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Which hybrid bike to buy?

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20-04-2008, 19:41   #1
perplexed
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I know there have been various bike threads, but non recently, so here goes...

I'm looking for a reasonable quality hybrid bike for commuting, something reasonably comfy that doesn't weigh a ton.

Twist gears and a bit of suspension would be nice. I've seen something in Halfords with the above for about 200 ish, but i wonder if anyone on here has bought a hybrid bike recently, and has any recommendations?

Cheers!!

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20-04-2008, 19:58   #2
dynamick
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Hi perplexed - I'd duck the Halfords option if I were you - when I looked at buying a hybrid bike - I went there and they really just tried to sell me the one at the highest price......

Give J E James Cycles a go - one at the bottom of Brammall Lane and one at Whittington Moor in Chesterfield. I bought a "Giant Boulder" hybrid - told the guy in the shop how much I'd got to spend - and he said "nah....get you one cheaper than that....." - that was 2 years ago now.....I take the bike back regular for a service and its like new and it gets used everyday for about 8 miles minimum.

They come highly recommended mate - next one I buy from there too.
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20-04-2008, 20:02   #3
Halibut
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I have a Dawes Tanami - excellent bicycle but maybe a bit pricey for your budget; I paid 400 when I bought it from a friend a couple of years ago. I believe he paid 800 ish new.
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20-04-2008, 20:34   #4
Blackbeard
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The best place I found to buy a bike from was from a company in York called Cycle Heaven. I finished up with a 21 speed bike with rear pannier, full lighting dyno, cycle stand and mudguards. OK that was a few years ago and I suspect that Dawes are no longer available. Looking at Cycle Heaven's website they have a a full range of bikes so it may give you some idea of what is available now
take a look at
http://www.cycle-heaven.co.uk/
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20-04-2008, 23:53   #5
Bridgeblox
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I second the James recommendation. Decathlon isn't bad either - worth a look, and a bit more helpful than Halfords.
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21-04-2008, 08:13   #6
supersonic
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I worked for a few years as a bike mechanic, and regularly post on the Bike Radar forum.

There are various 'hybrid' bikes on the market, the best bet is to go to a decent shop (the ones mentioned above are fine) and try a few out. Here is a guide I put together for beginners and budget mountain bikes, but many of the same principles apply for quality: (you may prefer larger chainrings for higher gear ratios)

I think for general mountain biking, the following features should be considered: (aimed at buyers spending less than 250 quid)

- Alloy hardtail frame. Full suspension at the lower end of the market (sub 300 and even upto 500 quid) is heavily compromised. Its very heavy, undamped, poor bearings and pulls down the spec elsewhere. Steel frames at this level are often mild steel and are 2 or 3 pounds heavier than an alloy frame.

- Suspension fork with alloy crown and one piece lowers. Cheap pressed steel lowers and crowns flex badly. Preload adjusters are a good feature to help set sag and ride height for differing weights. Rigid is preferable to a bad suspension fork.

- Compact crankset (42/32/22). Many entry level bikes have larger chainrings (48/38/2 from cheaper groupsets. This doesn't allow a very low gear and is often over geared for the terrain a MTB will be used on. Replacable chainrings are a bonus.

- 8 speed freehub. 8 gears from a cassette and freehub gives a better spread than some 7spd screw on freewheels, often 11-32 teeth rather than 14-28. Also this allows the bearings to be spaced further in the hub, allowing a stronger rear wheel/axle. Shimano make the best budget 8 speed set ups.

- Cartridge bottom bracket. Old adjustable cup and cone bottom brackets are poorly sealed and are prone to coming loose.

- 32 or 36 spoked wheels. Lots of beginners MTBs are coming with fancy 'paired' spokes, or 24 bladed ones, purely for looks. They use heavy rims, are poorly constructed and are not worth it compared to standard wheels. Look for stainless spokes if possible, and sealed alloy hubs with quick release axles.

- Alloy components. If possible, ask about the seatpost and bars. Alloy units save some weight, and are more comfortable.

- Brakes and levers. Make sure the levers aren't plastic as they flex badly. Cable disc brakes stop better in the wet but usually add cost. Don't go for discs over other essential features.

- Aheadset or threadless headset. Much better bearings and more reliable than the older quill stem and threaded headset.

Many bikes for 200 pounds now have all these features! Don't be afraid to ask for a saddle swap if they are uncomfortable, and enquire about the quality of the tyres..

Or try asking direct at the site!

http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/index.php

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21-04-2008, 09:59   #7
perplexed
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Thanks for all the help and advice!
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21-04-2008, 10:07   #8
supersonic
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Any questions on any bikes, feel free to ask me! I reckon I've built well over a 1000!
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21-04-2008, 10:10   #9
robS35
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J E James is ok if you know exactly what you want, dont go into that shop expecting good customer service and advice cus you wont get it. Despite this if you want one of the top brand makes in bike ( Trek Giant Cannondale ect ect ) it is the shop to go to.

But on a budget of around 200 you will struggle to get anything from J E James. I would suggest a trip to Decathlon there Btiwn range of cycles are very good value for money http://www.btwincycle.com/EN/

Avoid Halfords and i wouldnt really be all that concerned about having suspension on a bike at that price.
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21-04-2008, 10:20   #10
supersonic
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Yes, the Btwins are the best value budgets bikes I have seen. Some Halfords do have good staff, and the Carrera range again are excellent value for money.

Giant do a good range of sportier hybrids too, but dont tend to have the as comfy ride position as say an MTB.
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22-04-2008, 16:24   #11
Bridgeblox
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Just checked the James website out - they've got around 30 commuter bikes for 200 or under - the Giants look pretty good.

One thing I've remembered which might stretch your budget - the little extras that mount up :-) A good lock is pretty important, and you ought to think about a helmet if you don't already have one. Reflectors aren't a bad idea and are pretty cheap - leg bands double up as slightly less spoddy trouser clips. You might be able to leave lights until September unless you plan to ride in the dark, and other stuff as you need it. If you are on a shoestring Aldi has some surprisingly reasonable cycle stuff in the summer.
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22-04-2008, 17:27   #12
dynamick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robS35 View Post
J E James is ok if you know exactly what you want, dont go into that shop expecting good customer service and advice cus you wont get it. Despite this if you want one of the top brand makes in bike ( Trek Giant Cannondale ect ect ) it is the shop to go to.

We all base our opinions on personal experience - so by the sounds of it you got 'em on a bad day. The guy who sold me my Giant Boulder was an absolute legend - couldn't have helped much more than he did and I know a fair bit about bikes and he gave me some good advice. Also the reason I like JE James is the fact that as one of the last independent shops about who sell good stuff......they are open to negotiation on price so don't be afraid to negotiate on any bike - I got 75 off mine and a free set of front and back lights.

Pay cash and you'll get a better deal is all I can advise
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