Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

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ejt123
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Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby ejt123 » 8 Nov 2015, 6:05pm

Hi,

Looking for some advice if that's OK.

I've been cycling for a number of years on a whole variety of bikes but never really learnt much about the technical side of things. Now wanting to extend my cycling from just commuting and biannual touring holidays into sportives and audax. My current Specialized Sirrus has done me well for 5 years but is rather heavy (being two frame sizes too big for me doesn't help much on this front) and getting rather decrepit. I am lucky enough to have access to Cyclescheme through work and am thinking of getting something new.

Because of budget and space constraints, I am looking for a single bike that I can use to commute on (year-round), head out with a laid-back local club, do a few sportives, and a couple of touring holidays a year (mostly Scottish highlands and islands, northern England and possibly Scandinavia in the near future).

I understand/hope that such an all-rounder may be out there!

The upper limit of my budget is probably around the £1000 mark, but I am keen to get the best value for money within this with potential for upgrades in future. I'm 5ft 4 and slim so while by no means a weight weenie I am conscious that I am of a size that might be disadvantaged by a super-heavy bike.

I had rather liked the look of the Specialized Diverge (or female version, Dolce Evo) but was concerned that the disc brakes might be a liability when touring e.g. getting knocked out of shape when being tied up on ferries, difficult to get repairs for in the back of beyond.

My thoughts now are either
- Kinesis Racelight T2 - http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/Catalogue ... ht/T2-Bike
- Tifosi CK7 Gran Fondo Tiagra - http://www.tifosicycles.co.uk/ck7.php - RRP £999 but on sale from Fatbirds just now for £809

Any feedback on these choices (especially the Tifosi, which I can't find too many reviews of) or alternative suggestions would be very much welcomed.

Thanks

Emily

Valbrona
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby Valbrona » 8 Nov 2015, 7:52pm

I think you could get something that ticks most of your boxes, but the problem might come when you want to fit a rack and panniers. While decent bikes around £1000 might have the fixing points for mudguards, these days they typically don't allow easy fitment of a rack.

I ride a Cannondale Women's Synapse Alloy Disc (and I'm not a woman) which comes in at about £1000 (there are cheaper versions in the range), but there's no way of easily fitting a rack. Apart from the Specialized Dolce range, there's also the Giant female-specific bikes aka Giant Liv.

NB If you're only 5'4" I would only be looking a 'female-specific' bikes. Note that the aforementioned Women's Synapse is available in a 44cm which is about the smallest of any frame out there.
I should coco.

fastpedaller
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby fastpedaller » 8 Nov 2015, 8:58pm

What about a Spa steel Tourer?

Zimba
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby Zimba » 8 Nov 2015, 9:12pm

fastpedaller wrote:What about a Spa steel Tourer?


You're still looking at a relatively heavy bike. Genesis are doing some interesting things with do it all carbon bikes, full disks, rack mounts ect and under 22lbs.

This one is apparently up for 'bike of the year'. Do it all, gravel carbon bikes are definitely going to be the next big thing, in 2016:

http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Genesis-Datum-1 ... wgodgoIApg

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horizon
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby horizon » 8 Nov 2015, 9:50pm

Zimba wrote:You're still looking at a relatively heavy bike. Genesis are doing some interesting things with do it all carbon bikes, full disks, rack mounts ect and under 22lbs.

This one is apparently up for 'bike of the year'. Do it all, gravel carbon bikes are definitely going to be the next big thing, in 2016:

http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Genesis-Datum-1 ... wgodgoIApg


Wouldn't be my first choice for a fully loaded camping tour of Sweden, but then each to his/her own.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

mercalia
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby mercalia » 8 Nov 2015, 10:05pm

I think u made need to think of a basic not too heavy bike then change various bits for various purposes eg the wheels and esp the tyres - heavy duty for touring and lighter for sporty purposes. Maybe remove the carrier etc. or not.

keyboardmonkey
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby keyboardmonkey » 8 Nov 2015, 10:07pm

Zimba wrote:...Genesis are doing some interesting things with do it all carbon bikes, full disks, rack mounts ect and under 22lbs.

This one is apparently up for 'bike of the year'. Do it all, gravel carbon bikes are definitely going to be the next big thing, in 2016:

http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Genesis-Datum-1 ... wgodgoIApg


... and is around twice the OP's budget.

You can expect to pay no more than £800 these days for a Kinesis T2. It's not quite a do-it-all bike, but does most things fairly well. I have one:

http://cycleseven.org/kinesis-racelight-t2-review

But I also have a slightly lighter bike that I've used on sportives - and trying to keep up with younger, lighter, fitter friends. The T2 isn't a lightweight. If you can stretch to the price of a Kinesis Racelight 4S it still has mudguard eyelets and rack mounts, and is a bit sportier.

However, neither bike is meant for heavily laden touring (I keep my old 531ST bike for those increasingly rare tours). On the link above you will see images of my T2 with a rack top bag and handlebar bag. That's about as much I would take on a long tour although I have commuted with lightly packed panniers, including a laptop computer and a fair bit of paperwork, change of clothes etc.

This 4S is currently available at £1053.99...

http://www.fatbirds.co.uk/1742393/produ ... ilver.aspx

... but if you are looking to buy your bike through a Cycle To Work scheme you may not be able to pick up a bike at such a discount as the retailer has to allow for the chunk of money the CTW scheme folks take.

On sizing of the T2/4S I am 5' 8" and have the 51cm frame. I would imagine the 48cm model will be okay for you.

Eyebrox
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby Eyebrox » 8 Nov 2015, 11:45pm

Here's my bike. Perfect for the job. Relaxed ride position.£1,000 or less online depending on size.
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-gb/bik ... 227/77321/

LuckyLuke
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby LuckyLuke » 9 Nov 2015, 12:16am

Hi Emily,

You're dead right that the 'do-it-all' bike is elusive.
Sometimes I wish I just had the one, to simplify things. Maybe one day I will self-impose a Chinese style 'one child' policy... Even though the Chinese government has shifted to n+1. :D

mercalia wrote:I think u made need to think of a basic not too heavy bike then change various bits for various purposes eg the wheels and esp the tyres - heavy duty for touring and lighter for sporty purposes. Maybe remove the carrier etc. or not.


I think this could be an option if you went for a one bike policy.
How much life is there left in your Sirrus? I wondered if you'd considered keeping it as the basis of a do it all bike? Especially if you were happy with the comfort and your positioning on the bike already?
My Dad has an 8 speed model dating ~10yrs ago and I sometimes take it out when visiting. His rides fine and had no problems keeping up on a club run.
His has 28mm tyres, 36 spoke tyres, a 135mm rearhub, triple chainset, mudguards and a rack. As it is it would manage commuting and most tarmac touring fine.
You could have a lighter wheelset with expensive, supple, lightweight tyres, maybe closer ratio gearing on the cassette, to keep for audax / club runs / sportives.
You could fit Ergon style grips with bar ends for more changes to hand positioning if desired.
You could even have a bling saddle like a Brooks ready for action on its own seatpost, and swap out the stock saddle and post before weekend rides.
With Cyclescheme I think you can spend the cash on cycle kit, not only a new bike.
The stock wheelset should be ok for touring and commuting.
One consideration if commuting and shopping by bike is security, and a nice shiny expensive new bike might get pinched.
Best of luck, let us all know how you get on.
Luke

ejt123
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby ejt123 » 9 Nov 2015, 8:49am

Thanks all for suggestions.

Unfortunately both the Genesis and the Giant models linked to have disc brakes, which I think are not so practical for me - I'm worried about them getting bent out if shape too readily when the bike is tied up on ferries etc (day rides around Arran, Kintyre etc being a weekend staple of mine), and about being able to source parts from smaller LBS in wilds of Scotland. However if anyone would like to contradict that belief I'd be delighted as it would widen my options significantly!

I had test ridden the Synapse and liked it very much but the inability to fit a rack makes it less appealing an option. If I was going for n+1 it would be my +1 though!

About my current bike - agree there are lots of good arguments for keeping and upgrading it but the fit really isn't right as it is a 54 frame. If I had space and a bit more cash I might keep it as a commuting/touring hack and get something fast & fun for weekends but in current circumstances I'd rather just have one bike to store and maintain.

Thanks again for all your help - and any further advice on the disc issue very much welcomed, though I realise it is a topic which can elicit strong feelings ;-)

samsbike
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby samsbike » 9 Nov 2015, 9:17am

To me a do-it-all bike is something you can use in all weathers. If you are very unlikely to ride in bad weather then I would not bother with discs, but I think for commuting etc they are a boon as its one less thing to worry about. I am not sure how you are going to end up bending the discs to have that kind of issue to be honest. They are sought of fit and forget and the key consumable is pads which can be got online.

However, I am struggling with a do it all bike as well, and having tried the approach, mine weighs in at 13kg without a rack and its Ti!

I quite like Jamis bikes which are currently on sale
http://www.evanscycles.com/categories/b ... s/f/jamis#!

I also wonder if its worth chatting to Al at Wheelcraft and see if he can build you something in budget.

Brucey
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby Brucey » 9 Nov 2015, 9:23am

ejt123 wrote: ...Unfortunately both the Genesis and the Giant models linked to have disc brakes, which I think are not so practical for me - I'm worried about them getting bent out if shape too readily when the bike is tied up on ferries etc (day rides around Arran, Kintyre etc being a weekend staple of mine), and about being able to source parts from smaller LBS in wilds of Scotland. However if anyone would like to contradict that belief I'd be delighted as it would widen my options significantly!....


I think you are right to be concerned about discs getting knocked, and similarly I'd be a bit concerned about scrapes and knocks on the frame too. Most people carry spare brake pads for disc brakes when on tour; there are so many different types that no LBS has more than a few in stock. If a disc gets bent enough then you have to remove it (or the caliper) and just have one brake.

'Do it all' bikes are always a compromise of some kind, it Is just case of where you make the compromises really.

My own priorities would be that

a) it fits you
b) it is comfortable
etc

the weight of the bike would be a relatively low priority vs many of the other things. People get obsessed with it but (whilst some lightweight bikes are nice to ride etc) the actual effect on speed is relatively small, and the actual importance of speed when touring is slight.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

markfh
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby markfh » 9 Nov 2015, 9:29am

A few things that you might want to consider:-

i) what gear range do you need, particularly for the touring requirement. Your current bike has, I believe a triple at the front, whereas a lot of bikes tend to come with a double (e.g. 52/39) or compact double (e.g. 50/34 or 48/34). Unless you go for a cassette with much larger rear sprockets this will inherently give you a higher lowest gear than a triple such as a 28/38/48. You may want to consider how frequently you use the smallest chainring at the front on your current bike and whether or not you can sacrifice some of the lower gears - particularly for the touring requirement. There will be a (small) weight penalty for using a triple at the front but it may be a sacrifice you are prepared to make in order to be able to make the bike usable over the widest range of conditions.

ii) What are the largest tyres you may want to run, particularly if you are riding on tracks rather than roads. Quite a lot of bikes have quite limited clearance particularly when fitted with mudguards.

iii) If you are considering bikes with drop handlebars do you want to have a bar bag at the front, some of the less expensive Shimano STI shifters give you "washing lines" where the gear cables come out of the shifters which makes mounting a bar bag a challenge.

iv) Noting your concerns about disc brakes there are two positions where the rear calliper can be mounted either "above" the seat stay of between the seat stay and the chain stay. The latter gives far more options in the choice of a rear rack.

beardy
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby beardy » 9 Nov 2015, 9:41am

No reason why you should not use disc brakes on a do-it-all bike going on an extended or even remote tour. Just make sure the frame and forks have the fittings to allow some more basic brakes to be fitted as a back up measure if the worst happens. Also dual purpose rims on the wheels.

My all rounder would need at least 28mm tyres and mudguards and rack mounts (including front ideally). The Thorn and Dawes Audax bikes once fitted this role very well.
Or you can make the leap to something that can take wider tyres (including studded) such as a Faux CX bike or a light tourer. A Thorn Club Tour is an example of the style of bike that makes a one bike all-rounder, though out of budget for this thread.

iandriver
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Re: Buying advice - the elusive 'do-it-all' bike

Postby iandriver » 9 Nov 2015, 9:59am

I've got a Kinesis 4s and a Kinesis Crosslight.

I'd suggest the 5T one fits your brief better than the 4S or T2 http://www.kinesisbikes.co.uk/Catalogue ... 5T-Caliper

Heel clearance will always be an issue with faster type bikles and large panniers.
Last edited by iandriver on 9 Nov 2015, 10:28am, edited 1 time in total.
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