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general buying advice please



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 24th 04, 08:31 PM
David
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a new bike, and would like some general buying
advice. I currently have an ancient moutain bike with 21 gears - basic. My
riding is probably 50 miles a week at most, with a mixture of 50% off road
and 50% on road.

I've been looking at off roaders with suspension. I'm looking to spend a
minimum for something decent - maximum budget is probably 150ish.

OK, the assistant in Halfords (who was about 10) basically suggested all the
bikes with a big price tag. I accept that the really cheap ones are probably
best avoided, but would something around the 120 mark be suitable for the
miles/terrain I plan on doing?

Any advice appreciated - thanks,

David



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  #2  
Old June 24th 04, 11:40 PM
Tony Raven
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Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

David wrote:
Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a new bike, and would like some general buying
advice. I currently have an ancient moutain bike with 21 gears - basic. My
riding is probably 50 miles a week at most, with a mixture of 50% off road
and 50% on road.

I've been looking at off roaders with suspension. I'm looking to spend a
minimum for something decent - maximum budget is probably 150ish.

OK, the assistant in Halfords (who was about 10) basically suggested all the
bikes with a big price tag. I accept that the really cheap ones are probably
best avoided, but would something around the 120 mark be suitable for the
miles/terrain I plan on doing?


You really won't get anything decent at that price level. Suspension will be
poor quality and performance at that price. What's wrong with your "ancient
mountain bike" that it needs changing. Either look to spend double you max
budget or put the money into giving your current bike a service

Tony


  #3  
Old June 25th 04, 06:28 AM
David
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

Thanks for the replies.

You really won't get anything decent at that price level. Suspension will

be
poor quality and performance at that price. What's wrong with your

"ancient
mountain bike" that it needs changing. Either look to spend double you

max
budget or put the money into giving your current bike a service


My current ancient bike was bought for 30 from the freeads to enable me to
chase after the kids and round 'em up when they go in opposite directions on
their bikes/scooters. I found myself (unexpectedly) really enjoying riding.
My bike is actually too big a frame for me. As I have some redundancy money
I can afford to buy a new bike, but obviously can't spend an absolute
fortune.

Seems to me that the front only suspension bikes are cheaper. Never having
ridden a bike with suspension, what are the pro's and con's of front/rear
suspension both on and off road?



  #4  
Old June 25th 04, 08:28 AM
Tony Raven
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

David wrote:


My current ancient bike was bought for 30 from the freeads to enable me to
chase after the kids and round 'em up when they go in opposite directions on
their bikes/scooters. I found myself (unexpectedly) really enjoying riding.
My bike is actually too big a frame for me. As I have some redundancy money
I can afford to buy a new bike, but obviously can't spend an absolute
fortune.


If the frame is too big I would go for buying another second hand one of the
right size. You'll get more for your money that way than buying new. For
some good advice read Myra's articles on buying a bike -
http://www.myra-simon.com/bike/mtb-advice1.html

Seems to me that the front only suspension bikes are cheaper. Never having
ridden a bike with suspension, what are the pro's and con's of front/rear
suspension both on and off road?


The cons are maintenance (both suspension units and the pivots) and added
weight. For cheap suspension the performance is pretty poor and it needs a
lot of maintenance to keep it going because it doesn't have the quality of
seals on the sliding parts. The performance problems tend to be that it has
lots of stiction (i.e. it doesn't slide smoothly but sticks and then gives
when the load is high enough) and they are underdamped so that they tend to
bounce rather than suspend which makes control on rough ground difficult. The
front fork legs tend to be flexy which makes the steering imprecise on rough
ground. If choosing I would definitely not go for full suspension at that
price point and front suspension only if you have to. You'll get a much
better rigid forked bike for your money than you will a suspension bike.

Tony



  #5  
Old June 25th 04, 09:10 AM
Peter Clinch
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Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

David wrote:

My bike is actually too big a frame for me. As I have some redundancy m=

oney
I can afford to buy a new bike, but obviously can't spend an absolute
fortune.


Second hand is the place to look IMHO. Fortunately mountain bikes are=20
about the most common things to get upgraded and sold on.

Seems to me that the front only suspension bikes are cheaper. Never hav=

ing
ridden a bike with suspension, what are the pro's and con's of front/re=

ar
suspension both on and off road?


First up, suspension designs for on and off road are usually different=20
beasts, even though the gains in each case are through improved=20
efficiency, handling and comfort (*if* it's good suspension). On the=20
road you're looking at absorbing a lot of very small, fairly constant=20
shocks, where off road you need an ability to soak up very big bumps as=20
a routine thing. Unfortunately the extra travel for the big stuff=20
weighs more and encourages the bike to pogo with pedalling if you're=20
climbing, so off-road suspension is often effectively a liability on the =

road. On road suspension is of some use off, but it'll generally lack=20
enough travel to soak up the routine bumps encountered so it won't do a=20
proper job.
But the above assumes the suspension has been well designed. On a cheap =

bike it generally won't have been, as the design requirement is=20
/looking/ like an expensive bike, and never mind what actually happens.=20
The springing system will be grot, damping possibly non-existent, and=20
though it will soak up big hits better than nothing it's unlikely to be=20
good at soaking up a continuous stream of rough stuff in a way that=20
makes the bike truly more efficient, which is where /good/ suspension=20
scores over rigid.

Dual suspension, where done well, does the above Good Things mentioned=20
better, though is heavier and there's more maintenance. Done badly it=20
takes even more money away from frame and transmission for primarily=20
cosmetic reasons. Same goes for disc brakes: done properly they're=20
superb, done cheaply they're there to look cool but will cost more than=20
V brakes, wear out pads quicker and not work any better.

For dual suspension you're looking at well towards 4 figure price tags=20
for a good job where money has been sensibly spread around the whole=20
bike to make a well rounded whole. It's hard to buy an MTB with rigid=20
forks these days, but I wouldn't want to spend any less than =A3250 on on=
e=20
with suspension forks, and preferably not less than about =A3350. And it=
=20
wouldn't have disc brakes at that price.

I'd start looking hard at second hand.

Pete.
--=20
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #6  
Old June 25th 04, 03:05 PM
Simon Brooke
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

in message , David
') wrote:

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a new bike, and would like some general buying
advice. I currently have an ancient moutain bike with 21 gears -
basic. My riding is probably 50 miles a week at most, with a mixture
of 50% off road and 50% on road.

I've been looking at off roaders with suspension. I'm looking to spend
a minimum for something decent - maximum budget is probably 150ish.


Add another nought.

You are not going to get a new full suspension bike worth having at much
under a thousand. There are second hand bargains to be had if you're
careful but even they will cost a lot more than 150. You can get a
usable hardtail (front suspension only) for about 400 upwards new,
half that second hand.

It might make more sense to give your ancient one an overhaul.

--
(Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.1
GP/CS s++: a+ C+++ ULBVCS*++++$ L+++ P--- E+++ W+++ N++ K w--(---)
M- !d- PS++ PE-- Y+ PGP !t 5? X+ !R b++ !DI D G- e++ h*(-) r++ y+++
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

  #7  
Old June 25th 04, 03:05 PM
Simon Brooke
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

in message , David
') wrote:

Thanks for the replies.

You really won't get anything decent at that price level. Suspension
will

be
poor quality and performance at that price. What's wrong with your

"ancient
mountain bike" that it needs changing. Either look to spend double
you

max
budget or put the money into giving your current bike a service


My current ancient bike was bought for 30 from the freeads to enable
me to chase after the kids and round 'em up when they go in opposite
directions on their bikes/scooters. I found myself (unexpectedly)
really enjoying riding. My bike is actually too big a frame for me. As
I have some redundancy money I can afford to buy a new bike, but
obviously can't spend an absolute fortune.

Seems to me that the front only suspension bikes are cheaper. Never
having ridden a bike with suspension, what are the pro's and con's of
front/rear suspension both on and off road?


On smooth roads suspension is not necessary and actually slows you down
- good suspension bikes have 'lockout' systems to lock the suspension
when it's not needed. On gentle off-road tracks and paths a bit of
suspension is quite nice but doesn't really make all that much
difference. Where it does make a big difference is on rough and loose
surfaced paths and tracks, particularly if you're moving fast. What
makes the difference is

* You're more comfortable so you don't get so tired and can go further;
* The bike will cope much better with bad lines and obstacles so you
don't have to concentrate so much so you don't get so tired;
* You can go faster over rougher ground;
* You have more grip and more traction on rough sections.

However, only good suspension systems will cope with these conditions
and good suspension costs serious money. Cheap suspension systems are
heavy, fragile and don't work very well. Suspension really needs to be
tuned to the weight of the rider, or it won't do much good. On a good
bike you will either have air suspension (where you can change the
pressure with a pump) or alternatively the bike shop *should* ask you
what you weigh and fit the right spring for your weight.

Related topic, cheap cable operated disk brakes are much heavier than V
brakes and don't work as well.

Essentially if your budget is limited a light bike with no suspension is
better than a heavy bike with poor suspension. Unless you can afford at
least 300 don't buy suspension - and don't buy disk brakes unless you
can afford a good bit more than that.

--
(Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

  #8  
Old June 25th 04, 08:22 PM
iarocu
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

I'm thinking of buying a new bike, and would like some general buying
advice. I currently have an ancient moutain bike with 21 gears - basic. My
riding is probably 50 miles a week at most, with a mixture of 50% off road
and 50% on road.

I've been looking at off roaders with suspension. I'm looking to spend a
minimum for something decent - maximum budget is probably 150ish.

What sort of off road? For canal towpaths, forestry tracks, etc
suspension isn't needed. Front suspension is worth having for anything
more serious. As suggested by other posters 150 is not enough for a
new bike. At that price point the components just don't work as well,
need more frequent adjustment and wear out faster.
For a front suspension mountain bike spend at least about 300. For
the extra cash you'll get a far better bike that's nicer to use and
lasts longer.
Try looking in a few local bike shops. If you say what area you
live in someone on this group should be able to point you at a
reasonable shop.
Iain
  #9  
Old June 25th 04, 09:23 PM
David
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

What sort of off road? For canal towpaths, forestry tracks, etc
suspension isn't needed. Front suspension is worth having for anything
more serious.


Mostly I go along a disused railway (Castleman trailway) that's got a rough
gravel surface, and country park/woodland trails, so I'm thinking that
suspension would probably be not essential.

As suggested by other posters 150 is not enough for a
new bike. At that price point the components just don't work as well,
need more frequent adjustment and wear out faster.


Taking on board what people have said, I am thinking the best solution is a
mountain bike with no suspension. I thank you all for your input, and it's
certainly been very helpful! Also, I think I can up the budget to 200. As
there isn't a tearing hurry to get it, I'll also investigate the free ads
too.

Try looking in a few local bike shops. If you say what area you
live in someone on this group should be able to point you at a
reasonable shop.


I live in the Bournemouth area. I did look in a couple today actually. One
(Bike Lab) didn't seem to stock anything below 500, and one in the local
mall had some, but the only non-suspension mountain bike in stock was a
basic Raleigh that I didn't really like the look of. But the assistant did
give good advice and steered me away from suspension bikes having told her
my use for the bike. A stark difference from Halfords advice that was
basically "biggest price tag".

I'm on holiday from tomorrow, but I'll certainly be looking deeper when I
get back.

Thanks

David


  #10  
Old June 25th 04, 09:57 PM
Tony Raven
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Posts: n/a
Default general buying advice please

David wrote:

I live in the Bournemouth area. I did look in a couple today actually. One
(Bike Lab) didn't seem to stock anything below 500, and one in the local
mall had some, but the only non-suspension mountain bike in stock was a
basic Raleigh that I didn't really like the look of. But the assistant did
give good advice and steered me away from suspension bikes having told her
my use for the bike. A stark difference from Halfords advice that was
basically "biggest price tag".

I'm on holiday from tomorrow, but I'll certainly be looking deeper when I
get back.


Have a look in Primera in Charminster - see if they will cut you a deal on a
Specialized Hardrock rigid which lists at 249 and is a classic entry level
bike.
http://www.primera-bournemouth.co.uk...pe=bike&ID=103

Tony


 




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