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(35 Posts)

So, I've not cycled for years. Last year decided to take up cycling, chose a lovely mountain bike from my local independent bike shop. It was nice. It waa comfortable. The saddle didnt make my tail bones cry. And it was purple. wink

Then DH persuaded me that it would be a waste to buy new, might not use it, bla bla bla. Ended up buying a second hand one from a local guy who claimed to be a bike mechanic.

Well. He wasn't. First time out, 1/4 mile from home and the mis-sized seat post collapses. Badly fractured knee, fractured elbow, week in hospital, months on zimmer and crutches.

But I've decided I need to try again not least because my dd was with me at the time. I'm not getting back on the heap of shit and I'm not risking second hand again so I've signed up for my works cycle to work scheme. I have up to 600 to spend on a new bike but it has to come from evans.

Can anyone help me work out wtf to buy, as it's like a foreign language! I will mainly be using off road cycle tracks and a bit if town cycling but I'm a bit scared of going for anything with narrower tyres than a mountain bike as I'm pretty nervous now. Unsurprisingly...

I'm about 5'5 with relatively long legs and short body. And, well, I'm not exactly light either - size 16. Keep seeing female so if u mtb which are tuned for the lighter rider. That Ain't Megrin

Can anyone help a lost wannabe cyclist? Apart from not causing broken bones I'd ideally like something vaguely attractive maybe in purple or pink but I realise that's a long shot and not that important.

Oh and before someone makes the obvious suggestion my local evans has a rubbish range in store so I can't go in and try lots out sadly, I'll need to order online to collect in store

VeryPunny Mon 06-Jun-16 16:02:33

You are most likely after a hybrid, which will be ideally suited to off road cycle trails and a bit of town riding. Evans will have a good range available. You don't necessarily need a women's specific fit, unless you are set on a step through (ie, not a straight across crossbar at the top of the frame). Women's specific geometries will most likely come with slightly more female friendly saddles though.

Don't buy anything with suspension - will just add weight and be totally useless. Consider upgrading your tyres to Schwalbe Marathon Pluses - I have cycled thousands of miles with those tyres and never had a P*ncture.

Good luck and have fun!

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 06-Jun-16 16:05:39

When you say off road cycle tracks do you mean tarmacked or MTB black routes?

FinnMcCool Mon 06-Jun-16 16:06:05

What about a cyclocross bike? Its like a mixture of road and bmx but not a hybrid iyswim?
Cyclocross is an off road sport that gets very muddy, so you'd have the chunky tyres that you like but lighter and easier to manage with dropped bars like a road bike.

You could always get the bike resprayed purple!! Or customise it with a purple saddle and bar tape and bottle cage etc.

Size of the bike you need depends on your height and your reach, maybe not one marketed as female. Check out Wiggle Size Guide

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Mon 06-Jun-16 16:08:02

Yes a hybrid will be much better than a mtb. Mtb are hard work to pedal on roads

Specialised do a great hybrid. Think its called the vita. My friend has one. But it needs to be something which feels okay from a fit point of view. Remember the saddle can be changed.

aginghippy Mon 06-Jun-16 16:08:33

The problem is you can't really tell if a bike will be comfortable for you without actually riding it. There is so much variety in frame size and design. Could you not go to another retailer (or two) test ride some of theirs, but then still order online?

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Mon 06-Jun-16 16:11:14

If the op is nervous on a bike not sure I'd recommend drop handle bars. I found my cyclo cross twitchy compared to a mtb.

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Mon 06-Jun-16 16:13:59

Iirc Evans will order a bike into store with no obligation to buy it. You might have to pay a deposit but it should be refunded if bike no good.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 06-Jun-16 16:15:20

Another vote for a hybrid. Beware there are hipster bikes in the hybrid category like Pashley brand which are pretty and well made, but weigh a ton.

You want ideally an aluminium or minimum cromoly frame. Avoid steel or high tens (steel)
Disc brakes are less hassle than rim brakes . Hub brakes are less hassle again.
Hub gears are lowest maintenance, but you get less gears.

Think about accessories too - do you need lights? If so dynamo lights are the simplest, just fit and forget ,( but make sure rear light stays on when you stop)
Do you need a rack or may do in the future (check frame can be fitted with rack)
Mudguards are definetly worth getting too.
Also, as pps have suggested it is worth upgrading your tyres to puncture proof, and making sure you have a saddle that fits.

Also consider a pump, basic tool set, and a book on basic maintenance.

InsufficientlyCaffeinated Mon 06-Jun-16 16:15:38

Good on you for deciding to get back on the saddle! A few years ago I bought a new road bike then crashed badly three days later by being too over-confident! Took ages to pluck up the nerve to get back on it again but love cycling again now.

If you're mostly riding trails then a mtb or hybrid is a good idea. Unless you're doing proper mountain biking you don't need full suspension. My mtb is a Cannondale and I really like it but I did put thinner tyres on as I mostly do trails and it's just easier pedalling with a thinner tyre. If you're going to use it on roads for popping in to town as well as trails I'd go for a hybrid over an mtb.

I look for hydraulic disc brakes on bikes now as they have good braking power.

Evans seem to have quite a few Specialized hybrid bikes. This one seems good

I also like Trek hybrids. Quite like this one but it only comes in black

I don't think we're allowed cyclocross- road hybrid or mtb only but I'll double check the terms.

Off road tracks - there's a lot of former railways and a canal towpath around here. They're not all tarmaced so can be a bit bumpy - more compacted dirt type tracks. The towpath especially can be a bit muddy too.

Unfortunately we don't have many local bike shops and those we do seem to have minimal overlap with the evans range. But in store evans wasn't great, I'll pop back in tonight and see if I can find some to try in different brands but they are a city centre store who seem to focus on really bloody expensive bikes- 2k carbon type stuff.

CMOTDibbler Mon 06-Jun-16 16:18:53

I have a Specialized Vita as my hybrid bike and really like it.

Mine has its original saddle on it, but I replaced my road bikes saddle with a Selle Italia Diva gel which is comfy. The biggest difference in comfort is the shorts you wear - my faves are DHB halter bib shorts, but if you don't want to wear lycra, I hear very good things about the Urbanist pants.

X posted several times - I am pretty nervous I'm afraid which is what's putting me off going for a hybrid. It's a year since my accident and I'm having to face the fact that my knee is probably never going to be 100% ok again.

I've remembered I actually have a saddle - I'd ordered a giant one which was the type I'd liked in the shop but it arrived after my accident so it was never fitted. Have helmet etc and about 150 towards accessories too so that's fine.

massivearse Mon 06-Jun-16 16:28:56

That Spesh Ariel looks the part.

It's got the lot. And enough left of your budget to replace the saddle if the fitted item doesn't suit (although a good bike shop would do that in the price if they wanted your money)

Enjoy whatever you end up with.

CMOTDibbler Mon 06-Jun-16 16:33:41

To get your confidence up, look to see if theres a Breeze ride local to you - they are women only and generally very welcoming.

If you are planning on getting a cycling jersey, can I recommend Fat Lad at the Back who Evans stock. Their stuff is cut to go in and out, don't consider a 12 to be XL, and is a sensible length. Also vvv good quality

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 06-Jun-16 16:40:58

Off road tracks - there's a lot of former railways and a canal towpath around here. They're not all tarmaced so can be a bit bumpy - more compacted dirt type tracks. The towpath especially can be a bit muddy too.

In that case I would consider suspension - at the price range you are looking at it'd probably be ok.

Also, depending on tyres it comes with maybe look for semi-knobbly puncture proof ones for a bit of extra grip on the mud. The shop should swap those for you.

Thanks so much everyone! Probably shouldn't have started this thread on a phone as it makes posting links a PITA. Anyhoo...

I'll check out Fat Lad at the back - i'm stupidly curvy (think 30J boobs, elephant arse and you're there!) and the tendency for sports clothes to be so small really annoys me. Just because I'm fat doesn't mean I don't want to exercise.

Those specialized bikes both have potential. Could I please ask opinions on a few I'd been looking at?

Trek xcaliber - they seem to have the Seven, eight and nine, which is a bit over budget but how much better they are than each other is hard for me to judge!

Trek Cali
Scott Contessa
Cube Access WLS Pro

The Trek Neko
specialized ariel as per upthread
specialized vita as linked

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 06-Jun-16 18:01:58

WRT to the MTBs Id be tempted to get a women's one as they tend to have a shorter top tube so may be slightly more comfortable for you out of the box.

WRT to the hybrids I think the MTBs look nicer blush

You can pretty much turn an MTB into a hybrid by switching the tyres (although hybrids tend to have a higher handlebars). You may find that it is harder to fit racks etc to MTBs too.

Honestly, I'd recommend going into your local Evans and having a chat with them. Explain your budget, and your needs, and that you won't be buying that day. It should be pretty easy for them to ship bikes between stores so they should be able to get some in to try. At your price range you are not going to end up with a shitty bike , you need to worry about comfort and fit and weight etc.

CMOTDibbler Mon 06-Jun-16 18:12:58

The hybrids all have 700 wheels which are going to be more efficient, and the Ariel and Trek have front suspension which is more comfortable on bumpy off road bits (the Ariels can be locked out for flat surfaces if you want).
I don't know much about MTBs though, sorry.

FLAB (as they refer to themselves) were set up precisely because the founder was larger than cycle clothing and still wanted technical gear. They go up to a ladies 26, and its all fitted on women of sizes across the size range. I've chatted a lot to them at shows while dh is contemplating new jerseys!

I am going to try going in again ( I did actually go in as they're round the corner) but I think I need to have a bit of an idea first. Their entire woman's mountain bike section was all pinnacle - genuinely don't think they had any other brands which is a bit offputting. They do collect in store so can definitely ship things but it's a case of narrowing it down first as while I'm sure they'll order in a couple...they probably won't do 10!

I agree re the MTBs looking nicer. I don't think I'll be likely to fit racks to it tbh as (naught stats) I won't actually use it to commute day to day. I will need to attach my DD's tag bike if it's just me and her going out but it's a seat post mount so easy to fit to anything.

DH is off out to pick up a new (second hand) bike for himself. He got a really good second hand one last year but some scrote stole it from outside our house. Only thing was we'd taken the seat off his but hadn't bothered with mine as the seat was sideways...the thieves took his bike and my (dodgy) seat post and saddle. Doubt they got very far... grin

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Mon 06-Jun-16 19:17:42

IMO you don't need suspension for that sort of ground. I admit I'm slightly anti suspension. But I don't have suspension and I frequently ride canal paths, old railways, etc. Ive actually been down snowdon on my mtb and that doesn't have suspension and managed fine.

For non mtb track off roading suspension will add weight and cost and the benefit won't be seen. You could get a non suspension bike and if the cost is the same as the suspension bike next to it then the bike without suspension will generally have better qualityr componements,,,,which I think will be better than suspension.

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Mon 06-Jun-16 19:20:20

Oh and im quite fat, size 18. I tend to wear blokes cycle clothes. Or halfords have dare2b stuff which goes up to size 18. You also for tops don't need cycling specific stuff. I get a lot of Karrimor tops from sports direct, again up to size 18. Same sort of material. IE wicking and quick drying.

WhereTheFuckIsMyCunt Mon 06-Jun-16 19:23:22

On roads and tracks I would struggle to ride 5 -10 miles on a mtb. On a hybrid I can easily do 30 miles. It's so much more effort on a mtb. Get any of the hybrids. grin

Portobelly Mon 06-Jun-16 19:53:03

I really feel for you.
It pisses me off when I hear about husbands having opinions about their wives bike purchase.
Your husband wouldn't have bought himself a dodgy second hand bike,
But it was good enough for you.

But hey.
Looking forward.

When you say 'off road tracks' do you mean mountain paths and woodland dirt tracks, or do you mean segregated Tarmac paths?

If you mean the latter look at a hybrid. Something with relatively narrow tyres.
Narrow tyres mean that the work you are doing by pedalling will be utilised most efficiently.
Which given your level of fitness post injury seems vital.
Fat tyres have more traction and that means more effort is needed to move you along.

I ride a globe live 1 it's inspired by a Dutch bike, but is a sister brand to spealized.
It has a good upright position, with handlebars that are wide apart and don't need you to stretch forward.
This might appeal because it gives you good visibility
Mine has a single gear, but you can get 3 and 7 gear versions,
I'd be surprised if you need more gears than that unless you plan very hilly rides.
I started riding that bike when I met my cyclist husband ( bought it after our first date when I realised it would be tricky dating a cycle messenger if I didn't ride a bike) and within a few weeks I was cycling between 14-40 miles per day. Ten years earlier I had fractured my spine, and a racing bike stance was out of the question. I need to sit up right.

Forget colour ( to start with.)
Go into your local bike shop, local specialist bike shop I should say, and describe the type of riding you want to. Explain the injury, and that you want to be sure to get something that fits you well. And that you hope they can help you.
See what they suggest.
Plenty of on test riding.
Take a good number out, may over a couple of weekends.
When you decide what you think works for you make sure they adjust it for you, saddle height and tip, handle bar height etc etc.

Remember saddles can be Changed.
Forget about the colour.
I wouldn't have chosen a brown bike. But I did. And I love it.

You might not want shoes with cleats that fit into your pedals, but I'd recommend toe clips, that fix to the pedals, and help you keep your foot in the optimum pedalling position.
Again, effective pedalling will reduce the amount of work you need to do to get where you're going.
A lot of people don't have their foot well placed on the pedals, and not only is that inefficient, it can be bad for the muscles in you legs etc.

Cycling is brilliant.
My mental health is much much better,
My love life was vastly improved. We are married and have a kid. And that wouldn't have happened without a pair of wheels. And the adventures we could go on.
And I love feeling my body being strong.
Can't wait to get my son in a child seat and me back in the saddle.

Good luck!

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