems to me you cant go wrong and hopefully the cycle to work scheme will work out that I will have got a very good bike at quite a reduction.
Thats the theory and it seems to have worked well for my colleague.
God luck ,it sounds like you have got the bug!
Ruth

Bea
Posts: 22
Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 1:16pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 17 Jul 2009, 4:56pm

hey,

thanks for all your replies. I was thinking of £500/700 before the discount. Actually, I was originally thinking of less until reality bit and I realised I wouldn't get anything decent for less than that price. I'll probably go for the Dawes to be on the safe side and hopefully will last me until I can move up the ladder.

thirdcrank
Posts: 27060
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Jul 2009, 5:27pm

Congratulations for doing this the right way round - I'm always advising would-be cyclists to have a go at cycling before splashing out a lot of £££ on a bike. You now have a year's experience to help with your choice.

Dawes certainly sell some nice bikes within their price bracket although it's a pity bike prices have been on the way up recently. If you are regularly going out with other riders pick their brains and look at their bikes. Most of us like to share our experience and let somebody have a go on our bikes.

bensonboo
Posts: 268
Joined: 29 Jun 2009, 7:28pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby bensonboo » 17 Jul 2009, 6:01pm

Although not the type of bike you appear to want, Carrera should not be a 'depressing' brand, they regularly receive better than average reviews and just because they are sold in Halfords many people dismiss them having not tried them.
Bike brand snobbery seems to be alive and well. A pity.

random37
Posts: 1878
Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 4:41pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 17 Jul 2009, 7:03pm

They'd be fine if they offered a tourer. But they don't.
If you want a cheap road bike, the spiritual successor to a ten speed racer, they're fine. But they don't make the sort of bike Bea is looking for.

Bea
Posts: 22
Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 1:16pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 18 Jul 2009, 11:06am

I was certainly thinking to ask my fellow cyclists for advice but I'm not meeting them this weekend and though probably wrong, I am so excited I want to chose my bike this weekend. I understand re bike snobbery and I am all but against it If I've been riding with a whatever-brand bike for a year whilst every other cyclist I met had all these nice bikes it's certainly because I don't care about brands). It's just that I want something that will serve my purpose. I've read about people going touring with all sorts of bikes and I know first hand that the bike does a lot of the work but ultimately it's you pedalling. However, I thought that a good bike would be of help in my light touring and I also deserve a treat. Honestly, for an entry tourer I was not expecting to splash 500/700 bucks but it looks as if there are few options for less.

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frank9755
Posts: 872
Joined: 11 Oct 2008, 10:38am
Location: London

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby frank9755 » 18 Jul 2009, 2:09pm

The other one to consider in that price range is the Ridgeback Voyage. I got one through a cycle to work scheme via Halfords, so they can definitely get them in! I really liked mine and it has had good reviews from others which you'll see if you search this site. It is similar spec and price to the Horizon but seems to get slightly better feedback.

At a cheaper price point, the Royal ticks most of the important boxes with some slightly inferior bits (eg tyres) but seems to be good value, if you can find one in your size - they seem to have been in short supply from some other posts. If I wanted a really budget tourer I'd go for one of those. The only other contender <£500 that I am aware of is the Viking Windsor, but it is aluminium frame, doesn't seem to be widely available and I've never read a review of it, so couldn't comment.

Alternatively, as per Chris' suggestion, an audax bike might be suitable too. Probably won't come with a rack but could accomodate one, and won't have nice low gears, but would be a bit lighter. Again, Dawes (Sportif) and Ridgeback (Horizon) would be worth considering.

Bea
Posts: 22
Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 1:16pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 18 Jul 2009, 5:03pm

Frank good to know that you got your bik through Halfords too and that you have had a good experience. I'm doing my homework and reading everything I come through not just about reviews but I'm also trying to learn and understand different specs. No one's mentioned the Dawes Discovery so far and in general I've noticed people normally go for the Horizon or Galaxy too. I can tell the Discovery is in a cheaper price-range but all in all wouldn't it be a good first tourer too?

random37
Posts: 1878
Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 4:41pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 18 Jul 2009, 7:24pm

It's a hybrid, not a tourer.
The distinctions are a bit blurry, really. They have flat handlebars, and they're generally a bit more ploddy than a tourer, plus they may not have the same luggage carrying potential. Still, if you like it, well worth a punt.

travelling
Posts: 302
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 8:04am

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby travelling » 19 Jul 2009, 2:26pm

Halfords this and halfords that, best tourer this best tourer that

Some times we get wrapped up in just believing the hype and forget we cycle to enjoy it

You did good on starting on something cheap, far to often people say..I know I havn't ridden for years but I want to cycle then go out and spend shedloads of cash to ride twice then sell it on ebay for a big loss...as a buyer I thank you :D

I'm glad to see you started on the right track then have become more involved and are looking to upgrade. A good quality lightweight steel or alloy should be fine for your needs, carbon seems a bit poserish and exspensive when the others do the same thing.

By all means use places like ctc for reviews experiences etc but bikes are like men and cars..you really need to to have a go on one before you know what one makes you the happiest
I have the lightest bike in the world....then I put my fattest body in the world on it...the only pounds that have been lost are from my bank account

Bea
Posts: 22
Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 1:16pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby Bea » 19 Jul 2009, 6:03pm

"Travelling" now that I'm way sure that I love cycling and that whichever bike I buy won't end in the shed/ebay I want to invest in a bike that will last me good many years. I agree with what you and others have said re snobbishness. If I could afford it I'd go to my LBS and get them to put a bike together for me. Today I realised that actually my bike (which cost me £80) has been built up in the second hand shop I bought it from. And to be honest, it's old, it's sturdy, probably the spec would get many shivering in disbelief that sth like that can be on road but I've never serviced it in one year, never had any spoke/chain/frame broken, my seat is old and has no gel or any of these modern features and yet I've just returned from my 60mile ride to Southend and I finished 20miles ahead of a group I was going with who had all these posh/well-known makes!
That said, I can feel my bike can't put up with one single pannier, let alone a 3 piece one and I'm sure I will ride even faster and more comfortable with a good bike. But I'm also hopeful it will last me for a long while hence my interest in a good bike and as you've said, nothing better that relying on CTC members for unbiased advice.

Chris667, I checked your link but I can't get that make via Halfords plus they are a bit out of my league.

random37
Posts: 1878
Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 4:41pm

Re: Bike advice for novice tourer

Postby random37 » 19 Jul 2009, 6:57pm

To be honest, I'd want to spend more, or buy secondhand. I'm not a snob, far from it, you'd get such a shock if you ever met me or saw the bikes I actually use!
But really, I don't think any of the £500 road bikes are very good for what you want to do. The hybrids are a bit too beefy, and the road bikes are a bit too lightweight and twitchy, with too many pretensions towards racing. A cheap tourer would be OK, but again a bit too heavy, and corners are cut where they shouldn't be, notably wheels.
You are a prime candidate for an audax type bike, you'd get the best from it, and it would become your most loved and most useful possession. You sound like you're going to stick with it, so why not get something you won't want to upgrade in the future?