Help - Which bike for all year round commuter?

by zedbedboy   August 14, 2014  

My commute is about to change. From 8miles each way to 12. The nature of the roads will aslo change from suburban roads to country lanes. I need a new commuter bike that's up to the task. My requirements are,

Drop bar
Disk brakes
Must take minimum 28mm tyres
Must take full mudguards
No singlespeeds
Max cost is £900

What should I be considering?

21 user comments

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I have a Charge Plug 3 which ticks all those boxes. I've been really happy with it, I've used it for commuting and longer rides up to 100k where it's been very comfortable.

It's not the lightest, but I don't find it a problem.

Personally I really like the skinny tube steel aesthetic and the ride is very smooth even across the appalling surfaces of my commute (7 miles of Devon hills). I wouldn't necessarily make a claims about it being a better ride than aluminium.

I changed the tyres to 25mm gaterskins which sped things up a bit.

I'm not entirely convinced about the brakes (promax render). They are fine and consistent in the wet but not a patch on mtb hydraulics. Maybe I'm expecting too much.

posted by barbarus [34 posts]
14th August 2014 - 12:06

3 Likes

Lots of people will recommend CX bikes - but a lot of them fall down on mudguard requirement.

I'd be taking a serious look at the Canyon Inflite 8.0S - http://www.canyon.com/_en/roadbikes/bike.html?b=3201

And probably a Genesis Croix de Fer / CdF / Equilibrium http://www.evanscycles.com/products/genesis/equilibrium-10-2014-road-bik...

Evans' Pinnacle range has some good bikes too.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [958 posts]
14th August 2014 - 12:30

2 Likes

Thanks for the suggestions. I looked at the Charge Plug 3 this morning on t'internet. It's heavily discouted at the moment. It could be an option. The weight might be putting me off a bit. I suppose I could consider it good training.

The Canyon and Cdf look like really nice bikes, but are out of my price range unfortunately. The Canyon in particlar looks to be well though through. I notice you didn't recommend the Boardman CX Team on your roster! Any reason for that? I went and took a look at one and the Comp yesterday.

posted by zedbedboy [22 posts]
14th August 2014 - 12:53

1 Like

Can't offer any immediate suggestions myself, but will be interested to see what recommendations do come up as I'm on the lookout for a broadly similar-spec bike to you too.

The Genesis CdF should fall within your budget though, it's the cheaper version of the actual Croix de Fer range using a lower grade steel frame and presumably some compromises elsewhere on the build too.

Ticks all your boxes above and is £850 normally, but an apparent bargain at £720 in my LBS at the mo:

http://www.hargrovescycles.co.uk/bikes/cyclocross-bikes/genesis-cdf-silv...

posted by parksey [295 posts]
14th August 2014 - 13:18

3 Likes

Trek Crossrip looked pretty good and was a 'best seller' in my LBS. I liked the 'chicken brakes' (ie on the flat part of the bar) for when you're riding in town. One I saw had a triple chainset (not sure if it was MTB gearing) which would be pretty handy if it's hilly where you live. Touring bike could be another option, but then I view a CX bike with mudguards and rack as a 'lite' tourer and better suited to commuting.

Shades

posted by Shades [235 posts]
14th August 2014 - 13:45

1 Like

zedbedboy wrote:
I notice you didn't recommend the Boardman CX Team on your roster! Any reason for that? I went and took a look at one and the Comp yesterday.

Yes, it may be the first time ever that someone has failed to recommend the bike they ride Wink

I commute on my CX, 10 miles each way (direct route). It's... fine. It works. But despite it having a hole front-rear through the fork crown for guards, it doesn't have any mudguard eyes on the front fork. So about the only guards you can fit are the SKS clip-on Raceblades - I'm going to get a set soon. http://www.wiggle.co.uk/sks-race-blade-xl-clip-on-mudguard-set/

It's not a >bad< bike, I just wouldn't recommend it unless someone is genuinely going to be riding it on and off-road frequently. The BB5 discs are a nightmare to set up, the OEM cables stretch badly (still!) and it's a very, very stiff bike (far less comfortable than my CAAD8 was). And finally - the higher BB clearance of the CX means it's harder for me to put my foot down at lights.

TL;DR - If you're going to be riding on the road: buy a road bike, either one that's designed for guards or get a set of Crud Roadracers.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [958 posts]
14th August 2014 - 14:00

4 Likes

I'm looking for basically the same thing. Had my eye on Evans' Pinnacle Arkose 3 and it's down to £900 at the moment. Almost full 105 groupset and decent mechanical brakes.

http://images.evanscycles.com/product_image/image/be6/4cd/e03/113378/pinnacle-arkose-three-2014-cyclocross-bike.jpg

posted by C.Gregs [15 posts]
14th August 2014 - 14:55

2 Likes

The Pinnacle looks very nice - BUT noway to run a proper front mudguard!

posted by zedbedboy [22 posts]
14th August 2014 - 15:19

0 Likes

I believe you can. Seen many people with SKS's fitted:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Br4wbHUCEAE1TLM.jpg

posted by C.Gregs [15 posts]
14th August 2014 - 15:33

2 Likes

zedbedboy wrote:
The Pinnacle looks very nice - BUT noway to run a proper front mudguard!

Are you sure about that? My wife has the women's version as a commuter and had full guards installed front and back with no problem. I would imagine the other Arkoses are more or less the same in that respect.

thesaladdays's picture

posted by thesaladdays [44 posts]
14th August 2014 - 15:36

2 Likes

Jamis Bosanova

drop bar
funky stem so you can make it really fit
Steel
Discs
Mudguards
Triple
Loads of lugs
Trad geometry
bloody well bomb proof
Lovely ride

£800 at Evans

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
14th August 2014 - 15:58

3 Likes

The new Pinnacle Arkose 3 has no eye hole for a front mudguard, which strikes me as mad. But I'm sure you can rig something. Heartily agree with the comment about the BB5 discs - I swapped mine for BB7 and I have to say I am completely happy with my 2012 Arkose 2 ... now.

posted by pz1800 [24 posts]
14th August 2014 - 16:07

1 Like

Using the 2014 Arkose 1 for Sunday and evening rides. £750 (£820-850 with pedals and all weather road tyres), workaholic zombie apocalypse bike. No room for standard front mudguard, some faffing around required. But many many pluses otherwise.

posted by Argos74 [301 posts]
14th August 2014 - 16:59

2 Likes

Of all the above the Genesis CdF floats my boat the most and the Hargroves price is excellent.
Is it worth £130 more than the Charge Pug 3 though.

Just to throw a wildcard into the mix. Does anyone have any experience of Tifosi bikes. I came across this option...

http://www.fatbirds.co.uk/1679630/products/kinesis-ck6-forte-disc-sora-c...

Ignore the Kinesis label - it's a Tifosi.

probably better info about it here... http://www.vanillabikes.com/products/tifosi-ck6-forte

posted by zedbedboy [22 posts]
15th August 2014 - 8:36

0 Likes

Orange RX9 2014 going for £850 pretty much bomb proof

posted by Binky [115 posts]
15th August 2014 - 9:02

0 Likes

The Orange has the dreaded Avid BB5 disc brakes!

Whyte Suffolk has just entered the fray as being design to just exactly what I want it to. It even has bespoke mudguards.

C Greg - your link to a photo didn't work for me.

posted by zedbedboy [22 posts]
15th August 2014 - 9:55

1 Like

Personally, I cannot recommend anything myself other than the Verenti Substance CX1.1, which I use as my all year round do everything steed. Similar spec to the Genesis CDF, but cheaper (further discounts through British Cycling membership). You can always spend the savings on enhancing the bike, getting new tyres, mudguards and changing the bar tape which is a bit thin. Maybe adding BB7 disc brakes if the BB5s are a gripe.

posted by Ghostie [90 posts]
15th August 2014 - 10:46

1 Like

Here you are.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

posted by C.Gregs [15 posts]
15th August 2014 - 13:01

0 Likes

zedbedboy wrote:
Whyte Suffolk has just entered the fray as being design to just exactly what I want it to. It even has bespoke mudguards.

If you didn't want the more CX style of bike then the Whyte looks a good bet, it was reviewed favourably on here back in the winter too:

http://road.cc/content/review/110792-whyte-dorset-commuterroad-bike

The £1200 Suffolk version is some way over your original budget, mind... Wink

I like the look of their flat-bar range myself, couple of affordable single chainring versions that appear well-suited to the type of outright urban riding that I'm after a second bike for.

Still can't get the Genesis CdF out of my head though...

posted by parksey [295 posts]
15th August 2014 - 13:15

0 Likes

Something a bit different. Trek Soho, with belt drive & hub gears/brakes. Used every workday for 3 years with zero maintanance other than wiping down with baby wipes once a year. Weighs a ton, so plenty of exercise!

2014-06-18 10.12.49.jpg

posted by Chubby [3 posts]
15th August 2014 - 20:15

0 Likes

Cotic Escapade if you can stretch to £950.

posted by svenrokk [5 posts]
15th August 2014 - 21:20

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