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Complete beginner needing advice ~ 500 to spend on Ride2Work scheme

Old 08-01-12, 12:47 PM
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Complete beginner needing advice ~ 500 to spend on Ride2Work scheme

So as the title says, I'm a complete beginner, had a Scott Peak years ago which I havent used for several years (poor old boys in a bad way).

Anyway I am on the ride2work scheme and have a budget of around 500. It's with Evans Cycles. I'll be using the bike to get to work, but also to take out offroad at times. To be honest though, it will probably be about 85% for going to work, although I dont want to be scared to kick the ass out of it on a bike track. To this end, i think it has to be a mountain bike.

So far, I'm liking the look of a Norco Charger ( https://www.evanscycles.com/products/...-bike-ec031666 ) or alternatively, the same bike in the 29er version ( https://www.evanscycles.com/products/...-bike-ec031669 ).

Are these good options? Are there better? What would you choose from Evans?

Do you guys know of any really good quality bikes that out-perform the rest at this price range (~500), if not, do you have any inside tips that would be useful, like things to look out for or be wary of?

What would be recommended choice between a 6.2 or a 9.2, if it will be about 75% road (some of my trip to work is off-road), but still confident to go hard off-road.

All help is appreciated as I feel completely in the dark with it all at the moment!
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Old 08-01-12, 01:03 PM
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Welcome To Bike Forums, Rossss!

Of what type of "off road" are you thinking?

Unless you plan on jumping the bike onto different rock levels and riding down the sides of the rocky, root-embedded, stump littered terrain of Mt.Fuji, I think you're cycling terrain would be more suited to either a cyclocross bike or a hybrid.

Mountain bikes are primarily for mountainous regions. If you lived in a mountainous area and did 50/50 mountain/urban cycling, I'd agree that a hardtail mountain bike would be in order. However, you're mostly urban commuting with a little "off road" tossed in there on the side.

That's why I'm just curious as to how "off road" your routine might really be...

Meanwhile I'll recommend this hybrid, which I think might be more appropriate:

The Norco Indie 2 ~ $470
www.norco.com/bikes/urban/urban-performance/indie/


Otherwise, get the 9.2, if you're tall. Get the 6.2, if you're not so tall...

PS.

Mountain bikes typically require more energy input than rigid forked hybrids and road bikes, when most of your cycling is just commuting on paved urban streets.

Last edited by SlimRider; 08-01-12 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 08-01-12, 01:57 PM
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Thanks for the reply, much appreciated slimrider!

Originally Posted by SlimRider
Of what type of "off road" are you thinking?
I live in the UK quite close to the peak district, so it can be pretty mountainous in areas around here. At this moment though, i dont know to what extent of mountainous area ill be riding on, but i do want to push myself for both fitness and pleasure, and I'm not afraid of a few bumps and scratches (would be surprised if this *doesnt* happen). Dont get me wrong I wont be hopping from rock to rock, but i will be cycling through brush and rocky terrain. This is why i kind of went off the idea of hybrids.

I'm 6'2", and the ride to work is about 8 miles each way, most of which (but not all) will be paved, so I do see the attraction of a hybrid, I just don't want to mash it into a hillside somewhere and either write it off, spend out a fortune on repairs, or kill myself lol. I want something I can throw around a bit.

Given that extra information, would you still say a hybrid or would you swing more towards a mountain bike? I was going mountain bike but you have me questioning it now lol.
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Old 08-01-12, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rossss
Thanks for the reply, much appreciated slimrider!


I live in the UK quite close to the peak district, so it can be pretty mountainous in areas around here. At this moment though, i dont know to what extent of mountainous area ill be riding on, but i do want to push myself for both fitness and pleasure, and I'm not afraid of a few bumps and scratches (would be surprised if this *doesnt* happen). Dont get me wrong I wont be hopping from rock to rock, but i will be cycling through brush and rocky terrain. This is why i kind of went off the idea of hybrids.

I'm 6'2", and the ride to work is about 8 miles each way, most of which (but not all) will be paved, so I do see the attraction of a hybrid, I just don't want to mash it into a hillside somewhere and either write it off, spend out a fortune on repairs, or kill myself lol. I want something I can throw around a bit.

Given that extra information, would you still say a hybrid or would you swing more towards a mountain bike? I was going mountain bike but you have me questioning it now lol.
Hybrids are part mountain bike too. However, nothings really like a mountain bike, but a mountain bike!

If you're talking about traversing the dirt trails and passing over a few shallow roots and rocks, here and there, then a hybrid will do just fine. However, if you're talking about traversing paths literally saturated with all sizes of extruded rocks, embedded roots, and unexpected crevices, then only a mountain bike is suited for that type of terrain and a hybrid would soon be out of its element.

Hybrids do best on hard packed gravel and dirt trails, when in mountainous or hilly terrain. Of course, hybrids have absolutely no difficulty on paved roads, whatsoever. OTOH MTN bikes tend to move slower on the paved road than do hybrids. That goes double for fully suspended MTN bikes! However, the fully suspended MTN bikes are quite successful on the most challenging mountainous terrains.

At any rate, I hope this helps! With only 8 miles in your commute, you can't possibly go too wrong with a HT MTB. However, I'd just hate to see you a few months from now, wishing you had something slightly faster or more energy efficient. Somehow, the 75/25 ratio seems to be just a tad daunting with a HT MTB.

BTW- You're tall at 6'2"...

PS.

Your Norco MTN bikes have lockout and the 9.2 is a 29er. That will assist you in the speed department. However, that said, rigid forked hybrids are generally faster and more efficient on paved roads than HT MTN bikes.

Last edited by SlimRider; 08-01-12 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 08-01-12, 03:03 PM
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Thanks very much for all the info, its really helping me build a picture of what I want

One last question ... If I went for a 29er, and bought an extra pair of wheels with road tyres to switch back and forth, would this make a big difference to the urban commute?
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Old 08-01-12, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rossss
Thanks very much for all the info, its really helping me build a picture of what I want

One last question ... If I went for a 29er, and bought an extra pair of wheels with road tyres to switch back and forth, would this make a big difference to the urban commute?

I've never done it before, but I hear that it does, from a whole bunch of reliable MTN bikers!

Of course, it all stands to reason, given smoother and narrower tires!

PS.

Before you drop coin and actually pull the trigger, you might wanna consider this bike first:

Marin Muirwoods 29er ~ 625 pounds
www.marin.co.uk/2012/bikepage.php?ModNo=12MW

Good Luck!

PS.

It's a MTB disguised as a hybrid. That rigid fork really throws some people off. In the long run, a rigid fork will be less headache, as it will not need to be maintained. OTOH, quality suspended fork replacements are expensive.

Last edited by SlimRider; 08-02-12 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 08-02-12, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider
Before you drop coin and actually pull the trigger, you might wanna consider this bike first:

Marin Muirwoods 29er ~ 625 pounds
www.marin.co.uk/2012/bikepage.php?ModNo=12MW
Hmm, interesting ... That looks worthy of some serious thought! This could take a while lol.

I really appreciate you taking the time to talk me through some of this, its helped a lot
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Old 08-02-12, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rossss
Thanks for the reply, much appreciated slimrider!


I live in the UK quite close to the peak district, so it can be pretty mountainous in areas around here. At this moment though, i dont know to what extent of mountainous area ill be riding on, but i do want to push myself for both fitness and pleasure, and I'm not afraid of a few bumps and scratches (would be surprised if this *doesnt* happen). Dont get me wrong I wont be hopping from rock to rock, but i will be cycling through brush and rocky terrain. This is why i kind of went off the idea of hybrids.

I'm 6'2", and the ride to work is about 8 miles each way, most of which (but not all) will be paved, so I do see the attraction of a hybrid, I just don't want to mash it into a hillside somewhere and either write it off, spend out a fortune on repairs, or kill myself lol. I want something I can throw around a bit.

Given that extra information, would you still say a hybrid or would you swing more towards a mountain bike? I was going mountain bike but you have me questioning it now lol.
Can't really help you with your choice of bike as I'm not overly familiar with either of them, but a few thoughts based on my own experiences of coming to cycling.

My first bike was a mountain bike. I wanted to be able to go anywhere and wanted a bike that would keep pace with me. Not that my cycling skills were anything to write home about - I hadn't touched a bike in nearly 20 years - but I weighed in at somewhere north of 20 stone and didn't want to break it. As I got stronger it just naturally happened that my riding ended up being more on the road than off it. So I bought a cross bike - I bought it used on ebay on the basis I wasn't sure if I'd like it and the price on ebay meant the risk of getting a dud seemed less than the risk of dropping a grand on a new bike and not riding it. Anyway 99% of my riding now is on the cross bike, I think I've ridden the MTB five times so far this year.

The MTB still feels like an old friend so I'm reluctant to get rid of it, and sometimes it's fun to blast through the mud, but most of the time I'm after speed. I never planned to be a hardcore mountain biker, but even a gravel path can feel very bumpy on the cross bike, where the suspension on the MTB glides over it much more easily.

What you might want to consider doing is getting yourself a hardtail mountain bike with a suspension you can lock out, then putting more road friendly tyres on it. I'm not sure what you'll manage with a budget of 500, especially if that has to include accessories (helmet, lock, lights, pump, spare tube etc) but it's always something you can do later. In the meantime knobbly tyres will give you a better workout on the road.
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Old 08-02-12, 06:02 AM
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That's useful to know, I do really want to get fitter, but the time I spend on paved roads will just be when I have to (commuting), everything else will be off-road when it's for leisure, more suited to a MTB, so it really is a difficult one.

Its good to see how your train of thought went with experience though, I wish I could afford 2 bikes!
The budget of 500 is a figure in my head for the bike alone. I'm still going to need to buy a lock, helmet, mudguards, and lights ... and possibly road tyres, but I'm thinking about that separately, so the 500 is just for the bike at the moment.
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Old 08-02-12, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rossss
That's useful to know, I do really want to get fitter, but the time I spend on paved roads will just be when I have to (commuting), everything else will be off-road when it's for leisure, more suited to a MTB, so it really is a difficult one.

Its good to see how your train of thought went with experience though, I wish I could afford 2 bikes!
The budget of 500 is a figure in my head for the bike alone. I'm still going to need to buy a lock, helmet, mudguards, and lights ... and possibly road tyres, but I'm thinking about that separately, so the 500 is just for the bike at the moment.

Just an add-on:

Mountain bikes are labor intensive. That is they require much more maintenance than most any other type of bike, if they're used for their intended purposes...

Forks must be well-maintained and understood, too...

Last edited by SlimRider; 08-03-12 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 08-02-12, 03:57 PM
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Of the 2 you initially listed, would look at the 29er due to you height looks decent for the price / spec if you can get it on the cycle to work scheme.

For riding in the Peaks, on a wet day the life expectancy of parts can be parts like forks, chains cassette, can be measured in hours, and and brake pads can be minutes, the mud can be extremely abrasive and wear can be seen at an extreme rate. In the dry normal wear rates should be seen. Regardless of weather if riding in the peaks the bike will need a though wash down after riding.
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Old 08-02-12, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rossss
That's useful to know, I do really want to get fitter, but the time I spend on paved roads will just be when I have to (commuting), everything else will be off-road when it's for leisure, more suited to a MTB, so it really is a difficult one.

Its good to see how your train of thought went with experience though, I wish I could afford 2 bikes!
The budget of 500 is a figure in my head for the bike alone. I'm still going to need to buy a lock, helmet, mudguards, and lights ... and possibly road tyres, but I'm thinking about that separately, so the 500 is just for the bike at the moment.
The key thing to quantify is just what you mean by "off road".

If you mean gravel paths, riverside towpaths, maybe the odd grassy section, then the chances are just about any bike will do it. Admittedly a TT-specific bike might not like it, but we're not looking at anything like an S-Works Shiv here. My cross bike takes in gravel paths easily enough, it's just that if the gravel is coarse it sometimes feels very jarring.

If you mean drops, lots of roots and rocks, bucketloads of mud etc then you're going to need a mountain bike, but at the same time you're also going to need the kind of tyres that aren't going to roll very well on the road. My Marathon Plus ATB tyres work well on the road but are pretty useless in mud. I put a Marathon Extreme on the back of the MTB and it works well on the road, works a lot better in mud but still tends to clog and jam. If you're riding in a lot of mud you'll probably want to put something between the back wheel and the FD - one ride I did through lots of mud I had to change my route home, as the original plan involved going up some big hills and when my FD was jammed with mud it wouldn't shift into the smaller chainrings.
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Old 08-03-12, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jimc101
and brake pads can be minutes, the mud can be extremely abrasive and wear can be seen at an extreme rate.
Minutes?!? Seriously?
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Old 08-03-12, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rossss
Minutes?!? Seriously?

Not minutes, but in a very short period of time. A few days or weeks, perhaps...

Last edited by SlimRider; 08-03-12 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 08-03-12, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider
Not minutes, but in a very short period of time. A few days, perhaps...
Are we talking a few days between bleeds or between pads? I really hope were talking about bleeds lol
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Old 08-03-12, 10:05 AM
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How far is your commute? Because I've commuted to work on a mountain bike, knobbies and all, and it wasn't that bad, but it was only ~15 miles round trip. If it's a little further, you can get away with putting slick tires on your mountain bike (but don't get an entire new set of wheels...waste of money). But if we're talking about like a 50 mile commute, really, you want a road bike, maybe a CX bike if by "trails" you mean dirt roads, but probably a road bike and then a separate mountain bike.

A hybrid has some mountain bike in it the way a chihuahua has some wolf in it. It'll be only marginally faster than the mountain bike on asphalt, and it'll suck on trails. Don't go hybrid.
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Old 08-03-12, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Zephyr11
How far is your commute? Because I've commuted to work on a mountain bike, knobbies and all, and it wasn't that bad, but it was only ~15 miles round trip. If it's a little further, you can get away with putting slick tires on your mountain bike (but don't get an entire new set of wheels...waste of money). But if we're talking about like a 50 mile commute, really, you want a road bike, maybe a CX bike if by "trails" you mean dirt roads, but probably a road bike and then a separate mountain bike.

A hybrid has some mountain bike in it the way a chihuahua has some wolf in it. It'll be only marginally faster than the mountain bike on asphalt, and it'll suck on trails. Don't go hybrid.
If we consider rigid hardtail mountain bikes as mountain bikes, such as the Trek Sawyer, the Surly Ogre, and the Marin Muirwoods 29er, we can most certainly consider bikes like the Jamis Coda Comp, the KHS Urban Xcel, and the Schwinn Sporterra Comp as formidable MTB substitutes for quite a few trails. Not all mountain trails are that challenging. While a HT MTB is certainly more versatile than a hybrid, it's even more versatile than a road bike. The hybrid is more versatile than the road bike, too! However, a hybrid is most inevitably a more efficient bike on pavement than a MTB and would prove to be much more successful on the trails than a road bike. It's quintessentially, the best of two worlds.

While I might look just a tad conspicuous on a MTB commuting to work, a hybrid would be just perfect.

It would appear to be foolhardy to ride down the sides of tall mountains with a road bike. However, a nice hybrid equipped with wide tires would be just perfect for many of those mountain side trails.

Come sip upon my KoolAid...I'm sure you'll just love that hybrid flavor!

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Old 08-03-12, 12:27 PM
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I've ridden a hybrid. It was slow on roads and sucked on trails. The geometry was wrong for everything. You can keep your KoolAid, thanks.

I don't believe anyone suggested bringing a road bike on trails.
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Old 08-03-12, 02:24 PM
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If you get the Marin Muirwoods 29er, you'll have a proven commuter that can most definitely single track! Of course, that Indie 2 is no slouch either!

Listen! The hybrid has a proven history of handling moderately challenging mountainous trails. I believe that for what you want to do, a hybrid would be just fine. That's especially so, if you would like to place speed into the equation from time to time.

Lumbering along up the wooded trails can be easily compensated for when descending upon a MTB. However, nobody really wants to lumber along on paved roads. Then you want to fly! That Indie 2 will fly!

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Old 08-03-12, 03:00 PM
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I guess we really don't know how vicious your off-roading is going to be. That might be helpful.

In his price range at Evans, I like https://www.evanscycles.com/products/...-bike-ec031686 which is the only cyclocross bike that meets his price, but then I've always had a thing for cyclocross bikes (like them much better than hybrids). It wouldn't be the right choice for the most hardcore of offroading, but would handle moderate offroad (and probably singletrack) ok and still get you to work as well as any other choice (and better than some). Obviously there's a much greater selection of mountain bikes in his price range. Don't see any monstercross bikes though.
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Old 08-15-12, 03:24 AM
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Hi everyone, sorry for the late response, been offline for a while with very limited access.

There's a lot to consider here, and some good advice, need to do more thinking taking everything into account.

Thank's very much for all the feedback and assistance, it's much appreciated
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