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Do I need a road, hybrid or leisure bike?

(28 Posts)
ThomasRichard Wed 24-May-17 21:16:04

I'm planning to commute by bike once DC2 starts school in September. It's a 7-mile route, 5 miles of which is on a flat-ish purpose-designed cycle path (nice!) with the other 2 miles on a normal road surface. I really like the Dutch-style single-speed bikes with a nice basket on the front and minimal fuss but the killer there is that the children's schools and our house are at the top of a half-mile long stretch of hill with a very steep gradient and there's no way I'd be able to pedal up it on one of those. A road bike would be fab for the whole thing but whileI'm reasonably fit (I run regularly for exercise), I'm overweight and I'm loath to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a bike more suited to racing. I also want to occasionally add a tag-along for DD to use on longer family rides and I don't know if I could do that with a road bike.

I've read lots of buyers' guides but just don't know which type of bike would fit all the boxes. I'm not keen on going into a bike shop to ask for advice because I'd feel bad taking their time and then not buying straightaway. It's a significant purchase for me and I want to get it right. Any help welcome!

Piffpaffpoff Wed 24-May-17 21:21:25

I'd get a hybrid. Something like this perhaps. If you go to a good local bike shop and have a chat with them, they'll sort you out. Does your work do a cycle to work scheme? It might be worth waiting for that if they do, it can save you a bit of money and they spread the cost by deducting a monthly payment direct from your salary.

Iwantawhippet Wed 24-May-17 21:25:21

You can put a tag along on a road bike. Most bike shops will let you test ride.

MrsBadger Wed 24-May-17 21:27:48

The Decathlon hybrid gets good press too, and you can go to the shop and ride them all round without bothering an assistant. Don't buy a road bike without mudguards, you'll arrive at work filthy.

MrsBadger Wed 24-May-17 21:28:17

And yes certainly find out about cycle to work.

ThomasRichard Wed 24-May-17 21:35:54

I know work used to do a cycle to work scheme; I'll check if they still do. Good point!

The bike piffpaffpoff linked to looks pretty good as an all-rounder. I've asked about Tagalong compatibility and will see what they say.

ThomasRichard Wed 24-May-17 21:37:38

I like the idea of a road bike, I'm just a bit worried that it wouldn't work as a mum-bike too. One of my colleagues is a serious cyclist and has multiple bikes to suit every occasion, each costing thousands. I can see how it sometimes ends up that way!

Sadik Wed 24-May-17 21:37:38

What sort of budget are you thinking of? I've got a Dawes Galaxy Cross which works well for me as an all purpose commuter / leisure bike (though mine cost £400 as a discontinued frame size - not sure I'd want to pay 600 quid plus shock ). It's very sturdy & good with a trailer / excess luggage piled all over it & I really appreciate the disc brakes (having said that I live in Wales where it is both very hilly and often wet - you may live somewhere more brake-friendly!)

I was also very tempted by the adult Islabikes, having been impressed by their kids bikes.

TheBogQueen Wed 24-May-17 21:40:48

Get a hybrid

Carrera, specialised and Ridgeback are good.

Evans bikes has a clearance section worth looking at

MrsBadger Wed 24-May-17 21:43:10

[quicly closes garage door to hide extensive rack of bikes for every occasion]

museumum Wed 24-May-17 21:44:31

I've got a Hoy Shizuoka. It's a hybrid designed for road mainly (thin tyres) but with flat handlebars. It's light and I love it.

ThomasRichard Wed 24-May-17 21:44:37

Price-wise, the last time I 'bought' a bike it was a present from my parents as a teenager and it was £100-something. Shopping for this one has been a bit of a shock! I definitely want to stay under £500.

museumum Wed 24-May-17 21:44:50

Hoy bikes from Evans btw

Nyancat Wed 24-May-17 21:46:10

I have a decathlon hybrid for commuting. About the same distance and after school dropoffs. I have a trailgator on back for longers journeys with dd. Also has a detachable wire basket for the front which is great for schoolbags and lunchboxes!

ThomasRichard Wed 24-May-17 21:47:44

grin MrsBadger. I'm not judging, it's just so far outside my ken. In my experience, bikes come from Toys R Us or Halfords and £150 is an eye-popping amount to spend on one. His collection is worth more than my very nice family car!

BikeRunSki Wed 24-May-17 21:49:47

Without wanting yo confuse things further, I'd go for a cyclocross bike - like a robust kind of road bike. Still skinny, dropped handlebars , but with chunky tyres, and a range of gears often more like Mountainbike gears for hills. DH used to "tag" our dc on his.

MrsBadger I'll show you mine, if you show me yours wink 🚴🚴🚴

savagehk Wed 24-May-17 21:50:24

Dutch doesn't need to mean single speed, often have a hub gear.

MrsBadger Wed 24-May-17 21:50:39

(I hasten to add that they are all DH's except my all-purpose Decathlon one!)

ThomasRichard Wed 24-May-17 21:55:33

The Shizuoka looks gorgeous but is outside my price bracket. Envious!

ImperfectTents Wed 24-May-17 22:25:54

You need to try some out. I have a Dutch type bike with 3 gears. It makes hills a wee bit harder but I love it to death and it is so comfortable

SheepyFun Wed 24-May-17 22:50:14

When looking at bikes, I was advised years ago to look at the brake levers (they're the bits you pull with your fingers, sorry if that's obvious). On any bike that you'll be using daily, you want them to be made of metal. If they're made of plastic, the bike is probably too cheap. I'm not sure where the price point where that changes is, but my bike was £300 4 years ago, and they're definitely metal, so within your price range.

BoysofMelody Fri 26-May-17 00:45:06

150 is an eye-popping amount to spend on one. What you'll get for that money is a piece of junk that will make riding a chore, be heavy, unreliable and cost you the price of the bike again replacing poorly made components.

I'd budget at least £300 to get a decent bike, if the budget will stretch more towards £500 even better. It feels expensive at the time but a decent quality bike will last you 10-15 years with proper maintenance. You may get better value second hand but as a first bike I'd caution against it.

Material: at this price you should get an aluminium framed bike. Towards the top of the budget you may get carbon (forks, this is good but not essential)

Type: Dutch bikes are heavy and cumbersome to ride, I wouldn't get one of those if you intend pulling a trailer behind you.

This pains me to say it as I don't like hybrids, to my mind they combine , but can see that for someone returning to riding they're a very good compromise between speed and comfort.

I wouldn't get a bike with front suspension forks on your bike if you're mostly riding on the road, they add weight and mean the maker will have cut costs elsewhere on the bike.

If I were picking a woman's hybrid bike in the 300-500 bracket, I'd go for this one.

Boardman Hybrid.

It is very light for a hybrid, the spec is good for the money and will be zippy, but gives you in a more comfy, more upright position than a road bike. Boardman Bikes are generally well thought out and get good reviews and certainly aren't a case of cashing in on the Boardman name like some former Olympians I could mention (cough, Pendleton cough).

BikeRunSki Fri 26-May-17 03:54:12

I totally agree with Melody.

Piffpaffpoff Fri 26-May-17 14:42:00

Another one agreeing with melody. Spending a bit more saves you a lot in the long run in terms of maintenance.

DS (11) has an adult Boardman bike and DH is very, very picky about both his (fleet of) bikes and the kids' too. He thought the Boardmans were very good value for money vs spec and it's stood up well to DS throwing it around.

ThomasRichard Fri 26-May-17 22:03:24

Thanks for the advice and recommendation. If I'm in the middle of two sizes (5'4"/163cm) should I go smaller or larger?

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