Print Story Attn Bike people
By anonimouse (Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 09:20:25 AM EST) (all tags)
 I'm thinking of buying a bike -advice needed

 I'm 5'11" with fairly short inside leg - eBay suggests s 56-58cm frame but don't know if I should downsize slighty.

Although I could spend a lot of money on this, I think it would be a waste, so I don't mind picking up a secondhand bike up to say £500.

Bike would essentially be used for commuting in London. Journey time about 1 to 1.5 hours. I can shower each end of the journey, so getting slightly sweaty is fine providing I still have energy at each end of the journey. I've found from cycling Boris bikes my cycling speed would be best described as "high average", but get blown away by anyone in reasonably good condition or on a much better bike.

Luggage would be one backpack, which from experience would be better in some sort of carrier.

Current thinking is a road/hybrid bike of some sort with 15-20 gears

Thoughts? Recommended bike manufacturers/ types.

I think I'll pass on this one in my local bike shop though:

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Attn Bike people | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden)
(Comment Deleted) by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 10:30:16 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by jump the ladder

I'm looking for a commuter bike too by miker2 (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 11:16:18 AM EST
Been looking at Surly bikes, namely the cross-check and long-haul trucker.  Steel frames, plenty of mount points for racks/fenders/lights/etc.  A bit above your price point and not sure what their retail presence is in the UK. 

Ah, sociopathy. How warm, how comforting, thy sweet embrace. - MNS
I've got a Surly 1×1 by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 06:09:16 PM EST
They're not that common in the UK, but I see others, and one of my oldest friends coincidentally bought one at the same time, so,…

[ Parent ]
Don't know what name they sell under over there by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 11:24:25 AM EST
But I've been really happy with my Trek 7.2. It's a "hybrid" or "commuter" type bike. I have a rack on the back for carrying stuff, and Please Don't Hit Me lights.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

I have that one too by miserere (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Aug 24, 2018 at 02:38:31 PM EST
At least I'm pretty sure it's the 7.2 - something similar, at least.

The advice I got when I got ready to buy a bike was to go to the local bike shop and try several things until something felt right. It was excellent advice, for both of my bikes (the commuter and the road bike).

[ Parent ]
What do you weigh and how flexible are you? by marvin (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 02:31:23 AM EST
Somehow, I don't expect that you're going to be looking for an aggressive handlebar setup. If your BMI is over 35, you might be better off with a hybrid or commuter setup, because your gut could be in the way on a road bike. Won't know until you try one out of course. I prefer wider tires for commuting, 35mm wide or more. Lower pressures, comfier ride.

An hour to 90 minutes each way is a very long commute - I've been bike commuting again for the past 3-4 years now, and with ~4500km so far in 2018, I'd be hesitant to take on 90 minutes each way, every day of the week. Even an hour each way would be a big jump and take a lot out of me. Unless you spend a lot of time sitting at traffic signals or ride very slowly, that's somewhere around 30km.

My 11km commute is a 41 minute ride according to Google Maps. It normally takes around 25 minutes, and my record is 22 minutes. I assume that I can beat the bike travel time in Google maps by around 25-40%. The difference in perceived effort between riding my commute in 24 minutes compared to 30 minutes is immense, since wind resistance is exponential with speed. Travelling at 20 km/h is pretty relaxing.

Make sure you budget for accessories such as fenders (rainguards? mudguards? dunno what you call them), rack, front and rear lighting, repair kit (tube, multitool, patch kit, tire levers), etc. I wear a helmet, cheap clear safety glasses (keeps bugs and rain out), full finger gloves, and cycling-specific clothing because it is more comfortable to ride in. There is a cycle to work scheme in the UK, but I have no idea how it works, especially if you're still a contractor. You'll need to focus more on raingear.

Generally, the higher quality component groupsets have more speeds (10-11 speed) and cost more money. They are also more attractive theft targets. Disc brakes are nice for braking in the wet, but are more expensive to buy and maintain, and are an absolute pain in the ass if you get any oil or grease on the braking surface. I'd put disc on any new commuter, but get along just fine with regular rim brakes on my current commuter bikes. Snow and slush can get ugly with rim brakes.

Used bikes are going to be difficult since you might not know the difference between a good value and something that looks pretty but has a ton of deferred maintenance and costly wear. Paying a shop for a new drivetrain and complete overhaul can cost more than the difference between a used and new bike.

Looking at what Evans Cycle carries, you're not going to go wrong with a Cannondale, Specialized, Trek, Kona, Giant, Marin, or Norco. There are a lot of other good brands although many start to get pricier such as Surly, All-City, Salsa, etc. Most GT bikes are decent as well, as are newer Raleighs in North America (the Raleigh model names differ in the UK, so not sure if they're coming from the same factory). I don't know much about brands like Pinnacle, Cube, Claud Butler or Dawes - some are likely house brands or Euro/UK only.

Bike fit and contact points matter more than anything else - handlebars (multiple hand positions, and at the right distance from the saddle to ensure that you're not putting all of your weight on your hands) and saddle (firm, supportive, wide enough, big cutout if you like the idea of being able to enjoy sex in the future). Getting the correct seat height (easily adjustable within reason) and reach (not so easy) are probably the two most critical things.

Commute by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #7 Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 04:23:36 AM EST
 Journey time is a Google hour (10 miles/16km), but will change as I do 3-6 month contracts.  Like you said  I can almost certainly beat Google timing.

The reason I do it is because the rail trip to get there is convoluted and cycling only adds about 15-20 mins onto the journey. I can cycle 60-90 mins without any problem as London is not terribly hilly and cycling speeds aren't high due to the stop go nature of going through London. I'm overweight but I've never had a problem with long duration exercise as opposed to short frenzied exercise. I used to walk 20 miles a day at weekends without even thinking about it.

Budget is not a huge problem at the moment. I could technically afford the bike I posted above and it would not be a months net salary, but I want something that won't have me terribly upset if it gets damaged/ stolen.

Thanks for all the other advice

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
agree with most by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 07:50:49 AM EST
apart from width of tires. If the surface of the ride is continuous and hard, I would go for narrow tires and high pressure. Reduces rolling resistance. Going from 30-40mm to 23 mm at middle pressure (for both widths) would usually mean halving the rolling resistance.
That is calories/wattage used for speed rather than friction.
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
Old school thinking by marvin (4.00 / 2) #9 Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 10:15:12 AM EST
More recent studies have demonstrated that harder skinny tires waste energy through increased rider fatigue from vibration which causes wasteful translation of horizontal energy into vertical movement of the bike and rider.

In recent years,the Tour has moved from 18mm-22mm range to 25-28mm depending on the stage.

The best wind resistance with an aero rim is somewhere around 25mm as well since a skinny tire is less aero with deeper rim sections. Go look at the Cannondale System Six which has an effective tire width of 26mm, achieved by putting a 23mm on a wider rim. That's a combo which was optimized by wind tunnel and rolling resistance testing, and is one of the fastest production road bikes in the world (non-TT).

There are other factors such as tire construction that come into play as well. Even if your claim about doubling resistance were universally true, that would only be the case on a perfectly smooth surface.  The lowest rolling resistance race tires wear out after 1000km and are fragile compared to what you need to use in glass-strewn streets. Skinny, high pressure tires impose a number of real world trade-offs which negate theoretical rolling resistance.

From your bicycle rolling resistance link, go read their comparison of three identically built tires. 28mm wiped the floor with its skinnier brethren.

The 23mm at a bone-rattling 120 psi (necessary if over 200lb weight to avoid pinch flats) is 12.5 watts. The 28mm at a comfy 80psi is 12.7 watts.

My favourite tire, a Schwalbe Marathon with a heavy puncture protection belt uses 21.3 watts at 37mm and 60psi. For a smoother, more compliant and comfier ride on a 47mm tire at 45psi, you're only up to 25.4 watts. While that is double the Conti 23mm, the tread thickness on the Marathon is 7.5mm.

Your biggest losses when cycling are to air resistance. For commuting, any negligible differences in power loss for an equivalent tire are worth the increased comfort. There is no reason to go less than 28mm today, and depending on your road surface and desire for comfort, 37mm or wider will be worth any tradeoff.

And to put paid to your argument, the closest ultra wide tire to the Conti GP4000 is this:

2.35 inches is 60mm. A mere 13.6 watts at 35psi which lets you roll over everything. One watt different from a 23mm race tire which will shake your fillings out of your mouth, while almost three times widerand one-third the pressure. It's less aero, so slower than a 28mm, but that's air resistance, not rolling resistance.

Here's a nice albeit long story about the trade-offs in comfort, durability, aerodynamics, and rolling resistance in Paris Roubaix, where more width and lower pressures win the race over brutal cobbles. 28-30mm is the norm today:

[ Parent ]
Very interesting by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Aug 28, 2018 at 08:17:44 AM EST
You should write an article on bikes to replace the dated stuff on the Husi front page   

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
28 is the new 23 by lm (4.00 / 1) #10 Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 03:29:19 PM EST
Almost every major bike team/manufacturer is switching to 25s or 28s for the reasons that marvin highlighted above.

And, depending on your rim, the difference between a 25 and 28 might be negligible with regards to your contact patch. The measurement is from one bead on the tire to the other. How that gets formed into a contact patch depends on how wide your rim is and what pressure you're riding.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
One advantage to buying at a bike shop is fit by lm (4.00 / 2) #11 Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 03:37:16 PM EST
A bike shop will give you a chance to ride a lot of different bikes and - hopefully - have someone on staff that can do a basic fit.

An alternative approach would be to just start with a fitter who will guide you towards makes/models that will fit you the best.

If you know what you want and you know what size to get, you'll get a much better bike for your money if you buy used.

For a commuter, I'd look at something with a steel frame and a wheel set designed for tires at least 28 mm wide, maybe wider if you're going to ride in inclement weather.

Steel is more forgiving. But a good wheel set is actually about as important for comfort. A lot of old aluminum and carbon bikes seem bone jarring not because of their frames per se but because of their wheel set.

If you're going to spend money past the minimum look at wheel set upgrades first. When I went from the stock Kenda wheels on my old commuter to a pair of Mavic Ksyriums, it was like it turned into a whole new bike.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Bike clothes by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 04:35:10 PM EST
London might be a bit chilly for this outfit.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

A bit slow and overdressed by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #15 Mon Aug 27, 2018 at 12:04:16 AM EST
Compared to this guy.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
nice suspenders! -nt- by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #24 Tue Aug 28, 2018 at 09:31:48 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Fuck’s sake what’s wrong with you by Dr Thrustgood (3.50 / 4) #13 Sat Aug 25, 2018 at 07:07:46 PM EST
Any advice I’d give you would be joyously typed out knowing I’d directly contributed to making you uncomfortable each and every day.

Pay the 10% local bike shop tax like a normal human being and be done with it.

There there, snowflake n/t by Dr Thrustgood (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Aug 29, 2018 at 11:42:06 AM EST

[ Parent ]
For a cheapish commuter by Herring (4.00 / 2) #14 Sun Aug 26, 2018 at 04:27:10 PM EST
Decathlon's B'Twin range have a good rep. Their big store is Surrey Quays.

Whilst being fond of the road bike myself, I can see that a hybrid might be practical in traffic, particularly in That London where you've got no idea what some twat is likely to do in front of you.

If you want to join the bellend community, then fixed gear with garish colours (especially on the rims) is the way to go. Note: requires beard.

(My commuter bike is drop bars and fixed gear but has two brakes and mudguards)

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Oh and by Herring (4.00 / 1) #18 Mon Aug 27, 2018 at 10:34:41 AM EST
You're right about carrying luggage on the bike rather than on your back. It is much better.

If you check out the Specialized at the top of this article you can spot the screws on the seatstays that'll let you fit a rack. You aren't going to find these fittings on a carbon frame. Panniers tend to attach with hooks and elastic so very easy to remove.

I know it's all about the disc brakes these days, but as you say London is pretty flat and with rim brakes you can see how worn they are rather than being surprised by suddenly having no brakes and having to faff around.

I know a couple of people with custom made titanium Enigmas. If you wanted to splash out several thousand quid for a comfy bike then that would be the way to go. Yes, I am thinking about it.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Disc brakes may be overrated by lm (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Aug 27, 2018 at 06:25:29 PM EST
If I had read this article before buying my new commuter, I may not have bought a new commuter:

Assuming the Frankenbike could take hydraulic brakes, I just would have upgraded the brakes and bought fenders.

That said, I'm pretty pleased with my in-the-rain stopping power on my year old commuter with disc brakes.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Decathlon for the win by Merekat (4.00 / 3) #19 Mon Aug 27, 2018 at 01:54:13 PM EST
If you really don’t want to commit to a sport but nor do you want utter shite, they really hit the sweet spot. Plus won‘t be nicked as much.

[ Parent ]
I'm not going near fixed gear by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Aug 28, 2018 at 08:19:26 AM EST
I want to be able to cover most territory at a good speed without screwing my knees up. 

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
I know guys in their 70s and 80s by Herring (2.00 / 0) #25 Tue Aug 28, 2018 at 12:19:34 PM EST
who ride fixed all winter "for conditioning".

Learning to spin really fucking fast is actually quite useful. Taking my best speed on my commuter (downhill) I would've been doing 180rpm - so 6 pedal strokes per second.

The important thing I have learned from riding fixed: no matter how short the journey, unless there's no downhill at all, do not wear loose underwear.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
A Vincent Black Shadow would be overkill by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Aug 27, 2018 at 09:50:25 AM EST
maybe a Royal Enfield? They may be made in India, but the design came from Redditch.

Energy comes from a can (of lithium) by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #17 Mon Aug 27, 2018 at 10:12:15 AM EST
It was put there by a man/
With electricity, downtown

(with apologies to the Presidents of the USA)

But I'd say that unless you're feeling pretty hardcore about it, you'd get a lot more out of having an electric bike, and be much less likely to abandon it after a few months or stop riding it in every day.

I have one, and it's great, and I've never got disrespect for it.

It looks like there's some good ones around £2k from the usual suspects. Giant are especially big on them.

Strangely enough by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Aug 27, 2018 at 02:55:07 PM EST
I was in Leisure Lakes Bikes at the weekend, because for some strange reason they have a store near me, which seem to address the more serious/ high end of the market.

I have been riding the Santander (Boris) bikes all through summer, and I figure if I can do 15 miles a day on them I shouldn't have any problem on a normal bike.  I did see some electric mountain bikes that looked like you could have an electric bike you could take almost anywhere, but I've decided against it as I want a bike cheap enough to abandon in a bike rack without worrying about it getting stolen.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
Attn Bike people | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden)