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Old 11-17-07, 04:27 AM   #1
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New bike advice, please?

Wow, what a huge forum. I have no idea where to post this so I won't mind if a mod moves it to where they think it is appropriate.

Firstly my background and situation:
I'm a male university student, currently living in York, England (a good cycling city). I used to ride my bikes lots when I was younger and then didn't for about 8 years until I came to York. I got a 20 second-hand Raleigh Pioneer which I've had for about 13 months now. During this time its condition has deteriorated considerably and now has a long list of serious problems. By the way, I may not be using accepted terminology here, sorry:

> A hole in the frame at the back where the tyre wore through it
> at least 3 broken spokes at the back
> only about 1/2 the gears are accessable
> only the back brakes work and very very badly
> the chain skips if I apply any real force to the pedals
> the pedal axle is very loose but the bottom bracket is jammed
> oh and no mudguards or rack, which I'd like to have

etc etc
I have made repairs as best I can, many times, but it feels like its over the edge and would need a complete overhaul to get it working, and I just don't have the means to do that.

Now, I mostly have used it for riding around town, maybe 20 miles a week at most. A few times longer rides into the the countryside, which I'd very much like to be able to do more but its very unpleasant on this bike.
Also, and this is important, I'd like to be able to ride between cities, say ~100 mile journeys. Very infrequently, but I'd like to be able to do that with my bike. I was hoping to make a trip from York to Birmingham in about 4-5 weeks time, in fact. That's probably pushing 150 miles, I'm not sure. Its connected continuously by the National Cycle Network, though.

I'm very attached to this bike, and like that I can use a 99p necklace-like chain to lock it up... but I need to face reality and think about getting a new bike. I'm sure the enjoyment I'll get from having a good machine will be worth it, and I'll soon become attached to the new one just the same, haha.

Ok, if you're still with me now then thanks! I'd like to ideally spend around 200, 250 max. That's about $4-500 which probably isn't a lot but I'm not a demanding bike owner so I think it should be fine. Perhaps only UK people can help here, knowing the available models, but basically I have a few local bike shops. Here are their products: <--- "hybrid and trekking" <--- "commuting" <--- not from the shop in the link, but that's another option

And then all sorts from, you guessed it, Halfords...

And also there exists a "bike rescue" operation here, where old bikes are done up and restored to, probably, a very good standard and then sold. But they don't go cheap, really, and you never know what kind of bikes they have ready.

:/ I'm very **** at making decisions, and my prediction is that I won't get another bike until the back wheel on my current one collapses and I have to walk everywhere. That might not be too long, though.

I realise that my daily use vs. occasional long rides, is going to demand quite a compromise on the type of bike. But I've never ridden any "good" bike so I won't feel like I'm missing out.

I'll leave it at that for now, and see what kind of replies I get..

Thanks dudes

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Old 11-17-07, 10:05 AM   #2
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You can get away with just about anything for your short jaunts. For longer distances you'll want a bike that 'fits' well. Two different bicycles at the same price may fit and ride quite differently, and perhaps only one will be right for you. Of course you can modify the fit somewhat, at additional cost.

For both touring and commuting I like to have both fenders (you may call them mudguards) and a rack. And I like the comfortable ride I get from a more relaxed frame geometry. For this reason, I might start my search with the commuter models rather than the hybrids, which are typically designed to be more 'sporty'.

Among the bicycles you've listed, I'd probably test ride the Trek T30 first. Bear in mind that I have no personal experience with any of these models, just a general sense of what works for me for these types of rides.

Don't forget to add to your budget the biggest, baddest lock you can carry.
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Old 11-17-07, 10:49 AM   #3
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All bikes will need upkeep and repairs at some time. You can get a fairly decent bike for the money you want to spend so I suggest you also get with the new bike, a good repair manual.

Good luck!
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Old 11-17-07, 11:16 AM   #4
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If I were you, I would choose a bike that has the mudguards and rack on it already. Otherwise, those (and a good lock) could put you over your budget. I don't know about the Ridgeback, though. If you can only buy it online, then you can't test it out first. I would save that one as a last resort if you really can't find anything you like. If you try out a few bikes in shops first, you'll get a much better idea of what size you need anyway.
Here's what I would do: go to both of the shops and test ride the two bikes with the racks/mudguards (the Trek T30 and the Raleigh Pioneer Metro - maybe there were others, but I missed them). If one of them feels great, then buy it. Trek and Raleigh are both decent brands. You also might want to make it clear that you have a bike from another shop in mind while you're in the shops. In order to get your business, the shop might cut you a deal. If neither of the bikes feels good, then maybe look around for some other shops in your area and see what they have. Being indecisive can be a good thing. If you're patient enough to wait until you find the best bike for you, you're going to be happier!
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Old 11-17-07, 12:23 PM   #5
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Sounds like you will mostly be using it for commuting, so I recommend an old 3 spd., which England is famous for. Its is virtually maintenance free, it has fenders and a chain guard so you can ride it with whatever you are wearing (open chainguard bikes get oil all over you pants leg) and stay relatively clean and dry and you can even use it for some countryside cruising.
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Old 11-17-07, 03:17 PM   #6
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University and on Campus!! Anything that looks rough or has 3 Kryptonite D Locks and cables on it.

Best thing to do is put an advert in a local paper- "Wanted cheap bike For impoverished student." Mate did this a few years ago and finished up with being offered 6 bikes that were not worth riding- 2 that he was given- just to get it out of the shed and a couple of top name bikes very cheap that had not been ridden for a couple of years. That was along with the cra**y Halfords bikes that he decided not to even look at. (Don't like Halfords in any way, shape or form)
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Old 11-18-07, 05:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies, dudes.

> jnb-rare, a good lock, yea. Haha my current one is so funny, anyone could snap it just by pulling the bike away from the rack.

> knotty, yea I wan to improve my bike repair/maintainance skills. I've volunteered to help at that "bike rescue" place (its supposedly non-profit... but I'm not sure if that's true)

> madfiNch - yea I'll have to go and try them out. The thing is, unless I ride them like for 30 mins or something I don't know how useful test rides can be. I'll see what I can find out.

> San Rensho - I don't particularly want 38 gears or whatever, I'd be just fine with a handful (over a wide range, ideally), but its really hard to find a bike without at leas 18 or 21 gears so its hard to find an alternative unless you're really into the scene and stuff, perhaps.

> Stapfam - as my city is very big on cycling, there is a busy second-hand bike trade and I keep an eye on adverts and things. If something comes up then I'll look into it, for sure.

Thanks dudes. My back wheel is becoming increasingly bent, haha. I wonder when it will collapse? So basically I'm bound by two times - firstly when my current bike breaks completely, at that point I will become much more motivated to decide on a new one. And secondly, how I'd like to make that long inter-city ride in 4 weeks time...

Thanks dudes

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Old 11-19-07, 12:32 PM   #8
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Has anyone heard of the "probike" brand? For example,

I saw them in a local shop once...
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Old 11-19-07, 08:31 PM   #9
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If I lived over there, I'd be riding a Pashley Roadster Classic, which also sounds like a decent fit for your uses.

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