Bike recommendations

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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,217
246
Devon
I currently ride an old mountain bike that I've tweeked for the road (mud guards, narrower and lightly treaded tyres etc). It's ok but I'm looking for something more suitable for the road. I don't want a out and out racing bike as the roads around here are muddy, gritty, potholey etc.

So, I guess I'm after a touring bike? I don't really know much about them or the sort of models I should be looking for. Initially I'd like to try a 2nd hand bike to see how I get on before thinking about a new one. I've also ruled out an electric bike as I can manage to get around ok apart from a couple of hills so the extra money would be wasted.

So, any recommendations of what names and models to look out for?

One problem I do have on my mtb is the gearing, although it has 21 gears I could do with them spaced further apart, a lower low and higher top. I don't know if a touring bike will be better in that respect?
 

Potatohead

Full Member
Jul 1, 2020
92
37
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Buckingham
Firstly youll be pleased to know that most bikes now have a minimum 10 cog rear cluster.
Sounds like a 32-12, 10 or 11 speed on the back might suit you ratio wise. With probably a 2x upfront.

Whats your budget? That's the big decider to narrow it down.

A "gravel" bike might be good.
Its kind of between a roadie and a hybrid/tourer.
 
Mar 6, 2020
321
206
Hemel Hempstead
I was thinking gravel bike or maybe cuclecross, they all come with a 32. Canyon and Rose have some good value bikes. Be sure to get one with mud gaurd fixings, that is so not standard.
 

pieinthesky

Forager
Jun 29, 2014
116
23
Northants
Gravel bikes are all the rage at the moment and would pretty much fit your requirements - except possibly the gearing.
They mostly have double or single chainrings which may not give you the low gears - though you can get some monster rear cassettes these days. Bear in mind that they probably have bigger wheels than your old MTB which ups the gearing.

Unless you can find a Gravel bike that has the low gears you need, you might be better with a touring bike as they will probably have a triple chainset and much more scope to swap out cassettes and chainrings to get what you want. There are plenty of good quality and good value parts available to do this from places like Spa Cycles. It wouldnt be difficult or expensive to change the gearing on your current bike.

On my touring bike (26" mountain bike wheels) I run a 24/38/46 triple chainset with an 11 - 23 cassette and I find this is enough for touring fully loaded. With bigger wheels an 11-26 or 11- 28 would be plenty for most people. My light weight road bikes have modern compact doubles and are OK for what I use them for but they do not go low enough for a touring bike.

Best to work out what gear range you need and go from there.
 
Mar 6, 2020
321
206
Hemel Hempstead
Google just popped this in my feed, not right for me, but maybe for you

 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,217
246
Devon
Thanks for the replies. I think they show how little I know about modern bikes - I'd not heard of gravel bikes until yesterday on a different forum.

Looking at them I don't think they offer much over my old MTB. Looking at the touring bikes they seem more suitable, I also want to carry panniers.

The prices of new bikes also confirms my idea of trying to pick something up 2nd hand to see how I get on would be wise.

At least I recognise a few names form the list Allison has posted up, thanks. Dawes, Specialized, Ridgeback etc.
 

moocher

Full Member
Mar 26, 2006
533
50
46
Dorset
Dawes kalahari? Tourer with 700c wheels you could gravel tyres on it but without the gravel bike price tag.
I bought one for £120, then bought stem adaptor, mtb stem and set of trekking bars.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,217
246
Devon
Yes, something like the Dawes seems the best bet and that's the sort of price as well. Dawes was the first name on my list.

I'm hoping when things calm down more 2nd hand bikes will be up for sale.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,909
827
Lancashire
Look at Spa cycles. It might be more audax bike that's more suitable if I read your original post right. Road use, but more speed, good gear range and capable of taking oannier rack. There's endurance road bikes which have better comfort fir longer rides over UK roads.

I'd avoid gravel bike as the only way to get granny gears and top end gears too is really with a gravel. Spa cycles tourers can be built up with the gearing you need. They'll give you what you think you need tempered by their serious level of bike knowledge. However their audax bikes can be used as light tourers but might be better. Out and our touring bikes are designed to ride best when fully loaded. A few are not as good unloaded. Reports I've read about surly long haul trucker put it in that category.

I like genesis bikes. Tour de fer is a great tourer, not as wide gearing as spa tourer. They do croix de fer and CdA which are reasonable. The CdF is an old design now but it's the bike that one guy blew away the round the world cycling record on a decade ago that spawned a flurry of such fast and light attempts. CX derived bikes and early gravel bike if you like.

Be honest about what cycling you really do not what you do then speak to Spa cycles or good bike shops like Wheelbase in Staveley and other places. That last one offers genuine interest free bike loan deals. They'll do loans over up to 36 months on any bike including discount and clearance bikes. Simply divide total cost by number of months with a different last payment. Simple and no tricks. It is a loan though. A good bike shop with a wide range of bike types will be able to suggest a good option. Or they would be honest enough to tell you what you need and admit they haven't got it.

Back to Spa cycles again. They will build to your needs which includes swapping out chainrings and cassette. They sell their own range of chainrings too so can supply unusual options shall we say. Certainly their tourer offers the widest gear range as standard I've ever seen. But a tourer might simply not be right for you. It might be too dead because you aren't using it for touring with a load. If that's true that sportive or audax bike might be better.
 
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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,217
246
Devon
Thanks Paul, yes audax bikes look ideal (I've never heard of them). Something more to look at and work out what might be best.

One of the reasons for going 2nd hand to start with is I'm not sure exactly what I want. For example, I had assumed an electric bike would get me out more but I've realised it'll not really extend my range as there's only a couple of short, steep hills I can't manage on the old mtb.
 

pieinthesky

Forager
Jun 29, 2014
116
23
Northants
If you are not actually going to do any loaded touring then an Audax bike would be a very good choice.

My Audax bike does all sorts - family rides on traffic free trails (OK) Club Rides (OK in the winter, a bit slow in summer when everyone else is on carbon) Long distance/day rides (perfect) Hilly rides (perfect) Touring with rear panniers (OK but can shimmy on a fast downhill) wet weather rides (perfect) Night riding to the pub (perfect even though I have fallen off on the way home)

I do have a touring bike too but the only riding it is better at is fully loaded touring. Its extra weight and stiffness count against it the rest of the time.

There's some nice Audax bikes on E bay at the moment though I personally would avoid Thorn frames - had a bad experience.
 

moocher

Full Member
Mar 26, 2006
533
50
46
Dorset
Yes, something like the Dawes seems the best bet and that's the sort of price as well. Dawes was the first name on my list.

I'm hoping when things calm down more 2nd hand bikes will be up for sale.
Not a good pic but I had the stem already, about £30 in parts so £150 all in, could swap the bars for mtb ones as well.
 

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,909
827
Lancashire
Spa cycles do clearance and ex demo bikes from time to time at cheaper prices.

I don't know where you live but if you're in Skipton there's a small bike shop round the corner from that big carpark which sells a lot of secondhand bikes. If you're local might be worth a check.

September is typically when bigger stores start clearing out current year models before New season bikes come out. Sometimes you can get very good deals. I know my nearby bike shop called wheelbase do some really good deals about then with interest free credit too.

I do think it worthwhile trying a few options out if you can. I think they now call it endurance road bikes, these are road bikes with a bit more comfort but still nippy and handle nice. Some have fatter tyres than normal road bikes perhaps up to 32mm so better able to handle British potholes. All major brands do them and because they're popular you'll probably see more being sold secondhand. I doubt I need to tell you to take care and don't buy anything that feels dodgy. You might get a good deal but you could be rewarding a bike thief? As someone who's had a bike stolen if it looks an unbelievable bargain... Gumtree has had a bad rep for sales sight of choice for scrotes selling online instead of down the pub for a fix.
 

JB101

Member
Feb 18, 2020
16
9
Watford
Alternatively look out for another 2nd hand mountain bike (ideally with disc brakes as they save on wear on the rims and are more efficient/effective - I personally go for cable operated disc brakes such as Avid or TPS as more field fixable ) and rack mounts and then customize it to your own requirements.
Slicks or semi slicks give lower rolling resistance and are my preferred tyres for road use (schwalbe city jet) with some off road track use as well.
That way you'll learn more about the bike as well as maintenance skills.There are quite a few videos on the web on this sort of thing ,also search 'bike packing' for info as well.
E bikes are great but IMHO still to expensive.
ATB
James
 
Mar 6, 2020
321
206
Hemel Hempstead
This just popped up on bike radar. It has all the comfort fittings you wouldn't normally want on a road bike and takes some pretty wide tyres. Surprisingly affordable too. Cable routing is shocking though.

 

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