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Confused 🤷 Which bike...?

Old 10-17-22, 10:42 AM
  #1  
Deester
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Confused 🤷 Which bike...?

Hi all, 😊

Decided to come to where the knowledge is rather than flounder around in the dark as to which might be the best bike to buy for my circumstances.

Hope it's ok to pick your collective brains..! 😀
I've not ridden for years (and years) but always loved cycling when I was younger - the main reason for giving up was finding time and finding no cycle seat that didn't cause me PAIN! 😩

I've put on a bit of heft the past few years, so want to get fit and lose flab whilst exercising my dog - if I can train her to not be a goofball at the side of me.

Think I'd mainly stick to roads to begin with but want to do a few woodland paths once I'm fitter.

I've been offered a Pashley Britannia that's in very good nick for £300 - which is a bit more than I wanted to pay and also not sure how versatile it would be.

Then locally I've seen a few mountain bikes that I'm not sure would work out, for example,
Specialized MTB £250
Carrera Vengeance £210
Trek hardtail £265
GT Avalanche £265
Cube 29er £250
Are these reasonable prices, they all look in good condition judging from online photos.

I just haven't got a clue and really don't want to buy something that ends up gathering dust in the garage until it's sold on again.

Any advice or suggestions very gratefully received! 😀
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Old 10-17-22, 12:27 PM
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You will never get fit walking your dog. Dogs max out after a couple or a few miles running, and mostly they run side-to-side following scents.

If you want to ride a bike for exercise, and you want a bike which will not end up sitting unused .... buy a cheap single-speed. $100 brand new, and so simple that there really cannot be much wrong with it. Then go out and ride. If you don't like riding, sell the $100 (or what £70??) bike for half price. No great loss.

Once you figure out if you really want to ride, you can start looking for a proper road bike.
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Old 10-17-22, 01:22 PM
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I've been there before using a cheap bike, it's never felt like fun..always uncomfortable and a struggle.
Was hoping that a little better quality bike might make it feel more comfortable and therefore more fun. There's nothing worse than joints being jarred on every bump and divot and saddle causing a very sore derriere!

I also don't want to waste any more money so something that will last a while and be reasonably reliable is what I was thinking. Is this an error in my thought process..?

I take on board about the dog making things a bit more difficult but I wouldn't take her out every day in the bike - just here and there to give her a change. 😊

I'd be really grateful if anyone could give me specific advice on any of the bikes mentioned - just want to make a good choice.

Last edited by Deester; 10-17-22 at 01:25 PM. Reason: To add an extra question
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Old 10-17-22, 02:57 PM
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Sorry,I am not looking up specs. Get something with fairly upright sitting and wide tires. Go to a bike shop and ride some bikes. Go somewhere and ride some bikes. You won't know what you like until you try it out. You don't have to buy new, but you do need to get on enough different bikes to know what you want and why.
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Old 10-17-22, 06:18 PM
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It's very difficult to offer an opinion on the the bikes you listed. They may appear in good condition, but no way to tell for sure without a bike shop or someone with experience looking at them. Do you know what size you need and do any of those bikes match it? My most versatile bike is a 1995 Specialized Rockhopper I purchased for $50. Shimano replaced the group set, chain, and front derailleur under a recall for defective cranks. I replaced the 2.125 knobby MTB tires with 1.75 Schwalbe Land Cruisers that run smooth on pavement but give me the option of dirt roads and gravel. So when you list a Specialized MTB, I don't know the model, the components, the age, or how recently it was maintained or if at all. Trek is a good brand, but a "hardtail" could be any one of several models.

Is there a bike coop in your area that might have used bikes or be able to check out one before you buy? Bike shops with a selection?

Sorry I can't be of more help. I agree that a cheap single speed big box bike might discourage you from continuing to ride. Hopefully you can find something that will encourage you.
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Old 10-17-22, 06:36 PM
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So where will you be riding?

My biggest mistake was buying a heavier bike with suspension when I really didn’t need it. This consumed watts from the additional weight, wider tires & energy lost white the action of the suspension itself.
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Old 10-17-22, 06:57 PM
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I too won't offer advice on any of the bikes you mentioned simply because you didn't enjoy a cheap (70lb) bike. I enjoy any bike I can get on whenever I can get on it. You could spend lots more and your attitude about riding will still be the same. A bike is a bike. And an excuse will always be just that, an excuse. Go walk your dog, he's begging at the door. Good luck
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Old 10-17-22, 10:10 PM
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Diet Before Exercise

I recommend that you examine the number, type and timing of your hourly, daily and weekly calorie intake. Write everything down. Everything.

Then assess the patterns against well-established nutrition plans. Look to completely eliminate refined sugars, HFCS and its euphomized step siblings, processed foods, and non-nutritive calorie-laden drinks. How much can you cut?

Next, begin to ratchet up your physical activity. Walking, stretching, light strengthening work using body weight, these types of things.

Give it 60 days for habt patterns to emerge. Then consider something like bikram yoga to strengthen and stabilize your core.

Oh, and any of those bikes would be okay if: well maintained and adjusted and correctly fitted yo your body.

Good luck.
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Old 10-18-22, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
Sorry,I am not looking up specs. Get something with fairly upright sitting and wide tires. Go to a bike shop and ride some bikes. Go somewhere and ride some bikes. You won't know what you like until you try it out. You don't have to buy new, but you do need to get on enough different bikes to know what you want and why.
I think I didn't explain myself very well, I wasn't wanting a detail rundown of each bike with specs etc, just a general push..like maybe the Cube bike wouldn't suit road and woodland, that kind of thing.
I get what your saying about go sit on some bikes and think that is likely what I'll do now. All the bikes listed bar the Pashley were being sold by the same person so I could try them all out I guess if the seller is willing.
Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-18-22, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
So where will you be riding?

My biggest mistake was buying a heavier bike with suspension when I really didnít need it. This consumed watts from the additional weight, wider tires & energy lost white the action of the suspension itself.
Mainly roads but would like to do some woodland trails (not high speed jumps!) 😀 Just low to moderate speeds on gentle inclines.
Your experience with buying the wrong bike is exactly why I came here to ask as I guessed others might have gained knowledge via trial and error.
I wish I had the experience to understand what's best myself but I don't and as I work but also look after my mum coping with dementia I just wanted something for myself to feel a bit of fun to lighten the load a bit and get fitter into the bargain. 😊
Thanks for your reply, appreciate it.
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Old 10-18-22, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SpedFast View Post
I too won't offer advice on any of the bikes you mentioned simply because you didn't enjoy a cheap (70lb) bike. I enjoy any bike I can get on whenever I can get on it. You could spend lots more and your attitude about riding will still be the same. A bike is a bike. And an excuse will always be just that, an excuse. Go walk your dog, he's begging at the door. Good luck
I'm not making excuses. I'm looking for advice before I buy. If a 'bike is a bike' why do people pay thousands of pounds for one? That suggests that a 'bike is a bike' isn't quite true and also that certain bikes are suited to different uses and you pay accordingly for what meets the need best.
My dog is walked every day - she doesn't need to beg at the door. Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-18-22, 03:38 AM
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Looking at the bikes, and knowing Specialized bikes fairly well, the Pashley would be my choice. Sure, it costs more, but in the long run will serve you best and likely require less maintenance which is a good thing for someone really not into riding bikes all that much.

If you simply cannot for any reason at all make an exception to the financial budget, then get the lowest cost bike on your list and go for it.
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Old 10-18-22, 03:47 AM
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Your First Bike is Learning Bike.
Loosing weight is all about what you eat.
When I Rode this I gained 2 LBS.
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Old 10-18-22, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Deester View Post
Mainly roads but would like to do some woodland trails (not high speed jumps!) 😀 Just low to moderate speeds on gentle inclines.
Your experience with buying the wrong bike is exactly why I came here to ask as I guessed others might have gained knowledge via trial and error.
I wish I had the experience to understand what's best myself but I don't and as I work but also look after my mum coping with dementia I just wanted something for myself to feel a bit of fun to lighten the load a bit and get fitter into the bargain. 😊
Thanks for your reply, appreciate it.
IMHO , perhaps you may wish to look to some fitness type of bikes with capabilities of handling 35-40mm tires. Tires, tire pressure and your limbs will handle any shock absorbing you will need there. Fitness/hybrid types of bikes honestly seem to be have the bigger bang for the buck compared to like a drop bar bike/ suspension bike with a compatible quality group set for every day riding.
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Old 10-18-22, 08:38 AM
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@Deester ....


People here really want to help, and we all love bikes and riding bikes, and if we can help others find a similar love, we are all eager to do that.

We are all also experienced enough to not want to give bad advice.

For instance, mostly roads and some trails .... but you don't want a heavy bike, and you also don't want a bike which hurts your buttocks.

So you want a Cadillac limousine which is also a great 4wd SUV but you want it to ride like a Cadillac both on and off-road? Impossible for cars or bikes.

A lot of people might suggest a wide-tired gravel bike or a comfort/fitness bike .... but the gravel bike would hurt your seat and the fitness bike wouldn't handle much off-road.

A bike with front suspension won't save your buttocks because the impacts will be coming from the rear wheel (unsuspended) and since you don't ride, your legs won't be able to absorb the shock for long and your buttocks will hurt. A full-suspension bike will either cost a lot or be a heavy piece of crap ... not much middle ground---and it will be inefficient on the road because you will spend a quarter or a third of your energy compressing the suspension on each pedal stroke.

In fact, even a comfort bike with 2.25 balloon tires and a sprung seat will hurt after a while because your legs, not your buttocks, are supposed to be holding you up .... but until you regularly cycle a good deal, your legs won't have the strength. However, if you choose to just tool around the neighborhood on a comfort bike (a lot of the other old folk in my neighborhood do this) you will have a great cycling experience---out of doors, watching the colors change as the sun rises or sets, feeling the breeze and seeing the trees, soaking up sun and inhaling fresh air .... but you won't burn calories.

What I find is that I naturally eat to replace---my body feels hungry until I eat enough to replace what i burned---this (homeostasis) is really healthy ... unless you are really unhealthy like me (morbidly obese.) I find that no amount of riding causes weight loss .... less eating does. What @Phil_gretz says about tracking food and doing daily exercise is really correct. As many here have heard, "You cannot exercise your way past a bad diet."

If you really want to ride to lose weight, you are going to have to accept sore muscles, cramps, general fatigue .... not severe, but as you probably already know, after the first several days a new exercise program can be draining ... the initial enthusiasm wanes and the results don't show up for a while. And sorry, using muscles you don't use, to the extent that they grow stronger, means soreness. Nothing extreme, but yeah, your thighs will ache and your buttocks will feel bruised, your palms and shoulders and possibly upper back and neck, and very much the lower back for most people (weak core muscles) will be talking to you all day long for the first several weeks. No easy way around it. if you want to build and tone muscle you have to use it past its comfortable range of exertion. That is what stimulates the growth of new, better muscle tissue.

As for the bikes .... yeah ... whatever. Either you like to ride or you don't. And while you might not know this, if you stick with it you will understand in time---You have No Clue what you want or need.

You think there is some magical bike which will make you fit without you having to ride much? You think there is a bike which will build muscle without breaking down muscle first? Of course you don't ... but that is actually what you are looking for.

You don't want a heavy bike---well, no one does, really. But for exercise a heavy bike is arguably better for a beginner .... when I was getting ready for a cross-country tour, I sometimes loaded my bike with 50 pounds of water (gallon jugs in panniers) for the same reason that when we lift weights, we sometimes lift heavier weight.

Anyway, the more comfort, the more weight .... a typical comfort/fitness bike runs 35-45 pounds .... what I would call a very heavy bike. Big wheels and tires and low-tech frames, comfy seats, it all adds up.

To get the same level of plushness with half the weight you would need to spend big money and also do some modifications .... no one sells a low-weight, high-performance comfort bike. There is no demand.

Also, once you really get riding (supposing you do---not to target you, but a lot of people who think cycling looks like fun don't stick with it because actually, it is work, and as with everything else, you get back as much as you put in. You want to lose weight and get fit, you will need to work. Sweat, soreness, stiffness .... and feeling hungry. That is the weight-loss through exercise experience)) ....

Once you get to riding regularly, you won't Want all the "comfort" and "plushness." You will find that the big, cushy seat causes saddle sores on long rides because it doesn't support just where you need support while not rubbing everywhere else. You will find the balloon tires, or the cheap, lo-buck/lo-performance suspension fork just weigh you down and slow you down and you go over bumps easily enough by raising your body a few millimeters and letting your legs act as springs ..... The added weight will make you feel anchored every time you want to accelerate, while the slack geometry will make it feel like you are fighting to get around corners.

Basically, the bike that is perfect for someone who mainly wants to tool around the neighborhood at 7 mph for three or four miles with the dog in tow (and that is about max canine performance, based on the reports of a friend who does it---he tows a trailer because his dog can only go so far and so fast, but he loves the dog and the dog loves both running and riding) is worthless for someone who wants to use a bicycle for exercise.

If you want to ride a bike to lose weight, you need to buy a bike which won't be as fun for the first six weeks but will be great for the next six or sixteen years. And since, if you are going to really exercise, you are going to be sore and stiff anyway, why not be sore and stiff after riding a bike which you will love for a couple decades, rather than one you won't want after a couple months?

Many of us here have been where you are. We have learned what doesn't work ... and mostly what people who do not yet have this experience think they want, is exactly what experience has shown, they will not want.

That is why I suggest a cheap single-speed beach cruiser. Balloon tires. comfy seat, simple so nothing breaks (nothing kills enthusiasm like wanting to go for a ride and finding the bike doesn't work right,) and CHEAP, so after six weeks when you have decided to either stay with cycling or try something else, you won't be out much cash.

The beach cruiser will cost a quarter or a fifth of what the comfort/fitness bike will cost, will weigh about the same, and will be indestructible because it is so simple. For instance ... you buy any bike, new or used, with any sort of cables--brake and/or shifter cables---and pretty soon you are going to need to replace or adjust them. Do you know how? New cables will stretch after a while, and old cables will wear out. So, are you ready to drop another $100 at a bike shop to get your new, or new-to-you bike back on the road? With a coaster-brake beach cruiser, that simply doesn't happen.

Look, buy whatever you like. But if you don't know anything about bikes .... maybe folks who ride a lot and have for years, do? And maybe we really want you to have the best chance possible to enjoy cycling? And maybe we understand stuff you don't, like why your initial post is asking for stuff people simply cannot tell you.

Look, if you want to exercise to lose weight and get and stay fit--Super. And obviously, you need to find the exercise modality which suits You. Maybe it is a stationery bike? Listen to music or watch movies while pedaling away in a pleasant, climate-controlled environment? Maybe it is an elliptical machine---good cardio, works the upper and lower body, and is much lower impact than a treadmill. Maybe you will get some dumbbells and burn calories while building muscle that way. Maybe you will discover a love of cycling and do it regularly for the rest of your life. We Don't Know---and neither do you.

The answers we are giving are designed to help you make the best choice for you, based on our experience. If we cannot give you the answers you want it is because you m unwittingly, asked impossible questions. We are not trying to give you a hard time, we are trying to convert you into one of us .... Resistance is sadly Not futile ... many people resist. Their loss. But if you can hang in there you might be answering these questions for some other beginner a year or two from now.

Last edited by Maelochs; 10-18-22 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 10-18-22, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Deester View Post
I'm not making excuses. I'm looking for advice before I buy. If a 'bike is a bike' why do people pay thousands of pounds for one? That suggests that a 'bike is a bike' isn't quite true and also that certain bikes are suited to different uses and you pay accordingly for what meets the need best.
My dog is walked every day - she doesn't need to beg at the door. Thanks for your input.
Sorry if I came off sounding snarky, but I fix lots of 'cheap' bikes for the neighbors around here and they all have the best of intentions about riding them only to leave them outside in the weather again (unused) where they simply turn back to rust and junk, no matter how much oil I leave dripping off them. Maelochs's post right before this one is very informative and probably answers your question better than most of the others. BTW-people spend thousands of pounds for bikes for lots of different reasons, but I don't believe you're anywhere near that point (yet). Good luck and I apologize for calling your dog a 'he'. Smokey
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Old 10-18-22, 12:09 PM
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Don't buy the bike for riding you say you might do in the future or even for riding you might do once in a blue moon. Get your bike for what you intend and are able to do today.

Saddles will quite often cause some initial pain and soreness when getting use to a bike. However saddles are made for the type and style of riding that bike is made for and when you are able to ride a bike the way it's intended, then you might find saddles you think are currently comfortable as being uncomfortable. If you will be riding in a relaxed upright position, then you might want a wide cushy saddle perhaps with springs. If that is the case then you might really want a cruiser style bike. Downside to those are that they often are heavy. Whether it's from you or the bike, every bit of weight you don't carry with you on a ride makes getting up hills easier and riding longer times easier.

While I've seen some that do take their dogs with them while riding, most pull them in a trailer attached to their bike. Many times when on the trail, I see others having to carry their pet back because they walked their pet too far.
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Old 10-18-22, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Deester View Post
I think I didn't explain myself very well, I wasn't wanting a detail rundown of each bike with specs etc, just a general push..like maybe the Cube bike wouldn't suit road and woodland, that kind of thing.
I get what your saying about go sit on some bikes and think that is likely what I'll do now. All the bikes listed bar the Pashley were being sold by the same person so I could try them all out I guess if the seller is willing.
Thanks for your input.
Part of the challenge with making a recommendation from your list is that much of it is very vague. There are dozens of bikes (hundreds, probably) that fit the description of "Specialized MTB", ranging from 20+ year old entry-level bikes to current pro-level full-suspension race machines. Similar with "Trek hardtail". The variables - model, age, parts spec, wheel size, etc. - within each of the ones you listed make it pretty much impossible to give any kind specific advice. The best guess I can make, based on prices, is that these bikes are older and not high-level. That said, they may be just right for your needs.

If the same seller has most of these bikes, I would suggest you go try them all, and pick the one you like best. One of the most critical factors is proper fit. If it's too big or too small, it's going to be a lousy ride for you, no matter what other good qualities the bike might have.

Also, please don't ride while walking your dog on a leash. It's a recipe for disaster, and for over-working your dog. On top of that, you won't be able to ride fast enough to gain any fitness. Walk your dog. Ride your bike. Don't do both at the same time.
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Old 10-18-22, 01:06 PM
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I'm sorry if I've come across as a bit entitled.. wanting everything without putting in the effort. I honestly am not like that.
It's so hard to get across what you mean to say at times.
I'm happy to have a sore bottie 😆 for a while - I know it'll hurt my legs to begin with. I'm just rubbish at explaining myself.

I do feel a bit discouraged because some people have come across as a bit adversarial when all I'm asking for is your expertise. I'm a big softie and take things to heart that maybe I shouldn't, but I do.
I do understand that I've given generic information expecting knowledgeable replies..I get that a specific answer would be difficult in those circumstances and I'm asking the impossible.

Don't know if replying individually to each comment is the right thing to do now given I seem to have got more than a few backs up already. Really didn't mean to.

​​​​
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Old 10-18-22, 01:50 PM
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You just have to glean from all the responses the information that you think will help you.

The bigger thing is just to not let all the confusing information about what to get stymie you into not getting anything.

After assessing what everyone has told you, then get what you think is the correct bike for you. Don't pay so much for it that If it turns out not to be the correct bike that you can't afford to get some other type bike to see if that will work for you. Essentially you need experience on a bike. You won't get that from us here. But if you ask questions and listen to the responses, you might understand how to interpret your bad experience on that bike and make a better purchase on your next bike to get a better experience.

If there were only one right bike, then we'd all be riding the same brand and model of bike.
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Old 10-18-22, 01:58 PM
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Eric F
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Your request isn't unreasonable, but your ignorance about the subject lead you to ask for advice that is way more complex than you probably expected. Today, you learned a little more.

Based on the info you offered regarding yourself and your intended riding, an older hardtail MTB of decent quality (not big-box store crap) would probably be a reasonable place to start. With the exception of the Pashley, the rest of the bikes you listed probably fit the bill. A flat handlebar and a more upright position (rather than a low, aero, "roadie" position), will be more stable and comfortable, and therefore more likely to be something you will stick with. Depending on what's currently on the bike, you may want to switch out the tires for something smoother than a knobby MTB tire to make rolling on pavement a bit more efficient. Any local bike shop would be happy to help you with this. As I mentioned before, pick a bike that fits your body. There is a ton of information on the internet on how to determine correct bike size.

I encourage you to keep educating yourself. If the seller has additional information about the parts on the bikes, spend some time researching those parts, and learn whether they are mediocre, decent, good, or great. The more you know, the better you can make a good decision for yourself.
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Old 10-18-22, 02:03 PM
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All bikes mentioned there are decent to a point, but there's a compromise needed based on usage. Bikes that are good on really rough trails aren't good on the road and visa versa. Suspension is great for dealing with bumps but really heavy and bouncey the rest of the time.

You've mentioned Carrera which is a Halfords brand so I'm guessing you're in the UK, and given you're mostly going to be on the road with some mild paths/trails I'd be looking for a hybrid which is closed to a best of both approach. Something like the Carrera Crossfire is a decent hybrid that's got enough front suspension for some bumpy paths but still fairly good on roads: https://www.halfords.com/search?q=Crossfire

Another option would be Decathlons Riverside hybrid range. The 900 is pretty good : https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/hybrid...8577823&c=GREY but there are cheaper version as well.


However, any bike that fits well will do.
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