Buying a basic bike - advice?

4 watchers
Aug 2019
11:33am, 28 Aug 2019
8,424 posts
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It might be easy to point out the things you *don't* need to meet your needs.

You don't need front (or rear) suspension - it is heavy, and will serve no purpose, and just make riding the bike harder as a consequence. Not much, but not a feature worth paying for.

You don't need lots of gears. You need an easy enough gear to get up the steepest slope you will regularly encounter. Calculate what that is from the 21 gears on your current bike, and use that to understand what is on any prospective bike.

You don't need super skinny or super fat tyres. Optimal rolling resistance is somewhere in the middle.

You don't need disc brakes - but if you can get them, especially hydraulic ones, they are so easy to maintain and use that they should enhance your riding experience and give you confidence about braking. But if you're not going too fast, any type of well maintained brake will stop you sufficiently and safely - IMHO brakes are more about how easy or hard they are to change pads and generally fettle with, and for me hydralic discs are fit-and-forget.

On things you do need...

Pay attention to weight. No point in cycling 2kg more bike than you need.

You may need to find a seat that really fits your sit bones well.

You need to set a budget. Whatever number you set, that is the real limit for how decent a bike you end up with. If you cannot afford more than £300, say, then 2nd hand or compromised equipment might be the only options. If you can happily afford £1000, you can get whatever you need.

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About This Thread

Maintained by Drell
I need a new bike. Pretty much all I know about bikes is that they have 2 wheels and gears and things. So I need advice (which I might then ignore).

I will use it for cycling into town and back, a trip of around 4 - 5 miles, and for leisure rides which are currently up to around 10 - 12 miles, but could get longer if I had a better bike.

My basic questions are probably:
- what type of bike should I look at? hybrid, or something else?
- what do I need to look out for in the way of features? (gears, brakes etc - obviously that they are present, but what else?)
- any specific recommendations? I could imagine spending say £300, but I have no idea how much more (or less) you'd get for more (or less) money
- any recommendations for shops in Cambridge? (there are enough of them...)
- any particular pointers about how to ensure a good fit? (one of the problems with my current bike is that it's probably too small a frame)

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